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    Making up with MIL

    Hi all,

    Need some pointers on a situation I've found myself in. I've analysed the situation to death and would really appreciate an outside perspective.

    Got married over two years ago and found that I'd inherited an interfering MIL who caused issues with everything. We didn't live with the in laws so I was somewhat detached by the daily plans that appeared to be hatched to discredit me in public or private. However, a number of situations occurred where my MIL did her utmost to upset me (not telling us about a death in the extended family so that when we attended a family gathering a few months later, the auntie whose mother had passed away, wouldn't talk to me, asking us to save her a table at a family wedding, only for her to get there early and reserving a table for her and her daughters and others but leaving me and my husband to find a table of our own: at the same wedding, when family pics were being taken, the whole family went up but me and husband weren't asked, calling my husband over to her house a few days before she was due to go to Pakistan and saying she wanted a word with just him and to leave me at home. When he got there, the entire khandaan had been invited. This reflected badly on me since everyone thought I had chosen not to come. In fact, a few of the auntie's took my husband to the side and asked him to 'Samjah' me to cooperate and so that at least it looked like I was trying to be part of the family. Then there was going over on My first Eid where I sat alone in the corner for 4 hours as the family members made a point of not talking to me. The female relatives stayed away because they didn't want my MiL to think they were taking sides. The uncles were the only ones asking me how I was. Then there was a time when my MIL got diagnosed with breast cancer. EVERYONE knew but I was kept in the dark because my MIL told my husband that she didn't want me to know. When others made reference to her health and asked me how she was, I used to have to improvise empathy for a condition I wasn't meant to know she had!). These are they just some of the key things that come to mind, lots has been said to my husband about me too (things like I've taken him away from her, he listens to me more than her, since marrying me, he's changed and she doesn't like it, she said he shared too much with me and that a good husband should keep his parents 'secrets' and not tell them to his wife. Whereas she wanted to know everything about me, etc.).

    The thing is, there's a lot of backstory about detached parenting and there have been a lot of divorces and family breakups in my inlaws family so I can somewhat understand their behaviours. The thing is, I'm finding that I'm not as strong and resilient in this situation as I am elsewhere. I find myself getting worked up over the tiniest little thing and can't let go. My husband is dealing with his own issues- narcissistic parents vs how to maintain the Islamic ties of kinship. We've tried talking about some of the issues but we've not got anywhere as my husband can see what his mum and the family are doing but feels stuck in the middle. To his credit, he's called his mum and sisters out when they've said something about me but that reinforces what they already think and then say he's only saying what he is because he's 'taking my side'. This infantile, school playground situation is really frustrating and also very upsetting.

    I love Ramadan and have always found it a month where I feel the most at peace. I also really want the situation with my MIL to improve. I used to call her every once in a while but because of her behaviours, I've not spoken to her for ages. So yesterday, I called the MiL and said I would love it if we were able to get together at some point to talk about some of the issues that I felt had come between us and effected our relationship. I could detect relief? Pleasure? In her voice and she said to leave it with her whilst she thought things through and that she'd get to me with dates.

    Based on past experiences, she's going to let me down by either ignoring what I've just said and leaving me hanging or by twisting it in a way and telling my husband/others a different story. BUT, I really want to make this work, I'm sick of being made to feel as if I'm a Cruella de Ville type DIL who's come in 'broken' the family. I have two younger SILs but because of the controlling nature of the family, they have their own issues with their parents. They've also never made me feel welcome and really can't be bothered with me. I tried at the beginning but have turned away from them as well.

    Apologies for the long thread but how do I navigate next steps? If she accepts the invite to meet, how honest should I be with her? I'm worried that if I open up, she'll take advantage of that and use my emotions as a stick to beat me with later. If she doesn't accept, then Eid is around the corner. Should I go over? My family live in another part of the country so we usually spend EId there unless we've got other things planned and spend it with friends closer to us. Should I then keep reminding her that we need to talk? How do I tackle the rest of the in laws? My SILs dont give a monkeys about me but have always accused my husband of taking his wife's 'side' over theirs. This is true but they do things in front of him so he steps in when he sees they've gone too far.

    I'd love for us all to get on but things have got really messy and I don't know what to do.

    I'd like to think I'm a sensible person who has good intentions and have tried doing things correctly but any input about what I should/shouldn't do next would be appreciated.

