DH said to let hurtful MIL comments go

posted 2 weeks ago in Relationships
Post # 16
330 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

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@beethree:  👏 

Post # 18
2024 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

It’s actually pretty simple. Someone who makes rude comments and makes you feel bad and angry and uncomfortable and who isn’t a safe person for your kids to be around is someone you see never or hardly at all. Sure mil has a mental illness, but that’s no reason to have to subject yourself to her. So you put her past comments behind you so you can have a clear head, but you decide that you don’t want or need to be around her very often if at all and you make that clear to your husband. Each time he makes a fuss about it or wants you to just go along to get along you point blank ask him why her feelings are more important to him than yours and then watch him squirm. Becuase your feelings should come first to him becuase you are his wife and marrying you means just that. 

Post # 19
470 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

Your husband suggesting that you ignore her is basically saying “Well, just treat her like a pet that misbehaves sometimes. Yeah, she barks, but she means nothing by it and being around her is the price you pay to hang out with family.” and that’s not okay. As a person with a mental illness, I recognize that I am still accountable for my actions. I am accountable for my actions because I am still a person and my words and actions can still have an effect on the people around me. Just because not treating her like a person is how he managed to cope with his past, doesn’t mean he should, and it doesn’t mean you have to. As the person whose mother she is, it’s his job to say something when she is outwardly shitty to you. With a new child coming into the mix, I hope he’s willing to step up and make sure you are treated like a person too.

Post # 20
1252 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

“she wants a girl.. and that “SIL was the most fertile out of all of us and now she can’t have any more kids”

Personally, I don’t think this was a mean thing to say or take this as a slight on you or her grandsons. She has and loves her grandsons and wants a granddaughter and now SIL is done having kids. Which lessens her chance of getting a granddaughter. You took the comment personally and have held on to it for two years when it wasn’t in any way about you.

“This was one of the most hurtful experiences of my life.”

I think your interpretation of what she said is really reading into it. It wasn’t about you it was about her wanting a grand-daughter.

If a pregnant friend with boys says, “I really want a girl.” It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love and want her children. And saying SIL is the most fertile out of all of us, seems to be a true statement. She is saying SIL is also more fertile than she was too. My sister is more fertile than me. It doesn’t make anyone less valuable.

If immediately at the time you had said, don’t you love your grandsons, or reacted I would think that was unnecessary, but you do you.

However, analyzing her comment about wanting a grandaughter later and taking offense to it and making it personal to you and still being upset about it two years later. I would say you need to go to therapy to stop analyzing previous conversations and turning things that aren’t personal, personal.

Let it go.

If you brought it up now what would she even apologize for? I am so sorry that I said I wanted a granddaughter and that made you feel like I don’t love my grandsons. Or I am sorry me saying SIL is more fertile than any of us made you feel bad.

I am all for standing up for yourself but what she said wasn’t about you. No one reacted or defended your honor because there was nothing to defend. You yourself didn’t get upset till you over-analyzed it later.

I would seek therapy to deep dive into what you find offensive and how you are offended and get to the bottom of overanalyzing conversations after the fact and finding offense.

Post # 21
4855 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

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  I’ve tried to be understanding, but it does sometimes seem like they do enable bad behavior, especially the Father-In-Law

Sometimes its not even a case of enabling behaviour. Sometimes it is a case of genuinely picking your battles for your own mental health and survival. It sounds like even if they do step in or say something, it isn’t going  to impact in the moment or have long reaching consequences with change for your mother-in-law. Think about your Future In-Laws life with a little bit of empathy. His life likely isn’t easy  and it sounds  like you don’t have any clue of his day to day living with someone with an illness like your MILs. Medication can help but finding the right ones that work is really difficult and even if find good ones that work, often it can be short lived and  then its back to the drawing board trying to find something  that works again. Your Father-In-Law has stuck through with your Mother-In-Law where many would have done something different. Judgement when you admitted you don’t know much isn’t really helpful or fair. 

I also don’t think holding on to something for 2 years is healthy. I also don’t think its faur on your husband to expect him to do more than what he has done with his handling of the situation after you’ve brought it up x amount of time later. He said you guys could talk to her about it but he was also right in saying that a lot of time has passed and it may have no effect.  He is also right in suggesting that for your mental health, holding on to a passed perceived injustice and hurt feeling isn’t healthy for you. My guess is he probably already feels bad that his mum is the way she is and that she says hurtful stuff to all but he’s also lived with it  for a lifetime and knows focusing on it won’t change the situation. Maybe he knows saying stuff just makes the situation more difficult for his dad and is hesitant to do that.

Honestly OP, I’d firstly learn more about the situation as it might teach you a little empathy for all involved. I’d secondly stop making a difficult situation he cannot really change more difficult for your husband. By all means do say something in the moment but sitting on it for two years helps no one and expecting your husband to step up after the fact isn’t entirely fair. Thirdly, I’d stop taking on unnecessary hurt and focusing on words of others. Your Mother-In-Law has a diagnosed mental illness. She likely has no awareness past impulsivity in what she’s said. Finally, be aware that your husband us trying to navigate a difficult situation and it likely isn’t a case of picking sides for him. Its likely a case of  realising what is actually possible and him trying to get through it all with the least impact for all. He’s just trying to do his best in a situation with no real resolve available.

