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!

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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,

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My Dear Lady,

Don't wait a second, give that lady her walking papers. It is your home. If she wants to visit some time, but not mmove in, tell her the rules, and let her know in no uncertain terms she is not to touch your child.

Tell her it is your home and you will pick your colors and not hers. Stand Up for your self now or you will be miserable and it will wreck your marriage.

Your husband needs to stand up to her too, and for you.

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Your MIL sounds mentally ill - OCD or bipolar.

I, personally, would start cleaning my house. Papers without meaning go in the trash. Including receipts found on the parking lot and extra paper napkins. There would be no locks that I didn't have a key to, and I'd give her one closet and reclaim the other spaces for me and my family.

Finally I would call her land lord and make sure she still has a place - and if she does, I'd tell her to GO HOME.

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I believe your husband should be the one to deal primarily with his mother, unless he abdicates that responsibility to you, in which case he must back up any decision that you make. You should instruct your husband to tell his mother that she is very welcome in your home as any family member would be, but that, like any home, your home has rules and the people who live there have roles (i.e. set boundaries). From now on you will decorate your home as you see fit, since it is your home, and you will appreciate it if she will keep her comments to herself if she does not like it. As you do not allow your daughter or other members of your household to collect clutter, you cannot allow her to do so, therefore she must remove all her stuff from your house - how she does it is of no concern but you will be glad to be helpful in moving it to her apartment. If it does not leave, it will be thrown away.Sounds like your MIL is in your home so that she can run it as she sees fit, and she needs to understand that you are the boss of your home. Calmly and politely. I see no problem with setting boundaries on the time that she can be at your home as a guest, but perhaps one problem at a time. If husband can't back you up, consider counseling so that he can figure out why it is that he cannot leave his mother to have his own family. IMHO.

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My mom is a hoarder too. I moved her in with me because she was not taking care of herself and her surroundings. As for your situation, it really has to be your husband to put her in her place. Hoarding is an illness. She may not want to go to her apartment because it may be crammed with junk. I would try to get her some psychological help. I understand he doesn't want to address the issue with her, but that is when you have a house guest, not a permanent fixture in your household. As a child of a hoarder, your husband probably had to put up with a lot growing up. Still, the craziness will begin to affect your lives if you don't put a stop to it. I would say it in a way that is non confrontational but gets the point across. The safety and well being of your child needs to come first and I would impress upon that with your DH.

Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

If she doesn't like your colors or furniter, then decorate, decorate, and decorate. :)

Seriously, please make sure she is checked over by a doctor. My dad started following my mom around everywhere. It drove my mom CRAZY, but we found out later (2 years later) that it was the early onset of Alzheimer's. The not going home thing could be something similar. They are afraid to be alone, yet they do not know why (and won't admit it either). It is not normal behavior.

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Your MIL may have a psychiatric disorder--obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) which can be treated with medication and therapy. She may have some awareness that she has a problem, but the imbalances in her brain prevent her from changing the situation. You must take her to a doctor and get a diagnosis, then she can be treated. Check out this link that explains the disorder and the treatment:
I'm not sure where you live, but there are mental health professionals all over the metroplex. And as far as her refusing to get help...she would have to seek and comply with treatment, or all her stuff gets taken to her apartment, your locks change, and that would be that. You've been held hostage in your own home long enough, and it's not safe for your child. Period. Do not worry about hurting her feelings; it's time for tough love.

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I haven't been in your situation but I do understand about being in someone else's house... we lived with our in laws for 6 years.. and we did have our ups and downs but never as serious as this... my suggestion will be if at all possible to build a guest house in the back of your house, unless you already have one... I think she feels alone in her apartment thats why she doesn't want to go back.. as for her temper she may need some meds to cool her down.. nooo not to knock her out or keep her on meds all the time, maybe there is something going on with her that you all have missed and she can't help herself... being in a guest house but close to her son and you will help her realize that you do want her in your lives.... Rules are hard for a person her age being that shes lived that way all her life, so hopefully you all work this out....

