July 2015 Moms

How to cope with a very negative mother in law

My husband and I have only been married for a year and a half and we have an 8 month old baby. We have already gone through so many life changes so quickly that are stressful even on the healthiest couples and yet on top of it I have the mother in law from hell and it just may destroy my marriage. 

I didn't know her very well prior to our wedding. I tried to get to know her during our engagement and although she was cordial, I felt that it was just being nice and nothing deeper. Although I felt like she was holding her true self back, I didn't anticipate it being this negative in my life. This is our history, it starts off small and petty but shows her attention-seeking, manipulation etc and overall negative pattern. I don't want to just write my opinion or psychological evaluation of the situation but rather just give you all the facts so you can see for yourself. I am at such a loss of what to do. My husband copes by ignoring things and pretending it doesn't happen and I think that's because he knows she won't change. Or he gets really mad and that's not how you handle;e these types of crazy people either. I feel powerless because I am the in-law but I feel like I should be allowed to stand my ground. As one friend said, "she is stealing my memories" and by that she is creating negative situations at a time when our little family should be making HAPPY memories together. 

Bridal Shower - I invited her to be inclusive of her and have her feel involved in the wedding events. She yelled at the hosts about how a game was being played and was beyond competitive about these silly games that were supposed to be lighthearted and fun. While we opened gifts, A friend of mine who is a psychologist made sure to sit next to her and kept her "busy" lol. My MIL found the thong underwear that my mom's friends had given me to be "inappropriate gifts" and made sure to tell me this afterwards. On the drive home, she asked what we were doing with our dogs during our honeymoon and I explained that we were going to be boarding them. She did not approve and wanted to watch them. She lives 2 hours away from us! Also, previously when she watched one of our dogs, the puppy was not yet old enough to have its shots and so was supposed to remain inside and she disregarded our request and not only had her outside but took her swimming and she now has a fear of water after that. So we didn't trust her to watch the dogs anymore and since she is 2 hours away it is not a convenient arrangement for any of us. I told her thanks for the offer but we are comfortable in our decision to have the dogs be boarded while we are on our honeymoon. When we got to my house, she took my husband outside while I unloaded the gifts from the car. When they came back inside, they proceeded to tell me about the "new" arrangements where she would be watching our dogs. My husband didn't know that I had just had that conversation with her in the car so I don't fault him. However, that was my first blatant experience with her manipulation. There is more to this dog drama below.... it was her way of ruining our first day of marriage which I will explain below. 

Rehearsal Dinner - this is petty observations but just throwing it out there to show how she constantly does digs at me. She asked if I like tiramisu and I said no it's my least favorite dessert and so what did she choose for our rehearsal dinner? tiramisu. I just laughed. 

Wedding -
1) a month before our wedding she insisted that we use her cake cutting set that has been used for "generations" which I thought was a sweet gesture so agreed. 2 days before our wedding she claimed she couldn't find it and proceeded to call and text me endlessly about it. Meanwhile, I was really busy finishing the details for our wedding. She said she couldn't handle going to buy one so I would need to which I didn't have time to do and it just created so much extra stress for me. She is a kindergarten teacher so she did have time after 3pm to go and look for a cake knife for us. The next day she miraculously found it and now proceeded to send me and call me about 20 times about the ribbon color for it. I told her "thank you for asking me but I totally trust your judgement on it so whatever you think will look nice is fine with me." She was stressed about this ribbon so I said cream and white are neutral so she could go with those. At the rehearsal she cut us off from the rehearsal to now bring up this ribbon again. We were in the middle of logistics and she literally started a whole scene about RIBBON. Then later that night she came up to our suite while drunk and again was making an issue about this RIBBON. my cousin just finally took her downstairs and she chose the ribbon and put it on the cake set to stop this crazy making and drama and to keep her OUT of our wedding suite. 

2) Wedding dresses: she told me the fabric of my dress looked "cheap" when I showed her my dress before the wedding. She told us she was wearing a pink dress for our wedding. then 2 weeks before said she chose a champagne dress. It turned out to be an ivory satin dress - MY wedding dress was ivory satin and she KNEW this. Then she chose shoes similar to mine (also ivory satin) and then said "oh my gosh our shoes are so alike!"

3) day of wedding: she failed to get our wedding cake and the knife set which was what she wanted to do and made a huge point to do it because she wanted to make sure no one "stole" the family heirloom cake cutting set. I explained how important it was to me to get the cake for our 1st anniversary and so if she was going to do that part of the cleanup then please get the cake. She not only didn't do this she lied and blamed it on my cousin. And we didn't get the cake. Fine, I let it go....