Post # 22
906 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

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@TeacupSeahorse:  “As a person with a mental illness, I recognize that I am still accountable for my actions. I am accountable for my actions because I am still a person and my words and actions can still have an effect on the people around me.”

Thank you for making this point. It’s gross how much people here are sweeping poor behavior under the rug because they’ve decided that MIL’s comment MUST have been a function of her bipolar disorder. Really? Do we know that? Newsflash: People with mental problems CAN and DO have awareness of their behavior rather frequently, they CAN be lucid, and we need to know the severity of a mental disorder before automatically deciding that the person isn’t at fault for their behavior.

Frankly, I would argue that we negate a person’s humanity — their ability to be a rational and moral being and to have their behavior attributed to whatever you attribute YOUR behavior — when we automatically assume that their behavior is a manifestation of a disorder (while not considering the possibility that the person is ACTUALLY just an asshole and/or actually chose to be an asshole in that situation). Do you only attribute to the person herself the GOOD things she does? You don’t attribute those to the disorder? Had Mother-In-Law said something nice, would we say, “Well, don’t be too pleased about her compliments; they probably stem from her bipolar disorder.” Gross, people. Gross. Give the woman the credit she’s due for being a full-fledged human being who still retains the ability — and thus the responsibility — to make rational and moral choices. 

NOW, with that being said: OP, why the heck are you just thinking about this now? Has something happened recently to bring this all back up again? Why have you been stewing on this for so long? While I don’t just give people automatic passes for poor behavior due to mental disorders, I nevertheless let shitty things they say GO after two years. So what’s up? 

Post # 23
5 posts
  • Wedding: September 2021

 Yeah sorry Bee but I think this is more of a “you” issue here. @Bearinabeecostume and @elodie2019 both hit the nail on the head, mental illness isn’t just a momentary lapse in manners and I agree it would be extremely beneficial for you to do a deep dive look into this disorder to better understand what’s going on. That way it might help you to put some of her outbursts into a new perspective so you’re better able to deal with them. I’d imagine if your husband grew up with this disorder then he’s already mastered that ability and thats why he was able to just shrug it off, and I don’t think its fair to hold that against him. Its his MOM after all and if you expect him to confront her for every little perceived slight I guarantee their relationship will deteroriate and her condition probably worsen. I also have to agree that when I was reading your post I was a bit confused as to why you would even take offense at what she said…her wanting a granddaughter in no way shape or form automatically translates to her not loving her grandsons. If it had been me, that thought would’ve never even entered my mind and I probably would’ve laughed and told her to hold her horses as our hands are full at the moment. If her situation worsens and she does start to get aggressive or truly confrontational with you then its of course in your rights to limit your interactions with her, but honestly the Thanksgiving situation seems to be you making a giant mountain out of a tiny molehill. Maybe look into some supportive therapy for you and your husband to look into ways of living/dealing with her? 

Post # 24
1483 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

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@happytuxedocat:  You say you want your husband to help you move on, but that’s not his job. That’s something *you* need to figure out, with professional help. He can’t help you to move on, and expecting him to is extremely unfair and counterproductive to your own mental health.

Resenting him for not “laying down the law” 2 years ago is equally unfair, when you yourself couldn’t even say anything in the moment… nor weeks later? Why are you holding him to a higher standard than you hold yourself? He’s offered you the solution of confronting his mother, what more do you want? That’s not a rhetorical question, seriously what do you want from your husband? Because to me it seems you’re being irrational and rude to him, claiming he’s dismissing you when he’s offered the only options available. You can’t make your spouse responsible for something (learning to let go) which is entirely up to you.

You haven’t tried with your mil if you know nothing about her diagnosis. Regardless, stewing on anything for YEARS is 100% your own fault. At this point it has nothing to do with what she said (which, like other Bees and your own sister in law, I think you *majorly* overreacted to and took personally when you shouldn’t have) and everything to do with your own problems. You want to get over it? Take ownership and action and find a clinical psychologist to help you.

Post # 25
2734 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

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@happytuxedocat:  If it bothers you later, you’re right, there’s no way for him to step in. If it bothers you in the moment, and he misses it, I would come up with a signal for you to give him (perhaps a word or phrase) to clue him in that he needs to step in. 

Post # 26
1058 posts
Bumble bee

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As someone coming from a family with both a mother and stepmother who have mental health issues and issues with saying hurtful things, I know how frustrating and hurtful this can be, and I am not here to discount your feelings.

But as someone who spent years of her life trying to come up with every possible solution to get other enabling family members to take accountability or trying to get the person with the issues to change, please take it from me that you’re better off conserving your energy. For those who are not willing or able to make things any different, your pleas will fall on deaf ears.

Your best bet truly is to stop stressing and killing yourself (because this will make you sick) over what you cannot change (other people’s behaviour), and instead to take full charge and ownership of what you can change – yourself and your own responses.

The best thing I did was put distance between myself and dysfunctional family members. My stepmother is not a part of my life at all, and my mom and I are a continent apart. I have also put down my OWN very clear and consistent boundaries, so my family is in absolutely no doubt about how they can and cannot treat me.

