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Am I the problem for my MIL

Started by Kinzey, December 03, 2009, 11:11:06 am

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There is something I have wondered since joining this website; Am I part of the problem? How does my mother in law view me and do I make her feel as bad as your daughter in laws make you feel? After reading your posts I realized there are things that I may  have done to make her mad at one point.
I don't listen to her advice because when she gives advice it sounds like orders.
When she tells me something that I should do about a situation, I always tell her what I'm going to do instead and it is the opposite of what she said.
I encourage my husband to "cut the apron strings" because I feel they are too involved.
When my husband goes to visit his parents I make up a reason not to go with him because I feel overwhelmed by their constant advice and suggestions.
I don't really talk when they are around because I don't feel like I fit in with their family.
I feel they put their noses in my business and my marriage by asking him if our marriage is having problems because I don't visit them with him.
They are emailing him all the time with "suggestions" of what he should do with his life and they are typically not what my husband wants.
After looking back I think that daughter in laws and mother in laws are defensive of themselves and now I realize why she probably doesn't like me and I really don't know how to change the way I feel about her. My husband is always defending them and I feel he shows them more love and respect than he does me and that is a huge part of my problem with them. Maybe thats why so many DIL's are the way they are; they want the same love and respect that he shows for his parents. Women are jealous by nature and we don't want to share our men. Maybe that is why there is such a battle and in the end everyone loses. Mothers lose their sons, or wives lose their husbands and his family.


In most cases (IMHO) we all find we have some part in things -- unless you have truly truly crazy in-laws as some people in here seem to -- we bounce off and react to each other and make assumptions and... well, that's just my opinion.    And the only person I can truly change is me.  Hopefully doing that will have some change in my situation, but that isn't always true.

Erg, isn't that helpful?

My youngest son's father used to "hear" what I said as orders when I thought I was just saying what I needed, and if he'd spoken up and said, "what?" or "No way" that would have been fine... for some reason he needed to see me as the meanie and himself as the victim.   (I assure you, it wasn't true-- he was giving me power I didn't even want to have).

Same was true of my mother -- I used to see her as the bully until I grew me and spine and answered her as an adult (I was, er... 39 or so, heh heh).

What a surprise to me -- I was the one who had been letting her keep the power she had over me as a child.

It really is none of their business to ask you things or intrude in places you don't want them to.  You don't even need to be mean or loud when you tell them that.  You can smile and say something like, "We'd rather not talk about that, but thank you for asking."  Or just smile at them with no response and change the subject.

I don't know that just women are jealous by nature... some people are, some aren't.   Personally, I think if people feel they have enough love, they don't feel a need to hold on to love rather than share it.

My intent has never been not to share my sons.  Even though I'm not married, I don't want my sons to spend their lives being my little men, taking me places, fixing things, driving me around... erggg! 

Their growing up has been a process of letting go  from their very first step away, that's when you know your child is going to leave.  And it continues if you are lucky enough to have a healthy child -- they become increasingly independent, then they turn more to friends than parents, then they move further out and have a wife and their family extends to include hers, then they may have children of their own. 

But all of that should mean more love, not losing -- I think there is some kind of paradox in letting go.  Logically you think it means loss, but its in holding on too tight that you can lose... mother or wife. 

What many of us are dealing with in here is something having gone wrong, for whatever reason -- there is a break in the relationship that seems unfixable at times.  For some it may be temporary, for some permanent -- it's like a puzzle, trying to sort out the reasons why.   

The more time I spend trying to blame or figure out my DIL, the sicker I feel.  Focusing on what I need to do, what I can change or how I can handle this in the most positive way is all I can do. 

In your case, it sounds like you and your husband are in agreement that his parents are being too intrusive -- perhaps you can make an effort to try and retranslate what she says -- she may be barking orders (she may not be) but you don't have to take them.   Work a bit maybe on how you respond to that... ask yourself why that bothers you, and come up with ways you can maturely, effectively and pleasantly decline to accept those "orders", or hear them as suggestions you decline.

