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Miss Chiff
Age: 24    MILAge: 48

Tales From The D.I.L. Side

Well, the wedding is over, and it's official - I have a *gulp* mother-in-law.  I've been writing here for quite a while, though, because I've been encountering MIL-type behavior for quite some time.  And now that we are married and we are beginning our life, and someday our own family, I realize that, while I'm certainly not the "best-friend" daughter in law, I'm not all that bad.  I see her other son's fiancée kissing her butt and sucking up, and I refuse to do it.  I want to establish that we will run our home and our family as we see fit, and we will not be ordered around (she's very demanding with her children, who are actually no longer children, as they are all over 21).  Whether they pay attention to her behavior or not (my husband usually doesn't) she feels that it's ok to tell them what to do.  When she doesn't get her way, she tries to play martyr (she did this to us 4 days before our wedding, and I've never been more furious at her in my life - story to follow ...) hoping all will feel sorry for her.

Most of the time my husband understands how her behavior makes me feel, but often he gets angry at me for letting it get to me the way it does.  I have tried, over and over, to explain why I get angry, but I don't believe he gets it - or possibly he's tired of hearing it ... but either way ... I get angry at her behavior, not because of the specific things she does (ok, they are part of it) but because she has so little respect for her son (and for that fact, that her son has a wife ...) that she feels that it's ok to treat him/us that way.

I've told my husband that I feel like she doesn't like me, although I can't imagine why - I haven't done anything (that I know of) to give her reason to be upset with me.  He says that the only reason he can see for the way she acts sometimes is that I am not someone that can be controlled by her (she does tend to be very controlling, and she likes to tell people that they "have to" do this or that).  If that makes me a bad daughter in law, then that is just going to be the way it is, because my husband and I are a team - a team of two - and we're capable of running our lives and handling our home, and I for one, do not appreciate the kind of interference that I've been encountering so far.  She once went so far as to tell me that we (meaning my husband and I) cannot ever move out of state, that we need to stay here (because several other people in her family have already moved out of state, and another one is going to be leaving at some point ...).

The "story" that I referred to above is about what she she to us 4 days before our wedding.  My husband asked her if she'd be able to control her behavior at the rehearsal dinner.  She got angry at him for thinking that she would start something (she's incredibly bitter over the divorce, and she can't stand my FIL's wife).  What she doesn't know, though, is that I told FIL's wife the same thing - that we did not want anything started, etc.  She assumed my husband was accusing her, and got defensive and angry.  Truth be told, DH and I both felt that if there was going to be anything "out of the way" said by anyone, it would be her, because she's recently been angry at my FIL for other things, and she's also still very angry about the divorce, etc.

So she got on the phone with her brother (DH's uncle) the next day and put her colorful spin on the situation.  The uncle then called our home and actually yelled at my husband about how bad he treated his mother.  He told DH that (our wedding day) was the "most important day of her life" and that he better get his ass over to her house and tell her that he's sorry and that she's the most important woman in his life.  ((this also tells me that his uncle likes me about as much as his mother does))  My DH was so unbelievably angry after that, he was about to get in the car (it was 10:30 pm) and go to his mother's house and raise hell with her.  She might have just an ounce more respect for me if she knew that I stopped him from doing this.  If I thought it would have done any good, I would have said "Fine, let's go."  But I knew it was pointless with her, so I advised him to give it up.  He had told his uncle that he would straighten it out with her.  The uncle called the next night when DH was out and told me to, "tell him to make sure he calls his mother" as if the original argument was any of his business anyway.

I can't stand it that MIL (and now her family) feels that it's ok to just butt in like that.  We're adults, and we make the choices that are best for us - anytime they don't agree, it's like we're stupid and we're not doing the right thing, and they like to tell us so.

