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Mother-In-Law Stories
Archives 5/27/00
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I have known my boyfriend for 11 years, but have been together for 8 years.  So basically, his mother is like my mother-in-law.  She is one of a kind.  There is sooo much to say about her, I don't know where to start.  I thought she was kinda cool when I was 17 years old.  This lady would hang out and drink alcohol with us.  Even though my boyfriend did not approve of his mother "hanging" out with myself and his friends.  Well, needless to say, I grew up and she stayed the same.  I guess that's why I can't get along with her.  I now have a 3 month old daughter who I cherish.  If only my daughter knew what kind of grandmother she has.  Although she will treat my daughter differently than I, because my daughter has her son's blood in her.  She makes me ill just writing about her.  So many BAD memories are stirring in my head.

I have been married for 18 years and dread the thought of visiting my MIL.  We have never liked each other.  She talks about me behind my back and then denies it.  Several X-sister-in-laws have told me things that she has said.  My MIL has even said things to my parents about me.  Of course, my parents told me.  My husband then spoke to his mother about it and she denied it.  When we attend family gathers (as seldom as possible) she makes comments to others, and then looks at me and grins.  The last time we attended a family gathering (after introducing me to new members of the family) someone turned to her and said, "Oh, is that the one?".  I later said something to my husband, and, of course, he had suggested that maybe she had said something nice about me.  I have always been the one to pick out her gifts and mail them, but she will only thank him for the gifts.  He is from a large family, and I get along with all of his brothers and his sister, but he has a hard time accepting that his mother and I do not like each other.  When she sends letters to the house, they are addressed to my husband only.  It took several years for him to acknowledge that she was doing this on purpose.  Several years ago she even wrote a letter to him at work and stated that he seemed to have chosen me over her, and that it was all my fault that she never visits us.  The last time that my husband, children and I visited his family, "we" made it clear that everyone had an open invitation to visit.  Some have taken us up on that, but she would rather whine and blame me for not seeing her son.  She has done many rude things to me and some of the other SILs, but I guess that is just her (no class or manners).

I am so happy to have found this site, finally a place to vent.
My darling MIL is probably the most pretentious and obnoxious person in the world.  She always pretends to be the victim, and convinces both my husband and FIL that I was mean to her.  When we first got married 7 years ago my MIL kept telling me and my parents how proud she was of her Son-IL.  He was so polite, and came from a noble family that fit hers.  She kept praising my parents for doing quite well despite "humble beginnings"!  At that time my Sister-IL lived in Europe, so I did not meet this guy for several months.  When I asked what he did for a living, I was told that he was very bright and talented, but never given a job description.

When my daughter was 2 months old my MIL and FIL came to live with us to care for the baby.  It was a long trip and she was obviously tired, but still she wanted to feed my baby.  Well, I went into the kitchen to fix the baby food.  Remembering what I saw when I came back still sends shivers down my spine.  My MIL had fallen asleep with my 2 month old daughter in her lap and my baby was slipping out of her grip towards the floor!  I flung the bottle somewhere and picked up my baby.  After MIL woke up she had the audacity to accuse me of being rude and snatching her grandchild away from her.  During those long 4 months she did not respect my wishes at all about my daughter, and insisted on doing things her way, and constantly commented on how I didn't know anything about what was best for my baby.  For heaven's sake, I am a doctor! (My ignorant MIL finally graduated from high school a few years late after flunking numerous times!)

The best part came when I was informed that my Sister-IL was getting divorced.  It turns out the noble Son-IL is a welfare recipient (in Europe) who was financially abusing my Sister-IL!  Apparently, she was 9 months pregnant when she married this man.

A man was on trial for bigamy, and after the judge passed sentence he asked the defendant if he'd learned what made having more than one wife a bad thing.  "Yes, your honor, I have," he replied.  "What is the reason?" the judge asked.  "Having two wives means having two mothers-in-law, and that, in itself, should be grounds enough to support assisted suicide."

