I need advice - DH in fog

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Nakedtruth01

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I need advice - DH in fog
« on: April 17, 2019, 01:01:25 PM »
I am new here so I apologize if this isn't formatted correctly.  I also apologize in advance as they might get very long.

Little back ground here. I married my MIL's son 5 years ago. We used to get along fairly well but things changed a couple years ago. At the time my husband and I got married I had a 4 year old from a previous marriage. She was never interested in being a Grandma to him and at the time I believed it was because my mother had just unexpectedly passed away (my sons only grandma) and she didn't want to come on too strong. Well now that 4 year old is 11. She still has no relationship or bond with him.....well unless she is in front or a camera that is. My husband and I now also have a 4 year old and a 8 month old. She has little to no contact with them either. I have always asked for her to call before dropping in, or calling once shes in the driveway. I just dont like unannounced visitors period, but especially now that we have 3 kids and run a busy business out of our home. Ive asked her and told her many times and she continues to do it. My husband has also talked to her and it continues. I've never gotten more than a 4-6 hour notice, but usually it's more like a 20 min notice. I've tried to be flexible and many times have said sure, even though she was intruding on anything we were doing and our boundary of a notice. I've always remained composed in again reminding her and telling her to please set something up a day or so in advance. With that being said when she does come, she spends no quality time with my children. She completely ignores the oldest, disregards the 4 year olds efforts to get her to play with him, and just sits holding the baby. My 4 year old begs for her attention. He asks her to play games with him, come see his room, brings her toys etc. She always tells him she has to "leave soon" or "only for a minute but then I have to go" and basically comes in planning her exit. My son has cried at times and clearly is starting to feel rejected and my oldest has building resentment and now doesnt even want to be here when she is here. She disregards any boundries I set with the kids. She interjects when my husband and I try to discipline them, she kisses the baby when I've asked her not to during cold and flu season, she purposely wakes him up if hes sleeping when I've asked her not to (she actually did this right in front of me with me repeatedly, like a dozen times, asking her to stop. She stays no more than an hour, usually takes a photo, and plays grandma of the year on social media. My 4 year old has begun to view her as a stranger because her visits are so short, generally around 20 to 30 mins, and she only attempts to see them once a month, if that. She doesn't check on them, ask about them, show up at school/sporting events etc. When my 4 year old then refuses to sit on her lap or hug her, she tells him " that's okay, I didnt want you anyway, I have your brother". She does this in a reverse psychology kind of way thinking he will then change his mind, but its hurtful and damaging to him. I am at my wits end with her violating our boundries, being uninvolved, her being sporadic and uninterested in my kids lives. My husband is very passive with her as anything you say or bring to her attention is deflected. And generally it somehow always comes back to me. I told my husband when I was pregnant with my 3rd that she needed to be in their lives now bc I couldnt watch her do this to another one of my kids. I also told him her involvement needs to start with the older two, not the baby. And I've given her 8 months and all she has done when she actually is here is pay any attention she does give to the baby. I have encouraged her contact, set aside one day a week just for her to visit ( she cancels), reached out to her multiple times about how we want her to be involved in their lives and to be the Grandma they need and deserve, but it's all fallen on deaf ears. She basically comes around once a month, when its convenient for her, pays no interest in the kids and leaves soon after arriving. She blames me, and any other thing she can find to excuse her being a shitty grandma and spread this around to family and friends. I just need advice in how my husband and I should best handle her in regards to the children. Her behavior is damaging to all of us at this point and I cant take it anymore.

In addition I have went through all my old texts with her (most correspondence with her is all in texts) from 2017 to present.  There is countless texts on there where she showed up unannounced (I'm in your driveway.)  Many texts where I did not allow the 'visit' to happen due to no notice, sometimes just out of principal.  Many texts where I reiterated over and over again that we need a notice a day or so ahead.  Not one of those texts did she even respond to to even acknowledge.  The recent incident happened a couple weeks ago.  She showed up uninvited and unannounced.   I ignored her attempt.   She called my DH crying that I don't let her be a grandma.  I sent her an email, which was probably pointless but explaining my position that although we want her to be involved in our lives, she does not respect our wishes on a notice.  That her visits are not consistent, they leave my kids feeling hurt and resentful.  I also told her that there is no reason she needs to involve her son like she does and until we get professional help, my kids and I are getting off her merry go round.  She hasn't spoken a word to me since.  However she has contacted my DH multiple times, wanting to leave my son's bday present on the front porch, as well as contacting him about other unrelated pointless things as if nothing is wrong.  She is also running a FB spear campaign of me and telling anyone that she can get to listen that I'm a bad mom, that I hold her grandkids hostage and she wants to be a grandma but I don't allow it, that the problem is all me!!
My husband does get it and agrees that this whole issue falls on his mom's shoulders.  However he will not confront her, or say anything to her.  He will say anything he can to get out of the situation and anything to not upset her as he doesn't want to deal with the rath of his mom.  His sister has cut complete contact with her for a slew of completely different reasons.  He does get it but wont' handle it.  I need advice as I feel so alone in this, I'm sad it is affecting my kids and family in the way it has and just don't know where to go from here.
Sorry for the book.  Thanks for listening if you made it this for.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: I need advice - DH in fog
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2019, 01:42:21 PM »
You are NOT alone, Nakedtruth! I’m coming out of some similar family dynamics, as are many others here. Ignoring, not interested in grandkids except for photo ops, boundary trampling, rug sweeping... ALL of my kids’ grandparents fit that description. DH not wanting to deal with it is very familiar, too. So so many threads around those themes here.

