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Filling in awkward silence with strange MIL??

My MIL is so strange.. It seems like she is always looking for praise or some kind of medal for things she does, which I always always tell her thank you for things but I don't know what else she wants out of me. Here are examples of typical conversation

(At baby shower)
MIL: I brought the center piece for the table
Me: It's absolutely gorgeous! Great choice, thank you so much.
MIL: Yea it cost me $50
(Strange awkward silence where she is staring at me waiting on me to say something)
Me: Well you know something cheaper would have been just fine, but thank you again, I really appreciate it
MIL: Yea since I brought those I didn't really get a gift
(Strange awkward silence once again as she's staring me down)

Okay seriously this could go on all day if I didnt change the subject or someone wouldnt have walked up to us!! She does this for EVERYTHING! It's even worse when i'm alone with her in her house or mine. (cont)


Asked by Ctink8189 at 7:41 AM on Nov. 18, 2010 in Relationships

Level 21 (11,991 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • You know, I think you've said enough. She's an adult. If she wants to mop your floor while you're bathing, and you don't mind her doing it, she really did it because she wanted to. You don't want to establish a precedent of you thanking her profusely all the time.

    Answer by SWasson at 7:51 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • Nope, just say thank you as you have been and move on. I have a strange (to put it politely) MIL too who will tell me how much she paid for everything, even though she's broke...AWKWARD!!! I always just say, "Thanks, you shouldn't have done that, but I appreciate it. Oh shoot, I forgot to check on that load of laundry" (or return an important phone call, or take out the trash, or give the cat a bath). I'm not going to sit there and be made to feel uncomfortable after expressing my appreciation. I've been dealing with it for over 15 years and realized it's never going to change and simply excusing myself is the best way to handle it.

    Answer by vicesix at 7:51 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • Yes, I would find that a bit odd as well. What I would do is break the awkward silence by changing to a new topic. I get along quite well (for the most part) with my mil and we usually can talk about many different things, but when conversation lags I do change it to something guaranteed to keep it going--- like ask if she has heard from any of her other kids, ask about the grandchildren, or change the topic to one of her hobbies like quilting. If I ask her if she is working on any new quilts she will show me her latest, or tell me what pattern she is thinking of doing.....
    So maybe you should try changing topics to something that may interest her, or to a hobby of hers (if she has one) or ask after family members...or if you are pregnant talk to her about the baby or maybe even ask her 'advice' (about baby/child issues).
    Good luck!

    Answer by MizLee at 7:48 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • LOL well at that point perhaps it's time to call her on her behavior and literally say "So, do you want a medal? Do you want me to get down on my knees and shout i'm not worthy? Just tell me what you want from me because I don't really know!"

    Answer by Mom2Jack04 at 7:50 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • It does sound super awkward. The only thing I can suggest is for you to steer the conversation in another direction when you know it is time to do so. Have a bunch of questions ready to ask her that can change the conversation, throw in a hug and say something like "you are too good to me" with a smile, etc. You need to take control and steer things the way you want them to go. Continue to show your appreciation for the things she does. GL

    Answer by elizabr at 7:51 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • Here's one more example before I stop lol..

    (At my house when she visited)
    MIL: I mopped your floors while you were in the bath tub
    Me: Wow! You didnt have to do that, but thank you so much.
    MIL: I also did the baseboards
    Me: Oh, I wasnt aware that those needed cleaning, but again thank you..that takes alot off of my plate for tonight.
    MIL: I also straightened up the counter top and wiped it down
    (Staring me down)
    Me: Okay well that is wonderful but it sounds like you have done more than enough. Thank you
    (Strange silence where she is STILL staring me down!!)

    Serious should I be saying more??

    Comment by Ctink8189 (original poster) at 7:45 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • Thanks for all the advice so far! I'll have to think of creative ways to change the topic I guess. I've just never felt so uncomfortable when talking to someone before..EVER.

    @vicesix- OMG she does the same also with telling me the prices of things as well. It's so awkward. I have never asked her for anything that she buys but the way she carries on about it, you would think I practically begged for it or something.

    Comment by Ctink8189 (original poster) at 7:57 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • Now that's the main reason I say call her on it......even vicesix said she's had a similiar MIL and changed the subject for 15 years. My mother was treated horribly by my grandmother for over 30 years and she never said anything, and it wasn't until my grandmother got sick that she got to know my dad never spoke up to my grandmother about they way she treated and talked to my mom. And well, why live with 1 year, 15 years, 30+ years of a MIL trying to belittle and talk to you like that? It will continue that long if you continue to just change the subject, but if you make yourself clear and hash it out without yelling or shouting it will either improve and you can have a good relationship with your MIL or she'll be pissy about it and just stop saying anything, either way her comments will cease (at least to your face). And frankly that's best...........CONT

    Answer by Mom2Jack04 at 7:58 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • ....CONT.....My MIL and SIL accidently forwarded me an e-mail meant to go to each other and another SIL, I was called WHITE TRASH and a Gold Digger....yeah because at the time my husband made $30,000 and was rich, lol.

    But instead of just ignoring it I went right to them, told them more about me, told them that talking to me and about me like that was cruel, hurtful and plain rude. And they apologised and got to know me. Now my relationship with my MIL isn't perfect but it's a LOT better than what it was!

    Answer by Mom2Jack04 at 8:00 AM on Nov. 18, 2010

  • OMG Mom2Jack that is awful!! Sounds like you did the right thing. I applaud you. Sometimes I just don't know how to be rude to this woman, because believe me i've tried and she either is so ditzy she doesnt get that I am being rude, or she just doesnt care. I am quite sure there are plenty of things said behind my back as well since she has no problem coming to my house and spending 2 hours bashing on her own daughter. Really i'd rather not even know what she says about me lol I'm glad that things have improved with your hubby's family though

    Comment by Ctink8189 (original poster) at 8:05 AM on Nov. 18, 2010