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Evesdropping

Discussion in 'Relationship With In-Laws' started by mimita, Apr 21, 2022.

  1. mimita

    mimita Senior IL'ite

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    As a person, i am somewhat introverted and expect privacy and others to have a sense of boundary. My mil, is the kind that wants everyone in the house to talk only to her all the time.
    If my husband and I are in the kitchen, she makes an entry every 1 minute to pretend to take something in the kitchen. Sometimes, she just opens a cupboard and closes and goes. Same when we are in the living room or any common area. This extremely nosy nature is getting me crazy. She is also jealous and resentful. Even though she is older by 30 years to me, she wants to be me.
    She knows that I resent it since I keep retreating into our room most of the time out of frustration.
    Either she cannot help it our does not want to co-operate and does it deliberately.
    I have tried to ignore it, but it's been a decade and i cannot accept it. My company has moved to full wfh and in the last 2 years i have gone crazy having to put up with her invading my privacy to evesdrop. I resent her for it since i don't ever get a break from her and mostly live inside my room to stay sane. How can I live like this for the rest of my life? My husband is the only child and she is stuck here with me 24x7x365 in a single floor apartment.its like she can't stand others talking to me leaving her out.
    If I see inherent goodness, i can adjust. But if people are deliberately coming in to interfere knowing they are distrubing, it bothers me. In our house, everyone used to give each other space. Here she is widowed and has no hobby and is in our hair all the time.
    Pls Help me cope. I try distractions and hobbies, they all work for a few days only.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2022
  2. KashmirFlower

    KashmirFlower IL Hall of Fame

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    @mimita Other than staying in the same room is she doing anything like negative talks, not giving value to your conversation? May be spend some time with her in tasks like cooking & dinner time as a family member.

    Working hours can you close the doors? And when it is you personal time on weekends? Talk to her that these hours you want to be alone. See how it goes.
     
  3. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    Your husband needs to talk to her. She has become so habituated to doing this that it will be difficult to change her though. Do you have some place you can go outside to work?
     
  4. mimita

    mimita Senior IL'ite

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    Yes, i close my door during work hours . I just feel stuck inside weekends as well. It's like the kitchen and living room is her territory always.
     
  5. mimita

    mimita Senior IL'ite

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    Not sure how i can tell him that. He will just say she is just walking around the house, how can I stop her and i am afraid he will blame me and just call me selfish for creating problems . I don't know how he will react. It has caused problems with him and me earlier over his mother.She acts innocent. How can I prove that she came in just to snoop and not to throw something in the dustbin at the exact time when i am there ? Even if my husband agrees with me, mil will never accept that she does this. Is this how things work in other households as well? He will hate me for expecting some privacy. When my mil is spending time with my kid or my husband, i don't do the same. She is too thick to return the courtesy.
     
  6. PurpleRoses

    PurpleRoses Gold IL'ite

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    Yes I totally feel you. Me and my close friend also have faced similar situation.
    Honestly, there is nothing much you can do since your husband is the single child and she wont leave ever.
    My friend's situation is worser than mine and yours.
    Her MiL will comment n instruct even how to hold scissors in hand at what angle to cut milk packet every morning! She will instruct what vegetable to cook and how much to take!
    Not saying this to compare and tell you that your situation is better. No, because what you are going through is not normal. But just to tell you that such old females don't WANT to understand their "boundaries".
    They feel entitled to do anything in the name of being "mother of son" and say husbands don't support their wives due to emotional blackmail from mothers or due to guilt especially when the mother is widowed and has none to be with!
    I would say the only option for you is to think she doesn't exist and go about doing whatever you want without thinking she is there in the vincity.

    When she comes to kitchen every 1min, ask her "do you need anything?" Keep repeating it as many times as she enters kitchen. At some point she will get frustrated and stop coming.

    Dont retreat to your room. Think she doesnt exist or act like you dont care. She will take kitchen and living room as territory as long as you let her!

    Take control over house. Trust me I know this as first hand experience. The more you stay quiet and tolerate or ignore the more they rule over you and house!
    You need to pick your battles carefully. You have to subtly let her know without explicitly verbally having argument that enough is enough and you dont care anymore of her antics!
     
    Thyagarajan likes this.
  7. Thoughtful

    Thoughtful Gold IL'ite

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    Last edited: Apr 22, 2022
  8. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @mimita

    I am so sorry to hear what you go through everyday especially when you work from home and had to face this situation 24/7. Privacy is an essential part of our lives in order to plan our lives, introspect and to remain sane. It is difficult to compromise on it.

    I feel what your MIL is experiencing is the fear of missing out and to a large extent seeking attention as she fears she would become redundant over a period of time with no respect from anyone as she adds no value. She may need counseling to overcome this fear and only your husband can arrange for it as your suggesting it will be disaster in a family setting.

    If you and your husband have a good understanding, he can spend some dedicated time with her everyday to reassure her that she is an important part of the family. You can also contribute by showing through your actions that you care for her. You need to play hot and cold with her, meaning, when you need privacy, please be firm that you need to be left alone but whenever you can afford to do so, please engage in a conversation to emphasize that you care for your Mil. I know it is hard as an introvert to engage in a conversation all the time but do it as much as you could to ease the situation.

    Once your Mil feels she is not losing out no matter what, she may become more relaxed instead of evesdropping. It is difficult for a mother to compete with wife and for her to lose her possessiveness over her son needs time. She may need a combination of help from her son, professional counseling and some actions from you (to the extent possible).
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2022
  9. Dishaa

    Dishaa Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Op,

    I agree with what Viswamitra said.

    Once their kids grows up and parents age, they start feeling lonely.

    Thereafter, this phase of mind converts to lack of importance and authority after their childs marriage.

    Further, if they face any kind of health or finance issues or ageing problems or death of their partner they start feeling insecured as now a days generally people have one or two children.

    You can spend some time with her or atleast appreciate her about her any activities eg cooking, how she brought up her son (ur husband) or any handwork etc.

    If you feel she is evesdropping you, no need to reduce your pace or volume while you talk, just be normal and continue. In between the talks, you can even put up some appreciation words for ur MIL so she feels secured.

    If you are interested to make ur relationship cordial, you can share some of your conversations to her (includes about your office jokes or any relatives or friends discussions).

    Encourage her to do some activity or pursue any hobby.

    As you said your husband is the only child, it will be difficult for him to choose any one of you.
     
    Viswamitra likes this.
  10. SGBV

    SGBV IL Hall of Fame

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    Can you find real privacy at home?
    I mean, if you want to spend some private time with H, move to your room, lock the door & spend quality time in private.

    If you want to talk, go for a long walk with him. Plan your weekly shopping together & go to a mall or beach or even to temple just to spend some quality time.

    But, other than that, do not mind your MILs entry to your kitchen or living room when you are with your H.

    Elders become like kids, especially when they become widowed. Their loneliness cause insecurities; hence they poke their nose into everything to makesure they are secure.
    It is sadly a pity state to be in. Their dependence state, certain age related illness, hormones & other factors cause this.

    They actually need assurance, not guidance.

    Whenever she passes by your kitchen or living room during some important & private discussions, just pause and wait till she moves out. Then continue your discussion.
    Make your H understand the reason behind your reaction.

    If you are not into any personal discussion, then casually invite your MIL to the conversation & try as much as possible to involve her.
     

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