Lana regularly offers support to women who deal with narcissistic abuse and other difficult family or relationship issues via her blogs.
Emotionally Manipulative Mother-in-Law 101
They don't call them monsters-in-law for nothing.
Mothers-in-law are notorious for being controlling, judgmental, critical, and overbearing. And like any toxic person, a toxic mother-in-law is a soul-sucking parasite that feeds on your misery.
To protect yourself and your loved ones, you need to know your enemy. So here are 14 signs you might be dealing with a toxic mother-in-law.
"When a couple defers to meddling in-laws, it adds considerable stress to a partnership."
— Susan Newman, Ph.D., psychologist and author
14 Signs You Have a Toxic Mother-in-Law
Whether your mother-in-law demonstrates all of these signs or just a few, to some extent it doesn't make much practical difference. She's controlling, manipulative, and judgmental—and she makes your life difficult.
1. She is always right, without exception.
Which means that she's never wrong. She'll never admit being wrong, and she will never apologize for anything. That would surely cause the collapse of the Western civilization and contradict the premise that she's always right. In her eyes, you (and possibly your spouse) are the only one to blame.
2. She is dismissive.
She will ignore you for the most part, conveying that you don't matter to her. She will not listen to a word you say. She'll ask you if you're hungry, hear "no," and still put food on your plate. She'll also disregard any of your accomplishments as insignificant and unworthy of her attention. Only things that have value to her are important.
3. She makes it clear she doesn't like you.
She will communicate to you, in a thousand subtle ways, that you are not good enough for her child or for her family. She will not say it to your face, no, but you will hear the message loud and clear. Depending on your self-esteem, you will either feel devastated or slightly amused.
4. She expects complete subservience.
To establish her dominance, she will expect you to please her. That would include adopting her opinions, religion, culture, appearing at every family event, learning her ways of cooking, cleaning and just about everything else under the sun (because her way is clearly better), and, last but not least, giving her grandchildren. If you fail to do any of that, you are indeed a rotten son- or daughter-in-law, and she has a right to complain about you to anyone who'll listen.
5. She has control issues.
If she can't get you to respect her authority, she'll tighten the reins on your spouse, her other kids, her grandchildren, and as many friends and family as possible. She'll make simple things complicated just to prove to everyone she's the one calling the shots.
6. She doesn't respect your words, choices, or personal space.
She will come to your house uninvited and unannounced, expecting you to welcome her with open arms and be grateful for the honor of her visit. She will look with disgust at how filthy your place is and how badly mannered your kids are.
7. She plays emotional games.
Her narrow mentality dictates that she must rule by withholding her affection and approval. So she will use silent treatments, guilt, blame, and direct intimidation to manipulate you and your spouse. If the spouse is not siding with her, she will be punishing and destructive towards them, too. At the same time, she will demonstratively grant her love to her other children and their spouses.
8. She loves an audience, and she's very concerned with appearances.
In public, she will enact a charming, cultured woman who is a selfless caretaker of her family. She may even be known as a philanthropist in her community. Most people will fall for that. They will not understand what beef you could possibly have with such a great lady. Don't try to dissuade them. Let them stay in the matrix. Let them enjoy their steak.
9. She's completely self-centered and narcissistic.
Like any narcissist, she sees her children not as individuals, but as extensions of herself. Everything they do reflects on her, so she will go to great lengths to correct any deviation from the path she's chosen. That includes the people they marry; you. She will never give up trying to destroy your marriage or control her children's lives.
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10. She engages in smear tactics.
If she feels that her seat on the throne is threatened, she will become extremely defensive and passive-aggressive. She will start a smear campaign in her community, trying to turn everyone against you. You'll know she's not pleased when you start hearing all the rumors and lies she says about you behind your back. Eventually she'll try to turn your spouse against you, too.
11. She's vindictive, spiteful, grudge-holding, and punishing.
If she feels threatened by you, she'll figure out a thousand ways to make you suffer for it. Get ready for guilt trips, silent treatments, finger-pointing, button-pushing, and manipulation. She'll turn all of her affection elsewhere just to spite you. She'll play favorites with everyone else, hoping to make you suffer even more.
12. She shows you a negative side she hides from everyone else.
At some point you'll realize that your mother-in-law has two faces: the nice respectable one she shows to friends and family, and the negative, critical, toxic side she saves just for you. And if you tell anyone, they'll think you're crazy for complaining about such a sweet lady.
13. She acts like she cares (but it's all show).
There will be times when she's nice to you (usually, after you've done something she approves of). She might get you a nice gift for your birthday, support your opinion or compliment you (or at least refrain from insults for once). At this point you might be tempted to think that she's starting to accept you. But don't be fooled.
14. She's just waiting for you to let your guard down.
Don't lose your vigilance even when she's on her best behavior. It may look like things are getting better. Then, out of nowhere, she will turn on you again, and you will be reminded that she will never accept you, and you can never have a relationship with her. That's not necessarily a bad thing, by the way.
10 Tips for Dealing With a Toxic Mother-In-Law
The problem with a problematic mother-in-law is that she's here to stay. So how can deal with her so she doesn't drive you out of your mind—or come between you and your partner?
1. Consider why she might be treating you this way.
Not that understanding will excuse her behavior, but knowing why she's acting this way will give you clarity and help guide your reactions.
2. Avoid escalating conflict.
Don't let her bait you into an emotional reaction. Instead of adding fuel to her fire, practice de-escalation techniques and conflict management.
3. Remember that strong emotions make bad situations worse, so learn to detach.
Instead of getting your feelings hurt, remember that her attitude has little to do with you. If the conflict is impossible to avoid, go ahead and respond honestly. Don't be rude, but be clear and neutral about your feelings.
4. Recognize and avoid triggers.
You are the bigger person, the one who understands the larger picture, so use that perspective in your favor. If she always acts out when you're at her house, then don't go over there so often. If she gets weird and controlling around holidays, have an escape plan in place.
5. Verbalize and enforce your boundaries.
Can she drop by unannounced? Can she assert her own religious beliefs over yours? Can she dictate how your parent your children? Decide where you draw the line and don't back down from it.
6. Don’t pick fights, but stand up for yourself.
Let her do all the fight-picking, mud-slinging, and finger-pointing—instead of reacting emotionally or defensively, simply stand your ground. Say, "You clearly have strong feelings about [insert subject here], but I feel differently," or "I'm glad that worked for you, but I prefer to do it this way."
7. Enlist your partner's help.
He or she must play an active role on your team, helping his or her mother adapt to her new position in the family hierarchy.