May God Bless You and Yours and May He Give You The Strength you Need


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I have not read more than a couple of responses.
I will read more shortly.
Sit and talk with your hubby. You need to be a united
Number 1, it is your house, she has no right to lock
the closets or rooms. Take the locks off. Switch doornobs
so they don't lock. Then tell her point blank. It is not her
house, she pays nothing for anything to do with it and
therefor has no right to lock anything you don't want locked
in the closets. Since it was you who bought the food
and drinks, then she has no right to remove them and lock
them away when you are being a nice hostess.
Number 2, she has her own place and storage, to take her
stuff to them. And you have the right to box those things.
Afterall she will claim things you bought and she locked
because of a so called free loader. Tell her, your the free
loader. It is time to go home. If she has a key to the house
change the locks. If she has no key, don't.let her in. Make
her call before she comes to see if your up for company.
If she wants to live there: it is time for her to pay her fair
share, and since your name is on the mortgage, you set the
rules and you clear out the stuff.
Number 3, while she is at work, start your redecorating.
If she complains...tell her. It is your house and this
is what you want. Since she is a guest that has over
stayed their welcome, then she is welcome to go home.

In other words...get her out. Change the locks and take
a few days out of town. If she breaks in while your out,
then she has committed a crime.

She is damaging your daughter mentally and emotionally
by how she is treating all of you. She is damaging you
and your husband with the stress she is causing.

She is getting senile *old* and after claiming your
home and family, see about seeing dr for her. Just
the 3 adults need to go. Don't let her talk a dr
out of anything, you 2 need to say all that she
is doing and has your concerned.

Having read responses. You have gotten a lot of
good advice.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm answer this because I am in my 50's..
and Hope my input will help you.
Number 1... she wants control to treat her son and his wife this way, or either she is sick or she doesn't want to admit she has lost her apt.. due to shame, guilt, or self esteem.

but you need to find out for sure. Call the landlord and see if she has paid her bill.. drive by the place if you can and see if it looks empty or like someone has taking over it beside her.
If you find that answer that she doesn't live there any more then address her about on these issues or something along these lines.

1) mom, why do you enjoy being here more than your place.
2) Don't you realize you are wasting your momey by not ever going home to check it out? ( if the answer is no, then ask her why not) maybe you get some kine of insight on this.

I know your feelings and I can totally understand all of the others to throw her out, but try to find what is going on..

does she need attention, is she sick and need help, does she have the apt for it sounds like maybe she doesn't but again she don't want to admit it, or is she scared because someone has threated her by a phone call,letter, etc?
If she is becoming forgetting things, does she know how to get back home? Maybe that the problem and she doesn't want to admit it.

if she does have the apt, know how to get back, and don't want to for no reason, then honey it control issue and it time to set your rules.
by telling her
this is my house and my husband allows me to set the rules and I will paint it the waY I want to and if you don't like it then GO HOME...
then start claiming your closet and space back, tell her I'm sorry I need this space, please take these things home, I give you ???? ( you set the time) days to get them out of her or I will be force to give them away, it your decision.
Let her know what becomes of her things is not your but her dicison, she don't like it TOUGH... she is the one that is focing her way INTO your life.... and tell her just that.

Tell your husband what you will be doing and tell him either you will set these rules or he will. Or you can get really bold and say to him, IT me or her? I give you so many days to make your mind up on who it will be.... I pray it will be her. but hon, if he chooses her over you, you need to know that and he needs help too.

I pray if something like this ever occur to me that my family will help me to get me well and I hope I never do this to my kids... It's not right...

it sounds like to me you have given her plenty of time to go back home and dhe has NO right to rule the nest, it is your and your husband Home, not hers... Maybe she is going back into her 2nd childhood, and if that the case treat her like a child, if she doesn't like it then she can go back home.

Now if you discover she doesn't have a house, then work on getting her an apt. and getting it the way she likes it.
If she does have her apt. find a way she likes it to get her there.

Wishing you the best.... I had a over nuturing mil once.. a real pain, but sweet, but a pain... he was a mommy boy and I'm no longer with him, so thankful too....but I pray this is not the case for you...
Please let us know what happen....\

Hugs and more hugs to you.

1 mom found this helpful

whoa. past time for you to take charge. why your husband won't is an issue! but at this point, anybody doing something is better than nothing. the health of your family and marriage is at stake-this is a toxic situation.

tough love is what it's called. get her and ALL of her stuff OUT, now. rip the band-aid off fast and completely. help her find a counselor and support group. she should probably never live with you again.

please enroll you and your husband in marriage counseling. and please don't let this go on any longer.

