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Going Through The MIL?

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Any advice for dealing with an overbearing Mother In Law? John and I aren't married and never will be, but we're may as well be a couple:that's how everyone treats us. Except his mum. She addresses me only when she feels like it and when John was taken to hospital on Friday she told me I was "not needed" around. I couldn't argue with her and left because only one visitor is allowed per bed.
Then this morning I sent John a text and told him I'd be visiting but his mother was already there. When I went yesterday I noticed all of John's stuff had been replaced with stuff she bought him.
I can't argue with her and she doesn't listen reason. John's been trying it for years.
Any thoughts?
#1 - July 30, 2017, 03:50 AM

Mothers can be far more intrusive into their son's lives and loves than they are with their daughters. My mother was overbearing when I first married my wife.  The solution came when I told her to back off or I would start limiting her participation into my life. She tested me and I followed through with my threat and the message got through quickly.  I settled this within the first few months of our marriage. 

The odd part of this is that she wasn't this way when were dating, and we were together for 6 six years prior to tying the knot. 

To be blunt, John has to settle this, not you.  He has to find some way to make her understand that you all are together and will be for a long time and that she has to come to terms with it.  He may feel he needs to be more sensitive to her needs more than I did, but in the end, he must handle the situation and her.  She may bristle at first, but mom's have a special connection with their sons and she will get over it.   
#2 - July 30, 2017, 05:09 AM

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Thanks, Long Hair.
My problem is that has been ongoing over 23 years. I've heard John tell his mother to back away courteously but she's not a woman who listens.
Thankfully, she wasn't there when I arrived to see him this afternoon, but she left her "mark" by doubling on stuff I had already bought John. I expected it.
My fear is when John's father dies. Hes 93, mum is 74 and I'm petrified john will be brought home.
You've no idea how domineering this woman is. She marched into a workplace of John's and demanded an explanation on why her then 37 year old was given his p45.
I'll try and reason with her but...well, we'll see.
#3 - July 30, 2017, 08:27 AM

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My sympathies, thunderingelephants. Oh man, that sounds so familiar.

My MIL was a very strong, independent career woman and for many years dominated her son. She was divorced from M's father (with whom he was estranged) and demanded way too much of M's time and attention. She resented me, even when we were dating. For a while M took it. It wasn't easy and she took it out on him with fights and the silent treatment when she didn't get her way. Eventually he did stand up to her. When she got Alzheimer's M  looked after her beautifully. (But not in our house.)

I agree with Long Hair that John will have to stand up to her and draw some boundaries. If you two discuss those boundaries first and present a united front it will work eventually. If he's worried about her care when she's old and alone, he (and/or siblings if he has any)should find out about medical and financial Power of Attorney.

(Edited to add: Pick your battles. Not everything is worth the hassle of a fight.)
#4 - July 30, 2017, 10:13 AM
« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 10:15 AM by Barbara Etlin »
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It makes sense, but he and his brother are estranged. They rarely cross paths and when they do nothing is said. For example, last Christmas John and I were invited to dinner. The meal was a nightmare, nothing was said between five of us, so I doubt brother will assist. John is older by six years:it will all fall back on him.
In contrast: I have discussed the same with my own mother. "Just don't shove me in a home and forget about me!".
#5 - July 30, 2017, 10:46 AM

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John has to act on what he says to his mother. Whether she likes it or not, you are there and you are a person he believes is worthy of her respect. Therefore her disrespecting you also disrespects him. And if he allows her to continue disrespecting you after all of this time when you have done nothing to earn that, he is also disrespecting you. As the Bible says, "“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31)
#6 - July 30, 2017, 08:31 PM

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Nice sentiment, Debi.
My one saving grace is that she's an early bird, she'll be gone long before I arrive today and I can tolerate her in small doses. It isn't even what she does or says when she sees him: it's her actions.
No mother should interfere the way she does, be it regarding the career or health of her children. Every medical issue is a death scenario. The amount of times she's ended up in A&E over small things is crazy. Either she will die or sons/husband will, that's how she treats it, even simple things like ingrown toenails!
#7 - July 31, 2017, 01:49 AM

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An update is that John has been told that he must  remain in hospital until at least the weekend. His infection is clearing but his temperature is still too high. He will be there until the weekend.
His mother turned up and complained that the razors John uses don't do a good enough job and that she had to get a taxi to take her to the hospital. That I expect. She moans consistently about it.
What annoyed me most was the moment she turned up she said "Fiona, you can go away now".
It isn't her decision and I pointed it out.  The woman is incorrigible and it's becoming increasingly hard to reason with her. I left when his brother visited because they only 2 to a bed.
Angry as hell, but she won't be told.

