How did you deal with an opinionated future mother-in-law?

posted 3 years ago in Family
Post # 2
5056 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

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emandjim :  try not to give any other details. If it’s brought up, change the subject. And when she starts to go on and on with her ideas you can say “oh I didn’t think about that, hmmm…” and then change the conversation 

It’s annoying but you don’t have to talk to her about it even when she brings it up, just make some non commital comments and change the subject 

Post # 3
86 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2019 - Forest Grove, OR

I would tell her in the nicest way possible that this is your wedding. Her opinions are not only unwarranted, but are not appreciated. My fiancé’s mom has done the same thing many times during this process. It’s our wedding and we are paying for it, so I just continue on and am unbothered by her opinions. She has backed off a bit since realizing it isn’t getting her anywhere to crinkle her nose at our ideas. If being nice doesn’t work, be rude. Unless! She is paying for it. In that case, she has a right to her opinions, but at the end of the day, your wedding should be what you want, not someone else’s fairytale.

She tried offering to pay when we first got engaged, and her idea was to take us, our kids and herself/husband to Belize where we would elope and have a built in honeymoon. I was like “whaaaat??” Lol no thanks. Shut her down pretty quickly on that one. 

Post # 4
7804 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Just stop telling her things. Why tf are you talking about the type of ribbon around the flowers? Just learn the following:

“I think we’re all set on that, thanks though” and change the subject.

so when Mother-In-Law asks:

So what type of ribbon are you using? Do you need my help? I reaaaally know my ribbons.

“Oh I think we’re all set on that, thanks though. Have you seen baby jane lately? I can’t believe she is 3 months old already!” 


Post # 5
136 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

My Mother-In-Law was like this in a way. She wasn’t negative about my ideas — she actually really liked all my ideas — but she definitely wanted to be in control and tried to seize control whenever she could. Like with your Mother-In-Law, she saw this as her opportunity to impress her friends and family. Her best friends’ daughters had already gotten married, and to her this was “her turn”. (She doesn’t have a daughter of her own). 

What helped us was a few things. 1) The first time she acted out in a big way, my husband told her she was way out of line, then called her the next day and told her she owed me an apology, which she gave. She knew right out the gate that she was not to ruin this experience for us by being aggressively pushy and opinionated. 

2) Honestly we really didn’t involve her much, at my husband’s suggestion. He knew that if she was involved in the most fun moments (like picking my dress, the tasting, etc.), she would spoil it for me and he didn’t want that. So instead we chose smaller things that we didn’t care about. We got her input on invitations and guest list, we took her on a tour of the venue just the 3 of us, we had the bridesmaids include her in planning the shower, we let her throw an engagement party because it was important to her to have one. 

3) When she asked about the bigger stuff, we said “we’ve got that covered!” or we showed pictures if the decision was already made and paid for. 

This all worked for us because my Mother-In-Law wasn’t nasty about our decisions. I sometimes feel bad for not including her more, but I don’t regret it because my wedding was perfect, and I know her personality, and if I’d included her more it may not have been the perfect day that it was. I really got my dream wedding and I deserved it! Haha. I think it’s OK to be a little selfish when wedding planning. 

My two best friends are engaged right now and their mothers and MILs are ruining it. They both call me crying all the time. It’s just not right. 

Post # 6
1766 posts
Buzzing bee

I have learned over the years to say as little as possible around and to my mother-in-law.  My husband and I have been married 10 years now, together for 15 years and she is still the rudest, most intrusive, negative, and impossibly unreasonable person she always was. I don’t see her changing at all.  I share very little with her and it helps too that my husband supports me even though that is his mother.  She is a control freak and likes to exert herself into any situation as much as possible even when it’s none of her business.  The best thing to do is just remain polite and respectful but keep your distance too and don’t share too much.  If she’s like this now, you have to wonder what things will be like when you’re married to her son.

Post # 7
1436 posts
Bumble bee

I agree with what other people have said. Stop the info train with her. Don’t tell her what your plans are or what you have decided. Why does she even need to know? Now you know how she operates. You give her info, she uses it to complain and argue with you. So stop telling her things. Even if you haven’t decided on something, when she asks you just lie and tell her it’s handled. If she asks what you decided, tell her that she will see on the day of. Or change the subject. You are in control of this, you are in control of how much she upsets you. Answer her calls less, answer her texts less. Practice saying no. 

Post # 8
345 posts
Helper bee

I’ve been engaged for just shy of two months, and have already used the phrase “We’ve got that handled” a bunch of times (with both of our mothers, to be fair – first childs’ wedding on both sides so I understand, but will be shutting down any sort of drama very quickly). Mother-In-Law will be involved in conversations about aspects I don’t care too much about (flowers/centerpieces for example) as our tastes are very different, and I will be offering to include her getting ready with my bridal party and mom if she wants to, but we will be keeping other details to ourselves or only sharing the minimum to avoid undue stress of too many cooks being in the kitchen.

