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I got in a fight with my MIL...

And I need to know if I did the right thing.  I'm indecisive (and anxiety-ridden) by nature and this has been weighing heavy on me for the past two days. I flip flop between "I did the right thing" and "Did I really do the right thing?"

Backstory - my husband and I have been together close to 9 years, married since September.  We started dating almost immediately after him and his ex broke up. From jump, his Mom would call me her name a lot (she actually did it once in front of my whole family at a birthday party for me - this was years ago, but he and I were about 4 years into our relationship at that point).  With calling me her name, initially I thought "Ok, well they were together some time, I'm sure it's going to take MIL a while to get used to me." Didn't make a terrible stink about it, although my husband (BF at the time) told her to watch what she says.

Since then this girl, the ex, has come up on multiple occassions and my husband has continuously asked his Mom not to mention her anymore.  Yet, MIL persists.  One of the most recent times was about 6 months prior to us getting married, she came up to me (husband and FIL were not around) and she said "You know, that Mary, she was a nice girl, but I'm happy my son is marrying you."  I walked away from her.  While this maybe/kinda could be taken as a compliment, I don't understand why it has to be prefaced with the ex-gf, especially after multiple conversations about not bringing her up.  I just think it's rude and inappropriate.

So Christmas.  We spend it with my ILs this year.  My husband and I weren't  exactly looking forward to it because my ILs, particularly my MIL is a total odd job - she makes strange, often times insulting remarks, has zero boundaries, etc.   She's just difficult to be around.  Surprisingly it was a very pleasant Christmas Eve and Christmas morning... until... she brings up the ex-gf once again, at the breakfast table, in front of everyone.  It was a flip switched in the room, we sat there silent.  My husband once again said "Mom, you have to stop doing this."  And then we left.

I'm not overly sensitive to the girl, I don't feel jealous or threatened (some of his cousins are FB friends with her, I could care less).  What pisses me off is that despite multiple conversations, my MIL still brings it up.  For the record, I also spoke to her about it a couple times.  Plus, call me crazy, but I don't want to be 9 years into a relationship and married, and have this girl constantly coming up, it's annoying.  She's like this with other issues too.  The more you tell her "stop" the more she does it.

So I called her the next day to talk to her about, once again.  But she started playing the victim "I can't say anything in front of you two" and "I can't do anything right" and "I'm an awful person" and BLAH BLAH BLAH.  She said "I can't believe my own son would speak to me that way" (referencing him asking her to stop talking about the girl).  I lost it from that point.  I told her this was textbook manipulation, "you throw these digs out there and when someone calls you out on it you play the victim" and "no one gives a sh!t about this girl except for you"  and "You don't seem like you're on board with this marriage but I'm not going anywhere."  I basically insisted she take responsibility for stirring the pot, for trying to get a rise out of us, and she wouldn't do it.  She kept playing the victim, so I got off the phone with her.

So my ILs are clearly upset with me.  They think since they are the parents they have a license to do or say whatever they want with no consequences and that we, the "children" have no right to speak up or stick up for ourselves.  It's like we have to play by their rules or else.  My husband supports me and said this is what it's been like his whole life, it's all or nothing.  You either suck it up or it blows up.  There is no in between.

I'm just at a loss, this really isn't what I wanted.  I'm not proud of the WAY I spoke to her, but I am proud I finally stood up for myself (past the typical "Please don't do this anymore" conversations we've had in the past).

So, back to the original question... did I do the right thing?  I start beating myself up over the predicament my husband is in.  While I realize I'm not directly responsible, I wonder if I shouldn't have just let it go (once again!) for the sake of keeping the peace. I just feel awful...

Was I justified in what I did?  Where do we go from here?  

(For what it's worth, my husband spoke to his Dad about it and had my back, he has yet to speak to his Mom. I haven't spoken to either since. I want to give it a few days so we can cool off before we re-address, if we ever should).

Re: I got in a fight with my MIL...

