MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..

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all4peace

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2017, 01:21:53 PM »
OP its not about you, its about her.  She gets a sadistic thrill from seeing you hurt.  My NMIL does this all the time, even when she has been told not to - she does it at the first opportunity because we made the mistake of letting her know her words hurt.  Its crazy  :stars:.
I think the answer lies here. Don't let her draw blood. Even if it hurts, don't let her know it hurts. Perhaps your DH could change his strategy from "how it's hurting you" to how "rude, obnoxious and annoying" it is for her to behave that way. If she's sadistic, it will only feed her to know it hurts.

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Bloomie

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2017, 05:03:35 PM »
Trying# - Hi there! I see you are new here and want to welcome you! Sounds like you have your hands full with the shallow cutting mean girl comments that your mil is making. So revealing about the true nature of her character and what lies beneath the ever so well tended outer shell that no amount of anti aging serum and strategically placed injectables can hide.  :sadno:

You have already been offered some great advice, but from another dil that has had her appearance targeted from the day I met my in laws something that worked for me when confronted with unwarranted and unsolicited comments about my appearance was: "What an ugly thing to say." And either leaving the area or a dead eyed stare.

Your mil is aging and not handling it well, clearly. You are young and lovely and good. That is enough to bring out the snide and snarky. A friend recently shared with me that in her life experience (she is a true beauty in her 70's) that people still look pretty good until they hit 70 and then almost everyone looks like they could use a head transplant.  :bigwink:

The thing that has helped me more than any comeback ever could is to address the wounds in me that would make me vulnerable to the comments my in laws would make. I needed to understand why I would even care about such ridiculous comments not grounded in reality? These were obvious and pathetic attempts to compete with, and undermine, a woman over 30 years younger that their son chose over them.

Being comfortable in my own skin, staying rooted in what really matters about me to ME, has been steadying and gotten me to the place that I either ignore or directly address comments about my appearance. Getting there takes time, but you will make your way. I just know it! :hug:
Bloomie 🌸

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EveryBreakingWave

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2017, 03:56:51 AM »
Whatever the Narc is criticizing is their *own* insecurity so yes, in a way it's a COMPLIMENT if you can wrap your head around the twisted thinking..

In a sick and twisted way, yes, that's exactly what I meant. When you're looking happy and comfortable about yourself, I think they can't handle that. If they see you being comfortable, they surely are not and don't want you to be. So, that's what's probably triggering them to say nasty things.

So, for example, the person who said their NMIL CRITISIZED their parenting in reality most likely just feels THREATENED by that person's *PHENOMENAL* parenting. They have to cut it down because if someone is " better",  it threatens the N's self worth Cutting down is their bizarre way of " winning" by " evening things out"....

Well, yes! I didn't want my reply to be too long but this was exactly what I was thinking about. Because we have 2 little ones and the remarks at this point are usually about parenting... The thing is, we've been talking a lot about it, about my wife's upbringing and how her parents were lacking in many ways and how we try to do it better.
The funny thing was, they came over a couple of days after a long conversation about parenting, so it was still fresh in our memory. Her N-mother started making remarks about our parenting and she mentions a couple of things that we were talking about, of course, projecting it unto us, and my wife and me were just baffled, baffled that she projected her own failing unto us and how accurate it was... and how clear it was that it was not about us, it just didn't apply to us, at all! We just had to laugh, and NMIL noticed of course and asked why we laughed, we said "oh, its nothing"... Leaving her confused... Her bad remarks just made our day.  :)

