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My MIL *sigh*

Started by Scarlett, November 05, 2009, 10:47:13 am

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I'm a newbie and just found this forum. Been having a difficult MIL situation for about as long as I have known my DH. I'm just so frustrated and do not know what to do to please her or even have a normal relationship.  I have tried everything! I'm to the point that to protect my sanity that I just stay away now.  I don't keep my DH away and encourage him to see his family but I don't know that I can do it anymore.  I have never dealt with such behavior from anyone and truly don't know what to do about it. Luckily, its not just me and she despises all of her DIL's. She will talk about each of us to the other and then gets mad when I tell her politely that I don't want to hear it.  I don't like gossip and don't need to hear intimate personal details of the other couple's lives.  That's their business not mine. 

I know that I am not a perfect DIL but I do try, well I did try but I'm to the point of not caring now.  She and I are completely different people and she just can not accept that I won't be like her.  My DH's family is very controlling and not accepting of outsiders and just expected me to give up my family when I joined theirs.  I'm super close to my family and that is not going to happen. I moved 5,000 (yes 5,000) miles away from my family to be with my DH and only get to see my family about once or twice a year. 

When we first married my mother wrote to my MIL to introduce herself and to try to forge a relationship. My MIL wrote back and basically told her that she didn't need a relationship with her and to make the transition into their family easier that she(my Mom) should limit contact with me!!!! I didn't believe my own Mother until I went home the next year and read the letter.  My IL's act like the own me, like I am a piece of property. It takes all I have just to fight to keep some piece of myself.  A few of my other SIL's are weaker and have just given up.  They all live on the same road as each other and my MIL has basically taken over their lives.  She doesn't work and has attempted part time work but can't seem to keep the jobs because she can't interact with other people.  Everything is always her way or the highway.  I am a college graduate and have always worked. She can't understand how or why I would work outside of the home.

Sometimes I just feel so alone.  They (IL's) have tried to isolate me from my family, friends, job, etc.  They have even have me followed!!!  We can't do anything without them butting in and making it about them.  We recently bought our first home and they made the experience miserable. My husband and I are attempting to have our first child and as much as I want a baby I am terrified of actually having one because then I will be permanently tied to these people.  Plus our child will be the first bio grandchild and to them that's a huge deal.  It scares the life out of me. 

Anyways, I don't know what to do anymore.  I just want to have a cordial relationship with them but is that even possible?


Wow -- that would be some letter to get! :o

How long have you been with your DH?  How long have you lived 5000 miles from your family?
Is this a NY to Hawaii distance,  and are there big cultural differences between the families?
How does your DH support you in all this? 


We have been together for about 7 1/2 years and married for 5.  I have lived away from my family for 7 of those years.  When my DH and I met it was pretty instant and we moved quickly.  Yes, the distance is similar to NY to Hawaii.  I think there are some fairly large cultural issues.  My family is very southern and his family is very northern and part native american.  We both come very very large families. I have a large Catholic family and my DH as a large non-religious family.  I'm not super religious, more of a holiday Catholic but my faith is still very important to me.  Has caused some friction with his family but I try to avoid that area.

I don't by any stretch of the imagination hate her. I could never hate the woman who gave my husband life but I'm having a very hard time liking her.  My DH and I were raised in very different households. My family has experienced a great deal of loss/death so we know how precious life is and we live every day to the fullest.  We are emotional, we hug each other and tell each other how much the other is loved. You never know when it will be the last time that you get to do that ( I found that out the hard way).  On the flip side my DH's family never says they love each other and they are very distant emotionally.  I realize that we are all different and its okay for them to be this way but it has caused problems for my husband.  When I met him he was very depressed and suicidal.  They basically ignored it and acted like he was weak and needed to suck it up.  No one would acknowledge what he was going through and help him.  We have been through lots of therapy to help him get on the road to recovery. 

My DH does the best he can.  I try not to put him in the middle because that's not fair to him.  I don't like confrontations so I usually hold it all in and then hit my breaking point later.  Sometimes I get frustrated with him because I wish he would stand up for me when she is being a bully.  He and his siblings were never taught to question things or think very deeply so their behavior was normal for him.  He never questioned anything or ever confronted them. I don't think that he has to agree with me on everything but I do want him to open his eyes and see that some of what goes on is not normal. 