8. Insist on some physical distance.
You don't need to move out-of-state, but you also don't need to attend every little event. Let your spouse continue their relationship with their mother, but you don't have to be involved all the time.
9. Remember that she's probably not going to change.
Don't endlessly try to make things better, solve the problems, mend all the fences, and improve yourself. At some point you have to admit that this is the way things are and move on.
10. Don't let her toxicity poison you.
Dwelling on all the negative things your mother-in-law says and does is no way to live your life. At some point, her motives, actions and feelings should fade into the background so you can focus on yourself and your relationship, instead.
On a Personal Note...
On a personal note, I don't expect to be friends with my MIL any time soon, or ever. I think we're too different for that, and at the same time, too similar in that we're both strong women who don't back down. I understand her frustrations with me, but I also understand that those frustrations have nothing to do with me. It's just self-aggrandizing rejection of "the lesser."
Lastly, I find great comfort in the fact that my own mother is a kind, caring, generous woman who's a wonderful mother-in-law to my husband. So that makes my monster-in-law somewhat bearable, and at times even amusing.
Recommended for You
- How to Handle Your Monster-in-Law | Psychology Today
The strain that parents-in-law can put on a couple’s relationship is no laughing matter. It can, in fact, ultimately destroy a relationship. Here's how to cope.
- 8 Steps to Taking Your Power Back From a Toxic Mother-in-Law
Does your mother-in-law suck the joy out of your life and make you feel powerless? Then it's time to take your power back.
- Toxic Mother-In-Law: 5 Years Later
This sequel to "14 Signs You Have a Toxic Mother-In-Law" reveals if the relationship with a toxic mother-in-law can change for the better.
- 9 Ways To Deal With A Mother-In-Law Who Feels More Like A Monster-In-Law | HuffPost Life
Meddling in-laws can wreak absolute havoc on an otherwise healthy relationship—even if they mean well.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: How do I get my spouse to side with me against his mom when he knows I am right?
Answer: I’m not sure you can. In situations like this a husband is often caught between a rock and a hard place. It’s a delicate balance where you want to be neutral yet still supportive of your wife. But your husband made a different choice, and it’s a wrong choice for his marriage. I think he needs to explore why he needs his mother’s approval so much, he’s willing to sacrifice his relationship for it.
Question: I've put up with a toxic MIL for 35 years. The entire family knows her game. She has become so emotionally abusive to her son (my husband), that he is experiencing major health problems because of it. (Heart issues/stress related attacks). She is the complete picture of a Narcissistic personality. When we try and completely avoid her/cut her out, she gets 100 times worst. This woman won't go away. What do I do?
Answer: Don't try and avoid her. Go no contact, period. Move away, block her number, stop feeding into her blame games. People with a narcissistic personality can be extremely vicious, abusive and selfish. Do what is best for your family.
Question: I have been having an issue with my MIL lately. She never says bad things to my face but always to my husband behind closed doors, and then he will come to me and tell me about what she had to say. We stay on the property and my husband does not want to move because he wants to stay close to his family. It has gone that far as to him saying that he wants a divorce because he can't deal with the tension between his mom and me. Is this normal?
Answer: It's normal for a husband to love, honor and support his wife. Your husband seems to blame you for the tension. If that's how he feels, perhaps he doesn't appreciate you the way you deserve. Do you want to be with him?
Question: I had a discussion with my mother-in-law last year about boundaries, and I feel like they were ignored. What should I do?
Answer: That’s to be expected. Your MIL will test your boundaries many times. You just have to remain firm and remind her of your conversation every time she steps over the line.
Question: Is it possible for the self-aggrandizing person to be clueless? As if they don’t know they’re hurting you. Can someone be that disconnected?
Answer: I've been wondering about that myself. How can someone be so oblivious? There's no way! But I do believe that it's extraordinarily difficult for a self-centered person to empathize with other people. It's just not in their nature. They only see and feel themselves and all the real and imagined ways other people hurt THEM. So the short answer is: yes, it's possible to be that disconnected. But it doesn't mean they're not responsible for their actions.
Question: What do I do if I am the toxic MIL?
Answer: I applaud your self-awareness. Most toxic MILs would scoff at the suggestion that they're toxic.
If you've recognized yourself in all 14 points on the list, perhaps you can start a fresh new page with your DIL. It's never too late to fix a relationship when both people just want peace.
Question: Do you have any tips on how to deal with starting a family with a toxic mother-in-law?
Answer: Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries from the start! I.e.: "I appreciate your opinion but my husband and I will be making that decision on our own."
Question: After 28 years, could I tell my in-laws that they are not welcome in my home if they constantly disregard and disrespect me?
Answer: Anything is possible. You just have to be prepared to deal with the consequences because my guess is, they’re not going to take it well.
Question: I’ve dealt with a manipulative mother in law for eighteen years. We tried to discuss it with her but she just puts the waterworks on and my husband breaks instantly. I’m fed up and don’t want anything to do with her anymore but obviously understand that my husband does and would never ask him to choose. How can I approach this?
Answer: Just try to be around her as little as possible, but be understanding and supportive of your husband wanting to have a relationship with his mom.
Question: Can a husband have a Monster in Law?
Answer: Yes, absolutely. It’s a common scenario.
Question: My mother in law refused to talk to us when we tried to set our boundaries regarding our children and my husband sided with me. But I feel that it's worrying my husband very much. Should I talk to her again and find a compromise?
Answer: I don't think you should compromise on your boundaries. It will send her the message that you're not really serious about it and that she can manipulate you with the silent treatment. She'll pout for a bit but she will come around. And when she does, make sure that you uphold your boundaries every time she tries to test them (she will).
Question: What about the other way around? My mother never really liked my choice of husband nor did she think he was good enough for me; constantly pointing out his past and present faults. He hates going over to her to fix things, as he feels he can never do things right by her.
Answer: That's a valid point. I'm sure many men deal with this issue, and it can be very frustrating for them as well.
How bad is it? Is she expressing her disapproval to you or him? I'm a big believer in setting the boundaries from the get-go, and communicating to difficult mothers that any disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated.
But I also believe that, in most cases, that communication should be coming from her child, not the spouse. Otherwise, it will breed more conflict. It's on you to set your mother straight. Even though she doesn't agree with your choice of husband, it's your choice. She either has to accept it, or accept the fact that it will negatively affect your mother-daughter relationship. So which one would she choose?
Question: How can I get my husband to stand up to his toxic mother and ask her to act like an adult and not a bully? Or is divorce my only option now to make her happy?
Answer: What do you want to happen? Do you believe your husband can change this much? And if he can't, are you willing to tolerate the situation for the rest of your life (or her life)? Or is there something you can do to affect a change? These questions are for you; I can't answer them. If you can't figure out the answers, perhaps you can try family therapy.
