My husband doesn't want anything to do with his family?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2013
My husband doesn't want anything to do with his family?
Fri, 11-22-2013 - 2:22am

I've been married to my husband for 5 years. We have not seen nor spoken to his mother or any of his family in most of that time. In the beginning, his mom was very nasty to me. She ran me down to everybody who would listen (she was nice as pie to my face), she was always trying to manipulate me to get my husband to do what she wanted, disrespected me constantly and tried to interfere in every aspect of our lives. My husband had finally had enough of it all and cut her out of our lives and it's been that way ever since; until recently. His parents are divorced and his dad is distant; he has nothing to do with anybody and is not interested in anybody besides himself. His mom is clingy, controlling, manipulative and unstable. She has been emotionally abusive to my husband throughout his entire life even though she tried to hide it under the guise of "caring" about him. She never let him make a decision and controlled every move he made or tried to make.

We recently decided to reach out to his mom via Facebook to see if there was any hope for a reconciliation. We've talked to her back and forth on FB and the telephone and it's pretty apparent that she hasn't changed. She's still emotionally unstable, childish and controlling. She still does not like me (although she tolerates me because she knows her son will cut her off again if she doesn't) at all so, of course, she's nice as can be...although underneath, that hatred and resentment is still simmering.

The problem is, now she wants to come visit us. We live in a different state than she does. I think she's under the impression that my husband is as eager and happy to reconnect as she is and he's not at all. The only reason he went along with any of this was for me and the only reason I wanted to do this is because I felt that he should have some relationship with his mother; no matter how destructive she is. He really doesn't want to see her and doesn't want anything to do with her. She is still the same and hasn't changed. She treats my husband like a 3 year old and posts "Mom loves you" crap on his Facebook which humiliates him to no end. I honestly don't think she comprehends the fact that he's not a little boy anymore; he's a grown man. Seeing as she hasn't changed, we're really tempted to just cut the ties again and leave them that way permanently.

Any opinions/advice welcome.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998

I don't agree that your husband needs to have a relationship with his mother "no matter how destructive she is." Sometimes people do have to cut ties or at least set strong boundaries with toxic family members. When you got married, your husband did the right thing by protecting you from her manipulation, so you should respect his boundaries now and just let her go.

You can tell her why you're cutting her off, but also leave the door open for a relationship by telling her that when she is ready to change, you will be ready to renew a relationship. I wouldn't hold my breath, though. Toxic people rarely have any insight and they ted to blame everyone but themselves for their problems unless they get a lot of therapy and have the will to change.

If you have or plan to have kids, it's probably best that they not have a relationship with their grandma until she changes her ways. No kid needs to grow up thinking her behavior is normal.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010

 This sound just like the relationship my mother had with  her husband's mother.  You were wrong to initiate a connection.  He is right establishing boundaries.  There are no should's.  Now you have placed yourself in a tough situation.  Toxic people are just that and many are never going to change as they see everything as being against them.  Best thing is have nothing to do with them.


Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001

This is a problem b/w your MIL and your husband not you. What does your husband think about her visiting? You can't change her behavior but you can change how you react to it and so can your DH.

Furthermore and FWIW, If she is putting forth the effort to see you I wouldn't deny her that. If she was expecting that on you, I'd see it a little different than what you write here.



iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2013

My husband doesn't want her to visit but he's always had a hard time standing up to her because she's just...loud, domineering and talks right over everybody. She doesn't let anyone get a word in edgewise. I understand that this is between him and her but I get brought into the middle of it because she talks to me about him which I've told her several times, I'm not interested in hearing it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008

I think that there are a couple of ways to move forward with the visit.  Set some ground rules.  Like limit the time if she's staying with you and if she's staying in a hotel, just let her know you'll be available on certain days and at certain times.

As for the facebook thing- DH needs to set it so her posts go out and no one can see them.  That way she can be herself and it doesn't embarras her.

I think you are doing a good thing by encouraging the relationship but only if you set the ground rules, if those rules are something you can be comfortable with and if she is respectful to you.

who cares what she really things  :).

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-14-2013
My best suggestion is that if it comes down to yes, she is coming for a visit, book a room for her at the nearest decent motel. That way every one gets a break for "visiting" every single day. There is no law that she has to be in your home. If she doesn't like the plan, it's her problem. My husband bought an over head camper for his truck just to use for visiting his mother. We could leave the house and have a few hours of peace and so could she.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009

We would all love to be a "Father knows best" family, but we're not.  Very FEW are that perfect.  But you're very wrong to try to foster a relationship between your husband and his Mother!  She has done a lot of emotional and mental harm to him over the years, and just giving birth to someone doesn't earn them the right to be loved or respected.  I was married to a man whose mother really destroyed him in a somewhat different way, but he never got over it.  He was her second child.  He had a brother 10 years older than he was......she had two miscarriages, then had my husband.  I think from the day he was old enough to understand the spoken word, he was told how PERFECT his brother was, and he wasn't.  She loved to tell anyone who would listen, often in front of him, even after we were big brother was so wonderful, and then she had HIM!  Brother sat on the porch and read books and built model airplanes.  HE went out and played in the dirt, got his clothes dirty, tore his clothes, fell off his bike, skinned his knees, as he got older, he got in fights with other kids, he got a car at 16 and got a speeding ticket.......all horrible things, right?  NOT!!!  All normal things, and his brother was the weirdo, and always was.  His brother moved across country so as not to be stuck taking care of his parents.  My husband and I got divorced eventually, because his self esteem was non existant, and he ended up being an alcoholic and womanizer ( guess that helps the ego?)!  HE was the one who took care of her when she got old and frail, her other son never even came in for the funeral!  All he wanted to know was when was the estate going to be settled.  My ex always had a relationship with his mother, but it was really only trying to make her love him.....and it never worked.  I held my tongue all those years, and we remained friendly till she died.  I went to see her just before her death, and I asked her if her older son had come to see her.......and she said "No, you know he has terrible arthritis in his hands"!  There was her younger son, also with terrible arthritis in his her house every day cooking for her so she would eat, paying someone to stay with her during the day while he worked.......and I lost it!  I said "So HE has arthritis?  What about your son that's HERE taking care of you......he has it too!".  And her answer was "He does?".  All that man wanted from her was her outward showing of love, and he NEVER got it.  At least your husband knows how toxic his mother is and doesn't want anything to do with her.......and you need to follow his lead!  Don't allow her to visit, and unfriend her on facebook.  And tell her why!  Too bad, SHE loses.  As I said, giving birth entitles you to nothing.......being loved and called Mother has to be earned......she didn't earn it!