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Old 14.10.2009, 11:27
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3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

I'm not sure where to put this.

I'm three months ish into my stay in Switzerland and finding myself strangely withdrawn. I'm trying to do stuff, to motivate myself, but it doesn't seem to be having the effect I'd like. Most of the difficulty is the home situation which I can't quickly remove myself from.

I'm living with my Swiss bf (who is lovely, I have zero concerns here) and his parents. Here is the problem. There is a complete lack of communication and highly passive aggressive attitude from his mother. She's out of work at the moment which means I'm at home with her, essentially. Me and my bf have a large room and will soon have a small kitchen/ bathroom added (although 'soon' might be in one month or two or even three, we don't know essentially.)

My attitude is generally a 'talk about it and sort it out' one which doesn't sit with hers. For example, she sets rules and then breaks them, but I'm not allowed to 'break' them (usually in forgetfulness - so many ****ing rules!) because then she goes in a strop? Or she sets rules and then tells me off, despite not having mentioned the 'new rule' to me. That kind of thing. I feel like I'm not welcome and basically can't relax because of this. Added to this, our room borders the laundry room, and the washing machine and tumble dryer are both broken, so when I'm in my room I can't even relax as there's always a loud background noise going on - was supposed to be fixed over 2 months ago. Trying to learn French or grammar rules is nigh on impossible.

Added to this I have a lack of friends (had a huge social life back home), am trying to learn French for Swiss university (difficult when there is noise of machines in background and no library nearby), don't even know whether I will be accepted for Swiss uni (been told varying things), and am trying to get a job simply to get out of this house. I'm 19 and miss people of my age. I realise this is a relatively young age to move abroad with a foreign boyfriend, but with regards to our relationship, I have huge confidence in it.

We want to go travelling later in 2010 so we're saving up. That's why we're at his parents' house. After travelling we won't be coming back (or at least only until we've found something.) So this means I'm trying to save money as well, aware that I'm using my bf's savings and my own, and yet still trying to get myself involved in things (I use the museum card regularly, go for walks in the woods, am taking some irregular art classes etc...)

My parents will be over in a few weeks (yay!) and perhaps my sister soon. But in the meantime, the days are difficult, and I don't know how to fill my time. At home in England I was quite happy reading/ listening to music/ studying for a fair while - though I knew that within 5 mins walking I could be at a friend's house for a break...
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Old 14.10.2009, 11:37
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

Are you taking formal lessons for your French? If not, you could kill two (or more) birds with one stone; learn French, get away from the background noise and make some friends into the bargain.

I know lots of people from my old German classes, all expats, all in a similar situation and often up for going out for a beer and a good old chinwag to set the world back on its axis.

You can probably find some relatively inexpensive lessons from, say, Migros Klubschule.
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Old 14.10.2009, 11:51
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

Well, what do you expect?

His mother is testing you out & if you are hellbent on saving money & also find your relationship doesn't lose out in the end in this situation...what's the problem?

It's you that is the guest & given that, as you say, his mother is having a bit of a hard time then if you really want to make your life easier then its you who has to make the difference.

In Switzerland people can be complicated & even a bit flaky but generally, are pretty thorough so I'm sure his mother dislikes the fact the washing machine is broken too, maybe she hasn't enough money to fix it or is depressed?

Either way, you have come here & you keep comparing it to your life in the UK...IMHO you should really try to help her because as you say, you won't be around much after that & it is better you leave a good impression.

You will also see how much it will help your BF too..
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Old 14.10.2009, 11:57
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

If it''s really a problem then get your bf to have a word. If that doesnt work, then move out and get your own place, regardless of savings. It's your choice to stay there, and it's clear there is some resentment against you on his mothers side. If she's not willing to behave nicely in her own home then it doesn't leave you with too many options...

Maybe you and your bf should rent somewhere cheap together and get some privacy and independence to boot.
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Old 14.10.2009, 12:29
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

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Are you taking formal lessons for your French? If not, you could kill two (or more) birds with one stone; learn French, get away from the background noise and make some friends into the bargain.