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This is a control issue your MIL feels that the only control she has is over stuff. This being said it is your husbands job to take care of this it is his mother and he needs to handle it. First tell her she needs to leave and go back home, that she is welcome to come visit but that that is your home. If she does not leave then call the police and have her escorted out, she may get mad but she will get happy in the same pants she got mad in. Second her hording and a locked closet is a fire hazzard that can put your whole family in jeperdy. God forbid something happen or someone come into your house and look at the condition and report you to CPS.
Your husband needs to take control and take care of this situation.

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OK, first things first. We don't get to pick our mothers and fathers and we don't have to respect them if they do not respect us. She has no respect for you, your Husband, your family, or your house. If anyone tells you anything other than booting her out the front door they are not a reliable source for advice. You have to sit down and tell your husband its time to do SOMETHING and he has to be on your side. Hope this doesn't sound too harsh but my family and I have had similar situation (not anywhere as extreme) but had to do the same thing. It was not easy, but through time the relationship with that troubled person has become easier and has improved. Best of luck and don't wait to do it you will only be punishing yourself. Take control of your home and free the HOSTAGES!!!!!!!!

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I can't believe you are being as nice as you are, God has blessed you with patience! There is a book, called Boundaries, that you should read, it might help you get some perspective over how much you need to put up with because she is your mother in law and you want to honor her and when she crosses the line to taking advantage you and your DH. LOL, she said the brother was freeloading...!

But my first opinion is that she needs to go back home. You and your DH need to have a good long talk about this and get on the same page with it. And then talk to your MIL TOGETHER. With as much love as you can show her, ask MIL why she lives in your living room. Then try to see if you can find a compromise that addresses whatever this need is that keeps her in your living room, while getting her back to her apartment. Be sure to give her lots of love and tell her how much you appreciate her and what a wonderful visit you've had, but that its time for her to go back home.

Hope that helps a little bit!

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are you sure she still has her own apartment? you should let your husband handle a discussion with her in which he tells her to move back home. yours is a situation I wouldn't enjoy, as I'm sure you aren't either. there are too many cooks in your kitchen if you know what I mean. send her home and get your house back!

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Wow. I am so sorry that you're dealing with this. I thought my MIL was bad, but your takes the cake.

You & your DH need to confront her together (not in a mean way) & tell her she needs to leave. Tell her if she doesn't then she will find her stuff in front of her place. Period. If she doesn't leave, then start loading her stuff in your car & take it there yourself.

Honestly, I'm sorry that you're having to deal with this. Please (if you feel comfortable) keep us updated. I wouldn't wait...I would do it ASAP. Good luck!!

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How horrible. Please remember that this is YOUR home and she should remember that she is a guest in YOUR home. The thought that she has an exposive temper seems dangerous to me, I would get her out fast. Your children do not need to have these encounters under their roof. Your focus is them, not a grown women and her unrealistic expectations.

Make a New Years resolution and give her the boot!

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Sounds like your hubby and my hubby are the same. He takes no responsibility for his mother at all. If she needs anything its always up to me. With that said: Its time you find her help. Sounds like she has an underlying condition that needs to be addressed by a physician. But on the same hand, she is capable of caring for herself. Its time for her to go home. You said shes a hoarder. Maybe shes hoarded so much, she has no space left at home for herself. Its time to clean her home and yours out. Start with yours. Take locks off of closets and get rid of the trash. Hoarding trash is such a fire hazard. Reclaim your livingroom. A couch is made to sit on, not sleep on. My brother took over my livingroom for about 3 months. You cant watch tv or do anything in there because of them. Its your home. Take control. Your hubby wont do it. Its going to be up to you to move her out and clean up and reclaim YOUR space. It will probaly hurt her feelings, but you have your family to think of. This is, im sure, putting a strain on your marriage and upsetting the children. Start the New Year off right, you will have to take the first step. Good Luck and let us know how everything comes out.