    #2
    Re: Making up with MIL

    I think that someone more experience with this type of issue would be better able to advise you, but here are my two cents:

    I personally don't think that you're going to get that far with inviting her over to discuss issues. If let's say you were to remain silent and your husband was the one to take over and talk to his mom....she's just going to think that you brainwashed him...because that's what she already thinks. She already blames you for everything, so do you really think she'll believe you when you explain your innocence to her? She already believes that she has done nothing wrong....and even if deep down she realizes her mistakes....what are the chances that she'll admit to them? She would feel mortified of having to admit her own faults in her own son's home in front of him. She has never seem to understood that a wife has rights as does a mother....so what do you think you will accomplish? I am all for discussing conflicts directly and tactfully....but to do that...the other person needs to have an open-mind. And unfortunately some elders in our culture hold the staunch belief that the elders can do no wrong and the "children" should not have the audacity to point out their mistakes; it's considered disrespect.

    There are some people that are more open to hearing about their mistakes and they're able to humble themselves. But if the other person does not have these traits, then I doubt you're going to get very far.

    If you're going to invite MIL over, then just invite her and have a good time without bringing up past issues (easier said than done, I know). Kill her with kindness; compliment her...be genuinely kind to her. Even if she doesn't reciprocate, at least your FIL and your husband will see with their own eyes that you were the bigger person. It'll hopefully strengthen your marriage.

    If she's brainwashing relatives against you, then you should treat those same relatives with respect. Be the first to greet them and ask how they're doing. Actions speak louder than words. If someone is spreading crap about you, the best way to make people question the gossiper's intentions is to act opposite to what he/she said about you. After a while people will wonder if the gossiper (in this case your MIL) is jealous or what? If family image is that important to you, then you'll have to actively work to maintain positive ties with others.

    It's said that a lie travels halfway around the world while the truth is just putting her shoes on. That said, gossip and rumors always tend to circulate faster whereas it takes a long time for people to see the truth.

    You can attempt to invite your MIL for a talk about the tensions between you two........but keep in mind that it might backfire at a later point. There's no guarantee that your husband won't get upset at you in the future that you invited his mom to your home only upset her and drive a deeper wedge into their relationship. When you have a sick parent...or a parent that used to be sick...or a parent that could *possibly* get sick again (because cancer can strike again, God forbid)....then human nature is such that your sympathies are going to be more with the parent than with your spouse.

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Making up with MIL

      Thanks RV- always find your advice very balanced and well thought through and no exception here.

      The husband has tried many times to have a chat with his parents and sometimes the MiL is receptive, sometimes not. We both find her hot/cold nature very confusing and have had periods where we've completely stayed away and kept any interactions to a polite minimum. The thing is, others have noticed a tension and have approached me saying I should make more of an effort. Any rebuttal to that from me (based on facts) has been met with sympathy and a lot of nods that they understand what I'm going through. My MIL has a reputation for being a very 'sakhth' lady as a result of her in laws belittling her when she was a newly married. My FILs family had a very difficult time with their father and I've been told that MIL had to really fight to make a space for herself when she first arrived after getting married. However, that mistrust, detachment seems to have been passed onto me now.

      Dunyadari or family image doesn't mean anything to me if it means superficiality. Being polite and well mannered yes but I refuse to brown nose people just because it's expected. The thing with this situation is, that this lady is my husband's mother and I feel I ought to build bridges with her and allow her into our lives a little so that she can get to know me for who I am and not who she thinks I am. It's a tall order, I know. Part of me wanting to make an effort probably comes from the fact that I lost my mum when I was quite young. When I got married, I thought I'd be inheriting a big, loving family! Things not turning out that way has been quite upsetting! Especially, since MIL seems to be reacting as she has without any provocation from me. If I had done anything, I wouldn't have minded her being as she is but it's all so unnessary and unfair in my mind.

      I don't want to involve the husband in this so although he knows I've made contact with his mum, I made it clear to both that I'd like to meet with MIL somewhere outside. When we first moved in, we invited her over but she refused and made a big deal over not telling her we were thinking of moving from our last place. So, I don't want to invite her into my personal space just yet. I'm hoping to build up from us two meeting first. IF that ever happens.

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Making up with MIL

        muspus... I feel from you post that you really want to get in family.... but your MIL has established hostile environment..... from family friends to family member.... no one is giving you an iota of favor....

        What will you achieve if your MIL accept you and tell you every bit of news? Lets think about it.... if your relation get better... you will also pay the price of those relationships.... you would need to appear in family gathering, graduation, birthday parties, death events and so on.....