I know lots of people from my old German classes, all expats, all in a similar situation and often up for going out for a beer and a good old chinwag to set the world back on its axis.

You can probably find some relatively inexpensive lessons from, say, Migros Klubschule.
Good idea!

Currently mulling over my options. Looking at universite populaire (sorry about lack of accents), private lessons (from a school teacher with experience), reading and writing lessons (where they apparently put you in a suitable group depending on level.) Anyone tried universite populaire? Price isn't too much of an issue - my parents have helpfully offered to pay because without the lessons the university here isn't going to accept me (if they do decide they might, that is!)

Outside of that I'm watching TV and films in French, reading the newspaper, speaking with people (I'm volunteering for a charity shop), reading French literature etc. I had an A level in French and some French experience to begin with so I find it's generally okay - unless I panic!
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Old 14.10.2009, 12:34
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

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Well, what do you expect?

His mother is testing you out...

In Switzerland people can be complicated...

You will also see how much it will help your BF too..
Complicated as in one day lovely to me, next day bitching behind my back?

I've had enough of being 'tested out.' I shouldn't constantly feel on edge - I want somewhere I can feel relaxed/ at home at. Surely not too much to ask!
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Old 14.10.2009, 12:43
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

That all depends on her. Some women are very protective of their sons & are not so nice to the girlfriends that are taking them away. What is your boyfriends opinion on all of this? Is his mothers behaviour the same all the time regarless of you being there? Is this just her nature to act this way?

Regardless of the answers to the questions above you have to remember that you are a guest in their house. Their house, their rules, their way of doing things. Not always easy but you can bet at least half the women on this forum have had problems with mother in laws before.

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Complicated as in one day lovely to me, next day bitching behind my back?

I've had enough of being 'tested out.' I shouldn't constantly feel on edge - I want somewhere I can feel relaxed/ at home at. Surely not too much to ask!
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Last edited by Lou; 14.10.2009 at 12:44. Reason: typo
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Old 14.10.2009, 12:43
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

Hmm... if she's being lovely to you some of the time...

I wonder if she is unhappy with the situation in general (an extra person in the flat and all that, plus maybe stressed about being out of work herself) but still trying to be nice to you anyway (for her son's sake, and because it's not your fault.) Just as you feel unwelcome, she may be feeling unappreciated. Would that explain the mixed messages?


It sounds like you're having a fairly big shakeup in other ways as well: new country, making new friends, trying for university. You need to recognize that all of this is contributing to your stress level - just as Boyfriend's Mum's being out of work, home all day with the broken appliances, is contributing to hers - and (hopefully) both work a little harder at making a go of it.
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Old 14.10.2009, 12:53
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

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That all depends on her. Some women are very protective of their sons & are not so nice to the girlfriends that are taking them away. What is your boyfriends opinion on all of this? Is his mothers behaviour the same all the time regarless of you being there? Is this just her nature to act this way?

Regardless of the answers to the questions above you have to remember that you are a guest in their house. Their house, their rules, their way of doing things. Not always easy but you can bet at least half the women on this forum have had problems with mother in laws before.
He said with his mother I'm the most liked out of any of the girlfriends he had (with the rest of his family I get on very well, will go to their house for lunch etc), it's nothing against me, his mother is simply 'mad' (his words) and has horrific mood swings. It seems it is her nature to a large extent but this doesn't change that I find it very difficult! One day she makes a bit of an effort, the next day she's twitching with anger.

It is true, of course I'm still only a guest in their house, and at least they are letting us stay here. It helps so much to write this and read the replies. Makes me realise that I'm not the only one who has suffered the mother-in-law!
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Old 14.10.2009, 13:00
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

In fact, just after I wrote this message she was lovely to me, very chatty, she suggested I look at her films to see if I want to borrow any. BUT I'm sure that tomorrow or the day after she'll be banging the doors and seething.

