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In Need of Advice From Some Wisewomen

Started by Sun_is_still_shining, April 13, 2011, 06:33:47 am

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Hello Everyone!  :D

I have been a long time reader, now a first time poster! I have browsed several boards and sites pertaining to the some straining ache of the DIL/MIL relationship. I feel like this is the one that would actually give me some well rounded advice, from both DIL's and MIL's alike. I am a DIL who is finding it really hard to get over all the hurt that has been going on with my MIL. I guess I'll start with a quick backround of the situation.

DH and I have been together for about 6 years now. I was 19, he was 23. The first 3 were pretty decent with everyone, DH likes to keep to himself, even with his own family we never really visited much and it was the same in return. It was never an issue and for the most part MIL and I got along pretty well minus some unkind behaviour. (kicking DH out of their home after our first Christmas together without any explanation other than "I don't want anymore kids in my house." needless to say SIL and kids moved in not to long after... The "helpful" comments, such DH isn't getting anywhere, irresponsible.. She always wanted to butt in and know our personal business.. In her defence I did let the information train go on wayyy too long.. but I digress). So in all honestly things weren't the best but they were tolerable since we could just ignore whatever went on and nothing we did was ever really a problem. I learned alot about his family during this time, such as the MIL's favouritism between  his sisters and SIL's kids. There were alot of hurt feelings going on in his family but luckily we some how never ended up part of the drama. I was always surprised how everyone still managed to get together for all the special events and pretend like nothing happened. I ended up privy to alot of still I could have done without.

Fast forward 3 years and my first pregnancy. This was a total game changer. More outlandish behaviour becomes more common during my pregnancy. At first my babyshower was an issue with MIL because I wanted to have everyone together (FOO, friends, in laws, neighbours, whoever) and she wanted to just have a baby shower with only her Family and that I could do whatever I wanted with my friends and family. I talked her into having everyone together and once she agreed, she basically acted like it was her idea. Everything went really well, my 3 SIL's and my mom and aunt and DIL put everything together and it was a really good party. Unfortunately some red flags really started to wave. DIL wanted to do alot of the work, such as invitations, decoration, etc. I had to contact her to make a list of who was coming (SIL offered to help but I didn't want to step over MIL), ended up having to get the list back because it was three weeks to go and MIL hadn't send them out yet. She demanded that she got to make the cake, which was something my mom really wanted to do, but we said no problem and didn't even bat an eyelash. She tried to boss everyone around during the event, even SIL's commented on MIL's behaviour.

The baby came earlier than expected. This is really when things boiled down and have been in really up and down ever since.
I went to the hospital with my mom after my water broke (7 am) and found out I was only 1 cm dilated at 10am. It was going to be a long one. I get a call from my MIL. It went pretty good, so I asked her to come down later since I figured she'd have stuff to do (Call SILs, FOO, get balloons(?) idk... lol) as well as that my DH had went to work and wasn't even there yet. 6pm comes around and no MIL.. not even a call. DH was there at 12am. So I'm going through some really intense labour, when DH comes in from a call and says "Did you tell my mom not to come down to the hospital?" I was incredulous. I basically told him "What the F are you talking about???!" and he knew that I didn't do a thing. I had the baby at 4 am and none of his family had shown up. Long story short.. I find out that mom had talked to DH before me and got the same speal, "wait for me mom, come down in a bit okay?". She talks to me and then has a complete meltdown about it after we get off the phone, (didn't say anything to me while we were talking, I had no clue). Calls all his sisters and tells them all the we want nothing to do with any of his family and no one was welcome at the hospital. WTF? All because we told her to come later?? Needless to say, this sparked a feud. One SIL didn't talk to me for a year, I was able to convince the other two SIL's that their mom had overreacted and MIL continued on and off with similar drama. (I won't even go into detail of 1 &2nd birthday of DD).

