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Topic : Getting Along With Your In-Laws

Number of Replies: 2467
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Created on : Thursday, July 07, 2005, 09:13:41 am
Author : dataimport
Love them, tolerate them, or despise them? Dealing with the in-laws can be stressful to a marriage. Share your stories and coping strategies.

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August 25, 2005, 2:59 pm CDT

Getting Along With Your In-Laws

Quote From: jenoc99

You need to give yourself alot of credit, here....this has been going on for nearly five years and you've tried and tried, and now you have accepted that this just isn't going to work..its not that you haven't tried..you have done all that you can do. Its time to have happy holidays with your husband and children, make memories that they will remember when they grow up and have families of their own. Its time to start your own traditions separate from his family. Who cares what they think or say if you aren't there...you are putting your own happiness and the happiness of your kids FIRST from now on. It sounds like your husband understand and acknowledges how his family "is", right? Its not fair that you are expected to endure this treatment year after year. From now on, you need to come up with a plan for your family for the holidays and stick to it. To have your family home on Christmas morning is wonderful, the kids get to open their presents and play with them, and mom and dad get to share in that. If they don't want to do Christmas eve with you guys, then thats their choice, but you don't have to keep tolerating their treatment of you. Encourage your husband to go on without you if he wants to, but be clear that you've had enough. Don't feel badly about this, you've tried!! I wish you the best!
Thank you very much, It helps to know that someone is understanding of this. I am going to discuss this stuff with my husband and see if I can't help him to see how they truly are. I am pretty sure he already knows. He doesn't like to admit and face the fact. He wishes he could change things but he knows deep down that he can't. Again thank you.
 
August 25, 2005, 8:02 pm CDT

Mother-in-Law lies and manipulates

My MIL was great before my husband and I got married and had a baby. She acts like she is the mother of my baby, not the grandmother. From the timewas daughter was born she insisted on me leaving the baby at her house. When she would come to see the baby she will carry her into another room to be alone with her. She wants to be in control of everything that has to do with my daughter. She wants her to be raised the way she wants. She will teach her to do things (like drink out of a real cup instead of a sippy cup) behind our back and then lie to us about it. She has even told me that my daughter won't crawl, she'll walk, and she won't use a sippy cup, she'll use a real cup. She doesn't say things like that or act controlling and pushy in front of my husband. Her lies worry me. She lies not only about things regarding our daughter but also about other things. She will lie to get my husband to do things for her that she just doesn't want to do. She also made made up a lie about the dentist saying and doing inappropriate things to her 10 year old daughter (my husbands half sister). I think she just wants attention from my husband. When my husband tried to talk to her about the issues we have with her she told him that she doesn't come over much anymore because she gets a bad vibe from me. I am very nice to her and act friendly. I have made the decision not to leave my daughter with her anymore. She can come visit and we will go visit her but I will not leave her there. I can't trust her to respect me as my daughter's mother. It has taken time for my husband to see her for who she is (somewhat). I don't get why she lies to us. She is 50 years old, it is very odd to me that she would act the way she does. She will hardly talk to me anymore or look at me. I have done nothing to her for her not to like me. I think she is just angry that I don't let her have her way with my daughter. My husband and I don't know how to fix this and have a relationship with her again. They used to be very close and don't talk much anymore.
 
