MIL problem with a major twist

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-11-2003
MIL problem with a major twist
39
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!  

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-11-2003
Thu, 07-17-2014 - 11:16am

by the way, i have ALWAYS been willing to work it out......  with him its fight or flight and he would rather fly....

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 07-17-2014 - 11:59am

It is really too bad that the situation has come to this but I think you should use the time while your DH is away to find a therapist (for yourself) and a lawyer.  If a spouse doesn't tell you something "because I know you would be upset," and the rationale is that he is doing something that he KNOWS will upset you, but then does it anyway--so that the only reason for not telling you earlier is that he wants to save himself the aggravation of having to listen to you complain and have arguments about it--then that is someone who is basically telling you that he doesn't care about your feelings and he will just do what he wants anyway.  And he obviously can't say that he didn't think it would be a problem because he avoided telling you.  He just does not get it that nomally in any family when a vacation is planned, no matter who pays for it, no one would expect a married person to leave their spouse at home and go on vacation alone.  I mean my parents paid for a vacation at Disney when my kids were little--I would have thought they were nuts if they said let's take you & the kids and leave your DH at home.  When you are married you come as a package deal--it's different, say, if a golf trip just for guys was planned or a ladies only trip but you do not invite the whole family except for one person.

the truth is, as you can see it now, that mom is #1 and you are #2.  The Bible says that when you get married you should leave the parents and be with the spouse--the 2 become one and all that (obviously I have not read the Bible in some time since I can't quote it verbatim) but you know what I mean.  The excuse that he has to obey his mom to keep his paycheck is just an excuse.  A lot of men would find it so intolerable they would just look for another job--is he getting paid a million dollars or something?  Could he not find any other work?  I seriously doubt it.  the truth is that his mom is a bully and he doesn't have the nerve to stand up to her.  If he had done it at the start, he wouldn't have this problem, but he is spineless.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Thu, 07-17-2014 - 12:13pm

Wow. Because you don't like the way the vacation arrangements went and you won't be happy for him, he decides that the result is divorce? Do you think that he is serious or is it a desperate threat to scare you into submission?

In your first few posts it sounded like you had a good marriage and had put most of the MIL problems aside, but now I have to ask if there have actually been a lot of unresolved problems? To go from good relationship to divorce in one conversation, over one issue, seems like a pretty dramatic "scorched earth" response. It also sounds very defensive, like he knows that he behaved badly but doesn't want to admit it; and/or could indicate that the relatives have been trying to brainwash him while they have him solo. Is this a rigid man whose attitude is "accept me with all of my flaws because I refuse to change, or else" and you've been accepting that in the past? Or was his attitude on the phone call a surprise to you?

Its sounds like you want to give him a chance to redeem himself when he gets home....but in the meantime you  probably should be making copies of important documents etc in case this ends up in divorce court.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-13-2006
Fri, 07-18-2014 - 9:23pm
Your husband needs to grow a set up balls!! He disrespected YOU by going on this europe trip KNOWING that it would also be during you guys 10yrs anniversary.You need to sit him down and tell him that you've had ENOUGH of this mistreating from his mother and that if HE doesn't grow a set up balls and stick up for you...then YOU will be handing him his walking papers!! YOu need to be strong and do this.This has gone on LONG enough!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Wed, 08-06-2014 - 1:03pm

Hi Debbie,

I've read all your posts and the replies and this really touches me.  This isn't about a simple trip.  It isn't about they invited you and you had other obligations and could go so you had to decline.  It isn't about your DH wanting you to go or even understanding about your being hurt.   Quite honestly it doesn't appear as any of that happened.

They (DH and mom and probably other family) planned this a long while back.  They/DH deliberately didn't tell you about it until 9 days before.  They/DH deliberately excluded you.  This isn't about his Bday gift it is about his selfishness and lack of caring for you and it is also about mil's manipulation and attempt to break you two up.  

Someone said she / they had no obligation to pay your way and that is absolutely true.  But they do have an obligation to treat you like a family member and like the wife of their son.  I think it should never have been offered for only DH to go under their purse strings.  MIL clearly is using money to manipulate and DH is loving it.  Just my opinion.

And, this idea of fight or flight - In my honest opinion that a load of bologne.  It's nothing but an excuse and yes, when given the opportunity all men and probably many women are capable of this action or lack thereof.

