Jump to content

Menu

I'm going to snap on MIL


Soror
 Share

Recommended Posts

Who is sure that she is poor and destitute and is easily in the top 10% of our county.

Every time she has some bill or expense it is all about how hard and bad this is for her.

When dh and I have something come up, we'll she says that's how it is when you own things or have kids.

The latest is a repair for her vehicle that just ran out of warranty. So, she thinks she wants to buy a newer one, but she has to have an SUV and wants all the bells and whistles but not a Lincoln because she's not that fancy.

In the last 6 months we've paid for 3 root canals (1st crown coming up next month), umpteen fillings, numerous doctor vists, hot water heater, washing machine, thousands in vehicle expenses (including buying a "new" car for ds that just wrecked his). 

Heck, the week before her air conditioner repair bill I dropped $3k on extra bills. 

But things are only bad for her.

Last night she said, well, you know I can't replace funds so easily. Ya, it is real easy for us, making about the same as her raising 4 kids.

  • Sad 21
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry.  It sounds like she's only thinking of herself.  Do you find she is like that in other areas as well or just finances?  My MIL is all about "me, myself, and I."  It's frustrating.  I'm sorry about all of your expenses - that's so stressful.  No wonder you're about to snap!  Better to vent here!  

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is my brother all over again. But it is in all areas of his life, not just finances. So it is a constant woe is me and always about nothing. As my sister says, "If he isn't whining, he isn't breathing!" And he is entirely callused to any of the real challenges anyone else faces. So we don't spend time with him. I text my brother about six times per year, and though we live two blocks apart, we can go months without seeing each other. I refuse to socialize with him, haven't spent a holiday in each other's presence in four years.

Sorry, OP. I hope you can find ways to limit time spent with her.

Edited by Faith-manor
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Kassia said:

I'm sorry.  It sounds like she's only thinking of herself.  Do you find she is like that in other areas as well or just finances?  My MIL is all about "me, myself, and I."  It's frustrating.  I'm sorry about all of your expenses - that's so stressful.  No wonder you're about to snap!  Better to vent here!  

 

 

55 minutes ago, Faith-manor said:

This is my brother all over again. But it is in all areas of his life, not just finances. So it is a constant woe is me and always about nothing. As my sister days, "If he isn't whining, he isn't breathing!" And he is entirely callused to any of the real challenges anyone else faces. So we don't spend time with him. I text my brother about six times per year, and though we live two blocks apart, we can go months without seeing each other. I refuse to socialize with him, haven't spent a holiday in each other's presence in four years.

Sorry, OP. I hope you can find ways to limit time spent with her.

Oh, she can be oblivious about pretty much everything. 

Like the time we called after our first was born. All dead from sleep dep with days of not sleeping and asked for her help. She blew us off and said, sounds like colic, my daughter had it for 6 months. No help.

Or telling my teen daughter (who has always been small and very much a normal weight) about how she only weighed 98 lbs when she graduated and incredulous that my daughter weighed more, like she was in some way big.

  • Sad 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Soror said:

 

Oh, she can be oblivious about pretty much everything. 

Like the time we called after our first was born. All dead from sleep dep with days of not sleeping and asked for her help. She blew us off and said, sounds like colic, my daughter had it for 6 months. No help.

Or telling my teen daughter (who has always been small and very much a normal weight) about how she only weighed 98 lbs when she graduated and incredulous that my daughter weighed more, like she was in some way big.

It's really hard. With my mum, I find myself wanting to wave my arms and say, 'Hello, I'm over here! A separate consciousness with valid concerns!'

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

It's really hard. With my mum, I find myself wanting to wave my arms and say, 'Hello, I'm over here! A separate consciousness with valid concerns!'

Yes, waving hands! I find myself feeling very negative when she gets this way because it doesn't matter what is going on with us. I've busted ass trying to help her and she is nice for a moment but then soon forgets it. We've had an utterly shit year and she doesn't get it one bit because her own life is so horrible. My fil would be rolling in his grave if he knew she was making it out like she was poor after he worked hard to provide for them and left her very well.

  • Thanks 1
  • Sad 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder if she is starting to feel worried about her old age and having enough money? I find as I age, the more I hate spending money because it's money I won't have when I'm old. My mother worried about money more and more as she aged and I've seen it with others too. 

Just musing on this - obviously I could be way way off base. It's just something I've observed. 

Hugs to you, as I know it's hard no matter the reason!

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, marbel said:

I wonder if she is starting to feel worried about her old age and having enough money? I find as I age, the more I hate spending money because it's money I won't have when I'm old. My mother worried about money more and more as she aged and I've seen it with others too. 

Just musing on this - obviously I could be way way off base. It's just something I've observed. 

Hugs to you, as I know it's hard no matter the reason!

