DH said to let hurtful MIL comments go

posted 2 weeks ago in Relationships
Post # 2
405 posts
Helper bee

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@happytuxedocat:  oh man, this one is tough. DH should have laid down the law for sure, but mental illness is really a social barrier for her potentially being able to understand the law, you know? I agree with SIL that the dig was more about her tubal ligation than you having a son, but either way, I can see why your feelings were hurt. This is something you need to talk to your husband about – just to let him know that it’s still something that occupies your mind and hinders your relationship with his mother. Remind him that it’s not up to him to decide how you feel about something, or why you can’t “let it go.” Things like this take processing, and by him ignoring it, you aren’t able to process. Unfortunately, the nature of mental illness makes the processing probably one sided – even if you did address this to her (which, lets be honest, it’s a long time ago), she may not have the ability to see the wrongdoing (not an excuse, just a reason), or understand the harm she’s done. Perhaps you two can get some kind of counseling for families of people who have mental illness like this. It’s going to continue to impact you as a family, and it may become even more pronounced as she ages. Ultimately, this is something you will likely have to process alone (with your husband), and learn to live with and hopefully let go of. Holding onto it isn’t impacting her, only you… find a good counselor who can help you move on.

Post # 3
231 posts
Helper bee

If your mother-in-law has an actual diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder – this is a much different situation that just an in law being crappy to you.    She cannot control her illness, espcecially if she is unmedicated.   Bipolar worsens without treatment.

  • Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic OR extremely irritable.
  • Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers.
  • Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic.
  • Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up.
  • Racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next.
  • Highly distractible, unable to concentrate.
  • Impaired judgment and impulsiveness.
  • Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences.
  • Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases).

That said I think that your  husband is right.   After two years you need to either let this go or deal with it.   Two years of brooding about something isn’t healthy for you.  What can you realistically expect to happen with someone who is ill?   What outcome do you want?   Do you believe she has true bipolar disorder or do you just think his family is making excuses?    

Post # 4
2423 posts
Buzzing bee

She sounds toxic and heinous, but I think it would be weird to bring this up with her two years after the fact. 

I think the real issue here is your DH not having your back–that’s what bothers you most, rightly so. It sounds like he doesn’t want to ruffle the feathers, and probably lives in greater fear of upsetting his mother than anyone else on the planet, including you. THAT’s an issue that needs to be addressed. The one-off comment made at Thanksgiving is not the thing to focus on but rather your husband standing by as his mom treats you with disrespect, and his refusal to understand why you feel the way you do. 

Since this is still eating at you 2 years later (and clearly the Thanksgiving comment was one of numerous incidents), and you have been unable to make any headway with your husband, I wonder if marriage counseling might be something that could help? 

Post # 5
4182 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

So, while I do agree that MIL’s comments were hurtful, rude, and inappropriate, I don’t see the point in bringing it up two years after the fact. I do agree with your husband that you need to work on letting this particular incident go. In the future, should hurtful/rude comments come up from her, they either need to be addressed in the moment or immediately following. Stewing on them for years isn’t helping anyone and I can see where your DH is hesitant to bring it up to his mother. 

I, too, have a Mother-In-Law who says rude & hurtful things. Though she is undiagnosed, we seriously suspect she has some sort of mental issues that are going on. She will frequently burst out with incredibly hurtful comments out of the blue. It was always a big point of contention between DH and I before we were married how his mother would say cruel things and he would just shrug them off. To him, he has been dealing with it his whole life. He has tried all the things and she just doesn’t change. It caused a number of arguments between us as I felt like he never had my back. I felt disrespected. It eventually reached a breaking point where DH has essentially had to cut all communication with his mother. Luckily, COVID has been our biggest excuse for not seeing her this year, but we had started to phase out seeing/speaking to her to a bare minimum. DH told his mother she wasn’t to speak to me again and if necessary, all communication can go through him. 

It took a lot of communication with DH for him to realize that what his mother was doing was rude & hurtful and that I wasn’t going to just chalk it up to her being her. You’re within your rights to feel offense at the things your Mother-In-Law is saying and I would continue to bring it up to DH when your feelings are hurt or if she says something inappropriate. 

I have to again emphasize that the comment your Mother-In-Law made two years ago does need to be let go. Unfortunately, you let way too much time pass between when she said it and when you would be bringing it up, it’s likely she will not even remember it. Moving forward, you need to be more vocal when she says something hurtful and continue to communicate to DH when it bothers you. If it persists, I would think about phasing out her presence in your life. 

