May 25, 2019, 03:16:19 am


"Welcome to -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."

MIL trouble

Started by momof2, October 21, 2011, 06:09:05 am

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Hello. I am new here. And yes, I have read all the rules of the site and such. (justFYI) My DH and I have not really spoken to MIL in quite a while. MIL was getting way to deep into our private business. i.e. where we go to church, how we educate our children, our way of parenting and so on. I was previously married and have a DS from that marriage and a DD together with my DH. That seems to cause a lot of trouble with MIL. DH and I get upset when she treats DS differently in front of the other GKs. I realize that he is not "blood" and that he has another family, but we don't like him to feel like an outsider when he is around DH's family.

Our trouble started when MIL and I had "words" regarding my DD. (DD has a disability, although minor, it still effects her.) MIL is in denial and refuses to admit that there is anything wrong with my DD. She said that all her problems were a result of bad parenting by me. The conversation was not pretty. I have not spoken to her since. This duel was not our first. DH has had enough with her. He refuses to speak to her. DH only calls to talk to his dad, but has to usually go through MIL. Not much is said between DH and MIL. The thing is, I feel that MIL could be apart of our family again, but I want the situation between us to be reconciled first. Usually, when things like this happen, we stop talking for a few weeks and let things cool down, sweep it under the rug, and we eventually start talking again. That has always made me crazy because the situations were never settled and I feel, because they were never worked out, that they just built up more and more until finally; KABOOM! DH does not want MIL back in our lives because she has a tendency to cause problems in our marriage. Life has been much more peaceful since DH and I stopped communication with MIL, but I feel that, even if she isn't back in our lives again, that this thing between us needs to be settled out. It is always at the back of my mind. I don't like feeling this way.


It's heartbreaking that families can't seem to find a way to get along.  I mean if we all lived in Somalia with everyone dying around us,  I think we could get past some of these differences that we all cling to to make ourselves right.

I'm on the other end of a situation with a DIL who I can't get along with.   Her version of ironing out a situation is I Won't Talk About That, It's Upsetting.  As someone else said, instead of putting up boundaries, she has put up a wall and my DS is hiding being it.

It sounds like you are a big enough being to see the larger picture and would like to have a relationship?  How about just sending her funny emails or very very light types of communication? Just don't let the conversation go in a nasty direction.  Do you think she would sit down with you and formulate a way to be a family? "I won't talk about this if you won't talk about that" type of agreement.


This happened to me about 4 yrs ago, and since that time I can count on one hand the number of contacts I've had with MIL.  I don't recommend it to any one as a way of life, it caused much stress in our marriage and took a heavy toll on my life.  We have to just accept that rifts happen, and people have different ways they want to work through problems.  My MIL wants to act like nothing happened.  I, on the other hand,  always want to talk things out to a place of closure.  It takes time for a wound to heal.  This week my MIL and I had a civil conversation, but it will not move past the point of just civility between the two of us, I learned a very hard lesson that some people are not to be confronted, nor are the willing or able to plow through differences and come to an understanding that could lead to friendship and real enjoyment of one another.  I wish I had been more prepared for this, and I hope our letters will may help get the message out to others that lots of grief can come from mismanaged MIL/DIL relationships.  Your MIL was out of line, badly, but I suspect that is her personality. 


QuoteMy DH and I have not really spoken to MIL in quite a while. MIL was getting way to deep into our private business. i.e. where we go to church, how we educate our children, our way of parenting and so on.

You're right - these are private family items and do not require to be shared.  But I will admit to asking about some similar things to family members (as well as our DIL).  It was not to "find out" information; sometimes I just was looking for a topic of conversation.  After all, when nothing is said or offered, it becomes difficult to sit there and endure the silence.  My brain does not work as fast as it used to and the last thing I want to is to do is to "upset" anyone.  When the conversation stops, they leave and I am left alone.  Often, I  am grasping at straws - searching desperately for something to say (especially if the new family members do not share the same interests or goals or values).  As a MIL or Sister-in-law or DIL, I only want to be included.  I often feel excluded.  As always, there are two sides to a story.