Post # 9
996 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2020

As others have said, if you want her to stop giving opinions, stop giving her things to have opinions on.

Be vague, be noncommital, and don’t engage when she states an opinion you disagree with. As I’m sure you’re learning, it’s like talking to a wall.

Good luck, bee!

Post # 10
2236 posts
Buzzing bee

After she developed a pattern of always being negative with any and all choices and/or decisions we’d made, we discussed how to move forward as a couple. We determined that she was a covert narcissist who NEEDED to feel in control and who got an ego boost from trying to change our minds to something SHE had found or picked. Her own needs for an ego boost were more important that my HUSBAND’S needs to have a positive, supportive mother.

So the next time we saw her, we explained to her that we wanted her to be positive and supportive, or to say nothing at all. She was upset and went away accusing us of being mad at her and “being mean.”

Narcissists will always try to turn the tables on you – you have to be prepared for that. 

She sent flying monkey’s our way, who told us that she was complaining about us to other family members, and who wanted us to call her and make amends.

We decided we had done nothing wrong and we weren’t going to reward her negative behavior by giving her what she wanted, so we ignored her instead. 

From then on, we didn’t give her ANY information regarding our wedding plans, and we also interacted with her (in general) as little as possible. 

When I sent her a picture of the dress I chose, DH and I predicted she would be negative. I had had a hard time deciding between two dresses and I told DH, “watch, when she responds, she’ll say she actually prefers the one I DIDN’T pick.” And it’s EXACTLY what she did. You’d be amazed how ZERO fucks you give when you can predict the behavior ahead of time. 

Just educate yourself on this type of behavior, don’t let it hurt your feelings or get you upset, ignore bad behavior, reward good behavior. Overall, interact with her a LOT less. 

And, most importantly, ensure you and your fiance are on the same page NOW regarding her role/importance in your family life moving forward. ESPECIALLY as it pertains to any possible children. 

Post # 11
690 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2019 - City, State

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emandjim :  The best advice I can give is, stop telling her things. Just stop talking about details of the wedding. She can’t give her opinion if she doesn’t have an opinion to give!

If she asking you questions; just tell her you’ve got it handled and she doesnt need to worry. I know its hard but you can do it!!

Post # 12
1600 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

I divorced him. 

Post # 13
68 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

<div dir=”ltr”>Sounds like my FMIL! Except that we are 3 months out now.

I tried to involve her at first but she constantly disagreed & criticized my ideas/plans and told me that her ideas/plans were better (me and my FH are paying for it ourselves btw).

After she practically begged me to try to get my deposit back from the venue we booked, I knew that she did not care what we wanted and that it was pointless to tell her things. My FH even told her to stop emailing me every day about wedding plans because it was stressing me out.

It worked for awhile until we got closer to the date and her phsycho-mode kicked back in. I found out last month that she went behind my back and booked and paid for a photographer for our wedding because the one we had booked wasn’t good enough. (We are sticking with ours)

At this point, all I can do it laugh about it. She’s not going to change and she’s just wasting her money on stuff I’ve told her not to buy/book.

Why are some mothers like that? Why can’t they just let us enjoy our day?</div>

Post # 14
45 posts
  • Wedding: May 2019

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lovesbooks99 :  do we share a mother-in-law? I agree with your strategy. 

My Future Mother-In-Law is bossy, opinionated and narcissistic. Every decision I make is wrong, simply because it’s a decision I have made and therefore invalid. She is always trying to tell me and my husband what to do or belittling our decisions and actions. Of course, not being a pushover I have in the past ten years been labeled a bitch for telling her that she is not actually a member of my Fiance and my relationship and doesn’t get a vote. /rant over

The best strategy is to just keep her at a distance. Don’t give her any details. 

What flowers are you using? “Oh, they are beautiful you’ll love them. I can’t wait till you see them at the wedding.” 

What style is your dress? “Its a surprise!” Etc. Etc. Etc. 

Post # 15
1766 posts
Buzzing bee

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wealtheow :  LOL – maybe we do have the same mother-in-law!  Poor you!

I totally agree with you about not giving her any details, especially if she is a narcissist. She will twist everything you say and make you look like a bad person.  My mother-in-law is a complete narcissist and also a compulsive liar.  She lies like she breathes.  I just can’t be around her.  I was in her line of fire before and after that told my husband I didn’t want to be around her and he can deal with her since she can’t keep herself in line and is so disrespectful.  I give the most basic responses when she asks me anything, but I prefer when she just doesn’t speak to me at all.  At least you know what you are walking into and what she is like…I didn’t.  

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