August 26, 2005, 4:53 pm CDT

Manipulative MIL

Quote From: despwife15

My MIL was great before my husband and I got married and had a baby. She acts like she is the mother of my baby, not the grandmother. From the timewas daughter was born she insisted on me leaving the baby at her house. When she would come to see the baby she will carry her into another room to be alone with her. She wants to be in control of everything that has to do with my daughter. She wants her to be raised the way she wants. She will teach her to do things (like drink out of a real cup instead of a sippy cup) behind our back and then lie to us about it. She has even told me that my daughter won't crawl, she'll walk, and she won't use a sippy cup, she'll use a real cup. She doesn't say things like that or act controlling and pushy in front of my husband. Her lies worry me. She lies not only about things regarding our daughter but also about other things. She will lie to get my husband to do things for her that she just doesn't want to do. She also made made up a lie about the dentist saying and doing inappropriate things to her 10 year old daughter (my husbands half sister). I think she just wants attention from my husband. When my husband tried to talk to her about the issues we have with her she told him that she doesn't come over much anymore because she gets a bad vibe from me. I am very nice to her and act friendly. I have made the decision not to leave my daughter with her anymore. She can come visit and we will go visit her but I will not leave her there. I can't trust her to respect me as my daughter's mother. It has taken time for my husband to see her for who she is (somewhat). I don't get why she lies to us. She is 50 years old, it is very odd to me that she would act the way she does. She will hardly talk to me anymore or look at me. I have done nothing to her for her not to like me. I think she is just angry that I don't let her have her way with my daughter. My husband and I don't know how to fix this and have a relationship with her again. They used to be very close and don't talk much anymore.

The decision to not have your daughter stay at your MIL's house without you is a good one. You have to listen to your intuition on this...you are right about this woman, something isn't "right" with the way she is.  

Its only natural for a baby to crawl and then walk, and to drink from a sippy cup and then from a regular cup!! It sounds like she is desperate for attention, any kind of attention, even from a baby, thats why she will take the baby in another room to be alone with her- because she needs the one on one attention from the baby. I suggest following her when she does that!! She is using the baby to fullfill her needs, and its not healthy for the baby to grow up with the burden of making sure her grandmother is happy, its suppose to be the other way around!!  

Its going to be difficult for your husband to fully realize what his mother is doing because this is the woman he was raised around, so to him, some of her behavior is seen as 'normal' and other behaviors he might know are not normal, yet its just too difficult to admit that the person who is supposed to love you would do things harmful to you and/or your child. Who wants to admit that their own mother is a lieing manipulating sneak? Its not easy. But your husband needs to realize that the happiness of your child is in yours and his hands, and it is in your child's best interest to protect her.  

Keep smiling when you see your MIL and ask her about her life.. usually people like her love to talk about themselves. It is unfortunate that your husband and his mom aren't as close as they used to be, but how do you make another person stop being a liar? You can't. The only thing you can do is change your behavior towards her, as you have been. Is it possible for your husband to point out to her that he knows she has lied about certain things, or from now on could you agree that he will speak up when he knows she isn't being truthfull about things? She lies because she can, so the less she can lie and get away with it, the better off things will be.  

 
August 27, 2005, 5:41 am CDT

Controlling MIL

Quote From: despwife15

My MIL was great before my husband and I got married and had a baby. She acts like she is the mother of my baby, not the grandmother. From the timewas daughter was born she insisted on me leaving the baby at her house. When she would come to see the baby she will carry her into another room to be alone with her. She wants to be in control of everything that has to do with my daughter. She wants her to be raised the way she wants. She will teach her to do things (like drink out of a real cup instead of a sippy cup) behind our back and then lie to us about it. She has even told me that my daughter won't crawl, she'll walk, and she won't use a sippy cup, she'll use a real cup. She doesn't say things like that or act controlling and pushy in front of my husband. Her lies worry me. She lies not only about things regarding our daughter but also about other things. She will lie to get my husband to do things for her that she just doesn't want to do. She also made made up a lie about the dentist saying and doing inappropriate things to her 10 year old daughter (my husbands half sister). I think she just wants attention from my husband. When my husband tried to talk to her about the issues we have with her she told him that she doesn't come over much anymore because she gets a bad vibe from me. I am very nice to her and act friendly. I have made the decision not to leave my daughter with her anymore. She can come visit and we will go visit her but I will not leave her there. I can't trust her to respect me as my daughter's mother. It has taken time for my husband to see her for who she is (somewhat). I don't get why she lies to us. She is 50 years old, it is very odd to me that she would act the way she does. She will hardly talk to me anymore or look at me. I have done nothing to her for her not to like me. I think she is just angry that I don't let her have her way with my daughter. My husband and I don't know how to fix this and have a relationship with her again. They used to be very close and don't talk much anymore.
I won't repeat any of the good advice you recieved above, but will add that I think she's controlling as well. I think your husband understands what is going on here, that's probably why he doesn't get along with his mother. He may be stuck in a weird way of thinking that he was raised this way and he turned out OK, so with you there to stick up for your child, everything will turn out alright. He may not want to rock the boat with his mother.
You may have to speak to him, GENTLY, to find out more. If he was raised in a very controlling atmosphere, it may affect the way he relates to his daughter. He may be controlling with her, or the exact opposite, neither of which is good for both of them. One of the hardest lessons we learn with our children is that we don't have to fall into the patterns our parents taught us. When you put your heads together, and sometimes be open to new things, all of you are much happier, well adjusted people.
Good luck.
 
