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Mother-In-Law Stories
March 9, 2002
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MARCH 2002
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I think we ought to stand up for ourselves once and for all, DILs!  Unfortunately, it took me 11 years of he!! with my MIL to get to this point!  On our wedding day, she stormed into my dressing room and hollered at me in a rude, ugly, mean voice, just because I changed my dress.  Then, she demanded that I stop and come with her so that I could be congratulated for getting married.  She did this in front of everyone.  I was dumbfounded, because I never knew that women acted in such a manner.  I overlooked it.  Once, at church, she took me to the nursery and laid into me for a whole hour, because I was not dressed as well as she expected.  I was 9 months pregnant with our first child.  What did she expect?  Dear DILs, all MILs have a measuring stick of perfection.  And, when we do not measure up, they will always correct, nag, and belittle us, until we become hurt and bitter.  If we are not careful, we will take it out on our husbands.  I did.  Our relationship was so bad that we fought with words and fists.  Finally, we both woke up and realized that we were letting her problems with us become our problems.  We stopped and took charge of our lives.  Yet, at the same time, we tried to be friendly.  But, our ILs threatened us off the land they gave us, because we would not obey them like children.  We both, happily, obliged.  Now, our goal is to be free of them until we heal our family.  Once we are healed and the ILs foot steps are not near our door steps, we will gradually try to rebuild a family with them.  No MIL or FIL has the right to ever butt their noses into anyone else's business (unless it's life or death).  We must stop answering to them.  That's where we go wrong.  Put your foot down up front, and cleave to your spouse.  Stop it MIL.  Think of how it affects the grandchildren.

        Signed - Think Of How It Affects The Grandchildren

Well, where do I start?  I met my husband February 1995, through a mutual friend.  Things went really well, until the day DH told his mother that he was going to ask me to marry him.  She told him that she would not give us her blessing.  She said that he was better than this, and that he should marry someone that didn't have any children so he could have children of his own.  I already had a 5 year old son from a high school sweetheart, and she was fine with it until this day.  Now, she and her husband were furious.  They did everything they could to hurt me and my husband before we got married.  Two days before our wedding was to take place, my husband called to remind them of rehearsal and dinner.  Now, just think about this:  She and my husband's father didn't pay for one dime of our wedding.  We paid for our own rehearsal dinner (that we had someone else fix for us), and my father paid for the rest.  Then, on that Friday at rehearsal, they never showed up, and they told my husband the next day that they weren't invited to it!!  Ok!  Well, on our wedding day, we didn't expect them to even show up.  But, to our surprise, they did.  They were so "ugly" you would not believe it.  My husband's mother sat in the front row with her arms crossed (I have this on video) the whole time.  And, when it was over, she ran, and I mean ran, across the yard of the house at which we were married.  And, she went around the house to cry!  I was so upset that I started crying.  Then, my husband got upset and was crying.  My mother came to us and comforted us both during this time.  That's not all.  When she came back, she wanted her picture taken with my husband - without me in the picture.  So, most all of my pictures have my family in them.  And, then, there are some pictures of just my husband and the in-laws.  I could go on and on!  She has, basically, ruined the first 6 years of our marriage by getting in our business all the time.  My husband has recently learned how mean and wicked she really is.  He doesn't go near her much anymore, either.  Well, that's about enough.

        Signed - Ruined The First 6 Years Of Our Marriage

RESPONSE:  Ruined The First 6 Years Of Our Marriage
What an ugly, ugly woman.  When she didn't show at the rehearsal dinner, that should have been your cue.  It is amazing how we allow monstrosities like this woman to ruin our lives.  If we didn't give them much more importance than they deserve, leaving us vulnerable and hurt, they wouldn't have the devastating effect on us that they do.  We should take a firm stand.  Throw them out, publicly humiliate them - for example:  At your wedding, let her have her cry.  Then, when she came back, tell her to "GROW UP" from across the room.  And laugh later about her crazy, sad behavior, over coffee, on a nice morning.  I, too, already had a child when I married my husband, and this has not sat well with his family at all.  The only reason they put up with it (though, over the years they have not acknowledged a single birthday or event for her) is because - ready? - my MIL was married and had a child before SHE met my FIL.  So, what a bore - they can't throw stones (though, they'd sure love to!).  Wash the woman out of your hair, and your lives, if you can.