  • Yes you did. Do not apologize or she wins and will double her efforts to manipulate situations. Sounds like there is more drama with his family based on you post and beyond time someone put her in her place. Being older or a parents does not give you the right to be disrespectful. 
    image Nicholas loved for 28 weeks, 4/11/10
    Baby Boy loved for 15 weeks, 5/31/11
    Baby Girl loved for 16.5 weeks. 3/1/12
  • Personally, I see nothing wrong w/ what you did.  It's been NINE years.  It's ridiculous that she still insists on bringing up his ex. 

    You and DH leaving and you finally talking to her about it directly - it might, might, make an impact.  And really- moving forward, I don't think either you or DH should let it go. 

    "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 did the right thing, WTH is wrong with her? 9 years of this is ridiculous and it should have ended a long time ago. 

    Your H is giving you clues by telling you this is the way it is with her. Listen to him, but don't ever, for one single second think that you have no right to stand up to her. Her being his parent is not a free card for you to put up with her BS. 

  • Sure. You sound like a reasonable person who's spoken honestly. That doesn't mean that your MIL isn't going to do what she always does.

    You can be the most reasonable, honest person in the world and she'll STILL act the way she always acts. Obviously.

    Dealing with THAT reality is whole other issue. You can't make her change. You can only change YOU and the way you respond to her. How you BOTH respond to her.

  • Ok, thanks.  This helps.  There was no doubt in my mind that my MIL was wrong.  I was really concerned about the way I handled it.  They (my DH, FIL, and MIL) have a really odd dynamic.  The relationship is on the ILs' terms, they are the parents, we are the "children," and they've never really been held accountable for anything.  My husband has come a long way since we've been together, in that he speaks up, tries to communicate with them about their short-comings, and it's always to no avail.  I felt odd handling this confrontation the way I did because they NEVER speak to each other the way I spoke to her the other day.  Part of me felt guilty for throwing MY ways, MY strategy for handling the confrontation, etc in their face.  But I've tried to get used to them, been patient and I've taken a lot of sh!t in stride, it's time for them to get used to me and realize I'm not taking their bullsh!t anymore.  I think I said something akin to that to her "I don't play, and you're not getting this one past me this time."  I sent her into an absolute tailspin. 

  • image DallasTX:

    Sure. You sound like a reasonable person who's spoken honestly. That doesn't mean that your MIL isn't going to do what she always does.

    You can be the most reasonable, honest person in the world and she'll STILL act the way she always acts. Obviously.

    Dealing with THAT reality is whole other issue. You can't make her change. You can only change YOU and the way you respond to her. How you BOTH respond to her.

    That's the next step.  As much as I've reasoned with myself/told myself "You're not going to change them, lower your expectations" I haven't really been able to commit to accepting that, and living it, just yet.  Before we got married and after the ex-gf comment (among MANY other intrusive, inappropriate remarks) I took my MIL out to lunch to get this stuff on the table.  While it clearly didn't get resolved, I feel like "Well, I did this for you, out of respect for you, and in an effort to nurture this relationship.  When are you going to reciprocate?"  But that's my ego talking.  I can't expect a mutually beneficial relationship from them, they've made that abundantly clear in the 9 years I've known them, and in the 30 years my poor husband has dealt with them.

    I've spoken to my husband and he's got a whole host of issues with them, a lot of built up resentment, and we're going to go to therapy to learn some coping skills.  In the meantime, I think I just need to steer clear of them, let the dust settle, and learn how to deal with them more effectively. 

  • High five, Jemma!!!  Party!!!  You deserve a party.  That was a LONG time coming.

    I've taken the approach that as long as H is on my side and isn't upset by my actions, then whatever I said to my ILs is just fine. 

    I love that your H told her she had to stop and that you two left.  High five for him, too.

    You and your H are both okay with the way you're dealing with the situation - that's the most important thing as far as I'm concerned.

    Way to go!  Woot!

