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Feeling anxious about (future) mother in law. How to move forward?

Sensible Sea
Community Member

My partner's mum doesn't seem to like me. She started off nice towards me, but slowly over time things have changed. I've been with my partner nearly 6 years and she has always had issues with her mum growing up. Some things her mum has said/done that bother me include:

  • (to me) "I think you would have been a very difficult child".
  • (to my partner, about me) "I don't need to know about her problems, I don't need that negativity, tell her not to tell me those things".
  • Never asks me how I am, never asks about me, doesn't seem to want to know or care. Constantly changes the topic to herself when anyone else speaks about themselves.
  • (to my partner) "What are all those spots on your face?" (referring to her pimples) & "Wow, you're so pale, you really need to tan" - just negative comments about my partners appearance in general that I find very rude & my partner feels upset about.
  • She accidentally bleached her new towels, then blamed my partner for it when we visited one weekend, calling her the "towel wrecker".
  • Regifting items as my Christmas presents - free items & products from hotel rooms/work functions, expired beauty products, broken/faulty things that I end up throwing away - whilst showering my partner with enormous amounts of expensive gifts. My partner feels uncomfortable with the amount her mum spends on her and has asked her to tone it back, but she hasn't.
  • Undermining me - I bought my partner a coffee plunger & mug for work, and then my partners mum bought her the exact same things afterwards (she knew).
  • Giving unwanted items - She recently tried to pack some food into my bag when we visited - without asking - I removed it telling her "thanks but we won't eat it, I appreciate the thought though", so I gave it back. Then, whilst I wasn't looking, she snuck out to my car and put that food behind my passenger seat. She is unable to take no for an answer, constantly disrespecting my wishes no matter how trivial.
    • This resulted with me messaging her, thanking her, then asking her to "ask us next time so you don't go to so much trouble for something we don't need". She then texted my partner, telling her my message was so rude & mean that it made her cry. She then implied I don't truly love my partner for who she is & said, "I hope you're happy with her". I haven't spoken to her since. My partner is also unhappy about what her mum said.

My partners mum texted her today asking to talk - and I'm now anxious about that, thinking what's going to happen next?

4 Replies 4

Hi Sensible Sea,

Welcome to the forums and thank you for sharing your story with us here.

We are sorry to hear that things have been so difficult with your mother-in-law. We understand this must be such a hard situation for both yourself and your partner to deal with, so please know that you never have to go through this alone, and support is always here for you.

If you would like to talk to someone, the Beyond Blue Support Service is available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport  One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals.

We would recommend that you get in touch with an organisation called Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 who provide relationship support services for individuals, families and communities.

We hope that you will find some comfort here on the forums. Please feel free to keep reaching out here on your thread whenever you feel up to it.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Sensible Sea,

Welcome to our forums!

Im sorry to hear all of this I understand it’s hard……

Can I ask if your mother in law is from a European background?

I only ask this because of what you said in regards to the food…….. Europeans love giving people food even if they don’t want it……….. I’d just say thank you and then do what you wish with the food later…..

Its sometimes hard to accept the way our laws are because they are different to what we are use to.

The things your mother in law says to you is a reflection of herself and not you.

This lady is your mother in law and I know it’s hard but maybe just try to show some understanding and hopefully she can do the same for you.

Thank you - my mother in law is caucasian like us, so there is no cultural reason behind her behaviour with food.

Thank you - I think it just bothers me because these things happen multiple times with no improvement, despite my efforts, or anyone's efforts. I really appreciate this perspective and will try to not take it so personally since it's clearly the way she behaves with everyone, maybe just worse with me because I'm an "outsider" in her eyes.

Thanks a lot for pointing me in the right direction! I really appreciate it.