I like what Bloomie said as well. Just try to tell them how ugly and nasty their comments are. Usually I try to wrap it up in a joke, so nobody gets mad, I don't want that and it's unnecessary. A bit of a joke is usually enough to change the subject. Or when they are lying, or when they're talking about other people and putting them down. That's what happens a lot with my NMIL and I don't like it.
On one occasion they went on a cruise holiday and on board they met family (FIL's sister and husband). And they didn't know they would be on the same cruise. So, surprise! The thing is, FIL's sis and H were in a much bigger cabin, ouch! And they kept going on about it. Jealousy. The reality was, the man just retired, had his own company, had been working hard and this was his first holiday in a long time with his wife alone! So, I said, great, they deserved it, they deserve the biggest room on the ship, good for them, let them have it and enjoy it! -- End of conversation -- haha!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 03:59:26 AM by EveryBreakingWave »

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daughter

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2017, 09:12:41 AM »
Given everything you've described, a frank response is needed to her obnoxiousness, a firmly stated "well, that's a rude comment" and "that's so inappropriate for you to say".  Call it what it is, no excuses.  Two good quotes: Sylvester Stallone's quote "consider the source...don't be a fool by listening to a fool";  and the anonymous quote: "in order for you to insult me, I would first have to value your opinion".

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Unvitation to Drama

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2017, 12:46:32 PM »
Oooooh! I put up with this from my in-laws for YEARS. 

I've employed two different strategies:
1. Exactly what Daughter mentioned above, the whole "Well, that was a really rude thing to say!" or "Gosh, that seemed like a hateful and demeaning comment, didn't it?"

2. Whatever uBPD MIL would say about my appearance, very calmly I would reply: "Oh really? I've heard folks say the exact same thing about you." Drop the mic, leave the room.

In my case, #2 worked like a charm because uBPD MIL cannot stand the thought of something either talking about her in a negative light, OR talking about her appearance in a negative light.

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Trying#

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2017, 12:48:02 PM »
Reading through the responses, I do believe that my NMIL does get some type of thrill out of hurting me as boots40 said. On hindsight, although it's hard to comprehend, it completely fits! It was last year that she brought up the "double chin" thing. Before this, she had never been outright critical of my appearance (she was critical of OTHER things, just not physical appearance). After her criticism, H had several conversations LETTING HER KNOW how much it hurt me. We saw her twice since then and BOTH times she criticized my looks. Hmmm....How did I not notice this before?? Hindsight is 20/20 and all that..

Thank you for the welcome and the encouraging words, Bloomie! I think that you are spot on that MIL is NOT handling aging very well.

EveryBreakingWave, Funny how they don't see their obvious projections, huh???  :doh:  And the jealousy with the "bigger cabin"? Boy can I relate to that one!!  H and I have a bigger home than NMIL and have been married 22 years and have a good relationship with our children. Meanwhile NMIL lives in a smaller place (that she dislikes and wants to move from), has been through 3 divorces and is single now, her daughter refuses to speak to her, my H wants NC with her and her other son (the GC..) barely interacts with her.. Instead of being happy when her children succeed in life, MIL gets insanely jealous...Difficult one to wrap brain around.

daughter, Great suggestion about the frank response. I especially like the "Well, that's a rude comment" reply. I need to keep that in my toolkit if I see her again anytime soon!!

Thank you so much!!!

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Trying#

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2017, 12:51:39 PM »
Uninvitation to Drama, I LOVE #2!!! That will definitely be added as well to the toolbox LOL!

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bopper

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2017, 04:21:12 PM »
Other options:

If you are never in the same room/on the phone with her, you will never hear these comments.
If you tell your DH to never tell you what MIL says about you, you will never hear these comments.
If you leave (w/ family) as soon as she says them, she may learn not to do it.
Just because they are incapable of loving you, doesn't mean that you are unlovable.
Anything makes the false self appear real is supply.