4) We hosted lawn games at the beach after our wedding reception for out of town guests. She monopolized me new husband's time playing games with him. When I tried to play a game with him she flat out told me "No" I couldn't. I saw my husband for about 10 minutes that whole time at the beach event. 

5) The morning after our wedding we just started to eat breakfast and it was 9:30 am. We were on the balcony of our suite and she started calling his phone. When she didn't get a response she texted him that she needed to be on the road at 11am and so would we since she was going to need to get our dogs from our house (remember that story from above with the bridal shower dog conversation?). Previously, she had said she had taken Monday off of work so she could come back leisurely on Sunday which was what worked for us because we wanted to spend our 1st day of marriage together in the morning and then needed to visit with some out of town family so wouldn't be getting home until later to give her the dogs. So now all of a sudden she had to get back home for some birthday party. So we rushed through our breakfast, packed everything up quickly, ran to say goodbye to my mom and thank her for the wedding she provided to us and then I went and said goodbye to my dad in a parking lot. I had not seen my dad in 15 years and we had plans to spend some time with him and my stepmom who had traveled from far away to attend our wedding. We get on the road and head home. 30 minutes before we get home she calls and tells us she is too tired to go to that party so she isn't going to go. I was so mad! We get home and give her the dogs and now she starts crying because we will be going on our honeymoon out of the country and she won't be able to get ahold of her son, my husband. 

Christmas - we had just gotten married 2 months prior and we were supposed to all spend Christmas with extended family back east. Those plans were cancelled and so I decided to host Christmas. Although I was still very upset from the wedding drama I figured this was a good opportunity to start fresh and make some new happy memories. It was just going to be me, my husband and both of our mothers. 

1) Invitation - I invited her to come Christmas Eve at 7:30pm. We would be at a dinner with my extended family before then so 7:30pm was the earliest I could host anyone at our house. She responded that she would be there at 5pm to which I replied that wouldn't work and why. She was upset about it and so said she would come Christmas day at 9am. My mother decided to take us up on our offer to spend Christmas Eve at our house and so she did. 9 am Christmas Day came and my MIL arrived. The moment she saw my mom there in her jammies she got very upset, "YOU SPENT THE NIGHT?" was the first thing she said to my mom when my mom greeted her at the front door. My mom was adorable and said "Yep, I took the kids up on their offer". 

2) We open gifts. We spent MORE money on her gifts but that's because my husband shopped for her and he doesn't stretch a dollar as far as I do. Plus he wanted to get her this super fancy tea because she likes tea. I bought my mom a handbag at TJMaxx. Needless to say, my MIL was not happy about her gifts. Then as my mom and I started to open some she took my husband into the corner to play with his stuff. It was really weird. So my mom and I just kept on going and didn't let her ignoring us ruin our morning.

3) She yelled at my mom - my mom said that some author had passed away and she literally screamed at my mom that wasn't true. I had to go in there and calm the situation. My mom was so uncomfortable. She is very quiet and not that kind of person at all so I had her come and help me cook so she could get away from the negativity. 

4) My MIL drank heavily that day and then cornered me in my kitchen for 20 minutes to demand I get pregnant right away. I tried to explain to her that we had only been married for 2 months and wanted to focus on being married first. She then lectured me on how "old I was" (I was 34 at the time) so I tried to reassure her that my family is very "fertile" . I tried to make this situation light hearted but it was VERY uncomfortable for me. She got progressively more intrusive on the subject and I had to leave the kitchen. 

5) I made everything from scratch for Christmas dinner. We sat down and started to eat. She asked about a church we had been checking out and if we liked it. I told her that we were looking for a church that was a good balance for both my husband and I since our experiences growing up had been very different. She wanted me to elaborate so I just explained that although we had both grown up Episcopalian he was accustomed to a church that was more traditional and conservative while I was used to a more liberal church. She felt that was insulting (not sure why) so I tried to further explain that since the Episcopal church is like "catholic light" each episcopal church has their own ways of doing things. She was furios and started screaming at me and waving her finger at me and yelled "DON'T you DARE INSULT MY RELIGION". The slammed down her fist and then left the table. Our house is open concept so she walked over to the couch and read a magazine while the 3 of us sat at the table in shock and my husband was horrified. It's one thing for this to happen in front of me but for my own mother to see it i think is what horrified my husband. He was so embarrased. My mom asked what should we do and looked at me and I just turned and looked at my husband. My hubby said, we are going to eat this amazing dinner my wife just cooked (Oh how I loved him so much at that moment) and so we ate and chatted and ignored the HUGE elephant in the room. It was the most uncomfortable dinner of our lives. HAPPY First Married Christmas to US! LOL. 

