Post # 1
My brother is bringing his girlfriend of about a year to meet my parents for the first time this weekend. I’ll be out of town for most of the visit but am bracing myself for the barrage of criticism when I return. My mom’s complaints so far, having never met the girl: (1) they won’t be able to communicate as the girlfriend speaks cantonese and not mandarin (sidenote: mom and girlfriend both speak fluent english) (2) when shown a picture of the girlfriend, mom called her “old and ugly” and (3) my absolute favorite, that even my mom realized sounded ridiculous after she said it and begged me not to tell anyone else (which of course, I have to share with you bees), that the girlfriend is “too short to produce grandsons.” My mom has always found fault with my brother’s girlfriends. She once deemed one to have pores that were too large.
So…what’s a sister to do? I’ve called my mom out on her ridiculous statements before but it just makes her feel like more of a martyr (“Why do you children make me suffer? All I’ve ever done is sacrfice myself for you…” etc.) My brother is in his early thirties and at a point where he is looking to settle down. While my mom isn’t the sole reason his last girlfriend broke up with him, I think it was probably a contributing factor. And I don’t want to just let my mom rant, I think that would encourage her negativity. All I can think to do is be extra nice to the girlfriend and hope that she still wants to date my brother after this weekend. Any bees been in the same situation and can offer some advice?
This is going to sound backwards but I think the reason why my mom is so critical and demanding is not because she has any ill will toward my brother’s girlfriend but because she feels she is expected to be critical and demanding, as part of the mother-in-law from hell stereotype that is part of asian culture, as well as many other cultures. It would come as a shock to her if I told her she is the terrible mother-in-law that she has always warned me about because to her, she is merely doing her job.
Post # 3
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@flummoxed: Is there someone she respects that could help you have this conversation with her? I would hazard a guess that it would be better coming from an elder.
Post # 4
Ah, your mom sounds just like my FMIL! I think the best thing to do is to 1. tell her to keep an open mind and give the girl a chance 2. remind her that being mean to the girlfriend will only hurt her son and damage their relationship 3. emphasize that this girl will be a guest in her home, and she should act accordingly even if she ends up not liking her.
You should also remind your brother that he needs to stick up for his girlfriend should your mom say anything out of line.
Post # 5
When your mother talks ill of your brother’s girlfriend, give her one warning that you are not going to listen, then walk away.
Post # 6
@flummoxed: Can you shut down her comments right away? “Mom, I really like brother’s girlfriend. I don’t want to hear you talk poorly about her.” I would then change the subject or tell her that you have to go. Be polite but firm & hopefully she sees how silly she’s being.
Post # 7
“Roll her up in a blanket and throw her off a bridge!”
– Homer J. Simpson
Disclaimer: I do not endorse this course of action. I discourage it as it is immoral and illegal. Still funny to think about, but don’t do it 😛
Post # 8
My mother is a complete bitch about my sister-in-law…for no good reason. Everything she does is wrong, and she controls my brother totally, according to my mother. As I’ve pointed out to her numerous times, by saying that, she’s basically saying that she bought my brother up to be a henpecked wimp with no spine of his own (which considering we are all half French, is so untrue it is laughable)
My mother is jealous, pure and simple. SIL has a very good career, gets to travel the world and is happy with my brother, and that just burns my mother up.
I find her attitude very sad and disappointing.
Post # 9
- Wedding: July 2014 - Prague
@TGold: +1. Excellent advice.
Show mom the “high” road!
Post # 10
@beachbride1216: I’ve never thought of that before! And you’re probably right about it being better coming from an elder
@TGold: ack, sorry to hear your FMIL bears resemblence to my mom, it can’t be easy to be in your position. I really like suggestion #3. As for reminding my brother to stick up for his girlfriend, he always does and it causes my mom to go into her ‘woe-is-me’ mode and eventually devolves into a fight. On the plus side, she won’t be rude to the girlfriend’s face, she saves the criticism for my brother (and me, and all her friends, and anyone else who will listen). Do you mind sharing how your SO mediates?
@julies1949: and @BagsnBooks: – ah, how could I forget the #1 rule for “how to deal with a difficult mother”! I’ll definitely try this out.
@Duncan: – thanks for reminding me there is a little humor in every situation 🙂
@Baal: – jealousy is an interesting idea, I could see my mom being jealous of the girlfriend’s youth. You also make a good point that your mom’s criticisms reflect on how she raised her son. Definitely a sad and disappointing situation.
Post # 11
@flummoxed: If you click on “reply” at the bottom of the post, you don’t have to enter the Bees’ names yourself, and the Bee gets a message that you have responded.
Post # 12
@julies1949: thanks for the tip, I’m still a newbie/newbee 🙂
Post # 13
@flummoxed: Welcome to the Hive!
Post # 14
@Duncan: I laughed SO HARD when I read that!
@flummoxed: I would suggest to you and your brother the following: when she starts with the comments you warn her once that those comments won’t be tolerated and you will leave if she continues. If she doesn’t listen then say:
“We love you very much, but we aren’t going to tolerate your behavior towards [ enter girlfriend’s name here ]. We’ll speak to you when you’ve calmed down.”
And then leave. And don’t talk to her for the rest of the day. Hopefully it will teach her a lesson, but if not at least it will show the GF that you two respect her and care for her.
If that doesn’t work (or you don’t want to try that first) then the suggestion by a PP about having a respected Elder speak with her is a very good suggestion as well.
Post # 15
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
do you have an aunt who could “set her straight?” She might take the criticism differently from a sibling than a child.
Post # 16
Has somebody warned this girl? I’d have your boyfriend give her a warning. Nothing too serious or daunting but to give her a heads up and maybe help her not take things personally – “Just as a warning – my mom is a bit nuts about my girlfriends so don’t take anything personally – we never listen to her anyway and I’ve got your back!”