(Closed) FMIL … is it worth the battle?

posted 10 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
5822 posts
Bee Keeper

I don’t think this is a money issue.  It is a boundaries issue (as you have already astutely observed!).  If you allow her to have her way for YOUR wedding you’re setting a very very bad precedent.  I think that this is a battle you should pick because when she does hold the grudge (and she will, of course) at least she’ll remember in the future that you, her new DIL, are not a pushover.  Of course it’s your FH’s duty to talk to her (since it’s his mom).  But make sure you’re both on the same page and that money is not mentioned.  Because truly, even if she paid for all of their food, will she pay for the extra table setting?  Or the favors?  Or the wine/champagne?  No.  And in the end you still don’t want strangers there enjoying your wedding.

I would have Fiance talk to her, and definitely stand your ground.  She should have a REASONABLE request for guests, who should include ONLY people that YOU and your FH are interested in inviting.

Post # 4
294 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

I would have you FH deal with her. You and your FH need to sit down and decide how you want to handle this. Then the two of you should meet with her and have your FH nicely tell her this is what you have decided to do. Unless of course she wants to help pay for the wedding.

Post # 5
796 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

This fight is worth it. My Future Mother-In-Law is no where NEAR this horrible, but I’ve had it out with her over the guest list. She wanted to invite a ton of her friends – I told her, my mother isn’t inviting any of her friends. But then she got mad because my Future Father-In-Law (her ex-husband) is remarried and the step-mom invited some of her family (they have been together for a long time and my Fiance is close to them). It was a whole thing. Looking back, putting a much stricter limit on the guest list is something I would change about my wedding.

I agree with MightySapphire that it is a boundaries issue, but I think the only way you will "win" on this is by presenting it to her as a budget issue. You are willing to pay for this many people, and that’s that. You are sorry you can’t include her friends, but there are other people you’ve had to cut out because you cannot go over a certain number. The problem you run into there is that she might offer to give you some financial help – then feel like you have to do exactly as she wants because she’s paying for it. Maybe you can just tell her the decision is based on budget and the size of the venue (i.e., it doesn’t hold more than XXX amount of people).

And then, if she wants to hold a grudge, let her. That is easier for you to hear than your fiancee, I’m sure, but there is nothing you can do about it. Hopefully she will see that you mean it and would rather be happy about her sons wedding than pissed about two guests.

Post # 6
2030 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I have some perspective from my own wedding. My husbands mom insisted that we invite several people we had never met, and in fact nobody had even seen in 20 years. I didn’t much care at the time (I was too busy with other things to pay much attention to their side of the guest list). Anyway, when the wedding came, those people did attend. And they turned out to be THE nicest, most sweet and generous guests. They charmed us and everyone else there! They were lovely and very interesting to talk to, gave us an amazing gift, and we now hope to keep them in our lives forever. The point is, if your fiance’s mom wants to invite them, there must be a reason. Maybe it’s because they’re really awesome guests.

Post # 7
286 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2007

I would stand your ground and not invite the strangers to your wedding.  MY Father-In-Law did the same thing to us…asking us to invite a full table of his friends.  While we did not want a table full of strangers, he promised that he would cover the cost (or hinted that his friends would make it worthwhile).  While the people were nice, we didn’t keep in touch afterwards (we just don’t relate since they are FI’s father’s friends) and we ended up $1000 in the hole for that table (the Father-In-Law didn’t give us money to cover their table either).  I agree that if our budget was limitless, it wouldn’t have mattered.  But we were on a tight budget and I cut things out to make it work.  While I am over the topic, I would definitely list this particular item as something I would’ve done differently. 

Post # 8
7081 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2009

The Editrix- I’m sorry you are going through this.  I’m sure you know by now that you are in a tough spot no matter what you try to do.  Weddings bring out the worst of the dysfunction, so be prepared.  Here is some advice from an article I like:

First: You can’t change them, remember they are focused on themselves and that they probably will not respond to even helpful criticism. By definition, the only person’s thoughts and ideas they care about are their own.

