Could A Mother In Law help me see where mine is coming from?

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
Could A Mother In Law help me see where mine is coming from?
Tue, 09-11-2012 - 12:04pm

I was so happy today when I found this place. I need a place to think outside my own head about my in laws and Husband. I have my family, our preacher, and a few friends; however I would love some feedback from people who are not invested in me or my husband.  To be honest I would love to hear from some Mothers, I can’t get my MIL to talk to me, I have tried to see things from her point of view, but it’s still coming from my head. So fill free to tell me like it is, I love constructive criticism.

I have known my MIL for over 12 years, in that 12 years we have never been involved in each other’s life. We had meet and see each other around, however they never invited me over or out for dinner until their son my wonderful husband started talking about me in the forever way, ( 2 months before we were engaged)  We went to dinner once and she “loved me”, then when he proposed to me, and when we went over for a family dinner, she made a big deal about the ring on my finger and who was I engaged to, saying her son never told her, and that it couldn’t be real. It really hurt my feelings I tried to play it off as a joke, but her face was so serious and this was done in front of his whole family, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

My sweet husband respects his Mom and Dad so much, that he thinks he can’t speak up for me or that would be back talking his parents and being disrespectful. I understand that but what about me? He is to be my person and I his, God calls us to cling to each other, our faith, and God.  However he has leaned more on them than me, thinking about their feelings and not mine. 

As we were planning our wedding I was looking for family information, Parents marriage dates, how they met, old family photos, and she got so mad saying I was digging up dirt on her and her family.  I finally had enough and didn’t want our relationship to be one of distance, or hurt feelings so I went to her and her husband to talk to them one on one. Letting them know that if I had hurt them in any way I was sorry, but I was just wanting to get to know them more, and do some photo books with info so everybody who went to the wedding ( family) could see where each side of the family came from and how we are going to go forward together. After that I thought we had a mutual understanding of each other and things would be good, that if there was a problem we could come together as Strong Christian Ladies and work this out.  I was wrong.

Shortly after we were married ( mind you October 2012 will be 6months of marriage for us) She started in with telling her son; don’t let her know how much money you make, don’t tell her your coming over, when we started to have communication issues he ran to her ( that’s ok, but he didn’t come talk to me) she tore me down, told him to leave me, never once did she try to be supportive, uplifting, just leave its hard… leave her you can move home. I cooked this woman a mother’s day feast when all her children had forgotten her, we have invited them over, tried to do things with them, with either no response or she can’t. I understand but then it was thrown at me that I never come over and I am never around. Well no I am not invited and I am not just going to show up.

Marriage is hard, we had never lived together before the marriage, we had a lot of adjusting to do. I was so hurt when I found out that he had told her some very personal things about me and our marriage that I hadn’t even told my family, and the personal things about me he told her, that took me months to tell my family after it happened. These things are not his to tell, and he told her, and she told her other children. I luckily am good friends with my husband’s siblings and one of them came to tell me.

She lies about the silliest things, and for a Christian woman I have not heard of anything constructive to come from her. God calls us to talk to our brothers when we feel we have been wronged.  This last time I went over to their house, I came prepared with a letter just in case I was not able to talk or was not meet with an open mind and heart. I am glad I did.  Started off with an apology of my behavior, and tried to talk to her about how my feelings were hurt. I was meet with yelling, accusations, and being condemned. I had to just leave after 4 times of asking to have a conversation and for us not to fight, I just had to leave. 

Since then she has not spoken to me, when we saw each other last she acted as if nothing was wrong.  I am all for moving past this, I have forgiven her ( that doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with it, I honestly have to give it over to God a couple times a day if not more)  and I can move past as long as this doesn’t happen anymore. I am all for if you have a problem come talk to me, I will listen, I will try to see where you are coming from, then I would like to explain where I am coming from. We agree to disagree, or we understand the miss communication. But this back stabbing, and hurtful words is just childish.  My husband’s father will not acknowledge me, his mom is over friendly, and is now blaming her son for all of this.  My husband and I know we played our role in all of this, we have asked for forgiveness from them and God. However they ( his parents) have not taken responsibility for their part in this miscommunication and breakdown of relationship, they just moved from its my fault to now it’s their sons. They love him but it’s his fault.  This hurts my amazing husband for he values his parent’s thoughts of him so much, but it hurts him. This morning he asked me “How can this be all my fault, the blame is on me, but they love me and miss me, I just don’t understand.”  I told him that they will love him forever and she just wants him to remember that, but if he is confused he should text her back and ask.

