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How do I handle an overbearing, controlling, manipulative...

MIL? I have been "'turning the other cheek" for seven years to this woman's spiteful and hurtful behavior - mostly stuff she says to insult my husband to his face, but also stuff about me behind my back. But now that we have a toddler together, I thought she was getting better, but... My son's second birthday is next week and I wanted to have a small, "just us" birthday dinner on his birthday and visit my MIL the next day. My DH is working 50+ hours that week and is really tired so we didn't want to do the whole "big party" thing (we had a big one for him last year), but she told him that she "knows" that the reason we aren't having a big party is because we don't want to invite his side of the family to our house (we live at my parents' house for now). She flipped out at DH when he told her, started crying and screaming and calling ME controlling and manipulative, etc. She believes that we are leaving her out (con't)

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Asked by Anonymous at 8:47 PM on Oct. 3, 2009 in Relationships

Answers (12)
  • (con't) on purpose, even though we actually are going out of our way to INCLUDE her by visiting the next day (against both of our better judgements)... DH explained to her that we DIDN'T want a party - because he doesn't need a big one every year and he gets overwhelmed easily - but when he told her we'd come over the next day she told him, "Well, if that day's gonna be my party then I'm going to make sure its an F***ing party!"... I can't decide if I ought to appease her and go, or stand my ground and refuse to go if she insists on making it a "party". She is purposefully going against my judgement (I told her months ago I didn't want a big party, she just now decided to have a problem with it), so I feel I ought to do SOMETHING. Any thoughts?

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:51 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • Wow... super fun. She reminds me of a tantrum throwing 2yo. Seriously, stick to your guns and don't change your plans to suit her because of this behavior (ie, reinforcings it). You're going to have to have your DH on board, and some letters may have to be written and sent. If you choose to write her letters, (1) your DH should do it (I've always made my DH handle his crazy mom- she can hate me forever for saying something she doens't want to hear, but she'll forgive her son anything given some tiem), and (2) make sure that they're not derogatory towards her. The letter should probably be written, left for a couple days, gone back to, reworked, and left for a few days again (repeating the process) until you are both satisfied that it is respectful, clear, and firm. Good luck!

    Answer by IrishMommaC at 8:54 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • Stick to your plan or she'll manipulate it every other time. They always talk you into and if you don't stand your ground now, you never will. Ugh, I hate it when people tell you how to run your life. It pisses me off to no end. I just wouldn't answer her phone calls for awhile. Show her who is in and your husband.

    Answer by SaraP1989 at 9:24 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • She stated herself, that was going to be HER party. This is obviously about her and not your little one. And if your son gets easily overwhelmed and she insists on making it a big party, I'd stick to your plan of no big party and not go. It's about your child, not her. Tell her that when you tell her you will not be coming over. She's having a fit because she wants it HER way, so let her have her bigger fit when she can't have her giant party for herself.

    Answer by mom2BOYZnDad at 9:38 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • You and your husband make the decisions in your house not her.Tell her this is the way it is, we can't wait to come visit you, it will be a fun time.and if she throws a fit, don't go to her house.

    Answer by evelynwest at 11:04 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • Stand your ground. If she doesn't like it, too bad for her. I suggest moving as far away as possible too.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:17 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • Has your DH ever said to her "Mom, sit down and STFU because this is my life, my house, my marriage, my wife and my kid"? He needs to. Your MIL is all up in the birthday business because he lets her be.

    Have HIM (I agree with the PP who said it needs to come from him) tell her that you all wil be doing what you planned, and that she is free to do as she wants in her home, but that you will not be sticking with her plan. Have your small party at home. Show up for hers, and leave early. Keeps your son from being overwhelmed, and allows other family to see the kid and not entirely go along with MIL.

    After the Party Mess, have DH tell her point blank she is to mind her own biz. He needs to make that clear and keep making it clear, and set a time limit for how much you will allow her to test you all before you tell her you will not be seeing her anymore since she does not respect you as a couple or as parents/a family.

    Answer by LiliM at 12:03 AM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • I'm a grandmom,and if, my grandkids are going to be with me on their birthday,shouldn't I be able to choose what I want to do with them,isn't that the whole idea of you taking your son to her house the next day.Whats wrong with her buying cake and ice-cream and a few balloons, I thought all grandparents do that,each of my grandkids spend their birthdays at my house,even when I was in the hospital,they brought the cake,food,balloons to the hospital even the nurses took part. I do hope everything work out for all of you.


    Answer by lady-t3984 at 12:09 AM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • Well, I'm probably old enough to be your mom too, and although I don't see anything wrong with her wanting to give your son a party, I do think her behavior was ridiculous. If you and your husband want to celebrate with a quiet party at home on his birthday....that's fine. Grandparents usually want to be part of the celebration. If you had invited her just for cake and ice cream on his other relatives, especially since your parents will obviously get to see him that night, I think it would have been really nice. I'd be hurt if I was left out, but her expecting you to give him a big party, and making accusations was uncalled for.

    Answer by ohwrite at 12:25 AM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • OP here - Well, I agree that it would have been alright for her to have a small "thing" at her house if that's what she wants to do, but to preceed that by insulting me and making accusations really just makes me uncomfortable and not want to take part (having to smile happily when I know what she said about me). Aside from that, the reason that we couldn't have her over to our place is complicated, but basically its because she doesn't get along with my parents - we had her over last year and she sat in a corner all day and didn't talk to anyone, as well as she doesn't drive and is disabled so it would have required my DH to go to her house after a 10 hr day at work to pick her up, get her loaded into our van, drive across town, "host" an uncomfortable party, then take her home, when all we really wanted to do was have a nice quiet dinner and presents. It just wasn't what we wanted. At all. Then she insulted me.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:49 AM on Oct. 4, 2009

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