Post # 1
Hi! I am new to this but I desperately need some advice regarding my mother in law. My husband and I got married about 7 months ago and ever since we got engaged in 2016, my relationship with my Mother-In-Law went downhill. She lives 14 hours from us so it was extremely difficult for her to be included in much of the wedding planning. I did my best to update her on decisions we’ve made, send pics, or invite her up anytime we could. She never offered to help or pay for anything, including the bridal shower. Not that she has to, but I found it very difficult to “assign” her tasks or ask for her help when she never offered. She’s said some very hurtful things leading up to the wedding and threatened not to come to the bridal shower or rehearsal dinner because she felt she wasn’t “needed.” During this time, my husband held her hand and pitied her. I did as well and now I think we’ve encouraged her behavior. I understand how difficult it would be to not be included but there’s only so much I can do. Anyway, the wedding is over and I kind of expected things to go back to normal. My husband and I have dated for almost a decade before the wedding so I’m not new in his life or hers so I never really understood why the drastic change. She now expects my husband to call every other day, but won’t pick up the phone to call herself so if he forgets or is busy, he gets guilt tripped. Not to mention, it’s difficult to want to talk to her considering she throws herself a pity party for being so far away or feeling like no one cares about her. She moved about 3 years ago, it’s not like we were the ones that moved away. Every time she visits, she extends her stay and will always stay with us which I have no problem with to an extent. If not us then she stays with my parents (which they do not love considering she never asks… just shows up) or in a hotel that my husband pays for. When we visit her, we are not allowed to stay in a hotel because she wants us to stay with her, or if we do stay in a hotel then she stays with us in the same room. There’s little room to breathe when she’s around and it makes me resent her or not look forward to visiting with her for obvious reasons. We can’t go on vacations alone or on my family vacations without her expecting an invitation. If she doesn’t get one then she cries to my husband and makes him feel bad. She also started blaming me for not seeing us saying “does she just not want to see me?” or “why doesn’t she want me around?” That’s not the case I just do not think she should come on our solo vacations or mooch off of my parents when they’ve paid for a vacation home themselves. Not to mention it’s their vacation and they didn’t book the house for her to stay. I guess I’m just tired of her playing the victim or making my husband feel guilt all the time. She’s very lonely and I really do feel awful about that. She lives with her oldest son which was supposed to be short term but she’s on her third year living there. I worry that once we move closer to her this summer (we’ll be about 3-4 hours away) she will stay for long visits or even expect to move in. A month ago we stayed at my uncle’s beach house while house hunting and she expected to come along with us. I felt bad because we were close to where she lives and it would’ve been nice to meet her for a day but I knew that wouldn’t happen. Instead she would end up showing up with bags packed expecting to stay at my uncle’s as well and I’m not ok with that. She feels very entitled to doing and staying where she pleases. When she stays with my parents, she never thanks them or helps out in any way. What’s worse is she will stay in my childhood room while my husband and I sleep on the couch. My husband also insisted on this arrangement…which worries me that he is putting her first. We are heading back down to house hunt in a few weeks and she is meeting us this time. She has changed our whole plans of staying with a family friend to save money but now we have to stay in a hotel room with her. She’s changed these plans several times and has gone back and forth with coming saying she feels bad getting in the way. Which results in my husband basically having to beg at her feet for her to come, getting what she’s wanted all along. She is not independent at all. My husband sees it but will also stick up for her from time to time. I understand that that is his mother and I would NEVER want to come between that but when she says hurtful things about me, I would like for him to stick up for me. Instead he says “she’s in a dark place” or “she didn’t mean it.” I think it just enables her by saying that. I can’t imagine what I would do if my parents said things about him that she says about me. Please help! Am I being dramatic and mean?
Post # 2
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
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
You dont have a Mother-In-Law problem, you have a husband problem.
Post # 5
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
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
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
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
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 # 10
Thank you so much everyone! I don’t know how but I will talk to him. I’m thinking tonight and I could start with this upcoming trip to house hunt. So far she is only coming for the first day because she’s saying she “doesn’t want to be in the way” which is code for “beg me to stay.” I would love for my husband to just say bye but he’ll feel bad and we’ll stay in the hotel with her the rest of the trip, and pay for the room. Everytime we see her he pays for everything like a place for her to stay and dinners. Not that he shouldn’t treat his mother but it’ll be the entire time she’s here and she never treats us. Again not that she has to but it would be nice given how much we do for her and how much my parents do for us. My parents constantly take us to dinner, take us on vacations, and even bought us plane tickets home so we don’t have to spend the day in the car. Not to compare at ALL but the simple fact that we have to provide for her and bend over backwards financially, is unfair. We’re newlyweds and I just graduated a year ago so I’m not making a ton of money and have zero savings. We’re always careful about our money when it comes to us but when she’s involved, he doesn’t think twice. I have to figure out how to start it though…without attacking him. I really do understand, he sees her a handful of times a year but it’s been that way for a long time. I think she’s just trying to make me seem like the bad guy. It scares me for when we start a family.
Post # 11
Also some context…she’s divorced but acts as if it happened a week ago. My husbands parents separated/divorced when he was in elementary school so enough time to get over it. Haha. She had a boyfriend for many years but left him when she moved south. Now my father in law has a wonderful girlfriend and I’m sure that stings. She lets us know everytime we spend time with them. We had to apologize for going out to dinner with them for my father in laws birthday. She makes my husband feel bad about seeing his dad and she often reminds him of how horrible he treated her. Which I have a HUGE problem with! Go to therapy or bitch to some friends if you need to vent about him but do not turn your children against their own father. That’s so wrong in my opinion. She’s said “I don’t want you to forget about the bad times. You’re replacing me with him” She’s also said she feels my husbands memories with her are replaced because of me. Whatever that means. Now I’m venting, sorry haha
Post # 12
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
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.
Post # 14
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
Read up on on parentification and emotional incest. Your Mother-In-Law has made your DH her surrogate spouse.