Mother in Law Plays Victim

posted 2 years ago in Family
Post # 2
1214 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

Whoa buddy. You are not being dramatic or mean. This woman is codependent and this is a super toxic relationship. Wow. She goes on all your vacations and stays in a hotel room with you? Are you serious? That’s crazy and not healthy or normal. She’s super manipulative and controlling with her martyr act but your bigger problem is your husband. He’s enabling her behavior and he’s more afraid of upsetting her than he is of upsetting you. That’s going to cause you major problems down the road if you don’t get this handled.

You should post this on DWIL over on baby center. They’re experts on this stuff over there and they will help you get started on sorting this out.

Good luck, bee. Just know that you’re not crazy – this is not normal behavior.

Post # 3
1700 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

I agree with Nikki,  thats not a healthy relationship between your husband and his mom.  He definitely needs to step up and defend you without making excuses for his mom’s bad behavior.  You have a right to go on a vacation without your Mother-In-Law.  I’d honestly start with couples counseling and asking your husband to do one on one counseling. I think he needs counseling to realize his relationship with his mother is not healthy.  If he wont do counseling or change his relationship with his mom,  then that is a huge problem. 

I’ll warn you that DWIL does have a bit of a reputation over at babycenter for being a bit extreme, so remember to consider any advice you get here, there,  or anywhere else before acting on it. 

Post # 4
5166 posts
Bee Keeper

You dont have a Mother-In-Law problem, you have a husband problem.

Post # 5
55 posts
Worker bee

Yeah that relationship is not healthy at all. Very co-dependent and the mother obviously has some major issues that need to be worked out in therapy. However, from the way you describe the Mother-In-Law it seems as if it would be pulling teeth to get her to admit she’s doing anything wrong, let alone talk to someone about it. And I think your husband probably has deep co-dependence issues with his mother as well that probably stem all the way back from childhood. 

Post # 6
1248 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

Holy enmeshment! 

This isn’t healthy at all. 

You need couples counseling because it seems like your DuH is actually married to his mom. So you both need to fix that. I would also suggest putting her in an ITO (indefinite timeout) until you can sort this out. This is a massive problem. She will end up living with you and causing massive harm to your marriage. Do NOT have any children until this mess is sorted out. You need DWIL. I have anxiety for you over this. Wow.

Post # 7
3064 posts
Sugar bee

You and your husband need to have a big discussion about this. She may be his mother but you are his wife – and his wife comes first.

Rather than reacting to events, try to plan proactively. Are you okay with your Mother-In-Law staying twice a year at your house for a short period? Are you okay with your Mother-In-Law staying with your parents?  If your Mother-In-Law overstays her welcome what are your agreed plans of action? If she tries to manipulate you both or tries to get you both to pity her, what should be your joint response? All this needs to be discussed.

You also need to set boundaries. Stay in a hotel when you go and visit her. If you stick to this then she eventually will realise that either you stay in a hotel when you visit her or you don’t visit her.

Talk to your husband about how he feels. Parents shouldn’t make their children feel guilty just because they (the parents) want their own way. It’s a wicked thing to do and it saddles the children with guilt that they (the children) find difficult to shake off even in their adult lives.

People who don’t have manipulative parents find this very difficult to understand because they weren’t manipulated. Your dratted Mother-In-Law isn’t manipulating her adult son but the child that it is deep inside him.

(I imagine his older brother is in the same position if his mother went for a short visit and is still there three years later.)

All this has become accentuated because as a fiancee and then a wife you have become a rival for your husband’s affection.

Yes he’s got to stand up for himself and keep living through the guilty feelings. Luckily, they reduce with time. He has also got you to help and provide a united front. He might even like to consider therapy where the therapist specialises in strategies to deal with manipulative parents and the guilt they create.

You also need to immediately book a holiday by yourselves. No Mother-In-Law allowed. Book it now!


