MIL problem with a major twist

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-11-2003
MIL problem with a major twist
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 1:52pm

My husband has worked for the "family" business his whole life - his mom runs the business.  His mom has never been fond of me
(for no reason other than i was married before) and i quit trying to bust my booty to build any sort of relationship with her (i  think that she actually got a thrill out of seeing me try and try again with her to no avail - i realized there was nothing i could do, it was just her decision to not like me and there was nothing i could do about it - and nothing i did to cause it).  I have accecpted that she just "tolerates" me and that is just fine with me - i am cordial around her.  This is all "good" and acceptable until she tries to cause a problem in my marriage.  She did this before and realized that it didnt break up our marriage so moved on to "bigger fish" (so to say).  Well, my husband recently celebrated a birthday.....  For his birthday she invited HIM on a vacation that the whole rest of the family was already going on - a 2 week europe vacation - so basically everyone was going EXCEPT ME - and her excuse for not inviting me was that hubby was going "as a birthday gift"  (so, what it everyone else's b-day gift as well???  by the way, my b-day is next month!)   I told my husband that i realize im not her favorite person, but ive never been excluded before and i was hurt.....  i also asked him if there was a "problem" that i was unaware of.....  he said no.  He said he only accepted the trip because it was for his "birthday" - also, while he is away on this 2 week trip, he is missing our 10 YEAR anniversary - he gets hom a few days later.  He realizes that his mom has done quite a few RUDE/HURTFUL things to me, but he stays "neutral" on it because he works with her/says he has to get along with her......    there is no "sitting down and having an adult talk with her about it" (because her way is always the RIGHT way, everyone else is wrong or weird) - but im to the point that i dont think he gets a "get out of jail free card" anymore because he works for her.  Basically, she keeps doing rude hurtful things because she CAN and she gets away with it where he is concerned.  She is the type that cant seperate work and personal/family issues - so hubby will have a very tense work environment if he says or does anything that ticks her off (in other words, she will let a personal problem interfere with work).  I say that letting this one "slide" is only setting us up for more problems in the very near future (she will invite him on holiday travel, etc and exclude me all the while pressuring him to attend family holiday functions w/o me! - she has done it before - a long while back, but now i think she will start up again since he went to europe with them w/o me)  I see her stopping nothing short of saying that every upcoming "thanksgiving, xmas, easter trip, etc" is a b-day gift, etc. so that she has an "excuse" to invite only him.   Any advice on how to handle this situation considering they work together????   Thanks for any and all advice!  


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-11-2003
Wed, 07-16-2014 - 10:42am

I will try to answer everyone's questions in this post.......  while i never EXPECT anything from my inlaws (for them to pay my way, etc) in the past when they have planned a family vacation they have picked up the bill (and upon return have gotten a hand written thank you from me!)  While i am not 100% certain that they picked up the bill on this trip, from past experience my gut says that they did - pay for everyone's way but then invite my husband and tell him that his trip was his b-day gift (was it everyone else's b-day gifts for the year as well???  (Again, my b-day is next  This trip is not to "their country" and my MIL has done plenty of nasty things to try to run me off before we married.....   then she gave up and moved onto bigger fish so to speak.  Basically, in my opinion, she still wants to travel with her family and find a way to foot the bill for everyone but me - so this was her "way" this time and she got away with it.  My husband KNEW that i was hurt and said that under no circumstances would he do this again, only did it this time because it was a b-day gift.  Regardless, i think he was just being selfish because he REALLY wanted to go even though he knew the whole thing really hurt my feelings.....  sure, i was hurt when he initially told me, NOW im just P_SSED! him!  I havent taken his phone calls in the past 2-3 days - i just really dont even want to speak with him right now.  I think that when he knew i wasnt included, that he should have declined or at the VERY least could have suggested that he wanted me to go with him and that he would check into the cost to taking me as well (and still thank them for HIS portion of the trip).   I agree that we are a "package deal" so i think it was rude of his mom to even suggest the travel w/o me - I expect her to be a B_tch every once in a while, but i dont expect this type of behavior from my husband.  Here are theproblems:  his selfishness (that he wanted to go even though it hurt me),  that he wont stand up to his mom (knows that he should but doesnt want to rock the boat) and he doesnt seem to understand that in NOT doing it, it makes ME not #1 in his life.  Its making me not trust him, that he doesnt have my best interests at heart, i will always be wondering and waiting for the next shoe to drop...  he doesnt seem to grasp it.  Are men just like this in general, or is this all just too easy an excuse for him? (to say that he doesnt udnerstand how this would strain our marriage)

The very fact that the whole family is there EXCEPT me is all too obvious.....  i dont expect anything from MIL, but this is just so obvious.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Wed, 07-16-2014 - 2:47am

In general I think that married couples should be considered "package deals" so both spouses should be included in invitations. My assumption would be that the couple would want to be together on a vacation like this.

Did your MIL pay for the other relatives that went on the trip, or did she only pay for your dh (and herself of course) and the other relatives paid their own way? This is an important distinction when considering the financial side of this. 

I agree with the others who said that your dh should have declined the invitation when it did not include you. 

When did you dh find out about this trip, and that it would conflict with your anniversary? There are a lot of reasons here to be very angry at your dh.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 8:01pm

While he is having his european vacation during your anniversary, you should take the time to consult a divorce lawyer, on the feasibility of getting half his interest in the family business, WHEN you divorce.

When he returns home, you should sit him down and tell him that you come first, or you leave.  Tell him his family probably thinks you were a gold digger when you married him, and if he continues to behave like a spineless ass, you will prove their predictions true.