August 27, 2005, 8:07 am CDT

You Hit the Nail on the Head!!!

Quote From: jenoc99

It sounds like your alcoholic BIL has no class, and his wife and MIL are desperatly trying to cover up his alcohol problem by turning this around onto YOU. Its not true, you did nothing wrong, what he said was innapropriate. He is the one who should be appologizing. But most likely he will continue to hide behind his alcohol and be demeaning. What you and your husband should do is not go there and subject yourself to his verbal abuse. You don't deserve it, and it will frustrate him to not have people to verbaly abuse- he doesn't get his "payoff". 

  

As for not having a relationship, or the kind of relationship you dreamed of, with these in-laws-- you've got to let these things happen with time. Don't be bitter that they aren't reaching out to you more, some people just are not like that. Also, you can't take it personaly. It is better to have small amounts of contact and have it be genuine, then to have alot of it and have it be forced or fake. Relax and enjoy your marriage, don't worry about what the in-laws are doing, or what they aren't doing. You mention there are some relatives that you get along well with, enjoy their company when you can, and let the other relationship develop slowly, over time. There is no rush to "bond" with these people. 

I cannot believe how much you read into what I had posted; my husband has actually been saying all along that this situation is fully about the alcoholic & the enablers; I also agree that these relationships aren't something that should be forced; last Friday, my husband & I took his mom (my MIL) out for dinner; we had a very pleasant time; we talked & she seemed so much more relaxed than when she's around her daughter & son-in-law. I showed my husband your response to my post, and he agreed with everything you stated.  However, there is one small problem: my SIL (the one living here) had a baby in June, 2004; my husband "wants to see her growing up", even though he rarely if ever makes any attempts to set up time to see the baby; of course, when we do see her, we have to deal with all the adults in the situation: MIL, SIL, BIL and all the nonsense (BIL's drunk friends, etc.); my husband is very "insistent" about this, but at the same time, I really would rather just have the baby visit with us, IE: we could take her out or bring her with us to a special outing, rather than visit with all the other chaos that goes along with it.  My husband still gets upset when I say "I don't mind going there, as long as we're not there for hours at a time"; I guess I'm just feeling that our most recent history will repeat, and the pattern of our visits will go back to before the "blow up" on the 4th of July weekend; any suggestions on how to convince him that maybe we should leave things alone for a while?
 
August 27, 2005, 2:56 pm CDT

alcohol & enablers....

Quote From: kandyland2

I cannot believe how much you read into what I had posted; my husband has actually been saying all along that this situation is fully about the alcoholic & the enablers; I also agree that these relationships aren't something that should be forced; last Friday, my husband & I took his mom (my MIL) out for dinner; we had a very pleasant time; we talked & she seemed so much more relaxed than when she's around her daughter & son-in-law. I showed my husband your response to my post, and he agreed with everything you stated.  However, there is one small problem: my SIL (the one living here) had a baby in June, 2004; my husband "wants to see her growing up", even though he rarely if ever makes any attempts to set up time to see the baby; of course, when we do see her, we have to deal with all the adults in the situation: MIL, SIL, BIL and all the nonsense (BIL's drunk friends, etc.); my husband is very "insistent" about this, but at the same time, I really would rather just have the baby visit with us, IE: we could take her out or bring her with us to a special outing, rather than visit with all the other chaos that goes along with it.  My husband still gets upset when I say "I don't mind going there, as long as we're not there for hours at a time"; I guess I'm just feeling that our most recent history will repeat, and the pattern of our visits will go back to before the "blow up" on the 4th of July weekend; any suggestions on how to convince him that maybe we should leave things alone for a while?