Of course, now that fil is gone she does the bills. She had no trouble spending with him alive because he took care of everything. Now it is a different story. No worry gives her the excuse to be so insensitive. She thinks she has it worse than anyone. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Soror said:

Of course, now that fil is gone she does the bills. She had no trouble spending with him alive because he took care of everything. Now it is a different story. No worry gives her the excuse to be so insensitive. She thinks she has it worse than anyone. 

I'm sorry if that comes off grumpy.

Yesterday was shitty and her whining and obliviousness is putting me over the edge.

 

  • Thanks 1
  • Sad 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Some people aren’t worth having a real relationship with. Ask me how I know 😛

She can be nice at times but you never freaking know. She's naturally negative.

I don't need any help being negative right now because we've got enough I'm fighting on my own. I just need to steer clear until I can look at her without scowling.

Edited by Soror
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Soror said:

Of course, now that fil is gone she does the bills. She had no trouble spending with him alive because he took care of everything. Now it is a different story. No worry gives her the excuse to be so insensitive. She thinks she has it worse than anyone. 

It sounds likes she’s really annoying and someone who so disposed to be negative. 

I wonder if this a manifestation of her grief?  Is she feeling anxious because it’s all new to her?   If she’s doing it for the first time, she may well be learning lessons that the rest of us learned much earlier in life.  My brother is frustratingly adolescent like when annoying costly things happen in life.  It took me a while to realize it was because when he was married, his spouse controlled all the money and handled anything like that.  So he really has no clue what you do when a car window breaks or a big unexpected bill hits.  Every time it happens, he’s processing it for the first time like he’s a very young adult.  Where as I’m like “that sucks, sounds like someone stole your catalytic converter, aren’t you good friends with a mechanic?”

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, Soror said:

She can be nice at times but you never freaking know. She's naturally negative.

I don't need any help being negative right now because we've got enough I'm fighting on my own. I just need to steer clear until I can look at her without scowling.

In case it raises a smile: I went to see my effortlessly negative mum in her care home last week on a beautiful sunny day.  We sat in the garden.  The conversation went something like this:

Mum: It's really not very cold today

Me: No, it's a lovely day

Mum: Global warming - it's getting hotter and hotter, etc.

Me: (confused face)

Her: Is it usually like this in June?

Me: Yes, it's often the best month

Her: Oh (a slight pause) Global warming etc.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, Soror said:

I'm sorry if that comes off grumpy.

Yesterday was shitty and her whining and obliviousness is putting me over the edge.

 

Oh no not at all! It's easy to make observations from a distance. 

7 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

It sounds likes she’s really annoying and someone who so disposed to be negative. 

<snip>

This is what I think is going on with my MIL.  My mother was a worrier but not exactly negative and she certainly was not oblivious to others. My MIL is super negative and getting more and more so all the time.  She hasn't been oblivious to how much things cost or had a husband who took care of everything for her - quite the contrary, she is more the 'adult' of the two of the, with regard to managing finances and such. But, she gets more bitter as time goes on. 

Either way - whether a person is pampered and taken care of and not allowed to be an adult, or they have to be the adult and take care of everything - if they have a tendency toward negativity and bitterness they will just get worse as they age. 

I am actively trying to watch for and work against that in myself. I am determined not to be the nasty old lady who can talk of nothing but her own problems and is oblivious to everyone. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, Soror said:

I'm sorry if that comes off grumpy.

Yesterday was shitty and her whining and obliviousness is putting me over the edge.

 

 

39 minutes ago, Soror said:

She can be nice at times but you never freaking know. She's naturally negative.

I don't need any help being negative right now because we've got enough I'm fighting on my own. I just need to steer clear until I can look at her without scowling.

 

I totally understand.  My MIL was a total bitch to our family until FIL died last year.  We were very distanced from her even though we live ten minutes away (only saw her at Christmas and spoke to her on her birthday and Mother's Day - those days we'd pretend not to be a dysfunctional family).  After FIL died, she suddenly found herself helpless and alone and pretends like the last 35+ years of being awful to us never happened.  She wants/needs help all the time and it's always about her.  She never asks about us or seems to care at all.  Even on DH's birthday - she didn't acknowledge it, but sent him an email that night with a list of all the things she needed from him.  Everything from her always starts with, "I need..."  It's awful and there are times I don't have the patience for it.  Like you, we have enough crap to deal with on our own and she doesn't care one bit.  

 

 

  • Thanks 1
  • Sad 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes it can help to talk yourself through accepting that not all relationships are two-way relationships.

She isn't going to start nurturing you. She isn't going to take much of an interest in your goings-on. She's going to continue to primarily focus on her own business.

So... given that data... can she talk with you about her own business? Are you going to choose to be interested and empathetic? Or is that not something you are offering right now?