Second: Establish strong boundaries. Narcissists can be extremely disruptive when they communicate with you. Stand firm on your decisions, don’t debate with them. Don’t be drawn in by arguing with them that they are being unfair or whose way is the right way.

(The third is a direct quote from "Please God save me from this abuse" written by Les Carter, Ph.D.)
Third: Demonstrate that you respect your own dignity. Often you will feel insulted because a narcissist will so readily discount your value. This can leave you wondering, "What’s so awful about me?" Don’t let yourself fall into that trap. Recognize that your dignity is a God-given gift, and contrary to the narcissist’s assumption, he or she is not the god who gets to make such pronouncements. Spend quality time with friends and acquaintenances who treat YOU with the RESPECT YOU DESERVE.

Fourth: Don’t battle the narcissist for control. Again by definition, they think they are always right, it’s "my way or the high-way" so to speak. When challenged communication turns into a power struggle. It becomes their goal to decide for you how you should think and act. When/if this happens remind yourself that you are in control of your own thoughts and actions and have just as much right to your feelings, thoughts and opinions as they do. Don’t argue with them because they have that right also. Best course of action is walk away.

Fifth: (again quoting from source above) Accept the fact that the narcissist probably thinks you are a fool. Sad to say, the narcissist genuinely believes that he or she is more enlightened than you. True to the nature of narcissism, that person is inevitably convinced that you are a slug who does not understand the way life is supposed to be lived. As you interact with this person, recognize that his or her low opinion of you is predictable, and is part of that person’s internal dysfunction.


 I’ve bolded what I thought was the most important piece of advice here for you.  There may be no way out of having her blow up at you.  The trick is in how you respond to it (which means not getting sucked in, and not feeling bad about it).

Good luck, but most of all don’t feel bad about your decisions, and don’t let her bully you into a decision you will regret.

Post # 9
2434 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I think that you should set a precedent with your Future Mother-In-Law right now that you and your Fiance are a united front and won’t be manipulated (because first it’s the guest list, then she’ll be making other demands in your life- holidays, etc).

I would stand your ground.  Your Future Mother-In-Law is obviously irrational, so reasoning with her (budget, don’ t know them, etc) won’t work.

Just tell her- the guest list is finalized and we haven’t invited anyone that we don’ t know personally.  Then repeat ad nauseum.

When she screams and shouts or gives the silent treatment, just ignore it.  It will probably be unpleasant and upsetting for your Fiance, but so be it.


Post # 10
184 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I agree with rosychicklet … I’m not sure there’s much else you can do in this situation.  Good luck!

Post # 11
2640 posts
Sugar bee

I agree that how you handle this is a precedence.  It is a great opportunity for you and your Fiance to figure out how you want to handle his mom.  I also agree that he needs to do the talking.  If it was me, I would not allow the extra guests to be invited.  If she made a stink and gave the cold shoulder for a while, ehhh…..  I know she’s his mom, but if she’s a toxic person……

She needs to learn how to behave like a grown up. It’s not up to you to teach her, but don’t enable her.

Post # 12
5955 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

YIKES.  Goodness.  I really really feel for you.

Based on your discription I’d say you gave yourself the answer right in the begining: boundaries.  You and your Fiance have to decide together on the boundaries you want to set with your Future Mother-In-Law and then stick to them.

If you had said that she was normally a lovely and reasonable person and was overexcited about the wedding and would be pissed not to invite a few more people I’d say to just do it – it would probably keep the peace and mak her so happy.  Mothers can get pretty crazy about weddings and just want to show their "baby" off to everyone they know.

But since you’ve indicated that she always acts this way it’s pretty clear that this isn’t about the guest list, it’s about power.  If you want to let her have that power, fine.  But it’s not going to stop.  She’ll continue to impose herself on your life decisions (your house, your babies, etc).

If it were me, this is what I’d do: Stand your ground, be reasonable, and don’t engage in explinations or negotiations with her.  If she freaks out just leave (hopefully before she slaps you!).  It’s not like she has access to the actual invitations (please GOD do not give her access to the actual invitations).  Just send them out to your guest list.  If her friends question why they didn’t get an invite you wont even have to deal with it because they’ve never even met you! 