        It looks like you are in an ideal situation.... your MIL does not involve you... bhar main jaye ager nahi involve karti... how many raka of deed will you get? kitna sawab mil jaye ga.....

        If social circle is the only goal of get to gather.... create your own social circle.....

        For those SILs... who blame her brother of taking your side... your husband let them know that he wishes that their would be husband take the side of sisters... they are young... and will get this message....

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Making up with MIL

          Originally posted by mahool View Post
          muspus... I feel from you post that you really want to get in family.... but your MIL has established hostile environment..... from family friends to family member.... no one is giving you an iota of favor....

          What will you achieve if your MIL accept you and tell you every bit of news? Lets think about it.... if your relation get better... you will also pay the price of those relationships.... you would need to appear in family gathering, graduation, birthday parties, death events and so on.....

          It looks like you are in an ideal situation.... your MIL does not involve you... bhar main jaye ager nahi involve karti... how many raka of deed will you get? kitna sawab mil jaye ga.....

          If social circle is the only goal of get to gather.... create your own social circle.....

          For those SILs... who blame her brother of taking your side... your husband let them know that he wishes that their would be husband take the side of sisters... they are young... and will get this message....
          Whether they or I like it, I am a part of their family and they mine- we have my husband (their son/brother) in common. If I can't be an active part of the family (because my MIL has sabotaged many opportunities/relationships), then I'd like to be at least a non-hostile and/or passive member- I don't know why but I want them to accept me! That sounds really sad, I know but still, it's a human need to want to belong and I feel I'm being denied that opportunity because of one woman's perceptions of events.

          I don't want to know every iota of news. With that comes responsibility and my job keeps me too busy to have to or want to get involved in everything. I'd appreciate knowing the basics though (births, deaths, marriages) so I'm not made to feel like an idiot/arrogant/rude person around others.

          Vaikyehi, bhar main jaein lekin we're surrounded by married friends, who no matter how hard their relationships with their respective families are, are there for each other in times of need. I feel my MIL is waiting for me to bhar main jah so she can 'have' her son back! It's depressing at times. And when I sometimes think about the future and children, I feel sad that ours are probably not going to have any relationship or lagao with their dadyal. Am I being silly?

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Making up with MIL

            If I had children, there are some blood-relatives of mine that I would not want them to get too close to because I worry about the potential harmful impact it might have.

            Have you heard the saying, "Paalne wala paida karne walay se bar kar hota hai"..? The one that actually raises you is far superior to the one that gave birth to you. If a grandparent's heart is sooo small that they can't accept their grandchild...then the distance may be a good thing. It's hard to suppress your dislike for another person. Even if you don't say anything, it shows up in your body language. And kids are not stupid; they pick up on nonverbal cues as well. One of my aunts doesn't have a valid reason to dislike her bahu. She's just pissed that her one and only son married a girl of his own choice. I heard from aunti's own daughter that aunti gets pissed when her son would show affection to his kid. How ridiculous is that? But these are the kinds of sentiments that kids shouldn't be exposed to, imo.

            As for the other relatives in your family....socialize with them. Be the first to greet them. Invite them to your home. Visit their homes. Give gifts; they are said to promote affection between people. Add them social media. And slowly, slowly over time...they'll let you in...and you'll be more aware of the current events in the family and not as isolated. You don't HAVE to depend on your MIL to develop bonds with other people. If that's the case...you might be waiting for a long time. You can try doing that on your own. It will take time, but it can be done.

            As long as your marriage is good and strong, that's what matters most. It's a lot harder when your husband is easily swayed by his family's mind games. But I think that you should really consider all possible outcomes before having this meeting with your MIL. Because people....even those that we trust the most...can be unpredictable. So, think about whether such a meeting could potentially come to bite you in the future or hurt your relationship with your husband.

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Making up with MIL

              Originally posted by muspus View Post
              However, a number of situations occurred where my MIL did her utmost to upset me (not telling us about a death in the extended family so that when we attended a family gathering a few months later, the auntie whose mother had passed away, wouldn't talk to me,
              Originally posted by muspus View Post
              I'd appreciate knowing the basics though (births, deaths, marriages) so I'm not made to feel like an idiot/arrogant/rude person around others.
              So no one from your in-laws side shares birth/death/marriage news even with your husband? Your MIL/SILs (Is there a FIL in the picture?) or any other family member......does your husband not communicate with them regularly? And they never mention to him when someone has died or had a new baby or is getting married?