  • You should find out the name of one of her ex's and just randomly talk about him in front of her and FIL - haha!

     

    J/K :) 

  • image EastCoastBride:

    Personally, I see nothing wrong w/ what you did.  It's been NINE years.  It's ridiculous that she still insists on bringing up his ex. 

    You and DH leaving and you finally talking to her about it directly - it might, might, make an impact.  And really- moving forward, I don't think either you or DH should let it go. 

    This and I just wanted to add that if you don't want to spend time around this woman, stop spending time around her. You didn't do anything wrong in this situation. The world is not going to blow up if you put this woman in her place. And it sounds like she needs to be.  

  • I think you did the right thing. I can understand her making a mistake the first few months into your relationship, but nine years later and she is STILL bringing up the ex-gf? I think you handled it very well, she sounds like she is just trying to start drama.
  • I'm convinced I must be related to your husband...because my family is the SAME way. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but in my family, being older and/or a parent makes you right. All.the.time.  It doesn't matter how wrong, or rude, or offensive they are, they will be right because they are the parent. It's complete and total BS.

    And my ENTIRE family acts that way...so I often feel like the crazy person for not agreeing with this mentality.  But it's taken me many, many years of therapy to realize that just because you're the minority opinion doesn't mean you're wrong.  Just because someone is a parent, or a grandparent, doesn't give them license to be abusive and disrespectful to you. They don't have to change or validate you, but you also don't need to have a relationship with them.

    Boundaries, my dear.  Boundaries are your friend. When your ILs act abusive or rude, make sure you and your H are a united front, and stand up for yourselves. Say, "When you do X, we will do Y." And follow through consistently.

    I know how easy it is to feel like YOU'RE the one who is in the wrong when standing up for yourself in an abusive, manipulative family. And you're not wrong for standing up for yourself or demanding respect.  You're just not.

  • image loves2shop4shoes:

    I'm convinced I must be related to your husband...because my family is the SAME way. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but in my family, being older and/or a parent makes you right. All.the.time.  It doesn't matter how wrong, or rude, or offensive they are, they will be right because they are the parent. It's complete and total BS.

    And my ENTIRE family acts that way...so I often feel like the crazy person for not agreeing with this mentality.  But it's taken me many, many years of therapy to realize that just because you're the minority opinion doesn't mean you're wrong.  Just because someone is a parent, or a grandparent, doesn't give them license to be abusive and disrespectful to you. They don't have to change or validate you, but you also don't need to have a relationship with them.

    Boundaries, my dear.  Boundaries are your friend. When your ILs act abusive or rude, make sure you and your H are a united front, and stand up for yourselves. Say, "When you do X, we will do Y." And follow through consistently.

    I know how easy it is to feel like YOU'RE the one who is in the wrong when standing up for yourself in an abusive, manipulative family. And you're not wrong for standing up for yourself or demanding respect.  You're just not.

    It's not cultural. My FIL's brother is not like this with his kids. But my MIL and her sister are like this.  Their rebuttal is "Well I'm your Aunt" or "But I'm your Mother."  Haha - on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning my MIL said to my husband about 3 times "Oh, you snore just like me... you should come sleep in bed with me."  Finally he said "Mom, no, stop, that's weird" and she got in a huff and said "But I'm your mother..."  All the more reason it's wildly inappropriate for your 30 year old son to sleep in bed with you, nutjob!

    The more I reflect on it I think she continues to bring it up as an act of defiance.  I don't necessarily believe she doesn't like me and is intentionally trying to hurt me.  I've just noticed that the more we ask "Don't say X" she mentions "X" every chance she gets.  I truly believe she thinks her son (and now me) have no business establishing boundaries, asking for respect, and insisting she filter what she says.  In her mind, we're out of line so she continues to push to see how much we'll take (i.e. how much she can get away with it).

