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Mother-In-Law Stories
Worst Gift Archives
2/17/2001
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Worst gift:
One year for Christmas, my MIL gave me this horrible, PURPLE AND YELLOW, wide striped sweater.  She knew it was awful!  I always gave her lovely gifts (from her own list) and she never got me anything nice.  It was either hideous or just plain weird and wrong!
2/7
        signed - Finally Free DIL

RESPONSE:  Finally Free DIL
It's mind-boggling.  Either she's gift-giving impaired and doesn't understand your taste at all, or she's just thinking of herself and not about what would make you happy.  It's the gift that makes you say, with sincerity, "YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE!!!  You REALLY shouldn't have!!"
2/9
RESPONSE:  Finally Free DIL
Sounds like she either really found it nice (which is sad for her) or she thinks you should dress up like Barney on Drugs.  Have you ever considered sending her a "Poo Pet"?  I read on one of these stories that the "Poo Pet" was a real winner of a gift.
2/9
Worst gift:
When I was pregnant, my MIL bought me two 99 cent maternity shirts from the thrift store.  I was definitely not in any need of this "help".  She just did it to insult me.  One day, several months later, I made sure she saw me wiping up a spill from the kitchen floor with one of the shirts.
2/7
        signed - Buy My Own Shirts, Thank You

RESPONSE:  Buy My Own Shirts, Thank You
That is so great!  Good for you!  I'm glad your MIL saw you putting those old rags to good use!  Thanks for the great idea!  I think I will try that one if my MIL ever gives me thrift shop clothes.
2/8
RESPONSE:  Buy My Own Shirts, Thank You
I'm sure you are right, that in your case she did it to insult you.  If you sensed a decent motive, you wouldn't have been bothered by it.  I've had a lot of problems with my MIL (who isn't really horrible), but one thing we very much enjoy doing together is shopping in thrift stores!!  We both love it!  So, we give each other thrift shop things frequently, and there's no offense -- we're delighted!  But every relationship is different -- and we have OTHER problems sometimes, just not that one.
2/9
Worst gift:
My MIL gave us a 4'x4' quilt made out of used, family "heirloom" handkerchiefs, and said she hoped we would enjoy the memories brought back by the quilt.  Memories of Grandpa's big ol' booger?  And we're supposed to cozy up to sleep under this thing??  Needless to say, the quilt has been conveniently "misplaced!".
2/4
        signed - Snotty DIL

