Now MIL makes NO CONTACT !

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
Now MIL makes NO CONTACT !
Sat, 08-11-2012 - 10:59pm

A while ago I posted about MIL having the key to our house and feeling like she could drop off documents for DH ( she is widowed and he sorts out ALL of her expenses/ banking/ finances) She was dropping by 2-3 times per week, and always on her way to picking up her Daughters children from school ( not mine - SIL's) So she would come by mostly at about 2pm and I would always open door, greet her, have a 5 min conversation always about SIL kids and she would drop off docs and then leave. That was the extent of our relationship. To be honest, I dont really care to hear about SIL kids.

MIL has never invited us to her home for the last 10 years or longer - no festival meal, birthday celebration, Xmas, Easter, Sunday lunch NOTHING for years and years. The last time my kids went to her place was more or less when FIL passed away. She never invites us out for a meal and always says that she will come to my home when we invite her, but whenever I invite her, she actually checks with SIL first to see if its OK for her to come here. I think this is rude.

She favors SIL over anyone else , even tho' my DH does EVERYTHING for her to keep her going. She would not think to herself .. "gee its great that my son takes such good care of my financial needs, maybe Ill take his family out for lunch or dinner occasionally? " It just never occurs to her. Lately, we have been going out for Sunday night dinners, because I need a break from cooking occasionally, and DH has invited her and she always says no, she is busy. So even when we invite her to join us with the kids, she cant be bothered.

I think she has decided not to talk to me or bother phoning or contacting me since DH told her to stop using her key to come into our house. ( forgot to mention that if I wasnt home when she would need to drop off her docs. she would enter my house and leave the folder inside. ) This would really IRK me as I feel like there has been a home invasion.

She is a very self interested woman, and grew up very privilieged, where people more or less swooned around her. She has quite a lot of friends, as her late hsuband ( my late FIL) was quite an intellectual and they made many friends. She can be a very charming vivacious woman, and is very well groomed at all times, so people respond well to her. What they dont realise is how fake she is, she is the most pathetic grandmother and useless MIL anyone could ever NOT WISH for. She is a very ego centric sort of person, and is extremeley put out when criticised. In fact, I think because she can no longer just DROP IN to my house and treat me and my house as though its a place for her to drop off documents and have no other contact with me or my children because SHE MAKES NO EFFORT, never has and never will, she has now decided to have NO CONTACT AT ALL with me. She will phone up every week once a week and ask how the kids are but thats her entire involvement. And only speak to my husband. She pretends that she is interested in my kids but makes NO EFFORT TO SEE THEM. Otherwise, she is at her daughters house every day, cooking, cleaning, driving the kids places, and being the maid.

I have never appreciated the fact that she does this and feel that ist totally wrong to favour your children. One day I feel like letting her know how I feel, but not sure if its worth the effort.

Its interesting for me to read all the other posts and see that even though families are dysfunctional, and that people say hurtful things to each other, I have never been invited to her home with my kids to even see what it would be like to have a meal there and that to me seems more hurtful. If I dont do the inviting, then we dont see her socially and then I feel that my kids miss out. But what are they truly missing out on ? A horrible woman who plays favourites? A selfish woman who my DH dotes on?

Should I do anything to change the status quo ? Should I perk up and say something or do I stay quiet and ENJOY THE FACT THAT SHE IS NO LONGER AROUND. I really dont think she cares one way or another that she is not part of our lives. And the way I see it, it works both ways, she is OUR lives are not part of hers. What  would you - the reader - DO ?? thanks

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sun, 08-12-2012 - 10:55am

How does your husband feel about all of this? Is he bothered that she never attends your parties, that she ignores his children while doting on his sister's kids, that he is used as a free accountant? You said that he dotes on he trying to win her favor, and is he being successful?

I assume that your dh goes to her home to pick up the documents now, so he gets to see her on a regular basis. If he is satisfied with that level of contact and if he is not pushing for more involvement then I would just leave things as they are. You don't have to see MIL anymore which sounds like a good thing; there's no change in the amount/lack of contact with your kids so they probably don't notice anything different; and your dh is seeing her more than before. Somehow this sounds like a win/win situation---you don't have to deal with MIL anymore, she doesn't have to deal with you, and she still gets her accounting work done.