What's funny is that DIL & her FOO asked DH & I all those questions before the marriage and we have had our answers spun against us. We thought we were having a conversation amongst adults, but later realized they were gathering ammo.

Jdtm, I try desperately for topics that won't bore or upset DIL. I too feel excluded and would like to be in the loop like DIL's FOO. I don't understand why we too can't have a relaxed, fun, close relationship. Don't want to appear desperate, so I say nothing and don't initiate contact unless absolutely necessary because the responses I get are luke warm at best. DS will call when DIL is away, and we have a good conversation when he initiates. DIL never contacts us. We're slowly being phased out, and it's really hard on me.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Momof2 - you have to protect your children first.  That is the MOST important thing I got from your post.

Your DS needs to be treated fairly.  I think it's important that you and DH stand up for him and teach him how people should treat him.  Now, fair doesn't always mean equal.  So if every other GK is getting a present, under his nose, that's not fair.  However, if he's at his Dad's house for Christmas (for example), then it's more okay for MIL to pass him by.  It would be a kindness for her to get him a little something, but if she doesn't have a generous heart, then she doesn't.  It would also teach all of the other GK's to be inclusive, especially his sister.

Your DD needs to be treated appropriate to her disability.  Without the specifics, it's hard to say.

Your MIL needs to be civil to you.  It's a bad lesson for your kids for them to see MIL treating you with disrespect and you taking it.

Now, unfortunately, the only thing YOU can do about it is to keep them away from her (for now).  You have no power to change MIL.  Your DH can certainly try and tell her exactly what you guys expect from her (laying down a boundary).  However, if she's being a martyr about it, she might be getting more sympathy out of crying and moaning and wringing her hands about it and may not actually WANT to make the changes required to actually SEE your kids.

What does your DH say?  Does he want to talk to her about it and then give her another chance?  He knows her better than you do.

You know the expression "We did the best we could with what we knew at the time.  When we knew better, we did better."  Is she the type to "do better" when she "knows better"?  If so, then you should give her more chances.  If not, then you really need to protect your kids.


Welcome Momof2 :)

Thanks for reading the rules.

I agree with Scoop, the kids welfare comes first. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

lancaster lady

Hello Mom of 2 and Welcome :

After you have stopped talking for a few weeks , who is the first to want to begin again ?
If it is your MIL , you have to say if we are to be friends there are a few things we have to get straight .
If she refuses  , keep the silence . No point in continuing where you left off with things not resolved .
If you are the first to talk , the same thing applies .
Of course she has to treat the children as equals , they are children for goodness sake .

I think you would like your MIL in your life , and no one likes unhealthy atmospheres .It is in your power
to clear the air . Depends how much you care about this relationship .


@JDTM-I wish MIL was just trying to come up with conversation. Her exact words to me were "DD doesn't have a disability! The only problem that she has is you. I don't care how many doctors or specialists she has seen. I'm not buying it. Period. You need to do better with her!"

@Lancaster- I have not spoken to MIL since Feb. Neither on of us had given in, although she has contacted DH. He usually doesn't answer her. About the kids, MIL has a bad habit of indulging DD in front of my DS, and although she does get a him a little something, it is very clear to all of us in the room that she favors DD. It really upsets me because I can tell that he feels left out. I want MIL in my life, but I want her to act differently towards my DS and respect his and my feelings. .

@Scoop- my DD has cerebral palsy and sensory processing disorder. Because of the CP, although mild, she had a developmental delay when it came to typical milestones that most children make before the age of one. She also had a hard time potty training due to chronic constipation (CP).  She is also very anxious and high anxiety due to the SPD and CP as well. The CP physically affects her legs. The muscles behind the knees and around the ankles are very tight. She has a slight limp and fatigues easily. Also, eating and swallowing food is hard for her. Different textures can make her gag. MIL said it is just a result of the fact that I do not work with her enough. Mind you, we have had her in occupational therapy, physical therapy and had nutrition counseling since the age of 8 mos. Therapy was a weekly thing for her until the age of 5. I also home school her and she is academically thriving and is going way beyond what is required for her age. My whole life, ever since she was born, has been about making sure that she gets the best care so that she can thrive. But as MIL says "You need to work with her more".

