manipulative motherinlaw - FamilyEducation
manipulative motherinlaw
02/24/2011 at 21:38 PM

Hello, I am having difficuly wanting to be very close or nice to my mil.
There have been several occasions that I have felt that she has been manipulative with me. It is causing me to dislike her and certainly is not making for a very strong relationship with her.
Some of my husband's family goes to my inlaws house for dinner on Sundays. We do not. Our Sunday's are busy.
Recently I was talking to her on the phone. She invited us over for Sunday dinner that week. I told her that we would not be able to. She said (in a really expressive tone) "Oh, I're probably busy." Much later (toward the end of the conversation -- after we had discussed a lot of other stuff) in the conversation I told her that we had stayed home (the Sunday before)and had a lazy Sunday. She said (in a snotty tone)..."well, you don't have to be busy when you don't want to, huh." I felt like she was UNDERHANDEDLY showing her displeasure that we do not come over on Sunday's.
I did not say anything. But, when my husband was home I mentioned this to him. We agreed that I should call her and ask her what she meant - rather than just assume. When I called, I said "When you said......what did you mean?" She said "What?????"..As if she did not even say that. I said "Yes, remember when you said.......". She replied immediately, before I had a chance to say anything else..."Oh, I didn't mean anything by that." I truly feel that she DID mean something by it. I only feel this way, because I have had other instances where she has said things underhandedly to me. She won't come out and say what she really wants to say...she beats around the bush. I feel like if she can't come out and say it - don't say it at all! She is very sanguine, loud and IN YOUR FACE. She is nosy and acts very proud of it, as occasionally she'll say "I'm nosy aren't I??" And just smiles. She has traits of a bully. I am a private person. I like my space. In some ways she intimidates me. Most of the time I try to ignore her underhanded comments and right them off as ignorance, but it is making me seriously hate being around her. There are times I can have an adult conversation with her, but it is these things that are ruining my trust in her. Any suggestions for how to deal with her better?

Perhaps you could spare the occasional Sunday to visit her. Doesn't have to be every week. She maybe likes the family to all get together to catch up with each other. Where's the harm in that. Do you visit her already at other times? Sorry, but difficult to reply when only hearing one side of the story sometimes.

I understand where the poster is coming from. I am a very private person, I enjoy time with my wife and kids. I live day to day on a schedule, except on weekends. My weekends are sacred to me. I like to make my own plans, not have others make plans for me and my family.

Perhaps the OP could take the initiative, then?

Why? I judge people by who they are as a person, not what place they hold in the family.