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WOW!!! Honey, your way too nice to a woman who has literally taken over your house and broken the peace that once was. You need to stand your ground and pack up ALL her stuff, even the closet with the lock, hopefully you can unscrew the bolts on the door, and don't ask her to take her stuff back to her apt., tell her you are. Then do it. Stand your ground, it will hurt her feels for awhile but better she get over it after awhile then a full blown out fight when you finally hit the roof. Best wishes that this goes well for you

1 mom found this helpful

wow! aren't you a saint! i think it's time to give your husband an ultimatum....get her out!

1 mom found this helpful

girl if that were my mil believe me I'd be like You want to hit somebody come on hit me hit someone your own size beatch... ok I had to vent noww..

I know its hard to tell her to leave, she is your mil but dont let her change the way you live, remember she is in your home if anything she needs to be the one to change not you. You do what you please and dont let her walk all over you. I can kind of understand your hubby not wanting her to be offended or explode or whatever, but that is your home and really she has no say so .. There is truly a nice way to talk to your mother in law and let her know how you are feeling who cares what she will think afterwards. Dont get all crazy about it .. Girl I feel for you..

I truly hope everything works out .. the good thing is that yOu have your hubby on your side sorta.. But its better then nothing..

Take care and Good Luck!!!

Try to get her out b4 the New year.. hehehee

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You need to get a plan together with your husband and a mental health professional. Something is not right.
AND, I don't mean to be rude, but the fact that you all have allowed it for six months means to be something is not right all around. I'm sorry... but this is not just her fault. Yes it sounds like you've tried, but not a lot of follow-through.

If I were you, I'd pack all her things while she was working, have them delivered to her apartment AND change the locks. Don't let her back in. Something is terribly wrong with her.

WOW!~ it's time for tough love.

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It's best that you talk about your feelings with your husband and come up with some kind of game plan. Let him do most of the talking and just remain quiet (unless it gets to the point you need to be involved). I don't understand why she won't go home but one thing is for sure SHE NEEDS TO!

1 mom found this helpful

I am concerned for your child. She is seeing this behavior and is going to pick it up! She is easily influenced. MIL has to go! It sounds like she is being manipulative. She needs to go so you and your husband can raise your child together.

1 mom found this helpful

You're enabling her by making it too comfortable for her to be there. Why should she ever leave? Decorate YOUR home the way you want to ...put up your stuff...move her stuff aside....put your foot down...but have Hubby say everything to her to back you up.
Like you said, she has a place to stay so she has a place to go to when it gets too uncomfortable for her there.
just my remedy...

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Ask her what she plans to do about her apartment..is she still paying rent on it? And go about your business and decorate and do pretty much what you have to do, afterall it is your home.


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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!!!

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She has obviously decided that your home is now hers and her hoarding has taken over your possessions, as well. This is a serious psychological problem that needs to be addressed. I found this excerpt on this site... (http://www.squalorsurvivors.com/squalor/hoarding.shtml)...

"A hoarder will also be very concerned about maintaining control over their possessions. Well-meaning family members who try to help by sorting and purging the clutter on the hoarder's behalf are likely to find their good deed has an unanticipated result: an increased effort on the part of the hoarder to protect their stuff from "unauthorized touching". (Frost, Hartl, Christian and Williams, 1995)"

She definitely needs help and needs to go back to her own home or else the problem will only get worse and worse and worse until someone gets hurt. Don't put your child at risk, please.

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How did this get started anyway? Did she just come to spend the night or something?Does she live in the same town as you do? WOW!! This is really something! You and Dh need a sit-down talk immediately. he needs to understand that it's his place to talk to her and tell(not ask) her to leave. She has taken total control of your home.
The Bible says when you get married to leave your father and mother and cleave to each other-I think this is why. No home is big enough for 2 families!! I know some situations where there are aged in-laws to be taken care of or whatever-this is totally different. I would not let this go on another day. Are you and hubby on the same page-I mean does he want her to go? If so-why hasn't he said something? What is the worst she could do? Leave in a huff and threaten to never speak to you again? Chances are she wouldn't carry it out. Seems like she's a real manipulator-you need to pray and ask for the right moment to come up and then sit her down and send her home. Bring home boxes and start packing her stuff, or just start loading your cars- but get her out! Start your new year with her in her home and you in yours!

