MIL has crossed so many boundaries!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2008
MIL has crossed so many boundaries!
Fri, 04-25-2014 - 8:13am

My partner and I have been in a relationship for almost 5 years. We started living together about 3 years ago in a town that is 3 hours away from our home town, before we moved to another country over a year ago. Just prior to leaving our home country, we got engaged. I had also been through a very difficult time after the death of my mother 1 year previously.

When we lived in our home country, I felt I had some issues with his family, but it didn't overly concern me, since I would only spend short periods of time with them. His sister was quite annoying when we first started dating, from completely excluding me from conversations, to inviting herself into his bedroom (while we were in bed together half naked) to sit on the end of his bed and watch TV with us. She is the type of person that laughs long after the joke has been finished - especially if the joke was about me! His mother, I always perceived as a harmless gossip, apart from when she sent me some mail over that had arrived at her house - it was my payslip and end of year tax notice - OPENED!.

Until she came to visit us in our new country and stayed with us for 3 weeks. We started off travelling our new country and then decided to settle, so we were renting a studio apartment, with no real rush to look for a bigger place. We were hoping to settle into our jobs and get some savings back in the bank before we started to consider renting. However, his mother announced that she had booked flights to come and see us and we ontl had 2 months to get organised for her coming. So we started lookin for houses, viewing and saving like mad to get enough together for a deposit. Both of us worked overtime to make it happen and found it to be a very stressful time. We finally managed to get a place and then had to start getting furniture organised. We ended up taking credit just so we could get the basics. All because MIL couldn't wait as she had a need to see her son.

So she arrived and wasn't even through the door before the insensitivities started. Where do I begin!! She told me she and her family had been discussing the weight I had put on, she admitted that she had looked through my drawers and cupboards, she went in and done my washing despite me telling her not to, as I feel that is private, she questioned us on what we earn, what we pay in rent, how much our bills are, what my dress size is. And this was only in the first 3 days.

The first weekend she was here, it would have been my mother's birthday. MIL knew this and spent the full day before talking about people who have cancer (my mother died after cancer) and telling us all about her breast examination for cancer finishing off with "but at least I'm ok". I had a lot of issues with my step father after my mother died and contested her will. My MIL spent this night also discussing her partners family advising that her MIL has cancer, but she couldn't care less because she hates her and that she is going to make sure that none of his children will get anything from his will when he dies, becuase they are already too rich. I had to walk out of the room before I burst into tears.

After she had tired of this behaviour, she moved onto new behaviours. She started treating my partner like a child, telling him to put on his suntan lotion and actually stating "gosh he behaves like such a child sometimes!" She would cook dinner, despite me telling her I had things in the fridge I had to use up and planned to cook it. She interfered with decisions that I made and even approached my neighbours to tell them all about my wicked ways. She has a way with my partner where she drops hints for him to suggest something then makes out it was his idea. She kept hinting about seeing photos on our laptop, but I refused telling her there were personal photos on there (silly of me really as this would've only sparked her curiosity all the more). However, she continued on until eventually my partner suggested showing her some photos and accidentally showed her the personal photos. I have never been so angry in all my life!

So now she is away and I feel very resentful towards my partner for giving into her manipualtions. I have spent all day today cleaning my house and getting rid of any reminders of her. A friend suggested to me to burn some sage to get rid of the negative energy in the house and I was planning to get some tomorrow. However, on cleaning her room, I found a few belongings she has left behind, including some burnt sage! I am gobsmacked at her complete lack of respect and her sense of entitlement to do whatever she wants in my home! Even now after she is away I feel angry, violated and helpless. She has posted on facebook about the fantastic time she had with her son and saying I had done a good job of putting up with her, which makes me feel like she playing the victim.

I really don't know what to do to make this better - I am already dreading her next trip, which will probably be over a year from now. All I want to do is send her a message telling her how disgusted I am in her behaviour, but I know this will most likely make matters worse. I haven't yet been able to bring myself to speak to my partner about it, because he is still high from her visit and seems to have enjoyed it. I am afraid if I do say anything, he will take her side. At the beginning of her holiday, he did stick up for me and challenged her behaviour, but towards the end, it seemed as though she was in his head and he was doing all he could to please her.