I think she is unhappy, but jeez, talk about take it out on other people. And the whole rules thing is ridiculous. I've never known a household with so many rules!

When you consider that I've only ever lived in one house in one country, it is a change, but it's still only Western Europe, so not that different in terms of customs, culture etc. And I do love Switzerland - trains which run on time, people who say hello when they go for a walk, a respect for the countryside, great place for walks, lots of art, good transport links so I can go back to England easily and cheaply, etc.

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Hmm... if she's being lovely to you some of the time...

I wonder if she is unhappy with the situation in general (an extra person in the flat and all that, plus maybe stressed about being out of work herself) but still trying to be nice to you anyway (for her son's sake, and because it's not your fault.) Just as you feel unwelcome, she may be feeling unappreciated. Would that explain the mixed messages?


It sounds like you're having a fairly big shakeup in other ways as well: new country, making new friends, trying for university. You need to recognize that all of this is contributing to your stress level - just as Boyfriend's Mum's being out of work, home all day with the broken appliances, is contributing to hers - and (hopefully) both work a little harder at making a go of it.
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Old 14.10.2009, 13:04
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

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He said with his mother I'm the most liked out of any of the girlfriends he had (with the rest of his family I get on very well, will go to their house for lunch etc), it's nothing against me, his mother is simply 'mad' (his words) and has horrific mood swings. It seems it is her nature to a large extent but this doesn't change that I find it very difficult! One day she makes a bit of an effort, the next day she's twitching with anger.

It is true, of course I'm still only a guest in their house, and at least they are letting us stay here. It helps so much to write this and read the replies. Makes me realise that I'm not the only one who has suffered the mother-in-law!
OK when you put it like that then I'm on your side as I've had a fair amount of experience with 'mad' women here, sorry!

It does however enlighten you to how situations can be complex here, to know what you are getting yourself involved in in the long run.....but you are young & if things get a bit too much in your situation then be prepared to adapt, no-one is really going to say too much against his mother so its not worth fighting that, I hope the situation improves & I really didn't mean to be insensitive.
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Old 14.10.2009, 13:06
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.


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... most liked out of any of the girlfriends he had ... it's nothing against me ... his mother is simply 'mad' (his words) and has horrific mood swings.
... her nature ... One day ... a bit of an effort, the next day she's twitching with anger.



Save your sanity.
Save your relationship.
Stop trying to save money.

Move out, ASAP.
.
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Old 14.10.2009, 13:08
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

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When you consider that I've only ever lived in one house in one country, it is a change, but it's still only Western Europe, so not that different in terms of customs, culture etc.
Switzerland: it's different-er than you think.

Really, having lots and lots of 'rules' is not unusual for a Swiss household. Swiss domestic culture values order above almost all else, and rules preserve order.

The difference is that people living in that household for twenty years will have a good idea what these rules are (and also when they can safely be transgressed.) You're new, so of course you will put a foot wrong now and then... but you will learn.

Hang in there, it'll get better!
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Old 14.10.2009, 13:15
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

two solutions girl....

1. she can't be passive aggressive if she's deceased!
2. move out

solution 1 is cheaper than 2

ok ok just trying to lighten up the mood a little with a slightly incensitive joke...

It's always hard as mentioned before when you move to a new country etc... and all you can do is be patient, and since you're living with your boyfriend's mum you're gonna have to put up with her mood swings and tantrums...If it's that important for you then you will undoubtedly stick around and things will improve

Bon Chance

Cheers

TLD
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Old 14.10.2009, 13:18
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

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OK when you put it like that then I'm on your side as I've had a fair amount of experience with 'mad' women here, sorry!

It does however enlighten you to how situations can be complex here, to know what you are getting yourself involved in in the long run.....but you are young & if things get a bit too much in your situation then be prepared to adapt, no-one is really going to say too much against his mother so its not worth fighting that, I hope the situation improves & I really didn't mean to be insensitive.
I imagine you didn't mean to be insensitive, it's difficult to explain these things on a forum and difficult to give a full picture of all the little difficulties/ rules.