@Doe- I would not dream of sending her anything at this point. MIL went too far this time and there will have to be reconciliation before any casual contact is made, unfortunately. In the past we have always just 'forgot' about it without talking it out and it has caused more trouble than not. I want her to have some sort of relationship with my family, but it will have to be quite limited at this time. I don't want her putting my DD down. She has already told me that DD is "not normal" and something is not right about the way I parent her (hello? She is does have a brain injury!). Although DD has a lot to work through, most people in passsing would not be able to tell that she has a disability. Thank God that the CP has mostly affected her sensory system and not much physically or cognitively. But nonetheless, I don't want my DD to be put down about things that neither she nor I can help. MIL has to come to terms that DD has a minor disability and that it does affect certain aspects of her life. It's not because I am a bad mother (FYI, she never puts her own son down and he is my DDs parent too). Besides, MIL only sees our family once or twice a year (she lives over 9 hrs away) and only for a few days at a time. I don't see how she can come to any realistic conclusion about how much I do or don't work with my children. She has no idea what is best and what works for our family.


Momof2, as the DM of a disabled child I understand how hurtful it is to hear the things MIL has said. 

How involved was MIL when you first were dealing with getting a diagnosis, setting up therapy plans and strategies, etc? Was she interested but not allowed to know "your personal business?" It might have been helpful to have included the entire family in your DD's diagnosis & care - they could have helped a lot, been present and encouraging at occupational therapy sessions (not all of the family at once, of course), and they would have heard from the doctors/therapists themselves what was going on with your DD. Your DD might have ended up with loving advocates and you would have looked like a saint once they experienced how hard it is to provide all that care.

I was grateful for all the help and support I could get. DD was thrilled when someone other than Mom was helping during her sessions - it gave her a break too. Perhaps you could ask for help from MIL, have the occupational therapist train her to work with DD, and build a relationship that way?

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


@Pen- MIL lives 9 plus hours away, so going to any sessions with us was not possible. However, DH and I used to talk to MIL all the time regarding DD. MIL was informed about everything going on with DD up until we had our last argument. When we would talk to MIL about the SPD and CP she would say "Wow, they have an excuse for every parent out there now." She thought I was making excuses for my "laziness". Upon visiting, instead of focusing on the positive, she felt it better to tear me down and tell me what I was doing "wrong" to hinder DD's development. I tried explaining that it was all part of the sensory and CP disorder and that things would just take a little longer for her. She didn't like to hear about it and she didn't understand that pushing DD to do things that she was not ready for was a very bad thing to do. MIL wanted us to do things her way when it came to parenting and she could just not understand that that would not work for DD.

Now, the "personal business" that MIL felt the need to intrude upon were, indeed, very PERSONAL.  Like our sex lives, method of birth control, our preference in churches (she wants us to go to a Baptist church only. We are nondenominational Christian.), our choice to home school DD (that was actually recommended by DD's PCP. She told me the DD would be illiterate if I taught her. DD reads 2 grade levels above her peers). Even worse, she would get involved in our relationship spats. My DH would tell MIL about some of our arguments and instead of just counseling her son and giving him some encouragement or good advice, she would feel the need to call me and yell at me. I don't think that MIL should have a part in our arguments, even if she knows what is going on. My DH is very capable for speaking for himself. I think he would just call her talk and to think things out, but she always had to get in between us. To make matters worse, she would even "twist" the things that he said to get me fired up and then another argument would ensue because of her embellishments. Eventually, I figured it out and ignored it, but I can't help but feel that she liked to cause drama between me and her son. So please, don't assume I meant the MIL was in the dark about it all. She was way too into our business. Really :/