I've had personal experiences simular to yours, thats why I'm able to read the underlying 'stuff'.... I guess its not clear to me why your husband gets upset when you say you don't mind going, but you don't want to stay for hours at a time? Whats so upsetting about that- you are offering a logical compromise for a potentially chaotic situation with his family. He's fully aware of what will happen, there is a very clear pattern of your BIL's verbal abuse and alcoholism, so why stay and tolerate it? There isn't any need to do that. 

As for your neice, what about offering to babysit her, like you suggested taking  her out with you guys or even sleeping over at your house, she's a toddler now, so that would be a wonderful way for your husband to forge a bond with her. Its difficult, if not very near impossible, to have a healthy bond with this neice when the "visiting" is done around all of the family chaos. If you guys take her and do special things with her, creating fun memories for her, she will always remember you guys as saving her from that chaotic family environment- and thats a good thing. Every kid who has an alcoholic parent needs to have other adults in the family willing to take them away from that once in awhile and show her what "normal" really is...otherwise she will grow up thinking that kind of home life is normal, and she will seek out a mate like her father. Then, the cycle starts all over again.  

You are so right about the pattern of your visits returning to how they were...as long as everyone just pretends that things are fine, things are great, then the BIL will continue his rude behavior and others will continue to cover and make excuses for him. Keep your distance. You guys don't have to be in on the enabling! If you return to your same old pattern of going there, its like saying its okay to be treated like crap by him...and its not ok.  

I suggest offering to take the baby for a few hours here and there, and once she gets more familiar with the two of  you, then offer to have her overnight. I don't see how your husband can "see her grow up" otherwise, unless he decides to go there and be a verbal punching bag. I wish you guys the best of luck- whatever you do, don't allow this to affect your relationship with one another! Honestly there might always be some problems or tension with the in-laws, things might never be perfect, but it shouldn't effect your relationship. 

 
August 28, 2005, 11:47 am CDT

I know how awful I am!

Quote From: kmlett

Wow that's amazing that you think you know me so well from a message board. LOL Hey you are intilted to you opinion but.. I really don't care what you say because you sound as hateful as them so .... your post matter very little to me.

I'm immature enough to want to hand out the Christmas presents using an old english parlour game my husband's family discovered.  I'm also controlling enough to expect to carry on doing it AFTER my brother married his wife.  THE NERVE!  Civilised adults just don't make a game out of giving presents.  (It's just as bad, if not worse, as liking to watch sports on holiday and being territorial about the cooking.)   

  

Some families are impossible but most can be put up with for at least 5 or 6 days a year so your spouse can have EVERYONE he/she calls family in the same room.   

  

 
August 28, 2005, 2:36 pm CDT

more info......

Quote From: jenoc99

The decision to not have your daughter stay at your MIL's house without you is a good one. You have to listen to your intuition on this...you are right about this woman, something isn't "right" with the way she is.  

Its only natural for a baby to crawl and then walk, and to drink from a sippy cup and then from a regular cup!! It sounds like she is desperate for attention, any kind of attention, even from a baby, thats why she will take the baby in another room to be alone with her- because she needs the one on one attention from the baby. I suggest following her when she does that!! She is using the baby to fullfill her needs, and its not healthy for the baby to grow up with the burden of making sure her grandmother is happy, its suppose to be the other way around!!  

Its going to be difficult for your husband to fully realize what his mother is doing because this is the woman he was raised around, so to him, some of her behavior is seen as 'normal' and other behaviors he might know are not normal, yet its just too difficult to admit that the person who is supposed to love you would do things harmful to you and/or your child. Who wants to admit that their own mother is a lieing manipulating sneak? Its not easy. But your husband needs to realize that the happiness of your child is in yours and his hands, and it is in your child's best interest to protect her.  

Keep smiling when you see your MIL and ask her about her life.. usually people like her love to talk about themselves. It is unfortunate that your husband and his mom aren't as close as they used to be, but how do you make another person stop being a liar? You can't. The only thing you can do is change your behavior towards her, as you have been. Is it possible for your husband to point out to her that he knows she has lied about certain things, or from now on could you agree that he will speak up when he knows she isn't being truthfull about things? She lies because she can, so the less she can lie and get away with it, the better off things will be.  

I agree with your opinion of why she is acting the way she is. It's been really hard for me to describe her actions and the way it makes me feel to my husband. I'm am also afraid that the problems are more complex with this woman than what you just see on the surface. Here is some background. When she divorced my husbands father she quickly moved on to a much younger man and purposely got pregnant because she always wanted a girl. When she found out I was pregnant she left her husband and moved with her daughter to where we live in another state. So now she lives minutes from us and has no man in her life. She doesn't work or do anything. She was expecting to move here and take care of our daughter full-time (because that's what she wanted, not us) but I am staying home with my daughter. She constantly refers to her son (my husband) by her estranged husbands name, which I find to be odd. She is always asking my husband to come over to do this and that for her, even late in the evening after he gets home from work and is tired. He is like her fill-in husband. I was told that my MIL and her siblings were severely abused growing up. They were sexually abused by a family member (I don't know if it was their father or uncle) in horrific ways. Her family was also strictly religous and very secretive. Her mother died when she was about 10. She was the baby of the family and she said her father spoiled her. She has made inappropriate sexual comments to and in front of her daughter. She talks very openly about sex with my husband and it makes him uncomfortable. She has done things in the past like ask him to buy her batteries for her vibrator. She doesn't act like this anymore now that there is tension between us. She is very short and fake around us now. She goes to church on Sunday but she isn't religous, it seems like part of an image. My husband says that he knows that his mom would never do anything to hurt out daughter, like molest her. I can't say that that is what my concern is, although it is in the back of my mind. But I can't pin point what exactly I am afraid of with her besides the issue you addressed already.
 
August 28, 2005, 7:25 pm CDT

You could almost be describing my MIL

Quote From: despwife15

My MIL was great before my husband and I got married and had a baby. She acts like she is the mother of my baby, not the grandmother. From the timewas daughter was born she insisted on me leaving the baby at her house. When she would come to see the baby she will carry her into another room to be alone with her. She wants to be in control of everything that has to do with my daughter. She wants her to be raised the way she wants. She will teach her to do things (like drink out of a real cup instead of a sippy cup) behind our back and then lie to us about it. She has even told me that my daughter won't crawl, she'll walk, and she won't use a sippy cup, she'll use a real cup. She doesn't say things like that or act controlling and pushy in front of my husband. Her lies worry me. She lies not only about things regarding our daughter but also about other things. She will lie to get my husband to do things for her that she just doesn't want to do. She also made made up a lie about the dentist saying and doing inappropriate things to her 10 year old daughter (my husbands half sister). I think she just wants attention from my husband. When my husband tried to talk to her about the issues we have with her she told him that she doesn't come over much anymore because she gets a bad vibe from me. I am very nice to her and act friendly. I have made the decision not to leave my daughter with her anymore. She can come visit and we will go visit her but I will not leave her there. I can't trust her to respect me as my daughter's mother. It has taken time for my husband to see her for who she is (somewhat). I don't get why she lies to us. She is 50 years old, it is very odd to me that she would act the way she does. She will hardly talk to me anymore or look at me. I have done nothing to her for her not to like me. I think she is just angry that I don't let her have her way with my daughter. My husband and I don't know how to fix this and have a relationship with her again. They used to be very close and don't talk much anymore.

One thing you need to pay very close attention to is your gut or motherly instincts.  When we have them, I think the tendency can be to brush them off or feel we are being unreasonable.  But when we have this sort of gut reaction to someone, it should NEVER be ignored. 

  

Listen to any Police or FBI officer talk about working a homicide case, for example.  They will tell you how many cases have been solved by someone's gut feeling that was investigated further. 

  

My point is that your gut is trying to tell you something and you need to listen. 

