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Mother In Law Issues

Community Member

I am getting beyond my limits with my MIL and I really don't know where to begin. I have tried almost EVERYTHING to keep this woman happy and still she mocks me, my husband and our children. We NEVER do anything right in her books in regards to raising our children (her only grandchildren) when me and my husband try our absolute best at keeping our children happy and healthy every single day.  When we leave our 4yr old son with her to babysit she feeds him nothing but sugar it got to the point where I took him to a mother baby unit because when he would come home he wouldn't eat anything else no fruit, veg or dinner etc they even gave us an eating schedule to give her on babysitting days when i left the mother baby unit with him. She agreed to follow it put it on her fridge then the next day when we picked our son up he was hyperactive and having sugar tantrums so I had to stop her from having him sleepover as she wasn't looking after him properly. 

She will send us threatening letters in the post, threatening text messages putting me and my husband down as parents I have a disability which she mocks and if we choose to ignore and not respond she will bang on our door and scream until we decide to answer. 

Its getting to the point where I don't know what to do anymore I have always had the thought I have never been good enough for her son. She didn't even attend our wedding and told us she was not coming on our wedding day. Its caused me depression, anxiety and panic attacks, my husband supports me and the children but when I suggest she is mentally unwell and we should get help for her he shrugs it off and responds with "his mother has always been this way writing random threatening  letters text messages to neighbors family etc" 

It is even getting to the point where I have suggested me and my family move to the rural country or even another state where she can no longer harass us anymore just for a little peace of mind. I have been to counseling sessions and seen a psychologist about her and the anxiety but the tactics they suggest don't work. 

She even asked a year ago after my husband and I had our fourth child and her first grandaughter if me and my husband could have a daughter for her as she only has two sons and always wanted a daughter ... 

I don't know what to do anymore this is a daily thing for my husband and I. I feel so overwhelmed and alone with it all any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.



6 Replies 6

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Naomi, welcome

I'm not a professional mental illness worker as such. Just someone that has problems like many here. So this is purely my opinion.

I know exactly what you are experiencing. I've had my first wedding ruined by my mother through temper tantrums and attention seeking alas, because the event wasn't about her. I've had lectures how to raise our children. We've had comments to our grown children "I didn't get a laptop as a child (no she didn't - she got a grand piano though). She's walk our kids to the shops saying she "promised to take them to the shop" then feed them garbage and ask private questions to extract information. She'd turn relatives against my sister and I and was so powerful in that regard others would ring us and say "what are you doing to your mother?" I'd reply "I don't ask you about your relationship with your mother so butt out"

Then one day 7 years ago a friend suggested she had a narcissistic personality- interesting. I read up about it and came across a doctor called Dr Christine Lawson that wrote a book "walking on egg shells".

Google "waif queen witch hermit". The 4 characters of chronic BPD illness (borderline personality disorder). Now anyone with this illness that is getting treatment I admire you and in no way wish to humiliate you. But the children of one of these people is in for a hard time. They can swing from any character without warning. As a young child they will nurture you then hunt you down. Hence the difficulty in combatting the problem.

Other people wont see it. As I said to my close cousin "only the children of the mother/father with this illness know what its like".

5 years ago my sister and I had had enough. Our mother was in denial. And I knew this illness is largely untreatable as the sufferer wont sustain treatment. All our lives  she got between me and my sister...no more. We ended our relationship with her and now my sister and I have a wonderful time together.

Yes, we got the letter, all of which I wrote "return to sender" unopened. In it would have been "if your father was alive...he'd turn in his grave". My second wedding went wonderful a few years ago. My mother heard of it coming and sneakily told my grown daughter she'd be in that park (where it was to be held) that very day, even though she lives 4 hours away. I got a intervention order against her. That ensured a good day. She wasn't going to ruin that day.

DEMAND your standards for YOUR children.

Tony WK

Community Member

Hi Naomi.  You poor thing.  At least your hubby supports you, which is more than I ever had.  Tony is right when he suggested NPD with your MIL.  All I can suggest is that you disregard everything she says/does.  You and hubby know you're doing everything you can to raise your kids.  If MIL refuses to abide by rules you set regarding looking after children, stop her looking after them.  This will cause more anger on her part because she can't get her own way, just ignore the anger.  Any text messages, push your 'delete' button, if she sends 'email' messages, press the forward button, this sends the message straight back to her.  I wouldn't waste time arguing, you are never going to win.  My hubby never supported me with his mum, she was right, end of story.   I have had to completely wipe M & F out of my life so that I could get on with MY life.  Any threatening letters, you could take to the police, but that's extreme, I would simply throw them away and disregard them.  Let hubby deal with her and her rubbish, she's his mum, give the problem to him, completely.  With NPD, they never admit to having anything wrong, it's everyone else who's wrong.  Actually, one thing you said that's not exactly right.  You said you are alone, you're not, you have a wonderfully, supportive hubby.  As I said earlier, give him the problem, completely.  Tell him you can't deal with it any more.  