Worst gift:  For my birthday several months ago, and my first birthday after getting married, my new MIL sent me a card.  Only a card.  I guess I was surprised, because her son and I had been dating for more than 2 years, and I had always been generous with presents to my future in-laws (presents for birthdays, Christmas, housewarmings, mother's day and father's day).  And, though they had not really been generous with me yet, I still thought that they would be once I became their DIL.  So, what should I make of getting just a card for my birthday?  I'm both offended and hurt.

        Signed - Just A Card

RESPONSE:  Just A Card
UUUMMMM.  I don't give my extended (or IL) family anything but cards.  Personally, I would not be offended.  That's just what some people do.

RESPONSE:  Just A Card
I have been with my husband for almost 4 years.  We were married this past fall.  My MIL has never even asked my husband about my birthday, so I get absolutely no recognition on my day.  I do not do anything for her birthday, because she hates to be reminded of her age (52 this year).  In fact, she won't even tell her children when her birthday is!  I figured it out from my husband's birth certificate.  I don't bring up her birthday because that is her wish.  Now, for my husband's birthday, she sends him a cr@ppy gift.  Then, she expects me to hide it from him until his birthday.  But, then, she calls a week earlier, and acts like I was supposed to let him have it right away!  It bothers me that she has so little interest in me and her son.  But, then again, I am super glad that she's not an overbearing, in our business, visiting several times a year MIL, etc.  As it is, we rarely hear from her, and see her even less.  Perhaps your in-laws just didn't have the money for a gift, or are just not big into birthdays?  At least they took the time to bring you a happy birthday wish.

RESPONSE:  Just A Card
I think the fact that they acknowledged your birthday is positive.  Some families are not big gift givers.  Everyone is different.  I don't expect my parents to give my DH as much as they give me.  I have been their daughter for 35 years.  My DH has been around for 5.  That is a huge difference.  Be grateful for what you do receive.  If you expect too much, you will always be disappointed.

RESPONSE:  Just A Card
It might not be reason for you to be hurt - it might just be different customs.  We cause ourselves lots of pain (I know I have) by imposing our own gift-receiving expectations on others.  I almost think it's a rare thing to be "in sync" when it comes to gift-giving.  Unless they are being blatantly mean (or passive-aggressive), maybe you could give them the benefit of the doubt.  I wouldn't mind just getting a card from my MIL - it would be better than insincere, forced gifts!

RESPONSE:  Just A Card
Is it normal for them to just send you a card for your birthday or Christmas?  Are you sure they can afford what you think is acceptable?  If you're feeling hurt because they've been "generous" in the past and suddenly it's "just a card", then fair enough, I understand why you feel slighted.  But, if you've been giving good gifts in the past and they're making you feel like an outsider, don't expect to "get back" what you give.  Let your DH do the cards and gifts for them in the future - his family, his responsibility.  I bet before the year is out, they end up with no cards and no gifts.

RESPONSE:  Just A Card
You're lucky that you get a card!  I get NOTHING.  Ever.  And my IL's and I have a "nice", "cordial" relationship!  Early on, when I understood that I was getting nothing, I gave nothing.  And, you know what?  I feel great.  Christmases come, and now DH gets them a gift - one gift - and it's from us both (but, only if we visit them).  Otherwise, they get a card.  And, for his parents' birthdays, I simply remind him.  He gets the card, and I sign it.  You sound like a lovely person to try to be generous, but they don't operate that way.  So, for God's sake, stop wasting your money and emotion on these people.  Treat yourself and your DH to a nice restaurant instead on THEIR birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  Find an excuse not to attend their housewarmings, etc.  Then, don't mention it, or ask about how it was or anything.  It doesn't interest you - as your birthday doesn't interest them.  Send a card if you really NEED to show you're thoughtful, but nothing more.  And good luck!


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