I understand the part about feeling bad for your kids that their grandmother ignores them while doting on their cousins. My maternal grandmother also played favorites, among my siblings. She loved the oldest grandchild best and made no attempt to disguise it, didn't like the middle child, and usually treated me fine (the only girl). The middle child came to hate her but not resent his siblings for getting better treatment, I think that even as children we can see that its the adult with the problem. Hopefully your kids will figure out that grandmother is "just weird that way" and accept it, without wanting more from her. I think you've said that your parents treat your kids well? If so I would try to ensure that your kids have as much contact as possible with loving relatives so they realize that its not anything "wrong" with them.

Enjoy the peace and lack of contact while you can, it probably won't last forever!

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Sun, 08-12-2012 - 2:36pm


Stop inviting her to Sunday meals. Don't announce it. Just stop doing it. I'd be curious if she asked your DH why she's "no longer invited" even though she never accepts.

Clearly she's one of those people that can't accept her DIL and no matter how hard you try. She's clearly clueless about giving her attention to her whole family, and she's not going to change now. Be grateful she's not taking over your lives like she apparently runs her daughter's life. Let her be in her own little world. Your kids have no expectations of her so don't give them any. 

Men are better at compartmentalizing things and maybe he's always known his Mother was like this so none of her behavior is a surprise to him. Maybe he figures doing her bills is keeping the peace and that's enough. If your MIL is used to being the center of attention then she's oblivious to the needs or desires of anyone else. So let her be who she is and stop wishing she were someone else. I like to say that 80% of the people we are mad at don't know we're mad, and the 20% who do know, don't care! Your MIL sounds like that.

Good luck. If anything changes in the future and your DH can no longer do her bills, then you might see something happen. Who knows?


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 1:01am

Enjoy the peace and quiet!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 11:05am



I think I have additional questions also.  You say DH dotes on his mom - what does that mean?  Does he spend a lot of time with her that is separate from you and his family? 


You and the kids have never been invited over for dinners etc... does the mil ever have her daughter and their family over?  Does the sil invite you guys over at holidays etc.?  I guess I'm asking because I have a very similar relationship with my MIL.  She has always chosen to do everything for the daughter and has treated DH and our family as though we aren't the same - aren't valued the same etc.  But, I use to spend lots of my time having them over for dinners and buying the gifts and making the efforts towards us all being a family. 


What I learned is where I am today.  I not only stopped trying and cut off contact with them but I finally had to just say my peace.  Some will say just leave it alone and that may be good advice depending on your situation.  But, for me, I just got tired of these people ruining my holidays.   I felt I had to go along for the sake of the family but going along meant that I was the one doing the stuff.  And, for a while it was a lot and then it was less and less but still it fell to me.  To cook on Thanksgivings and Christmas and to buy the gifts etc. 


I had so many final straws...a few are - I baked a cake for my fil/sil for their Christmas Eve bdays last year.  In the past I've hosted the dinners and it was very tiring and very costly.  But, while I chose to just have the desert at my home this year....on the way to the restaurant where we would all go for dinner.  I realized that it was silly.  I had spent my day making this really nice and pretty cake for them and they didn't even bother to call us when they were leaving for the restaurant.  When we showed up, we were stuck at the end of the table and truly felt like we weren't even part of their family. 


Of course there are millions of other final straws.  A lot of really ugly stuff.  Calling DH and acting like I don't have a say in what we had planned for birthdays or Easter etc.  Not bothering to even call / send a card etc. when my mom died.  Always doing little passive aggressive things to point out how much she adores the other grandchildren.  And mostly, what made me decide to do the final thing was the fact that my youngest son is turning 10 and they have never once called and asked to spend time with him.  He's never had one on one time with his grandparents and his other grandfather died when he was 4 months old and grandmother was frail and so he just never had any special grandparents to dote on him.  But, MIl/FIl will do everything with and for my sister in laws kids/family.


