Mother in law drama...
Hello lovely people 🙂
Firstly I’m looking forward to reading any responses; I
really do want to know what people think of my situation objectively.
My husband and I have been married for a year now, he is the
love of my life, a beautiful soul, supportive, caring, handsome, kind and we love spending all our free time with one another. I am 25 and he is 29 and I am from a different ethnic background to him. We are both university educated and very rational, normal, friendly people.
After our wedding I agreed on moving in with him and his
mother (unemployed, 2 time divorcee, my husband her youngest son, her other kids living in other states/estranged from her) in her house. I didn’t really know a lot about her, but for all intents and purposes things seemed fine between us. Her criticism of me started from our wedding day, as we were about to enter our wedding reception she started screaming at my husband in their language because I didn’t run up to greet her. She criticised me for every
little thing from then on (I’d run out of words listing them all) examples include; how I brush my hair, she didn’t think I looked sexy enough, why I used a fitted sheet and flat sheet on my bed, the way I cleaned, that I didn’t kiss her hand on special occasions, that I didn’t tell her where I was going, anything and everything.
She would go through my packed zipped-up bags (for uni) and
make up lies to my husband that I was scheming to run away from him. She asked for gifts back that she had given when we were engaged, or she would just go through my stuff and simply take it back. She started screaming at me and throwing a fit because I gave away some of my husbands unwanted clothes to donation. She would ignore me when I asked her questions. I would do all the housework and she would complain to my sister in law that the house is so dirty and no one ever cleans it. SOOO many more instances I can go on for ages. I felt like I was in hell. I was crying probably 5-6 times a week. I would never say anything to her just “yes Aunty” or “okay Aunty” I never confronted her or asked her why she behaved the way she did. I just wanted to move on and make
peace. On top of this she would have constant arguments with my husband and tell him that I’m “controlling” him and that he is “under my thumb”.
Welcome to the forum!
First off, I would advise you to talk to your husband about no longer living with his mother. She sounds judgemental, critical and destructive. This will be a draining and infuriating way to live long-term, and will probably start (if it hasn't already) negatively affecting your marriage. Thankfully, you two are both supportive of each other and think rationally, so hopefully your mother-in-law hasn't caused any major problems between you and your husband. There would be tension I imagine, because his mother's behaviour is manipulative.
The fact that she is trying to plant a seed of doubt in your husband's mind is terrible. You and your husband do not deserve to be treated this way, especially in your own house. While it is a nice gesture that your husband is trying to support his mum, it sounds as though she does not appreciate the sacrifice he has made in moving in with her. Being divorced twice, estranged from her other kids and unemployed is unfortunate. Her behaviour may have contributed to this, or perhaps she acts as she does now because of what has happened in her life. It may be a combination of the two.
Sitting down calmly with your husband to talk about your living arrangements is crucial. It's best to do this when you are both alone and are not pressed for time. You can explain how his mother makes you feel. Without directly criticising or accusing her, you can make it clear how destructive her behaviour is by explaining how these behaviours/actions have hurt you.
Your mother-in-law is the one being over-controlling, not you. I hope you and your husband can improve your living situation.
Hi May.M. What a complete turn-around. May I ask how she felt about you prior to the wedding, was she nice to you etc? Whose idea was it to move in with her? Your MIL has some serious jealous issues here that go deeper than her son marrying outside his ethnic background. Twice divorced makes me question her mental capabilities as being willing to negotiate living arrangements. She also sounds extremely passionate in her devotedness toward her son. I get the feeling he could have just about married princess Di and MIL would've created a hurdle. Have you discussed moving away with your hubby. Is he actually aware of this or is she 'perfect' when he's there. Perhaps have a talk with hubby about moving out. If he is a 'closed book' to seeing mum as she is, it might pay to ask him about getting a place together as you are still getting used to each other and her presence means you can't be yourself. Diplomacy with a capital D if he is worried about deserting mum.
Thanks for your reply!
Now that I know the further details of your story, it is even more clear how manipulative your mother-in-law is. The fact that she used her daughters as house workers and prevented them from gaining an education shows how selfish she is. I'm not usually one to direct criticism to individuals, but this can be an exception!
I am so relieved that you and your husband left 4 months ago. Having no contact with her is the smartest option, and you deserve to be free of her manipulation and criticism. You are not a bad person for doing this. She doesn't deserve your help, because she treats you terribly. Your husband is helping her out because it's his mother. It amazes me that your husband is willing to help her after the grief she has caused. He clearly has a huge sense of family responsibility. Because your mother-in-law directs the brunt of her manipulation towards you, it is fair that you don't have to put with this. Please try not to feel guilty. The fact that you gave your mother-in-law a chance by moving in with her, despite warnings from others, shows that you are a caring person.
I truly feel that you have done the right thing 🙂
Hi May.M. Never feel guilty for protecting yourself from someone this toxic. Your hubby is obviously easily manipulated by her, his strong sense of duty also means he is reluctant to cease contact. She could also be using emotional blackmail to make him feel guilty for trying to break contact. My ex in-laws were similar in that they frequently rubbished race, sexuality preferences etc. They were also extremely cruel to my face, with my ex's 'permission'. You actually sound a very warm, caring person who is concerned for your MIL's wellbeing even though she has treated you with less affection. To overcome your strong feelings of ceasing contact, I think you need to focus more on you and your hubby and your happiness. The fact you are not trying to force an ultimatum on him, shows me you are the better person. Does your hubby discuss his visits with her to you, if so do you feel more 'left out' or are you happy about not bearing the constant brunt of her hostility. If hearing about his visits makes you feel more 'left out' ask yourself how you would feel about not knowing anything? My ex frequently visited his parents and I felt more left out, I also felt he was constantly rewarding them by visiting. It almost seems you are living two separate lives. He spends time with MIL, that's his life, you have to find things to do, that's your life, that's two separate lives. He returns home to a life together, that's another life. If you can emotionally 'walk away' from his time with mum, then reunite as a couple, hopefully things will start 'joining' together. If you feel as I did, that his visiting his mum is almost like he's rewarding her, you need to try to tell him how you feel and why. My ex refused to listen, hopefully your hubby is more supportive and you can make the necessary adjustments.
Thank you so much again Zeal and Pipsy,
I am comfortable with my husband visiting, although he does cop a lot of insults and emotional blackmail when he goes. I think I feel the way I do because my religious background emphasises the rights parents have over their kids and that we will go to hell if we treat them badly. I'm scared that I will have bad karma later in life or God will never show mercy on me because I avoid her. I frustrate myself and the people I confide in, because I know that she is toxic and I don't want to be near her yet I'm still not moving forward from this guilt?! I wish there was a remedy like rub my tummy and tap my head at the same time to just get over it!
I'm sorry you experienced that disrespect Lynda :(, I feel like many married women I've spoken to have monster in law stories to share. It's a shame that this is all too common.
Hey May.M No disrespect to the church intended here. I was involved with a church during the time my ex was seeing his parents. Our minister would frequently remind me that parents needs must come first as they were older, wiser and needed more care as they grew older. To be told you will 'go to Hell' for ill-treating toxic parents, I'm sorry but I totally disagree. Toxic people are not worthy of respect. Respect has to be earned, regardless of age. When I got the courage to walk away from the marriage, I was nearly discharged from the church. No church has the right to enforce anything. I hope I won't be blocked for my remarks here, but people have feelings which are hurt by thoughtless, cruel, callous remarks. The church does teach that we should be able to ignore these hurtful comments. It's not possible to not be hurt when people hurt us, protect yourself and don't feel guilty for distancing yourself from this woman. Commend yourself for being the loving, caring person you are.