RESPONSE:  Snotty DIL
I have to say that this is the first story that I have read here in which I thought the DIL might be a little out of line.  Granted, I don't know your situation or other problems.  You might have had it with your MIL, but this does not sound like an inappropriate gift in any way.  My mother has a small and treasured collection of handkerchiefs that at one time belonged to my great grandmother.  All are lovely, decorative things which fascinated me as a child because of both their age and their delicate designs.  My suggestion is to save this quilt, because even if you don't appreciate it, perhaps your children will.
2/5
RESPONSE:  Snotty DIL
Hi, I don't know anything about your MIL or what all she has done to you, but I personally wouldn't be offended by that gift.  I am in agreement with the first response.  Your MIL might be a rotten witch, for all I know, but a handmade quilt made of antique handkerchiefs is a lovely gift, not a dreadful one.  You may have been hoping for that expensive goose-down comforter from the department store, but the quilt you were given is something for posterity that can be handed down from generation to generation.  It's got sentimental value.  Can you see it that way at all?  I don't think you should "misplace" the quilt, or throw it away, because your children and grandchildren might want it.  I hope this doesn't seem judgmental, rude or terse.  That's not my intention at all. J
2/6
RESPONSE:  Snotty DIL
It sounds like the original poster didn't throw the quilt away, just put it away somewhere out of sight.  I guess that's kind of a new thing, making quilts out of handkerchiefs -- I have some handkerchiefs that were in the family (clean and pretty!), and have thought of making a quilt of them.  It's not for us to say this DIL is out of line, though -- she knows what her relationship with her MIL is, and maybe her MIL is overbearing in general.  I think it's a LITTLE overbearing to insist that a DIL enjoy the memories of something -- it's kind of putting a burden on her.  It might be well-meant, though.
2/6
RESPONSE From Poster:  Snotty DIL
I'm the Snotty DIL writing again.  You're right -- I had reached the end of my rope with my mother-in-law when the handkerchief quilt arrived.  I wish I had all night to type and share with you ALL of the horrible things this woman has done.  But I will just briefly explain the quilt a little further: the handkerchiefs do not sound lovely, like your mother's collection does.  They are quite plain and pretty ratty looking.  Plus, "Grandpa," whose boogers I referred to, is NOT a good man, so any token of his is fairly awful to have around.  And, the fact that the quilt is only 4'x4' makes it hardly a blanket at all.  And my MIL, who is completely cheap, and who recycles everything, seemed to have just wanted to give us an inexpensive gift.  The quilt -- and the handkerchiefs -- are hardly heirlooms.  I was being facetious ... but that didn't come through in my original posting.  Now I hope it's a little clearer why the quilt is so disgusting to me.
2/6
RESPONSE:  Snotty DIL
In response to the original poster's response - I agree with you.  Your response is all the more reason to point out that DILs who post on this site are looking for support for a *problem* with their MILs.  I think we should all keep this in mind as we read their posts.  DILs wouldn't feel the need to come here in the first place unless their MIL was behaving unkindly.  Since the DILs know their own stories better than we do, let's remember to understand that DILs are writing from places of pain - it's not helpful to jump all over them and automatically assume that they're in the wrong.  Let's support each other.  Thanks.
2/7
RESPONSE:  Snotty DIL
Thanks for clearing things up.  I was the one who originally posted a response to your story, and I'm sorry if it seemed that I was jumping on you.  Now that you've explained the quilt further, I can see why it was a less than acceptable gift.  Also, I can completely understand being at the end of your rope where your MIL is concerned.  I'm afraid that I'm at the point where, if my MIL gave me a diamond necklace (not that there is any danger of this occurring), I would see it as some sort of attempt to get under my skin, because of how hateful she has been toward me.  Good luck.
2/7
RESPONSE:  Snotty DIL
Hi, I'm the one who responded 2nd to your story.  Now that you got more specific, I understand your situation better.  I don't think you were being "snotty" at all about the gift, now that you've explained your story more.  It depends on how good the relationship is, as to whether or not a gift will be well-received.  I also believe you that it was indeed a tacky, ratty quilt.  I'm sorry I misunderstood you originally.  You seem like a very down-to-earth person - not "snotty" at all.  I'm sorry you were unfairly given that name.  Good Luck! J

(Editor's Note: As much as we do try to get creative with the signatures for stories, where there was no signature provided by the submitter, we cannot take responsibility for this one.  "Snotty DIL" was provided to us by the original story submitter.  We actually thought it was rather clever, but can see how it could be misleading.)
2/8
Worst gift:
Listen to this!  When I was engaged to my now husband, my soon to be MIL gave me an outfit she describes as"the 2nd wedding night" nightie.  It was a see through, flimsy nighty with thong undies!  I could have died!  How do you say thanks to a gift like that???
2/6
        signed - How Do You Say Thanks To A Gift Like That???

RESPONSE:  How Do You Say Thanks To A Gift Like That???
How embarrassing to get a gift like that from your MIL!!  Jeez!!  I know, it would be nice if they'd keep their noses out of our sex lives.
2/7
Worst gift:
I really don't know where to begin, since my MIL does awful things to me on a daily basis.  I will just start with the latest thing that has set me off.  I have always gone out of my way to get my husband a very thoughtful gift for Christmas.  And, until recently, I thought that he had done the same.  Now I have found out, through my own mother, that my MIL has been buying my gifts.  Most of them my husband doesn't even see until I open them.  I would prefer that he not get me anything if he can't take the time to go pick it out himself.  When I found this out, I let him have it.  So, he has now decided that he should have been the one getting my gifts.  But, he doesn't understand why I got so angry, because it wasn't like he even asked her to do it for him.  He said that she has just always done it.  Which makes it even worse.  Now I know that every gift he has ever given me wasn't actually something that he picked out.  I don't know, maybe I am overreacting, but when you constantly have a MIL voicing her approval or disapproval of your decisions, the little things set you off the most.  I really care about my husband, but I can't continue to pretend that it is OK for his mother to constantly interfere in our lives.  He has made it clear that he would never hurt her feelings, but mine are hurt on a daily basis.  First, by the things she does or says, and then by him because he won't take up for me and tell her that it is not OK to treat me so badly.  I have told him repeatedly that I am only one hurtful episode away from packing my belongings and letting her have her baby back.  I don't understand why he can't see the way the things she does has affected our marriage and our love for each other.  I have lost a lot of respect and love for him, which I don't think I will ever get back.  If anyone is, or has been, in this situation, I'd really appreciate any advice you could give.
12/20
        signed - Sick Of Being Hurt - All My Gifts Ruined

