(Closed) Horrible Mother in law to be, cultural differences and feeling alone :(

posted 7 years ago in Family
Post # 16
808 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

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pinkshoes:  Have you seen her other threads on the issues she and her Fiance have had over a period of years?  This isn’t something new here.

I just said that it’s something very few people can deal with, and she has to really be prepared for dealing with this type of behavior for years and years to come.  I didn’t guarantee I had all the answers.

No, not every Asian child should cut the cord – but as a female getting married into that culture, she has to really decide if that’s something SHE can put up with.  I couldn’t – doesn’t make me a bad person.

I was raised in a culture myself of family members never really “cutting the cord.”


However, cultural differences aside… if this post was just about her “thinking of breaking up with her Fiance for a while,” and “feeling alone, even while in a relationship,” NO ONE would be telling her to stay.

  • This reply was modified 7 years ago by nikkiibee.
  • This reply was modified 7 years ago by nikkiibee.
Post # 17
12275 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

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nikkiibee:  No, I never said it made anyone a bad person to have their own beliefs and things they can/can’t put up with, everyone has their deal breakers.  I’m sorry, I hadn’t seen her other posts either so I guess I missed a lot of background info.  All the problems listed in this particular thread are about the horrible Mother-In-Law, which I’m sure on the surface to most American, does indeed make her sound like an insanely rude untolerable person.  However, based on this thread alone, I woudln’t say RUN just yet because of Mother-In-Law since if one were to understand her background and culture, then they may realize that she is not truly that awful, but just a product of her cultural upbringing.  Then she be able to just shrug off all the crap she says a little easier.  I do agree completely with you that she really does have to consider if she can deal with how her Mother-In-Law is.

Post # 18
509 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

And here are some more detailed response regarding your post:

His mum and dad will give him money on the side, but only for him, never for “us”.

Frankly, you and your Fiance aren’t married, so the money his parents provide doesn’t need to be for “us” matter.  If your Future In-Laws would like to financially help their son, so be it – but I don’t think they need to help both of you out.  In fact, I’m a bit confused on what exactly you are expecting from your Future In-Laws – are you expecting them to financially support you?  Are you and Fiance tight on money because he doesn’t really have a job?  If so, shouldn’t you be grilling your Fiance to man up and take responsibility and think about providing for his potential new family instead of being upset that your Future In-Laws won’t give you money?

She says that she will come round and stay whenever she wants because she helped pay for the flat and therefore it’s hers.

This is actually very common in Korean culture.  Parents buy houses/residents for their kids, and they want access to it, claiming it their own.  Best thing you and your Fiance can do is move out and be financially independent.

I am 5″8 and a size 6-8 and she said to me I looked “chubby” on some recent photographs and fat (“but I’m sure it’s just the angle”).

I am size xxs, size 00, 5′ – yes, super tiny in every aspect – and yet I am “average” in Asia.  I think Asian standards are just ridiculous.  Don’t take it too personally, but since it does bother you, let your Future Mother-In-Law know that you are offended right then and there (but politely) when she makes such comments – she’ll eventually get the message.

Almost every wedding idea I’ve shown her she says looks “ugly” and tacky.

Asian parents tend to have a list of what is “right” in their mind for everything (e.g. how to raise a child, how to educate a child, how to plan a wedding, how to live a life, you name it).  If it bothers you a lot, then don’t share your ideas!  Simple as that.

That I should give up my work and get a regular 9-5 job to support my husband’s creative dream (which I went mental at, I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry).

I don’t understand why this is so offensive, unless you specifically didn’t want to support your husband’s dream.  I wouldn’t mind at all keeping a regular job to support my DH if he had a dream that he was pursuing that I personally supported.  If I didn’t care about his “dream” and was just feeling like he was wasting his time and money, then I’d be offended that he wanted me to work just so he can spend the money down the drain at the cost of our marriage.  

That boys are more important than girls and how everyone dreams of having a son (“that’s all every parent wants”).

This is actually very common in Asian culture and it is absolutely waste of energy and emotion getting upset about it.  Older Asian generations still dote upon sons, and it is something that our new generation cannot do much about – it’s a cultural idea that will die and disappear over the course of few generations.

That there was no way in Hell her son was ever having a baby out of wedlock with me (I’m not even pregnant and also, it’s none of her business!!). 

