Family Drama – is this normal?

posted 2 years ago in Home
Post # 2
202 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I think she’s overreacting.  Getting over surgery is difficult, but it’s not like she is 100% alone– she has her husband to help her– and it sounds like you guys really made good efforts to see her and how she was doing.  3 visits in one week is pretty good, if you ask me!  Is your husband an only child?  Maybe your MIL is taking things out on your husband because his other siblings are farther away and not there for her?  Or, honestly, maybe MIL is just a little hopped up on the painkillers and is being a little irrational from being cooped up in the house while recovering…

It sounds like your husband handled it as best he could.  Even though I think your MIL is being irrational, maybe your husband can make an extra effort to be there for her in the coming days just to directly demonstrate that he’s supporting her.

Post # 3
103 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

Your MIL’s behavior seems a little over the top, IMHO. If she lived alone and had nobody else to help her recover I could see her being upset, but that isn’t the case. Furthermore, you and your husband left her a card and saw her multiple times following her surgery, so it isn’t like you went MIA as soon as she got out of the hospital. I wasn’t raised in a family where the parents were so emotionally dependent on the children so I have little patience for this kind of thing, but I’m trying to look at it from all sides. However, it seems like you acted appropriately and your MIL is being dramatic. It’s really important that your husband not pander to her and kindly but firmly tell her to simmer down, because if she sees that she can manipulate the both of you with guilt then she will continue to do so, no matter how nice a person she is. I’ve seen it multiple times (and experienced it myself). You’re not in the wrong, and I hope you and your husband are able to nip this in the bud while you can.

Post # 4
3119 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

This is not normal of her and is completely and totally unreasoable. She is being an absolute drama queen. Could he have checked on her those two days? Sure, but you guys were there when it was happening and really mattered. I don’t even know that I would have apologized the way he did, but that’s done. There is nothing else you can do, and I wouldn’t feel any more guilt over this. She’ll get over it. 

Post # 5
7286 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Personally I would call my mother everyday if she had just had surgery to check how she was doing. My parents would pop over to check on me when I was having chemo if they couldn’t get a hold of me just to make sure I was ok. I call my grandmothers care facitlity every other day to make sure she is doing ok even though with her dementia she would never remember that I called.

Some families are just like that.

However the crying and carrying on is over the top and a bit much. Maybe your FI needs to talk to her about communicating her expectations a bit better.


Post # 6
145 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Is this typical behaviour for your MIL i.e. a little bit contradictory/attention-seeking?

It seems weird to me that she would call up crying, call to visit and be silent, then call up crying again the next day. Strikes me as very immature behaviour.

So if this is the first time she has acted like this, then I would maybe cut her some slack, put it down to the surgery and recovery. However, if she behaves like this regularly, then don’t engage with the crying, because she’ll just keep doing it.

Post # 8
3828 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I have to agree this is borderline manipulative. My MIL pulls this crap too. Tugs at your heartstrings to get you to pay attention to her and make more time for her. 

As an adult you have to create boundaries and the first we made was that if she tryed to guilt trip us with over the top drama we would simply ignore it and go about our plans as usual. As i like to say, “cut the embilical cord”. You both called on her, she was recovering fine, there was no need to worry. But she wanted attention and to be “number one” in your husbands eyes. Its this awful power stuggle some MIL’s have when their boys get married. Its crap.

Post # 9
4649 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

kmsw:  Abnormal and weird. You guys were great with seeing her and calling her. Did I understand it right that she came over for a visit and then she gave you the silent treatment? That’s just immature and also weird.

Post # 10
4638 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Maybe your husband didn’t phone her every single day because she pulls selfish, immature stunts.. Like coming into your home and disrespecting you both by giving you the silent treatment. How can an adult woman fail to see the role she’s playing in this situation?

Quite frankly she sounds manipulative and immature. I feel as though you gave her adequate attention after a relatively routine surgery.. Any more would border on coddling and by the sounds of, she doesn’t make it easy to want to fawn over her well being.


Post # 11
389 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014 - Norton Country Club

I think that you and your husband showed a great amount of care to her- you noticed almost immediately that she was a little late and tracked her down to make sure she wasn’t hurt!  Then you stayed with her at the hospital so she wouldn’t wake up all alone!  I think she’s being way over-the-top.  Your husband sounds like he’s a total sweetie- he validated her feelings without being rude at all.  I think he might need a gentle reminder that she was fine and he was totally justified in thinking she was… she was going golfing for goodness’ sake. 

Post # 12
6678 posts
Bee Keeper

Her over the top reaction and the cold shoulder are totally ridiculous and immature.  But in terms of expectations, many families, including mine, do communicate the way she is describing when a family member is sick or hurt.  I would have called daily if it was my mother and vice versa. Recovery is ongoing and inconsistent and even if it looked like she was doing relatively well when you saw her, she is going to be in varying levels of pain and discomfort for some time. She was probably on heavier pain meds that early on, too. 

Post # 13
992 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2010

kmsw:  When you say “cultural differences”, is his family, by chance, Jewish? This screams of Jewish guilt to me.

Source: I’m Jewish, have a jewish mother, MIL, and grandmothers and GMILs. Imagine this x6…..

Post # 14
2429 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

ExcitedScaredBee:  This was my exact thought! My MIL is exactly like this. 

We actually haven’t spoken to her in a year because of a four-page long guilt-trip letter she sent to my husband, after he asked her to stop continously pulling us into family drama. I’d like to eventually try to mend things, but she’s been constantly manipulative and playing favorites among her children — my husband took as much as he could tolerate before he severed ties. 

Post # 15
7030 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

kmsw:  Your MIL is crazy. Surgery was Saturday, so Thursday was 5 days after. She does not need a daily phone call on days 5 and 6 after what was fairly routine surgery. Especially since you did so much on Saturday and visited her again on Tuesday. Now it would be different if he lived with her, or if she didn’t her husband to care for her. But with her husband to care for her, there is no need for daily phone calls from her adult sons. She needs to cut the apron strings, as they say.

No it’s not normal. My mother has undergone cancer treatment in the past and she certainly didn’t get daily phone calls from me. She has her husband to care for her.

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