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Not lurking anymore

Started by Lajone, July 20, 2011, 03:51:10 pm

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Hi Mil's,

I am sorry but I am new at this and the first post I put up here was actually a poll and I didn't mean to do that. I basically just wanted advise from you wise women because it seems impossible to get it elsewhere. I have "lurked" on DIL sites as well for a year now but they don't really offer any advise, just MIL bashing which isn't what I need right now. I thought about trying the MIL sites to gain a new perspective on things. I wish I could just come right out and ask my FMIL "why don't you like me?" "What did I do to make you hate me so much?" but I have a feeling I won't get anywhere with her on that. I just don't know how to make things right. The angry, hurt part of me is like "fine, if you don't want anything to do with me, that is your loss...you will be the one sitting alone at holidays, not me!" But everytime I even think these words in my head I become ashamed of myself for feeling that way about someone I loves mother. I just don't know how to make her see that I am not a bad person and that I love her son very much. I even told my DF that his mother could be in the delivery room when our first is born. I figured since she has all boys she would want this opportunity...well she wants it from my FSIL, but not from me :( She doesn't want anything to do with me or any future children I may have. Is there any advise from MIL's out there that you can give me to try and make things work?


Welcome back Lajone.  One thing I do know.  You can't make anyone like you that is dead-set against it, no matter what you do.  You can continue to be polite, civil and hope they change their mind.  Was there something in particular (that you are aware of) that happened between you two to cause her to be this way?  A fight, argument...anything?
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


I'm sure :) perception is a huge part of it and people's sensitivities obviously...one that comes to mind is when she was staying the night at our home (before she said she felt uncomfortable) and asked me for a shirt of DF to wear to bed...I gave her one and she put it on with no pants/shorts just panties. I asked her if she wanted pants/shorts and she angrily replied "you just don't understand what it's like to be so hot going through menopause!" and then walked around in her panties...I told her that it made me feel uncomfortable to see her in her underwear and she got mad at me and told DF later that night that she didn't feel comfortable in our home...is that normal? Have you ever walked around you adult son's home in your panties? I thought it was weird and I said so and she was very upset with me about that...she also feels I am disrespectful because I am no longer a practicing catholic which she is. And you have to know how big of a hurdle religious differences can be. Her son used to go to church with her because he said he "had to" and now that we are together we don't go and he prefers that...I think she is mad at me for that too but again, this is all speculation as she will not talk to me or address any issues she may have and when I try to talk to her she ignores me...like literally doesn't acknowledge my presence. I told DF that this hurt my feelings and he stood up for me and told FMIL she had to be nice to me...I don't think she liked that either. I tried to tell her myself but it was like talking to a brick wall...she didn't even blink!


P.S. I know I can't make her like me...but I hate to give up on things and I really don't want to give up on her. There is not one person in the world that I would allow to treat me the way she has and for some reason I roll over and let her hurt me and I keep my mouth shut...why am I giving her special treatment? If no one else in my life could get away with that, why her?

Purple Room

Just a thought - not an excuse but menopause can make women a little grouchy/crazy. Think about PMT lasting a whole lot longer. Maybe just continue to be polite for now?? Time and patience might be all it needs.

Silver Spring

I believe that she does get some sort of special treatment because you truly love her son.  :) That is probably what makes having a MIL so hard at times. You have to be nice when you don't want to be. She doesn't have to love you like your parents do if you tell her what you really think. Your boundaries with your parents have been in place (like, walking around in your skivvies is not acceptable), you have boundaries to work out with her, except you have to walk on eggshells.

Stay as determined as you are: don't give up. I think it will get better.


I agree with Silver Spring.  You put up with it because you love your DH and you were probably raised it was the right thing to do.  Nothing at all wrong with that and you should be given credit for trying so hard.

I get the whole menopause thing.  It can make you do crazy things.  I'm not excusing her walking around that way, as I would have found that unacceptable as well out of any houseguest or myself.  She could have waited until she went to bed and undressed.  The religious thing?  I'm not even going there as we all know that it can cause major problems in a family.  You can't help that one.  You and DH have to be free to make your own choices when it comes to religion and she needs to respect that.  She probably isn't going to, but she needs to.  We find many times that different religious and political beliefs cause problems in families. 

Bless your heart for wanting to keep trying.  You're a good DIL.  I think the polite, civil approach is going to be the only thing you can continue to do and hope she decides to change her mind about you.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


I also agree...You just want to get along with your Mil, after all, she is your husband's mother.
I wouldn't even talk to her about religion, do what you feel comfortable with...why does she even have to know what you and your husband are doing. If she asks tell you go to church...whatever...I'm a firm believer in keeping the peace.