So, for me, I finally sent the letter that said how I felt and that I didn't want to have contact with them again (nor would they have contact with my youngest son). 


I am so happy I did this.  I feel so much better about saying how I felt.


Yes, like Sultan said - 80% might not even know your mad and 20% do not care but for me, it felt 100% great to finally tell them how they have hurt us/ our family and that it was not going to be tolerated.


It also depends on your personality.  I can't say that I like conflict but I can't say that I am passive either.  I believe in standing up for what I believe in and my family is the 1 thing that is the most important thing I believe in.  I couldn't wait for DH to do this (he is a passive person and was raised to hold his tongue).  Thankfully, I wasn't.


Do I care what the aftermath is?  Not really,  you can't lose something you didn't have. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2007
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 1:13pm
Some people think that by not talking to you, they are punishing you. Little do they know is that sometimes it's winning the greatest prize in the world.

Enjoy the peace!! Take your hands completely out of that pie. DH wants to invite her somewhere, let him be the one to put forth the effort to call. Let him be the entertainer.

Favoritism seems to be a common theme lately :/ Now, I don't have kids so I don't have that experience yet as a mom but there have been plenty of times when my MIL does things I don't like or understand or think that are right. It used to get under my skin SO bad it wasn't funny until I realized her actions/choices are hers and hers to make.

Now I'm not saying you just need to get over the fact that she is over at your SIL's house lending a hand but it's helped me tons to just think that it is what it is and not spend any energy on her or what I think she's doing and why. Focus on what you have rather than what you don't have. It's their loss. Again, not trying to be harsh or minimize anything, it's hard to put what I'm thinking into words right now.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-23-2003
Wed, 08-15-2012 - 6:28am

OK, here's my 2 cents.  First off, enjoy the quiet.  If your H is OK with it, there is no reason to change.  She is no longer coming over, great.  I would not say anything, no point.  Either it will start a fight you don't want, or they won't get it.

Second, my SO has sort of an issue with his own family, in that his parents dote over his nephew, and don't really on his own kids.  Has a lot to do with his x, his x not letting them be close with the kids, and the fact his kids are out of control with anger and ADHD issues.  Not the kids fault, the x enables a lot of that, but they are hard to deal with.  Plus there are 3, his DN is an only child.  SO makes comments all the time about how DN is always there, his sister is always getting them to babysit, and so forth.  Not quite the same, other than at the end of the day, this is what his parents have chosen.  His kids will be fine, and you can't control this.  If your IL choose to dote on your SIL's kids, you can't control that.

Finally, if you want the kids to have "grandparents", you can.  My kids have been taught that there are 2 different families, the one you are born into, and the one you choose.  So, I'd choose some other people to be a positive influence on them. 

Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Wed, 08-15-2012 - 12:21pm

So - first to answer your most important question - do kids miss out on not having involved grandparents?  My opinion is - ABSOLUTELY!  And of course that is two fold if they also do not have very involved parents.  My mom was not really a hands on mom (I can think of very little / remember in  my childhood of time spent with my mom - very sad).  But, I have great memories of my grandmother taking me shopping many, many Saturdays.  Buying me a little inexpensive toys and ice cream and lunch.  I remember her making this special punch for me and having it every time I visited (when we didn't live in the same town).  I remember all these things she use to paint for me and I have some amazing quilts that she made by hand that I loved.  I think  my life would have been "not as good" had she not been there.


But, now I am faced with DH's parents who have done absolutely nothing with our youngest and definitely have done much less with my two oldest and my own father who died when youngest was only 4 months and also wasn't around much when two older son's were younger.  And, my mom - well, she did do a little better as a grandmother but her health was always and issue.  So, thankfully, my sons get so much from myself and their father.  DH and I do everything with them/ for them and they probably have much more than I had growing up with my limited grandparent contact. 