Question: How should I respond to the bad mother-in-law-to-be?
Answer: Establish boundaries from the get-go. This is the biggest piece of advice I can give to any bride. If you see red flags, immediately nip it in the bud. Respectfully.
Question: My husband has been lying to me about money that his mother has been giving him, She has been telling him to hide it from me and he goes along with it because he needs the money. She is a full blown narcissist. I'm not sure how much more I can take. How do I deal with this?
Answer: I think that's an issue between you and your husband. Obviously, he knows how you feel about it, that's why he lied. How's your relationship in general? Does he lie often? Does he have a codependent relationship with his mother? This might be something to address in family therapy.
Question: How do I handle my mother-in-law when she lives with us permanently?
Answer: If there is no other way but to live with your MIL, you have to develop zen-like patience, but also be clear and firm with her about your boundaries. It's your house. Many issues can be avoided or minimized when there's clear communication from the start.
© 2015 Lana Adler
Lana Adler (author) from California on August 23, 2020:
That's really vicious, Monicca. I'm so sorry about your miscarriage. No one should say such vile things to a woman that just lost a pregnancy.
Monicca on August 23, 2020:
My MIL hates me she even accuse me of bewiching her son and when her son is not around she call her daughter n tell her that m a bed women bcus her son does not give her money n i jst had miscarriage she says she thank god i had it
Anissa por on July 17, 2020:
Before we move out my mom use to tell me hurtful stuff about my boyfriend that I will live in poverty and call him names at times he wouldnt be at our home but by his friends but his friends and my friend live in the same village and my mom would come down at the back to embarace my boyfriend she would tell him things for ppl to laugh him and till this day she keep doing it we would be outside not doing anything but me squeezing boils on his face and my mom would be like what the fuck going on get respect for your self and respect me like come on we in doing nothing what is going on is stressful and I can't take it any more it has been going on sooo for 5 good years and nothing has been done it is alot more to say but I in able type all that but I would like to get an answer to y she is going on like that
Lana Adler (author) from California on July 16, 2020:
my article was edited by the site administrators so I didn't even write the part you're referring to. I actually came to the same conclusion after dealing with my MIL for years...I ignore her whenever I can, and other times I try to find humor in this. I also try to find *material* for my blog (Toxic Ties dot com) and that helps a lot too!!! Just looking at it as material. The worse it is, the better the post will be LOL.
I actually come from a Greek family on my mother's side so I can tell you: not all Greek people are like this! Your MIL is giving us a bad name :)
Seriously though, you're so lucky you live in different countries! The visits can be tough but then you go and live your life that's almost completely separate from hers. I live 20 minutes from my MIL so it's a different story :)
Anyway, you got the right idea! Laugh and ignore...Nothing makes them madder than not having the power to affect you.
Adrienn on July 16, 2020:
My MIL is just like the description above. She is a narrow-minded, nasty Greek woman, who firmly believes that her son ruined their family's reputation by marrying a Hungarian (me). We live in separate countries so I see her only once a year, or so, plus her house is so filthy, even my husbands doesn't want to stay with her. She refused to say my name for years, instead she called me on my husband's ex girlfriend's name. She tried to pressure me into learning Greek (I didn't), take on Greek Orthodoxy (I didn't), cook only Greek food, you name it. When she came to visit us after my son was born, she told me that breastfeeding is disgusting, whilst I was standing next to her holding my newborn. I love the article but honestly the only thing that worked for me was to ignore her completely. I pretend that she doesn't exist. This way, I even find humour in the rare encounters with her family and she can't hurt me the way she used to.
Seema on July 15, 2020:
What I do when my mother in law killed my daughter and son by not giving me food . She send me in field for doing work without giving me fool . Dont give me place to live don't give me any blanket I used clothes given by my sister to cover myself during winters . What I dooo ..
Seriously on July 06, 2020:
My husband blindly helped his parents for YEARS! He gave them money for so long until he realized what they were doing with it. So he would start to say he had to check with me to see if we had money to give them. We moved to a town about 20 minutes away and they would drive right passed without stopping to see their grandkids. Then they would complain that they never saw the kids. When the kids were smaller they would occasionally stay the night, but we'd have to give them money so they could buy snacks and food for them. They had received a large sum of money, TWICE and squandered it instead of spending wisely and investing. They downgraded homes twice, until all they had was an RV. His father died, and MIL came to live with us. She spent 6 months in my room, in my bed, while we were on an air mattress in a guest room. We were in the middle of moving. Four months after her husband died, she was on dating sites, having meetings with men. She met one she liked and moved into his apartment. We all went on with our lives until Covid. The new guy got laid off, so they came out to our place with the RV until work starts back up. They have a vacation home but can't travel there right now. I was under the assumption that they'd stay out here until he got another job, or they could go back to their vacation spot. Then her plan changed to getting a box trailer to pull behind their truck when they moved the RV. THEN it turned into, "We're buying a 2BR trailer and moving to your property" Gah! Wtf? Why? It wouldn't be so bad, but she's the type that does things even when you ask her not to. We don't eat much sugar, especially at home, and she was constantly bringing over sweets. She would make dishes for me to bake in my oven and put ingredients in them that she KNOWS I can't eat, then say, "I left some without the topping for you". But it's not the topping, it's what's IN it. She made homemade salsa and gave us some. I didn't have any, but my husband did and told her tasted strange. He asked what was in it... Sugar! Oh, but she just put a little in it. That's not the point. Why put sugar in everything? I make sauces, desserts and things without grains and sugar. We had other company over for dinner and I asked the guest of they'd like to try my sauce. She said yes, she'd love to. My MIL said, right behind me, she didn't want to try any because it doesn't taste good, and "Her taste buds are messed up". But SHE'S the one that used to drink a 12 pack of Coke every day! She gets drunk and says extremely rude things. She complains about her health, and her doctor, but then doesn't listen to any of the kind advice I've given her. She admits to doing little things to get on my nerves. She brags about the government money they get, and the things they buy, but her son just turned 40 and she said she didn't get him anything because she didn't know what he wanted. She didn't sing to him because my family was here and my mother and her had a disagreement and she walked out. Our son went to her RV to tell her we were about to sing, but she was too busy watching a movie. Later, my husband went and took them some cake. Kissing her ass as usual.
Why does she have to live here? Oh, she told me it was only because it was free land. But then she told my mom it was because my husband likes her to be close. Like he NEEDS her or something. She said the same thing when our son was born. My husband cried, and he went to tell the family everything went great, and because my husband was crying, she told everyone it was because he needed his mom. No bitch! It was because he just watched his first child being brought into the world. They were happy tears! Not "I need my momma" tears. Get over yourself!