Menopause does make us act differently sometimes.

When you have children, I bet her attitude toward you will change because she will want to be included in that's child's life.

Silver Spring

Looking back, my MIL and my DH changed upon the birth of my first child, and hence did my relationship with both of them.

MIL went from being overbearing about DH to being overbearing about children, unfortunately. However, DH spoke up. What would normally have only been my form of behavior (before, how I cooked or something, but in this case, parenting), became DH's form of behavior as well. I don't think people can say this often, and I hope no one thinks I'm trying to encourage procreation for the sake of an issue like this,but a baby made things easier. I no longer had time to fret over what she thought of me because I couldn't control it and suddenly had no time to care if I did. MIL likely knew that I was a force to be reckoned with at that  point, parent to parent. DH and I were on the same  page about parenting and that's a tough topic. Since we did agree, she not only took issue with me, but him as well. We operated as a team before, but  it was readily apparent upon having children. Problems fell to the background.


Lajone welcome.  I am sorry for the pain of rejection you are feeling. 

Pam and others here have spoken about etiquette and I took notes and learned a lot.  Etiquette protocol provides lots of good guidance for sticky situations.

I think showing panties in mixed company is rude and weird.  I think addressing anyone in panties in your home, must be handled very delicately to spare embarrassment because they may feel extra vulnerable.  As weird as it is to put on a panty parade, telling them how weird might have really hurt.  I don't know how one might handle such a social pickle, to be honest.  Would I would keep offering shorts or a robe or a sarong, gently but repeatedly, until they accepted it.  Would I ignore it and remember to always suggest a hotel for such a guest, in the future.  Lajone, was it after the panty party when it really started to go downhill with her? 

Telling someone that they have to be nice, is tough for anyone to pull off.  She doesn't have to be "nice" to you.  She should be polite.  Is she rude to you, or just not as warm and talkative as you wish she'd be?  As much as it's up to MIL how much she "likes" you, she still should be polite when you spend time together with her son.  If she wants son to have a nice visit, so he comes back for more, being outright rude to his wife isn't how to show him a good time.   It is up to you how much time you will spend with someone who is outright rude to you.

Maybe a practical approach would be to give up trying to "address the issues" with her, for a while.  It appears she isn't ready to discuss issues, and could be intimidated by being approached about them.  Drop the big picture theoreticals (ideas about her not wanting anything to do with children you may one day have).  Instead focus on the here and now, the reality, and simply being polite and mannerly to each other when you are together.  When you are both in the same place, make your goal to have very basic exchange of plesantries, so you are not hurt by her.

This is my suggestion.  Don't seek love and approval from her.  Do seek to have short pleasant visits.  Do seek to follow guidelines of etiquette when interacting with her.  Show respect consistently, for both her and yourself.  Let trust build from there.

Quoteshe will not talk to me or address any issues she may have and when I try to talk to her she ignores me...like literally doesn't acknowledge my presence. I told DF that this hurt my feelings and he stood up for me and told FMIL she had to be nice to me...I don't think she liked that either. I tried to tell her myself but it was like talking to a brick wall...she didn't even blink![/size]

I am not sure I understand what you mean by what she is doing, the brick wall?  Is it a response when she doesn't know what else to say?  Or thinks saying nothing is best (when you don't have anything nice to say...).  Or is the brick wall, how she acts all the time towards you.  Does she invite you to her home and then shun you? Does she invite your fiance but not invite you?  If I arrive somewhere I'm invited, address the hostess and get no response as if I am invisible? Literally a brick wall?  I'd wait another 5-10 minutes then politely excuse myself and leave. I will not stay where I am clearly not welcomed.   

Does she come in your house and say hello to you? Does she thank you when you bring her coffee? Or does she come in your house, ignore your greeting, and say nothing like you're not there.  A guest who acted like that would not be invited back into my home until they told me they will not treat me like that in my own home again.


Pam1 what was the etiquette book or author you've recommended?


I like Sassy's advice. It is much of what I was going to say, but better.

I don't think you should give up on her, but do give up on having the kind of relationship you want with her. She has shown you who she is, believe her and behave accordingly. Don't invite her over if she is just going to ignore you or walk around in her panties. If you have to be around her, and she ignores you, stop trying to talk to her. You cannot change her, you can change how you react to her.

It may be time for you to simply take a step back and let the situation alone for a while. Don't stop your DH from seeing her, but avoid her and let the chips fall.

I don't know if you ever noticed, but some people treat the people who want their approval the most like dirt, but treat the people who barely notice them like royalty. That may be the sort of interaction that is going on here. So stop chasing her and let her come to you when she is ready, if she ever is.

