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How to cope with people who talk too much...


DesertBlossom
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Don't quote. I feel bad even typing this out because MIL is a genuinely good person. She's kind and helpful, is very careful about not overstepping boundaries, is non-judgmental, etc. But I just can't stand to be around her. I feel like a punk-faced jerk saying that. But there it is.

 

She talks too much. She narrates for herself as she does things around the house. She remembers (and shares) every detail about everything that has ever happened, and can seamlessly weave semi-related tangents into her stories making them, literally, never-ending. In her desire to be part of every conversation around her, she has a tendency to answer my children when they come to talk to ME.  I find myself whispering to my kids, or waiting until we're in another room to talk to them.  She also repeats anything semi-adorable or interesting that people say, so it's like an echo in the room. She does this even when she's not a part of the conversation, which is incredibly annoying.

 

She talked at me on the phone for 90 minutes, and I probably talked for 2-3 minutes of that.  Some of the things she shares are things I'd like to know-- like FIL's upcoming surgery. But I don't need to know the details of the conversation she had with insurance or about their friend's recovery from the same surgery. You know?   She asked about us. I told her how baby has been fussy and then she spent 10 minutes telling me about every person she knows who was a fussy baby too. It makes me not want to share any details about my life, because it will remind her of a story that I'll spend the next 15 minutes hearing about and then I also get frustrated because she appears to care more about her own story than anything I have to say. 

 

When she narrates for herself I feel like I'm supposed to be interacting somehow because I try to have good manners. But I don't want to be engaged ALL.THE.TIME. So I ignore her. But I feel bad because who else is she talking to?  When she's telling a story, I can walk out of the room and shut the door behind me to give myself some brain space. And as soon as I'm back in the room she picks up where she left off. Now, I'm grateful I haven't offended her, but she definitely does not pick up on any of those social cues. Like if I say, "Oh, I've heard that story before" she'll tell it again anyway, with just as much detail. She will make comments about "talking my ear off" but she doesn't really get it.  I feel bad that I can't/won't share anything about me or my family with her because a) it'll remind her of a story and b) she's likely to tell my story to random strangers too and that makes me really uncomfortable. 

 

I'm an introvert. I like my quiet space. I like to live inside my head sometimes. And if she's around, I can't. 

 
Now, I know the answer is probably to get over it, because she is who she is. It's not my job to change her. I see her once a year and only talk a few times a year on the phone. But within minutes of seeing or hearing her, I already want to walk away. I would like to have a better relationship with her, I just can't.  She wants to come visit and I could genuinely use some help right now, but the thought of her coming is really stressing me out. 

 

I have considered addressing some of the issues-- like asking her to please not answer my children for me and to please quit echoing what people say. But I really suck at confrontation and I'm worried that I'll either not express myself well or that I'll say it in anger and hurt her feelings.

 

This is mostly just a vent. But some help and advice would be appreciated. She is a good woman so feeling this way makes me feel like a jerk.

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My mom does this, but to a lesser extent. Any phone conversation lasts at least 45 minutes, and I don't say much. I feel bad that I don't always answer the phone, but she calls several times a week. I have gotten good at not breaking up a kid fight when we're on the phone so I "have to go", but that sometimes still means another ten minutes before I can actually hang up. And she lives two blocks from us. So, no advice, but I do understand!

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I think you can pick a couple things to address and put up with the rest.

 

The kid thing would bother me. I'd pick a clear thing to say each time. "Please stop. Child is speaking to me" and say it every time.

 

I know some nonstop talkers and I sometimes need to say "excuse me, I need to stop you, I just can't listen anymore".

 

The sharing stories would make me think twice about sharing with her.

 

I think you can be nice about it while still being clear.

Edited by happi duck
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I dunno, that's hard. She sounds really nice. My MIL is a talker but it's her father that used to make me crazy. He told me the story of all his grass. Seriously, he told me about the grass at all the places that he lived. Now that he's gone I wish I had more aggressively steered the conversation in directions I was interested in going. He'd tell you interesting things too, but all those often those interesting things were drowning in the unimportant details. If I had been more assertive about engaging him on topics I was interested in, he would have happily told me all about them.

