The MIL is blackmailing my 17-year-old daughter - how can I protect her?


Some of you have given me wonderful advice/encouragement on a couple of other posts. I'm the one with the 81-year-old MIL who moved in across the street barely 2 months ago, my husband is her only child and we have 17-year-old twins (A and B). The relationship with MIL is horrible and she is very mentally abusive and manipulative, but she has always been pretty good to my children - so I thought. She has recently alienated daughter B because that twin could/would not give MIL's cat painful injections (another story, cat needs to go to the hospital, MIL won't put up the money, but expects my kids to force feed and inject the cat every day). Daughter A is much more passive. The last 4 days daughter A has been over there doing all kinds of chores and things for the MIL and has now told me MIL wants her to move in with her now and become her POA as soon as she turns 18. I was her POA temporarily years ago when she had a stroke and it was a disaster. I don't want my daughter going through this turmoil. On top of the POA talk, MIL has trashed my husband and I for those 4 days to my daughter, bringing everything up from the time my husband was a little boy til now. My daughter says she knows better and says that she thinks she can handle it. She says MIL told her she is completely cutting my husband and I and our other daughter out of the will and is going to leave everything to her (which is a lot). The poor kid believes her and thinks she can "salvage" the inheritance. MIL also told my daughter that she is going to write a long letter to be read at the time of the reading of the will letting everyone know how awful we are (funny, years ago my husband joked that is something she would probably do, so no surprise here). My daughter just nods and smiles and does not fight her. I should mention that both my daughters are above 4.00 students and are attending college as highschoolers. They are bound for big things and I am also afraid that MIL will stand in daughter A's way of that by manipulating her into taking care of her instead of going off to college. We will not allow daughter A to move in with MIL until she is 18, but then we have no say. I just feel so sorry for her, I know what an awful heart wrenching situation she is headed for as we have been there for years dealing with it. All it will take is for her to upset her in any way and then she will be on the outs too. It will be whoever is kissing MIL's hiney the best at the end who will win, even if it is a stranger. We have to accept that. I am at my wits end with this. There is no use confronting MIL about anything, it just doesn't work. I am also very fearful that daughter A could get into legal trouble or worse down the road because MIL wants everyone to think she is a victim. She accused me of all kinds of things when I was her POA and I know she will do it to my daughter too. I am fearful that eventually something will happen and my daughter will have elder abuse allegations. I feel powerless once she turns 18 in five months, but then again, all could just blow up before then. I suppose I just have to let it happen and then pick up the pieces once she gets crushed.

The good thing though, is today is my mother's birthday, she is turning 76. When I was little, my brother and I were at the grocery store with her and she bought a lemon meringue pie for dessert that night. On the way through the parking lot, she dropped it, upside down in its box and it was smashed beyond recognition. We got into our van (an old Ford camper van) and got out plastic spoons and at the whole darn thing. So, today, brother and I are getting a lemon pie and taking it over to her house and we are going to eat the entire thing with her. She will love it. My mother has very little money but would give you the shirt of her back, and is very down to earth. It's like day and night between the two grandmothers. It is time I just focus on her and give her all my attention. She needs it, deserves it, and she appreciates it. I have been putting all my time into the MIL because she demands it and is extremely jealous of my relationship with my mother. Why can't she be happy for anyone? Why is she so hateful? It is so sad.

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ohjeez, why not print out some of the stories on this site, where people are dealing with the kind of person your MIL is? Give them to your daughters BOTH to read, and give them BOTH the opportunity to decide how/when etc. they want to proceed with any kind of relationship with their grandmother. Make sure they both spend time with your mother, in order for them to know what a grandma should really be like. The rest is up to them. But like you said, they're smart. They'll get it. But they have to get up to speed as to what to expect.
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"Why can't she be happy for anyone? Why is she so hateful? It is so sad."

Yes it is sad. ohjeezleweez, Google "scorpion nature story". You will find several versions of this old fable. Why would a scorpion sting the frog that is doing him a favor, when the result will be not only the frog's demise but the death of the scorpion as well? Because that is the scorpion's nature! I guess we could ask why is it your MIL's nature to be a trouble-maker and an unhappy person. Was she born with the happy genes missing? Does it have to do with how she was raised? We could speculate forever, but the important thing is to recognize that what you've experienced is what she is. I do believe in the need for and the possibility of human redemption. A Christmas Carol (also the Grinch story) is one of my all-time favorite stories. But unless MIL is visited by three ghostly visions or unless her heart grows three sizes, she is what she is. Accept that and move on.

But it has taken you all these years to get to that recognition. What about poor young daughter A, who still thinks she can "salvage" her inheritence? Poor kid. I think all you can do is warn her, protect her until she is 18, and stand by ready to pick up the pieces. If she doesn't go to college and instead chooses to "earn" her way in the world by sucking up to an old lady with a lot of money, that will be very sad indeed. (Gold digger is one of the more polite terms for people who do that.) But I doubt that you can stop her if she is intent on it.

I've got to laugh at MIL's intention to write a nasty letter so she can strike out even after she is dead. Doesn't she know that there is no requirement to attend the reading of the will? I'd mention that the next time the subject comes up.

It is too bad that MIL lives so close to you, so this drama is playing out under your nose. But your resolve to spend more time and energy with your own family makes a lot of sense!

BTW, have you had any conversations with neighbors about the scorpion, er you MIL?
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She is one nasty piece of work. Manipulating a 17 year old girl. Just awful. Keep talking to your daugher about what a can of worms this is and it will only backfire on her to get involved with her grandmother. Nothing good can come from this.
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