At our wedding rehearsal two days later, after uncle inserted himself and made the problem worse than it was to begin with, she told my husband that he hurt her and made her feel bad - as I said earlier, playing martyr during our special time to get attention.  She hasn't been too terribly friendly since then.  We just got back from a week's vacation, and I expected her to be calling him the day we got home, or at least the following day.  She called him at work instead - I find it odd because she's never minded calling our home before.  I thought for sure she'd want to talk to him right away and find out how our trip was, etc.  But she called his work instead (where there'd be no chance of me answering the phone, I assume).  I don't know if she's angry with me over this whole thing, but if she is, I can't imagine why, because I stayed out of it.  My DH knows how furious I was at her and her brother for pulling this crap on us during what was supposed to be the happiest time of our lives, but I never expressed it to them - I was letting DH handle it.

I've read so many stories here about the "martyr MIL's", and most of them are far worse than mine.  I'm thankful that it hasn't reached the boiling point (yet).  It almost did the week of our wedding - I can't remember the last time I was that angry, and I am going to be on guard for this rotten behavior for quite some time to come.  I'm not going to let anyone on this planet, not his family, my family, or anyone else, get away with that kind of interference and disrespect towards DH, myself, or our own future family - and if they don't like it, they simply won't be an active part of our lives.  I'm sure that's easier said than done, but if pushed that far, that's the way it will be.

I think that we daughters-in-law (and sons-in-law, not to leave the men out, because many of them have it just as bad) put up with too much so as not to cause problems for our husbands, but we need to remember that while our DH's are #1 in our lives, we are #1 in theirs also, and we can't sit back and let that be taken from us.  I don't want to sound like we should "battle" for the number one spot - it's not a matter of who they love more, wife or mother, because that's not the way it goes.  It's just that, once a man has a wife (or a woman has a husband - once again, not to leave the men out), the mother takes on a different role than she has always played.  She takes a second seat - to put it bluntly, but that's not to say her son or daughter doesn't love her as he/she always has, it's just that he/she now has his/her own life, and family.  I think many moms just can't deal with that.

I'm thankful that my mother has been wonderful to my DH, and she treats both he and my sister's husband as if they've always been part of our family, not as this new intruder that she is forced to deal with.  That is the feeling I sometimes get from my MIL - not always, and not even most of the time, but there are times ...

That is my insight into the whole "MIL situation".  Please feel free to respond or to add your own thoughts/comments.  Thanks for letting me get my little editorial off of my chest!! ;)

                signed - insights into MIL situation

She has done it again.  And she still is not even my official MIL -- the wedding is coming up very quick.  We just found out that my almost DH's brother (who is best man) can't make it in town in time for a bachelor party (he is in the Army, and we just found out when he was able to get leave to come home).  MIL is furious at her ex (my FIL) because he's the one who made the reservation -- this late in the game, you can't request just any old flight you want ... he's lucky he even GOT a flight!

So she told my fiancé that his bachelor party should be the night before the wedding, so that BIL can attend.  Fiancé and I agreed a long time ago that neither one of us will be doing any partying or celebrating the night before the wedding, because we have a lot to do the next day to get ready, and she KNOWS that is our plan.  BUT, she's so upset about her favorite son not being able to attend the bachelor party that she doesn't even give a damn about her other son's wedding day.  My fiancé is very angry with her over this, and so am I.  I can't believe she has that much disrespect for her own son (then again, he isn't her FAVORITE son...).  He told he that, no, he didn't want to do anything like that the night before our wedding, and she said, "but the wedding isn't until later in the evening ..." @!#*!!#@

On top of that, since she blames this on my fiancé's father, she now has a nice fresh new thing to be mad at him for (even though it's NOT his fault, and if it weren't for him, my fiancé's brother and sister would both miss the wedding, because neither can afford a plane ticket -  so HE bought them their airfare),  and so I fear that she's going to cause trouble and wreck what should be a happy time for us.  She has proven to me many times that she has no respect for her son, and this makes me so angry!  As far as I'm concerned, she's not treating her son this way, she is treating MY HUSBAND this way.  Usually he ignores her petty crap, because he knows how she is.  But this time I believe he's really bothered by her childish behavior and overall lack of respect for him.  I'm not sure how much more of her I can deal with, especially where this wedding is concerned.  She's really done it this time.