I know it’s so very horrible. The drama got to levels I could have never anticipated, but I wouldn’t undo my choices for the world. As hard as it has been this last year, it was ALWAYS better than continuing to accept abusive behavior. I do encourage you to stick to your boundary: “Until we get professional help, the kids and I are getting off her merry-go-round.” From what you write it is more than warranted. Bravo, and welcome!!!

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qcdlvl

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Re: I need advice - DH in fog
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2019, 02:18:18 PM »
I'm sorry you're going through this. Your MIL is clearly a toxic and dysfunctional person and your expectations are perfectly reasonable ones that a loving, reasonable grandparent would meet.  IMO, however, the key problem isn't so much her, or even your DH's attitude, but that these expectations keep clashing against the reality that she's not just unreasonable, but by the looks of it downright toxic (the proof is in the pudding). She's not going to turn into a loving grandma for your kids, not after years of choosing not to act like one. She's not going to abide by reasonable boundaries like arranging for visits beforehand just because you ask her to, or because it's the right thing to do - if she were, she would already be doing so. You've tried dealing with her as one would with a reasonable, well-meaning person and it hasn't worked; by her actions, she has proved she's not a reasonable, well-meaning person. This situation, in which you ask her to respect boundaries but don't enfore them, and she does as she pleases (probably disrespects boundaries precisely because you asked her to respect them  - a control thing on her part - "no one tells me what to do!") is clearly not good for you and is stressful for the kids. My advice is to enforce your boundaries - if it's not a good time, then it's "I'm sorry, but now is not a good time" and just not open the door or at least pay her no attention and do nothing to make her comfortable (she can sit somewhere and be ignored, and if she doesn't like it, she can leave) - "like I said, this is not a good time." I also think it would be a good thing to lower contact with the kids - if the oldest doesn't want to see her, he shouldn't be pressured to do so and none of them should be encouraged to bond with someone toxic. Otherwise they're getting a message of acting like people-pleasers towards toxic, unreasonable people.

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Entj

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Re: I need advice - DH in fog
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2019, 04:58:21 PM »
Hi nakedtruth, welcome to the forum. I'm sorry you need to be here but glad you'll find here validation from people who get it.

Unfortunately, the family dynamics you're describing are familiar to most of us here; MIL violating boundaries, her son doing nothing about it, you becoming the scapegoat. I believe too that you have set some reasonable boundaries that someone who is interested in keeping a good relationship with you and your family would take to heart. Clearly this is not the case with your MIL. Thus your next move, to remove yourself and your kids from an emotionally abusive situation, is well-justified.

Sending you positive energy!

 :bighug: :bighug: :bighug:

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all4peace

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Re: I need advice - DH in fog
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2019, 06:25:59 PM »
Welcome, nakedtruth101. What a painful and familiar story. I live next door to uPD ILs. MIL also wanted unfettered access, with little real attention or love, just infant cuddling and contempt for any child who didn't want to just cuddle with her. I also set up a weekly visit when she started complaining loudly. She also canceled and ended those weekly visits. She wanted everything and she wanted nothing. It was impossible from the start.

One thing I know--you cannot make your MIL do anything. She has made it clear she doesn't intend to show love to your 2 older children. You can't make her do so, but you can do what you're already doing and end contact or limit it, on your terms.

One other thing that pops into mind--if you're so inclined--is to set up visits in a public setting. This keeps things in your control--time, place, length. If she continues to ignore the older 2, then you can simply leave and let the next visit take longer to be scheduled.

At this point, if your DH won't confront his M, it may rest on your shoulders to hold the boundaries. I'm so sorry for the stress this must be causing for you.