As for the letter - I was so angered at MIL (FIL / and DH's family some but not as much) because of their lack of contact when my mom died.  I've shared all that here.  I was literaly shaking when I had to be around her and yet I didn't want to say what I was really feeling and what I've been building up to feeling over these last many years.  I guess I didn't feel the time was right.  But, something just made me realize that I need to write this letter when I did - which was now about 3 plus weeks ago.  It wasn't super long - only a page and while I could have made it pages, I wanted to list the few main reasons I didn't want contact with them any longer. 


#1 that while I had tried to go along to get along, they mostly showed up at the holidays and it ruined what should be happy times for myself and my family.

#2 that I couldn't forgive her/them for the way they have treated me and our family over the years (specifically the passive aggressive actions - no lists, just mentioned that she's done a lot of them, and the fact that she couldn't call, text, email card nothing when my mom died.

#3 that the favortism towards the daughter's family was ridiculous and cruel and lastly that they'd not attempted to do one thing with our youngest son.


So that was pretty much it and I wished them well but said I didn't want them to contact me, come to our house or our office. 

No, they would not and did not respond to me.  That is no surprise at all.  They attempted to whine to DH's voicemail - both FIL who just said (call me) MIL in a bday card that she put in our mailbox and SIL by voicemail who felt so sorry for her parents....nothing about how all of this had effected us/our family.


It is sad and funny at the same time.  Of course this would be about how my letter effected them.  I didn't tell DH I was doing it or ask for permission but I did copy him and made mention in the letter that I'd be sharing this with him. 


I think on a very large level, he is happy that I finally spoke my mind and told them how they have hurt us.  He would have and has had a very hard time saying these things.  Thus the reason - go along to get along.  There has been no fall out between us - in fact we've been more happy with each other since the letter. 


Here's the beautiful part - the only way I would ever, ever let these people back in my life is if MIL sits down and acknowledges to everyone the things that she's done.  But, I know that will never happen so the ball will always be in her court. (not my problem to work out any longer).


I have to add this also...I can't tell you what you should do.  My situation was years in the making - many many fights and lots of typing on this site.  Some people can say - oh well, if that's what she wants to do then that's her decision.  They will just accept it and while it is still hurtful, they'll's not something I can change.


But for me, it was always the in your face stuff that would happy at happy times. I didn't understand why I /dh should continue on with such a one sided relationship that ruined our holidays.  It just didn't make sense.  It wasn't like the kids were getting anything from it either.


If they had been good to my kids (especially my youngest because he's still young enough to need that bond) then I would have dealt with them not liking me etc.  But really, all that they want to hold onto is the relationship with their son...not anyone in his family.


To me, that's just unacceptable.  And when something is unacceptable - you deal with it.  That's what I did. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Wed, 08-15-2012 - 12:27pm

That's a good point Dora - grandparents do not necessarily have to be those born to your family etc.


Also, your scenario regarding SO is so common.  I have a good friend and her situation is the same.  Her kids have several behavorial, emotional and other problems.  ADHD, partially blind, behavioral etc.  And, she finds that neither her inlaws or her own parents will even offer to spend time with these kids - NEVER.


Will the kids be okay - yes.  Would they have benefited though from having grandparents that were more involved....yes.

My friend and I talk about this a lot.  She basically never sees them (either sets of parents or vice versa).  I mean literally once or twice a year.  To me, that isn't family. 


My situation was different - while we are also not family.  Inlaws still think that we should be together when they think it is the right time - maybe Christmas or Easter or DH's birthday.  Losing my mom and my dad, I realized that my time is ticking away and I refuse to spend time cooking/cleaning/ shopping for people that have done nothing but cause me misery and have done nothing to be a family with my family.  Just doesn't make sense.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Thu, 08-16-2012 - 1:37pm

It is hard when your DH doesn't agree and thinks you play a part in the whole reason that mommy is upset.

I started to own that in my own emotions.  I respect that this is his mommy but I also know that I was the one that was treated badly and that I'm doing what I need to do.

Getting comfortable with your own feelings to me is what saved the situation for me.  It does help that my DH finally came around and now sees things on his own before I even bring them up. 

Remember, you married him not her.  Keep telling him that.  You didn't pick her to be in your life and the ceremony didn't say to love, honor and obey his mommy.