Okay now that I've given a little backround into the situation, I explain recent events and why I'm in desperate need of some good advice. I'll try to make it short. LOL! Thank you for even making it this far, I really don't know how not to go into detail...  :-[. So This September I start school and am working part-time. Needless to say, I'm busy. I didn't visit anyone. Add on to that, I'm pregnant again. Things are seemingly getting back to normal with DH's family, fighting, drama and gossiping are at an all time low. We randomly get a call at the end of November from MIL for a surprise visit. I really really didn't want visitors at the time, I was studying for an exam, my house was the equivalent of a pigpen, we were all still in pj's, etc. Needless to say, it was a bad time. I told her all this and still she insisted on visiting. I gave in and told her to give me an hour. Blasting a hurricane of cleaning through my house and bam, we were ready. One hour, two hours, no MIL.. Hmm.. So I had to go to school and write my exam. Came home, still no MIL. Oh oo. I talk to DH and he says don't worry about it, it's nothing. But I worry. The next day I get a phone call at 7:30 am. It's MIL. She sounds really chipper and asked me if she woke me. I said no and it was a normal conversation for about 5 minutes.. and then BAM cue Jekyll  to Hide.. "NOW YOU LISTEN TO ME, if you want any part of this family you call me back, I'm upset and you are no longer part of this family." "Click" I just stared at my phone. I called her back right away and tried to alleviate the situation. I was told that "she should be able to visit whenever she wants, we are family and the state of my house doesn't matter, she shouldn't have to call to make an appointment, etc etc) Nothing I said made a difference. From there I was KICKED OUT of Christmas, We (DH and I) were not to come to her house, no calls from SILs. But FIL did call on Christmas to pick up my daughter to take her to see her "family". I was soo upset. I ended up agreeing to let DH go with DD because MIL threaten to leave FIL if my DD didn't come to Christmas. (She was leaving him too, but that didn't end up happening).I was pretty devastated about the whole situation.

A month went by, then FIL stopped by to see if we could work things out. He suggested a family meeting with the SILs and MILs. I agreed only to do it with MIL, DH and FIL. For the most part it ended up being pretty fruitless. I basically did most of the talking, about boundaries and respect, and MIL just sat there with a smug look on her face, only apologised when DH demanded that it was the least she could do, and it was very insincere. I felt like I was bashing my head on the wall. They basically say it's over the fact that we don't visit enough (DH's fault mostly) and that they want to be more closer of a family. (We've never skipped out on any family event, ever.) I was still feeling pretty sore about it, so when I ran into my MIL at the mall a few days later, I didn't really feel like coming over that night. I politely told her DH didn't mention any thing about visiting and said we will see. Now she won't talk to me and has come into my work twice and won't even say hi, even though I tried to talk to her. I'm a couple months from being a mom again and I really don't want this drama to continue on much longer. I'm really thinking about calling her for a sit down talk between the two of us to work things out. I'm really at a loss.. I want things to get better but I'm seriously having a hard time thinking things will get better. I really want to just go back to a neutral ground but also that I won't continue to be abused. She needs to own her problems and decisions that she makes and stop playing the victim. I don't think that is being unreasonable.

On a side note: my MIL has in 4 years of my DD being born, never called to take her, never invited us to supper, randomly shows up and never leaves, doesn't take DD by herself (always has at least one of her 9 GK to entertain her), doesn't respect me or my DH, thinks her way is the only way...Yet complains that we never visit (which we do.. once a month or so.. not really alot i know..) that my DD doesn't know "her family", yet no one calls us or really visits.. which is fine by us.. and always involves the SILs with everything.. just for a little more backround information.

Thank you for all advice and listening to my story.. I've really wanted to post for a long time.   :D


Wow, she sounds like a hot mess.  I'm sorry, but I think she's the type of person who likes drama and when there is none, she'll just make some up. 

My advice is to back away, far away.  Let DH deal with his family, his mom = his problem.  I wouldn't answer phone calls, emails, nada.  You did the best anyone could do, honestly.  No more, this kind of stuff is bad for your help.

If you want to still be in contact, she wants to come, sorry, hang up.  You are allowed not to talk to people when they are being abusive and that is what she is doing.  You are allowed to determine when visitors come to your home, you are allowed to coordinate your holidays.  These are normal things and you are allowed to do them.

The one thing I've found with people like this is to laugh at them, to their face.  Ohhhh, so you think that is a good idea?  chuckle and really make it sound like they are stupid.  Bullies hate that. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


There are many MIL's who would give their back teeth for a dil like you who makes so much efford to get along
Back off and let your husband sort out the problem with his family.
It might be that you subcontiously need her approval. Do you??? No. If you fight for approval she will see it as a weakness and continue to work on you.
Drop her like a hot cake.


Sometimes what people hear has nothing to do with what was said or what was meant. That 's on them. if you mother in law 's perceptions are that screwed up, it has nothing to do with you and no matter what you do you won't satisfy her, so honey don't even try.  :o. detach detach detach. you don't need her approval concentrate on your family! I'm a MIL btw, and you sound great to me!


Wow, just wow.... You seem to be doing everything you can to make the relationship work. Sounds like it may be time to step back and do a little MIL "discipline." She sounds like a spoiled child. "Call me right back or you aren't part of the family!" "If you don't bring DD I'm getting a divorce." Seriously? These sound like a lot of blank threats. Call her bluff. Don't call her back, don't send DD without you.