I want MIL to have a relationship with us, but she is going to have to be respectful of our choices and come to the realization that my DD is a special needs child. She has had her opportunity to raise her children as she saw fit and now it's our turn to do the same. Every child is different and what may have worked for her does not mean that method will work for our children.

forever spring

Dear Momof2, I'm deeply saddened by your post and very impressed by your generous character.
You seem to be so troubled by the fact that your MIL has not been part of your life for a while and that you have not sorted out your prior disagreement. I feel that she has not earned your love or respect. To have so little compassion with your DD condition - she is after all her GM plus the way she wants to impose her ideas of how to conduct a marriage makes he unworthy of your attachment. I know it is very difficult to sever ties which are so close but I feel for the moment that she needs to sort things out in her own mind and realise that she has done you wrong.
I used to believe in talking things out there and then but my previous experience with family has made me realise that this does not always work. Sometimes both parties involved have to be given a space where they can reflect and as a result of mutual but separate reflection there is more change for the healing process to begin.
Your considerate remarks about the relationship with MIL as is and as you would like it to be in the future show to me that you have done your bit. Now it's up to MIL to realise what she has done wrong. If she does get to this point, you can make a fresh start. IMHO  nothing you can do will improve the situation. Concentrate on the wonderful things you are doing with your DS and DD and DH who must be very lucky to have such a good wife. Wish you could be my DIL, I may not be perfect but I'd never be as insensitive as your actual MIL.  :)
Pat yourself on the back: You are a great mum and wife! Your MIL must come to her senses soon and see this. Thanks for sharing.

lancaster lady

I agree...   let her stew ! If your DH is in contact with her , he should point out where she is.going wrong and what she has to do to make it right ! My defences would be up strongfold if any one dissed my kids ! What an idiot she is! I can't imagine how she would think you were to blame  for any of your DD's disabilities. I take my hat off to you mom because what you are dealing with at.home requires an enormous amount of strength and courage without having to deal with an ignoramus like your MIL ! Best place for her is 9 hours away ....   IMHO !


Well, whatever you MIL is, it might help to change your perception.    It sounds like she has you in fighting mode, watching out for the next blow.   From way back here, she looks like a ridiculous sit com character.  I doubt you'll change her but you can work on changing how you react to the situation. 

FWIW, my DS used to talk me when he and FDIL fought so I saw a bad side of her through him.  After they got married, he tried this and I told him that he knew all this and and still bought the package so he just had to learn to deal with it.   I think your DH is a big part of the problem if he's still going to Mama when you fight.  He's giving her a personal invitation to the fight.


@chelmsford- I think you have the right idea of cutting ties with MIL. Infact, that is exactly what DH wants to do in this situation. I just think I am having a hard time with it because DH's views and my views about family are SO different. I hate that MIL does not want to come to terms with DD's disability. She is a throwback to a generation that views a disability as bad stigma. It is much easier for her to blame it on me than to say DD has a brain injury.

@Lancaster- Believe me, I am letting her stew into a delicious, STEW! It's hard, tho.

@Doe- It's funny that you said something about a sit com DH often compares her to Raymond's mom "on crack" from Everybody Loves Raymond. LOL

Now as far as my DH inviting her to the fight, I disagree. I speak with my own DM about spats between DH and I and she has never so much as said a harsh word to him about anything. Even if MIL knows every bad detail about a spat, there is still no reason for her to call me about it. I am not her 5 year old child that needs to be spanked and sent to the corner. I think much of MIL problem is that she has not come to terms with the fact that her role has changed in DH's life. When he does wrong, she still wants to "spank" him and tell him what to do. That part of her life is over. As a matter of fact, she called to tell him that he was "Out of the will" because DH won't talk to her. Again, it's another form of disciplining and trying to control DH' actions. It's totally inappropriate. DH has now stopped telling MIL anything about us because he doesn't want to give her any ammunition. Now she complains that she is being left out. DH has tried to explain to MIL that her behavior is not acceptable, but she does not see it that way. I applaud you for staying out of your DS marriage.