I have such a problem with the lack of respect my MIL has for her son (my fiancé) and for me that I can't even begin to explain it.  The last time I wrote in about her, I talked about how all she cares about with our wedding (upcoming) is how she isn't getting HER way.  Well, I am happy to announce that I have made a small step in the direction of showing her that this is not about just her.  And that our lives are not going to be spent catering to her.  My fiancé and I made plans with the florist for the wedding last week.  I ordered THREE mother's corsages (for each of our mothers and for his step-mother, whom MIL hates!) and we also ordered roses for the "peace offering" which is where the groom gives a red rose to the bride's mom, and the bride gives one to the groom's mom, to sort of symbolize the uniting of the families, etc.  Well, I will be giving one to MIL and to step-mom.  MIL doesn't know this, and she's going totally flip out and get mad when she finds out, too.  But I'm setting the precedent that A) she can't influence our choice to include step-mom, and B) she can't and will not continue to "tell" us what to do, because we are adults and we don't need that treatment from her or anyone else.  I didn't do this with the corsages and the roses to deliberately stick it to her or anything.  I would have included step-mom anyway.  My point is that MIL does NOT want us to include step-mom, but I'm not backing off just because she is going to get upset.

We are also going to make plans to spend Christmas of 2001 with my FIL/Step-mom-in-law, who live several states away from us and we don't see too often.  We're also doing this, in part, to set the precedent with MIL that our life is going to include everyone, not just her.  She has ( and continues to) thrown a fit over Christmas.  She feels that her kids must spend every single Christmas with her.  She has recently imposed that same rule upon her brother, who now has plans to move to another state.  I personally think this is one of the most selfish things I've ever heard.  But she is going to learn that her son has a wife now, and that he also has a father whom he hasn't spent a Christmas with in years. She is going to learn that her daughter-in-law (me) isn't going to put up with her demands.  My greatest hope would be that she just sees our way of handling things, and lets it be, but my fiancé and I both know that it's not going to be that easy.  We are going to have one fight on our hands when she sees how we're treating his step-mom (when she sees that we are happily including her in our wedding) and another one when she finds out that (oh heaven forbid!) we're not spending ONE WHOLE CHRISTMAS with her.

The way I see it here is that I am getting two mothers-in-law out of this marriage (most of you are probably cringing at the very thought of 2 MILs).  The good part is that only one of them drives me nuts.

I wonder what would happen if I told MIL that I also consider step-mom as a MIL?  I'm guessing that I would get to see what a conniption fit looks like.

This week's drama -- my MIL is still not over her divorce, which happened about 20 years ago.  I have heard this sob story so many times - about how her whole family HATES her ex-husband (my soon to be FIL) because of all the things that he did to her (none of which my fiancé even believes are true).  So recently she's been talking to my mom about planning a wedding shower for us, and my mom got to hear this whole thing too.  Any time the subject of my FIL or his wife (of 15 years, whom MIL hates even more) comes up, she seizes the chance to tell whoever is within earshot what terrible horrible people the both are.  Now, I don't think it's fair of her to do this, but she just insists on trying to get everyone to feel bad for her, and to hate my FIL and his wife.  She did it to my fiancé and his siblings their whole lives, she started doing it to me, and now she's doing it to MY mother.  She has no idea how BAD it's making her look, saying all these things all the time.  It make s her look [A] very bitter and insecure [B] VERY VERY arrogant, that she goes around speaking FOR everyone else by telling people that "her whole family" hates them (my fiancé and I get along great with them, and they treat me wonderfully) [C] very childish and petty.  I believe I mentioned this in another submission, but every time I hear this I can picture the argument that she and I are going to have a few years down the road the first time I catch her saying one word of that stuff around our kids.  When I told my fiancé about the things MIL told my mother, he became furious!  He and I are so tired of this stuff from her, and ever since we started planning the wedding, her usual brand of sh*t has doubled.  She hates the fact that my FIL is bringing his wife to our wedding (well, gee, they've only been married for about 15 years ... how dare he bring her, right?)