I totally relate to the messy house quick clean up thing. My MIL doesn't like it that she needs to call first, but you know what? TOUGH! My house, my rules.


I have to disagree a bit with ADil.  I don't think that YOU enforcing YOUR boundaries should be thought of as punitive to MIL.  Don't go into it with the idea that "you'll show her".  Your boundaries should be just that, your boundaries.  "This" is what's considered acceptable to you.

Causing a ruckus on the day your DD was born?  Not acceptable.  Thus, this next time, don't even give her the chance.  DH can call his Mom if he feels like it, but you don't have to.  Nor do you have to accept her visit at the hospital, if you think there will be drama.  There will be time enough for drama when you get home.

Threats along the lines of "call me back or you're not family" or "send DD or divorce" are not acceptable and should NEVER be followed.  Someone who says that to you "XX or you're not family" - guess what?  They ALREADY don't consider you to be family, and there's nothing you can do about it.  You can fold yourself in half 6 times and they'll say "Why not 7?"

I think you need to take a little break from MIL.  I'm not talking cut off, I'm saying YOU should back off.  So don't answer the phone if it's her and don't call her, let all communication go through your DH.  You don't need the added stress or drama.  Detachment means that you have to stop caring what she thinks, you will never satisfy her, so stop trying.

I think that these last few weeks of your DD being an only child, and you guys being a little family of three are very precious and you should maybe even take a break from most people.  Pull your little family in close and do things as a family, that strengthen your family.


I am with Scoop. Boundaries aren't there for punishment; so there's no reason to treat them as that. You simply told her what you were comfortable with and she could abide, or not.

It sounds like your MIL likes to make everything about her; when in fact the birth of your DD and your almost-here baby have very little to do with her at all. If she is going to turn the main event into a three ring circus, I'd stop inviting her to the show altogether, until things settle back down. You don't need the side-show while you're trying to take care of your family in the best way you know how.

I wouldn't cave to those threats either (although if you know my backstory, crying works wonders on me.  :-\ ). "DD or divorce" should be met with, "I know a good lawyer." "Out of the family if..." should be met with "I already have my own little family, and that's enough for me." All those idle I can't imagine the added stress all that high drama must be; it sounds totally unnecessary.

Working mom/student/DIL here too....welcome!  :)


Thank you ladies! I knew I had come to the right place. :)

I really needed some advice other than from my friends, since well they are a bit biased in my favour  ;D I agree too with scoop and holli, I don't believe in doing boundaries as punishment. Whether she wants to respect it is another story.

I'm thinking I might just put this whole talk thing on hold then. I'm been way more stressed out than I should be, especially given my current pregnant state. I think I'm just concerned that a repeat of the drama that occurred after the birth of DD1, as well as that its going to be right around the time that seems to cause alot of drama (DD1's birthday).. Very pathetic, I know. I've always tried to accommodate DH's family for her birthday (between SILs,BILs, MIL and FIL and kids there is a head count of 20 people... so much for being able to invite anyone else..) So I've always had to neglect my friends and family when it came to DDs birthday. I really don't see the point of having so many people, the youngest grandchild being 8 years old than my daughter. This year, given that we will be so busy with a new  baby, I'm going to just have a few younger cousins, from both sides of the family, my mom and dad, and MIL and FIL. I have a feeling it is going to cause some problems with MIL, but I'm really getting the point where I don't care. It's for my DD, not a family social event. If MIL wants everyone together, then she should have a gathering at her house and not expect my DD's birthday to be for anyone other than her.

I'm tired of having to justify myself all the time and explain to my narcissistic paranoid MIL that my decisions have nothing to do with her. She is always trying to convince SILs that I'm out to get everyone. It really doesn't matter what I say anyway since her mind is made up. The thing is that I know she has no problem cutting people out (didn't talk to one of the SILs for two years) and I know she won't call me until I decide to "fix" things. I don't want my DD to miss out on her GM but given MIL's record it doesn't seem like she really cares too much anyway. I guess I just have to suck it up and allow myself to just move on and not worry about it anymore. I will try to continue to take a high road and invite her to all the important things. Should she decide that she is "uncomfortable" (her excuse for everything) well then that's her decision, and she needs to own it. I can't stand that she never takes responsibility for her actions and I always get the " shes always the victim, and the fight to win " attitude from MIL and the only apology I've ever received for the BS was the one DH made her say during the "family meeting". She has never apologised to my DH either. Not once did she ever say that she needed to be there for her son when DD was born, it was all...  well I missed the baby, she's my grand child, it's my right.. There was nothing but silence after I said, "Well what about your son? He had no one from his family there to support him." and then back to well poor me, poor me. Oy. Umm try maybe showing up later like we asked?? Just about every situation could have been avoided if she hadn't had such my way or the highway attitude.