We've argued about it, and my husband pretty much told me that his mom gets to live here, or he's leaving. But I don't want to be left here with her! Lol
This was not the plan. Ugh!
Suchismita on July 01, 2020:
All d points applicable to my MIL
Whtever said here it's all True
It's very Difficult to handle dese kind of Ladies.
Somewhere I Feel like to go back to my past n delete my Marriage with this Family. But by God Grace I m Somewhat Saved bcoz of my Hubby. He understand the things How My MIL does the things knowingly?
Riffat Junaid from Pakistan on June 28, 2020:
I have mother in law like you describe and some times it feels difficult to deal with her but you wrote good tips.
Lana Adler (author) from California on June 24, 2020:
you can't tell your husband not to talk to his mother. He has to come to this decision on his own. 12 years is a long time. Perhaps he's hoping that she'd changed. However, in my experience, narcissists don't change.
It'll be OK :) A zebra can't change its stripes.
Mireille on June 21, 2020:
I can relate with you. I experienced this with 4 partners in my life. The first time, my ex-partner's mother started mobbing me for no reason, but at least my ex-partner, his father and his brother saw through her toxicity, even if I didn't tell anyone of them. Her toxic behavior became her own trap and his father divorced because of her destructive behavior.
But I also experienced it in another toxic way, in the role of the daughter of the toxic woman. My mother became a nightmare for the other 3 ex-partners, as she didn't want to lose control over me. She tried to make my ex-partners break up with me, but we fought back together, in order to take her power away.
Kitti88 on June 21, 2020:
Hello Everyone. My name is Kitti from the UK. And I have been struggling with my monster in law for 5 years. Im about to give up my marriage. I need to tell my story and if somebody could give me an advice that would be so good.
Klaire on June 20, 2020:
Hi Lana, I’d like to ask for your suggestion about how to handle toxic MIL or just to handle the situation.
It’s been almost 2 years since I got married. I was in relationship with my husband (the first son from 3 brothers) for 6.5 years.
During those 6.5 years these happened:
- MIL always found something wrong with me and talk bad about me to her other sons, to find support so my hubby breakup with me.
- MIL played God by saying if my hubby didn’t break up with me, she would disown him and ask for all the money she spent from the moment she gave birth to him. Extra info: MIL is a full-time housewife since she got married, so her husband is the bread-winner.
- My hubby depressed and almost committed suicide.
- I didn’t enjoy to be in the relationship with him because of anxiety of getting trampled by her. Rejection after rejection hurt my feelings. I pitied my hubby, so I didn’t want to leave him because he always defended me, too.
- Hubby has awkward relationships with his brothers. (They just talk about games and work, but not really about relationship or personal stuff) because of the bad images about me that their mom put in to her sons head.
- My hubby went to many psychologists and some psychiatrist and I also did a lot of tests and consultations too. Hubby was diagnosed with depression because of family situation, I was diagnosed with stress and sometimes mild somatic (migraine). After hubby joined some sessions, almost all of the therapists said to bring MIL to therapist or psychologist because she’s the root of the problem, but we didn’t dare to say because we knew what will happen if we gave even just mild hints for her to go therapy.
- We actually didn’t get blessing from MIL, but MIL scared losing her son, so we got married and during the reception she wasn’t happy and it showed even in our wedding photo album.
- She tried to accepted me as her own daughter and acted so nice, even when my hubby was going for a work trip, she offered me to stay in her house and her husband also agreed, so I could accompany her. Turned out, she observed me to find more bad things about me.
- I made efforts to please her too, because I saw her being nice to me: she likes doing flower arrangement, so I take flower arrangement class. She was happy, but she expected me to have the same amount of love to that passion. Hence…
- She always blames me for every decision her son made, she said I was manipulative and a lazy person acted like a princess just because I keep changing ‘passion’. My actual passion is only 1: teaching.
- Before we got married, I always worked. I had a job I loved (teaching kids). Because she put ideas about an ideal wife to her sons, so my hubby said I shouldn’t have a job in office/ anywhere with office hour. Here I am doing home-cooking business that I don’t actually enjoy, and also take flower arrangement classes (I kinda enjoy, but not passionately).
- Few weeks ago she threw tantrum because of trivial thing about her business social media. She gave some spices in the story that I glared at her angrily.
- She just wanted respect, all people have to work under her or else they don’t get any credit. So if those people made mistakes, she would easily dismiss their work or ask for revisions, but she still couldn’t decide what she wanted most of the time. Blame game super strong.
- I feel the urge to defend myself every time she talked differently from the truth, or it’s just her judgments, but she’s very arrogant. She said that her judgment is always right. I find no point in arguing, can't even defend myself, but my mind always makes arguments in case she attack again.
Please help. Husband was getting better and not so depressed anymore. Just because of trivial things become big again, now his depression is back. We don’t even have desire to visit MIL’s house or to even do work properly.
What kind of things we need to consider, we don’t want this happen repeatedly. We got better because of our therapists (I go to therapist focusing on healing by meditation. Hubby goes to hypnotherapist focusing on healing too + consultation about family and marriage matters). MIL makes us down again and again.
How to keep distance when MIL is always pissed/ throw tantrum when her son make boundaries?
Jacques on June 20, 2020:
Thank you for this article. It is very insightful. Along with most of your readers have said, it opens up the idea that "It's not always me that is wrong" and I appreciate that.
However, reality is not as simple as that and oftentimes human-to-human interaction can get very complicated. My therapist comments that my mother has something called "Superhero Syndrome", or to a certain extent, "Playing God Syndrome" (the therapist has met her, so it's not just from my story). And it starts to haunt my love life with my girlfriend (now, wife) little by little until to a certain extent it is hard to take it anymore (yes, I'm writing this in a son's PoV). She uses a lot of gaslighting, guilt trips, and blame games to put someone under control and that includes myself.
However, she is very much against boundaries. Since little, I have no "safe spaces/comfort zones" and such there were no such things as privacies and secrets, leading to make me nearly impossible to avoid contacts or distancing. Once we, as newlyweds, did not visit for a week (and for Covid reasons!) and then visited shortly on the following week and again distancing for the next week, although we tried to call her on weekends, and I faced a massive backlash on the following week saying that I am "avoiding" the family and ruining the relationship, because I am under the influence of my wife.