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Making up with MIL

                My family was very hostile towards us, although we were the ones caring for our mom and still they treated us as ostracized, I wanted my kids to have a family so we turned their friends into cousins and friends parents into aunts and uncles and that has been the best thing ever. I would suggest walk away and focus on people who are worthy of your love and respect. Respect and love should not come from biological connection but from actions. They are only parents if they act as such.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Making up with MIL

                  No, they don't. Nothing is shared. My mil appears to be possessive over EVERYTHING that happens in that side of the family. At the beginning, relatives used to contact my husband themselves and inform him/us if anyone was going/returning from hajj but after some time (split loyalties maybe), they stopped calling too.

                  When my husband called him mum out for not telling him about the death, his mum said his dad (her husband and my FIL) had sent him a text message but that was not true. There is a FIL but he is the silent, brooding type of man with a skewed view of what a family should be (unconditional respect towards elders, youngsters should be seen and not heard type) and him and my husband have always had a very clinical relationship, the kind where no matter how accommodating or cooperative my husband is in the family's descisions, he's never good enough. There are 2 SILs, both younger who do not get on with one another or anyone else in the family- including their parents but throw in a random person from outside the family- me- and they'll show a fantastic united front.

                  This sharing of news is a huge annoyance- like I said births, deaths, marriages are TOP secret. My MiLs Neice got married in Pakistan and sent me and the husband an invite to attend. When my MIL found out, she shouted at my husband for sharing the news with me. When this newly married cousin then visited London, I made contact via Facebook for us to meet up but she didn't reply- maybe because of the stories she'd heard about me from MIL? They're a huge extended family and me AND the husband have become the black sheep of the family. No one bothers with us anymore. I did for a LONG time but refused to be walked over because no matter how much I tried, things or people's behaviours didn't change.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Making up with MIL

                    [MENTION=277525]Bobby1[/MENTION]

                    Completely agree with that approach but we live in London and sometimes it's a nightmare to coordinate meet ups with friends. Besides, they have their own extended families to keep them busy. I suppose things might change when kids come along and we make friends with other couples with children but right now, that 'family' feeling is lacking in our lives. My family is rife with issues and deserve a thread entirely of their own but at least they make a tiny bit of effort! My in laws- zilch.

                    The husband and I have a good social life and maybe I should toughen up and just accept my lot but I feel lonely. Lonely of the family kind. I want a group of people (my inlaws who are my extended family) that accept me and make me feel like I'm part of their group. Sounds lame, I know but still!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Making up with MIL

                      [MENTION=70790]redvelvet[/MENTION]

                      Maybe I should be grateful for what I have and let this issue with my MIL and the in laws go but for whatever reason; I'm really struggling to.

                      It's really sad to hear about your auntie mistreating her grandchild to get to the baby's parents and I'd break anyone's legs if they did that to a child of mine. But, I think children should have a little supervised access to the extended family. Maybe I'll change my mind when I'm in that situation but right now I'm trying to avoid things getting to that stage.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Making up with MIL

                        IMHO, this approach is great when used with like minded people. But not so great with the older generation at times.

                        There is potential for success but also of failure.

                        If I was in your shoes, I would try to do things to make her happy so she understands you want to make amends. Direct dialogue is dangerous because she may take what you say differently and not understand the sentiment. If you're bent on doing this, make sure you keep your emotions in check and stay calm.
                        Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames. ~ Rumi

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Making up with MIL

                          Legend:
                          ING: Internal News & Gossip of a family
                          Family: Parents and siblings

                          I am assuming your husband is a talkative guy and finds it hard to keep secrets. Do you think your husband overshares family issues with his buddies often? If yes, I think I can understand your situation.

                          There are levels of access to ING the spouse of a family member is understood to have. I would not like if my brother/sister would give full access to this ING to their spouse. Yes, with time, levels of access gradually increases but the operative phrase here is, Ďwith timeí. And some ING should never be shared with a spouse. These are private matters of someone who has not given consent for it to be shared outside of family. When spousal pressure or the family memberís oversharing nature causes unauthorized sharing of ING, expect serious backlash from the family !

                          For example, if I come to believe that my brother/sister cannot keep my secrets from his/her spouse. I would not share them with my brother/sister. I will feel betrayed because there must have been something that led me to that belief. So Iíll go overboard. Getting my drift here?

                          I think your husband overshared some ING too soon with you and your MIL feels betrayed by her son. She and other family members would have no way of knowing how big of a breach that was so they are assuming the worst. Trust me when your husband overshares something about you with his buddies, youíll get how your MIL must have felt.