I say all this because this is obviously the start of a full frontal assault to get rid of you, and you need to be prepared.  BTW, is the european vacay a trip to the family's home country?  Just a spidey sense here, that it is, and that it probably includes visits to more "suitable" gals from the old country.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 8:00pm

Bit confused here.. The trip was a birthday present. Did you expect that your in-law should pay for you too? Why?

Your DH should

1-Say no thanks. We don't have the money for my wife to go too. But thanks for making it easier for us to go by offering to pay for me.

2- Pay for you to come along too.

If your husband wanted you to come with him, he would have paid for you. You are not your in-law's responsibility, no matter how much money you think they have.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 4:16pm

Wow. The world can be a cold, hard place, and so we need a port in the storm. The man who you eat with, sleep with, share your deepest secrets with, care for each other when you're sick, etc. should be your rock. Instead, he doesn't have your back when you're treated like crap. What should he do? If his mother says hurful things to you or about you, he should say, "It would be nice if you liked my wife, but even if you don't, you will treat her with respect and be pleasant around her, just as I expect her to be with you." 

So, if he's offered a birthday gift such as a lapdance, an hour with a prostitute, or family fun that excludes his wife, because it's a birthday gift, he's obligated to accept? None of these things are appropriate.

I can't imagine enjoying myself on a trip that my spouse has been purposefully excluded from, even if it's my dream destination. You have a major problem with this man. He values "peace" over demanding respect and kindness toward you. He values a free vacation over how much your feelings will be hurt. He stays in a job where he has to walk on eggshells and act like a puppet to not upset his venoumous  mother who is allowed to treat his significant other like a piece of trash or he'll pay the price. What a prize he is!

You have a lot more patience for this nonsense than me. I would've had his belongings out in the garage ready to be carted away along with his sorry ass the minute he returned. I agree with the other poster who said marriage counseling is warranted. Obviously he doesn't think much of your opinions or feelings to give you the time of day about how things should progress. Maybe he'll respect a third party's view as being more valuable. Good luck. You need it with a spineless noodle like him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-11-2003
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 3:06pm

luckily we havent had this problem (or any problem) with MIL in years....... so this was totally out of the blue.  So there hasnt been the need for "keeping the peace" in quite a long while (and actually, i thought all of these type problems were behind us).  In the past i explained to him that his "keeping the peace" was actually "throwing me under the bus".  I dont think i should EVER have to make him choose btwn me and the rest of his family (because i should automatically come first!!!)  but he expects ME to bend sometimes because i AM the reasonable and understanding one (where his mother is not - AND, he has to WORK with her).   I dont think its right that he expects me to be "understanding" anymore.... think im done with that!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 2:30pm

The problem here is your husband, not your MIL.  He is not doing anything to stand up for you, his wife, when his mother is completely in the wrong.  He does not understand that his silence seems like acceptance to his mother, so she will continue doing what she's been doing.  That he continues to not say anything, and even go on a two week vacation, to Europe, during your 10 year wedding anniversary would have been the final straw for me.  Have you ever thought about couples counseling?  Sometimes a third party perspective can be helpful here as your husband is just going through the motions, with both you and his mother.  He thinks he's keeping the peace, when in fact you are silently suffering.  I would not be able to put up with that, how you have for 10 years is beyond me!  Good luck!

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-11-2003
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 2:23pm

yes, she has a daughter that is married with 2 children - they are ALL also in europe with them.  I am the only one NOT there.  Thing is - she could have invited me but i would have had to decline (with a nice thank you anyways included!) as i have another family engagement this weekend that is very important (i couldnt miss! - my side of the family).  I did feel like this was a big slap in the face - blindsided no doubt.  This trip was a very expensive trip - we would not have wanted to pay the extra 10 grand or so for me to go (mil has $, so that is a drop in the bucket to her).  This is a once in a lifetime type trip and i understand why my husband would want to go (something we would not want the expense of!!) but at what cost, really????  Im still hurt and its just "stewing with me" the whole time he is gone.  Im sure that is what she would want-->to know that im hurt all the while they are gone.  So, ive done my best to do "me" things - i just took a girls trip with my daughter - we had a blast - but i still wonder what other "sh_t" she will have up her sleeve when she returns.  Ok, enough of that - cant change her, only the way HUSBAND needs to deal with her.   She wont fire him, but she will make his work life a living hell - if that is truly the case then i think he needs to move on to another place of work - she has let "control of the business" control HIM for WAY too long in my opinion!  She honestly doesnt consider or care that her son has a wife.  Husband DID tell me that under no other circumstance would he go on any other trips with them w/o me - he said he only went this time cuz it was his b-day present........     regardless, its still rude of her!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 2:00pm

I think that it is wrong that your DH accepted going on a 2 week trip with the family and excluding his wife of 10 years--does his mother not get the point that since he married you that you are now part of the family whether she likes it or not?  Does she have other married children?  If she is inviting other spouses of her kids and not you, then that is a huge slap in the face and he should start to grow a spine.  His response should have been "that's a really nice gift mom, but I can't accept going on a trip without my wife."  If his mom didn't offer to pay for you, then he should have said that the 2 of you would pay the added expense--you certainly can't force his mom to pay for you even if she paid for everyone else.

I wonder what he thinks will happen if he stands up to his mom--does he think she will fire him?  Not if he's a valuable employee and if she has any sense.  And maybe it's just about time for him to cut the apron strings and look for another job.  No matter what type of business they run, I"m sure he has skills that are transferrable to someplace else.  Right now she is just ruling his life.  My friend's family had a family business which used to be run by her uncle, but since he had no kids, when he died, her mother ended up in charge with 2 of her brothers also working there.  They ended up finally doing much better when their mother retired because she was so stuck to the old ways that she didn't want to change anything, so when the sons took over, they modernized and expanded the business.  Family businesses can be really tense.