Another incident where we stood up for our rights. We helped her doing her hobby for months, and for some reason my brother's girlfriend trying to "sabotage", albeit in a sneaky way, our work and we suggested my mother to let the girl do the job and we give in and let her do it. However, with that, we gave her some insights and suggestions but that came out as "rude" (in a way, in our culture, it is actually rude to speak back to your parents) but we justified that our intention was not bad and it was for the best for every one of us, and all hell broke loose. She started putting blames after blames, including some incidents that happened years ago that I thought was not a problem because she said YES to it, to myself and once I felt really down and depressed, she attacked even more, including having a guilty feeling at that moment was wrong and instead you should be grateful. The comment was really harsh in a way such feelings happened because "I" have a very negative mindset and "I" am very narrow minded.
Unfortunately, right now, I am still dealing with depression. One big reason that puts me into such state is that my mother wants all the family to be close, but with these manipulation strategies, my wife and I feels we find it hard to be close. We tried our best to keep her happy but many times she could not appreciate it - especially my wife's efforts. We wed to have a happy life and of course I want to have a more normal, healthy, family life, and my wife does too, but I think at the moment this is quite too much to handle.
Several times during our marriage, she threatened to kick my wife out of the house and if she does, I'll be damned. I will be stuck in a position where I have to choose between divorcing or staying, but if I will not divorce my wife, once she also threatened me to repay back all the things she gave from birth until now. I really hope the situation will not come close to that.
Please help, maybe you have a different insight of how to handle these situation.
Heather on June 19, 2020:
My toxic mother in law was cut out of lives for 12 blissful, peaceful months she would randomly call at odd times to get my husband to answer because he thought something was wrong. He sent her a three word text a month ago for Mother’s Day and she has been relentlessly worming her way back in since. My husband seems to be forgetting all the horrible things she has said and done. She is a master manipulator. I’m about at my breaking point with this. What do I do?
Lana Adler (author) from California on June 10, 2020:
I feel your pain! I've been on a vacation with my MIL once. Never again! Hang in there :) You've got the right idea though. If you can't completely remove a toxic person from your life, minimize your time with them as much as you can. Small doses! And even then, stay away emotionally.
Kristen on June 10, 2020:
Even while reading this article an saying yep she does that i also found myself asking if i was being overly sensitive or to judgemental. Its insane how toxic people get in your head and make you think its you that's wrong.
I have been married almost 9 years. The relationship i have with my mother in law has gotten better but i can only handle small doses of her.
Well right now we are on vacation with her and I'm losing my mind. I must be a glutton for punishment because I knew how it would be. The snide comments, undermining me when i have told my children no on something.
I'm really close with my dad and i have already called to vent to him. This will be that last vacation with her.
I feel like I'm constantly biting my tongue trying so hard not to explode. It's really hard to not express how I am feeling to her but I know if I did she would only twist into me being in the wrong. It's nice to know I'm not alone but at the same time it sucks that others are going through this. I feel their pain.
Thank you for the article!
PLJ on June 06, 2020:
Like every girl, I was very happy after my marriage and after only 2.5 years of marriage, I am getting suicidal thoughts as my MIL is very interfering, controlling and manipulative. I lost my father when I was 17 years old and I have seen everything as I started working very early in my life, hence I am a very independent woman with strong opinions. She told me after 10 days of our marriage that she and my father in law thought about me getting married to their son as I am not from a well to do family and I have lost my father (death of my father was the issue here) and that was the start of making me feel so tiny and she never stopped. She has all the passive aggressive ways to say things. I have to take permission for everything under the sun and it has taken a toll on my brain. I have started getting weird sensations in my right side of the head. Please can somebody suggest anything. My husband is very supportive but they give him a very hard time when he stands with me. Please help..
Lana Adler (author) from California on May 26, 2020:
your only hope of resolving this issue is finding some sort of understanding with your wife. It would help if you talked to her about it without accusations or personal attacks, or - inevitably - your wife will dismiss your complaints and go look for comfort from her mother.
Let her know that you love her mother and appreciate her company but when she …. (use specific examples here) it makes you uncomfortable and so on.
And maybe try to be your wife's friend...as well as her husband...So she won't need her mother as much.
Edmond on May 25, 2020:
What do you really do when your wife's mother is her best friend and dare I say only friend? She comes to your house every week, stays in the kitchen or living room from morning till night! If my brother or cousin enters the kitchen, she pops in as if she was looking for something! As a result, my own siblings don't come to my house anymore, regardless of the occasion. I barely hang around the house myself when she's around and she's around almost every week. My wife and I had an argument one day and out of frustration, I told her that her only friend is her mother! She got very upset, went and complain to mommy and came back after 3 days. What just baffles me is that whenever my in-law is around, they can talk from morning till evening non-stop! I'm just tired about the whole thing and don't really know what to do. And to add ontop of That, my wife isn't the best of friends with my parents. How do I deal with this?
Mythili on May 13, 2020:
My MIL is always blaming me for the bad things or health issues happens for my husband. She is very hysteric. If we are staying together she somehow tries to find some blame to put against me. Last time it was my sister-in-law's bad dream. I feel devastated and suicidal.. My husband is supporting me to an extent but daily she is calling him and complaining about me indirectly that he had been fooled by people. Im insecured and mentally tortured by her attitude to a level where I think about the accusations I have to face if some health issues happens to my husband rather than caring for him. She believes in numerology, so she always insist in daily calls that something bad is going to happen.
Lana Adler (author) from California on May 13, 2020:
you can come vent here anytime :) I know this is hard, and I do believe you can have PTSD after emotional abuse. I know it's a cliché but hang in there :) It will get better eventually, if you start learning how to handle emotionally abusive people.
Sheila on May 09, 2020:
I’m suffering from severe PTSD due to all the abuse my mother in law and her awful just as bad daughter put me through
She’s pure evil, she’s nice to everyone else but evil to anyone that marries her kids Every other daughter in law has escaped her because they couldn’t deal with the abuse anymore but I had 2 kids and I stayed, I’m suffering every day I don’t know how much more I can take
Just needed to vent
Annie M on May 05, 2020:
I was just searching for some advice and reassurance that I'm not going crazy. I came across this article of 14 signs which describes my mil to the T. When I was reading through it felt someone had entered my head. I just can't deal with her anymore!!
Med study on May 03, 2020:
Thanks Lana for your support.
I live in a culture like " you cannot stand back for yourself, if an elder talked to you, you have to apologize and all the fault is yours; the elder would never apologize". Because I received American education when I was young, and I was like that since I married, and everythings were good, I have never stood strong for myself in my in laws house like recently. In the past, I just express my disagreement subtlely because stuff are not really not related to me. Like one of you example of telling her not to talk behind someone back, but she did not receive my signal, and just went on blaming behind the back one of the staff. And then it was my turn. I just could not accept that she did it to me.