RESPONSE:  Sick of Being Hurt
You really have my sympathy -- I was furious FOR you when I read your story.  Do you sense that your husband loves you?  If so, maybe you can work things out (with a counselor?).  My mother-in-law is also incredibly intrusive and nosy, and all over my husband's business.  But he really didn't notice how objectionable a lot of her behavior was until I told him.  So I guess good men can be pretty clueless about their mothers.  But you have all my sympathy, and I wouldn't blame you if you did pack your bags.  He really is going to have to get a clue and change things to keep you. (I know the feeling about letting her have her baby back.  My DH is 33, and his mother still gets a big Christmas tree so her baby can come over and decorate it.)
12/23
RESPONSE:  Sick of Being Hurt
I won't begin to try to relate some of my MIL stories.  She passed away 15 years ago, and good riddance.  My husband gave me some advice on handling his mom early in our marriage, and it took me many years and many tears to heed it.  He said I couldn't be hurt by her unless I allowed myself to be.  He was right.  I continued to be miffed by her actions, but never to the point of being hurt by them.  She was never going to give up her only son, so I learned to live with that idea, and our marriage survived, in fact thrived, because I stopped reacting.  (We're working on 38 years!)
2/6
Worst gift:
I had always been so puzzled, until seeing this web site, by the fact that, for the past 14 years of our marriage, my husband would receive wonderful gifts while I got TOTAL trash.  He'd get designer matching outfits, you know, the brand name sweaters with the matching shirt and slacks, while I would receive items in cardboard boxes with "made in China" printed at the bottom.  This year he received several quality sweaters with our college logo printed on them.  I received a matching holiday kitchen towel and pot holder set, probably from a cheap department store, and a boxed set of candle holders, silver "plated" (rather, painted on silver).  I also received a plastic .25 cent Christmas ornament as well as a leopard print pullover that will probably fall apart after one wash.

Funny thing is, she's starting to do it to my daughter as well.  This year she gave my daughter several cheap T-shirts that didn't fit, as well as a variety box of cheap pierced earrings that she probably can't wear because they'll turn her ears green.  Meanwhile, my son received expensive computerized games and sweaters.

His entire family also gets into this.  We are stationed overseas in Germany, and picked out expensive ceramic steins and model German houses to give to everyone, at about $50 a pop.  We received just gifts for the kids, and tacky ones at that.  I have resolved that next year, no one will receive gifts from us over here.  I'm tired of spending all my time selecting thoughtful gifts for everyone in his family just to get something back that looks like it was picked up at the last minute.  And, for his mother, I'm just not going to put the time in anymore.  If it's cheap vs. expensive, she's getting the cheap -- maybe a banana scented gift set will do.
2/4
        signed - Tired Of Being Thoughtful

RESPONSE:  Tired Of Being Thoughtful
Save every single thing that your MIL gives you and your daughter.  Put them in a box until the day you can have a big garage sale.  Then, invite MIL over to help with the garage sale.  Hopefully, she'll recognize all of that horrid cr*p she's given you ... and get the hint!!!
2/6
Worst gift:
How about this for a gift?  After I became engaged to my husband, my MIL gave me a thirty year old negligee that she had worn for her husband.  It was polyester, and completely sheer with yellowed-polyester lace around the edges.  She also told me about the time that she wore it for her husband, his reaction to it, and where they were.  She then suggested that my husband and I honeymoon at the same place.  This is just the absolute tip of the proverbial iceberg.  Do you want to know the capper?  My husband is a psychotherapist who specializes in treating sex offenders.  It took him FOUR years to acknowledge the inappropriateness (downright creepiness) of this gesture (and many others that his mother has made towards me).  What do you all think?
1/30
        signed - Creeped Out

