Post # 1
My fiance and I bought a house. It’s roughly about 5 minutes from his parents house [ugh]. They tend to stop by unannounced fairly often, which is kind of annoying but not the end of the world. I think she kind of crossed the line a little today though.
Today was trash day. We purposely didn’t put our bin out because it literally had one bag and a pizza box. We were off running errands when she drove past our house. She noticed we didn’t put out the trash and stopped to do it. The problem is that she let herself into our house to check for more trash. She went rifling through our bedroom looking for things to throw away. She’s done this on a separate occasion looking for laundry when we weren’t home. I’m a very private person, and with them being so close my bedroom is the only place I have any privacy. She’s invaded that space twice now (that I know of).
My fiance confronted her about it today. Basically just saying that we don’t mind if she helps out every once in a while but please don’t just show up and do things when we’re not home without telling us and especially don’t go in our room. His parents got angry and told us that we don’t appreciate everything they do for us. We DO appreciate their help, but we didn’t ask her to come over and do our laundry or search our house for trash. It makes me extremely uncomfortable that she thinks it’s okay to let herself into our house and invade my private space.
I think the root of it all is her refusal to accept that her son grew up. She needs to feel needed. She thinks she’s helping but it’s just putting unnecessary strain on our relationship. I was hoping that asking her not to go into our room would lead to more of a “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that would bother you” instead of “you don’t appreciate what I do for you.”
Am I crazy? Would this make you all uncomfortable too? Is it too much to ask that people respect my privacy?
Post # 2
Either ask for the key back or change the locks – problem solved in the short term.
Sounds like you’re in for interesting times ahead since they live so close.
Post # 3
We have a keypad lock. We’re already planning on changing the code once we find the instructions on how to change it again.
Post # 4
Ask for your key back and/or change the locks. This wouldn’t fly with me, ever.
Edit to add that your MIL’s response to your SO telling them “no thanks” (good for him!) is manipulative. I’d recommend sitting down with him and laying out boundaries together so that way when things start to happen in the future, you both have a clear vision of what is and isn’t tolerated
Post # 5
Yep, absolutely — change the code. They’ll get all offended but it will solve the problem of them invading your home and then acting shocked and hurt that you didn’t appreciate the violation of privacy.
Post # 6
Simple solution. Change the code. Prioritize finding the instructions – if you can’t find the booklet I’m willing to get you can find the instructions online, or call the keypad manufacturer.
Post # 7
Yes, this would bother the hell out of me, as it’s completely disrespectful. You have every right to be upset about it. Obviously you already know to change the code/locks on your bedroom and house. His mother will have to deal with being hurt, but I hope neither of you allow her guilt to make you bend on this.
Post # 8
you’re not crazy.
– she crosses a boundary (one most people would feel very violated to have crossed–not only letting herself in to your home but your bedroom, rifling around. That’s intensely personal.)
– her son lets her know she crossed a boundary, and asked her not to.
– rather than apologize, acknowledge, or even frankly fight about the BOUNDARY she pivots the discussion and makes it about him (and you) being insufficient and ungrateful, thereby making him and you feel both guilt and attacking your self-worth and self-esteem. (For extra fun, you may want to google “what is emotional abuse” together.)
I have a few recommendations for dealing with her.
1. Change the locks. You can google the brand of your lock and you’ll probably find an instruction manual online. Even if its not the exact model, the instructions for resetting codes are generally more or less the same within a brand.
2. Consider going to a couples counselor.. my husband and I have found it really helpful (his mother does what your Mother-In-Law does, in terms of crossing boundaries and then if we try to ask for any sort of respect making us feel like we’re bad people/guilt/etc.. It doesn’t work on me, but used to do a real number on my husband and gave her a lot of control.)
3. Encourage your husband (and you, since it seems her guilt trips work on you to an extent at least) to think really hard about what it means to be a good son and good daughter in law. Does it really mean having no privacy and letting your mother/mil in to your house without your permission, rifling through your bedroom, etc.. all because its done with “good intentions”? (Hint: the answer to this one is no..)
When you have this internally-defined metric of whether you’re being good/bad it will be a lot easier to not let her control you by making you & your husband feel bad or guilty. You can do this in a general way (in general know you’re not bad people for not doing everything she wants how she wants it) and you can do this case by case when he’s prepping to confront her about a boundary she’s crossed (in this specific case you are not bad people for wanting her to respect the privacy of your home and bedroom).
Post # 9
You mean you don’t appreciate your Mother-In-Law reorganizing your bedside table drawers? Honestly, how ungrateful… lol “I was looking for things to throw away” has to be the most unconvincing excuse to snoop around someone’s bedroom I’ve ever heard.
Definitely change your code, and if there are any keys to that lock, rehide your spare and take any copies she may have access to. I’d consider getting one of those cameras that sends alerts to your phone as well, just so you’ll know if she tries to get in again after you and your fi talk with her about boundaries.
Post # 10
And don’t answer the door when you;re not expecting someone you’ve invited.
Post # 11
My blood is boiling just reading this. Take away their keys. Jesus.
Post # 12
No that would absolutely bother me. It comes off as very passive aggressive like you aren’t functioning adults able to adequately take out your own trash or do your own laundry. There’s no reason for her to be in your house without one of you there unless it’s a special circumstance where shes picking something up to borrow it something like that.
Post # 13
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
You’re not being unreasonable. Change the keycode, stat, and stand your ground. It sounds like your fiance is on the same page as you, which is great – don’t be afraid to lay down boundaries and if they get stomped on, enact consequences.
Post # 14
Ew. No. Just no. Behaviour like this woman’s is the reason the term “monster in law” exists.
Side tangent – I work in corporate security (technology, not guards) and you can very easily find instruction manuals for just about any make/model of alarm equipment online. At the very least, look up the brand and see if you can find a tech support number online. You need to change the code ASAP.
Post # 15
You’ve got to set boundaries now or it will get worse in the future. No going over to your house if you aren’t present. Period. If she thinks you’re ungrateful, so be it. This is not acceptable behavior. I had to put my foot down with my Mother-In-Law when my husband and I got engaged. She wasn’t pleased and sometimes I worried I should’ve been more flexible, since her other DIL didn’t seem to have the same concerns I did. That was until my SIL (MIL’s other DIL) had a baby 2 months ago. Things got real very quickly. My husband actually gave me credit for putting my foot down early, rather than letting it get worse (and exploding from post partum hormones in my SIL’s case). Nip this in the bud NOW. I do recommend that you and your husband confirm you’re on the same page, then he talks to him mother about it (not you).