I am just at a loss I don’t want to cut ties with them, I want a relationship with them, but at what cost?  I could use some guidance from some Mothers who maybe have problems with their DIL’s.  Thank you for any and all help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008


Welcome and I am so sorry for the way your mil is treating you.  Please remember that this is her struggle to work out but yes, it is deeply effecting you.  I mean that her struggle is that she is insecure and controlling and likely passive aggressive and manipulative.  These are the things she must address - but I'm sure from my own struggles she will not.  You are trusting in God and it is my belief that he would want you to stand up for yourself.  What I mean is that you sound timid and I believe your MIL sees this as a weakness and uses it to her benefit.  Being strong does not mean that you have to attack someone or even walk away from a relationship with them.  But, I think you must be honest right now.  Your mil doesn't want and probably never wanted the type of relationship with you that you were wanting with her.  Don't take it personally, you could be Princess Diane and I'm certain that would not be good enough for her son.  Take back the control of your life and your marriage.  First - go together as a couple to outings with them.  Only don't go when you can't or it interferes with something you'd rather do.  Go and show her that you will not be bullied.  But remember, she doesn't want a relationship with you so act like she is a fly on the wall.  Go and have fun with the others or just go and spend time with your DH - don't let her keep you from that.  Second, why not ask DH if you could implement a new phone/email policy with both of your family.  Say, that when he calls them or emails them that he does not share personal / private information about your relationship or about you and your family.  And, often when he calls - do it together on a speaker phone.  Set up a family email account so that emails to the families are sent and received from that account.  Reinforce that this is your family email and block email that comes to other emails.  You need to show that you are a couple and cannot be divided.  Right now, your DH is actually helping your MIL tear down your marriage.  He needs to understand that.  If he won't listen to you or even take the posts we are sending your way now, then maybe seeking a marriage counselor or even talking to your pastor/ minister.  He cannot make his mom his go to person - that has to be you - his wife.  He cannot betray his relationship with you for the relationship with his mom.


Mostly, just remember that from a Christian standpoint - God helps those that help themselves ( I think that's right) and believing this - stand up for yourself.  Don't tolerate her rudeness and the comments and the other actions.  Hold her accountable.  If she makes a nasty remark - repeat it back to her and tell her that this remark is unacceptable.  If it is at her home - leave.  If it is at your home ask her to leave if she cannot control herself. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001

I'm not a MIL either.  I'll be interested in reading what the MILs on this board have to say.

It sounds like you are doing your best to make this relationship work.  Unfortuately, there is only so much you can do on your own.  Relationships are two way streets and it doesn't sound like your MIL is willing to meet you half way with your expectations with your relationship with her.  

What I mean, is every relationship in life is a negoitation.  Both parties have to contribute something in order for there to be a relationship.  In emotionally healthy relationships, the parties usually contribute equally (not always, but usually).  When a relationship gets out of balance - with one person doing more work to sustain it than the other - resentments start to build.  It sounds like this is where you find yourself.  You are willing to put yourself out there to contribute . . . you are willing to let the indiscretions of the past go . . . you are willing to "agree to disagree" . . . but it doesn't sound like your MIL is willing to do any of these things.  It sounds like it's either HER way, or she just prentends that there isn't anything going on at all.

So it's understandable that you are frustrated.

And here a big secrete in life . . . YOU can't control what your MIL is willing or unwilling to do.  You just can't.  You can try to conjole her, or influence her, or coax her . . . but you can't CONTROL her.

So if your MIL isn't willing to work to build your relationship with her, than the only really emotionally healthy alternative is for you to adjust your expectations.  Stop putting more into the relationship than she does.  Take a big step back.  

You say that you made her a wonderful Mother's Day meal after the rest of her children FORGOT about her .. . hum . . so she has some history of not have close relationships with people, huh?  I think that's telling.  I doubt they "forgot" her.  I suspect they have just negoitated some pretty wide boundaries with her.  I suspect they have learned to take a big step back from her to avoid frustration and hurt themselves.

Here is another common truth about people . . . there are types of people who just don't like to deal with conflict AT ALL.  At times they simple ignore it.  You can pour your heart out to them, admit your mistakes and beg for their input . . . and they will simply figuratively put their hands over their ears and whistle a tune to drown you out.  When you see them again, they will act like absolutely NOTHING was ever said.  It's a dysfunctional way to deal (or rather NOT to deal) with conflict, but they still do it anyway.  

If ignoring conflict doesn't work, they will simply take what conflict there is and place it somewhere else (somewhere it cannot be truly resolved).  So if MIL has an issue with you and she knows that you are someone who can easily and readily step up to the plate to try to resolve the issue with her, she will instead take her feelings and push them in another direction - like onto your H.  And here's the payoff for her doing this - she doesn't want to resolve the conflict.  She wants only to avoid it.  So projected it onto your H makes it "unresolvable' - afterall, how can your H resolve a conflict she has with YOU.  Get it?

