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Old 13.02.2007, 01:40
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[Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

Please help if you have had a fair amount of dealings with Swiss people who are around 60 years of age. I dont want it to sound like a Bernard Manning type rant but I cant decide if my mother in law (well we are not actually married but as she tells everybody we are, I think im ok here), I cant decide if her attitudes are just typical of a Swiss generation so I should be understanding or is she just a bit of a pain. For example, I am English and what ever topic we are talking about (well usually she is talking whilst my brain takes a Homer Simpson type time out as I cant get much of a word in), she always treats it like a competition between the two countries (invariably there is only one possible outcome - Swiss way good - all others inferior. As she stopped work when she got married and had kids (I didnt) she is constantly bleating on how unlike English kids, her kids were not allowed to watch TV and instead were marched up mountains and so on and so on and so on. Is this just a generational swiss pride thing so I should just let it wash over me, or am I justified in getting a tad miffed with this Englishbashing?
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Old 13.02.2007, 03:43
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Re: Mother is law, is she just being Swiss or a pain in the a***?

Run for the Berglis und Hüglis while you still have an independent bone in your body.
If you just let it wash over you like a cold shower on a camping site you will eventually hear that water was originally a Swiss invention.
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Old 13.02.2007, 08:33
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Re: Mother is law, is she just being Swiss or a pain in the a***?

two options:
1. Kill her. You're talking about a mother-in-law here
2. Use paragraphs. I don't know what she's doing wrong from what you've said bar a little national pride.
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Old 13.02.2007, 08:41
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Re: Mother is law, is she just being Swiss or a pain in the a***?

Hi Rachael,

Your mother-in-law's jibes are not particularly to do with age or her being Swiss. There are tactless people of all ages, who shoot their mouths off in situations where they can annoy/offend the hearer.

If you have any experience of living as a Swiss-German in the UK, I can assure you that the false perceptions, Hitler salutes and goose-stepping and cries of "Ja -voooooolllll" would soon wear you down. I know a Swiss in the UK who was called Hess (a common Swiss surname). After years of being asked how it was in Spandau and why had he parachuted into Scotland, he changed his name by deed poll. (Oddly he changed it to Tell - and another round of mindless jibes ensued.)

So, you are not alone.

What does you Swiss partner say? Have you discussed this with him? Don't forget that the Swiss are generally more direct than Brits. A simple statement to your mother-in-law next time she puts down the UK, might not be taken as offensive. If you are keeping a stiff upper lip, like a good Brit, she probably thinks you like hearing it!

Something along the lines of:

'I have been listening to your remarks about English kids/whatever - and I understand what you are saying. But there is nothing I can do about it. It's one of the cultural differences between our two countries - it would be a sad world if everything were the same. Both have good points. Both have their downsides. But as a foreigner here, I want to get on with you very well, but this constant referring to the shortcomings of my country and way we do this that or the other is not helping.'

The clincher is that she is looking forward to grandchildren - and she is trying to tell you how she would like to see them brought up. (This is a future hurdle for you!) Tell her you get the message and ask her in the gentlest way possible that it's time to change the record. She is probably, like many Swiss, quite insecure and is doing this as a sort of defence mechanism...
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Old 13.02.2007, 12:51
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

Quote:
- Swiss way good - all others inferior. As she stopped work when she got married and had kids (I didnt) she is constantly bleating on how unlike English kids, her kids were not allowed to watch TV and instead were marched up mountains and so on and so on and so on.
Maybe it is because the Swiss TV channels have nothing good on, they had to get out and do SOMETHING!!!!
I know a few people that are very much English, but when it comes to doing things properly (OR - the Swiss way)--- They immediately stray from their home roots since it is not as "organized".. (I think it depends on the person and rules they wish to follow at that time.)
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Old 13.02.2007, 13:14
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

You could try the "I've heard it all before...blah blah blah..talk to the hand cos the ears ain't listening" approach.

or :
you could put together a reasoned argument about how it important to have appreciation of the wider world (which should touch a nerve)

and : turn the knife (metaphorically speaking)
and say how pleased you are to hear an alternative point of view, because when you eventually have kids you already have you own clear ideas about how they should be brought up.

Just remember you don't have to justify yourself.

The easiest solution is to simply say you don't agree, and leave it at that, and refuse to listen to any more of it.

Your partner's views (nice use of apostrophe there eh?) on all this are far more important than hers. if he doesn't agree with you on major children issues then you do have a problem already.

dave




Quote:
Please help if you have had a fair amount of dealings with Swiss people who are around 60 years of age. I dont want it to sound like a Bernard Manning type rant but I cant decide if my mother in law (well we are not actually married but as she tells everybody we are, I think im ok here), I cant decide if her attitudes are just typical of a Swiss generation so I should be understanding or is she just a bit of a pain. For example, I am English and what ever topic we are talking about (well usually she is talking whilst my brain takes a Homer Simpson type time out as I cant get much of a word in), she always treats it like a competition between the two countries (invariably there is only one possible outcome - Swiss way good - all others inferior. As she stopped work when she got married and had kids (I didnt) she is constantly bleating on how unlike English kids, her kids were not allowed to watch TV and instead were marched up mountains and so on and so on and so on. Is this just a generational swiss pride thing so I should just let it wash over me, or am I justified in getting a tad miffed with this Englishbashing?
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Old 13.02.2007, 14:47
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

This post really did make me LOL ! I have gone through (am still am to some degree) this exact situation with my Swiss BFs parents. It has caused many an argument between us! I do agree with Ab Fab on this one, that it isn't really b/c of age or nationality, however, I think the Swiss are very straightforward and many do see their teenytiny country as the centre of the universe. At first, their (BF's parents) constant desire to prove that Heidiland is better than Canada really, really infuriated me. But honestly, who cares? They will never change and I don't have to sit there and listen to it. Throw a few strong comments back at them and ignore them. After a while, they will get the hint that you are a strong, intelligent person and might just listen to your opinions.
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Old 13.02.2007, 17:12
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

Maybe subconsciously she react that way because she is scared, that you could/would take away her child from her and thus tries to convince you that Switzerland is better than anything else?!