It’s a really crappy situation to be in.  There is no awesome outcome for an adult who wont act rationally.  But just keep your cool and remember that only you can control your own actions AND you can only control your own actions.

Post # 13
513 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Hang in there. At least you are already aware how difficult she can be!

I would let your FH and his fam deal with your mom. I understand where all the other posters are coming from. But you have to remember you will be married and having a fam of your own. So being able to raise yourself above it with grace and humility is key.

My grandmother is very much like your Future Mother-In-Law. My mom has had to deal with her their whole married life. It isn’t the funnest thing to deal with as a grandchild looking back. -My grandmother is also the kind of person who thinks she is dying all the time… and when my parents renewed their vows- my dad’s mom checked herself into the hospital with ‘back pain’ just so she wouldn’t have to go.

I like how my mom deals with her mother-in-law. My mom just continues to kill my grandmother with kindness and warmth. And it’s on my grandmother as to how she wants to deal with it. So my mom leaves everything in good terms on to my grandmothers court. Any time my grandmother claims she wasn’t ‘involved’ or ‘left out’ my whole family points out how she was invited, how she was given our blessings, our support no matter what ill feelings she harbored.

I just wanted to give you perspective from a grandaughters point of view. My grandmother is just like your Future Mother-In-Law. And my mom handled it with grace, patience, and a lot of sighs! (that and my mom let the rest of the family- and my dad to deal with my grandmother… it was better for my mom that way. And I think, after 20+ yrs knowing what I know… it helped) –well that and we moved 2,000+ miles away from her… but now my grandmother is being uncannily mean to my uncles wife making snide remarks, but my uncles wife is also treating her with nothing but respect, kindness and patience.

Good luck!

Post # 14
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

You need to stand your ground and not let her sense of entitlement win.  She acts this way because she is used to getting her way, like a spoiled 2yr old.  You AND your fh need to stand your ground on this one.  As for her behavior at the wedding, I’ve found that for some reason the day of the wedding these issues take a backseat and all goes as planned.  At least, that’s how ours worked out — thank God!

Post # 15
193 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

This is your wedding, your money, your life!!! She sounds like she’s really pushing her luck and being stubborn about wanting her way. You can’t invite every single human being in the world that she knows, just so she can feel superior to your Future Father-In-Law, this day is not about her. It sounds like you have already been gracious enough to invite a bunch of people from her side. That should be more than good enough. If she can’t accept that and wants more, then she’ll just have to face disappointment.

I’m sorry, I know I sound like I’m getting emotional about this but I am in the exact same situation. My Future Mother-In-Law is a selfish, cold  hearted lady who doesn’t give a crap about anyone but herself. Would you believe that she didn’t even know where her own first born son was baptized?? We were trying to look for my fiance’s baptismal certificate so we could submit it to the church. She had no idea where he was baptized, in spite of the fact that they have lived in the same neighbourhood since my fiance was born!! She doesn’t even call him on his birthdays, there are many occasions when she forgot. She also missed his convocation from Grad School, because she wanted to attend an antique show!!!! And now that we’re getting married, all of a sudden we are obligated to invite all her friends and distant relatives, even from out of town!!! She was even threatening us that she wouldn’t attend our wedding if her requested list of people were not invited!!

So yes, I know what you mean, in-laws can be frustrating. I’d say, be as kind and polite as possible to her but be firm with your decision regarding the items concerning your wedding – be it guest list, flowers, or bridesmaid gowns. Just deliver the message as sweetly as possible and then close the conversation. Don’t leave it open for discussion or negotiation. Also, enlist someone from your family members whom you trust to escort her out of the wedding ceremony or reception in case she decides to make a scene.

Best of luck girl! Don’t let anyone destroy your moment!

Take care!

Post # 16
22 posts

Dear TheEditrix,

 Does no one in your family have access to a humongous bottle of Xanax.  I mean…large enough to last from now until after the wedding.

 Of course…I mean to dose up your Future Mother-In-Law….not you!


Mother-In-Law in training

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