RESPONSE:  Creeped Out
My MIL gave me just about the identical gift!  Yikes.  She included a coy remark too.  She said that she didn't know if it would fit ME because she had been so slim.  That may have been an innocent remark, but it's hard for me to believe that.  Women are sensitive about their weight and I think she's sensitive enough to know that a remark like that wouldn't be appreciated.  She is twice my size now.  I am not overweight at all -- it's just that she prides herself on having been a model when she was younger.  I was tempted to say, "That's ok.  I usually like to wear nicer fabrics."  I gave it right to charity.  She also made reference to how sexy she was in it and described her husband's reaction.
1/31
RESPONSE:  Creeped Out
Yikes!  Your negligee story actually beat what I thought was the most Freudian and creepy story!  After our evening wedding, my new husband and I spent the night in town before flying out the next day for our honeymoon.  Well, the next morning, as my husband and I were enjoying our first morning as husband and wife, my MIL called our room.  I answered, and she said, "Is this Mrs. Smith?"  I thought it was room service with a surprise breakfast for us or something, so I giggled and said, "Yes."  She then said, "Well, this is the OTHER Mrs. Smith.  I'm down in the lobby of your hotel.  May I come up to see you all?"  I quickly told her no, but I actually vomited later that day because I was so creeped out by how utterly inappropriate and Oedipal it all was.  My husband agrees with me!
2/4
Worst gift:
Two years ago, my MIL gave me a box of candy, which strangely enough, had been re-wrapped in her own Christmas paper.  When I opened the box, I noticed that there were lots of gaps between the candies (usually the boxes are packed full.)  When I went to eat a candy, I noticed that the bottom of the chocolate had been punched out, as if someone had tested to see what kind it was.  When I began to check all of the candies, sure enough, I came to find out that MIL had poked holes in the bottom of each candy with her finger and had obviously left only the ones she didn't like for me.  Hence, the half-full box.  Then, she'd wrapped up the left over, finger-gouged candies and presented them to me as a Christmas gift!  Nice, huh?
12/23
        signed - Half Full Box For Gift

RESPONSE:  Half full box for gift
How GROSS!!!  I would have handed that box of candy right back to her and very loudly said, "I don't appreciate gifts of chocolates where someone has put their finger thru the bottoms of each one.  I at least hope you washed your hands before you checked each one."  This is so cheap and disgusting!!  I'm furious for you!  You win, as far as I'm concerned, for the cheapest gift.
12/24
RESPONSE:  Half Full Box for Gift
Truth is stranger than fiction -- that's horrible!  What's the matter with her?  That is truly a terrible gift. (Does she have some kind of eating disorder, or is she just awful?)
12/24
RESPONSE:  Half Full Box for Gift
We have a winner!  This is about the worst one I have read on this site.  This woman is pathetic!!!!!
1/3
RESPONSE:  Half Full Box for Gift
I'm so sorry, but that is the funniest thing I've ever read!  I had to tell my DH  He suggested you save it and give it back to her the next gift giving opportunity.  Mother's Day, perhaps?  Your MIL is something else.  You have my sympathies!
1/12
RESPONSE:  Half Full Box for Gift
Why not buy her a box of candy and poke holes in the bottom of all of them before giving them to her next Christmas?
1/29
RESPONSE:  Half Full Box for Gift
That really is disgusting.  Why not be equally horrible next time you see her.  Buy some chocolate coated raisins or peanuts, suck the chocolate off, and offer her a delicious raisin (or peanut)?
2/4
Worst gift:
Last year for Christmas my MIL gave me a Dental Water Jet.  She had told me several years ago that I am "hoity-toity" because I brush my teeth twice a day (They do not brush their teeth regularly in their household.  My husband took himself to the dentist for the first time when he was a teenager.)  My MIL regularly gives all of us dime-store clothing, in the plastic shopping bag, not wrapped, almost always the wrong size.  She never remembers to send my husband a card on his birthday, so I don't let myself even think about getting one myself.  Oh well, after providing half of their support since last February, buying them a car, moving them to our state so they could be near their only grandchildren, she launched into a tirade against my husband.  She called him an s.o.b. And a b.....d and said she hates me, always has, and always will.  So we sent them packing back to their home state.  We are giving them a "divorce", and gifts will be a thing of the past!!!
1/15
        signed - Real Clean Teeth

RESPONSE:  Real Clean Teeth
Way to go!  Kick those crackheads out of the state and your life.  I love happy endings!
2/3
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