I don't want to cut out my IL's.  I want to have a relationship but I can't have one the way we are now.  I feel like we are standing on the precipice of a big nasty cliff.


Welcome Scarlett:
You have now arrived at place/forum where you will receive support and understanding.
I feel your pain especially being so far away from your own family.
Is it imperative for your to have moved so far away, is it due to your husband's job?  Right now, my first suggestion that came to mind, is having a third party, such as a counsellor, intervene and have  a down to earth talk with your husband, about how it is messing you up and how miserable you are.  No possession, like a new house, is worth being so close to the fire and tensions.  Go to the counsellor on your own first, and discuss your situation and then convince your DH to go.  If you want to save your marriage, you are going to have to fight with logic.  I do not know where you live, but you may have to contemplate getting another house further away from the in-laws.  I know this is all too much for you to think about now, just keep writing to this forum and believe me there will be sensible solutions and answers that just strike home.
Take care and remember you now have a support system in this forum.



Welcome !
I never even realized how common all the MIL/DIL is until I found this forum. I do hope you find some answers here. Blessings


Welcome, Scarlett -

I understand what you're going through, and I am sorry for your pain.

My first MIL was very snooty. My ILs were very very wealthy and my MIL made it known from the start that I did not measure up. Holidays were horrible; we'd go to one of their vacation homes and I'd be so homesick I'd cry! If there was an opportunity to treat me poorly my MIL never passed it by. I tried to find commom ground, but nothing worked. I just wasn't who they wanted for their son. Obviously, that marriage didn't last. My DH at the time couldn't let go of the trust fund and separate from his family, so I left. I couldn't take the constant criticism and snarky put-downs.

It was too bad, because former DH and I had lots of common interests and could have had a wonderful life together.

I hope and pray you have a better outcome! Again, welcome.

Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Thank you everyone for the kind words and warm welcome!  I appreciate it!! It is amazing how complicated the MIL/DIL relationship can be and I hope to at least develope a relationship that is agreeable to both of us. I've been reading through the forum and some of your experiences are so heartbreaking.  Its good to know that I am not alone!


Dear Scarlett, (what a beautiful name..."be kind to Captain Butler, he loves you so"....sorry, couldn't help mysef)

Was your husband aware of his Mother's behavior before you dated/married him?  Are you the first DIL she has?  You mentioned SIL's, were they after you? 

Having you followed?  Awful!! 


There were 2 SILs before me and 2 more FSILs right now (a lot of kids in his family  :o).  My SILs and I are not super close so its not something we talked or talk about.  I think I really opened my eyes to MILs behavior about 6 months or so after I moved in with my DH.  My middle SIL has had quite a bit of trouble conceiving and has had many many miscarriages. SIL had just had her 3rd or 4th miscarriage and she seemed very sad and worn down.  At a family gathering my MIL was pressuring SIL about when she was going to start trying again and poor SIL looked like she just wanted to lay down and sleep for years.  I told SIL that maybe she should take a break and get herself mentally and physically back on track before she tried again because she just looked like she couldn't try anymore and I felt so sorry for her.  My MIL wigged out and told me I should mind my own business and that my SIL wanted to have a baby and needed to get busy trying  :o  It was like SIL was nothing but a breeder, health be damned. Right now there are not any bio grandchildern in the family but two adopted grandchildren.  My ILs were very fertile and very much about passing on the family name.  I'm not the only SIL that is subjected to the inappropriate behavior.  I don't know if that is a blessing or a curse.  The situation should bring us together but in fact keeps us apart.

Yes...the following was a nightmare.  I worked in a showroom in the beginning and I would find the older brothers or uncles sneaking around watching me.  It was majorly creepy.  They would mention what time I got to work, left work, where I had lunch and I never had conversations with them to tell them any of that info!!!  I don't know if it was because I was new and they didn't trust me or what.  But I was scared for awhile.  Its been several years since I have noticed it so I think they have stopped. Thank God!


Scarlett, that is very creepy.  Do you all work in the same showroom?

I wonder why they would try to scare you like that?  What did your husband say when you told him?  Did he realize how strange they were before you married?