I am prepared to adapt - I'm trying to - it just seems I don't adapt enough or quickly enough. Of course, as you say, no one says much against his mother in the house. My bf's family (the grandfather and others), however, have spoken to his mother about it and said they think her behaviour is way out of order (it got to the point we were about to move out out of need) a few weeks ago. My bf told her where to go and made it quite clear that if she's not correct with me that she will lose him. Neither of us wants this though. We just want to get on and live without this extra stress! Since then it has got a bit better, though I feel there's always going to be an awkwardness...

Situations are complex, as you say... I'm coming into a family which I didn't really know, and of course my being here alters the dynamics too.
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Old 14.10.2009, 13:19
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

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Save your sanity.
Save your relationship.
Stop trying to save money.

Move out, ASAP.
.
We've got the moving out. That will be happening. Just not the ASAP bit...
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Old 14.10.2009, 13:23
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

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Switzerland: it's different-er than you think.

Really, having lots and lots of 'rules' is not unusual for a Swiss household. Swiss domestic culture values order above almost all else, and rules preserve order.

The difference is that people living in that household for twenty years will have a good idea what these rules are (and also when they can safely be transgressed.) You're new, so of course you will put a foot wrong now and then... but you will learn.

Hang in there, it'll get better!
Maybe so! Yes, that's definitely true that they seem to like rules. My boyfriend, however, whilst liking order, is (thank god) not a rule-adorer....

I hope so. I'm determined to stick it out because between me and my bf it is great, so I don't want these glitches to spoil it. And I tell myself we'll be moving out soon ish. Temporary, temporary, temporary...
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Old 14.10.2009, 13:24
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

Congratulations anyway - got a laugh and a smile out of me!

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two solutions girl....

1. she can't be passive aggressive if she's deceased!
2. move out

solution 1 is cheaper than 2

ok ok just trying to lighten up the mood a little with a slightly incensitive joke...

It's always hard as mentioned before when you move to a new country etc... and all you can do is be patient, and since you're living with your boyfriend's mum you're gonna have to put up with her mood swings and tantrums...If it's that important for you then you will undoubtedly stick around and things will improve

Bon Chance

Cheers

TLD
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Old 14.10.2009, 13:30
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

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We've got the moving out. That will be happening. Just not the ASAP bit...
You say you are working in a charity shop, if you are being paid for it, can you increase your hours or, if you are doing it voluntarily, perhaps look for a paid job which will get you out of the house and earn you a bit more money which will make the "moving out fund" grow a bit faster.

Alternatively, you and your boyfriend could keep your eyes open for a place in a shared house (the term is Wohngemeinschaft in German, not sure in English or French). Usually they are younger people who are students or early in their career and the rent is cheap as chips.

It might be a bit more suitable for you both rather than living with your boyfriend's parents and all the awkwardness and stress that comes with it. At least both parties get to vet each other before making the commitment...
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Old 14.10.2009, 13:34
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Re: 3 months stress and fed up of passive-aggressive attitude.

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his mother is simply 'mad' (his words) and has horrific mood swings.
Sorry to hear about your situation. I am not diagnosing anything but from what I read she seems to have borderline personality. THe rapid mood swings , she likes having control of situations and with you in the picture she is losing ground. My tip would be very simple: move out. Maybe travelling can come later and you guys can rent a tiny appartment that you can call yours. Then maybe if this is not possible, finding a part time job will help your situation, if you are learning french then maybe staying longer at school will help you. For the time being just ignore her, do not disrespect her but when she is being rude just tell her so and then turn around and leave, will drive her crazy at first but then she will give up trying to control you.
I have had a couple of people treating me like that and fortunately they are not in my life anymore, but yours sounds like a more permanent situation so learning how to deal with her will be essential.

Here is an interesting link:
http://newsdive.blogspot.com/2008/04...eone-with.html

Hope I did not offend anyone. Borderline personality is very common and affects 2% of adults in the US for example (data from http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/b/bord...prevalence.htm)
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