    Aside from the ex, she has compared me to both of her SILs, who she does not have a good history with.  She once said "You remind me of Sandy" and then said "Sandy is so selfish."  Her other SIL (her brother's wife, who she has cut off because the woman apparently stole her brother away and changed him??), let's call her Susan - she ALWAYS calls me Susan.  And given the history, it makes me feel like crap... like she thinks or fears I'm going to do the same thing, steal her baby away from her.  Myself and my husband have also talked to her about calling me Susan and she said "I don't mean nothing by it, you know me, I just say things without thinking, it just comes out..."  Bullsh!t.  She went so far as to tell me I'm my "husband's Susan."  

    On top of this, she totally overcompensates.  I'm either subject to remarks about the ex or the evil SILs OR she's telling me I'm gorgeous and she's "so happy" her son has me and how she brags about me all the time.  I'd like to say it's nice to hear, but it seems very insincere... I feel she's trying to convice herself of all those wonderful things.  

    It's so f*cking weird.  I think the root of ALL of this is ultimately she's having a hard time letting go of her son, accepting that he's an adult, starting his own family, and most importantly, has a new #1 woman in his life.  I try to sympathize but I can't be a punching bag so she can get all her fears out.  Especially after 9 years and a marriage.  She needs to get with the program and get over it.  

  • image JemmaWRX:
    image loves2shop4shoes:

    I'm convinced I must be related to your husband...because my family is the SAME way. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but in my family, being older and/or a parent makes you right. All.the.time.  It doesn't matter how wrong, or rude, or offensive they are, they will be right because they are the parent. It's complete and total BS.

    And my ENTIRE family acts that way...so I often feel like the crazy person for not agreeing with this mentality.  But it's taken me many, many years of therapy to realize that just because you're the minority opinion doesn't mean you're wrong.  Just because someone is a parent, or a grandparent, doesn't give them license to be abusive and disrespectful to you. They don't have to change or validate you, but you also don't need to have a relationship with them.

    Boundaries, my dear.  Boundaries are your friend. When your ILs act abusive or rude, make sure you and your H are a united front, and stand up for yourselves. Say, "When you do X, we will do Y." And follow through consistently.

    I know how easy it is to feel like YOU'RE the one who is in the wrong when standing up for yourself in an abusive, manipulative family. And you're not wrong for standing up for yourself or demanding respect.  You're just not.

    It's not cultural. My FIL's brother is not like this with his kids. But my MIL and her sister are like this.  Their rebuttal is "Well I'm your Aunt" or "But I'm your Mother."  Haha - on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning my MIL said to my husband about 3 times "Oh, you snore just like me... you should come sleep in bed with me."  Finally he said "Mom, no, stop, that's weird" and she got in a huff and said "But I'm your mother..."  All the more reason it's wildly inappropriate for your 30 year old son to sleep in bed with you, nutjob!

    The more I reflect on it I think she continues to bring it up as an act of defiance.  I don't necessarily believe she doesn't like me and is intentionally trying to hurt me.  I've just noticed that the more we ask "Don't say X" she mentions "X" every chance she gets.  I truly believe she thinks her son (and now me) have no business establishing boundaries, asking for respect, and insisting she filter what she says.  In her mind, we're out of line so she continues to push to see how much we'll take (i.e. how much she can get away with it).

    Aside from the ex, she has compared me to both of her SILs, who she does not have a good history with.  She once said "You remind me of Sandy" and then said "Sandy is so selfish."  Her other SIL (her brother's wife, who she has cut off because the woman apparently stole her brother away and changed him??), let's call her Susan - she ALWAYS calls me Susan.  And given the history, it makes me feel like crap... like she thinks or fears I'm going to do the same thing, steal her baby away from her.  Myself and my husband have also talked to her about calling me Susan and she said "I don't mean nothing by it, you know me, I just say things without thinking, it just comes out..."  Bullsh!t.  She went so far as to tell me I'm my "husband's Susan."  