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Nakedtruth01

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Re: I need advice - DH in fog
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2019, 09:49:21 PM »
Thank you for all the replies.  It definitely helps to get feedback and validation.  I worry that this will cause marital strain long term, but am hoping for the best.  My DH and ai are going to a therapist tomorrow .  He agrees with taking a break from her and that he needs to address her blatant disrespect.  It's once he does that and her guilt, manipulation and martyr/victim routine kick in, that I get anxiety thinking he wont be able to hold to his word.  I also worry that during her rath she will come over unannounced demanding answers (as if the explanation she got wasnt answers already) and demanding to see "her GRANDKIDS". I worry he will succumb to the anger, tears, guilt and manipulative ways and I dont know that he is strong enough to not answer the door. I've seen him cave with her in situations like this in the past when she throws her temper tantrum.  She will also run a new campaign that I have somehow brainwashed DH and/or I made him do it. How do I deal with these, especially if my kids are present?   I realize I could always leave but what if she blocks my car in with hers? 

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all4peace

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Re: I need advice - DH in fog
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2019, 11:42:08 AM »
Calling the police is an option. I don't say this to intentionally escalate the situation, but it is something we can do if someone is trying to trap us in our homes, storm our houses, or otherwise behaving unsafely around our children.

I have a mild-mannered Christian therapist. When I described how fil continued to come to our home unannounced when DH was gone, despite clear requests not to, he told me I could meet him at the door with a shotgun. I don't believe he actually meant that waving a gun around was a good idea. I believe his message was that we absolutely have the right to our own safety and privacy, and when someone refuses to grant us that basic right we do not just back down and let them in.

It's very difficult to learn to do this, but it will help if you can try to get to a place where what other people are saying stops mattering so much. It may feel like you have 2 options--1. "Obey" Mil and hopefully she talks nicely about you. or 2. Hold boundaries with Mil and become a target of her smear campaign. What I found true in my life is that MIL was smearing me either way. When I was trying exceptionally hard to fit into the family she was still smearing me. Eventually I chose the path that brought peace and calm to myself, my marriage and my family. It's very difficult, but I tried to simply live as my best self, heal, and let people make up their own minds about the situation. It wasn't their business anyway.

I wish you courage and strength. You're at a really challenging part of this journey, and most people don't like change and will fight it hard. What you are asking for is entirely reasonable. It's good and protective of your children and very fair to your MIL. She may fight you hard, but I think you're in a very fair and reasonable stance. Keep coming for support when you need it--we're happy to help as we can.

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qcdlvl

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Re: I need advice - DH in fog
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2019, 11:46:35 AM »
You could also call the traffic authorities and have her car towed away - blocking you is I would imagine a towable offense.

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Wanderingsoul

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Re: I need advice - DH in fog
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2019, 01:18:42 PM »
Hi Naked Truth, I'm new here as well (a couple months) and reading your story made my heart hurt for you. You and your children don't deserve the manipulation she is putting you through. One of the best pieces of advice I can give is please don't react. Don't send anything in writing. I learned that after 7 years of being married to my husband who has no clue his mom is PD w/ Narcissism. They will do anything and everything to get a reaction out of you. No amount of reasoning, no amount of explaining (regardless of how logical it is) will ever get through to someone like your MIL. Once I realized that, it made things slightly easier for me. I had to kill that part inside me that so badly wanted to prove that I was right, to defend myself, my family, etc. Literally the best attorney in the world can sit down with a PD person and put all the facts on the table and they will STILL find a way to make themselves the victim.

The petty side in me says just teach her a lesson and don't open the door ever again for her if she shows up unannounced. Unless your husband is home and if he is, then you leave with the kids. Say you have a play date, etc....Just understand that you will always be the bad guy in her eyes. That's what I had to realize with my MIL too. That she will never like me. We will never be friends. And I always have to watch my back with her. That unfortunately will never go away since you are tied to this woman through your husband and kids. It's a tough pill to swallow and was really difficult for me but at that time I didn't have this forum to lean on. I think with the help of the folks here you will be just fine! Also I would get a good therapist. It's literally saved me in more ways than I can explain.

I am new here so I apologize if this isn't formatted correctly.  I also apologize in advance as they might get very long.

