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Am I too sensitive about my Mother in law's actions?

My mother in law is very nice and I like her BUT I can't help but notice that she treats me a lot differently than her other daughters in law.  She never calls me unless she wants a favour, she gets the other girls more extravagent gifts (not that I'm greedy, it just hurts my feelings). My husband and I have been together the shortest length of time but I don't feel that warrants her treating me differently than the others.  I've talked to my husband about it and he agrees with me and says she's just like that and I should forget about it.  It causes tension between us because his natural reaction is to defend his mother. It makes me not want to help her out when she asks or be as nice to her as I am!  I've tried reaching out to her by phoning her or texting her so we can have more one on one time but it isn't reciprocated.  Does anyone have any feedback?  Should I just let it go and give it time?

Re: Am I too sensitive about my Mother in law's actions?

  • Well, how long have you been in the picture compared to your SIL's? 

    I ask because if there is a significant time difference, it may boil down to "time" and that she's had more time to get to know them and feels closer to them.

    As long as she treats you w/ respect and is polite to you, I really don't feel she has to be 100% "even steven" w/ you as compared to them.

    The gift thing- eh, a little rude to give them nicer stuff than you, but at the same time, her money and her perogative.

    But big picture- for whatever reasons, she may feel closer to them than you.  A part of it might be "time", but a part of it might be personality!  You married her son, not her.  She doesn't HAVE to be close to you just because you married into the family. 

    In a perfect world, I get where you're coming from.  But really - she is who she is, and your SIL's are who they are.  They may all have more in common w/ one another than w/ you. 

    So yes, give it time.  But even w/ time, you may never become as close to her as they are.  Being an "SIL" doesn't require her to be be equally close to all of you.  You need to be realistic about that.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • imageJP1062:

     It causes tension between us because his natural reaction is to defend his mother

    Ditto ECB, but wanted to ask if the above is really your problem? Is this what you are upset about and just projecting it onto the gift-issue? Can you elaborate with more details about the above bolded part and how it relates to your marriage?

  • Good advice, thanks!

     They've got a few years on me.  I am very close with sisters in law which is even more frustrating because all they do is complain about her and can be rude to her.  So that just makes me feel bad when I go out of my way to be nice and do things and it's not reciprocated. But anyway, I think you make a point about not worrying too much about it because I'm not married to her...it's just hard not to think about because my husband is very close with her and talks to her every day.  He thinks that she won't change and that's just the way she is.

     

  • imageEastCoastBride:

    Well, how long have you been in the picture compared to your SIL's? 

    I ask because if there is a significant time difference, it may boil down to "time" and that she's had more time to get to know them and feels closer to them.

    As long as she treats you w/ respect and is polite to you, I really don't feel she has to be 100% "even steven" w/ you as compared to them.

    The gift thing- eh, a little rude to give them nicer stuff than you, but at the same time, her money and her perogative.

    But big picture- for whatever reasons, she may feel closer to them than you.  A part of it might be "time", but a part of it might be personality!  You married her son, not her.  She doesn't HAVE to be close to you just because you married into the family. 

    In a perfect world, I get where you're coming from.  But really - she is who she is, and your SIL's are who they are.  They may all have more in common w/ one another than w/ you. 

    So yes, give it time.  But even w/ time, you may never become as close to her as they are.  Being an "SIL" doesn't require her to be be equally close to all of you.  You need to be realistic about that.

    I agree 110% w/ everything said above!

    imageAnniversary
  • imageJP1062:

    My mother in law is very nice and I like her BUT I can't help but notice that she treats me a lot differently than her other daughters in law.  She never calls me unless she wants a favour, she gets the other girls more extravagent gifts (not that I'm greedy, it just hurts my feelings). My husband and I have been together the shortest length of time but I don't feel that warrants her treating me differently than the others.  I've talked to my husband about it and he agrees with me and says she's just like that and I should forget about it. 

    It causes tension between us because his natural reaction is to defend his mother. It makes me not want to help her out when she asks or be as nice to her as I am!  

    You know, you don't have to help people just b/c they ask.  If you feel your MIL, while perhaps a nice lady, is taking advantage of you, you might say "sorry, I can't help" the next time she asks.  She can always turn to one of her other DILs.

    I don't believe in having every relationship as "you must do X for me to do Y," but if you feel taken advantage of, then step back and allow someone else to help out.  The world will not end if you say no.

    EDIT: Reading your update - is it possible that she feels more comfortable with you, and that she doesn't have to "buy" your love?  I have been in that situation many times (with boyfriends) - it's like I'm "jeans and t-shirt" girl and the next one gets tuxedo and champagne b/c they feel the need to impress.  Even though it's a compliment (to you) that she doesn't have to go crazy to impress you, it can sting.  I would take a step back and see what happens.

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • Based on your update - a few additional thoughts.