    On top of this, she totally overcompensates.  I'm either subject to remarks about the ex or the evil SILs OR she's telling me I'm gorgeous and she's "so happy" her son has me and how she brags about me all the time.  I'd like to say it's nice to hear, but it seems very insincere... I feel she's trying to convice herself of all those wonderful things.  

    It's so f*cking weird.  I think the root of ALL of this is ultimately she's having a hard time letting go of her son, accepting that he's an adult, starting his own family, and most importantly, has a new #1 woman in his life.  I try to sympathize but I can't be a punching bag so she can get all her fears out.  Especially after 9 years and a marriage.  She needs to get with the program and get over it.  

     

    You think she needs to get with the program and she thinks you need to get with the program. With the added info of her history with other women, her constant calling you by the wrong name and the whole mess, you need to start doing what you are accused of. Take her baby boy away and ignore her. Call her out on her BS every. Damn. Time.

    Always question her, why would you say that? How do you not know my name? Do you need a doctor appt? Are you feeling okay? What is your problem? Why would you SAY that to me?

    People like her hate questions, they never have a good answer for bad behavior.  

  • Actions speak louder than words. Stop talking to her about this. Your DH needs to tell her that she either starts to show you respect (using YOUR name, not mentioning his ex, etc) or you all will leave / stop coming over at all. Then, when she keeps up her game, you stop going over. And you AND you DH make it clear that it's because of her. 

     Talking clearly doesn't work. So move to action. Leave her house as soon as she's rude. And then miss a few events. That will make a bigger impact.  

    "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

  • image JemmaWRX:
    image loves2shop4shoes:

    I'm convinced I must be related to your husband...because my family is the SAME way. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but in my family, being older and/or a parent makes you right. All.the.time.  It doesn't matter how wrong, or rude, or offensive they are, they will be right because they are the parent. It's complete and total BS.

    And my ENTIRE family acts that way...so I often feel like the crazy person for not agreeing with this mentality.  But it's taken me many, many years of therapy to realize that just because you're the minority opinion doesn't mean you're wrong.  Just because someone is a parent, or a grandparent, doesn't give them license to be abusive and disrespectful to you. They don't have to change or validate you, but you also don't need to have a relationship with them.

    Boundaries, my dear.  Boundaries are your friend. When your ILs act abusive or rude, make sure you and your H are a united front, and stand up for yourselves. Say, "When you do X, we will do Y." And follow through consistently.

    I know how easy it is to feel like YOU'RE the one who is in the wrong when standing up for yourself in an abusive, manipulative family. And you're not wrong for standing up for yourself or demanding respect.  You're just not.

    It's not cultural. My FIL's brother is not like this with his kids. But my MIL and her sister are like this.  Their rebuttal is "Well I'm your Aunt" or "But I'm your Mother."  Haha - on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning my MIL said to my husband about 3 times "Oh, you snore just like me... you should come sleep in bed with me."  Finally he said "Mom, no, stop, that's weird" and she got in a huff and said "But I'm your mother..."  All the more reason it's wildly inappropriate for your 30 year old son to sleep in bed with you, nutjob!

    The more I reflect on it I think she continues to bring it up as an act of defiance.  I don't necessarily believe she doesn't like me and is intentionally trying to hurt me.  I've just noticed that the more we ask "Don't say X" she mentions "X" every chance she gets.  I truly believe she thinks her son (and now me) have no business establishing boundaries, asking for respect, and insisting she filter what she says.  In her mind, we're out of line so she continues to push to see how much we'll take (i.e. how much she can get away with it).

    Aside from the ex, she has compared me to both of her SILs, who she does not have a good history with.  She once said "You remind me of Sandy" and then said "Sandy is so selfish."  Her other SIL (her brother's wife, who she has cut off because the woman apparently stole her brother away and changed him??), let's call her Susan - she ALWAYS calls me Susan.  And given the history, it makes me feel like crap... like she thinks or fears I'm going to do the same thing, steal her baby away from her.  Myself and my husband have also talked to her about calling me Susan and she said "I don't mean nothing by it, you know me, I just say things without thinking, it just comes out..."  Bullsh!t.  She went so far as to tell me I'm my "husband's Susan."  