I think it is time to test the theory to see how much this man really cares about you.  I would pack up his clothing in a box and all other personables and leaves those at his moms house.  I would have the locks changed on the door and I would email him a letter explaining that right now you need to think things over to determine if this marriage really has a chance. 

You have a job, your kids are older - stand up for yourself and don't settle for mommie's left overs.  I've been married now for 25 years but I can promise you if my DH did this to me - that would be the final straw.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Wed, 08-06-2014 - 1:09pm

By the way, if he really means what he says then better to leave him under your terms than let him leave under his.  And, if he thinks he means or just says it for drama, then nothing will stop until he realizes just what he has to lose.  I know this is hard but if you are smart and strong your best action is to make a move first and let him realize in a cold uncommunicative way, just what he has to lose.  No talking on the phone anymore - give him some time to be alone without you to find out if the marriage is worth saving.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-19-2014
Thu, 08-21-2014 - 3:50am

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-10-2006
Sat, 10-25-2014 - 9:37pm
What has happened since your husband got home? Were u able to work it out? It would be a shame to divorce over a trip, the circumstances being what they are, could you find it in yourself to forgive and move on? Hope this situation has worked itself out and u can let us know, I just saw this posting tonight.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-11-2003
Tue, 11-04-2014 - 1:40pm

Sorry for the late reply......   just saw your post "lovtotravel".   Anyhow, yes, we were able to sit down for a long while and discuss this whole situation when he returned home.  I got him to understand that his mother isnt going to change, she will back off for a while but then usually starts back up.  So, even when she is not "trying to cause a problem" i just dont trust her, never will and because of that i always have my guard up when it comes to her.  Anyways, we (DH) can only change how HE deals with her, reacts to her behavior.  I was correct in assuming that since she "got away" with her behavior last summer, that she would do it again (usually around the holidays which makes me DREAD them!)  About a week ago she invited DH to go out of town with them for thanksgiving weekend.  DH did tell her no thanks (step in the right direction!) but i am wondering if he needs to just flat  out tell her that "we" are a package deal and in the future to not even consider inviting him unless i am part of it as well......  he is not a very confrontational person when it comes to his mom - and - tell her no this time is a "positive" - but im sure she will try, try, again in the very near future (she will keep "testing" him looking for any weakness in the wall so to speak) so maybe next time he needs to add a lil more to the "no" with the above phrase - that will maybe have a better chance in "nipping it" in the booty.  It took a lot of us talking and listening to each other for me to get across to him that this problem isnt so much about his mom, but about how HE handles it and where his priorities are.   He knows how his mom is and his way of dealing with it before was to get defensive toward ME (to shut me up about it), he wanted ME to ignore or keep it to myself that i was hurt and mad so that he wouldnt have to deal with it - in the end, he knows that's not right, that was just his initial reaction.  He knows that his mom uses money and trips to manipulate him and now he knows what the REAL cost is....      not that is really matters, but i have often wondered what makes his mom behave this way?  When she is directly rude to me, in the past i have just kept my mouth shut knowing all too well that it would just make matters worse......     should that change now?  Should i speak up to her?  I dont really think anything could get ANY worse!   ....i would just have to be ready with an "exit" plan in ANY situation (and this usually happens when we have traveled with them in the past, when she knows it would be hard for me to just up and leave.....get a last min flight home, etc.....  but let me tell you, there have been many times that i would have paid a pretty penny to do just that!)  Maybe she purposely acts rude toward me when we are traveling so that i wouldnt want to go in the future - and when that didnt work she just started inviting DH only...   basically what SHE wants is to be able to have her normal summer family vacations and holidays and exclude me.   Kinda sad at the same time because DH is missing out on that "family time" with other family members that would be there (family vacations, holidays).   Which brings to mind another question.....  how do i answer "Why didnt you go to ________ with the rest of the family?"  (insert" vacation, holiday get together, etc....)   I get asked that ALOT by friends or other family members that want to know why i didnt go out of town last summer with DH and the rest of the family.  I just said that i already had other plans that i couldnt get out of.  Should I just be honest and say "I wasnt invited?"  I already know that saying that would really tick off MIL - but honestly, i hate covering up for her bad behavior!  Ive done it for so long and im really done with it already.  

Opinion???

Thanks!!!

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