What should I do??? Thank you for reading if you have gotten this far and sorry this is a bit of a rant, but I really need to get this off my chest!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 04-25-2014 - 10:29am

I think this started when you say that your MIL just decided to visit (and expected to stay with you) at a time that was inconvenient for you, yet neither you nor your partner spoke up--you could have said it was not a good time to visit as you didn't have a place for her to stay and that either she would have to wait til later (plane tickets can be exchanged for a price) or stay in a hotel.  After she realizes that it's ok to inconvenience you, then she figures she can do whatever she wants.  And then again when she was discussing cancer and it was upsetting you, you walked out of the room.  I think it would have been acceptable and not rude for you to say to her that it's your mother's BD (pretend she doesn't remember) and that you don't want to hear talk about cancer because it's upsetting for you.  Now the thing is that you realize that your partner won't stand up to his sister or his mom so you have to judge whether you can stand an unpleasant visit with his mom once a year, whether you can get your partner to understand how you feel (maybe with the help of a counselor) and do something about it or if you can tolerate this situation or whether you should leave.  My former MIL could be annoying and she lived close by so we had to see her once a week.  Sometimes you have to put up with (or learn to put up with) annoying inlaws because you love the DH, like my FIL who smoked cigars (I hate to be around smoke), would sit in the living room in his bathrobe even if people were visiting (my father would alwasy be fully dressed), and was very set in his ways--I learned to avoid discussions about religion or politics because his views were very opposed to mine (and DH's).  I was never close to him and basically just tolerated him.  My MIL was a little better but also nothing like my mother so I never really felt close to her--she really didn't have a life outside of the family and was very nosy about everyone's business and gossiped so I learned never to tell her anything confidential.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Fri, 04-25-2014 - 10:47am

No sympathy here

The problem is not with the mother of your boyfriend/fiancé. (By the way, she is NOT your MIL until you are married. And remember, she was his mother for much longer than you have known him.) The problem is with you. You are competing with her.  You do not understand that he is the man he is BECAUSE of his parents and his mother.  And, OF COURSE, she misses him. Wait till you are a parent and see how you feel when your child moves far away. Do you think a mother stops being a mother when her son starts sleeping living with someone?

First of all, YOU and your SO decided to get the house, NOT your MIL. You could have rented a larger appartment. You could have told your MIL that room was tight; she would have to stay at a motel/hotel or sleep on the couch.No wonder she is asking questions about your expenses. She is not stupid. She is wondering how you can afford your home, giving that she just moved to another country.  She might, by the way, be wondering how expensive it is to live in this 'new country'.

Opening the mail? She probably opened it thinking it was a bill or "time sensitive" and wanted to make sure if it was something she had to get to you ASAP. So what if she knows how much you make? Are you ashamed of it? If you are going to marry this man, she WILL BE family. I know how much my "future SIL" makes. He told me and I am proud of him.

The weight you put on? Do you think no one was going to notice? It is not a topic of conversation in the family?  OF COURSE, it is.  Remember you are the SO of their son and their brother.  Do you think maybe they CARE about you and your health?

Talking about cancer? Do you think that you are the only one who has lost someone to cancer? Your MIL is trying to tell you that there are others, many others, who are struggling with this disease.  She is of an age that many of her friends and relatives have various forms of the disease.  Is the whole world not allowed to talk about cancer because your mother died of the disease? Really?  You are too sensitive. And unless you have gone through a breast cancer cancer, young woman, you have NO idea how scary that is. 

So, she cook supper and did your washing. She wanted to help you out. Gee, I wish someone would cook me supper and do my washing!!

I suspect that NOTHING your SO's mother will ever do would meet with your approval. Make an effort BECAUSE she is the mother of your SO. And one day you could be in her position.

What you should be asking yourself is, what kind of DIL will I be?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Fri, 04-25-2014 - 11:25am

Sorry about you having to deal with your insufferable soon to be mother-in-law.  However, 90% of the in-law complaints I read on these boards are really a problem with the spouse - he stuck up for you for a little bit but then regressed back to the old ways.  So for the most part, you are on your own.  Worse yet, you cannot even say to your mother-in-law what you need to say in fear of "making waves" (and upsetting your fiance?)

You see, he allowed his sister to act out of line, he let his mother come visit when it was inconvenient and caused great disruptions in your lives and finances.  Until he learns to say no to his family, you really need to ask yourself if this is the man (and family) that you want to deal with for the rest of your life.

By the way, are you two from a culture that mothers simply just visit instead of waiting for an invitation?  If yes, you are in for a struggle.  It is not easy for women to cope with traditions and lead a modern life.  I am not saying traditions are bad, but as a woman, I despise anything that encourages overbearing husbands and in-laws.

Oh, and don't mind the old woman rambling and saying it is all your fault!  Trust me, there are more reasonalbe mother-in-laws out there that respect your privacy.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 04-25-2014 - 2:37pm

Ugh!  I feel for you, but I do think there is a middle ground here for all involved.  You have received some replies that vary alot, and I think that the solution is probably somewhere in the middle.  

Like I think Music said, if we are to go back I am very surprised that you and your DF rushed around to get a place based solely on your MIL coming to visit.  Personally, I have to look at my part and see where I started the ball rolling (or didn't stop it from rolling).  