    On top of this, she totally overcompensates.  I'm either subject to remarks about the ex or the evil SILs OR she's telling me I'm gorgeous and she's "so happy" her son has me and how she brags about me all the time.  I'd like to say it's nice to hear, but it seems very insincere... I feel she's trying to convice herself of all those wonderful things.  

    It's so f*cking weird.  I think the root of ALL of this is ultimately she's having a hard time letting go of her son, accepting that he's an adult, starting his own family, and most importantly, has a new #1 woman in his life.  I try to sympathize but I can't be a punching bag so she can get all her fears out.  Especially after 9 years and a marriage.  She needs to get with the program and get over it.  

    Sounds like my own mother...

    She's obviously a self-centered, irrational woman who has not had to deal with consequences of her behavior because "she's a mother", she feels entitled to get away with murder; I bet she uses the line she "can't control her emotions" too. Her conscious will understand the aftermath of what she's done the next time you leave the moment she calls you a different name. By doing so, she'll know you mean what you say, it sounds as though she calls peoples' bluff a lot...

    image
  • I think you did the right thing! Absolutely!

     

    If I were you and your Hubby, I would tell her that if she doesn't stop bring this ex up then you two won't be visiting them anymore.

  • Girl all I have to say is awesome...I wish I could stand up for myself...since i had my little one i do a better job at that bust still have a lot to work on so I can get to the point that i feel better about it all.I have totallyu been in your same shoes but with just different issues.I have been so patient and im tired of dealing with the BS to.great job.

  • OMG! reading this is like reading my own life!!! You absolutely did the right thing! There is a point in a relationship (for me it was over the holidays as well) when you have to speak up and make others (MIL) respect your marriage! Good for you! Thank God you and me both have our hubbies on our side and agreeing that their mothers are just crazy and will probably never change! For us (you and me), seems like we would probably have to deal with an endless drama, which for me is ok as long as no boundaries are crossed and she doesn?t want to control DH life (hence mine and our marriage). Best of luck!!! I feel your pain! 
  • You did nothing wrong. I would have called her out on her behavior a long long time ago. You should be proud of yourself. Never let anyone push you around! She deserved what she got that's for sure. 
  • image EastCoastBride:

    Actions speak louder than words. Stop talking to her about this. Your DH needs to tell her that she either starts to show you respect (using YOUR name, not mentioning his ex, etc) or you all will leave / stop coming over at all. Then, when she keeps up her game, you stop going over. And you AND you DH make it clear that it's because of her. 

     Talking clearly doesn't work. So move to action. Leave her house as soon as she's rude. And then miss a few events. That will make a bigger impact.  

    This!  I honestly think she won't stop until both of you cut her off!  She has said before that they have left the house due to her disrespect, but her MIL does it again, the next time they are around her.  Maybe both of them need to cut her off for awhile and see if that works, but something tells me the MIL isn't going to stop.

    My family is the exact same way!  They never took/take responsibility for a damn thing they'd say or do and my mother is the worst of them all!  It doesn't have to do with culture, it has to do with control and ignorance!  And, she also thinks just because she gave birth to me that I need to listen to her and I owe her.  This MIL sounds exactly like my own mother.  My DH and I cut her off along with my siblings!  So, instead of being mature adults by taking responsibility for threatening us to take our DS away from us, slandering us on FB, harassing us via text messages, etc, they continue to ridicule us to other family members and friends.  Your DH even said that's how they have always been and by him saying that, it strictly means they are not going to change.  So, you either take action and cut her off or you deal with her constant BS for the rest of your lives.  Oh and when you have a child, it'll get worse.  I mean, I hope it doesn't, but by you describing your MIL I don't see how it won't.  She seems like a very very toxic individual.

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