I have friends that have some in-laws do really weird stuff in order to ensure that their children stay with them, but actually they achieve quite the opposite with it though.
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Old 13.02.2007, 18:22
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

No other word hits a nerve quite like "mother-in-law."

Globally it is known that no matter what, even if she came from your exact same hometown, you would still be going through the same thing. The fact that she is culturally different from you just intensifies all of the standard annoyance associated with this relationship.

My advice is that you have to let it wash over you. If you can't, then the worst thing is that you'll have to start looking out for yourself...i.e. try to educate her on the things which you are open to talking about and also on things which you are NOT open to talking about. If she cannot learn how to talk to you the way that you want to be talked to, then you'll have to create some distance until she begins to show you some respect.

***Also be very aware of how you treat her. Respect is a 2-way street.

She can only mistreat you and hurt your feelings if you let her. So stop letting her! Good luck!
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Old 13.02.2007, 18:28
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

Aren't you going to suggest she "Hug it Out" ?
dave


Quote:
No other word hits a nerve quite like "mother-in-law."

Globally it is known that no matter what, even if she came from your exact same hometown, you would still be going through the same thing. The fact that she is culturally different from you just intensifies all of the standard annoyance associated with this relationship.

My advice is that you have to let it wash over you. If you can't, then the worst thing is that you'll have to start looking out for yourself...i.e. try to educate her on the things which you are open to talking about and also on things which you are NOT open to talking about. If she cannot learn how to talk to you the way that you want to be talked to, then you'll have to create some distance until she begins to show you some respect.

***Also be very aware of how you treat her. Respect is a 2-way street.

She can only mistreat you and hurt your feelings if you let her. So stop letting her! Good luck!
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Old 13.02.2007, 18:31
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

DaveA, good question, but sometimes hugging THAT hard will squish the mother-in-law like an overripe tomato!!!!!!!!!
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Old 13.02.2007, 19:22
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

Try this.... 'OK so if Everything Swiss is so fab.... why did Swissair go tits up' should shut the old trouts trap for a minute. My father in law gave me a thousand yard stare when I offloaded that one on him and I havent seen him since... 'Am I bothered'.
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Old 13.02.2007, 19:29
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

Quote:
Try this.... 'OK so if Everything Swiss is so fab.... why did Swissair go tits up' should shut the old trouts trap for a minute. My father in law gave me a thousand yard stare when I offloaded that one on him and I havent seen him since... 'Am I bothered'.
Or give them this joke:

Q. How do the Swiss operate a small airline?

A. They start with a big airline and work from there.
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Old 14.02.2007, 11:55
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

does she watch eastenders? It took me a while to convince my then boyfriends mother that not all of England was the same....
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Old 14.02.2007, 16:55
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

It seems that the swiss people in that age range are stuck in their ways.

My in-laws have this habit of trying to tell my wife and I that the only way to do things is they way they will do it.

So imagine their suprise and shock when I actually told them that there are many ways of doing things not just theirs (and I added that theirs were outdated by at least 30 years) and to stop interfering because whatever decisions we take, we will do our way and if we make mistakes we will learn from them.

I don't think they can actually comprehend that people can think of other solutions to problems and think outside of the box.
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Old 14.02.2007, 17:10
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

I can vouch for the fact that this is not a nationality issue, it is a mother-in-law issue. I have a small group of friends and acquaintances with almost identical problems. In some cases the MiL is of a different nationality, but more often than not they aren't held back when the daughter/son in law is of the same nationality.

certain Mils just have that competitve nature in them, where the basic argument is that nothing could possibly be superior to their family and the way they brought up their children.
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Old 14.02.2007, 18:52
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

Quote:

certain Mils just have that competitve nature in them, where the basic argument is that nothing could possibly be superior to their family and the way they brought up their children.
You can forget about being superior, because nothing could even measure up and be equal in the first place!

The other common MiL mistake is that to them "different = bad."

My husband has got it so easy with his MiL so far away! Lucky b*st*rd!
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Old 14.02.2007, 20:17
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

DiLs can be evil as well! So no point crucifying just the Mils :-) Best solution for Dil/Mil problems is DISTANCE :-)
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Old 15.02.2007, 00:00
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

Quote:
DiLs can be evil as well! So no point crucifying just the Mils :-) Best solution for Dil/Mil problems is DISTANCE :-)
I believe I already mentioned this, jR - respect is a 2-way street!
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Old 15.02.2007, 00:33
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Re: [Your opinion please on] my mother-in-law

thanks for your thoughts, glad I am not alone. I will try and keep my distance without being rude as I dont want to upset my partner. That said, I think there is a difference between "direct" and bloody rude (which is a line that was crossed many moons ago). I agree that respect is a two way street and maybe I would have this problem with any MIL but I think its just the fact that she is relentless in her approach that led to me starting this thread.

For example, our appartment in Switz is much smaller and a much lower standard than our house in England but MIL first comments were how Sofia's room was much better than our house in England as the room is square and not a rectangle (you know how 11 month olds hate rectangles - it can scar them for life???). It just never stops the comparisons.

Anyway, thanks again (and I will save those jokes just incase she gets too much)x
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