We live in a small country town - the same one as my Mother in law.  I am redecorating the Master Bedroom in lovely lilacs and soft emerald colors.  Mother in law was most upset I am not including the $300 Motorbike blanket and Ned Kelly clock she bought her son when he was single.  She even suggested I hang the blanket on the wall, as it would be a waste not to use at all.  I nearly fell over.  I advised her, politely, that it is her son and I sleeping there, not her.  Talk about eating your heart out!

A Mother-In-Law Poem:

On the day that I was married,
a woman came to me -

and told me what trash I was,
as she smiled so happily

She continued on about how I had stolen her son,
and from that day on she promised there would be no more fun

I spoke up quickly, for I have no fear -
"It must be sad to be so miserable, now bend down and kiss my rear!"

(I've been married for 30 years, and have been having fun every day since!)

Ok, all of you daughter in laws out there!  Has your mother in law done this before?  When my mother in law comes into town to stay with us, she CONSTANTLY asks silly questions like: "may I turn on the television?" "may I use the washing machine?" "may I use the telephone?" "may I turn on the air conditioner?" ... The list goes on and on!  I have even responded at times: "No, you're not allowed to!"  Just to give her a dose of her own sarcasm.  It would be one thing if she was being genuinely nice, but when she's not asking these silly questions, she's discussing what trash she thinks everyone is!  LOL

I am not even married yet, and my mother in law is driving me crazy.  She is a drama queen.  It is always, "feel sorry for me poor me."  Well, she decided to come for a visit.  She brought us a dog.  The dog attacked my four year old son, giving him twelve stitches in his face, and a horrible bite mark on his arm, and scratches and bruises all over his upper body.  "He was very lucky, it could have been much worse."  When I got home from the hospital I did not get angry, I did not blame, I just poured myself a drink and sat on the couch.  She said she was feeling horrible, she should have never brought the dog.  I explained it was not her fault, no one could have possibly known this was going to happen. (the dog had been taken to her brothers house until she returned home)  The next morning, I got up and she started in on me about there wasn't a damn thing she could have done about it, and there was no way in hell she was going to put the dog down.  I said. "No one blames you, and no one asked you to put the dog down.  She then told me that I now have the dog labeled as the dog that bit my son.  I said, "No, the dog did that himself."  That evening my partner got home from work and I told him that his mother had made us uncomfortable today. I left the house for a short time to pick up my sister, because we were having people over for dinner.  While I was gone, his mother started at him about whether I said any thing about her.  He told her no, and she insisted, so he told her, "Yes, you made her uncomfortable in her own house."  When I returned, I knew something was up, but not sure what so I left it alone.  After, everyone left for home after dinner.  She packed her bags and went and stayed in a hotel.  She said that once we were ready to talk to her we should come to her, but she was not coming to us.  The next morning, I tracked her down to talk and she refused to talk to me.  I guess my question is, what should I do?  I don't want her to hate me before she even knows me.  Maybe I should just leave it, and let the crazy woman be.  What do you think?

  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 "Dog Bites, MIL Barks" in your response.

RESPONSE:  response to "dog bites, Mil barks"
I think you handled the situation very well, and were a lot calmer in the moment than I would have been.  Bravo!  As for your Mil, I think she's using the situation to be attention seeking for the purpose of control.  She seems to want to make a big fuss over nothing in order to get you and possibly dh to go running to her with sympathy/pity and perhaps even an apology.  If you reward this behavior, then be prepared to continue apologizing for the rest of her natural life.  I suggest that you give her some set amount of time to sulk and to realize that you and dh aren't going to "rescue" her every time her very thin skin gets bruised.  If a period of time 2-4 times the regular amount of time between her visits goes by and she makes no attempt to speak to you, or if she tries to talk to hubby about you behind your back, then I think it would be advisable for you and dh to talk about you trying to patch things up with her by visiting her, and you restating your position by first saying something to the effect of, "You seem to be feeling hurt about what happened ... and I'm sorry that you feel hurt because you're important to me."  Then, she will either want to talk/argue, or let the thing go.  Talking is probably best, but if she wants to argue and blame then I think you need to simply state that you think you handled things correctly but you still don't like knowing she's upset.  Repeat as needed.  Keep the visit short, and do it without your children around.  Make sure that your dh is within earshot but not involved in the discussion between you and Mil.  He can take up any problems he has with her later. The idea here is to make her realize that, even though you care about her, you're not about to be manipulated into taking responsibility whenever she feels hurt or unhappy if you have done nothing, in your own opinion, which requires an apology.  Confront her once, then give her some time to think it over.  She may come around a little each time if you continue this strategy with each new issue.  If not, then I would consider this "strike one" for her, and not waste much time and effort on a relationship with her if things haven't changed by "strike three".  Good luck.