And guess what?  Several months ago, my fiancé got a phone call from his step-mother about the wedding.  She told him that if he thought it would be better, and cause less problems for all concerned if she didn't come, that she would understand.  And he told her " No Way", that we definitely wanted her there.  She is the only person who has actually come to US and asked what do WE want.  She said that this is OUR day, and she doesn't want to ruin it if her being there is going to be a problem.  We let her know that WE BOTH want her to come, and she said "good, because I want to come".

His real mother is too busy complaining about all the bad things that have happened/are happening to her to be worried about what her son wants on his wedding day.  It's like, "Poor me, my kids moved out, poor me, my son is getting married, poor me, my ex is bringing his evil wretched wife to MY son's wedding, blah blah blah."  And he and I are so tired of hearing this.

But now I'm concerned that this bubbling hatred is going to interfere with our wedding in some way.  I can't listen to much more of this, because every time she starts this ridiculous rant, I get a flash forward of either a big argument AT the wedding, or several weeks of arguments leading up to it.  There is still a lot that MIL doesn't know we're doing.  She doesn't know that we are ordering THREE mothers' corsages (his mom, my mom, and step-mom), she doesn't know that we're not going to exclude her from the wedding party announcements (at the reception).  She totally blew up when we asked her if she'd like to be announced by herself, or have another family member escort her.  She insisted that she would be escorted by my fiancé's father, which we said no to.  Not only are we NOT going to deliberately exclude the step-mom just because MIL doesn't like her, but it's totally inappropriate for her to expect my FIL to walk with her.  I checked the etiquette book, and it agreed wit h me.  It's very inappropriate for divorced parents to be presented together.  She got mad and resorted to "She's NOT YOUR MOTHER!"  I said, "No, but she IS his wife!" and I think she just about wanted to kill me at that point.  Until then, I had never actually seen daggers come out of someone's eyes before.  It was kinda cool.  So my fiancé decided for her that his uncle will escort her for the dinner announcements.  She doesn't know this yet.  We gave her the option to choose, and she got mad at us, so she lost her option, and the choice was made for her (and I stayed OUT of that choice on purpose, and I left it up to my fiancé).  But like I said, she doesn't know it yet, and when she finds out, there's going to be yet ANOTHER big argument over MIL not getting her way.  I keep wanting to yell at her, "HELLO?  Your SON is getting MARRIED here!  Have some respect for him!  This is NOT about YOU, OK?!"  Oh, how I would love to do that.  But that's only going to cause more problems down the line, and I don't want to put my almost husband through that.  It's not fair to him, but at the same time, this isn't fair to me either.  She doesn't really seem to care about what either one of us wants.  It's all about how she's not getting what she wants.  I get more and more sick and upset with every argument that happens, with every new problem.  The argument used to make me cry (once we were out of her presence and had the chance to talk about it).  Now I cry just hearing about the things she's saying, and I cry just thinking about it, because it's so damn frustrating.  But she's the type who listens to nothing and to nobody, unless it agrees with what she thinks.  We have a hard time standing up to her and TELLING her just how things are going to be, because if it's not something she wants to hear, she just yells at us.

My nerves are just shot from this, and the really big fights are yet to come.  I feel like there's nothing I can do.  This is not how I want to remember my wedding.

So much to tell, and not all of the web space in the world is enough.  How about just the recent events?  I'll start by telling you all that this woman isn't even my official MIL yet, (not until January) but I'll just call her that for this "rant".  First of all, she complained about my friend bringing her 1 month old son to a birthday party "with all that noise" (the baby slept through 90% of the evening, and when he wasn't sleeping he was eating).  At that time, she told us that (bringing a little baby to a party) "if you two ever do something like that, I'll kill you both".  First of all, we don't plan on children for quite a few years yet, if even at all, and here she is telling me how to take care of them already.  Second of all, my friend felt totally comfortable bringing her little boy to the party, and she made the choice to do so, because SHE is the baby's MOTHER, and here comes this one (MIL) making her sound like a bad mother for that, and THEN telling us that we better not do it.  Well, I can see how it's going to be when we do finally have a kid.  This, and several other "comments" about our future children (like how she's going to spoil them) have made us decide that our kids will have very little time alone with her. My husband-to-be also feels this way, unfortunately.  He grew up hearing all sorts of terrible talk (from her) about his father.  They've been divorced for a very long time, and my hub-to-be gets along very well with his dad.  Despite all the bad talk and manipulation on his mom's part, he loves his dad very much, and he doesn't want his children to have to hear all the bad things that he and his brothers grew up with.