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From what you have described about your MIL....(and let me be VERY CLEAR about this)...


At this point, she should NOT be allowed back in your home until she is being SUCCESSFULLY treated for her condition by a QUALIFIED PSYCHIATRIST or other doctor who specializes in this area. This may also entail HOSPITALIZING her for a period of time. You say that she has not left your apt for the past 6 months, but that she does have her own apt....Are you absolutely positive that her rent has been paid? What about her utilities at her apt? Is she paying any of her other bills, or even collecting her mail? If she does have to be admitted to the hospital, you and your DH may need to take your MIL's keys and go to her apt to check out the condition there.

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this...but your MIL is TRULY ILL, and needs HELP NOW.

Please let me know how things turn out...

P.S. The word "senile" simply means...OLD...and nothing else.

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Hi I.-
So you have about a thousand responses, but I just wanted to reiterate what Tippi says below. You MIL has the beginning symptoms (hoards, angers easily, afraid to be alone) for any number of disorders, especially dementia and Alzheimer's. These disorders do typically come with age, but that doesn't mean that someone in the 50s won't have them. Getting her help asap will allow you to get your life back asap.

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It sounds like your MIL has a pychological disorder. I think you should get advice from a counselor or some other sort of professional (doctor, etc) who can tell you how to deal with her and how to hopefully get your MIL some help.

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She has over-stepped her boundaries.

Is there something wrong with medically or something causing her to act so irrationally? Is there a reason she doesnt want to go home?

It is your house you should be able to decorate how you and your husband she fit.

The water bottle thing shows she is not thinking rationally.

Your husband since it is his mother should be the one to ask her to leave or get her medical help (if that is what she needs) otherwise you will be perceived as the "bad guy".

sounds like your MIL needs to meet Dr Phil.

Good luck and best wishes to you, it must be a tough situation.


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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.

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Plain and simple. You take control of your household and MAKE her leave!

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I agree with the other moms....she has to get out of your home. Your husband should be the leader and handle this....if he doesn't handle it in a timely manner then you have to make her leave. And, I do agree, she is mentally ill. She is not acting normal. You're probably young and she may seem old to you, but my husband is 50 and believe me that is far from any normal behavior....my parents are in their mid 60's and that isn't normal either. Now, my grandmother is 84 and she has dementia and she acts like that. I agree with the other moms, you're going to have to get her help. She needs to be taken to the doctor immediately. Doctors can give mental health tests without the patient knowing what they are doing. That's what we did with my grandmother because she was so paranoid.

Doing nothing is the easiest thing...but it's just going to get worse.

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It's very easy: read your email and tell yourself how it sounds. If you were giving advice to someone else, you could probably hit it right on the nail. It sounds so ridiculous that I know you would have a lot to say if this were a friend of yours having this problem.

My advice is to tell your husband that he needs to stand up and be a man. He is now married and if he chooses to continue being a mamma's boy, he is not a husband at all. One is supposed to leave their families when becoming married. Sounds like he has never done that. To me it's simple, he has to choose between being a married man or a mamma's boy. There's not much else to do. Good luck!!!!

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I think it is time that she HITS THE ROAD. Especially if she is using violence against your child. Your child should come first and she does not need to be around someone like that. Before long your child will think that that behavior is ok WHEN IT IS NOT.

A. from Spring

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you've already gotten so many responses but i just wanted to underscore the probability that your MIL needs psychiatric help. everything you describe points to a personality disorder, possibly early dementia (yes, it can happen in your 50s), possibly bipolar disorder, possibly OCD. regardless of what the diagnosis might be, you need your home back (are you kidding me? you can't decorate b/c she doesn't like what you pick out??) and she needs professional help.

it sounds like you are going to have to be the one to steel yourself and kick her out. she has her own place, she will not be on the street. give her a deadline (2 days, a week, whatever), STICK TO IT, put her back in her own apartment. change your locks if necessary...whatever you have to do to reclaim your space. then, help her get the help she needs.

good luck!

