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To protect my overall peace of mind and sanity I have placed a moratorium

Started by tangerine44, June 01, 2014, 11:18:52 am

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I have spoken with two counselors independently and both have confirmed that from a healthy family counselling perspective that I am not required to have a relationship with my MIL and as such that is my choice. I am a grown adult and have the right to make adult decision to protect myself and my new family. The past year I feel I have been dealing with a child who throws very destructive tantrums when she does not get her way on things that were not hers to have in the first place. I will elaborate, this is just the intro. Additionally, how can I honestly have any foundation of a nurturing relationship when in her mind she refuses to accept that her son's allegiance is to his wife and no longer her and her agenda and that he still owes him and she owes him nothing? Verbatim she said that last quip about owing. What I intend to get out of this is a perspective from seasoned MIL's and basically should I or should I not tell her my choice or just let actions speak for themselves?


Your initial posting reminds me of how my now-deceased sister-in-law treated her son's wife.  Her son's wife did not deserve the wrath dolled out by my sister-in-law.  In our case (and she felt the same way about me), if you married into the family, you were not really a family member.  We simply did not count.  I suspect your MIL might feel the same way.

What to do?  I would do nothing - let your actions speak for you.  Because, if your MIL is similar to my SIL, your words would only be used against you.  Of course, your actions will be too, but a smile or distanced "friendliness" as observed by others (and there will be times when both of you will be in the same situation), will bode well for your character.

Now, back to my now-deceased sister-in-law.  She died a lonely person - her immediate family did not even want to have a funeral of any sorts.  Of course, my husband being the kind person he is, would not allow his sister's memory to be so tarnished.  And the ironic part is that even though she did not "like" me, I really loved her.  Go figure ....


Welcome, T. Please go to our home page and under Open Me First read the four posts placed there for new members. We ask that you pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit for you. We are a monitored Website.

I have reduced the content of your initial post. There is no need to provide that much detail. We also don't use names here or make up substitute names. When you review the abbreviations we have adopted here, many from other Website, DH is for dear husband, for instance. Confidentially is guarded to some degree that way, in case other people in our lives join our Forum.

I would like to ask you to reduce the volume of further posts so that those reading them and wanting to comment can do so. There are no specific restrictions regarding the maximum number of words in a post. We all share our experience here but we condense it as much as possible. For some, writing posts on Word first and then picking out the salient points to pass on works well. It has for me. I hope it will for you.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Welcome to the site. As a current member in "good" (Lol) standing of both the DIL & MIL camps, as are most of us here, I understand what you are saying. I had one awful, overbearing and judgmental MIL and one hands-off, loving and accepting MIL as well as a truly psycho GM who made my poor mom's married life miserable.

IMO, no we don't have to have relationships with people we don't choose. However, we MILs don't have a choice - we may lose a relationship w/our DSs if we aren't liked by our DILs. That pressure can cause a lot of stress in the relationship, and can make a MIL seem way more needy than she might be if she was assured that she'd always have a place in the family. Before cutting this woman off completely, have you examined your motives? Does your family really need protection from her? I think it's cruel to cut off a person just because she/he might be someone we don't naturally warm up to. OTOH, if she's a psycho who has already shown that she might physically/mentally harm people, that's a different story (my mom's MIL.)

It would be great if DILs could understand and respect the relationship that already exists between guys and their families of origin (we love our sons as much as DIL's FOOs love their daughters.) And overbearing, hovering, buttinsky MILs need to respect the new family unit, back off a bit, and pick up their own lives and interests again.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


A lot of the examples have been deleted but its stuff that borders on strange. I don't think I'm allowed nor do I think I should reveal too much in case she sees it. On hind sigh Lt thanks for deleting it. Even tho I see people posting their stories so please tell me what's OK and not. But she does not respect the autonomy of this marriage at all. Dh tells me she expects him to wait on her hand and foot. Come over and do their landscaping. They can afford to hire someone but she expects him too. Because she used her deceased mothers inheritance for my ring she thought she had rights to name, pick school and religion of our children. Its almost like I am psrt of the unit she made but cannot see her son has a wife now and we are our own unit. Or at least that's what our therapist tells us. I wish mother in laws would respect their sons marriag as more especially her. If I'm trusting my financial assets, children, retiremeny , my heart and soul it to him yes I think wife comes first. Otherwise how can we ever trust someone else with something so important ...the rest of our lives. I can tell you after a year of couples counselling and living in hell I am not being cruel. I tried but she can't cooperate. My own family has reassured especially my mom that its a tragedy but if she has major deep seated issues nothing I say will even be heard. I mean if this were you or your daughter how would u feel.