And then there's our wedding. She's hollering at us that we have to arrange a formal portrait of just her kids.  Meaning the bride (me) has to step out of the pictures she's paying about a grand for. (Yes, I did read that story here on the homepage about the bride being asked to get out of her own wedding pictures, and there's no way I'm going to let MIL pull that one either)

It's not so much that she wants this done, it's that she downright demanded it!  Instead of asking us, "Do you think we could arrange ..." or "Would it be ok if ..." she said, and I'm quoting exactly, "I want that picture and I WILL get it!"  She just may have gotten what she wanted had she not come on in such a demanding way.

My (wonderful) fiancé has said that he is going to talk to the photographer and explain that he (the photog) is to take direction from no one but the two of us (we ARE the ones paying for it, after all).

We tried to give her the choice of how she wanted to be announced at our reception dinner (after the wedding).  Her choices were A.) announced by herself or B.) have her brother or another family member escort her.  She chose HER EX HUSBAND (his dad).  We said "no" because he HAS a wife (of 16 years) and will be announced with her.  She went nuts at the mention of us actually including his dad's wife in our wedding.  The two of us get along fine with step-mom, and we like her, so we don't want to exclude her from the wedding (and we're not going to).  After that, my fiancé basically chose for her that she will be escorted for dinner announcements with her brother.  He decided that, since she insists on an option that was NOT open to her, she loses the option to choose.

This goes on all the time.  She's constantly trying to tell us what to do.  We don't actually listen to it, or do those things, but I'm so bothered by the fact that she has so little respect for her son that she comes on with her demands all the time.  He and I are a team, and we ARE about to be husband and wife, not to mention we're actual GROWNUPS, and she treats him (us) like any choice we make is stupid/bad/wrong just because she doesn't agree with it.

He tells me just to ignore her because, ultimately, WE make our own choices, etc.  And I know he's right.  But it's so hard to ignore a lot of it!  It just bothers me because I know that, anytime I open my mouth to stand up for us, it's more and more likely to cause long term problems, and I don't want to put my hub-to-be in the middle of that.  But, at least I know that I'm doing it for us, and I know that we are making our point, whether she listens to it or not.

I'm lucky enough to have a (soon to be) spouse who can see through a lot of the garbage that moms sometimes pull.  From all of the stories I've read here, I know that a lot of you aren't as lucky.

Oh boy!  I've posted here quite a few times about my wacko MIL, and now I have heard something that honestly frightens me.  I must preface by saying that I do like MIL.  Generally she's nice, we get along, she's helpful to us the very few times that we ask for a favor (example: she happily loaned us her car when we didn't have one because my husband needed to go to the hospital for surgery, and she let me keep the car for a couple days after he came home in case of an emergency).  But, sometimes she gets a bug in her butt about something, and it gets to be a living hell.

Well, her daughter (my husband's sister, obviously) moved to the Southwest last summer.  She's over 18 and she is going to go to school out there, but recently she's been discovering that this is more financially difficult than she thought it would be.  I should also add that my MIL is the type who wants her kids to live with her forever, never "leave the nest", never grow up, etc.  MIL told my husband that she thought the sister would come back home before the end of the year.  But, he told me that she sounded almost happy that her daughter was having problems.  MIL wants her to move back and live with her again, so now she's wishing that that SIL has so many money problems that she has no choice but to come home.  My husband and I are both shocked by this, but I am actually frightened by it.  I can't believe that any mother would actually HOPE for her child to fail, just to satisfy her own wishes.  She has said to me more than once, "My kids know that they can always come back home" and I feel like she's trying to warn me or something.  Like my husband knows he can go back, so I just better watch out.  By the way, he has told me repeatedly that, no matter what happens, he wouldn't go back there.