:)  Good luck...
("Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away, love is something if you give it away, you end up having more! for it's just like a magic penny, hold it tight and you won't have any, lend it spend and you'll have so many, they roll all over the floor.."  a song popular with children in our Quaker meeting)


I don't know, Kinzey, what could be going on.....I do know that it does get awfully confusing when the two collide sometimes.  I don't know if your MIL is barking or not.  To you, it seems she is, though.

I can tell you care or you wouldn't be on this board.  Please, can you just view her just one time from another point of view?  When you don't come over, it does hurt.  It is an immediate saying of: "my wife won't come because she doesn't like you".  (that's what it said to me the first time son came without her)  It felt like a kick in the stomach.

We never had any problems with anyone till she came on the scene.  No one that we knew....to her, getting together was bad.  Her parents didn't do it so now, I see that getting together here was not a good idea to her but okay for us. We've had to completely redo our entire lives because her family doesn't get together much.  Course, she did at first but that's another story.

Does your husband like your family?  That's where some of us don't get it.  He most likely is fine with your family......whatever makes you happy, makes him happy.  He'll go with the flow in that regard.  I wish the same went for us. 

It must be torture for you not to talk when they are around and torture for them because they take that as, "she doesn't like us". 

I am grappling for what to say because I don't know.  I just wish so much that there was some kind of way for you to be able to interact with them.  They will be around much of your life till they die, of course. 

Many blessings


Kinsey, I would ask you this question - Would you put up with this behavior from say someone at work or a friend or other family member???  I let things slide off my back that DH's parents did b/c I loved him and that was his family and I didn't want to rock the boat.  But when I found out MIL was criticizing me behind my back for nit picky things I just felt like I had had enough. 

I thought this is so stupid, I wouldn't put up with someone at work treating me like this and I even stood up to my own sister one time when sister was criticizing my DH b/c he wasn't doing what she thought he needed to do about  something and I ended up telling her off b/c he didn't deserve to be talked about like this.  We're a package deal and neither of us should put up with family members trying to tear us down.

It may just take time but your DH should put you first, but I totally understand how hard that is at first.  Sometimes it takes a while before we can cut the apron strings.  Some of my family was VERY intrusive.  I'm embarrassed to tell this but I have an aunt who is very fearful about life and lives her life very carefully and cautiously and she pressured me not to get a dog b/c of the pain you go through when they die.  So then you also miss out on the 10-15 years of love they provide.  And then she did not want me to have kids b/c of "the evil world" and she pressured me to pressure my DH to get a vasectomy and I actually did!  He even went and made the appointment with the doctor and the doctor said he didn't want to do that on such a young man who hadn't had kids.  My aunt used fear to control me and she had a huge influence on me at this young age.  By the time I realized that I did in fact wanted kids and was no longer influenced by this pathetic woman it was too late b/c  I ended up having dysfunctional ovaries and cannot have children.  maybe if I had addressed this in my 20's I'd have children by now.  That's why its important to not let family members get you all stressed out.  I have to tell myself today, Who give a crap what they think!!!  Its my life, I don't understand why the elders can't just back off and let us live our lives.  I was such an idiot, I was soooo worried about measuring up in their judgmental eyes that I missed out on becoming a parent.  But fortunately you grow and realize you don't need parental approval.  It took me till about 28 or 29 and that's when we started trying to have a baby but it was too late.  But I am at fault for this b/c I allowed her to get me rattled.


J2b...that is terribly sad!  Your Aunt had a lot of influence, the bad kind, on you.  It seems like sad and fearful people want to make us the same way to keep the only power they have.  It's too bad that it ends up destroying lives. Because of her fear, she's just about destroyed yours. 

I guess you do have to leave people who mean nothing but bad in your life once in awhile. 

I just know in my heart that there is something very good that will happen to you, J2b.....I know how it feels to be lost in a sea of fear and controlling people because I just wanted to belong. 


I am asking myself those same questions and I feel like it is the same situation.  My BF and I are not yet married and his parents are the ones who are kind of holding us back.  I think right now he's hesitating to get formally engaged because his mom refuses to have a relationship with me and I hesitate because I see HIM hesitating.  I think you're right that we should look at our own behavior and think about how we contribute to the problem.  But at the end of the day, you can't reason with an unreasonable person.  I really loved AnnieB's answer - I wish I could trade my MIL for some of the ones here!