I was told this one by my Mother-In-Law when I was engaged also.  The night DH and I announced our engagement, Mother-In-Law asked me to my face “Are you pregnant? Is that why you two are getting married?”  (jaw drop, yes) I wiped away my smile from my face and told her firmly “No, I’m not pregnant.  Please do not ask me that again.” Yes, it’s offensive, but IMO, it’s just MILs being terribly self-conscious and overly protective of her son.  Just stand on your ground and let her know that you are offended.

And as my Fiance was telling me this on the phone, he was defending everything she had done or had said to me and made out like I was over exagerrating everything – which isn’t true, when he’s had a go at her for how she’s spoken to me numerous times.

Normally, I’d say it’s a bad sign when Fiance isn’t on your side upon family troubles – but it seems like your Fiance is on your side, but is getting tired of the whole messy battle ground.  Give him some room.  Don’t nag about every little thing that comes up between you and your Future Mother-In-Law.  Instead, have nice long calm conversation with your Fiance regarding big issues once in a while, and try to convey to him logically why you are feeling upset.  You even said it yourself, “he’s had a go at her…numerous times”.  Your Future Mother-In-Law won’t change no matter how many times your Fiance nags/yells at her.  I think it’s about time you accept your Future Mother-In-Law as who she is, and deal with the situation from there.  Work it out with your Fiance on what you two would do to set up some boundaries.


Good luck.

  • This reply was modified 7 years ago by Redholix.
Post # 19
85 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I don’t know anything about your previous posts about difficulties with your Fiance, so I’m not going to comment on whether or not you should stay together, but I will comment about his mother.

My mom is Filipino and dad is Pakistani, and I was born and raised in the US.  Please note that both parents are already out of their cultural norms by marrying someone of a different race AND religion.  That said, my mother is still VERY culturally traditional.  She was not happy about Fiance and I living together before marriage.  I have been overweight my whole life and she constantly make comments every time I eat something (even if it’s an apple or a carrot stick).  I chose my wedding dress alone, and she made a comment that I should not be wearing that because of my fat arms.  When I visited the Philippines with her I realized I was much taller and had lighter skin than most Filipino women (I take after my dad) and in addition to being overweight, I would certainly look much larger than their average woman. 

My fiance is Caucasian and she keeps him at arms length.  She even threw a fit last week because my he told her not to give our dog a biscuit before his dinner time (seriously).  In my observations of my mother’s side of the family my whole life, I have noticed that as a whole they put themselves on a pedestal, and everyone else is below them.  In a way it’s kind of like they are attention-starved children who want everyone to notice them.  It’s not something I agree with at all, but it does not mean I am going to cut ties with her.  It just means I am going to continue to live my life as I please and let any of her comments just roll off me. 

So, in regards to his mother, PLEASE don’t let her get to you.  And also, don’t try so hard to impress her.  By giving her extra attention and gifts you are simply just giving her the attention she wants and she will continue to treat you badly just to get even more of that attention.  It really is a sad thing, but it’s true.  This is something no anthropologist can analyze or explain, this is something you truly have to live with.

Post # 20
846 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I’m not an expert on Asian cultures, but my husband is Indian and I think I might be able to shed a little light on the nickname thing. In Indian culture it’s seen as very rude to call your elders by their first name. The usual way to address someone older than you is as Auntie or Uncle, regardless of their relationship with you. I’m guessing that there might be similar reasons behind your FMILs preference for nicknames. 

Post # 21
2850 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

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It sounds like your husband has a very controlling and old fashioned mother. This is very common among parents who were immigrants-mine are the same way though they toned down their behavior my husband and I eloped.

Clearly your Mother-In-Law is experiencing some grief and loss over her son getting married, which is why she is being too nosy and very impolite. Your Mother-In-Law sounds a bit narcissistic as well. Claiming that she “didn’t know” she was making these comments is a very commoon narcissistic manipulation tactic; your Mother-In-Law is trying to make it look like you are the crazy one. 