 

His wife, my husband's grandmother, would literally fall asleep while he was talking, and he would continue to chatter on undeterred. Once we shared an hour and a half ride some place and when I got out of the car, apparently he commented, "Well, that Mimm isn't much of a talker." My MIL turned to him and said, "Well, she couldn't get a word in edgewise!"

 

My oldest likes to talk and doesn't really want a conversation so much as an audience. This is something I pointed out to her once, and she was hurt by that, but hasn't really changed her behavior. She would get off the phone after an hour long conversation with my sister and I would ask, "So, how is she doing? How is school going for her? What's she been up to?" My daughter would look at me blankly and say, "I don't know." Because the entire time, my daughter was talking my sister's ear off. My efforts to turn her into a more selfless conversationalist haven't been wildly successful. At the same time, if she just needs to listen to herself talk, then I don't feel the need to tune in. I say an "Uh huh" every so often and basically ignore her. Sounds awful doesn't it?

 

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Can you gently say to her that you would really appreciate her help if she could come visit, but you are introverted and you need more quiet?

 

Honestly I'd just try to tune her out.  I had a grandmother like this, she'd still be chatterboxing when we went to the car.  We'd just close the door and drive off.  My stepmother was incredulous that we (Dad, siblings, me) could be so rude, but it was the only way to leave. 

 

ETA:  She never noticed.  I guess once my dad put down the phone when she called, got distracted by something, and came back an hour later and she was STILL TALKING.  Hadn't even noticed.  That went down in the family legends.

Edited by Katy
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I have someone in my life who can be like this. Like you, I hesitate to share even the most mundane pieces of our lives because not only will she tell me all about it (?) but I know she'll turn around and gossip about me to everyone she knows. It's hard.

 

I don't want to hear all about everyone else, though I would like to have a regular conversation!

 

I'm not sure there's much you can do at this point, assuming it's been gently approached before. It's a personality thing, IME.

 

Eta for privacy

Edited by MEmama
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DesertBlossom,

 

I could have easily written your post, word for word. My mother is like this, and it has definitely effected the frequency I call her. I also have a neighbor like this and I.just.cant.do.it. I just can't. I now have had my fill and avoid him like the plague....but that's another thread.

I think you have already had some great suggestions and commiseration so I'll just add that you aren't a horrible person for feeling this way. Something Mimm said uptheread really stuck out to me and it is this...

 

My oldest likes to talk and doesn't really want a conversation so much as an audience

 

Being held hostage by someone who merely wants an audience is not okay. I'm sorry you are feeling so conflicted about this.

Hugs to you.

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One thing I learned to do was to say, "Oh, it is so good to hear from you!  I can talk for 15 minutes--then I have to get on with my day, as it is full and busy."

 

I've had to do this.  Set the time, set the timer and have the sign-off line ready.  "Oh, I'm sorry to interrupt, but I have to get going now.  Be sure to remember where you left off so you can tell me the rest of the story another time."   You might have to repeat this a few times until she gets the idea that you mean it, but it will sink in.

 

It helped me to realize that this particular person processes every thought through their mouth.  This person can't just THINK something and mull it; the mulling has to happen aloud.  It didn't make the person talk any less, but it did help me be more compassionate...a teeny bit.  

 

I HATEHATEHATE talking on the phone, until I like it...so when I get in a good conversation with someone, it's going to be 90 minutes.  But that happened 2 times last year.  KWIM?  So the endless-talker ON THE PHONE is my nightmare.  I've had to learn how to manage it because my only other option was not picking up the phone...and that is not very nice or helpful as a long-term strategy.  :0)

 

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:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

She may never have developed her inner voice. You cannot change that but I agree with up thread, you might be able to be more proactive.  Some people are willing to accept feedback. If you think she is one of those, then maybe sit and talk with her directly, just very pleasantly.  Be firm but kind.  Explain that you are an introvert and find long conversations draining.  Explain that you really enjoy her company and want to have a good relationship but you need quiet and space, too, or you get too drained and frustrated.  Give her some specific guidelines for interaction.  "Please don't step into conversations with my children when they come to me for help."  "I can only really stay on the phone for 30 minutes at a time before it becomes difficult for me."  Something along those lines might help?  Maybe she is the type of person who will understand.  Maybe you can set up a phrase or word that you say when you are reaching your limits.  