BTW, my adult DD is living with us while she looks for a job and I don't even walk around in my pajamas. When the nest is empty, clothing is optional, but out of deference to DD's sensibilities, both DH and I are fully clothed when she is there.


Thank you all so much for the much needed advice :) The whole "brick wall" thing she does to anybody who is saying something to her that she doesn't want to hear including her own children. I have seen it on many occasions and it is unreal. One time we were visiting for a funeral and staying with her. She and her other son who lives with her were fighting in front of everybody and he started telling her how she was making him feel and she just shut down...it was like she went inside her head and flipped the switch to off. No emotion, no blinking, no nothing...she just sat there and stared right in front of her while he was trying to talk to her. How do you address an issue with someone who won't acknowledge you at all.

On the other hand, I don't want to make her out to be all bad. She has made an effort on her part and I know she has. When we got engaged she called to welcome me into her family and even though you can tell she wanted to puke doing it...she still did it. It seems like she and I are HIGHLY sensitive to one another. Any little thing that is said or done on either end is taken in offense on both of our sides.

The "panty" issue did put an end to her "trying" to be nice to me. After that it has been stone cold silent. But the thing is, she didn't like me when her son and I were just friends at 14 years old. Why would you not like a 14 year old? By the way, I wasn't one of those teen girls that was sexual in anyway. Her son and I were JUST friends and thats it. So what I really want to know, and what I really really want to ask her is what did I do then that made her not like me even when I wasn't dating or engaged to DS.

So I have a question for all of you...if you are a MIL and you don't like your DIL and she called you up (I believe speaking in person is best because often tones can be misinterpreted through email or text as I have come to find out) and asked you "MIL, I really honestly want to know what I did to make you hate me so that we can try to fix it or I can apologize for what I did" would you as the MIL answer her in an honest way. Would you tell your DIL all the things you think and how you feel about her? Would you welcome her wanting to know how you really feel? I have a feeling that if I called my MIL right now and asked her she wouldn't be honest with me. Is it too much to ask for a little honesty, even if you think that by being honest you might hurt someone? If my MIL came to me and asked me what my problem was I would gladly tell her how I feel and I would try to do it in a delicate but honest way. I also wouldn't expect her to get angry as I am the one who asked in the first place. Don't ask something when you aren't prepared to hear the answer right? Well I am prepared to hear what she has to say to me, only she won't say it. How is that the mature way to handle an issue with one's family?

I have been thinking about calling her and inviting her up for a visit so that I can work on making her feel comfortable in my home, except everytime I pick up the phone I already feel rejection on the other end. I know this isn't fair to her but I'm just so scared of being hurt again. I wish she really knew how I felt...the good and the bad. Then maybe she would realize that I want her in my life. She tells my FSIL that she wishes my DF ex was still around. God that hurts :( I wish she knew how much...

I agree though...I shouldn't focus so much on the potential problems we might have in the future and focus on the one's we are having right now :)


And on another note...why is it that we DIL's feel like nothing we ever do is good enough when our Mil's do things like clean our homes, rearrange our pantries, cook for us, etc. Whenever my FMIL used to come over the first thing she did was start cleaning my home and it infuriated me because it made me feel like I wasn't doing a good enough job. This is what I mean when I say we are highly sensitive to one another...she probably thought she was doing something nice for me and was trying to be kind and all I could take it as was an insult. Some wise women said that it was in insecurity issue with DIL's and I agree. But it isn't an insecurity we have in life, it is more of an insecurity specifically with our MIL's. I am extremely secure knowing that I provide a clean, comfortable home for me and DF and I am a great cook. But somehow she makes me feel like I'm not and I know that it wasn't her intention to make me feel that way. Maybe we DIL's want so badly to be accepted by these women that we become insecure when around them. I guess I should just speak for myself lol! I know that all of my secure feelings go right out the door whenever she says anything...this is not fair to her and now that I have been reading the things you ladies have said, I understand that she has a right to say things and she might not always be trying to put me down when she does. How can I stop being so dang sensitive if she won't give me a chance to stop being sensitive? She will never come to my house anymore so I don't have the opportunity to show her that I am willing to change and willing to see her side of things.


Lajone, good questions.  I wonder similar things.  The best way I can put it is imagine your friend coming over and start cleaning your home or rating your cooking.  It wouldn't feel too good then either!  But, with a friend you can comfortably step back from the relationship or talk to them directly.  When it's your spouses mother it's a whole 'nother story.

That is why I and Sassy and a few others love those etiquette books.  If you wouldn't do it to a friend, you shouldn't do it to an in law!
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift