68 answers

How to Deal with MIL? Driving Me CRAZY!

Hello Mamas!!

I have a question to ask regarding my MIL:

She is a working woman, has her own place, but she has decided to live in my living room as well. Not just a few nights, its has been 6 months, every night. Does not pay rent or utilities. At one point, she got gotten so comfortable that she screamed and hit my daughter for touching her glasses! (Scared my baby girl silly!) My DH and I spoke with her and she got very offended. This is my Dh and my first home and I cannot decorate because she does not like my colors or because she simply does not like my furniture. SHe has taken over my living room, dining room, kitchen, my 2 hallway closets, 1/2 of my closet and kitchen pantry. She will not go into my daughters room because it is pretty much off limits per my DH ( because of all the hoarding she does) She is a hoarder, and I mean she has it bad for collecting everything!!!! From receipts found on the parking lots to her taking 100 napkins at a time when we go out to restaurants. She is a nice lady when she wants to be. My DH has suggested she take her boxes of "Stuff" to her apartment, or even to drive them to a storage unit she has, but she refuses. Anyway, we went grocery shopping 2 days ago, and we always buy 2 cases of bottled water. My brother came into town for a week to enjoy the holidays and we let him stay in our daughters bedroom. He took one bottle of water, just one and she exploded!!!! She says that she cannot be in our home, while my brother is there "Freeloading" our water and she was just a mess!!! She took the cases of water, drinks, juices, everything you could possibly drink that my DH and me boughtfor the house and put them in one of the closets she uses and LOCKED IT!!

Now let me say, she is not in any way senile, and she is young, about 50 something. My DH is very apprehensive about addressing this issue with her because of her explosive temper. I on the other hand am not intimidated by her, but out of respect for her age and her being my MIL, I have tried hard not to raise my voice at her. But this is very out of control. How can I handle this situation?? If I ask her to leave (again), she wont be out in the street, she has her apartment.

Please help!!!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to all the responses!! My DH and I did look into her apartment and as it turns out, she is getting evicted. We would gladly pay the balance for her to go back!!!!! She has intentionally, I Beleive, let her car get repo'd (sat. night), but enough is enough, and she will need to find her own way to her job and home, not mine. As far as her belongings, she will have until friday to remove them.

All of you were so right, I cant beleive myself how I let this go on for so long, but thanks for all support!!!

Featured Answers

I agree with almost everyone on here. She would not be allowed in my home with all that stuff and that attitude. She is a guest. KICK HER OUT!!!

1 mom found this helpful

change the locks one day while she's out. Put all her stuff that she is "hoarding " in boxes on the front by the front door.

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like dear MIL needs some good drugs! I bet if her disorders were addressed then you would see a much more pleasant and sane person!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Your MIL is overstepping her bounds. You and your husband have the right to decorate your own house, use your own closets, and drink your own drinks--or allow others to--as you see fit.

I wouldn't ask her to leave. I would simply decorate as you see fit, use your own furniture, buy what you like, and lay down a few rules. She's not allowed to go into your daughter's room, she's not allowed to hit your daughter...she shouldn't be allowed to cordon off part of your house, either. The closets aren't hers, and she has no right to lock them. Change the locks. The cabinets aren't hers, and she has no right to section them off. Use them as you see fit. I would simply live the way I chose in my own home, and if she left, well that would be fine. If she decided that the way I chose to live was tolerable and stayed around, then that would be fine, too.

My advice is to use your own home in the way you choose, while very politely explaining to your MIL that you prefer things that way.

For example: YOU (painting walls purple with orange spots)
MIL: That's a terrible color! You can't do that!
YOU: (continuing to paint) This is my living room, and I like the walls this way.
MIL: Well I can't stand it!
YOU: (painting away) I'm sorry.
MIL: You can paint your bedroom that way, but leave this room alone!
YOU: (painting with gusto) No, the living room is mine, too, and I think it looks great this way!
MIL: I can't stand it! I'm leaving!
YOU: I'll help you gather your things, right after I'm done painting.

:) :) :) :)

Best of luck!

5 moms found this helpful

How are fish and guests the same? They both begin to stink after a few days.
Your husband may have a problem talking to her and getting into a conflict, for any number of reasons that may or may not ever need to be addressed. Take him aside and have a serious talk about it, what is the plan (GET HER OUT), and the points that need to be brought up (if any) in that confrontation. That way you're on the same page and can't be accused by anyone of "bullying" his mom. Once the agreement is made, have him with you, but YOU do the talking if he doesn't feel comfortable. You can be the one to say what needs to be said, DO NOT feel guilty about telling her to go home; for crying out loud, she's taking over YOUR home, disciplining YOUR child, and trying to make YOUR family and guests feel uncomfortable during the holidays. Not permissable! Your husband standing by your side when this is said may be all he's able to do, but it will show solidarity. Pack her stuff up, have it sitting in the hallway by the door (away from your stuff), and say "Tomorrow morning at 10 (whenever) we are taking you home and will help you unload this stuff either in your home, or your storage building. We love you, but you are a guest here, and I feel like you have forgotten that you are only a guest. The visit is now over". The shorter and simpler, the better. Less opportunity for drawn out junk and accusations.

2 moms found this helpful

No question about it! You said she is a working woman, so while she's at work one day I'd (with the help of your husband, of course) load up her things and bring them where they belong...HER APARTMENT! Then, when she gets "home" I'd sit her down and tell her that as much as you both love her and as much as you've "enjoyed" having her "help", the time has come for her to go back to her own life so that you and your family can do the same and have some privacy. Explain to her that you've already brought her things to her apartment for her so that's one less thing for her to worry with. With that, give her a big hug and tell her to drive safely. : )
You are a far better person than I am...I'd have kicked her out months ago!!

2 moms found this helpful

WOW. I can't believe she is taking advantage of you and your family like that! Put your foot down, no excuses. Give her a time frame, no more than a week, to pack up and get out. She has her own place, so she doesn't have the excuse that she has to find a place to go. If she's not out by the time you set, be prepared to get her stuff out yourself and change the locks if necessary. That is absolutely unbelieveable. I would also set rules for when she is allowed to visit and be around your daughter, and give her consequences when she breaks a rule. Too bad she's the one who needs to be treated like a child because she is acting like one.

2 moms found this helpful

You may be tired of responses at this point! But I had to write, because I strongly suspect your MIL has a mental illness. The hoarding, the over-reaction to your daughter touching her glasses and your brother taking a bottle of water...all of that is out of control behavior, but it is most likely she CAN'T control it!

First of all, you need to take control of your home. Remove all of her stuff. You may have to harden your heart and throw things away that you know are useless, regardless of how she will react. After all, it is your home and you and DH alone can take control of it. Next, set up an appointment with a psychiatrist - not a psychologist, because she will probably need medication - and you, MIL, and DH go to the first appointment together.

Third, she has to move out completely. That needs to be non-negotiable. She is manipulating you and her son, and that is terrible for future relations between you and your husband, as well as raising potential problems for your daughter (and any other innocent victim!). Allow her to visit twice a week - you determine the days, times, and ending point at which she has to leave - and stay firm.

I really think she is very sick, and right now, you and your husband are making it worse by giving in to it. She needs help, and there is help out there, but you all will probably have to do some hard work finding it. I wish you all the best - what a horrible position to be in! You're so close to it that it's hard to have perspective, but I believe if you were seeing this happen to a friend, you'd quickly realize this is more than just a MIL behaving badly. She needs help, and I encourage you and your DH to help her find the answers. God bless you!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi there,
Looks like your MIL has no boundries, and if you don't start laying down the limits of what you are comfortable with this will not end.

" SO I can help you start getting these extra items over to your apartment or by next week I will start taking it over to the womens shelter" and be prepared for her to go bananas because she is clearly not used to people standing up to her. And i fear your husband will crumble and not be much support as it appears he has been pushed around most of his life by her temper.

This is your life, your family, your house.

"I understand that you might not be comfortable here will I redo the colors/decorations"

and start popping the locks off everyhting that she has "secured" in your home.

Good luck!


2 moms found this helpful

This situation is totally inapropraite. I would say it is time for some Tough Love.... My mother went through this with my brother, but for a parent to do it to a married child is worse... they should know better and have more common decency... and respect for you and your marriage. She is an adult as are you and you are both entitled to your own space. Give her the gift of her own life and own place....

While she was at work I would re-key the whole house... including "her closet"... and move all her items to a storage unit where I would pay for one months rent in cash. DO not under any circumstances give her a new key to your home... you will just find yourself in the same situation again. I would then call her at work and ask her to meet you and your husband at a resturaunt ... of YOUR choice... without the kids ... and let her know her that you are collectively taking your lives back. She has her own apartment where she will need to live from now on and if she wishes to keep her items she will need to get them out of storage before the end of the month. She can come visit Your home upon invitation only. You will decorate as you wish... it is not any of her business who you share food with, who you have over, where you want to put your belongings... etc. She is welcome to make those decisions in her own home, but not yours.

I would also strongly suggest family counseling.... her presence has obviously impacted not only you, but your marriage and your children... and she clearly needs help in not continuting this behavior and you all need help in coping with the experience.

2 moms found this helpful

okay....you say she is not senile. How do you know that?
Have you ever spent time around someone with dementia? How about alzheimers? Did you know there are several different types of Alzheimers?

I have a mother with dementia. She lives alone, drives, cooks, etc. But she cannot for the life of her deal with the computer, instructions to things, bills, etc. She has no more friends. They have all left her because they don't know how to deal with her.


Go to this page and see if your MIL meets any of this criteria. Show it to your dh and discuss getting her to a geriatric specialist. He/she will talk with her, prescribe meds possibly and give you a rx of dementia if it is needed. Sometimes you have to convince them that there is a problem, but you NEED TO DEAL WITH IT. It won't get better. It can happen to anyone at any age. There are people that are 40 years old and having her same issues!

The one thing I can say--you are one step ahead if you have her in your home. The ones like my mom that are in their home can hide their problems much longer. My mom admitted her problem, but not after trying to hide it for a long time.

Here is a book to read too.

Elder Rage or Take My Father Please! by Jacqueline Marcell. It is just a womans story of finding out her parents had gone down this slope and needed her help desperately.

It is very hard to deal with. Be ready for more tears, anger, etc. Start talking to her like one of the kids. Set guidelines, stick to them. ex: if you do not talk nice to me then I will leave (you turn your back and walk out of the room). They can't stand that and will act nice because they dont' want to be left. It may take several times for it to click, but it will. Also monitor what she is watching on tv. They 'become' whatever they hear and see. So if a kid on tv is stealing, suddenly you are stealing. ;-p

Good luck,

2 moms found this helpful

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