 

And you aren't a bad person for feeling this way.  If you were vilifying her for being this way, that would be different, but you aren't.  So sorry you are in this position.  Good luck.

 

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My side of the family has a tendency to talk too much (just look at my post count). But when I need to manage my time better or the conversations are really unbalanced and I anticipate it happening, I may let the person (in my example, a sibling) know up front that I have to go soon so I can't talk long. They actually do the same to me sometimes and we are both just terrible at wrapping up calls lol. So for the phone call, don't answer if you think they will keep you on the phone all day. Let it go to voice mail. Then, reply via voice mail, email, or a phone call but let them know you can't talk long?

 

My father talks too much, which wouldn't be so bad except that when someone else tries to talk he often zones out or abruptly ends the conversation/interjects leaving the other person annoyed. I was told as a kid that I "talk too much" and it really never did any good and just came out sounding very rude. As I've gotten older I do try to be more mindful of it, at least IRL. Perhaps to avoid getting her into story telling mode, at least with complete strangers' stories, you could ask direct questions about herself. Maybe she would love someone to do that but no one does so she comes up with any way to keep the conversation going.

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I would swear you were my sister in law but I know she doesn't hang out on a homeschool board.  :lol:

 

My MIL is the exact same way.  We spent a week with them at Thanksgiving and I thought I would die. I have done the get up/"oh, were you talking to me", the "I think I remember you telling me this before", and the  "I need to go to the bathroom, be right back".  Just for a few minutes of reprieve.  My husband doesn't get it because the stories are never directed at him. 

 

Unfortunately, I have no advice.

Edited by Pink and Green Mom
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I would swear you were my sister in law but I know she doesn't hang out on a homeschool board.  :lol:

 

My MIL is the exact same way.  We spent a week with them at Thanksgiving and I thought I would die. I have done the get up/"oh, were you talking to me", the "I think I remember you telling me this before", and the  "I need to go to the bathroom, be right back".  Just for a few minutes of reprieve.  My husband doesn't get it because the stories are never directed at him. 

 

Unfortunately, I have no advice.

 

It's the endless retelling of the same stories that gets to me with one of the Endless Talkers in my life.  

 

Many years ago, my mom noticed that people got into multiple retellings as they got older and she did NOT want to become that person.  So in our family, the rule is You get to tell it twice.  But on the third telling, in our family, the listener has every right to make the "throat slit" gesture (pointy finger across the throat).  And we do it.  :0)  I love my mom.  

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I would swear you were my sister in law but I know she doesn't hang out on a homeschool board.  :lol:

 

My MIL is the exact same way.  We spent a week with them at Thanksgiving and I thought I would die. I have done the get up/"oh, were you talking to me", the "I think I remember you telling me this before", and the  "I need to go to the bathroom, be right back".  Just for a few minutes of reprieve.  My husband doesn't get it because the stories are never directed at him. 

 

Unfortunately, I have no advice.

I could have sworn that the OP was my SIL too! My MIL is exactly like the OP's MIL. She keeps retelling old events, weaving in any everyday incident to stories about herself, tells me pointless stuff like what she cooked for breakfast 2 days ago, followed by what her neighbor made for their lunch, about minute details of her youthful life, what every single one of her acquaintances and relatives ever did in their whole life etc. The problem is that my DH walks away and I am too polite and the house is too small to escape her. She and I are not friendly either, so it makes me mad to feel like a prisoner and hear so much from a person who has acted in an unfriendly way to me in the past. And she stays for 4 weeks when she visits (too old to travel often and has too many health issues). When she visited last, I told her that I have an idea to save her energy and time - that I would record her on my video camera and we would publish episodes on youtube and refer anyone who was interested in a retelling of that episode when her dress caught fire on the gas cooktop in 1952 to youtube. I seriously was going nuts with her following me around all day telling me stories that she tells me every single time that I met her. My FIL understood my sarcasm and asked me what was wrong about it because her storytelling was like us reading the same story books to our kids every day of the year!