My second MIL was similar in some ways and she never meant any harm, but boy howdy it was frustrating sometimes.  To make a long story short, I ultimately I had to voice my feelings (felt like I was being double teamed) but to be honest, you can't change other people.  

You will have to discern what you can accept and what you can't.  Talk to your DF about your feelings, but don't point fingers and make any of it about "right or wrong."

After I bought my house my MIL (well, she wasn't even my MIL yet) invited her self over to help us move in.  I really didn't want any help unpacking, as I didn't even know where I wanted anything, let alone trying to have some help me.  I ended up leaving and going to a neighbors house.  She was doing everything and I just couldn't take it and left.  She would ask me where I wanted something and it was like "I don't know!!!"  I am slow and methodical and she is a "get to it and get it done" person.  I did not go well.  

Point being, I feel your frustration.  But you can only change yourself and hope she reacts accordingly.  One thing that might help is to look at her as simply a person who is hurting or sick.  Keep in mind I believe we are own fearful and sick in our own way.  Think of her as a mother who misses her son.  (I am not excusing any kind of bad behavior) but empathy will take you a long, long way.  

Again, talk to your DF.  I say things like "I  need help understanding...." or "this is my perception...."  Address now before the wedding, trust me on this one!

Hang in there.  You may want to come visit us also on the Making a Marriage Work board.  Hugs...

Serenity CL Making a Marriage Work

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2014
Fri, 04-25-2014 - 3:47pm

You should have told your boyfriends' mother that it wasn't a good time to visit.  Your relationship wiht your boyfriend comes first.  You already made plans to save money especially when moving, money gets tight and you needed time to re-establishment yourselves  emotionally and financially.  But if she still insisted on visiting, i would tell her she has to stay at a hotel.  She may have felt insulted but at least you would have been comfortable with your normal routine.  As far as your boyfriend is concerned,  he should be a little more attentive to your relationship with his mother or lack thereof.  You should discuss it with him.  Maybe he has no clue how you feel about some of his family members.   

Avatar for 3togetready
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-19-1999
Wed, 04-30-2014 - 12:50pm

I think future mil knew she was a pain in the neck by saying on her facebook that you did well by putting up with her. I don't think she was playing a victim. I do think she was out of line for opening your mail and asking how much you guys make. That is nobodys business but yours. I have been married for 30 years and my mil has never asked us what we make. I was raised by my parents to know what questions are personal/private and should not be asked. As for her comment on your weight that is mean and ignorant. 

I'm sure she thought she was helping by having dinner ready when you and bf came home from work. Since you know for next time she will help by washing clothes you can just set out what you feel comforable with her washing and say here it is. lol You or her son will have to learn to say I don't feel comforable talking about that right now instead of just leaving the room. If she continues to talk about it then you both should get up and leave the room. She will hopefully get the hint when she has nobody to talk to. It is too late now but you should not have moved when she said she was going to visit and just let her know she would have to stay in a motel/hotel because you didn't have the room. Three weeks is a long time to have someone in your home. By the end everyone is on everyone elses nerves. Your bf is still her son and out of habit she might say don't forget your sunscreen. Being a mom doesn't go away just because your child is an adult. Some things you just have to overlook if they bother you. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2008
Wed, 05-14-2014 - 8:14pm

Girl: Am I pretty? Boy:No Girl: Do u even want to be with me forever? Boy: No Girl: Do u even like me? Boy: No Girl: Would u cry if i walked away? Boy: No She heard enough and was hurt... She walked away with tears in her eyes The boy grabbed her arm Boy: Your not pretty...your beautiful Boy: I dont want to be with u forever...I need to be with u forever Boy: I dont like u...I love u Boy: I wouldn't cry if u walked away......I would die if u walked away. Boy Whispers: Plz stay with me Girl: I will... *Tonight at midnight your true love will realize she/he loves u *Something good will happen to u at 1-4pm *Tomorrow it could be anywhere!!! *Get ready for the shock of your life! *If u dont post this to 5 other comments... You will have back luck in relationships for the next 10 years

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2010
Tue, 05-27-2014 - 5:30pm

Like the others said, you should have told her to start with that it wasn't convenient for her to visit. You both made the choice to go out of your way and upend your lives and finances to accomadate her. People learn to treat you by what you accept. IDK what religion/culture you're from, but  burning sage isn't going to help you or get rid of her. And if you stay with this man, this woman is going to be in your life and influencing him for the rest of your life. Stop and think what your life is going to be like. Can you put up with this hateful old hag interferring 10, 20, 30 years down the road? One visit from her has already gotten you this mad and upset.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-19-2014
Thu, 08-21-2014 - 3:47am

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