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Mother in law causing so much anxiety!

Miraclemum
Community Member

Hi everyone,

I have had a rough couple of years dealing with my mother in law. This is just one of the mean things she’s done to her son and I.

Last year my partner & I found out I was pregnant! We were over the moon! Long story short - my partners mother ruined my pregnancy & made it all about her.. so you can imagine my nerves about giving birth!

When I was in labour I told my partner not to tell his parents as I knew they would call every 5 minutes, make it all about them and stress me out at a time that I needed to focus on myself and our baby. We live interstate so I was safe from them visiting!

After she was born we enjoyed a couple of hours just the 3 of us before ringing to tell them our news. Basically we told all our immediate family not to spread the word of our baby girl yet because we didn’t want a million phone calls or anyone to post on Facebook as we wanted to enjoy our little bubble for 24 hours.

His mum ignored this of course... she told all her friends, his father posted a picture of our baby on Facebook. I was devastated...! This was my number one rule I had stated throughout my entire pregnancy...

we confronted them over messages & phone calls saying how upset we were & disappointed in them for making this about them & not listening to us. next thing we know his sister in law is abusing us saying we are selfish people! His mum blows up and tries making excuses for what she’s done but it’s just the icing on the cake for me and what she’s done the last few years. The first few days of my babies life were spent crying over what should have been the best time of my life and how that was taken from me. My partner was getting phone calls saying how I’m tearing his family apart! What have I done??? I’ve just birthed a baby?! I ring his mum 4 days later & tell her how furious I am with how she’s behaved & yet again ruined another one of her sons life milestones. she tells me I am ungreatful & that my daughter didn’t come out a stillbirth like her other sons friends baby did ( she’s got no idea who those poor people are & is using their child to teach me a lesson? ) her behaviour was discusting to say the least. My baby is now a couple of months old & I’m still reliving this horrific event. I get so much anxiety when my partner sends photos of our darling girl & when he speaks on the phone to them. I dread seeing them and watching her hold my baby as she’s caused our family so much pain. I want to cut her from my life.

- one anxious mumma.

9 Replies 9

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome.

If I say I agree with you 90% I hope you will hear my views also about the 10% I have reservations. So these are just my views ok?

There is no doubt they have breached trust. This has to be sorted out and it is impractical to cut off al ties with them because your partner wouldn't see the ramifications that you suffer- they are his parents, it all would seem normal to him. Which is understandable. Short of doing much worse he will likely not be as unforgiving.

That leaves you in a bind but also think about the discomfort when your partner takes your child to visit them - without you. It doesn't make for a smooth road for your children either and your partner.

The effect that this has ha don you has led to some extreme dislike of your in-laws. That is also normal but sometimes we need to make an effort to a/ put in boundaries b/ be tolerant c/ don't let ourselves over react. The effect that this has had on you has caused you to be in a bad place. The earlier you meet with them to sort out this and introduce those boundaries the better even though you already tried.

Now the 10%. If people create a secret, the more people they instruct to keep that secret the more likely they will tell others...even saying "but don't tell anyone". Then that person tells 4 more and say "don't tell anyone"...in fact it is almost human nature and the excitement the new grandparents would have was obviously too much for them to bare.

Hypothetically when you wanted 24 hours alone with the three of you getting to know bubbles before being bombarded with calls and FB messages if you had left your phone off and FB closed, it wouldn't have been an issue as you would have had your time with bubs uninterrupted.

However, the real issue here is trust and regularity of contact. That needs to be sorted out and the only way this is to happen is at a meeting and/or counseling. Being told from you that you have a trust issue and you want them to respond by helping you create an bond for your family and children by building that trust would be quite confronting but you can also tell them that you want to give them a chance rather than more drastic action. Then wait for their reply.

They have a lot to lose. They will likely see less of their grandchild, less of their son and not see you at all. But there is also an obligation on your part to make a big effort for your partners sake and your child, let alone being humane because butting off his family is a big move.

tonyWK

jess334
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Miraclemum,

Congratulations on your new baby. I hope you are still enjoying spending time with your gorgeous baby girl. My son turned 1 this year and I miss that tiny newborn phase so much!

I understand why you are so angry. It is a really common thing to only tell immediate family after a birth and to ask them not to tell anyone for a day or two. We did the exact same thing. It is definitely not selfish!

I do agree with Tony that at some point you will probably have to work out your differences with them. Even if it is just being polite to them when they visit& ignoring them otherwise. Lucky you wont see them often since they live interstate.

I hated some people holding my baby too. I actually used to pretend that it was time for a nappy change, feed, or a nap to get him back. Its a 100% normal reaction for a mum to have. Honestly. I remember one dinner I went to and my dads new wife (who I had never met before) took my 6 week old son out of the resturant we were in without even asking me. I freaked.