 

And she gossips about every single happening in my house to everyone she talks to on the phone - like, DIL woke up late this morning, ate her breakfast, is browsing the net now, her son is practicing his music now, he was playing basketball outside before that yada, yada etc.

 

She is too insensitive, is convinced that she is the nicest woman on earth and everyone wants to know about small details of her life, cannot take social cues, and is too bored to leave me alone. When I am not around (for e.g. gone to the bathroom), she will call one of her relatives on the phone and gossip with them. I tried playing music and telling her that I found the classical music calming and she talked all over it.

 

DesertBlossom, the only strategies that work for me as an introvert is to use my child as a shield (try to do school with him, help him with his work etc), urge my child to practice his piano music twice a day to get some quiet from her, go out shopping for groceries, lingering after my sons extracurricular sports and chatting to other moms before returning home, do some gardening away from her, take my laptop to my bedroom and close the door. If anyone has better solutions, I would like to know because she is visiting in February again  :crying:

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Thank you for all the replies. I feel better knowing I'm not the only one with an Endless Talker in my life. Our relationship started out great and I have felt guilty at the way my feelings towards her have deteriorated over the years. It's only been recently that I've been able to articulate how and why it bothered me so much. Being able to identify myself as an introvert has explained a lot as well.

 

The last few times we've talked on the phone at the end she's asked "Is there anything you'd like to share with me?" I couldn't help but think to myself "that ship sailed long ago." But I feel bad that while she's actually reaching out, I have all but given up on being able to talk to her. In our last conversation she asked a specific question about DS's schooling, which I answered. She chuckled about being nosy. But I don't mind answering her questions. But when she spent the next 15 minutes talking about nephew's school problems I regretted saying anything at all.

 

It's just draining. And while I am at a point where I want to have a better relationship with her, I don't know how or if it's even possible.

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That is my SIL, except I also don't generally like her, and her "related story" is always about how her superior kids did whatever the thing is. I went to great lengths over the years to never have her know who was potty-trained or not yet, who struggled with reading, who woke at night a bazillion times, because she believes she has the correct answer to everything. It's obnoxious. I also was SOSOSoSo glad when text became a normal thing because calling her was self-abuse. BTW, she complained about text and email for years after they became normal because she wants to TALK to people and texting doesn't give her a captive audience. Meanwhile, everyone else is so relieved to be able to text her to escape the ear-bending.

 

No advice. Just sympathy. At least you like her, that much is lucky.

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DesertBlossom, the only strategies that work for me as an introvert is to use my child as a shield (try to do school with him, help him with his work etc), urge my child to practice his piano music twice a day to get some quiet from her, go out shopping for groceries, lingering after my sons extracurricular sports and chatting to other moms before returning home, do some gardening away from her, take my laptop to my bedroom and close the door. If anyone has better solutions, I would like to know because she is visiting in February again :crying:

During her last visit we were up in the mountains. The only cell phone reception required walking down the road a ways. I checked my text messages regularly just as an excuse to get out.

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Oh boy.  I just found my peeps.  I did not know this was so common....I really thought I was alone.

 

My mom is like this and it is getting worse with age.  She does all of the things people have mentioned.  She retells stories again and again and again, often within the same conversation.  She tells every single mundane detail of every single thing.  I am an introvert and I reach my limit so quickly.  It bothers me on so many levels.  And it bothers my dh and dd which makes me embarrassed both for her and about her, if that makes any sense?  I try to "protect" them as much as possible, giving them fake errands and chores when we visit.  The talking does not stop during meals so she chatters on with a full mouth often spraying food.  Both dd and dh are very sensitive to mouth noises and this scenario is unbearable for them both.  We try direct meals to loud restaurants. 

