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Mother-In-Law Stories
Archives 5/20/00
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This is to all of you women who are having a problem with your mother-in-laws.  If your husbands don't want to believe you, get a recorder and record her.  If you have a video recorder, video her and present it to him.  This should make things a little better.

This is my second pregnancy, and it has been so exciting getting ready for a new baby.  But my mil is making me so apprehensive about giving birth, because she is trying to get more involved, and has steadily been butting in more and more.  I am getting so tired of her constant input and advice.  I am about to go nuts.  I get to the point where just the smallest thing sets me off.  I am wondering if any other mothers have advice on how to deal with in-laws who won't back off.  I just want to enjoy having my baby without her being in my shadow constantly. And, I'm definitely going to need to research baby travel gear if we have to meet the in-laws!

***NOTE:  Please feel free to respond to this (using our mother-in-law stories submission page) if you have any advice to share.  Reference this story as "Me and My Shadow" in your response. 

I should have smelled my MIL coming!  When my brother in law married his wife (they married before my husband and I married), on the day of their wedding my future MIL says to me, "You look more beautiful than the bride."  And, then, she complained for the entire day on how their life was ruined!  If it wasn't for my INCREDIBLE husband, I would have ran!  LOL

When I married, my MIL kept pressuring me to have a baby, saying that she would help us to take care of it.  Having a baby was out of the question for me then, because I had just gotten a new job that required long hours, and I wanted to enjoy married life with my husband first.  Whenever we visited my parents-in-law, my MIL would keep on bringing up the baby topic, and even my in-law's relatives would say things like, "you're not pregnant yet?" with a disapproving expression whenever I went to family gatherings.  Now, I'm from Taiwan, where having babies is considered by my parent's and grandparent's generation as the daughter-in-law's "duty", so even though I thought that was just crap, the baby issue became a pressure for me.  Then my MIL's daughter had a baby and asked her to help take care of it.  My husband is a wonderful spouse, he loves children and his dream is to have kids of his own, so for his sake, we planned our pregnancy and had our darling little baby last year.  My MIL takes care of our baby and her daughter's baby while we are at work, and I help her do the household chores, cooking, give her massages, etc. during weekends, to give her a break, because, as any childcare provider knows, taking care of kids is hard work.  And I have to admit that my MIL takes wonderful care of my baby.  Recently, my sister-in-law (whose daughter is two years old) said that she wanted to take my parents-in-law on a 10-day trip to Europe, so that her mom could get a break from taking care of the kids.  My baby is going through the stranger anxiety phase right now, and she feels most secure with grandma, so we asked my MIL if it would be possible to postpone her trip for a few months, just until my baby is a little older.  My MIL was nice enough, and said, "Sure, no problem," but as soon as my SIL hears of this, she sends me an e-mail saying she can't believe I "forbid" her mother from taking a trip; that I don't know how tiring it is for her mother to take care of kids, and that I should hurry up and train my five-month old.

The really unbelievable thing is, my MIL actually went to a fortune teller to ask when I would be able to have a son!  The fortune teller said when I'm 34 years old.  So, now my MIL is going to start pressuring me again in 4 years.  She's a good woman, really, I just wish she would respect my decisions more.

My Mother-In-Law has the habit of only calling when it is a good time for her.  She doesn't call to check-up on her son or granddaughter, she only calls to remind us of her birthday and when she needs money.  I've told my husband plenty of times, and he just says he's already used to it.  Well, I'm not!  It used to be that she loved me and I was like the perfect daughter-in-law, but from what she says, I'm just lazy and worthless.  Who needs her anyway?  I can't be the nice and quiet one anymore.

I can not do anything right in the eyes of my overly critical Mother-in-law, who is still struggling (after almost 3 years) so that her youngest (and favorite) son is grown and married.  She always gives me the feeling (with subtle comments of course) that I'm not good enough for her son, and she makes me feel like an outsider in her family.  A couple examples: before we were married, my husband and I would visit them when we could, and after about the second visit she made a comment to me that, in her day, "a woman was considered 'loose' if she slept with a man before marriage."  Obviously, she was unhappy that he and I (in our early twenties at the time) were sharing a room at their home.  I was so insulted that she basically was calling me a whore!

On our wedding day, she told my husband that she was so sad because she was losing him to another woman!

She cried for an entire weekend around Mothers Day a few years ago, and called my husband to say how sad she was that their family is, "just so different now," and that she wishes things were, "like they used to be."  This, of course, has totally made me feel like an outsider in their family!

And these are just a FEW examples!  I'm sure that others can relate to the kinds of awful things my mother-in-law says and does to me.  I enjoy reading stories from others as well, so I know I am not the only one with a mother-in-law from Hell!