I just wish DH wasn't such a DuH sometimes, it's hard to avoid a situation when he won't even deal with his family. I told him that I would never expect him to deal with this with my family, and proof is in the pudding since something did happen once (in regards to first pregnancy.. at first. lol overprotective father  ;) ) and I put both my parents in their places. but I think after this last episode things are going to be different.  He said he wouldn't tolerate any more BS.. I guess time will tell.

P.S. - I love the replies holli!! OMG.. I wish I was as witty!! :D Permission to borrow?? She does those things to come in between her son and his dad. They have such a wonderful relationship which is no suprise since FIL did most of the raising. MIL is jealous since DH doesn't really want much to do with her.


Feel free, I haven't used them myself; so you may take full credit. I just think if she proposes something ridiculous, highlighting the ridiculousness might stop her in her tracks.

To be honest, I'm the Queen of Delayed Reaction when I'm outside of the virtual world; so I'm not nearly as witty in real life.

She's using all of those statements as leverage, so I think responses like that might take some of the power away from her. Or at the very least, show her that they're not getting anywhere with you.

I did notice something about my MIL and her crying. The episodes shortened up when we didn't cave into her; after a few times of standing our ground the last time we saw her, when she asked if we'd be coming to the family reunion as we were leaving, we both shook our head no...and she changed the subject. I forgot about that when I posted about it! Wow. Just wow.

It's hard, but honestly, it's worth it. I imagine it might be the same for someone who tosses idle threats around. Good luck, it can't be easy. You just have to focus on you, DH and your little ones at the moment.


Quote from: holliberri on April 13, 2011, 11:43:51 am
I'm the Queen of Delayed Reaction when I'm outside of the virtual world; so I'm not nearly as witty in real life.

You're a hoot, Holli!   :D


You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. And you are never going to make sense where it doesn't exist. Back off and stop trying. She has closed the door, you haven't. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Sunny - at 4 y/o my DD stopped having 'family' parties and started having "friend" parties.  Maybe THAT could be your transition?  And seriously, with a new baby, go to a play place and let them handle the mess & the chaos.  Bring a cake and goodie bags, and limit the party to 6 or 8 kids MAX.

Don't give MIL the option of hosting her own party.  You'll regret it.  DD's birthday is about DD.  If you feel like inviting the GP's for supper on her actual birthday, feel free, but don't feel obliged to host 20+ family members for a 4 y/o's birthday - that's ridiculous.

Make sure DH is on your side but be ready for him to cave.  Detach - detach - detach.  Here's a motto for you:    XXX wants YYYY? Yeah, well I'm sure people in <<the Hot Place>> want ice water.  Which can be shortened to "Good luck with that".


Quote from: luise.volta on April 13, 2011, 12:57:21 pm
You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. And you are never going to make sense where it doesn't exist. Back off and stop trying. She has closed the door, you haven't. Sending love...

THIS!!!! 100% 


Sorta a P.S. here, Sorry!
But the more I think about things I find myself shaking my head a bit.
"IF" you were my DIL and having another child soon, I would go out of my way to NOT upset you!
But hey, that's me! My only concerns would be for you and the baby.
And the over all happiness of my Son and his family. It would rip my heart apart to know I was causing such drama in their lives.
As with all of us, this is only my opinion. Nothing more or less.  With that said, I don't  think you will be able to do much to please her? If she is going to make up what you "didn't" say ,what good is it to say anything really? Sometimes the harder we try the worse it gets with someone who wants all the spot light like that. And I'm sure your husband knows this in his heart.
I think someone else already said this? But I'll chance repeating it. There are many MIL's that would love to have a DIL that would just try to make things work like you seem to want.
I think your MIL just wants attention. And DOES NOT like you are getting it?
Wishing you many blessings with the birth of your baby!



Hi and welcome!  I'm a mil and a dil.  I suggest that you take good care of yourself right now, it needs to be a priority now with your pregnancy.  Also, If it was me, I wouldn't let my dd go to christmas (or other holidays) at my mil's if I wasn't invited.  heck no.  Maybe when the time feels right you could have that talk with your mil,fil, dh and a family therapist who is really good. (Josh Coleman recommends this, he wrote a book called 'When Parents Hurt" on parental estrangement.   It does seem like a roller coaster and lots of out of left field kinds of things, I know how crazy making that can be.    You've come to the right place.