Cultural differences can be very hard to navigate. Sometimes parents greatly prefer their adult children to marry someone from the same race and culture that very reason. Maybe that is part of the reason your Mother-In-Law is being so cruel; she is anxious about her son marrying someone who is not Asian. This doesn’t excuse her behavior in any way; my Mother-In-Law doesn’t like having a black DIL but that is her problem and not ours. My husband doesn’t understand many customs and attitudes from my parents’ culture but he is still very open minded and tolerant, as I have been of his mother and the way his family interacts with each other. 

When my Mother-In-Law behaves in an intrusive and abrupt manner, I try to make her feel important by asking for advice about something I don’t really care about or telling them that she is right. This way, the older woman can feel as though her opinions still carry weight and then she fdoesn’t have to feel slighted and act silly because of it. When you have a difficult Mother-In-Law, being a DIL involves a lot of nodding, smiling and tongue biting. I am not saying that you should allow your Mother-In-Law to continually disrespect you. However, sometimes we have to pick our battles. 

You and your husband need to be a united front. Sell the flat if it means that you will owe your Mother-In-Law anything; controlling parents love to use money to keep their adult children indebted to them. If you and your fiance do not get a handle on his mother now, it will just worsen once you are married.

Post # 22
2850 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

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+100 My parents are Jamaican and they expect the same courtesy.

I refer to my husband’s aunt’s and uncle’s as “Aunt First Name” or “Uncle First Name.” I used to call my in-laws Mom and Dad out of respect but I do not like my Mother-In-Law, so I call her by her first name as she says I can. I call my Father-In-Law dad because he is a wonderful man. 


Post # 23
2850 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

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I believe that EVERY married adult should cut the cord, regardless of cultural influences.

There is nothing wrong with not being able to tolerate certain situations. 

Post # 24
970 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

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lovestoned_x:  Gosh I don’t envy you, I would struggle in that situation BIG time.. The thing that stood out to me the most however, is that your Fiance took her side. That’s not good.. A marriage can survive nightmare in-laws if the couple are on the same team, but if they’re not it makes it SO hard.

Most of the issues you are experiencing with her are cultural which will be hard to address, I think the most important/sensible thing is for you and your Fiance to be really open and honest with eachother and figure out where you both stand on this issue. If you can come to a resolution where he understands and respects your feelings and stands up for you, great. If not, I would be considering whether I wanted to enter in to that marriage too.. those issues won’t go away, especially once you have children and are dealing with all the other things that will inevitably come along over time.

Really take the time to consider everything and most importantly, listen to your instincts. You will know deep down what to do x

Post # 25
643 posts
Busy bee

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lovestoned_x:  This is a crappy situation but you do realise you will never win this battle right? You know what she is like BEFORE marriage and you are still willingly entering into it.

You are wilingly entering into it because you love her son. You will never win the battle against her.

She doesn’t understand you and you do not understand her. Yes i can say that because you have not seen how she was brought up, what ideas her parents instilled in her. She is already conditioned to think the way she wants and she won’t change.

My advice to you is to keep contact with your Future Mother-In-Law to a bare minimum. Keep it polie but to a bare minimum. Stop seeking her approval because trust me you won’t get it.

What i’m saying might sound harsh but i’m not going to sugar coat it to you. I too married into a different culture so i’m speaking from experience.

Post # 26
309 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Both my husband and I are East Asian although I was born and raised in Canada….  Personally I find you need thick skin when dealing with the Asian culture.  Sometimes they’ll say stuff like that seems offensive but in my culture it’s just ‘meh whatever’.  That’s probably why your Future Mother-In-Law doesn’t see anything wrong.

That’s being said it doesn’t hurt to try to learn and understand your Fiance parents culture just to close the gap.  Some of the things you listed didn’t faze me as offensive – like preferring boys over girls.  East Asian culture the boys are more preferred because they will carry the family name and take care of the parents.  Whereas girls will be married off to another family.  So them helping you two buy a flat- well it really was meant for their son – not for you.  That might sound harsh but in the tradition mindset the son is their investment.  Unless if they are absolutely 100% sure that you two will never separate then what they give him is meant for him.

In addition elders are highly respected.  Although I find it a bit odd that your Future Mother-In-Law wanted a nickname it’s expected that you give respect the elders…  Whether they need to give you the same respect is not a requirement on their part.

Overall it’s your choice whether you want to stay or not.  If you do I suggest learning more about their culture.  You don’t have to agree with it but just respect it.  Plus give you some insight in their way of thinking.

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