T. My takes is that everyone has a different set of circumstances and reacts differently. What matters is how you feel, not a pole here regarding how we might feel, hypothetically, in similar circumstances.

Your position makes sense to you...and there is no need for agreement here or disagreement. My own experience is that it's hard for me sometimes to get that the other person makes sense to herself, as well. And that when there is a conflict about personal differences, we all seem to eventually learn to set boundaries. In your case, it seems to me that the ball is in your DH's court...even though you get to have your input. It's a relationship of longstanding and the dynamics are probably pretty firmly set. I'm glad you are in counseling. I'm sure that is probably the place you will find most useful in addressing this. It's a tough situation.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Quote from: Pen on June 01, 2014, 12:36:04 pm

It would be great if DILs could understand and respect the relationship that already exists between guys and their families of origin (we love our sons as much as DIL's FOOs love their daughters.) And overbearing, hovering, buttinsky MILs need to respect the new family unit, back off a bit, and pick up their own lives and interests again.

This is a very important part.  As most know here, My DIL and I have not spoken nor have we seen one another in 4 years.  Fine with me.. and I am sure it's just as fine with her.   That said,  It has not come between my DS and I.  We still have the same relationship as before.  In fact, in a lot of ways it is even better.   I know my DIL had hoped that she could come between my DS and I, but that was not to be.   I still see the GKs, albeit, not as often as I would like, but it's adequate.  I still get part of the holidays.... minus the stress of having an unhappy person (DIL) around to put a damper on them.   SHE gets to spend ALL her holidays with her FOO, and I am sure that makes her happy.   SO.. you see,  it can work out for the best  and a DIL and MIL do not have to interact at all.   I think many DILs and MILs too make the mistake of thinking they can completely cut the other out of their DH/DS lifes.   It doesn't work for MILs and it may work in the short term for a DIL, but in the long run, the resentment over that will rear it's ugly head eventually. 


That was actually going to be my question.  How does your DH feel about it?  For example, has your DH offered to help her with her landscaping when you weren't around and that's why she's asking?  I'm not saying that happened, but I think the DH sometimes gets caught in the middle trying to please both. 

Yes, an MIL shouldn't be intrusive into a relationship/marriage and should allow the couple to build there own family unit.  The hope is that they are included on some level.  I also believe a DIL shouldn't be intrusive into a relationship between a Son and Mother as well.  It takes both parties realizing that and when one doesn't hold up their end, it leads to problems.

I would let DH handle her.  If he doesn't want a relationship with her, then it's on him to speak with her or let her know the rules.  Anything you say, even if you're repeating what you and DH agreed to will be seen as "your fault" if you have that type of MIL.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


I have to agree with Pooh.  You cannot threaten, cajole, or use tactics that are geared to force a man to see things a certain way.  You CAN however, make his life so miserable that he goes along to get along, but down the road it's going to backfire.  Remember, he views his FOO the same way a woman views hers.  That is HIS mother, and he loves her faults and all.  The guilt of throwing her under the bus to make peace on the homefront is going to overwhelm him eventually and that cannot bode well for a relationship.

No one is saying that a woman has to interact or have anything to do with her MIL if she doesn't want to.. for whatever reason.  BUT that is HER perogative and decision to make.   The same holds true for the husband.  He should not be forced to interact with his wifes FOO if he chooses not to, but he cannot make his wife not see her parents.  Imagine how that would go!!..    IMO, it's up to  the indvidual to decide how much interaction they want with their FOO and not up to their spouse, because forcing someone to do something like that will only cause problems in the relationship. 


For some reason, I just remembered that in high school, (1944, LOL!), when I was asked to come to dinner at my boyfriend's house...his mother commented that it was nice to finally meet me since her son spent most of his time at my house. It wasn't a snide remark, just a factual one. He had become part of our family. I would have never taken a bus to their suburb and just walked into their home. The dynamics regarding how we related to each others' families were very different and more accepted social behavior than preferential.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama