June 20, 2007,
M.M. asks from White Lake, MI on November 14, 2006
Difficult Mother in Law (Help)
I really need some advice on how to handle my Mother In Law. Let me give you the short version on some of the history I have had with her. My husband and I have been married for six years this Friday. I have a mother in law that is jealouse of the attention that my husband gives to me. Example: my husband gave me a peice of jewerly for my birthday my mother in law asked him when he was taking her to the jewerly store. When she calls the house she only wants to speak to my husband and will quickly ask for him when I answere the phone. We had to change our orginal wedding date because she refused to cancel one of her club meetings, before halloween she gave the kids and my husband gifts, but nothing for me (which is fine) I got a new car and she told my husband I didn't need such a expansive car. (it's a explorer not a BMW. I could go on but I think you get the point. Recently my husband had told her our holiday plans that we would have thanksgiving at our house and christmas day we would spend at their house. We spend every christmas eve with my aunt which I am very close with and she is all the family I have since my parents have past away. My mother in law wrote a email to my husband stating that they would not be alone on christmas eve because their daughter was coming into town and she writes I know you go to M.'s aunts every year. I get very emotional around the holidays I just lost my parents 2 years ago, but I am also getting tired of her remarks am I reading to much into this or should I start standing my ground?
J. answers from Detroit on November 17, 2006
I'm so sorry to hear you are going through this. I agree that your husband needs to stand up for you. He has an obligation now to you and your daughter. Their his parents so he needs to deal with them in the appropriate manner. Secondly, you need to set some clear cut boundaries for your mil. She probably won't like them, but oh well. I remember seeing an episode on Dr. Phil about these same issues, and he said the same thing about setting boundaries, and that it is a privelage for grandparents to be a part of the grandchildren's lives, and if they don't want to follow the boundaries that are set, then they will be left out of family functions, etc. Not that that's what you want, but you need to set boundaries. You can start with simple boundaries and if that doesn't work, then get a little more stricter, they'll soon get the hint. The big part is that your husband needs to definately stand behind you on the boundary setting and stick with it. I also know 1st hand about this because I am going through similar situations with my family right now, and getting professional help for it. My doctor has said the same thing on setting boundaries. My parents like to just stop over on a whim without calling first, and I came out and told them nicely, to please call first before you come over. My mom also likes to give her two cents about everything, and I have had to tell her to please not give advice unless asked-she didn't like it and ignored me for 3 days, but you know what-she got over it!
Good luck to you!
L.H. answers from Toledo on November 15, 2006
By all means, have your husband talk to his mother. In no way should he put up with her being nasty to his wife. My ex-mother in law never liked me either. I figured that was her loss, not mine. As far as the holiday thing, I would insist that your Aunt be involved somehow or another. I too have lost both of my parents, and have no aunts or anything else except my daughter. The holidays are supposed to be about good times and gathering with people you care about. Don't let her ruin them! Also it is none of her business what you and/or your husband spend your money on. Good Luck!
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L.M. answers from Detroit on November 15, 2006
I am sorry you are dealing with this. I would definitely stand my ground. Also it would help if your husband would stand his ground with her as well. I just don't understand some of these mother-in-laws with their jealousy and attachment to their sons. Best of luck to you!!!
A.S. answers from Detroit on November 15, 2006
Hi M. funny I am the same age as you and it will be 7yrs the 29th that my dad had pass so I am feeling you this holiday is rough. I to had a very controling mother-in-law she was horrible I am divorced now becuase of her and my on mothers meddling ways I didn't stand up to her for I should have. but she controled my ex's life, by the way is he the only boy or only child. you should not have to change your plans to suit her life. I was angry to hear that you had to change your wedding date that was your day not hers you are not over reacting this woman is controling your husband to get what she wants. You have to sit down with your husband and tell him how you feel about this how you feel out casted by her and that when you take a wife you leave your mother behind and you and your boys come first.
N.W. answers from Detroit on November 14, 2006
I can relate to your situation so much. I have a difficult (to but in mildly) mother-in-law. Fortunately my husband knows and has always supported me. She sent my mother an e-mail before our wedding (we have been married 5 years) basically telling her I was an ungrateful brat-- it dealt with decisions about our rehersal dinner. She univited me to Christmas one year-- told my husband that she was going to pretend that everyone got along and I should just stay home. Needless to say, my husband told her to have a nice holiday without us and we did not speak to her for nearly a year. Once I got pregnant my husband did talk to her and told her very bluntly her three strikes were up and if she made any rude comments or other actions she would never see her grandchild. Since my son was born 2 1/2 years ago she has made great strides and really tries (most of the time) to get along with everyone. She still sneaks comments in here and there but I try to ignore the little things. We don't see her all that often (which bothers her) but we both can only take so much.
I would talk to your husband and have him be the go to with your mother-in-law. You are entitled to your own holiday trations and she should not make you feel badly about it.
My husband had to come straight out and tell his Mother that I can FIRST and she would never come before me before things got better. And they really have, although I will never quite get over how she treated me (or him) and never really feel comfortable around her.
H.S. answers from Detroit on June 20, 2007
I know all about mother in law problems, and I think you should stand your ground. My mother in law only calls the house when her computer isn't working and she wants my husband to come fix it for her. Stand your ground and talk to your husband about how his mother's comments make you feel, he may be oblivious to it, I know it sounds strange after the amount of time that you've been married, but trust me, stranger things have happened. Good luck.
M.S. answers from Toledo on November 14, 2006
Stand your ground. I am divorced and I still have my ex's mother trying to tell me what to do. The truth sometimes hurts but she needs to know where her place should be. Try to have your husband talk to her and if that doesn't help then take it on your own to talk to her. You need to be in control of your life not her.
S.T. answers from Saginaw on November 14, 2006
Is she still married? widowed? Divorced? It sounds like she needs a MAN for her life and she's depending too much on your husband to fill a void. I agree that your husband needs to stand up for you and tell her to get over it, but there might be one or two things you can do to help her out. Killing them with kindness is always a positive thing. My sister and I fought our whole lives, and she will admit she never liked me, but when we asked her to be my son's godmother everything changed, we're practically best friends now. Try to find ways to compliment her and make her feel welcome in the family...send her cards in the mail just because or buy her a gift and say it reminded you of her. When she calls and wants to talk to your husband say, "okay but I just had to tell you about the cutest thing the baby did today" or something to make her see that you care about her. I know it sucks going out of your way to be nice, but it will pay off...and if she's still ungrateful towards you, then at least you can't say you didn't try to make it better. Falling in love with your husband's family isn't always easy, but just remember that someday you'll be the mother-in-law too and treat her the way you hope your kids spouses will treat you. As far as Christmas goes, everyone has some problem with the holidays, and doing double family duty is exausting and don't feel bad, she will see your family when you have a chance, if it really bugs her, try alternating holidays in between families so that nobody feels like they NEVER see you on a certain day~