Post # 8
618 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
janejoe94 :  oh geez. You need boundaries. my parents are so forward they’d tell her themselves that she should not welcome to stay with them. If she’s the one being inappropriate and overbearing why is everyone tip toeing around her trying not to offend her? You should sit down and call her out. “I’ve noticed ever since the wedding you expect your son to call you but you never call him. Why is that?” “We’d like to go on this vacation by ourselves. It’s important for us as a couple to have time alone.” And don’t leave an “I’m sorry” or “is that ok?” clause at the end. The only problem is that it could create division between you and your husband. My in laws are such a nightmare I have given up every f— that I care in terms of how it might affect my marriage. Luckily DH finally saw the light about 7 years into our marriage. He was so used to the dysfunction that he didn’t realize just how dysfunctional they were. There’s nothing wrong with being a reasonable adult. She’s acting like a small child. You can do it all at once when you sit her down and bring up these issues, or you can do it one-by-one as they come up. But you HAVE to do it. You married your husband and you guys should be able to enjoy having sex on vacation or just some privacy when you do things. And your parents need to tell her no too. I’m shocked that they haven’t. It can be awkward having to be so blunt because it’s not normal to have to be since most people can take a hint but clearly this woman can’t.

Post # 9
2345 posts
Buzzing bee

WOW – I agree wtih everything pp have said. Also, google:

– JADE (as in, don’t engage in it with this type of person)
– Grey Rock
– Black Hole
– Indefinite Time Out/ Time Out

ABOVE ALL ELSE, you and your husband need to get on the same page.

My Future Mother-In-Law is very similar, if more subtle, and I would never move forward with the wedding if Fiance behaved as your husband does. Fiance sees his mom’s bad behavior and stands up to her. We put boundaries in place, and she either respects them or their are consequences. And he doesn’t let her blame ME or throw herself pity parties.

I wouldn’t be able to stand being around this woman if she really behaves this way – you are a saint!

Post # 12
7128 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

Shiiiiiiit. I was done when you said this stage 9 clinger is going on your vacations and sleeping in your fucking hotel room. I agree with the others that you have a husband problem but you also have a you problem. It is perfectly acceptable for you to set boundaries with her for yourself– even if your husband cannot yet. She’s been his mother for many many years, it’s hard to change patterns that have been long established. But there’s really no reason for you to be engaging in this Bates level BS. I can’t imagine how hard someone would have to cry in my face to get an invitation to sleep in the hotel room on my vacation with me and my husband.

Hell to the naw naw. It’s waaaaaaay long past time for some changes to happen.

Post # 13
3064 posts
Sugar bee

No, no, no.

You have to make a stand. Don’t stay in the hotel with her. Don’t move closer to her. Don’t let her come with you to view houses (i’m sure she’ll choose one with a room for herself.) Tell her she’s not coming on vacation with you both. 

As I suggested earlier, book that holiday for just you and your husband.  Have you done it yet?

And don’t move closer to her. More further away. Much further away.

Patagonia, perhaps.

Post # 14
3064 posts
Sugar bee

Incidentally, my parental grandmother was very manipulative. When my parents did something she didn’t like she would tell them that they made her so unhappy that she wanted to put her head in the gas oven and kill herself.

This worked wonderfully on her child, my father, who in an effort to please his mother (and keep her alive) would do what she wanted.

My mother was made of sterner stuff. One day my grandmother was in her kitchen with my mother and said the usual thing – that my parents had made her so unhappy that she wanted to put her head in the gas oven and kill herself. My mother said nothing but just smiled sweetly, walked over to the oven, opened the oven door, switched the gas on, and then left the room.

My grandmother never ever made that threat again. Nor did she kill herself. She realised that my mother would take no nonsense from her. 

While this is rather extreme, you do have to stand up to your Mother-In-Law. She won’t love you for it and might even hate you, but she probably will eventually have a lot more respect.

Post # 15
1214 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

Read up on on parentification and emotional incest. Your Mother-In-Law has made your DH her surrogate spouse.

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