I've just read the story about the in-laws who wanted to take their infant grandchild to a family reunion.  I think I may be related to these people, LOL.  My husband and I had been living in Europe for several years, due to his work, and our first child was born there.  As we were starting to get our papers, etc., in order to return to our home country, my MIL, FIL and SIL decided to stop by for a very short visit (from across the Atlantic Ocean).  It's important to mention that, upon hearing about their impending visit, I went through our photo album with our then three year old, only to realize that she had not seen her relatives often enough to recognize them from their photos.  I coached her daily in order to avoid hurting their feelings when they saw their grandchild/niece.  That part paid off, and they still don't know that I went to the effort.  At the end of their visit, they took my husband aside and told him that they wanted to take our daughter home to Canada with them until we returned (to Canada).  Here's the interesting part.  They knew that we wouldn't be moving back for over three months, since my husband was contracted to work until then.  Here's the icing on the cake.  Everyone in the household worked full time (not shifts so they might be able to cover each other, but days) and they couldn't have had enough vacation time to cover even half of that more than 3 months, even if they took turns using all of their vacation time to stay home and care for our daughter.  I'm glad that my husband had enough sense to refuse their request.  If he had not, then I most certainly would have.  The in-laws never did say who would have been looking after our child for those months if we had agreed to let her go.  It makes you wonder what goes on in their minds, doesn't it?  This is only one of many painful yet entertaining anecdotes I could tell.  You can sign me been there, done that and "bought the T-shirt"

I can commiserate with several of the experiences I have read on this web site.  My challenging relationship isn't with my MIL, but with my step-MIL.  She is constantly in crisis, a hypochondriac, and bullies my FIL around.  What I really wanted to say was that I think that I have come up with a unique strategy for dealing with this that REALLY works for me.  When she goes on a tirade, I consistently sympathize, sometimes in an exaggerated fashion.  I react positively, and smile, smile, smile.  My strategy is to deflate her with my imperviousness to her provocations.  I usually succeed in confusing her, as I am not responding in a defensive way, as everyone else does!  If I quit playing the game, she usually loses all interest in complaining to me.  The best aspect of this is that she is usually much more pleasant with me in future confrontations!  Don't get me wrong.  It's very difficult, at times, to behave this way, and put on an act consistently.  Sometimes, my horror and disgust can get the better of me, and I just ignore her, or shut down.  But, I have found that killing her with kindness is my best revenge ever.

Get this!  When our latest child was only two months old, my mother-in-law told us about their family reunion that was taking place in another state.  I told her that, since my husband and I are full time college students, we would not be able to attend.  She then had the nerve to suggest (ever so sweetly), "Oh, that's okay, dear.  I'll just take her myself."  My spineless husband piped up, "I don't know, mom.  It's okay with me if it's okay with her."  Needless to say, the baby did not go, and there has been a lot of inter-family stress since.

My wedding day my mother in law bought me a gift.  I was surprised when I opened the gift that it was used pots and pans.  And, when I asked her about it, all she said was, "I bought them brand new, but when I got home home I tested them for you to make sure they were safe."

Note:   This story is repeated from three weeks ago (including all responses) due to recent receipt of a response.

I would like to say, first, how much this site has helped me cope with my own MIL.  The jokes help a lot, and reading the stories helps me to realize I am not alone, and that some of you have it worse than me.  And, boy do I feel sorry for you.

I have been married almost a year.  My husband and I dated for 5 yrs prior to our wedding, and up until the time we started planning it I got along fine with MIL.  But, once we started the wedding plans in force, nothing could please this woman.  She constantly criticized everything I wanted.  This was just the beginning.  At the rehearsal, she was so rude to my aunt (the woman who owned and ran the restaurant) that she is no longer allowed to go there (an unspoken, well known fact).  At the wedding the next day, she messed up the seating arrangements, which had to be changed last min., then proceeded to tell the groomsmen something completely different from what was in the program, which resulted in my own grandmother not even being seated!  My aunt had to run down the aisle, right before my father and I came out, and take my grandmother to her seat!  It's so frustrating to watch the video and see this!  She was critical of everything at the reception, a reception which I found to be beautiful.  Ever since we got married, she is always inviting herself over to our house.  She even went through my cabinets and refrigerator, moving things around when we had them over one night, "Oh, I'm just trying to help you get organized!"

She frustrates me so much, and I have not said anything because I love my husband and didn't want to hurt her feelings.  But, she called me at work (something she constantly does, even though I have asked her not to, as I work in a very busy office) and started trying to plan my husbands birthday, which is Easter Sunday this yr.  I politely told her that we already had plans, and she proceeds with a blubbering guilt trip, which only made me angrier.  I finally snapped, and told her I was sick of her trying to take over our lives.  I quickly hung up. I just couldn't hold back any longer.