6) Dinner went late and so my mom decided to spend the night again. My mom is 75 and I didn't want her driving while she was tired and she already had her stuff from the night before. When my MIL (who was also going to spend the night) found this out she started screaming that she wasn't going to be staying the night if "She" was staying the night. My husband actually had to go and put his mother to bed and tell her that whoever we want to spend the night will be doing so since it is OUR house. 

7) My mom got up at 5:30 am to leave - I think to avoid the MIL. The MIL got up at 8 am and came out to the living room. I was hopeful for an apology but she acted like everything was completely normal. It was the creepiest thing I have ever seen. Who does that?!!

Well we ended up getting pregnant right away accidentally - surprise! ha ha. I am sure my MIL thinks her lecture at Christmas worked but whatevs. she can think whatever she wants. She was shocked and horrified how "big" I was when I was pregnant and made sure to gasp each time she saw me especially when I was in my bathing suit. It was so rude and uncomfortable. 

When the baby was going to be born we decided that no one could stay at our house when we got home from the hospital. When she said she would be staying with us and my husband told her no and the reasons why she guilt tripped him. Long story short he started to cave to her and her manipulation once again was working even though HE also agreed that he wanted time at home just us with the new baby to bond and bumble together. So I wrote a nice email to my MIL explaining that this was a special time for us creating our family and we felt like we needed the privacy to bond and bumble along together and so it wasn't a time we felt comfortable hosting anyone at our house. I explained this was a rule for everyone and not just applicable to her. I welcomed her to come stay when the baby was a month old and that she was welcome to come to the hospital to meet her if she wanted. She could also stay at a hotel if she didn't want to drive home and could see us for a bit at our house when we brought the baby home. 

Since the baby was born:
We have gone out to see her 6 times. Each time we spend a weekend there. We also spent Thanksgiving with her. It is a LOT of work for us to go and visit. We have to take our dogs so pack for them, for the baby and for both of us. We 2 hours out there and we always pay for our meals out there. Sometimes, she will pay but it's rare or it's for the cheaper meals. She has never once cooked for us so we eat out for every meal when we are there. Dinners with cocktails set us back $100-$200 and we are a young family and I am not working right now while staying home with the baby. She makes it seem like we don't see her enough although we have told her she can come and visit us. 

She pretended that she had cancer and told my husband that who freaked out. Yet 2 weeks before she told me she was choosing to have a chemical peel and was paying $6,000 for it and was super excited and told me NOT to tell my husband. I said we both are happy for her whatever she does and that I knew my hubby wouldn't care but that I wouldn't say anything if she didn't want me to. I also said that if it is done well as it should be that I thought he would notice that her face looked 10 years younger the next time he saw her. So then this cancer story to explain why she had to get this peel was such a joke and wasn't true at all. She tried to bring it up when we saw her and then as soon as she remembered that I knew the truth she changed the subject. 

We spent Christmas this year with my family out of state and she was not happy about it and was a bit passive aggressive. When we did see her to celebrate with her, I had made sure to work extra hard on her gifts this year since she was so clearly disappointed the last year (and we had gotten her NICE stuff btw!!). What did she get me? Olay drugstore shampoo and it was for African American hair. I am a pale blonde girl with really thin hair! It's not about the money to me it's about the thought and this clearly was a giant F-U to me. She got my husband a bunch of really nice clothes etc.

She texts us trying to get attention for other medical issues that are no big deal and have nothing to be worried about but it's like she makes this stuff up to get attention. 

She makes comments about how we don't have enough pictures of her in our house. Mind you, she does not have 1 of me, NOT 1 PICTURE, in her house which is fine with me but she has put up 5 pictures of her with her "boyfriend" who she still has NOT told us about and pictures of HIS KIDS in her house. She has this whole double life and it is so weird. I don't think she tells us because she can play the victim. With them she can say "poor me I don't see my son enough" and then with us she pretends to be all alone where she is. 

BABY BOOK - and the last straw.... she kept asking us for certain pictures or downloading them from facebook and mentioning she was putting it into the baby book she was making. I asked her about it and told her that I wasn't ok with that. I am our child's mother and am making her baby book and it is a really important and special gift for me to do for my children. I told her that if she would like to make a look-book to show her friends or for just the relationship between her and the baby that was fine but for the actual baby book that could not happen. She flat out told me no that she is doing it. And she is still downloading our photos online. 