Little back ground here. I married my MIL's son 5 years ago. We used to get along fairly well but things changed a couple years ago. At the time my husband and I got married I had a 4 year old from a previous marriage. She was never interested in being a Grandma to him and at the time I believed it was because my mother had just unexpectedly passed away (my sons only grandma) and she didn't want to come on too strong. Well now that 4 year old is 11. She still has no relationship or bond with him.....well unless she is in front or a camera that is. My husband and I now also have a 4 year old and a 8 month old. She has little to no contact with them either. I have always asked for her to call before dropping in, or calling once shes in the driveway. I just dont like unannounced visitors period, but especially now that we have 3 kids and run a busy business out of our home. Ive asked her and told her many times and she continues to do it. My husband has also talked to her and it continues. I've never gotten more than a 4-6 hour notice, but usually it's more like a 20 min notice. I've tried to be flexible and many times have said sure, even though she was intruding on anything we were doing and our boundary of a notice. I've always remained composed in again reminding her and telling her to please set something up a day or so in advance. With that being said when she does come, she spends no quality time with my children. She completely ignores the oldest, disregards the 4 year olds efforts to get her to play with him, and just sits holding the baby. My 4 year old begs for her attention. He asks her to play games with him, come see his room, brings her toys etc. She always tells him she has to "leave soon" or "only for a minute but then I have to go" and basically comes in planning her exit. My son has cried at times and clearly is starting to feel rejected and my oldest has building resentment and now doesnt even want to be here when she is here. She disregards any boundries I set with the kids. She interjects when my husband and I try to discipline them, she kisses the baby when I've asked her not to during cold and flu season, she purposely wakes him up if hes sleeping when I've asked her not to (she actually did this right in front of me with me repeatedly, like a dozen times, asking her to stop. She stays no more than an hour, usually takes a photo, and plays grandma of the year on social media. My 4 year old has begun to view her as a stranger because her visits are so short, generally around 20 to 30 mins, and she only attempts to see them once a month, if that. She doesn't check on them, ask about them, show up at school/sporting events etc. When my 4 year old then refuses to sit on her lap or hug her, she tells him " that's okay, I didnt want you anyway, I have your brother". She does this in a reverse psychology kind of way thinking he will then change his mind, but its hurtful and damaging to him. I am at my wits end with her violating our boundries, being uninvolved, her being sporadic and uninterested in my kids lives. My husband is very passive with her as anything you say or bring to her attention is deflected. And generally it somehow always comes back to me. I told my husband when I was pregnant with my 3rd that she needed to be in their lives now bc I couldnt watch her do this to another one of my kids. I also told him her involvement needs to start with the older two, not the baby. And I've given her 8 months and all she has done when she actually is here is pay any attention she does give to the baby. I have encouraged her contact, set aside one day a week just for her to visit ( she cancels), reached out to her multiple times about how we want her to be involved in their lives and to be the Grandma they need and deserve, but it's all fallen on deaf ears. She basically comes around once a month, when its convenient for her, pays no interest in the kids and leaves soon after arriving. She blames me, and any other thing she can find to excuse her being a shitty grandma and spread this around to family and friends. I just need advice in how my husband and I should best handle her in regards to the children. Her behavior is damaging to all of us at this point and I cant take it anymore.

In addition I have went through all my old texts with her (most correspondence with her is all in texts) from 2017 to present.  There is countless texts on there where she showed up unannounced (I'm in your driveway.)  Many texts where I did not allow the 'visit' to happen due to no notice, sometimes just out of principal.  Many texts where I reiterated over and over again that we need a notice a day or so ahead.  Not one of those texts did she even respond to to even acknowledge.  The recent incident happened a couple weeks ago.  She showed up uninvited and unannounced.   I ignored her attempt.   She called my DH crying that I don't let her be a grandma.  I sent her an email, which was probably pointless but explaining my position that although we want her to be involved in our lives, she does not respect our wishes on a notice.  That her visits are not consistent, they leave my kids feeling hurt and resentful.  I also told her that there is no reason she needs to involve her son like she does and until we get professional help, my kids and I are getting off her merry go round.  She hasn't spoken a word to me since.  However she has contacted my DH multiple times, wanting to leave my son's bday present on the front porch, as well as contacting him about other unrelated pointless things as if nothing is wrong.  She is also running a FB spear campaign of me and telling anyone that she can get to listen that I'm a bad mom, that I hold her grandkids hostage and she wants to be a grandma but I don't allow it, that the problem is all me!!
My husband does get it and agrees that this whole issue falls on his mom's shoulders.  However he will not confront her, or say anything to her.  He will say anything he can to get out of the situation and anything to not upset her as he doesn't want to deal with the rath of his mom.  His sister has cut complete contact with her for a slew of completely different reasons.  He does get it but wont' handle it.  I need advice as I feel so alone in this, I'm sad it is affecting my kids and family in the way it has and just don't know where to go from here.
Sorry for the book.  Thanks for listening if you made it this for.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 01:22:46 PM by Wanderingsoul »