    Give only as much as you want to give and that won't upset you.  The same goes for you - as long as you show her respect and are polite to her, all is good.  If you're frustrated by her lack of reciprocation, then don't call her! 

    Who knows, maybe it's because you do call her that she thinks "Oh- I don't need to call, she'll call me".  Maybe your SIL's never pick up the phone themselves so that's why she calls them. 

    Maybe their negative treatment of her is what makes HER want to be "in" w/ them, kind of the way her treatment of you is making you feel.  Just something to think about!

    I'm just throwing out other possible perspectives. 

    In the end, though, it's o.k. for your DH to be close to her and talk to her alot w/o it meaning that you have to do the same! 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • If I make a comment to him about something she said or did, he will agree with me.  But it always seems to come down to him getting frustrated that I'm making an issue of it because he thinks I shouldn't worry about it because it really doesn't affect our lives.  He says that she is just like that and that they used to have issues when he was younger because of it but he now doesn't focus on her or worry about it and they're very close now.

     Anyway, I know I AM sensitive about it but it still sucks to feel this way.

  • imageJP1062:

    He says that she is just like that and that they used to have issues when he was younger because of it but he now doesn't focus on her or worry about it and they're very close now.

    What does this mean?  I feel like we're missing something.  He had issues w/ ehr because of what, exactly?
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • You're not missing anything really.  His parents got divorced when he was in college, they all went through some rough patches while they worked things out.  He used to have issues with her mostly relating to the divorce and thinking she was selfish, etc, but stopped worrying about it and focused on his own life.  Things turned around since and for the past several years they have had a very close relationship.
  • imageJP1062:
    You're not missing anything really.  His parents got divorced when he was in college, they all went through some rough patches while they worked things out.  He used to have issues with her mostly relating to the divorce and thinking she was selfish, etc, but stopped worrying about it and focused on his own life.  Things turned around since and for the past several years they have had a very close relationship.
    Ah, gotch ya. 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • @ Wahoo:

    EDIT: Reading your update - is it possible that she feels more comfortable with you, and that she doesn't have to "buy" your love? I have been in that situation many times (with boyfriends) - it's like I'm "jeans and t-shirt" girl and the next one gets tuxedo and champagne b/c they feel the need to impress. Even though it's a compliment (to you) that she doesn't have to go crazy to impress you, it can sting. I would take a step back and see what happens

     

    I don't THINK that's the case.  I don't think she intends to do these things maliciously, I think it's just a lack of paying attention or thinking that it matters.  Like if BIL's are away she'll invite the girls over, but not me.  If my husband away she'd never invite just me over.  Husband thinks that's because she thinks I have my own life and my own things to do and don't need her, but the invite would be nice, you know?

  • If you want to continue to stew about these things, then leave your husband out of it. He's already made it clear he finds your nitpicking annoying. "She doesn't call me enough or get me nice enough gifts" are really annoying complaints to constantly make about someone's mother. And if you continue with these frivilous complaints, you will turn into the girl who cried wolf and if for some reason she does something that truly does warrant talking to your husband about, then he's going to be MUCH less inclined to listen to you.
  • imageJP1062:

    I don't THINK that's the case.  I don't think she intends to do these things maliciously, I think it's just a lack of paying attention or thinking that it matters.  Like if BIL's are away she'll invite the girls over, but not me.  If my husband away she'd never invite just me over.  Husband thinks that's because she thinks I have my own life and my own things to do and don't need her, but the invite would be nice, you know?

    I can do this myself, though.  I'll talk myself out of calling someone because I've convinced myself they'll be busy and I'd rather not be told "Sorry, can't get together".  Seriously- take it as a compliment that she thinks of you as being a busy, independant person! ;)

    Secondly, be careful what you wish for.  Your SIL's complain about her behind her back.  There may be too much involvement on her part, too much time spent together.  You're only seeing this as "she isn't treating me as the same", but it might actually be a GOOD thing.  If she did start calling you, inviting you over, etc, you might find out the reason as to why your SIL's complain about her.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Lol, my husband and I talk about everything and share our feelings.  He shares his about my family when something bothers him, and I share mine when something bothers me.  He doesn't find it annoying, he finds it frustrating because we are very happy and he doesn't like knowing that his family causes any tension.  I know I should try not to let it bother me.  Just wanted to know if I am being unreasonable or if anyone had feedback.  And obviously you think I'm unreasonable...no need to accuse me of being annoying and frivolous.

  • That's a very good point, there must be more too it that I am fortunately not as involved in.  Anyway, I just felt left out and wanted to know if it was just me and really appreciate all of your feedback!
  • imageJP1062:

    Lol, my husband and I talk about everything and share our feelings.  He shares his about my family when something bothers him, and I share mine when something bothers me.  He doesn't find it annoying, he finds it frustrating because we are very happy and he doesn't like knowing that his family causes any tension.  I know I should try not to let it bother me.  Just wanted to know if I am being unreasonable or if anyone had feedback.  And obviously you think I'm unreasonable...no need to accuse me of being annoying and frivolous.