My MIL was an absolute awe prior everything happened, she supported me when I just delivered my daughter. She was the one who got me study med and taught me how to do this, how to do that.
Although as you said there was nothing to do with me. I am upset that my relationship with my MIL ended and turned in to nasty.
Now she called my mom and said things like, she is upset that I dont want to inherit the clinic, and that the clinic is her fruit of 30 years. But I asked my mom what caused all of this?
Thank you again. I did find solace in the post, but still culture stuff still made me churning.
Lana Adler (author) from California on May 02, 2020:
Dear Med Study,
I know this is a complex situation because this woman is your husband's mother, and clearly, he wants to avoid conflict with her...
BUT if there's one thing that's NOT complex and is actually super simple and obvious, is that your MIL is jealous and threatened by you. That's why she attacked you and tried to sabotage your career in the medical field. Classic toxic MIL! As soon as her position of a queen supreme is threatened or challenged even in the slightest, she goes ape shit.
This has nothing to do with your ability to become a successful doctor! And I can't stress this enough. NOTHING! It has everything to do with her wanting to call all the shots and having trouble giving up even a little bit of control. Do not take this personally. It wasn't about you at all.
Keep on studying and learning and disregard this blatant attempt to hurt your confidence. Nobody can tell you who you can or can't be.
Med study on May 02, 2020:
I have been married for nearly 9 years and I had 1 daughter. My MIL was very nice, we got on well. I used to have a good job, then she wanted me to study medicine so I quited job and studying med. I am studying very well, and the thing was we started to have different opinion on how to run the family clinic or treat a patient. It developed to the point that she told the staff that I have no way to become a successful doc as she is. & that I even cannot make money to raise my daughter. I was shocked when I heard that with my own ears. I told my husband and he confronted her, and it turned out nasty. I just stood up for myself. She yelled at me, insisted that the clinic was hers not mine and that I was crazy and have psycho problems. I was really offended. I just told said words that stood for myself and left the house with my daughter to return to my parent house.
My husband called and said things like his mom only want the best for us and that she paid for my tuition and my daughter situation... ect. That hurted my feelings a lot. But because I have a strong support system, I am no longer hold the grudge with her, I forgave her, but I would no longer want to have any contact with her.
I dont think I was wrong for standing for myself. But I felt a distance with my husband, I dont trust him as much as before, and I also felt uncertain if I really can be a doctor, her words just haunting me.
Lana Adler (author) from California on April 21, 2020:
I'm glad you've decided to ponder these questions now, and not later, when you're married.
Leaving with a mother-in-law is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Even if you have a nice one, two women living under one roof are bound to bump heads. But if one of them is toxic/abusive, and the other has poor boundaries...it's a recipe for disaster.
Think long and hard whether you want this living situation with your MIL to become permanent. Or learn to ignore her.
Vanessa on April 18, 2020:
My mother-in-law stays with us. She keeps on making the worst comments in the house up to the point where i really cant take it anymore. She really doesnt do much around the house as we are also not wanting her to do anything really, but everything i do is either not to her stadards or not done in the time she wants it done. She often makes comments on my family for example i wanted my mothers advise becouse my dog was sick and her commet was why do i want to phone my mother she is useless anyway. - This comment about my mother not being the first. Also she will complain about my choices of plants - i make bozai as a hobby. She will keep commenting i need to remove them they dont look up to her standards. When i complain to my spouse i am just told to leave her she is old. The result of her constent comments is i am living in my room i get up to clean cook and go to the bathroom and work during work time and the rest of the time i sit in my room. I have reached the point where i actually want to move in to my own place becouse i just cant take this anymore. We are supposed to get married later this year and im starting to wonder if this is how i want my marrage to be.
Justgoaway on April 05, 2020:
My mother in-law lives with us. If i ever show the slightest emotion she will literally fly of the wall and rant and rave that i am the reason for all her problems. Its been 6 years and this piece of shit continually throw me under the bridge within momments. If i ever argue further “holy shit” the bullshit she does would be comical if i was more zen. She does the whole arm to the forehead and fainting !!! It would be funny but my partner seems to always fall for her crap. If i was a rich man i would of booted her out immediately but im not so.....
Palsi on April 02, 2020:
My Mil has a problem of self pity. She never liked me when my hubby told her about his wish to marry me. However, she had no say in his decision. Now 8 years 4 our marriage, though she never directly says anything on face but behind my back talks I'll abt me. I've overheard her many times but just didn't bother to say anything coz it's her nature. She's very fussy abt food and criticises most of the time. Wenever I offer her anything to eat she dislikes it and if i dnt offer she has problem with tat. Now the problem is tat she thinks I am not doing 4 her as much as I do 4 my mother. She feels i dnt care for her and gives her less importance. She keeps things to herself and gives silent treatment. I had A spat with her and said things which I shud have not. I just lost my cool. Even after all tat I went to call her for lunch and she didn't bother to come to eat. I know now she will be like dis silent for some more days.. I am losing my peace of mind.
Otomita on March 24, 2020:
Mad! Go and be Mad somewhere else this post is about reflexion! Bullying here won't help you.
By the way our Author is more than qualifed and I shouldn't even be giving you time.
I'm just happy they way Lana answered!
Thanks Lana and thanks for helping us
Lana Adler (author) from California on March 23, 2020:
your name says a lot about how you feel...I know it's hard, and you might feel hopeless and powerless right now. It's especially difficult when you realize there isn't some magic cure that can transform this situation (short of going no contact, which is not an option in most cases).
Other than what's already mentioned in this article, my advice to you is to start standing up for yourself. It seems that your MIL is pretty much out of control and she doesn't put any thought into how her behavior makes you feel, or what effect it has on your life, as well as your husband's life.
What you have to believe unequivocally, unapologetically, fiercely -- is that you deserve better. YOU DESERVE BETTER. No one has the right to treat you that way, not your mother-in-law, not your boss, not Santa Claus. NO ONE. No one has the right to be emotionally abusive to you.
When you feel things escalating, remove yourself from the situation and/or establish a boundary. What does a boundary sound like? It sounds something like: You cannot speak to me this way. Please change your tone of voice. I don't want to argue with you, so I'm walking away.
Basically it's about establishing the standard of behavior you will or will not tolerate. Do it calmly, but do it firmly and consistently. It will take more than once. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.
Good luck! I'm rooting for you!