                          Sometimes DILs are victims of their own success, they get what they want only to realize later the high price they paid, so donít try to settle scores with your MIL. There is no quick fix for your situation. It may sound counter-intuitive but I would suggest allowing your husband often some alone time with his family and do not debrief him later. It will heal the damage gradually.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: Making up with MIL

                            Originally posted by decentGuy View Post
                            Legend:
                            ING: Internal News & Gossip of a family
                            Family: Parents and siblings

                            I am assuming your husband is a talkative guy and finds it hard to keep secrets. Do you think your husband overshares family issues with his buddies often? If yes, I think I can understand your situation.

                            A lot of assumptions here. The husband and I both have active social lives and know the boundaries of how much or how little to share depending on where we are or who we're with. I don't think the husband overshares family issues with friends at all.

                            There are levels of access to ING the spouse of a family member is understood to have. I would not like if my brother/sister would give full access to this ING to their spouse. Yes, with time, levels of access gradually increases but the operative phrase here is, Ďwith timeí. And some ING should never be shared with a spouse. These are private matters of someone who has not given consent for it to be shared outside of family. When spousal pressure or the family memberís oversharing nature causes unauthorized sharing of ING, expect serious backlash from the family !

                            Totally agree and I would be the same. However, in this situation, I'm not asking for skeletons from the closet to be shared or certain people outed on private/sensitive matters- I'm talking about news relating to births, illnesses, deaths, marriages! So basically EVERYTHING is hidden and I'm not meant to know. My grandmother in law had a shoulder replacement on the weekend for example and I spoke to my mother in law on the day and asked how everyone was and got 'sab teek hain'. My husband however, found out from his mother later! The breast cancer I found out about because my husband was the one taking his mother to appointments and it would've been silly/unreasonable/illogical if he would've kept me in the dark. Just to clarify as well: the entire extended family knew about her diagnosis. Seems she had an issue with just me knowing.

                            For example, if I come to believe that my brother/sister cannot keep my secrets from his/her spouse. I would not share them with my brother/sister. I will feel betrayed because there must have been something that led me to that belief. So Iíll go overboard. Getting my drift here?

                            While I agree with you, the way you've stated your point is actually quite patronising!

                            I think your husband overshared some ING too soon with you and your MIL feels betrayed by her son. She and other family members would have no way of knowing how big of a breach that was so they are assuming the worst. Trust me when your husband overshares something about you with his buddies, youíll get how your MIL must have felt.

                            Again, way too many assumptions here. As stated in my original post and my reply to you in this post, my issue isn't that my MIL/in laws refuse to tell me what their favourite colour is or what they had for lunch earlier, it's that I'm/we're not told about 'big' things happening in the family. The thing annoying me is that these we're missing key events for avsose or Mubarak which are reflecting badly on us or me, since I'm the one that's portrayed to be a baddie by the MIL.

                            Sometimes DILs are victims of their own success, they get what they want only to realize later the high price they paid, so donít try to settle scores with your MIL. There is no quick fix for your situation. It may sound counter-intuitive but I would suggest allowing your husband often some alone time with his family and do not debrief him later. It will heal the damage gradually.
                            I agree re: victims of success comment but just to clarify, in case you've misread my original post, I'm NOT settling scores. I want to clear the deck so that the MIL and I can start again. A lot of assumptions here again. I don't allow or disallow my husband to do anything. He's a grown adult and has the ability to make his own descisions and look after his own affairs, including how he chooses to interact with his family. We both used to go over to meet his family but when meangirls style tactics were used towards me, he intervened and asked me to keep contact to a minimum. While he speaks to his mother, he does not tolerate lies or his mothers skewed version of events about how I am.

                            My intention when I wrote my original post was how I should handle the situation as it stands with my MIL, especially since I know what she's like based on past experiences.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: Making up with MIL

                              Originally posted by muspus View Post
                              I agree re: victims of success comment but just to clarify, in case you've misread my original post, I'm NOT settling scores. I want to clear the deck so that the MIL and I can start again. A lot of assumptions here again. I don't allow or disallow my husband to do anything. He's a grown adult and has the ability to make his own descisions and look after his own affairs, including how he chooses to interact with his family. We both used to go over to meet his family but when meangirls style tactics were used towards me, he intervened and asked me to keep contact to a minimum. While he speaks to his mother, he does not tolerate lies or his mothers skewed version of events about how I am.

                              My intention when I wrote my original post was how I should handle the situation as it stands with my MIL, especially since I know what she's like based on past experiences.
                              I meant afsose*

                              Comment

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