Post # 6
1499 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

You’ve got to let this go. If you choose to sit on an offhand comment for two years, it’s nobody else’s issue but yours.

I agree with your husband- either talk to her or drop it.  What other option can there be? Going nuclear with “laying down the law” two years later sounds completely unreasonable even for someone without mental health issues. 

When/ if your Mother-In-Law puts you down, handle it in a timely fashion. Let your husband know how you want him to step up for you proactively. If he won’t, cut her out of your (individual) life. Her mental health problems don’t outweigh your desire to be in a healthy environment. 

Post # 7
175 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 1999 - Tacoma, WA

He thinks that if I was hurt by Mother-In-Law comments we should try to talk to her about apologizing, otherwise, I need to just let it go and move on.”

You’re focusing on 2 things:

  • the past, which you cannot change, where he did nothing to stand up for you.
  • Him telling you to let it go.

But, I think it’s important to focus on the part in bold. It’s obviously really impacted you, so take the opportunity to start healing – the two of you can/should talk to her. And, if you haven’t already, let him know that you need him to be an advocate for you. My Mother-In-Law used to say the worst things to my SIL because her husband (DH’s brother) let her, without defense. In contrast, she didn’t say a negative word about/to me in 22 years because my DH would have never tolerated it.

Post # 8
13655 posts
Honey Beekeeper

While your MIL’s illness can impact her behavior, it’s also not an excuse for treating you with disrespect or a reason to accept what she dishes out. If she needs treatment or her meds are off, then you can tell your husband that you expect her to address these issues before being willing to spend time with her.

That said, under the circumstances, I think the time for addressing her Thanksgiving comments was two years ago, not now. Moving forward, your husband should understand what you will and won’t accept and what you expect from him. 

Post # 10
1188 posts
Bumble bee

I wish I knew how to say this gently, but I get frustrated with peoples’ refusal to try and understand manic and depressive episodes that accompany bipolar disorder. She probably doesn’t even remember the outburst, and probably didn’t mean what she said. I understand you’re emotional, but your emotions will pass. Her mental disorder won’t. I would let it go, Bee. It’s hard enough your husband has had to learn to live with and accept his mom’s disorder. Rehashing something that happened two years ago isn’t helping. I’m sure his mom’s disorder pains him, and he wishes she were a happy and healthy mom, but she’s not. He can’t fix her. The next time she makes an off-color comment, try taking pity on her instead taking offense. She didn’t ask for her illness. 

Post # 11
842 posts
Busy bee

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@bearinabeecostume:  This!

OP, if your MIL’s comments upset you so much that you can’t deal with them, then you need to speak to your OH about putting boundaries in place, like limiting visits.  But expecting her to change, or to understand why her behaviour is unacceptable is just not going to happen.  She won’t even be able to remember making these comments, never mind understanding why you are so upset two years later.

I agree it would have been nice if your OH had been more understanding at the time, but I’m guessing that he has got so used to filtering out her behaviour over the years that it’s hard for him to understand why others don’t do the same.  I am close to a couple of people who suffer from bipolar disorder, and I know sometimes other people are shocked at how I don’t react to their most outrageous behaviour.  It’s because I know it is their sickness that is doing/saying that and not the person they really are.  And I’ve just got used to it.  It’s easy to forget how shocking it is for someone who’s not used to it.

Post # 13
2733 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

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@happytuxedocat:  I think that it’s too late to address this particular instance with your Mother-In-Law. However, you’ve can address it with your husband and say that I’m the future you want to immediately address these sorts of comments. 

Post # 15
7802 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

The only person being hurt by keeping this grudge alive for years is you. If you confronted your MiL about it now she probably wouldn’t even remember it happened. Your MiL is mentally ill, you cannot compare how you deal with her to how you deal with your family and nobody can “fix” her or the problems she causes. It’s hard, but it’s true. 

Please have some compassion for your husband who has had to deal with this his entire life. Please do some research into how this illness impacts families. Please consider couples counseling to develop strategies for you and your husband to deal with this as a team and for yourself to address why you are still attached (I’m choosing that over obsessed) to this slight after two years. While we can’t control how others behave we can control how we respond. And you are choosing to remain fussed over something for YEARS. That is not healthy, Bee. 

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