(Closed) FMIL subtly insulting her son (long)

posted 8 years ago in Family
Post # 3
2820 posts
Sugar bee

I think she’ll feel better the more you assure her that he’s a good man.  Parents sometimes have a hard time seeing their kid as an adult, I don’t think it’s malicious, but I agree not commiserating with her about her son but instead assuring her he’s great now is prob your best bet.

Post # 4
1580 posts
Bumble bee

I think you’re reading too far into it. As an outsider knowing only the examples you gave, I think that sounds totally normal. I think the lawn mowing story is funny. She may have just wanted to start conversation with you about the church thing. And my parents wouldn’t want me to move back in with them just so I could save money either.

I got upset over something similar when my Future In-Laws were helping my finace (boyfriend at the time) move into a new house. His mom told me things like, “make sure he gets a liner for this shower curtain” as if he is too dumb to know that you need a liner, and that it was my job to make sure he gets one. That kind of stuff went on for a while, mostly because my fiance would let it happen, and would let them go on believing that he needed the help. So basically I think once your fiance mows the lawn and proves that he can do things for himself, your Future Mother-In-Law will realize that he can do it. It just takes time for some mothers to let go.

Post # 5
5778 posts
Bee Keeper

I think you’re reading WAY too much into this. She’s probably just filling you in on his life and telling you funny stories about things he did as a kid. Every parent does that! Didn’t yours tell him anything about you when you were a child? Were they always painting you as adorable,sweet or funny and never mentioning  the silly or crazy things you acted out? Haven’t you seen pictures of each other as kids,looking gawky or awkward?

I really think this isn’t something you should dwell on,especially in a negative way. You’re part of his new life now,so don’t you want to know about the old as well?

Post # 6
204 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I agree with other bees that you are worrying over nothing. This is normal parent behavior and my parents tell dumb stories about me all the time as if im still the same, silly, 13-year old girl.

Its hard for parents when their children grow up and have a family of their own. In many ways, the bride replaces the mother as the most important women in a guy’s life, and vice versa. This is sometimes hard to swallow and I think your Future Mother-In-Law is just rembering what her soon use to be like. Key phrase is “use to” ;o). So just go with it, laugh and smile along and all the while know what a wonderfu, grown man your Fiance is!

Post # 8
5797 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2011

I think you’re reading WAY too much into this, telling funny anecdotes does not mean she’s insulting him. Has your Fiance said anything to you about how she makes him feel? You don’t mention him being upset with his mother in your post.

Post # 9
226 posts
Helper bee

From the examples that you gave, I wouldn’t take this so personally. It doesn’t sound like she is trying to slight him. Is she calling him names when she does this?  You said that your Fiance admits that he wasn’t always a joy, but what is his mother saying about it? Was Fiance present for the lawn mowing story at dinner? How did he feel about it?

Sometimes parents’ favorite stories are the ones that embarass us the most. I like hearing stories about my Fiance as a little boy because I didn’t know him then, and I’m sure that Future Mother-In-Law enjoys telling me about him as a little boy because she watched him grow.

I don’t know that I would think she was insinuating that your Fiance was going to kick the pews and whine during a church service or that he would up and quit in the middle of mowing the lawn. These just sound like funny anecdotes about a kid being a kid. It just so happens that this kid grew up to be your Fiance.

Post # 10
624 posts
Busy bee

My Mother-In-Law is this way to my Darling Husband.  I don’t know how your Future Mother-In-Law is with just your Fiance but my Mother-In-Law still sees him as this 12 year old with or without me.  She doesn’t actually know her son and seems to have no desire to get to know the real him and it hurts him.  The rare chance that she notices a change in him (whether good or bad), she twists it into something bad and places the blame on me, even if he changed before we met. 

To some extent it’s nothing but to another extent it is something.  I think if it doesn’t hurt your Fiance and she doesn’t place the blame on you no matter what, then I wouldn’t worry about it much and try to ignore her comments.  If it’s bothing him, he definitely should say something but if he doesn’t that is his choice.  Darling Husband has talked and talked to his mom to no avail.

Post # 11
4480 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch

A lot of times, families get stuck in patterns, and assign individual members “roles.” In your FMIL’s mind, your Fiance still has his role to play. Hopefully she is just bringing up stories from the past that she finds amusing, however inappropriate they are, but you and your Fiance should start figuring out how you want to deal with this. The best way to make her stop making these kinds of statements is to create a new pattern where she sees him not fail or give up or do something wrong–just talking to her about it will probably not have much of an impact–but you definitely want to work on this before you have kids that she can start having think that he’s somehow a bad guy or a failure.

Post # 12
52 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I can see why the comments annoy you, but from these examples, it doesn’t seem like she’s trying to be malicious. It seems like she’s just trying to be more involved in your lives (maybe too involved with the hamburger stuff?). I think a lot of parents get a kick out of telling stories about their kids misbehaving when they were little.

Post # 13
5388 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2010

My parents do this to me. I think that this is normal parent behavior. lol

Post # 14
359 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I know exactly what you mean (only our situation is a lot less subtle sometimes). While the anecdotes seem kinda cute/funny, sometimes the spirit in which they’re told can make them seem worse/rude. I think a lot of the bees above are right – a lot of moms still view their sons as the same teenage screw-up they once were and have a hard time acknowledging how far they’ve come.

If you think about the interactions he has with his mom from her perspective, it might be easier to see that she means well or at least doesnt mean to offend. He comes over to visit and still eats 2 burgers (probably similar to the way most teen boys scarf down a lot of food). She helped him by getting the lawnmower for him…not that there’s anything wrong with it, but she still sees a dependent child because a lot of their interactions are still her providing/helping him with something. Its very normal for parents to help their kids well into adulthood, but I could see how it prevents her from seeing him as an adult.

In our situation, she also lives several  hours away, so she really doesnt see him in his everyday routine as a responsible adult. So just realizing that she doesnt see the whole picture that you do may help you to not be so frustrated by her comments.

When she tries to get you in on talking about his failings, make sure you bring up examples of how well he’s doing. Be respectful to her, but make sure you point out his accomplishments & assure her that he is very helpful/supportive of you.

On the occasions she does show genuine concern/respect/affection for him, try to commit those times to your memory. (FMIL broke down crying to me about how much she loved Fi while he was having some medical problems and remembering that time has helped me to keep from getting upset over some of the critical remarks). 

Hopefully this helps – you’re def. not alone. Future Mother-In-Law once told me I need to be training Fi and keeping him on the right path (yes, she actually used the word training!) And it gets worse at family functions, because his Gma is actually worse about these types of things…

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