Lana Adler (author) from California on March 23, 2020:
I don't have to defend my work to anyone, especially some nameless trolls on the Internet. So thanks for the comment, now go and try to be a better person - to your family members, and otherwise.
mad on March 22, 2020:
what is wrong with you? This is such a hack’s article and obviously a very immature hack! Do you know what it means to be a family or the importance of family. Obviously your not about finding understanding and solutions in a family and your not a qualified professional. Keep your low intelligence and unprofessional articles out if the media. I’ve had plenty of experience with counseling where family issues that can be resolved! You are posting childish and unprofessional comments and i hope people are ignoring you and will get some counseling as a family.
Hopeless on March 21, 2020:
So my MIL hates me. For what reason I don't know. It's been going on for 6 years now. She lives with myself and my husband. And she finds fault with everything that I do. Whether it's about my looks, my weight what I wear or how I run the household there is always something. Then she'll start a fight with my husband about A B C and it ends up with me being verbally abused by her. Then the fight escalates because my husband gets so furious. And we all know she only does it to hurt my husband. But it causes so much tension. And I'm tired of being her punching bag.... Previous times she promised she won't do it again and then when she can't get her way it just starts again. Any advice?
Bitch that married your son on March 05, 2020:
We used to get on until a new daughter-in-law came into the mix and gave her 2 children. I never eat her cakes either, the other daughter-in-law eats anything she gives her. Maybe that''s what changed. I can't eat her cake because it has eggs in and she knows very well that I can't eat eggs. I won't stoop to getting my own back as she is not the kind of person I want to be like. And so glad we don't have kids. She stands in the doorway and listens to what you might be saying when she isn't there. We can see her through the TV. Lol.
Bitch that married your boy. on March 05, 2020:
Does She make out she is ill or my father in law is ill and calls an ambulance. Always when we are meant to fly out on holiday, and expect you to cancel your plans and put her first, even though all the times she does it, nothing is ever wrong with her.
Bluu on March 05, 2020:
My MIL has been driving me nuts lately. Our internet and electricity bill has been run up. She leaves a mess everywhere (except the kitchen.. Strange) and always gets us running errands for her. She complains about her kids she abandoned when they were young (my SO and my SIL) and never apologized for the past. She told me my SO should just "get over it", yet brings up the past herself by comparing her son to her ex husband who was a wife beater(SO is Not a wife beater). She also tried stabbing them before too with a knife when they were younger when she was an alcoholic. She doesn't see WHY her kids hold the resentment they do.
Currently, she lives with my SIL because SIL needed someone to watch her toddler at the time but now Mil has been staying at our place more and more because she's stressing out my SIL and her (now) stay-at-home-husband which causes fights between them.
Having her here has been stressful too between SO and I. I don't get time to myself nor with my baby. She watches our baby but honestly I originally wanted to get a baby sitter. I had to call out a couple of times from work already because MIL had to do some last minute things and couldn't watch the baby.
I'm tired of accommodating for her too. My SIL was telling US that MIL needs a special recliner to come stay at our place to sleep and they were going to drop off theirs at our house but we ended up getting our own furniture. My SO wants to get a second bedroom for her to stay at. We only need two days a week for the baby to be watched based on our schedule. Don't understand why we have to drive back and forth with dropping MIL off at SIL's house.
My SO still wants a relationship with his mom, which is understandable. But his relationship with his parents seem really toxic. Mostly with his mother...It's a little better with his dad now since his dad changed a bit.
My SO gets irritated at me for not having a relationship with my own parents. I grew up with physical and verbal abuse so of course not. To each their own.
Honestly, been tired of all my in-laws shit (SIL making plans for us, MIL being.. MiL, FIL getting annoyingly drunk on holidays) and SO for putting up with it. I've told my SO my concerns but it doesn't seem to be going through. I'm at the point where I'm making plans to leave and have told him I'm tired of his shit too.
My In-laws are nice to me and aren't really mean, but the way they treat each other is not good. Seeing the way SO's parents talk down on him and treat him could impact the way our child views his dad. I don't want him growing up thinking that's okay and healthy.
Lana Adler (author) from California on February 27, 2020:
I can relate to your situation very much, especially about ugly fights being swept up under the rug...
I think you have to find a way to stand in your truth no matter what, no matter who's around you, or how it makes them feel. Calmly, but stand in your truth, so you never feel like you're betraying yourself. I know it's a cliché but the most important relationship in your life is with yourself: not your MIL, not even your husband.
I had a situation recently -- MIL called us (she was on speaker phone) and started trashing someone I know. And I calmly said that I don't appreciate gossip and nobody knows what really happened. MIL didn't like it of course, but she just changed the subject. My husband freaked out! Because he is trained from early age to never confront his mother. I imagine your husband feels the same way.
My point is, this is the effects of emotional abuse - when everyone is afraid to say something, walking on eggshells etc. We still have to stand up to the abuser, even if it causes a conflict. And if a conflict gets too big, we need to distance ourselves from that person.
Alexandra Jaberi on February 24, 2020:
I just told my MIL what I think of her. Literally. She bought my husband a one way ticket to where she lives and has created a fight between us where he has sided with her and stayed there 6 months. She is a malicious disgusting hippopotomus
MM on February 24, 2020:
I have been with my husband since high school. So we grew up in each others houses. I've always had a great relationship with my in-laws. Always feeling I'm blessed to have them when I hear my friends' stories.
But the past 3 years, since we got married, my MIL changed. Very drastically. She became manipulative and vindictive. To the point where she will hurt her son just to prove a point. So far the fight has been between them and I kept out of it, letting him deal with her. But the last fight she dragged me and my parents into it to prove a point. That's where I draw the line. And me and my husband had a huge fight about this.
So my main issue is this, every time we make a decision and she doesn't agree, she either just ignores us and does what she wants, or she will throw a tantrum that will make a 3 year-old blush. And she will become vindictive towards my husband and my FIL. So now everyone just avoids making her angry and disagreeing with her. Which goes against everything in me. I hate standing back when someone is causing harm to another. Even if you tell her calmly that she's wrong, she still goes off. How do you deal with someone like that? Without causing more harm than good. I don't want to be that DIL that makes my husband choose and causes him heartache. But holding back is becoming very difficult. Even though my husband does stand up for himself as much as he can without making it worse. We are in the same boat. And what really gets me is that these tantrums are never resolved. The ugly fights gets swept under the rug, ignored and pretended it never happened.