My husband says he wants to stay out of it, and that it's between MIL and me.  Which bothers me, because if we could stand together, it would make me feel so much better.  I love him, but not his mother.

I am 7mths pregnant right now, and the stress is getting to me.  She told my husband she would be calling me to find out what she could possibly have done to offend me.  I have held it all in so long, I just know I will burst and tell her off!  These are only a few of the things she has done to me.  I would have to write a book to explain all the things she has done to hurt me and my family.  She is manipulative, controlling and rude, and I can't take it anymore!  Help?!

***NOTE:  Please feel free to respond to this (using our mother-in-law stories submission page) if you have any advice to share.  Reference this story as "Pregnant Pause" in your response. 

RESPONSE:  This is in response to the Pregnant Pause story.
My mother-in law acted the same way when my husband and I were getting married.  She started by being really nice about the whole thing, saying that it was the mother-in-law's job to wear beige and shut up.  I thought that was nice, since my parents were paying for the whole thing.  But, alas, that did not last.  She started by saying that, since my parents were a lot wealthier than her and her husband, that they should pay for everything for the wedding, and that her and her husband would not help at all.  Then, my husband begged her to contribute something, so she said she would host the rehearsal dinner.  Meanwhile, I had just been diagnosed with some types of learning disabilities.  My husband made the mistake of telling her, and that led to the biggest fight.  It started with questioning how I expected my husband to be able to afford all my medications (they're only $10 dollars a month).  And how, since I came from so much money, was I going to adjust to living without any, or at least not very much.  And then, the topper on the cake was this:  She asked me how I planned on completing my college program with all my disabilities.  And she told me she didn't think we should have this big of a wedding.  Instead, she said my parents should give us the money to use as a down payment on a house or something, because having a big wedding like that will make it hard to come back to reality and live a life without much money!  Then, for the rehearsal dinner, she picked the restaurant without consulting me (I know she was paying for it, but she could have given me a budget and let me pick a restaurant that would fit into it).  Then, she decided on the menu, knowing that I am a vegetarian, and had only meat dishes offered.  So, the night before my own wedding I didn't even get a decent dinner.  Then she wanted to invite all her friends to it.  I told her that the dinner was usually only for the wedding party, so that they could get acquainted with each other, and she threw a hissy fit.  Anyway, I got my way on that.  But, now that the wedding is over, she is always telling me how I'm not a good wife because I'm in school and don't want kids 'till I'm done.  And how my husband shouldn't have to cook all the time just because I'm not home.  I try to get along with her for my husband's sake.  BUT I HAVE HAD IT WITH HER!!!  Help me if you can!!

***NOTE:  Please feel free to respond to this (using our mother-in-law stories submission page) if you have any advice to share.  Reference this story as "Pregnant Pause - Responder" in your response. 

RESPONSE:  "Pregnant Pause - Responder"
Hi, I'm the author of "Pregnant Pause".  You responded to my story with yours, and I know how you feel!  It's so hard to deal with someone who thinks they can invade your life whenever they want to, and ridicule you, and make you feel like you are so beneath them!  My advice, don't take it.  We are all created equal.  This is in our constitution and a God given right.  MIL's, or anyone else for that matter, have no right to make us feel like we aren't good enough!  We have to stand up for ourselves and not take this abuse anymore!  Some people say we should just grin and bear it.  But, hey, you can only do that for so long, and then you keep it bottled up inside and it effects your whole life, health, well-being and state of mind.  I hope things work out for you, me, and all the other people who have submitted their stories on this page!  We all deserve peace in our lives!

RESPONSE:  Re: Pregnant Pause
I'm sorry to inform you, but it will get worse when the baby arrives.  You think she's a controlling bitch NOW!?  Just wait!  Take it from a veteran MIL survivor - batten down the hatches!

Note:   This story is repeated from two weeks ago due to recent receipt of a response.