It is easier though now that he is older.

Kind thoughts, Jess

Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Miraclemum

Congratulations on the safe arrival of your first baby. I hope your recovery is going well.

I totally understand why you are upset and I know your feeling of dread and reluctance to even let her hold the baby.

Twenty-three years ago my son arrived and I was in a very similar situation. A mother-in-law who disregarded our wishes, made unkind remarks and caused drama after drama. She actually walked into the hospital room for the first time saying, "Where's my baby?" and proceeded to grab our son out of my arms!

I, too, wanted her out of my life and took a few steps in that direction. What ensued was a painful tug-of-war with my poor husband in the middle. I backed off. I didn't want to hurt the love of my life and I didn't want to stop my son from knowing his grandmother.

My mother-in-law may have been an annoyance to me but she genuinely loved her son and grandson. She just wanted to be relevant and included. I figured it's a tough world, and the more people my son had to love him the better, so I let her in--a bit.

To this day, we are polite but not close. But she loves all of my children and we enjoy wonderful family times together.

You have to make your own decision but I look back and am so glad I changed my thinking.

Kind thoughts to you

Miraclemum
Community Member
Hi everyone

A little back story. My partner and I had a baby just last October, his family ruined the birth and since then have been nothing but a problem! We have since then taken a step back and we don't have much to do with them. We live in QLD they live in SYD. They have not seen our bub since she was 4 weeks old and she is now 5.5 months. They have caused me so much anxiety, I am on anti depressants, I see a therapist and suffer with PTSD now since bub's birth. All I have to do is think about the mother in law and I will go into a panic attack.

So my boyfriends brother is getting married at the end of the year and we are not planning on seeing them between now and then. I really don't want to go as its going to be really weird and awkward, especially because his mother is such a gossip queen and the bride is a nightmare I know that everyone going will know about the birth of our daughter and the drama that went down. But THEIR side of the story is going to paint us as the bad people... or so to say me as the bad person. when in fact all I did was birth a child and they are the bad guys here.

I am always painted as the bad person because no matter what I do I am supposedly always seen as in the wrong ( in their eyes) Or the mother who keeps the grandchild from them. I don't want my daughter around family who don't have any respect for her parents and are selfish people. They of course don't see themselves as this. * Face palm*

Kids are not allowed at the wedding so we have already organised my family to mind bub.
Do I go to just the ceremony and hubby stays on for the night ?
Do I go to the ceremony and some of the reception? Obviously leaving early as I have a little one.
I cannot be supportive or happy for the couple on their biggest day and happiest day of their lives because they ruined mine! and I am still suffering heavily from the repercussions of my happiest day.

Its going to be quite obvious I don't want to be there.. and even more obvious as to how uncomfortable i'll be feeling. I know all her family and friends, and all the mothers friends will have only heard their side of the story and I'll be looked down on. Anxiety is running high. either way its a loose loose situation.

My life has changed dramatically since they ruined my happiest most important day of my life. They know how we feel but still don't see how what they did was wrong. Whats the right thing to do for myself VS the right thing to do for my relationship VS inlaws?

Hi again mm

Well, my wife has a cousin we are both very close to, we gatve been married 8 years. I have never laid eyes on her husband!

Apparently he is a nice guy but chooses to not mix with her family.

And thats the message here. We should all have choices. You should be able to live your life free of expectations. Your husband should respect your medical condition and the trauma going to your BIL's wedding will produce.

You can make it clear to your husband that your decision isnt in any way meant to hurt him nor cause embarrassment however you respect him for any understanding that comes your way over your decision and most importantly, your medical condition is serious, that for the sake of your little family you should not subject yourself to anxious environments where any controversy will set you back with your progress.

A few months ago we had a death in my wifes family. We attended the funeral service. When people left to attend the cemetery I stayed in the car outside the cemetery. A relative questioned my wife why I didnt "show respect" and go to the grave site like everyone else. Her answer was spot on- "Tony doesnt do things to fulfill others expectations "

And I dont!. I'm 63yo. Its been 40 years since I left my job as a warder in a jail that left me emotionally scarred. Hence I made my decision then never to attend cemeteries.

If people dont at least try to understand that- I'm not interested in trying to convince them.

Thats my view. Save yourself hurt by removing yourself from family events until you want to include yourself.

Obligations work against rights, expectations work in favour of those that like contraversy. Neither help your mental future which is paramount with you and your childs wellbeing.

A family counselor could be beneficial.

TonyWK

Thank you for responding to my message.
I do love that you do things the way you want too, I think thats why I always seem to take 2 steps backwards in my progress. I have this feeling that I MUST make the effort when it comes to family... If this was a friends wedding, then no way would I go.
Sometimes I feel like I should go for my partner too... Im really in 2 minds about it. Actually a week after my last post my partner proposed to me ( YAY!) and his family chose to not be supportive of us!