Luckily, my husband is very supportive and he knows what an idiot his mother is.  I have tried for 10 years to get along with this woman, but, according to her, she has 4 sons (as well as two daughter-in-laws, but we don't count!) and nothing more.  Recently, my husband got transferred away, and I thought she was going to die when he told her!  She went on and on about how her son is dead to her now - he's still in the same country, not even in Europe or something!  And, her main concern is me, me, me!  Always begging for money from all her kids!  It is frustrating to deal with her because she is so pigheaded!  You can't tell her anything because she runs and tells someone else almost immediately.  But, my husband is absolutely fantastic, and we have a rock-solid relationship, and as he grows in his company we'll have just about enough money to put her somewhere for good - out of sight!  She is working very hard at ruining her other son's marriage, so she is quite occupied for now.  Is there something about mothers that have only sons?  Her April Fool's joke when my husband and I were dating - to tell my parents that I was pregnant! (FYI -my husband is very private - if we ever have children, it is assumed with my brother that we picked the child up at a major department store!)  I'm working on a good one for her.

OK, I just have to blow off some steam!  My husband is having a sort of a career crisis right now.  He is a professional, and we'll be paying off his post-undergraduate student loans for at least another 5 years, to the tune of several hundred dollars a month.  He is not always happy with his work, as is true for most people, but he invested a fortune into this career, which he chose before I was in the picture, and we've both been diligently paying off this expense since.  Recently, I broke my own personal IRA (which I'd built through my own blood, sweat, and tears as a career woman, prior to having my daughter) to cover expenses relating to his career.  What does this have to do with my mother-in-law?  Well, she's gotten wind of the fact that hubby is going through a rough time professionally, and she is feeding information to her sisters (hubby's aunts) to get them to try to prod my hubby into changing careers!  The career they're suggesting would pay much less than his current one, and would require him to incur more educational debt in the process!  I am fuming!  How dare they suggest he take a pay cut while I've given over half of my own savings to fund this one!  On top of that, they refuse to acknowledge that my husband is not so much unhappy with his career right now, as he is with the company he currently works for.  No, here is what his family sees: their poor dear is being forced to work in an unhappy situation by his shrewish, selfish wife.  I suppose they think I should give him the rest of my hard-earned IRA (half of which I've already given him, and the rest which I plan to share with hubby in our retirement), and go get a night job or do whatever I must to fund my husband while he studies for a new, lower-paying career. (I do work, by the way, at home, and care for our young daughter, so I'm not just lazing around, spending hubby's paycheck.)  Even if I was willing to do this, we'd never make enough to meet our mortgage and bills.  Can you imagine the nerve?????  Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Note:   This story is repeated from 4/22/00 (including all responses) due to recent receipt of a response.