 

Years ago during one of her epic phone calls, I had to pee BAD.  I tried for about 20 minutes to cut in to end the conversation so I could go but could. not. get. in.  So, I put the phone down and went.  I was completely amused that she was still talking and had no idea I was gone.  I am a little ashamed to admit it, but I started doing this a lot.  I even took a shower once.  She lives far away so most of our conversation is by phone.  There have been a few desperate times when I HAD TO GO and just could not cut in to tell her this.  I have just hung up.  In this day of cell phones, dropped calls are not uncommon, especially since a call will be one, two, sometimes three hours long before I can cut it off.  My battery has run out more than once so she just assumes that is what happened when I don't pick up when she calls back.  

 

I never ever say anything during these calls.  She asks how we are right at the beginning and that is it.  She has zero idea about what we are up to and sadly she knows almost nothing about dd because she just never asks or lets anyone tell.  My sister recently asked her during a visit if she had heard about my new job.  Mom not only did not know about that (I have not had the chance to tell her in any of our recent phone conversations) but also did not know I had an old job.  For the last 10 years.  10 years.  I just had to repeat that (the irony). 

 

Somehow, others must get to talk because she seems to know everything about everyone.  She will forget who she is talking to and tell stories about ME to ME, often from long ago or simply not true at all.  She recently told me a long epic story about my experience in ballet as a child.  I never took ballet.  Neither did my only sibling.  It was so elaborate, that it was a little scary.  Details about auditions and costumes and shoe fittings.  I have no idea where it came from.  She mixes up who she is talking about.  She will tell a story about "my sister" when it is really about me.  She will tell a 45 minute story about what her neighbors likes to eat for lunch even though I have never met her neighbor.

 

I suspect at this point that beginning Alzheimers is a possibility.  However, this has been going on for decades so that is not the whole story.

 

We (and others) have tried to gently redirect.  My sister will even practically yell that she JUST told that story 15 minutes ago, but mom will just bowl over and keep going.  

 

The result is that we do not visit or call as often:(  I feel horrible.  Part of me says she is old and she does not have many people and we should just suck it up.  So we schedule a trip.  And by hour 3 of said trip, my dh worries I am a flight risk.  It is so frustrating and sad and I don't know what to do.  

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Oh boy. I just found my peeps. I did not know this was so common....I really thought I was alone.

 

My mom is like this and it is getting worse with age. She does all of the things people have mentioned. She retells stories again and again and again, often within the same conversation. She tells every single mundane detail of every single thing. I am an introvert and I reach my limit so quickly. It bothers me on so many levels. And it bothers my dh and dd which makes me embarrassed both for her and about her, if that makes any sense? I try to "protect" them as much as possible, giving them fake errands and chores when we visit. The talking does not stop during meals so she chatters on with a full mouth often spraying food. Both dd and dh are very sensitive to mouth noises and this scenario is unbearable for them both. We try direct meals to loud restaurants.

 

Years ago during one of her epic phone calls, I had to pee BAD. I tried for about 20 minutes to cut in to end the conversation so I could go but could. not. get. in. So, I put the phone down and went. I was completely amused that she was still talking and had no idea I was gone. I am a little ashamed to admit it, but I started doing this a lot. I even took a shower once. She lives far away so most of our conversation is by phone. There have been a few desperate times when I HAD TO GO and just could not cut in to tell her this. I have just hung up. In this day of cell phones, dropped calls are not uncommon, especially since a call will be one, two, sometimes three hours long before I can cut it off. My battery has run out more than once so she just assumes that is what happened when I don't pick up when she calls back.

 

I never ever say anything during these calls. She asks how we are right at the beginning and that is it. She has zero idea about what we are up to and sadly she knows almost nothing about dd because she just never asks or lets anyone tell. My sister recently asked her during a visit if she had heard about my new job. Mom not only did not know about that (I have not had the chance to tell her in any of our recent phone conversations) but also did not know I had an old job. For the last 10 years. 10 years. I just had to repeat that (the irony).

 

Somehow, others must get to talk because she seems to know everything about everyone. She will forget who she is talking to and tell stories about ME to ME, often from long ago or simply not true at all. She recently told me a long epic story about my experience in ballet as a child. I never took ballet. Neither did my only sibling. It was so elaborate, that it was a little scary. Details about auditions and costumes and shoe fittings. I have no idea where it came from. She mixes up who she is talking about. She will tell a story about "my sister" when it is really about me. She will tell a 45 minute story about what her neighbors likes to eat for lunch even though I have never met her neighbor.