  

This woman, your MIL, is unquestionably controlling.  She is without a doubt being deceptive and two-faced.  I experienced these same sorts of behaviours.  It is nothing that reads as psychotic but nevertheless causes one to feel uncomfortable.  My MIL was a master of only saying the really awful things when no one else was around.  She did this for over 15 years, to be exact.  Then, finally, she was bitter and jealous at my baby's baptism party and shot off her mouth a little too much and too loudly.  So many people called and complained to my husband that he finally had to believe what I had been telling him all along.  His belief in me came too little and too late, but that is besides the point. 

  

I was right about the woman all along.  My instincts were right.  Now in your case, you have additional information about your MIL which suggests there may be even more grounds for you to worry- she was molested as a child.  Abuse can tend to carry on from one generation to the next.  But even sometimes it can be a matter of your own beliefs or boundaries. 

  

For example, a friend of mine thought it was really funny one time to play with my three month old son's penis when he had his diaper off.  She was calling it his "cute little tinker" and just giggling away like it was all perfectly commonplace.  My other friend and I said "Keep your hands off, thanks."  But our friend just laughed it off as if it was perfectly normal and told us both to lighten up.  Needless to say, I didn't let her change any more diapers for my son. 

  

But anyway, the bottom line here is that you are the mother.  She had her chance to raise her own kids and since they were babies, the world has changed so much.  That's not to say that other generations can't offer some invaluable advice, but stepping in and trying to take over and steamroller you against your wishes--well, that's just something else again. 

  

Remind your husband of the old "divide and conquer" theory, because I really believe that in large part, this could be what your MIL is up to.  As for hubby going over there late at night to do stuff, unless it is an emergency, this is taking away from your own family time.  He will have to take a stand and say no a few times until she gets it.  Of course there is nothing wrong with him helping out his family but his mother quite clearly has more of an agenda here and he  needs to see all this for what it is.   

  

Good luck with it and stay strong, 

  

SB 

  

  

  

  

 
August 29, 2005, 7:56 am CDT

Your MIL is toxic!!

Quote From: despwife15

I agree with your opinion of why she is acting the way she is. It's been really hard for me to describe her actions and the way it makes me feel to my husband. I'm am also afraid that the problems are more complex with this woman than what you just see on the surface. Here is some background. When she divorced my husbands father she quickly moved on to a much younger man and purposely got pregnant because she always wanted a girl. When she found out I was pregnant she left her husband and moved with her daughter to where we live in another state. So now she lives minutes from us and has no man in her life. She doesn't work or do anything. She was expecting to move here and take care of our daughter full-time (because that's what she wanted, not us) but I am staying home with my daughter. She constantly refers to her son (my husband) by her estranged husbands name, which I find to be odd. She is always asking my husband to come over to do this and that for her, even late in the evening after he gets home from work and is tired. He is like her fill-in husband. I was told that my MIL and her siblings were severely abused growing up. They were sexually abused by a family member (I don't know if it was their father or uncle) in horrific ways. Her family was also strictly religous and very secretive. Her mother died when she was about 10. She was the baby of the family and she said her father spoiled her. She has made inappropriate sexual comments to and in front of her daughter. She talks very openly about sex with my husband and it makes him uncomfortable. She has done things in the past like ask him to buy her batteries for her vibrator. She doesn't act like this anymore now that there is tension between us. She is very short and fake around us now. She goes to church on Sunday but she isn't religous, it seems like part of an image. My husband says that he knows that his mom would never do anything to hurt out daughter, like molest her. I can't say that that is what my concern is, although it is in the back of my mind. But I can't pin point what exactly I am afraid of with her besides the issue you addressed already.

That is SO incredible that she assumed that she would just move on down there and take care of your baby full time, without even discussing it! Weird! 

Everything you describe about your MIL is toxic. A book that I read that helped me so much was called "toxic in-laws" by Susan Forward. That book changed my life! It helped me so much to know that it wasn't just me, I wasn't imagining things or over-reacting to things. I highly suggest this book to you- I got it at half.com for pretty cheap. 

Good luck to you, keep your chin up!! 

 
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