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Sorry, haven't read any other responses yet. Just my 2 cents here. Give her an eviction notice! She has her own place. You have a family with a small child now. She is freeloading and stayed well past her being welcome or a guest in the house. Blowing up at an actual guest staying over too, she crossed the line at screaming & hitting your daughter. I would have kicked her out a long time ago. Surprised you were able to put up with that for 6 months.
You and your husband need to sit down with her and tell her its time to leave. If she blows up, its your house, kick her out!

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Your husband, out of love and respect for you, needs to handle this matter. He needs to speak with his mother and put her in her place. She needs to go back to her own home. She is definitely overstepping her bounds!

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Wow, and I thought mine was bad!

You need to step up and do what it right for your family! Your husband should tell his mom that she is no longer welcome at your house. And if he doesn't then you should. Your daughter does not need to see this growing up. I am sure she needs some mental help, but your first priority is your family. But I do think that it is her son's job as the man of the house to put his foot down.. he is a Dad afterall isn't he?? Good Luck.. my heart goes out to you.

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Seems like a no-brainer to me, be honest, and take back what is yours....your home, your marriage, your family, your sanity. She has her apartment, she is obviously doing this for control reasons.

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Deai I.,

Why is your MIL living with you when she has her own apartment? You need to address this problem! For your family's sanity (long term)...you need your own privacy. Can't you sit and tell her that you love her dearly but that she had an apartment and that your couch and living room is not a bedroom? She soulds youlg enough to still live on her own....have you asked her why doesn't she what to go back home to her house? I will pray for you girl!


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What a mess.

Do you think she could have some underlying physical condition that she is not telling you guys about? Something serious? She sounds like a child acting out because there is something serious on her mind.

I hope not. Hopefully she is just a nutty MIL and you can put her in her place and tell her to get the heck out of yours...

Horrible situation.

I would ask her what is going on. Lay it all out for her. Maybe take her (just the two of you) to a nice, respectable tea shop (or something) and tell her that you are concerned about her. You have always admired her for her strong stance toward life, but you are concerned that there is something major going on in her life. Tell her you would like to help her get back on her feet again. (This doesn't sound like it has anything to do with money...)

Maybe she just needs somebody to acknowledge that something has changed in her life. I am sorry that person has to be you.

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I know you say she is "not in any way senile" but the behavior you describe sounds like she does have some sort of clinically defined mental illness. It may be depression or obsessive compulsive, but she needs help. I think you and your husband need to have an "intervention" of sorts. You need to firmly tell her that this is YOUR home and you make the rules about who can come to be a guest and what they are allowed to do and not do (can: drink a bottle of water; can't: yell at your child) and that she has overstayed her welcome. You should pack up her things and have them in a truck waiting to go and plan for a clean break. Is she receiving mail at your home? Fill out the forwarding order for her. She has a home to go to, so there is no need for you to feel guilty.

Also, as an aside, there shouldn't be any place in YOUR home that she can lock you out of. Just because she has a job doesn't mean she's not freeloading (does she pay part of the utilities she's undoubtedly using?)

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I think the answer is pretty clear here.....she she needs to get back to her apt. It will be a hard thing to do, but it will be better in the long run and is a must. Her taking possession of things that don't belong to her is uncalled for. This whole thing will have an affect on your marriage. She needs to go.

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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!

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She's a grown woman- kick her out!!! I mean it. The faster you get back to your own life the better. If your husband is too chicken to do it himself you will just have to do it. You do not need to worry about disrespecting her when she has been VERY disrespectful of you. You are also a grown woman, just tell her when she needs to have her stuff back at her place and be firm about it. If she explodes you can either leave or call the police. I wouldn't want my child around that behavior anyway. Good luck!!

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Your MIL has gone past the line of appropriate. I am a grand mother and into the 50's. I also had my mother live with us for 3 years before her death. At best when all parties are respectful of each other it is hard, but your situation is impossible. Tell your husband to go to his mother and tell her this arrangement is not working and she needs to respect your privacy and go back to her apartment with her things. If he refuses, then the burden is on you, but it should be his job to do this. Volunteer to move them for her and start packing her up. Tell her you love her and love to have her visit, but your family needs to have some privacy and a life of your own.

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She needs to get checked out by a doctor! Even though you don't think she's "senile", there are other medical and psychological issues that can cause a person to behave irrationally. For you, this may have been coming on gradually so that it doesn't seem quite as shocking or weird as it sounds to me. This is VERY abnormal behavoir. Has she always used such bizzare judgement and behaved so strangely? If so, she has just been getting away with too much. If not, she probably has something wrong with her.