 

I suspect at this point that beginning Alzheimers is a possibility. However, this has been going on for decades so that is not the whole story.

 

We (and others) have tried to gently redirect. My sister will even practically yell that she JUST told that story 15 minutes ago, but mom will just bowl over and keep going.

 

The result is that we do not visit or call as often:( I feel horrible. Part of me says she is old and she does not have many people and we should just suck it up. So we schedule a trip. And by hour 3 of said trip, my dh worries I am a flight risk. It is so frustrating and sad and I don't know what to do.

You are describing my MIL. She even tells stories about stuff that never happened. Bizarre!

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I have a coworker like this. She's very nice but man, she just goes on and on and on, and explains things to the nth degree, to the point where a 6 month old could understand it! Sometimes, I can stay and listen; sometimes I have to just keep walking as she's talking. We actually have two secretaries like this, and if you happen to get caught in the break room with both of them, watch out! You're there for the duration! (This is why I eat lunch at my desk)

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I find that people who talk non-stop and don't notice if their audience is even interested don't tend to notice that you aren't listening, or don't seem offended if you interrupt and tell them you have to go or need to concentrate on something so can't pay attention, etc.

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I find that people who talk non-stop and don't notice if their audience is even interested don't tend to notice that you aren't listening, or don't seem offended if you interrupt and tell them you have to go or need to concentrate on something so can't pay attention, etc.

 

This is definitely true. Though I can't help but think that MIL would be horrified if someone pointed out that her continuous talking has this effect on people. I'm not sure she could do anything to change it. But I think she would want to be someone who others could talk to without her constantly interrupting. I don't want to be the one to point that out to her though.

Edited by DesertBlossom
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I just flashed on this memory, probably due to this thread.  I am a pretty sensitive person (doing better now, but NOT confrontational and while I take criticism better now than I used to, it's still not my best quality).  My son is by far the biggest introvert of the three of us (all of us being on that side of the scale); he is also really sensitive to other people.  WELL, when he was 4, he said this to me:  "Mommy, you are a good mommy and I love you very much...but sometimes you talk too much."  Isn't that hilarious?  Well, I think it was sweet.  And you know, because he said it so kindly, I was able to "hear" him and stick a cork in it a little earlier in the chatter.  :0)

 

ETA a closing parenthese.  :::eyeroll:::

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How do we all have the same MIL?  :lol:  I love her dearly, but there's a reason why we don't stay at her house when we visit!  We talk to her once a week, and DH swears he knows her coworkers better than his own because of how much she gossips about them.  You know, I don't need to know that Jennie who works in the old building (not the old-old building, but the old one, you know, but the one that they had to replace the roof on after the ice storm in '96) is mad at her DIL AGAIN because when she visited she didn't dress the baby in the clothes Jennie bought him, and did you know she bought them from the real Carters store not the outlet?!?!?  We talk to her at least once a week and our new trick is handing the phone (or iPad, if we're FaceTiming) to the speech-delayed 3 year old, and he just happily babbles back at her.  It usually gives us at least a 10 minute break.

 

Oh, by the way, turning on the TV, even the Hallmark channel, doesn't help.  MIL will talk over it, sometimes things related to the show ("who's that guy??" "I don't know, MIL, but if we watch the show I'm sure we'll find out...") and sometimes seemingly anything that pops into her head.  She pretty much keeps an ongoing running commentary of everything, even when there's no one else in the room with her.  We just accept her as she is (she's been like this as long as DH can remember) so we just form our own coping mechanisms.  She'll be visiting us in the spring... I already anticipate that it's going to take a while each time to get the baby down for her naps, just so I can have some peace and quiet  :laugh:

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I don't know about dopamine levels.  I think a lot of outgoing kids go through a talkative phase where they won't shut up, usually around 10.  Most of us get either socially shamed or parentally shamed out of it.  I went through a long chatterbox phase. Then I changed schools and someone called me rude and self-centered.  Around the same time I got hold of a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People, which basically says shut up about yourself and ask people about themselves. I took the advice and ended up back in popular group again.  People love to hear themselves talk.  Refusing to let other people talk is rude.  Maybe not intentionally so, they might have good hearts, but they don't really value others or they would shut up. It's inherently self-centered behavior, which is why it's so obnoxious.