I think it's you who is making this a bit of a comparison situation. You don't want to hear her feelings about her difficulties because you have your own difficulties and your own feelings. You might be a bit stuck in thinking, "My money problems are bigger than her money problems." -- which generates an expectation of reciprocal and proportionate sympathy, which she consistently doesn't meet. (And that makes you mad.)

If you intend to keep offering her any level of interest and empathy, you've got to get that comparison out of the picture. She is just an individual. She has encountered a difficulty. The difficulty created feelings -- that are real and valid for her as an individual in the context she finds herself. And that's the end of it. She's the only person involved, and she's the only person having feelings about her business.

Things that are hard for her might not be hard for anybody else... but... (unless she is lying) they are actually hard for her. Things that are hard for her might be harder for you... but... 'some people have it worse' doesn't make her feelings or troubles less real.

Now, I just want to confirm that you don't have to keep offering her your interest or your empathy. You can tap out and be done. She can seek kindness elsewhere, or she can do without it. It's *not* your job to provide emotional support just because you're related. If you are done: be done. (But, if you aren't done yet, real empathy goes a long ways. And it isn't that hard if you don't try to make her be more reasonable at the same time. It's trying to make people be reasonable that's hard.)

  • Like 8
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ugh sending some hugs your way.  I normally try to distance myself from people like that.  But she is family and I think you guys live right by her, so it makes it harder.  

Maybe stop talking about your problems with her.  

Or maybe come at it with the maybe the reason she is having trouble dealing with the money issues are because her husband died, she is getting older, and she didn't normally deal with all the money.  Sounds like it was her dh who was worrying about the money the whole marriage.  So maybe this stress and worry is new to her and she doesn't know how to handle it?  Maybe it is age that makes you worry more about having money the rest of your life if you are not working?  

But that is all good advice that usually is way easier to follow when you are not dealing with a lot of your own stress.  I know you guys  have had a hard year it is so hard to be mentally supportive or understanding and patient with someone else who gets on your nerves when you are going through a hard time.  So maybe you don't want to be doing that right now and that is totally ok.  You don't have to feel guilt or anything for not being in that place right now.   Maybe your dh can do it.  Or not.  Maybe you just create distance from her until you feel like doing it.  

Being an adult is hard with all the stress and worry about everything on your shoulders.  I think everyone is dealing with a lot of extra stress from the last year and half too and it can show up in different ways for all of us.  

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LucyStoner said:

It sounds likes she’s really annoying and someone who so disposed to be negative. 

I wonder if this a manifestation of her grief?  Is she feeling anxious because it’s all new to her?   If she’s doing it for the first time, she may well be learning lessons that the rest of us learned much earlier in life.  My brother is frustratingly adolescent like when annoying costly things happen in life.  It took me a while to realize it was because when he was married, his spouse controlled all the money and handled anything like that.  So he really has no clue what you do when a car window breaks or a big unexpected bill hits.  Every time it happens, he’s processing it for the first time like he’s a very young adult.  Where as I’m like “that sucks, sounds like someone stole your catalytic converter, aren’t you good friends with a mechanic?”

Oh, she's always been negative. We've never been close but I've been trying to step in and help her out but I can't take it right now. I just told dh he has to tell her and everyone else no on anything they ask. I don't care what it is. We don't have the time, money, of energy. She can hire crap done and he has to stop feeling guilty about that. 

Edited by Soror
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, mommyoffive said:

Ugh sending some hugs your way.  I normally try to distance myself from people like that.  But she is family and I think you guys live right by her, so it makes it harder.  

Maybe stop talking about your problems with her.  

Or maybe come at it with the maybe the reason she is having trouble dealing with the money issues are because her husband died, she is getting older, and she didn't normally deal with all the money.  Sounds like it was her dh who was worrying about the money the whole marriage.  So maybe this stress and worry is new to her and she doesn't know how to handle it?  Maybe it is age that makes you worry more about having money the rest of your life if you are not working?  

But that is all good advice that usually is way easier to follow when you are not dealing with a lot of your own stress.  I know you guys  have had a hard year it is so hard to be mentally supportive or understanding and patient with someone else who gets on your nerves when you are going through a hard time.  So maybe you don't want to be doing that right now and that is totally ok.  You don't have to feel guilt or anything for not being in that place right now.   Maybe your dh can do it.  Or not.  Maybe you just create distance from her until you feel like doing it.  

Being an adult is hard with all the stress and worry about everything on your shoulders.  I think everyone is dealing with a lot of extra stress from the last year and half too and it can show up in different ways for all of us.  

Oh, I don't tell her a fraction of our issues because of this crap. She doesn't know how to be supportive. She is just a miser. She is doing very well but if she has to spend any money thinks it is the end of the world. Like I said she will tell us things happen but I thinks that doesn't apply to her. Her husband didn't stress about money because didn't need to he did well and was a good manager. I don't think know how much money she'd have to have to not be a tightwad. It would have to be a hell of a lot. 