Before laying down the law about her living with you and taking over half your home, I would show her that you're very concerned about her health and are worried sick about her. Perhaps emphasizing how upset you are to think that there might be something going wrong with her would get her attention and circumvent her anger. If that doesn't work, you must get her out of there even if she gets angry with you and threatens to hate your forever, etc. There is no one that she could talk to about this that wouldn't tell her that she's off base, at the very least, and totally out of the ball park at the most. Good luck!

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ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!! I don't know how old you are, but 50 is by no mean old...by husband is 50 and has more stamina and energy than his 16 year old son. My husband is in TV and works around guys more than half his age and can run circles around all of them...OK, enough of that!

You're MIL sounds like she has some serious issues, mental etc., that need to be addressed by a professional. You say you are not intimidated by her, than telling her to leave will be easier. You must tell her at once to leave your house! How dare she tell you how you can decorate etc....this sounds like intimidation & manipulation.

I am all for being respectful to elders etc., but when the respect isn't extended than to hell with them! Your first priority is to your daughter and husband, not you MIL. Unless you give her permission to discipline your daughter, you could tell her next time she touches your daughter you are going to file a police report!

You must act immediately...do you really want this nutcase around your 3 yr. old?

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It sounds to me like she has a personality disorder. Something like obsessive compulsive disorder and some sort of paranoia mixed in there. Can your husband talk to her doctor or maybe you can ask your doctor for advice? Good luck.

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I can't believe you've dealt with this for six months already! Has she given any reason at all for staying at your house? Are you even sure she still has her apartment?
Sounds like to me there is something going on with her that she may not be telling you. I think you and your husband need to sit her down and have a talk with her. If you think she's going to blow up get a sitter for your daughter so she doesn't have to hear it. You need to make sure she understands that it's YOUR house and you will do what you want (decorate, invite your brother over, etc) in your house, regardless of how she feels about it. I really think all of this would be better coming from her son.

Good luck to you! I know this is going to be difficult but sending her home is going to be best for you and your family. You will be less stressed.

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Tell her she has to leave. Your husband should put you and his family first. Be thankful that she has her own place to go to. Make your husband be the one to tell her if possible. She has no right to freeload off of you and her hitting your child is not acceptable and can cause emotional damage to your child. Don't let your husband weinie out. This is important and shouldn't have even gone on this long!

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I am not trying to be rude, but ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? You stated that you cannot even decorate your OWN home?? YES YOU CAN~ It's your house...you can do whatever you please!! If you are telling the entire story there is something seriously wrong here! Your MIL has no right to take over your home, berate your company, take your things or tell you what to do! You my friend are allowing her to do this! Your DH needs to have a "little chat" with his DEAR Mommy and let her know she needs to go home! I am trying to figure out why a woman would pay rent elsewhere for 6 months yet not live there....that's odd....are you sure she even still has an apartment? If anyone screamed and hit my child out of anger they would certainly not be sleeping on my couch! I don't mean to sound so harsh, but I think you need it! Let's get real...this is not normal! Good luck!

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Hi.OMG!! Your MIL needs help. It sounds like she has a severe case of OCD and possible Bi-polar issues!! She truly needs help and she needs it outside of your house. Has she given you a reason she doesn't want to go home???

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Hi I.,

Thanks for the update and I am glad to know that you are standing up for the well being of your family. You are showing your daughter that you are a strong woman who will not let anyone take advantage of your kindness.
Best Wishes

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You need to kick this woman and all of her stuff out of your house before she ends up ruling the house, and kicking you out. It sounds as though she has already taken most of your home because she won't "let" you decorate.

Stand up for yourself and get her out...now!

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This is crazy.
Tell your husband that this is your family home. This is not what you want your children to be brought up in. It is time for you and him to have a life. No, I would not put up with any of that. What is her excuse for staying there?
I would with your husband and tell her she needs to move back into her apartment. That is it, no reason, no hesitation. Tell her you love her, always there for her, however, since she is healthy, has a job and an apartment it is time for her to move back there.

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