Sorry, I came to let off steam.
#8 - August 01, 2017, 07:43 AM

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Fiona, hugs. I'm so sorry the woman is so awful to you. Some people you can't reason with but eventually it is John who'll need to deal with her, make a choice if there's an ultimatum. Since you are not married to him, I wouldn't grace her with the title of MIL.  I pray John recovers soon. What's with these nasty bacteria? Begone!!!
#9 - August 01, 2017, 08:49 AM
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Fiona, hugs. I'm so sorry the woman is so awful to you. Some people you can't reason with but eventually it is John who'll need to deal with her, make a choice if there's an ultimatum. Since you are not married to him, I wouldn't grace her with the title of MIL.  I pray John recovers soon. What's with these nasty bacteria? Begone!!!
Too true.
Text from John a while ago: "She was gone when I returned from walking to the exit with you".
I'm not leaving next time!
#10 - August 01, 2017, 10:08 AM

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Quote
Text from John a while ago: "She was gone when I returned from walking to the exit with you".
I'm not leaving next time!

Good for you! Don't let John's mother do this kind of thing to you. (Again, I speak from sad experience, but don't want to get into it on an open part of the board.) The two of you together are stronger than she is. Stay strong.
#11 - August 01, 2017, 11:53 AM
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She wasn't there when I went to see John this morning, but she rang. He actually has a low temperature and they don't want to discharge him until it stabilises. "When will that be? What else did they tell you? Is Fiona there? Did she bring you anything? Why didn't she bring you anything? You're coming home with me, she won't care for you properly". :ranting :voodoo :voodoo :voodoo :voodoo :voodoo :help2
John couldn't answer all of the questions and I almost took the phone from his hand. :ranting
When I suggested that she will insist he return home with her he nearly told me to leave! :muahaha

Hope to have him home before the weekend because I'm sure they want to get rid of him!
Thanks for the support of your comments. It means a lot. :grouphug2
#12 - August 02, 2017, 08:01 AM

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 :grouphug2 Sadly, after 23 years it's unlikely that she's going to change. Maybe if John really puts his foot down and says he will cut her out of his life if she doesn't shape up, things would happen, but who knows. My sympathies.  :grouphug2
#13 - August 02, 2017, 08:23 AM

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Nice sentiment, Anne, but it won't happen. There is 20 years between his parents and he is on limited time. At 93 I doubt he will be around for much longer. She is 74 and healthy. She won't change and if she insists that John return home with her I really will lose my rag. He's too old to be pampered by his mother.
He can put his foot down and refuse to go home but she's turned up on the doorstep before, she can do it again!
#14 - August 02, 2017, 08:42 AM

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But you don't have to open the door. John has to tell her he will not open the door unless she behaves.

If he's too old to be pampered by his mother than she's too old to throw tantrums. That is what she is doing. When a child throws a tantrum, the best course of action is to ignore them. She will learn if she is forced to or she will suffer and you will stop suffering her, but only if John is willing to be the parent/teacher.

Does his mother love him or does she simply like controlling him? Ask him that question once he's well enough. I bet he doesn't know the answer.
#15 - August 02, 2017, 08:55 PM

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But you don't have to open the door. John has to tell her he will not open the door unless she behaves.

If he's too old to be pampered by his mother than she's too old to throw tantrums. That is what she is doing. When a child throws a tantrum, the best course of action is to ignore them. She will learn if she is forced to or she will suffer and you will stop suffering her, but only if John is willing to be the parent/teacher.

Does his mother love him or does she simply like controlling him? Ask him that question once he's well enough. I bet he doesn't know the answer.

That is a fine line, Debi. A shriveled thread would be a more apt description. Anyway, he text me half an hour ago (it's 8.50am here) saying he was being discharged. I asked if he was coming home. "Where else would I be going?" was his reply. When I suggested his mum's I got an angry smilie back.
Anyway, must go. They discharge people very early here.
Thanks for all your support.
#16 - August 03, 2017, 12:55 AM

23 years??? Seriously?  I have to credit her sticktoitiveness.  Does she hold onto everything this doggedly?  John will have his hands full with it, but he's got to find a  way to get through to her.   
#17 - August 03, 2017, 05:11 AM

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So glad he's well enough to come home. Now you can make a plan together and stick to it.
#18 - August 03, 2017, 07:51 AM

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Well, he was discharged this morning, thankfully and put on a course of antibiotics to treat the infection. Course, "Mum" (that's for his benefit, not mine) rang and asked what his plans were. "Getting a taxi home," he answered, "what do you think?"
"Is Fiona there with you? She'd better there with you, you can't go home alone".
Anyway, this is my last comment on the subject, hopefully. I had to leave John for a bit today, but he had his purrse looking after him. Spock hasn't left his side since he got home.
Long Hair: to answer your question, yes she does. Her poor husband, I've been out with them for lunch on a few occasions and he may 20 years older, but she's turned him into a lap dog.
That's why I didn't want to see John go home. No-one will ever get through to her, she just doesn't listen.
#19 - August 03, 2017, 08:33 AM

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