I need to get this off my chest, and I hope maybe someone can give me some good advice.  My MIL moved in with us 7 years ago.  At that time we were a struggling family with three small children.  My husband had just gotten out of the Air Force.  She did not really have a place to go, her house had gotten too big, the small town changed, and she could never live like she did before.  Since my husband is the baby of the family, we decided to have her live with us, and she would help us with a down payment on our home.  At that time the house seemed large, now it seems very small.  My MIL is in her 80's.  She is an amazing woman, and has had an amazing life.  To help you understand her, I will give you a few details.  She grew up fairly wealthy.  She married, but only lived away from her Mother about 6 months, and then returned to the family home along with her husband.  She has never been on her own in her life.  She grew up with maids and nannies.  She never has cleaned an oven, mopped a floor, or made a bed.  She was babied all her life.  She broke her hip nearly two years ago, and bounced back like new.  Her eyesight is poor, and she wears glasses when reading.  She spends her days doing the New York Times puzzles, knitting, reading, playing solitaire, or watching TV.  And she does not have a social life.  We can hardly get her to church at all.  She is afraid to meet people her age because she doesn't want to hear about their ailments.  She has been widowed about 20 years.  She is completely dependent on us.  We get her what she needs.  She doesn't get out much, unless she gets to the point of being stir crazy.  And when she reaches this point, she has usually made our lives all sheer hell.  She is also the world's worst slob.  Right now it is particularly bad because she has a parakeet that is right by her side.  It only goes in the cage at bedtime.  I can't tell you what it's like to see your MIL with bird mess on her shoulder all the time, bird mess wherever.  At this point, I am just thankful it is a small bird.

  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 "Bye-bye Birdie" in your response. 

RESPONSE:  This is in response to: "Bye-Bye Birdie"
First of all, you had me laughing with your comment that you're just thankful it's a small bird ... lol!  Good thing it isn't a Condor, eh?  That comment shows that you are a good person trying to keep a sense of humor about your situation, which sounds like a tough one.  From working with the elderly for many years, I can tell you, they do NOT take change easily ... she is set in her ways, as I'm sure you know.  What about taking her to a senior center and telling her that you'd like her to stay for just the day to see how she likes it?  She may be surprised that she makes new friends quickly there!  You could present it in a positive way, kind of like trying to get a shy kid to go somewhere where other kids his age will be ... once they get there, they usually have a ball.  About the bird, I'd have to be stern about that ... birds carry diseases, even domestic birds, and having the bird pooping all over her and your house is a definite health hazard (not to mention gross!)  It may cause an uproar, but I'd insist the bird stay in it's cage next to her.  Either that, or, as the post says, "Bye-bye Birdie!"  Another option may be to look into having a "companion" come in to spend time with her ... someone close to her own age, or slightly younger, who maybe could even drive her places, like a park (hey! she could feed all the birds she wants there!)  Have you sat and had a heart to heart with her?  Tell her your concerns, with love?  I'm not sure any of this advice is helpful, or even practical, but I wish you luck in whatever you do!

My mother in law is so stupid she actually asked me for money.  The thing is, is that I'm a bum !!!!!  How dumb is she?

Human Nature 101.
Ours was an international marriage.  I am an American who moved to England to be with my British ex-husband after our marriage.  It was shocking, to say the least, to find out the depths of dishonesty and maliciousness a selfish and overbearing mother would descend to in order to keep her son in her clutches.  It was baffling to watch her, without any remorse, encourage her son to abandon his marriage and an opportunity for him to have the best of two worlds!

"How is that possible?" You might ask.
All it takes is that certain look, the unspoken agreements, the attitudes and subtleties of her reassertion of ownership over him.  The constant and guilt-provoking needling, particularly toward an only child, can bring a man crumbling at his mother's will, even to the point of making himself believe he agrees with her.

Lying probably started as a way of changing bad memories.  I knew she had a problem with reality when her language insisted that her current husband was her son's real and only father.  She would talk as if she had never been married before, as if there had never been a biological father.  It was eerie the way she changed reality according to what she liked and didn't like, and then, to whomever she thought would believe her, that's the story she would tell.  She had no qualms about lying to paint pictures to get people to agree with her, to get what she wanted.  She even prided herself on her ability to manipulate people with those lies and her pretenses.

Our marriage got in the way of the plans she had for her son.  The first confirmation of her design on breaking up our marriage came right after my husband and I were married (in the U.S.).  She also came over for our wedding.  We did this with the plan of all of us traveling back to England together.  As we were packing to go back to England, I was admiring the Bride and Groom figurine my husband and I received as a wedding gift.  My husband's mother offered to carry the figurine in her bag where she said it would be "safe."  "Let me carry that, Duck," she said to me.  When we arrived in England and were unpacking our things, she handed me the figurine (still in its box.)  I opened it to look at it, again and the bride's head was smashed, while the groom was intact!  She shrugged it off as being damaged in transit!  I asked her what else had been damaged ... Nothing!  I knew then and there that, worse than simply being an interfering mother-in-law, his mother had a streak of evil running through her.