Basically a few days later he chose to cut them out. They haven't since respected our wishes and continue to message him at least once a week ( He got a guilt txt over easter from his mum - deliberately trying to make him feel bad for him not being around). He does not reply.

It's daunting to imagine our wedding.. we have to invite them. Im mostly worried about them seeing my daughter as the last time they saw her she was 4 weeks old ( currently 7 months) and she will be 15 months at our wedding which is when they'll see her for the first time since.

They are the kind of family who see that they have done nothing wrong and blame us for cutting them out of our lives. as a mother I have gone into protective mode over my baby - I don't want her knowing them. To think of the hurtful things they have done to their own son, it makes me feel sick thinking about them with my daughter. I always remind myself " Being a grandparent is a privilege not a right" I don't owe them anything. But I can't seem to accept that they think I'm the bad guy...
Do you have any advice regarding this?


Hi mm,

Well the siblings of my first wife didnt accept me at all not for being me but being the first wedding and her being the youngest.

Firstly, your feelings of guilt are excessive. The reasons for that could be many

  • Over bearing parents when younger leaving you never feeling good enough
  • An over considerate attitude
  • Excessive kindness
  • Urges to please a family you've joined.

You are not marrying your inlaws.

In time your husband to be (congratulations) might restart some form of communication with his family, which is his choice. However wisdom would suggest he draw clear boundaries. You could suggest counseling for such processes.

Your problem is clear- the nature of your inlaws means they are toxic to your little family so until their attitude changes they aren't worthy of being in your life.

In such severe disputes your husband could have one avenue by which they can communicate say...email. He needs to concrete his boundaries in place though. If they email it doesn't mean he has to reply. His protection of you and his children must be his priority and you can always express that you didnt intend for him to lose his family.

Regardless of all of the above there will be some actions/feeling that you might regret. Setting restrictions on them not spreading the news about the baby arrival, as I've previously said is ...well...a bit difficult to contain. They cannot be trusted so the better way to go if a relationship was to be rekindled is to restrict your communication with them based on that.

Finally. Make it clear to them from both of you, what your grievances are. Make it brief in a note, both signed and be specific. That way they have the option of reflection but it also goes a long way towards riddling your guilt.

Google

Beyondblue Topic guilt the tormentor

TonyWK

Tess2011
Community Member

Hi Miraclemum,

First congratulations on bubs!
It is such an exciting and difficult time. Try not to forget everything else you are currently going through with pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Sometimes additional stressors can seem overwhelming.

Yes, your partners parents should not have shared your news after you specified for them not to! I had a similar problem with my MIL when I had postposrtum complications and as a very private person wanted it kept private. We didn't tell my MIL as we knew she would make it about her and how much it was affecting her. We had to give in after about a week as my husband was struggling to look after my eldest son, cope with the stress of me and my health and the new baby. She was not happy! But I spoke to her and I just said sometimes I like to keep things to myself simply because I dont want to have to explain it or keep you updating. Point I am trying to make haha is that you don't owe anybody any news, until you are ready.

In your case, you had to let your in-laws know but dont but pressure on yourself to tell people (especially if you cannot trust them with the news) until your ready and prepared to deal with it. I know its their grandchild and their son so they consider it their news but! you only get to experience giving birth and announcing its a limited amount of times. Its your baby, your news and your experience!

Relationships with your partners parents is always going to be different on some (or many) levels but try to remember that you've just had a baby (I say that and my youngest is 17 months) you will be overwhelmed and emotional! Try to focus on you and baby and maybe your partner needs to address his parents. It's not fair that the relationship issues he has with his parents is affecting you (at this time especially).

From one mum to another, you got this!

Just wanted to weigh in and say what Tony said was spot on. Your fiance needs to set clear boundaries with his family, or they will continue to stress you out up to your wedding and all through your marriage. I have the MIL from Hell (well I sometimes think so!), and I've gone the route of trying to tolerate her to save my husband having to choose between us. That was a mistake. My husband should have been on my side regardless of how hard it was to stand up to his overbearing mother, as your partner should stand by you. It sounds like he is willing to do this, which is such a great thing! I never had that I'm afraid, my husband never was able to cut the cord with his mother. He was always sharing information with her that I thought was private between us, letting her interlope on family days out, giving in to her when she just refused to modify her behaviour around our kids (she swears a lot, smokes and generally says mean things about everyone). She wasn't the only cause of the problems between us but she certainly didn't help. We're now separating and tbh I can't wait to get all my inlaws especially MIL out of my life.

Stick to your guns. You can do that without getting nasty, just know what your boundaries are and demand your inlaws respect them. I wish I'd had the strength to do it years ago.

Wishing you the best

GW