Thanks for any constructive advise you can give. This is greatly impacting my marriage. We are coping with it but all of our energy is going to "coping" and then not able to live fully and happily. 

Re: How to cope with a very negative mother in law

  • n3na94n3na94 member
    Wow. All I can say is wow. Lots of respect to you for tolerating so much. I can't imagine how you feel but from reading everything I can see you are on the verge of exploding. Right now mama your family is first. This is affecting your marriage, your family, and you as a mama and a mother. It sounds like you are physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted, I can understand why, and know this is not easy. this is how I see it, the only one that can put a stop to her, and make her understand that what she is doing is wrong is your husband. I don't know your husband, so I don't want to judge but I do know that if he cares about his family and his marriage, he needs to stand up for them. He can't allow so much disrespect. You gotta sit with him, and talk this out with him, somewhere where you and him are calm and relaxed and you gotta let him know that this is affecting his family. Point everything out without judging his mom and open your heart. If he keeps allowing his mom to do all this, she will continue to do it.

    Also I don't know if your religious, but I've dealt with people a bit complicated before and praying has truly helped me. I believe that God can touch people's hearts and change them. So definitely mama pray for your family, your marriage, your baby boy and your mother in-law .

    This is not easy mama and I am really praying that somehow she changes and your husband talks to her and puts a stop to her. I am praying for your family, your marriage and your baby. Remember together you can overcome anything!!! 

    Keep us updated please mama. We are here to support, encourage and help!! 
  • This is not helpful at all, but what a f****** b****! You have the patience of a saint for dealing with all of that for so long. I would have lost my shit after all the wedding shenanigans. I feel like it's way, way, way past time for a nice sit down conversation, between all of you. Clearly she doesn't understand boundaries and needs some guidelines. She shouldn't be affecting your marriage. It's only going to get worse as time goes on. I am not one to just cut off family, but I would seriously consider it in this situation.
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  • Wow, breathe mama. It seems like your mother in law is having some control issues, maybe alcoholism (sorry if that isn't accurate), attachment and relationship issues...a whole lot of issues haha boundaries are important and communicating with your husband. Relaxation techniques might be good for all of you and taking up knew hobbies. I really hope everything goes better :)
  • Im going through something a bit similiar but your MIL takes it too far. Ive tried to talk to her but seems like its not working so I have decided to stay away as much as i can. Its destroying my marriage as well little by little because we constantly fight about her or what she said or does. I have no advice because i feel for you on this. Have u tried to talk to her? 
  • Thanks so much ladies for your support. your words of understanding and encouragement are really helpful. I know we don't know each other but reading your messages really touched my heart. This can feel like such a lonely journey sometimes so thank you for your words. I believe that we cannot control other people's actions BUT we CAN control our reactions and so that is what I have focused on. I have also remained civil and have even continued to be nice. For mother's day when I was pregnant I got my MIL a book that is specifically for grandmas to write information and stories for her grandchild. Although we don't have a good relationship, I am still trying to foster a positive one with her and my baby. I have received 3 scenarios from people:

    1) cut her off - this may indeed end up being the answer unfortunately. I would never come between her and her son nor my daughter and her (unless she starts doing things to my daughter or involving her in this and then mama bear (me) will NOT allow that) but as for me I don't necessarily have to have a relationship with her

    or 2) Try to Talk to her. - this would be the optimum thing to do BUT I feel that it is impossible because she is a crazy-maker who has a host of intertwined psychology issues manifesting themselves. If someone just honestly felt not included or was sad about "losing" a child to marriage that would be easy to fix. I could easily help make her feel loved and involved and let her know that she isn't losing her son at all but the dynamics have just changed and I could fix this through loving her and reassuring her. However, since this has to do with her psychological issues that have clearly been around LONG before I was in the picture, a conversation won't work. She would either deny everything or probably project more stuff and I just see that conversation being a s***-storm.

    or 3) I can continue to ignore it (my mother advises this option) and I have been doing that already and all that does is continue to allow this behavior to continue. And I agree, it will just get worse.