 

Edited by Soror
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Soror said:

Oh, I don't tell her a fraction of our issues because of this crap. She doesn't know how to be supportive. She is just a miser. She is doing very well but if she has to spend any money thinks it is the end of the world. Like I said she will tell us things happen but I thinks that doesn't apply to her. Her husband didn't stress about money because didn't need to he did well and was a good manager. I don't think know how much money she'd have to have to not be a tightwad. It would have to be a hell of a lot. 

 

She sounds like someone I would do my best to avoid.   Maybe try and find the best ways to distance and avoid her?  Her hiring things that maybe she is asking you guys for would be a great way to take some stress off and things off your plate. 

 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you just, “Mmhmm, yeah..”

 

i think she is one of those competitive conversationalists. She counters what you say with what has happened to her because it’s a deep as she gets to relating, rather than simply empathizing. 
 

I’ve discovered some are not purposefully one-upping... their attempt to relate to people, which is weird, but it’s like the art of empathy in conversation escapes them and rather than talking to the other person, they must mentally turn everything into, “That happened to you? This happened to me,” like some weird seesaw. 

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, BlsdMama said:

Can you just, “Mmhmm, yeah..”

 

I can't remember who it was, but I remember someone on the forums posting to say something like, "that's unfortunate" (but not I'm sorry) and then move on to pass the bean dip when this happens.  I try to use this as often as I can.  It has helped so much.  

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

3 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

In case it raises a smile: I went to see my effortlessly negative mum in her care home last week on a beautiful sunny day.  We sat in the garden.  The conversation went something like this:

Mum: It's really not very cold today

Me: No, it's a lovely day

Mum: Global warming - it's getting hotter and hotter, etc.

Me: (confused face)

Her: Is it usually like this in June?

Me: Yes, it's often the best month

Her: Oh (a slight pause) Global warming etc.

LOL. We've had similar conversations so many times.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, BlsdMama said:

Can you just, “Mmhmm, yeah..”

 

i think she is one of those competitive conversationalists. She counters what you say with what has happened to her because it’s a deep as she gets to relating, rather than simply empathizing. 
 

I’ve discovered some are not purposefully one-upping... their attempt to relate to people, which is weird, but it’s like the art of empathy in conversation escapes them and rather than talking to the other person, they must mentally turn everything into, “That happened to you? This happened to me,” like some weird seesaw. 

 

5 minutes ago, Kassia said:

I can't remember who it was, but I remember someone on the forums posting to say something like, "that's unfortunate" (but not I'm sorry) and then move on to pass the bean dip when this happens.  I try to use this as often as I can.  It has helped so much.  

Mmmy, yeah. I like that 🙂  I've tried to get closer to MIL, help her out in various ways. Then I forget how she is.

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Soror said:

 I've tried to get closer to MIL, help her out in various ways. Then I forget how she is.

I always swore to myself and DH that I would never help my MIL when she got old and needed us because of how horrible she was to all of us, but here I am.  I help her a lot (but not nearly as much as I could).  It's hard not to feel resentful, but she's now an old lonely frightened woman and I have compassion for her.  But it burns me up sometimes the way she has no concern or care for her son and grandkids - it's always always always about her.  But she's not mean (at least not directly to us - she's a big backstabber).  

Hugs - it's a hard situation.  And even tougher when you have so many issues of your own.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hugs.

It sounds like she is incapable of being the support person you are hoping her to be. I'm not going to recommend distancing from her, but changing the relationship to one in which you only discuss surface "polite small talk" with her - weather, sports, funny news stories you see, etc. and accept that she is not your person to discuss deeper, more personal real-life happenings.

If she goes on and on about her "money troubles", you can have a few canned replies in your back pocket that you roll out right before you change the subject back to safer topics. "That sounds tough for you." "That must be hard." "Everything is so expensive these days... so, it's supposed to rain this week, that should really help the gardens. I think I'll go to the farmers market and get the ingredients to make fried green tomatoes for lunch."

Hear her. Acknowledge her. Pass the bean dip.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Soror said:

 

Mmmy, yeah. I like that 🙂  I've tried to get closer to MIL, help her out in various ways. Then I forget how she is.

I have people like this in my life. Remind yourself "It's not me; it's her". 

I tried very hard to get closer to my in-laws, but never could bridge the gap for a bunch of reasons that really have nothing to do with me.  I tend to blame myself when relationships don't work as smoothly as I want, and go into this loop of "If I just TRIED HARDER, then they'd like me and everything would be fine, so obviously this is all my fault or maybe I'm simply unlikeable".  

Just putting that out there in case you are feeling like you did something wrong and it's your "fault".  There's probably no magic combination of words you can say or actions you can perform to make the relationship run smoother. She is who she is. ❤️ 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...