    You said "But it always seems to come down to him getting frustrated that I'm making an issue of it because he thinks I shouldn't worry about it because it really doesn't affect our lives". He's getting annoyed, even if you don't think he is.

    My husband and I share our feelings too. That doesn't mean I feel the need to tell him every time his parents (who I love) do something completely insignificant that might bother me a bit. There's a line between sharing everything and sharing EVERYTHING. Some things are better left unsaid.

  • yes-i think you may be. she doesn't have to get along iwth you as well as your other SILs. the gift thing? who knows-perhaps she buys more with the thought that you'll like the gift rather than the price. i know what you mean though-you notice it.

    if it were me i'd let it go. unless she's rude or something i believe it's just people getting along iwth other people better.

    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • yes-i think you may be. she doesn't have to get along iwth you as well as your other SILs. the gift thing? who knows-perhaps she buys more with the thought that you'll like the gift rather than the price. i know what you mean though-you notice it.

    if it were me i'd let it go. unless she's rude or something i believe it's just people getting along iwth other people better.

    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
  • I agree that it's rude if she's giving them much nicer gifts than you. But there's nothing you can do about that ... just be gracious for whatever she gives you. (Hey, it's better than nothing.)

    And like someone pointed out, the intention behind your gift might actually be worth it in her eyes. I agree that it's rude if she's giving them diamond earrings and she gives you a coffee mug ... but if she tracked down a $15 toy on eBay that you had as a kid and said that you loved, versus them getting $50 gift cards, I think that the money wouldn't matter in that case.

    And like PPs said, if she's otherwise nice and polite to you then I wouldn't worry about it. Maybe your personalities just don't mesh. I'm polite to all of my family members but there are some I'm closer/chattier with than others ... doesn't mean that I don't like the others, it just means that I have a better rapport with a few of them.

    image
  • Could this have anything to do with children? I know I was often called upon to help around both of our families before my son was born- I was seen as more available.

    Could the gift differential be due to the fact that she doesn't know you very well? Or that she shares an interest with the SILs? My MIL had 6 DILs (3 sons each married twice). She adored the younger son's first wife because they had a lot in common (both small town farm girls who taught school locally) and because she felt badly about her son's behavior as a husband and dad. She was fine with me because I had her favorite grandson and traveled to visit her with him a lot; this pissed my SILs off and I don't blame them. And she was fine with the SIL with whom she lived before she died and ended up as close with her as a mother/daughter after a very rocky start. It was pretty obvious she didn't care for the others.

  • Next time your MIL ask for help why don't you defer her to your DH?  He should be the one helping her out, not you, she is his Mother.  I don't understand why you are the one helping her out and doing her favors.  What kind of help is she asking for?  Why can't she do these things herself?

    It sounds like she is taking advantage of you being so good hearted.  Maybe she can get help from her DIL's that she treats so much better than you that she gives nicer presents to and are her favorites.  I can understand wanting to help her out but it sounds like its not bringing you closer together.  Are you doing it to earn "brownie points"?  Next time she asks for help say you are "busy" and can't do it or ask your DH to help her out.

  • I'd let it go.   There are a lot worse things than this.   Just be nice to her.   Help her when you can.   Continue to extend invitations to her.   And keep your whining about her behavior to a minimum.   

    DH likes my mom.   I like his mom.  Each does something to annoy us.   I don't tell DH every little thing his mom does that annoys me, and vice versa.    What's the point?    So you may say that he wants to hear every gripe about his mom, but he's lying.   He will get annoyed, and eventually he'll tune you out completely when  you start in on his mom, yet again. 

    How long have you and your DH been together?    You say these SILs have a few years on you.   That's huge if you're young.   Give her time and really, just relax a bit!

  • Just TALK to the woman about it.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • count your lucky stars!!!! it just so happens that i am the "favorite" of the DIL... and its worse not getting her off your back than being a little ignored, trust me! just leave it be, you are not missing anything.
  • The only way to get along with a MIL is to ignore everything that isn't directly making an impact on your life.  

     So what if she gets her other DILs more extravagant gifts?  Maybe she likes them more, maybe they get her more expensive gifts, maybe she honestly thinks you might like the gifts she buys you and they just happen to cost less.  Who cares?

    And why are you nice to her and try to reach out to her to have more one-on-one time?  In my book, the less contact you have with your MIL, the better!  If she's happy with just seeing you on holidays or whatever and calling you occasionally for a favor, then FANTASTIC!  You don't have to waste time with her - you can spend it with your own mother, or friends, or doing whatever you want. 

     

     

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