16 answers

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?

What can I do next?

More Answers

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!

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!

Hello M.!

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!!!

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.

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.


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.

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.

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~

I know EXCTLY what you are going through. This year for the first time my mom will not be with my dad as they have seperated earlier this year. Sooo.....My husband and I are going to have Christmas at our house. That is all there is! He told his mom that she is more than welcome to come and he knows that she will most likely be going to his grandparents. We have 2 small kids and I think that it is redicilous that we always have them open up their presents and then we have to run out the door because we have other places to go.
As far as the mother in law thing. I totally understand. My mother in law doesnt like me because i dont NEED her. She is so close to everyone else's grandkids except her own. My husband and I have her only biological grand kids and she never see's them. She lives 45 minutes away and see's the kids on the holiday's and on their birthday's. She is jealous of my mom because she sees them more but my mom makes time to see them.....Anyways, and she also ONLY calls when she knows that I am in bed and my husband is still awake. So I know what you are going through with the holidays. We go through it EVERY YEAR! We have been married for 6 years as well.

I know how you feel, girl!

Hope things get better

I too use to have a bad relationship w/ my mil. Till something happened in the family & she knew i was there for her. It changed everything. but anyways. as long as your husband stands by u & sticks up for u then all should be ok. I know the comments make u really upset they did me too. But i do know that if it ever came down to me or his parents he would chose me (not that i would allow that to happen) but just knowing he would stick by me no matter what his family says or does makes me feel like i can handle it. Maybe u can write her an email & let her know how u feel. Maybe your husband can talk to her. Well i hope all goes well. Please keep us up to date on things.

This just makes me extra pleased that I've never met my terrible mother-in-law.

What does she want, for you all to sleep there Christmas Eve too? I would consider mixing things up a bit. Invite EVERYONE, your aunt as well as his family, to YOUR home for the holiday. Play it off as a you thought it would be a nice change for them to be the guests for a change. The kids are likely to be happier in their own home anyway.

For everything else, I suggest treating her like you would your own mother. When she makes a nasty comment, react how you would if it was your own mother criticizing. If you need advice, consider calling her to ask an opinion. You don't have to follow the advice, but she should be pleased that you valued her opinion enough to ask.

Just a few thoughts.

Hi M.,
I also say stand your ground. I didn't have problems with my mother-in-law until I had kids. When I had my first son she thought that she had the best way to raise him regardless of what I said. I tried to get along with her and just ignore what she was saying. Then one day while they were watching him they went for a boat ride. That was one of the things I didn't want to happen if my husband or I aren't there. They didn't make him where a lifejacket and they let him crawl all over the boat. That was the last straw. My husband and I sat down with them and explained that if things are not done the way that we want them then they wouldn't see us much anymore. It didn't matter how they thought we should raise our kids they are OUR kids. Luckily my husband supported everything that I thought. Ever since then they keep their mouths shut. Maybe you and your husband should sit down with her and explain how you both feel. Or if you feel uncomfortable maybe your husband should talk to her. Good luck.

I would say stick to your guns! I had a mother in law like that many years ago, 1 ex later LOL it could ruin you but don't let it. Many years later I am remarried to a wonderful man and a mother in law that is half way around the world literally and I love it. Not to mention she does not speak english hehehehe. Anyway, my point is that if you let her get your down then she has won the battle. What better way to get her than to play her own game and treat her with kindness rather than bitterness which is what she expects. My hats off to you, you are doing a wonderful job with being a great Mom and a wonderful wife.... You just happen to have a crab of a mother in law, but what would life be without a little challenge right? Goodluck!

Hi M.
I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone! The most important thing is that your husband stand by you and up for you. All you can do is not let her get to you- which is hard I know but you can't control other people's actions only your reaction to them. I have been dealing with this for 16 long years and only recently has it gotten better afte many talks about prioritys and me just ignoring things that used to bother me that i can't control. good luck
J. m.

I say stand your ground. Or at least your husband should be dealing with his mother, and then if that doesn't work you have all the right in the world to stand up to her. There is no need for her comments, and considering your age, she is probably the same age as my parents and I wouldn't have it. But first talk with your husband, tell him how this makes you feel and give him the chance to deal with his mother first and then if it fails nick it in the butt the next time she says something. Don't wait, just deal with her right when she says something. She knows what she is saying and doing and she has no excuse, at least no good excuse. If you keep allowing her to do this to you it won't stop, it'll just get worse.
Good Luck!!!

I wish I could hepl but my in-laws are just as bad, don't feel bad at all about what you are doing. You need to spend the holidays with your family and as you see fit, your husband if he's like mine doesn't say anything to them does he. My husbands parents live 20 minutes away from me and I am lucky if they see my kids 3 times a year. And like you they only call here when my husbands home, my husband drives truck and is gone all week but the minute he walks in the door they are calling. Never to talk to me always to him and never speak to the kids. My father is deceased and my mom lives 4 hours away, so I am litterly alone up here and the only family is his and don't call or ask how the kids are or nothing. You are doing everything right by teaching your children that family is the most important thing wether shes an aunt or a grandma. My in-laws will pass never knowing thier two biological grandkids our son is 4 and our daughter is 17 months and I have two girls that are 12 and 7. It is hard enough for you to comprehend why the mother in law hates you but try explaining to a child why grandma and grandpa dont come for your birthday or never ask you to come over. I feel for you I do hang in there but know you are doing everything right.

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