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No advice but wondering if we have the same mil? Mine lives far from us, so she only visits one week per year. Dh handles all phone conversations. 😊 I understand how you feel.....my mil is a very sweet woman who means well.....but, she talks constantly. I'm also am introvert, so it's exhausting, and I feel guilty feeling that way about her.

 

ETA: removed quote

Edited by Bethany Grace
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I do a lot of "uh-huh" and "mm hmms" and tune the rest of it out as best as I can.  But my ears get tired too.  I need to be inside my own head sometimes.  Non-introverts just don't get it.  And I hate to say it, but sometimes I resent it when I'm busy working on something, and then someone constantly talks and and pulls me out of my head, without first asking if I have time right now or if I'm busy.

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ear plugs. 

 

mil (and 2sil) talks becasue she can't stand silence.  doesn't matter if there is other background noise, radio, tv, music, etc. - unless SHE is talking - she is alone with her thoughts.  she talks to block them out.  doens't say much, just very . . . verbose . . . .

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No advice, just commiseration. My mother, if the car is too quiet, has been know to read THE BILLBOARDS to you. You know those signs that no one looks at, yes she will read them to you and then want to discuss. Um, ok.

 

And now I have a non stop talking kid who literally drives.me.insane.

 

Sorry, I got nothing for ya. I just smile and nod, a lot.

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My MIL is like this too, with the non-stop talking, but with a need to judge and complain and control and insert herself into everything everyone else is or isn't doing. She is "not telling you what to do" but just "making a suggestion." Like, if you are reading a book, she suggests you sit in a different chair, turn on a different light, turn on the fan, use the foot stool, or a lap blanket, a pillow, whatever, she just keeps talking.... I am thinking, gee, does she think I am otherwise unable to manage to read a book on my own without her guidance? Apparently I also need guidance when boiling water, washing dishes, doing laundry, taking a shower, raking leaves, etc.

 

She has no filter what-so-ever.  I am very introverted, and usually think things over before saying them. The things she says, I would only say if I felt REALLY strongly about it, and that the thing being said was so important that it was worth over-stepping boundaries or hurting someone's feelings, so I have a hard time listening to her commentary, beyond the annoyance of the verbal diarrhea.

 

But she accuses us of shutting her out, because we don't call her to tell her everything about everything. She lives in another state. When I do tell her something, she complains that I didn't tell her earlier. But now I try not to tell her anything I wouldn't put in the newspaper.

 

She called me to tell me what some lady she met at the service station thinks what we should do about some mental health issues of my daughter's. I wonder, umm, how does the stranger know about dd's issues? Oh, you described it all in great detail to everyone you met. Umm, ok, thanks. 

 

When my husband was interviewing with the CIA years ago, he was given the ok to tell immediate family about the potential posting, with the understanding that they keep it to themselves. This was explained to MIL. Later that week, my husband gets a call from a friend in ANOTHER COUNTRY, asking about the CIA job. Of course MIL discussed it with everyone she knew.

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So, [deep breath], my coping skills consist of avoiding her as much as possible. When Dh visits her, I come up with a reason to stay home. Every time. Dh knows why. I try to screen calls at home. We never invite her here. If she is in town, we meet at BIL's house, so I can leave when I need to.

 

MIL's long-term plans involve moving in with us when she is no longer able to live on her own. Sigh. I will be building a safe room in the attic.

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About MIL answering when your kid is talking to you, I had dh talk to his mother. He said, it is confusing for dd when you insert yourself. Please do not undermine us as her parents. MIL responds to the "respect your elders" idea, so she sort of agreed, but still jumps in, but dh will now say: We talked about this, Mom. I have got this.

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