She just seems to have a ton of trouble letting go of these kids.  My husband's brother is in the Army - has been for two years already -- but he of course is still treated like a "wittle bitty boy", never mind the fact that he's been trained to kill people.

She just tries to keep herself TOO involved in her kids' lives, and it's a problem for me because, whether she likes it or not, her son has a new part of his family -- his wife, me.  And, one day we will have kids. And I'm sure by then she will still be trying to tell him what to do.  He doesn't actually pay attention to that or respond to that behavior, but it bothers me that she thinks she can do that to us.

RESPONSE:  Re - Too Involved in Kids' Lives - 
Just be a friend to your BIL and SIL.  Gently encourage them to keep their independence as much as they can, and make sure you and your hubby keep yourselves out of MIL's way as much as you can!

My MIL is driving my looney toons, and she isn't even my MIL yet ... her son and I will be married in the summer.  First of all, she and her mother (my fiancé's grandma) are informing us of all the people that we HAVE to invite to this wedding.  They want us (told us) to invite people that my fiancé hasn't seen since whenever, people that he's only met once or twice, etc.  MIL's reason for inviting these people is this: "We never see them except at weddings, etc."  My future hubby told her that that was his EXACT point, they hardly ever see these people, so why should we invite them?  We are not having a super large wedding, and we don't want people there that we don't even know.  Gramma-In-Law is actually saying to people, "We have another wedding in the family this year, we'll see you in August!"  She's verbally inviting people to our wedding!

MIL has had TWO weddings of her own (neither marriage lasted very long) and I personally think that if she wants to see all of these people she can just go ahead and get married again, which she will not do since she down talks the whole idea of marriage (since it didn't work for HER, it must be a bad thing).

I also told her that my fiancé's dad would be coming with his wife.  She told me, "I don't think SHE will come." (SHE being my FIL's wife of almost 20 years, who my fiancé and I love, by the way)  I told her that we talked to them, and yes she is going to come.  Well, she ignored me.  She absolutely hates this woman, and on that basis she has it made up in her mind that my FIL's wife isn't coming.  Oh boy, just wait 'til she sees her there!  She is going to sit there all night complaining about it.  I know MIL well enough to know that she will do exactly that, and I'm afraid of that getting in the way of our wedding.

She's pretty intrusive as it is, and I fear that this is only going to get worse.  She made a statement one day about her plans for when my future hubby and I decide to have kids.  Something to the affect of, "When Joe (my hub) has kids, I am going to spoil them."  First of all, when WHO has kids?  She must think her son has some magical child creating powers where he can do it all by himself.  And she is going to spoil them?  WRONG!  I'd sooner take them away to another state and never let her see them again, than to let her get away with spoiling them.  No way am I going to raise decent kids, only to have them all messed up by her!  Sometimes I wonder just who the hell this woman thinks she is!

I don't understand my future mother-in-law.  My fiancé and I are going to be married in October of 2000.  We don't have a lot of money, and we're going to be saving everything we can so that we can have a nice wedding, and a nice honeymoon.  Meanwhile, my future MIL is insisting that my fiancé go to the west coast for his brother's graduation in January.  He has told her that he most likely will not be able to go.  Still, she says things to him like "When we go out to the graduation...." etc.  Of course "we" means her family, not including her son's fiancée--me.

My fiancé gets two weeks vacation each year, which is ten working days.  Now, his mother is expecting him to make this trip, which will take up four of his vacation days.  Apparently, she doesn't care whether we have a honeymoon.

A few days after we told her we are getting married, she admitted to me that she thought that since we announced a wedding, that it meant I was pregnant (I'm not).  She said she only thought that for a second.  So, she basically thought that her son would only marry me because he "had" to?

Now, she's complaining that we're not getting married IN a church.  I only wonder if it's like this now, is it going to get worse after we're married?

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