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moglow

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2017, 05:26:43 PM »
Wow. The nerve of people sometimes still amazes me. I like the dead eye with "what an ugly thing to say," or a personal favorite, smile politely and say "my granny used to tell us, if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all." I like that one because it points out that *I* was brought up better whether she was or not. I don't like returning insult with insult, because she could then play victim regardless of what she just said to you. And it's lowering yourself to a level you don't really want to be.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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carrots

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2017, 06:46:14 PM »
OP its not about you, its about her.  She gets a sadistic thrill from seeing you hurt.  My NMIL does this all the time, even when she has been told not to - she does it at the first opportunity because we made the mistake of letting her know her words hurt.  Its crazy  :stars:.
I think the answer lies here. Don't let her draw blood. Even if it hurts, don't let her know it hurts. Perhaps your DH could change his strategy from "how it's hurting you" to how "rude, obnoxious and annoying" it is for her to behave that way. If she's sadistic, it will only feed her to know it hurts.

Spot on, boots40 and all4peace.

Reading this thread because most of FOO including M wouldn't stop criticizing my appearance when I was growing up and later. If I'd tried to point out that they were hurting my feelings, they would have done it even more. In their eyes, I'm too sensitive and my last request, as an adult, that they leave off was met with the suggestion that I'm expecting them to walk on eggshells around me. Excuse me?? How about you guys just try to be polite? Since when was criticism about somebody's appearance polite? (Being 'polite' is big in my FOO). The eggshell comment was one of the last straws that made me go VVLC. Leaving forever is the only thing I can do with this and other vitriol.

Trying#, I'm happy for you that your H is sticking up for you and that you are simply demanding that MIL leave when she comes up with these remarks. Maybe she will learn from that.   
« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 06:48:45 PM by carrots »

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JollyJazz

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2017, 06:48:40 PM »
Trying#,

Oh wow, your MIL's behaviour is absolutely horrible! Remarks like that about personal appearance are so so hurtful and personal.

I also think they are rooted in ENVY. I can guarantee she is super jealous of your appearance.

I think it's telling that some of the worst comments came when you were looking particularly nice. It sounds like multiple normal people told you that you looked great.

I think your MIL's comment's are more about power and control. She wants you to make you feel bad about yourself. Which is absolutely horrible. It isn't about objective reality when it comes to that. She knows you look good and just wants you to feel bad about yourself. Uggh. What kind of person does that???

I think it is great that you are going NC and that your H stood up for you.

I totally identify with how hurtful it feels as well. I get positive comments about my appearance, but about a year ago, a random (quite possibly PD) stranger made a negative comment about my appearance. I was so stunned I had no idea how to respond. I've sure thought about alternative answers to that in the mean time!!! But the worst part is how bad it made me feel about myself for months and months afterwards.

One thing that helps is just to look in the mirror and remind yourself over and over 'I'm beautiful'. It can take time, but it really does work if you keep at it :) Hope you feel better soon!

I once read about a hunter gatherer tribe in Africa who had no contact with western media. An anthropologist found that all the women had extremely high body image, and all believed that they were beautiful, no matter what age or anything else. Imagine if we could all feel like that!

I can guarantee that you are beautiful on the outside. And on the inside. And it drives your PD MIL crazy(er).
« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 07:03:57 PM by JollyJazz »

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Adrienne25

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #31 on: September 25, 2017, 12:23:49 PM »
Look up Histrionic Personality Disorder. I think you will find that some of the items that define this are several that your MIL is possessing.
Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
Consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to themself
Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
Is highly suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances
Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are

I had a former friend act out like your MIL quite a lot; so much in fact that when I called her on it, she said I was envious of her exceedingly good looks and beauty. (yikes!).  I think the best thing to do is just urge your husband to either take a more firm stand, or set about making yourself estranged from her. That, or next time you see her say "you have some grape jelly or something on your chin, or is that a hair? I don't know, how about this weather! 

Good luck to you. And the album of pictures sounds perfectly awful.

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Kieveen

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Re: MIL will not stop criticizing my appearance. Help please..
« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2017, 03:12:26 PM »
  N's are absolutely eaten up with jealously if they can't have what you have and that's when they get really nasty.
So she  sounds very jealous of your beauty and your youth.  So in a weird way take it as a compliment and definitely keep your distance.