My MIL story takes the cake, bakery and the baker!  Where do I start?  I have been married for over seven years.  My husband is my MIL's eldest son, and he has a younger brother.  We are from India, and ours was an arranged marriage.  We met quite a few times, and my MIL and my husband (then my fiancé) came over and stayed with us for a week.  I should have had an inkling of things to come, when during a family dinner she declared that there was no need for a honeymoon as nobody in her family went on one!  My fiancé firmly stated that we were going on one.  My MIL is a widow and was living with my husband, who was supporting her, though she is independently wealthy and has a regular income of her own.  Here is the best part - MY MIL LIVES WITH US AND HAS BEEN LIVING WITH US FOR THE PAST SEVEN YEARS!  So, one can imagine the daily interference and frustration that I have to bear.  She does not like any displays of affection between my husband and I.  She won't let me cook in the kitchen.  She considers the house her domain and regulates the food, cooking, habits, etc. to suit her religious beliefs.  She opens all our letters, bills, etc.  She was most offended when I did not show her my job letter and tell her my salary.  We pay for all her needs, and she expects it as her right.  She is annoyed if my husband and I go off to our room after coming from work, even though it may just be to change our clothes and have a wash.  She eavesdrops on our conversations, and has no qualms about opening our handbags or briefcase.  She buys my husband's underwear, even when there is no call for her to do so!  She insists she bought it in a sale!  She does not like my husband doing any housework.  To avoid disagreements with her, I let it be.  But it annoys me that I have to do all the housework when I came from work, and hubby gets waited on hand and foot.  The thing is, she expects me to do the same for him.  When I was pregnant, she insisted that she comes with me to the hospital, as she was lucky and could guarantee a male offspring!

I know my husband won't ask her to move out, but how could we live peacefully together?  The hurt goes too deep to be ignored.

She once pretended to have a fainting fit and collapsed.  My husband could not see thru it, and asked me to fetch water, and generally run around her.  She got her way - no confrontation!  She was extremely rude to my parents when they came for a visit.  She insisted on cooking, and rationed the portions she would serve to my mom.  I was mortified, and quite firm after that.  She makes statements like, "The husband's mother has the ultimate right, and the girl's parents have no right to even visit their children."  She is careful to refrain from making these statements in my husband's presence, and my telling him about it smacks of tales out of school.  Her possessiveness knows no limits, and she regularly insists that her son adores her.  We paid for her trip abroad, and all these expenses are draining us.  She expects us to act like servants for her other son and his wife.  She has conversations with my SIL, asking what she is doing to decorate/improve her house while adding stuff about what she is doing at HER HOUSE (our house, in other words).  She is 65+ and going strong.  She has nasty comments to make when I suffer from migraines.  She has ear-marked me for looking after her if/when she is bed-ridden.  My husband thinks I should avoid talking to her at length, and stay out of her way.  I would be a virtual prisoner in my house if I did that!  99% of our marital fights have been over my MIL, and my hubby's inability to do anything!  It is extremely hard to have fights with her in the house, too!  She has no qualms about asking what the fight was about, too!  My husband is a lovely, intelligent, generous man.  But he can't, or won't, see the spot I am in, and is helpless to do much.  My BIL and SIL do not want to do anything, and my MIL does not want to stay with them.  This time was the exception after I put my foot down.  These confrontations are emotionally draining, and I abhor them. 

I would welcome any/all suggestions, feedback, empathy, similar horror stories! Daughters-in-law unite!

  Please feel free to respond to this (using our mother-in-law stories submission page) if you have any advice to share.  Reference this story as "Daughters-in-law Unite!" in your response. 

RESPONSE:  Re: Daughter-in-laws unite!
Good Gawd Girl!  I thought MY life was rough.  My advice: No MERCY!  Tell the old bat to kiss your *ss!  Tell her that this is YOUR house, NOT hers, and that you will cook if you want to, clean if you want to, and serve your family as much as they want!  Tell her to mind her own FRIGGIN' business and to stop opening your damn mail.  If she comes back with something smart, then you mention the three magic words: OLD FOLKS HOME!!!!!!  BE sure to do this out of hubby's earshot.  And when she tells him, DENY DENY DENY!  Tell him, sadly, that you think she may be going senile.  I know this is a bit rough, but your story made me SO MAD!  P.S.- Rent the movie "Throw Mama From the Train"!

RESPONSE:  response to "daughters-in-law unite"
I have one suggestion.  Regarding the opening of your mail, rent a mailbox at or near your local post office and keep the key on a chain on your neck to make sure that MIL cannot steal it.  Make sure to get a very sturdy lockable file box, and a strong lock that's difficult to pick, and put all of your "private" paperwork in it.  As an alternative to, or in addition to, the lockable box, you could keep some of your mail in a lockable desk drawer or locker at your workplace, if you have one.  This will make it very hard for her to get at your mail.  Hang onto your keys.  If you try to hide them in the house, chances are that she'll leave nothing unturned until she finds them.

I have been married to my husband for 4 years, and on our wedding day I overheard my mother-in-law tell another guest that she did not understand why her son would marry a woman that had been married previously and already had 2 children.  This really hurt me to my heart, especially since she had been married twice and had children from both marriages.  Now, my husband and I have a 2 year old and she treats her like a little princess, and my mother-in-law makes a point of letting my 2 other children know that they are not related to her and that she is not their grandmother.  I've tried talking to my husband about the favoritism, but he always says that he doesn't notice it.  I guess not, since she always says things behind his back.

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