In-laws (aka) outlaws.


Community Member

Thank you both so much for responding, it's comforting to know I am not alone with dealing with a person like my MIL, I honestly haven't met anybody like her. Tony you are right on the mark when you say that the only people who understand what the illness is their own children I find it so difficult when my husband tells me it's not me personally and that she has always been that way to a lot of other people in her life, and also what you both said about the denial part my MIL NEVER admits she is wrong or apologises for ANYTHING she does or said and it can be extremely hurtful and annoying sometimes. I will definitely take your advice on board returning her letters to sender instead of opening them and letting the negativity In, deleting the text messages and emails. I will also read up on BPD and narcistic behaviour as I don't know much on either of those illness's. Pipsy you are 100% right my husband does support me and I should be greatful for that I'm so sorry to hear that your hubby wasn't supportive that would of been a lot tougher to deal with, but I think when I said I feel alone I meant that I feel like she is the only person that is like this and there couldn't possibly be anyone else out there that treats people like my MIL does and people who have to deal with this, I realise that may seem like a strange thing for me to say but as in my original post I suffer from an acquired brain injury ( my disability ) which makes me see things a bit differently compared to other people, I suppose without opening my mind to other situations. Pipsy and Tony thank you both so much for your advice you both answered my one burning question that I have had for years and that was will life be easier if I ignore her and stop giving into her because I sometimes feel sorry for her when she uses guilt and my husband feels for her also because she is his mother but he does need to deal with it 100% Pipsy your right.

I can't feel like I am on this merry go round much longer without it causing me more anxiety and depression my kids have to come first and sometimes in life we can't please everyone especially people like my MIL.

Thank you both again.

Great to see you got value from our posts.

I didn't realise the gravity of my mothers antics/bpd issues until I was 54yo. The ups and downs we had all my life she convinced me wouldn't return but they always did. So take some heart that you didn't take that long to find out where the problem lies. lol

Thanks for responding. Take care.

Tony WK

Community Member

Hi Naomi.  As Tony said, it's good that it didn't take you long before you figured out what was happening with MIL.  One other thing Tony once said to me about MIL's.  They never approve of who marries their children.  My hubby is one of 6, all his siblings are married and extremely happy, MIL finds fault with everyone of them.  Unfortunately, because I was the only one who had much contact, I was the one who copped the rudeness about the various other sons/daughters in-law.  It was a great comfort to me to discover (like you), when I first posted, that I was not alone with this problem.  My own mother (she's passed now) was a MIL from Hell to my various sisters in-law.  I've had 3 (that I know of).  None of my SIL's would've been good enough for her.  Just because they're our mothers (MIL's) doesn't automatically give them free reign to treat us like garbage.  If we set boundaries, they should respect them, if they don't, we have the right to 'walk away'.  Unfortunately, when I did that, my hubby openly abused me.  I feel sorry for him, because in doing that, he lost my love and respect.  That's his problem, not mine.  Since walking away, I've never been happier.  I have friends who accept me for me, that's what's important.

All the best for your future with your wonderful family.

Community Member
Naomi33, I know how hard it is to deal with MILs. I've only been married for almost 5 months now but I've been with my husband for 4 yrs before we got married. My husband had a kid with this girl who agreed to sleep with him and be casual friends in 2009. The girl befriended my in-laws so she can come to Australia and so my husband would acknowledge her child. Anyway, all she did was use my in-laws against my husband. My husband and in-laws have a great misunderstanding as they dont really see each other eye to eye. So this woman only made more problems between the two parties and I too was involved because she told the in-laws that we were abusing her and her child. She made up all this stories about how bad I am or how lazy I am, (though I am the one who did all the housework while she and her son stayed in their room the whole day) then back stabbed all of them after she got her PR.
 So the point was, I've been doing my best and every effort that I could to make my husband reconciliate with his parents for 4 years and all my MIL can see was the stories that this woman made. I even encouraged my husband to buy her mother gifts for special occasions and to buy her something when we go for out-of-town trips. Despite all my efforts, the MIL still thinks that I dont deserve her son and that I am a bad person. (My hisband actually became more understanding and considerate and patient because of me) During our wedding last June, my father-in-law didnt attend the event because they were mad that my PARENTS, contributed money for our wedding. They dont even recognize or give attention to my son, their own grandson, They just criticize him all the time and they always say that the son from her was actually better than my son.
 It's toxic, depressing and traumatizing. I started to degrade myself because of my MIL then I realized that it was wrong so I told my husband about what I felt. I told him everything. Good thing, my husband understands me and all of my efforts and he knows that I was trying to make him reconciliate with them because I am from a broken family. So after talking to my husband, I encouraged him to stop communicating with them, cut all ties and forget about all the pain. Cutting all ties helped, we live freely now without dictations from the in-laws and my husband is not stressed anymore. I too stopped stressing after cutting all ties with them. I know its not a good advice but this was the only thing that healed all my wounds.