Honestly, I’ve found the most effective strategy when it comes to people who say hurtful and cutting things is simply to walk out. I’m honestly at the point in my life where I do not care what people (and this includes my family) think if I walk out of a gathering or event when someone has said something damaging, or if I hang up the phone. Nor do I justify or explain myself. My opinion is that you need to get to the point that your love for yourself and your protection of your own peace and feelings is more important than saving face or getting your husband or Mother-In-Law to understand.

If you think it will do any good, then sure, explain to her and your husband once when something is said or done that hurts you. But beyond that, I would work to accept and acknowledge that this is who she is, this is who the family is, and take steps accordingly. Limit your time with her, limit your interaction, limit the information you give her, and leave when you’ve had enough. She and your husband will get the message, I promise.

Post # 27
655 posts
Busy bee

I don’t know anything about mental illness so won’t address it here, but part of your problem that has nothing to do with your mother in law is this — just the mere arrival of Thanksgiving is making you remember that moment and causing your husband to re-live that argument all over again.  That isn’t fair, any more than it would be for him to keep bringing up your past transgressions in a current day fight.  As a couple, you have to learn how to fight fairly or you simply won’t make it.  Yes, absolutely establish rules and boundaries for dealing with your mother in law going forward, but please learn to leave the past in the past and move on!  Your husband shouldn’t be punished over and over for that one conversation from two years ago.  

Also, for the sake of your pregnancy, I can’t imagine this tension is good for you.  I bet your husband is a good guy with a lot of patience just for having had to deal w/ his family issues his whole life…try to focus on all the great things you have in your life and enjoy the holidays with him.  Wishing you the best.

Post # 28
1267 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

My opinion/advice is going to be different than most other posters because I have a similar dynamic. My Mother-In-Law isn’t diagnosed, but during my own marriage counseling (because of my MIL) our therapist felt very strongly that she likely has undiagnosed BPD. And to make it worse, she’s an alcoholic.


But you know what? At the end of the day, she’s still a fucking adult. She knows what is right and wrong. And I don’t tolerate shitty behavior from anyone, even if they do have a mental illness. If you want to purposely say insensitive things to people, be my guest. But I’m not going to stick around, nor will I let my children near you. 

The granddaughter comment would rub me the wrong way too. Because these are PEOPLE. Not collectible beanie babies. Real PEOPLE. 

At the end of the day, I wouldn’t say something about this since it’s been years. However, if comments like this are the norm, I wouldn’t be serving myself or my kids up to her abuse. Let your husband visit. You are NOT obligated to see her, she’s not your family.

But be careful if the baby you’re carrying is a girl. My Mother-In-Law also has an obsession with girls. She hasn’t seen or hardly asked about our son in 18 months…. he’s 20 months old. I’m 16 weeks with a girl, and she’s (trying to be) up our asses now.  You don’t owe her any information about your pregnancy. Remember that. 

Post # 29
1252 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

On the husband topic, I think your husband has been very understanding. It’s very healthy in a relationship to have a partner who will, in an appropriate setting, be honest with you and say, “babe you are over thinking and reading to much into this. You need to let it go.” We need our partners as sounding boards and to check us when needed. Rather than being frustrated that he doesn’t 100 percent agree with you you may take his advice and see his point of view. My husband would not be as understanding he’d tell me I was over analyzing and being sensitive and rediculous. 

You were hurt by her comment but just because you think it was rude and hurtful doesn’t mean it was or she intended it to be. MIL’s comment would in no way be hurtful to me. If you had addressed it at the time she could have clarified, of course I love the boys. Me wanting a girl isn’t a slight to them. I just love the girls outfits and envisioned doing girl things with a granddaughter so I would love if it happened. My mom hoped I was a boy, she wanted a my dad mini. I don’t take it as a slight. One of my ifriends n high school’s mom had three boys and always wanted a girl. She was a very loving amazing mother to her sons but was so excited for one of them to have a granddaughter someday. 

If you can’t let it go and work through it on your own talk to a pro. You won’t regret it. But I in no way see this as a husband problem, he can’t read your mind and know when you will take something personally. I think it’s important for him to be honest with you. 

Just wanted to add that all of us internet strangers see this through our own lens, wether it was a hurtful comment or not. If I were you I would ask H and SIL, do you think I’m being sensitive, am I taking it wrong? They are the people close to you and close to the situation who would know. From your comments it seems SIL didn’t interpret it the same way you did and neither did H.

Post # 30
2990 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

I gently suggest that you try to move on. It would be hard for him to approach her now 2 years after this occurred. I doubt she would even remember.

My mom had bipolar disorder and she could be a really, really rotten person at times. She scared away everyone in her life. She had said so many awful things to me and the whole family. She usually wasn’t super mean directly to my husband but he’s seen her in full action (including when we had to call the police due to her attacks). 

I learned to not put up with her nonsense (i.e., hang the phone up on her sometimes), but I also learned to forgive her. It is a terrible disease. It’s extremely important to have boundaries with someone like that but you also have to learn to not take things personally. 

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