She woke every morning asking herself, "How can I break them up?"  Then, after we were married, often, in front of me and directly to me, she would say, "I wanted him to marry an English girl, not this American."  As if I were not there.  As if my feelings did not matter.  As if hurting my feelings was her entitlement.  This was just part of the continuous needling.  They were small words, but with powerful impact in their repetition.

She undermined our faith in each other, and any sense of security we were working toward building.  She meddled her way into every decision we made, including the house we purchased - even if it was, as she called, "the gypsy in her" that "knew" which one we were going to buy.  In her mind, there was nothing we could do that was free of her knowledge and influence.  It got to the point where I felt as though, in being with my husband, I was cheating with a married man - a man married to his mother.

The following are some of the lies she repeated over and over and over into her son’s ears until he believed the lies himself:

"She’ll leave you."
"You can’t trust ambitious women."
"You can’t possibly really love her.  She’s not worthy of you."
"If she really loved you, she wouldn’t need a career."
"She’ll drag you off to America, and then you’ll be stuck."
With regards to the degree: "Chances are, she won’t finish the college program.  And, if she does?  You’ll have supported her through college, and then she’ll leave you for someone else."
"American women don’t take marriage vows seriously.  They are notorious for cheating on their husbands."
"You’ll die in an earthquake."
"You’ll be killed on the street.  It’s so violent over there!"
"Once you are over there, you’ll be at her mercy.  She’ll cut me out of your life.  You’ll never see me again."
"If you leave, I'll die."

Translation: "I need you to be my little boy, incapable of making your own decisions.  Don't disappoint and betray your mother, who has taken care of you all these years, by showing your real independence from me.  You owe me your life, and this is how you repay me – by kicking me in the teeth?!"

After an argument about my wanting to finish college and have a career, she said this to me while standing in the kitchen of *my* house: "You're a troublemaker, you are!" (Perhaps she was looking in a mirror?  By the way, what century are we in anyway?  Is it really not okay for a woman to have a career and a husband too?)

She did one of the worst things I think a mother can do to her son.  She continually forced him to make a choice between his mother or his wife when it was so unnecessary.  There clearly would have been room for all of us in our lives if she just let it be.

My MIL and I have never gotten along.  She never thought I was good enough for her little king.  When we were at the rehearsal for our wedding, she actually said that it was a custom in her country for the mother of the groom to be the last one to walk down the aisle (after me!).  I said, "I don't care what the custom is in your country, we aren't in your country.  I WILL be the last to walk down the aisle."  So, she shows up at the wedding in a blood red, floor length, velvet, skin tight dress (busting out all over).  Revenge?  I don't know.  But it ruined my wedding photos, that's for sure.

It is Saturday, before Mother's day Sunday, and Friday night my husband informed me that our plans were changing for Mother's day.  I shared with him that I wanted a quiet day, since we both work.  I just wanted a BBQ, and to get a special project done around the house.  Now, since he talked to his mom, we are going out for dinner after church, and then to their house for dessert.  No one asked me!  I don't want to be around a crowd of people.  I work 5-6 days a week, do the bills, laundry, house, meals - I'm tired.  My husband said that he sees me all the time, and never gets to see his mom.  He didn't even tell her that we had made plans.  This happens all the time.  We had an agreement that he would check with me when she tries to involve us or change our plans, but he is not sticking with it.  We have been married 20 plus years, and either I'm getting more stubborn, standing up for my needs more, or, I don't know, it is just getting old.  My mother in law just won't let go, and my husband won't stand up to her.  If I ever say anything, I get treated even more like a out-law.  I'm tired of it all.