    ... Previously, my husband would get made at ME for being upset about his moms conduct and that was the most hurtful and frustrating part. I am allowed to have my emotions ESPECIALLY when someone is being hurtful towards me or my relationship. If my husband wants to sweep things under the rug and/or be a door mat he is welcome to do that but I don't have to. And to not have your partner have your back and stand up for you is so hurtful and infuriating. I would have his back in a heartbeat even if I had to stand up to my family. I have realized that he and her have long standing issues in this area so I empathize with him but it is still not fair to me or to our marriage. He has finally come around to starting to have my back with this but it's almost too late. So much damage has already been done and the trust cracked. What these men don't realize is that every time they fail to have our back, the foundation of your marriage is damaged and you don't get the opportunity to "undo" that damage. I am trying to work on forgiveness with him because I know that he is battling his own issues with this and he hasn't learned the tools for how to deal with his mom. he learned to cope in his own way when it was just him and now that he is married and has a daughter and his own little family he has to learn new skills to manage his mom and I know that is a process and won't happen over night. I am sad that this is how our marriage has started off. These should have been our happiest 2 years and instead it's been very hard. I had such different ideas coming into this marriage. Had I known this was how my mother in law would be I would have reevaluated my decision and asked my husband what the plan was to handle this. I knew we had issues but I thought they were very different and so focused on that stuff which we worked well together to work through. We are a great team in many ways. This being our actual big issue was surprising because I had no idea this would even happen. 
  • I went through something similar to this.  I just kept my mouth shut and dealt with it until the day she told my then fiancé that I was a sl*t over the phone and I heard her.  That day I canceled my wedding which was 3 weeks away and told him I'm not dealing with his mother anymore.  Unfortunately he stopped talking to not only his mother but his father and his brothers since they thought it was my fault.  We ended up getting married at the court house a week later. 4 years later we still don't talk to his family.  
    Sorry this isn't really advice but our relationship is stronger then ever without all the negativity coming from her.  
  • I have a similarly psychotic and lying mother in law. Luckily for me, the hubby busted her on all her lies and he chose to cut her off. His siblings blame us, so we don't see them anymore either. We do see my husband's grandmother and extended family in Indiana, which infuriates her because she can't control it. They got to hear both sides at least, so if she spreads her lies they know she is lying. Life is much happier without her drama and craziness.
  • All I can say is I feel for you. You are the momma of your own baby and you have to protect her from that nonsense. Nothing else matters. If it were me, I would really insulate my child from that ugly woman. Maybe see her two times a year or something, and not stay the whole weekend. If she wants to see her grandbaby, she'll need to start behaving. As for your husband, that is just really devastating. That man needs to have your back. I guess if it were me, I would just sit him down and remind him about his priorities. Why is he defending the bad behavior of a woman he sees six times a year? Shouldn't he be defending the woman he sees EVERY day of his life, raises his precious child and is building his life with? Whew, I really feel for you. That is frustrating. Just don't let it destroy your marriage or your family, or else she wins. You guys can figure this out. Your marriage and your family is way stronger than her psychotic behavior.
  • She's a c- you next Tuesday! Block her on Facebook and don't give her pictures or don't put pics of LO on there. I'm a firm believer in privacy and don't have pics of my LO on the Internet. There's too many creeps in this world. I think your dh needs to step up and grow some balls (no offense to him or you) and stand up to his mom and have your back a little more. It's his mom and he should deal her not you. You are not the i law in your family. You should be more important to him than his mom at this point. If she makes a baby book and gives it to you throw that goddamn thing in the garbage right in front of her face and tell her that you told her no and this is what's going to happen from now on if she isn't going to listen. And if she won't play by the rules she won't be a part of your lives. Family or not you don't need a black hole bringing you and your dh's relationship to an end. Nobody should have a impact on you like that. I would just cut her out of your lives before LO is old enough to be influenced by that psycho. 
  • Ugh I got so mad just reading about her!! I think you guys are doing pretty much all you can to deal with her. I do think you'll have to make sure to stick to your guns no matter what. For example in the dog situation, after she went behind your back to make plans with your husband, you could have said right then and there "She and I discussed this in the car and I told her we are boarding the dogs. It's not okay with me to go behind my back to ask my husband after I said no." Period. And when she wanted to leave early on Sunday "You can go, we are not leaving until later as planned, if that's a problem we will just board the dogs so you don't have to worry about it." With people like her you have to be ON IT 100% of the time and never let her get away with manipulation, call her on it EVERY TIME. Also, I agree with PP who suggested either blocking her from seeing your daughter's photos, or refraining from posting pics (but if you're like me, with family out of town, posting on FB is the easiest way to keep in touch with family, so that may not be an option.) Or, let her print all the photos she wants and then throw that darn book in the trash! So sorry you have to deal with that crap!
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  • You can't fix her ways. He has to stand up for you and be against his mother. You are a team and there is a babies happiness at stake. She will only change if he stands up to her.
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