It's actually a classic sort of dysfunctional behavior.

And Summer has really good advice.  To avoid letting this sort of dysfunction bleed into your marriage, you HAVE to present an united front.  You have to shut down the game of "Oh know dear, I'm not upset with  YOU.  I'm upset with HIM".  You have to make it clear to her that you are a married couple, and any mistreatment of one of YOU, affects BOTH of you.  You H has to be man enough to have the attitude with his family, "If you have a conflict with my WIFE, then you have a conflict with ME".

I do think that when you are dealing with these types of people, you should have a family phone number and a family email just to emphasize your united front.

Good luck to you.  You sound like a really sweet girl.  I'm sorry you have to deal with this.  I do think if you put in the effort into negoitating the healthiest relationship your MIL is willing to participate in, you can reap some good rewards.



iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2005
I am one of the MIL's, not sure if I can be much help to you. I have 3 dd's (so I'm in your mom's shoes) and to be honest I've got the same kind of issues with my 80 yr old MIL (everything is always my FAULT) dh never stands up for me, I just don't get MIL's that won't cut the apron string (yes this includes my MIL) I stay out of my kids lives (if they need me, they call me)
~~Sam stitches well with others, runs with scissors in her pocket. Cheerful and stupid.
Avatar for chimichanga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-2000
Bubblykris: sorry that your marriage was off to a rocky start. The others have given you excellent advice. My 2 cents would be: concentrate on making your husband happy but tell him in strong terms that he should not blab everything to his parents. Your happiness should matter to him more and vice versa. Treat your ILs as strangers. Be polite to them when you meet in person, otherwise forget about them. Send cards dutifully on their birthdays and meet only in restaurants if you have to share a meal with them.

My inlaws live with me 6 mos/year and MIL was a gossipy, nosy person in the beginning. Thanks to this board, I've some strategies for dealing with this like 1) never give out more info than needed 2) be respectful and polite but not overly friendly 3) act in such a way that outsiders don't see any tension in the MIL-DIL relationship.

Good luck.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2008

I hope this meeting goes well.  I too am in the same situatuion as you are :-(.  We have had meetings after meetings and nothing has changed.  I do hope your inlaws are not like mine in the face they don't resolve problems, only let them fester into bigger problems.  I will be praying that some understanding and boundaries will be able to be set without feelings being hurt.  I don't know why inlaws (mainly the male side) always has issues with the women.  In my eyes, if we are taking care of their loved one and THEY (our spouses) are happy, that is all they should care about.

I mean when they were coming up in their married lives (the ones that are married), how would they had felt if their families mistreated their spouse?  I just wish everyone could see and realize their opinions of what people do in their marriages should be just opinion that frankly they shoould keep to themselves......

I really hope things turn around for you and all of us here on this board, we all deserve to be happy!!  Good luck to you.

Avatar for ribrit
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2001







I am serious!!!! 



Stop apologizing to her. Stop bring ok with your dh talking behind your back. If the two of you are cleaving together, then he is not separating from you to go to his mother for more undermining.


Take a step back. Stop trying to fix things. Take control of the only things you can take control of. It is time for damage control.


No more can he go to his mother without you present. No more lies also. If he has a conversation with her, he needs to tell his mother that it is on speaker phone and leave it at that. You need to pull close what is important and focus on that. Your MIL is trying to undermine your marriage. And that bit with the engagement ring was bizarre enough that you should realize that this situation is not going to work.


You seem determined to be friends with this find a feel good moment and keep it. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. Until you accept that you will not have that feel good relationship, you are risking losing your marriage.


And stop tossing around "as Christian women" Christian women means next to nothing in this context. Even Jesus said many will call his name but few know him. Her religious choice and yours has nothing to do with this situation. You seem pretty determined to go out of your way to try to force your MIL in to liking you and embracing you, but that is just not going to happen. And your marriage will end while you are trying.


It does not matter where she is coming from. All that matters is that she is destroying your marriage and it needs to stop. You need to take control of your marriage. Don't try to control her, just control what goes on in your home and with your dh. Oh..and rest assured, she will try to call your dh behind your back on his cell phone and make herself out to be her victim. Back when we had our troubles at their peaks, no one had cell phones so this is easy for me. But if I were you, I would take his phone when he is not looking and put her on block and not tell him. I know that sounds underhanded and wrong. But fact is, what she is doing is underhanded and wrong. And your dh is guilty for his part. 


SO..try to focus. We are here for you. I was coming to this board in 1997. And without the wise advice and good help here, my marriage would have been dead. We had 2 children then and were in our mid 20's. Now we are both in our 40's, have 6 children, and over 18 years of marriage. And I owe it all to this board.


So PLEASE take my advice.