I need some advice about how to deal with interfering in laws, mostly my mil.  You see, my problem is not only with my mil, it is also with my fil and my husband.  I must say that my marriage has become an unhappy one.  For 10 years I have put up with my husband's drinking, abuse, his self-centeredness, and his greedy ways.  Don't get me wrong, I plan on getting out of this relationship soon, just as soon as I find work when I am done with college.  I also have 2 children by this guy.  Well, to tell you some of what I am going through, it basically goes like this:  My husband has to have his way, and my in- laws think that everything should be for their son, including his money, the house, the vehicles, etc.  All they think about is how they feel, and that everything has to be for them.  My husband is always in the bars, never does anything with his children, is always wrecking his trucks and cars, but yet, his parents overlook everything he does, and go around telling everyone that all the things that he has done are not his fault.  They are constantly telling me what to do.  They often take my kids in for haircuts without consulting me first, even though I usually cut their hair.  They will come over to my house and search through the kid's room to see what I save and what I throw away.  Their son will come home drunk when they are here, and they will just ignore him completely.  He will call me a b*tch, and other things, and they just act like he said nothing wrong.  I take good care of my kids.  I cook ,clean, I don't drink, smoke, do drugs or anything bad, and their son is a drunk and they act like I am the bad one and he is good.  And, also, my husband is totally for his parents, then his own family.  What I wanted to know, is there anyone out there who is going through problems similar to mine?  I know I should have gotten out a long time ago, but I loved my husband, and wanted him to get some help for his problem, but nothing worked.

***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 "Nothing Worked" in your response. 

RESPONSE: TO: NOTHING WORKED  From: A very concerned person!
There are times in your life that you need to jump & make big decisions.  This is one of those times.  You are not doing yourself, nor your kids, any favors by staying in an abusive/alcoholic relationship.  You need to leave.  It will be hard to make the bills, & you will have everything on you, but your kids will be in an environment that is better suited for them, & you WILL be happier!  I am a proponent of marriage.  I applaud you trying to get your husband help.  He is an adult & so are your in-laws.  If they choose to behave like irresponsible ones, then you should choose to remove them from your life.  Those types of people are destructive!  They get off on making you feel low & unworthy of their love.  It somehow makes them feel better about themselves to belittle others.

I don't know exactly how you are feeling, but coming from a similar situation, I can understand how your self-esteem can get destroyed.  You actually talk yourself into staying because you think it is better than the alternatives.  You even go as far as to think somehow you deserve the poor treatment & you can't do any better.  THINK AGAIN.  Everyone deserves respect!  Your children deserve better.

One of the biggest wakeup calls for alcoholics is when the wife leaves them.  If you stay then they think ... "Hey!  It must not be that bad if she stays.  I don't have the problem, she does."  I have been there, honey!  Take my advice!!!!

Seek help from women's shelters & homes for abused women.  They can be found in your phone book.  Many of these organizations help women get out of situations like yours & make a new life.  They help teach skills (computer, etc), help write a resume, help with financial needs, & sometimes provide a place to stay (completely anonymously).  Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be beaten to a pulp to be considered abused.  Call one near you.  Get help.  Churches are GREAT places to start!  Once you are on your own, you'll find a whole new you.  One that you can be proud of, & one where others will be proud for you!  If you need any help with this, drop a note on the message board.  You need to change things in your life.  This isn't healthy.  Good luck & God bless!

RESPONSE:  nothing solved
You cannot change your husband.  Leave him to his alcohol.  That is what he loves the most.  His parents are enabling him to continue his drinking.  Take what you can, and get you and your kids out, or you will go down with him.  I speak from experience!

I always know when it's the mother in law knocking at the door – the mice throw themselves in the traps.

My mother in law is a big woman.  She got run over last week.  The driver said he had enough room to get around her, but he didn't know if he had enough petrol.

The Sister Knot, Apter
The Sister Knot
Why We Fight, Why We're Jealous, and Why We'll Love Each Other No Matter What

Secret Paths: Women in the New Midlife
Secret Paths
Women in the New Midlife

Working Women Don't Have Wives, Dr. Terri Apter Working Women Don't Have Wives
Professional Success in the 1990'S

To See More Books By
Dr. Terri Apter
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