Lana Adler (author) from California on February 12, 2020:
you're right, having your husband on your side MATTERS. You are lucky in this regard, as am I. Hang in there, and be a better mother-in-law to your sons-in-law ;-)
kristine schoe on February 11, 2020:
Found some solace in this article! I am the only DIL as my husband has 3 sisters. MIL doesnt not like anyone that hasnt come from her bloodline, so even the BIL's arent liked. However they are men and they dont care or get treated as badly as me! She is rude, dismissive and one time asked me to leave the room so she could talk to my husband about a family matter. I had just had our first child and was standing in the room with my baby - her granddaughter! Unreal. The family texts regarding communions, birthdays etc dont include me, only my husband, who is so busy he often forgets to tell me, then its my fault if something is forgotten. Toxic! Thank goodness he is on my side and thinks its all crazy too. I have to girls so Ill never know this ridiculous hold women have over their sons, and their hatred for anyone that marries them!
lynn on February 06, 2020:
My mother in law sends cards, with nasty digs aimed towards me.They are to do with how he was raised, or what I have said in response to her negativity in the past when visiting her, or about her other son and family. She hates both of her Daughter in laws. I choose to not go see her anymore. My husband goes much less also, even when e knows more letters will follow when she sits and thinks too much!
My mother-in-law is the Devil on February 03, 2020:
The witch I had the unfortunate fate of meeting has been a thorn in my marriage.
I hate her so much. Sometimes I almost wish I never married her son.
It's becoming so hard to have any genuine feelings for her son. I dislike his mamma's boy attitude. It's clear to me that he'd choose his mother over his marriage.
A mother who caused the death of his SON.
How I hate them both. Tears! Tears! Tears!
Lana Adler (author) from California on January 30, 2020:
I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said: no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. You are not supposed to fit anyone's bill. Focus on your own life and marriage and try to let all that toxic stuff just slide right off of you. Some people can only feel good about themselves when they make someone else feel bad. Don't give your MIL that power.
Froggy1 on January 27, 2020:
My Mother In Law was being abusive of my sister in laws and they moved away to get away from her. Now because they are out of state, she is trying to break up my husband's and my marriage. She has done this since year one because I mentioned I have a chronic illness that is not my fault, yet I lead a perfectly normal and independent life. My husband is finally starting to come around and stand up fo rme, but this has taken years, and I don't know how much more I can take. All she cares about is money and status. I work part time as a Pre-k teacher so obviously I don't fit the bill. I also have a Master's degree but it is not a medical degree. How should we handle this? I really want to move out of state. My parents welcomed my husband into our family with open arms. Why can't his parents do the same for me? I have done nothing wrong.
Lammum229 on January 20, 2020:
I have a Major concerns at the moment, where I think my husband it is very stressed with his work, but has very heavy reliance to his mum he has worked closely with his Dad and family now for over 14 years and I worked for him for a while and it was ok. Now I am finding it hard as when we do go to visit, she does highlight all her family issues at me. She even over years compared him to his dad and highlight all the negatives My husband thinks we need to see her more often, my heart sank as I am trying my hardest to manage thus effectively with a high maintenance SIL as-well. Which is destroying me I was really ill over Christmas things have changed now, she is using the children as her demand, they are 11 and 7 and we moved further away to detach ourselves. My husband will only rely on his mum and and Sil for baby sitting. I am trying to build a relationship with my children and it Is having a dramatic impact on our relationship.. we are at relate now and Scared of the outcome I don’t want it to come to divorce if all possible..
Lavaya on January 06, 2020:
When both of get quarrel, my mil misuses the situation at anyway she makes quarrel with me and makes it big issue .try to seperaye us ,initially she don't like me
Lana Adler (author) from California on December 27, 2019:
I'm not sure I understand why you want to advise him against it. It seems that your fiancé was given an ultimatum that left him no other choice. He chose you. I'd say that's a good thing. I've heard too many stories of husbands and boyfriends choosing their mothers so at least your fiancé stuck by you.
The thing with his mother is an issue that most likely existed long before you entered the picture. Let them figure it out. I know you are probably conflicted about the situation, even feeling guilty or responsible. Not to tell you how to feel but - Don't! This isn't on you; this isn't your fault. Nor your fiancé's. Giving an ultimatum is one of the oldest manipulation tricks in the book, designed to force someone into compliance. Your fiancé is standing up to his mother and refusing to be manipulated.
Maybe it's a good thing that he removed himself from his mother. Sometimes people need time away from one another to cool off and decide how to proceed. I'd say it was very unfair for his mother to issue an ultimatum, and I really don't even know how to respond to an ultimatum other than the way your fiancé did. Just give it time and don't focus too much on the situation. Your future MIL is either going to come around, or not. Whatever happens, it's not about her. It's about you guys getting married, starting a family of your own together. Don't let her ruin that. I think you have a good partner by your side, and you're going to have a wonderful marriage.
Radhika on December 25, 2019:
whenever there is fight with mother in law, she tells everything to my husband and he shouts at me saying that he will kill me and does not listen to my point of view, always supports his mother. what should I do?
NotEvenMarriedYet on December 22, 2019:
Hello, I am still engaged (we are trying to wait until after college before marriage). His mother has become a nightmare. She herself has a rocky marriage with many difficulties. She has given my fiance an ultimatum on choosing me or his family. I believe that the mother relationship and the relationship with the wife are completely separate relationships. However, he has chosen to stick with the ultimatum and remove himself from his mother (and possibly entire family's lives) just to be with me. Any advice on how to advise him against it, he seems to have completely made up his mind. It is very depressing to see a mother be unwilling to work with others even if her child is happy.
BeenThruIt on December 02, 2019:
Hi this message is specifically to "Step Defhero". I am a woman who was in a similar situation as your Daughter for almost 10 years. The Lord Jesus opened my understanding and has been leading me to pray and bringing about miraculous changes in my family life. I am blown away to know that anyone anywhere could be in a situation that is similar to mine. I would encourage you to please pray for your Daughter. Only the Lord Jesus can open her eyes and help her to realize and come out of the situation. Perhaps, the Lord has a purpose for having placed her there. Only encourage you to pray and continue to love your Daughter. I think she would be hurting as much as you are. And do accept your son-in-law and his parents as an act of forgiveness … showing that you are Christ like.
Lana Adler (author) from California on December 02, 2019:
you are absolutely right! After years of dealing with my MIL I've come to the same conclusion: she's been a great teacher (of what NOT to do) and in a weird way, I feel really grateful for her. Life's funny like that, huh? :-)
DJ on November 30, 2019:
My mother-in-law has been a nightmare to me for 43 years. She never accepted me as good enough...sometime it still hurts, but I usually let it go. There is one great benefit to this, however: My mother-in-law taught me exactly what NOT to do with my own children and their spouses. I have literally treated my adult kids and their spouses the complete opposite of the way my in-laws treat me. I am love them unconditionally. We have an amazing, rewarding, close and respectful relationship with our grown kids and their significant others, much better than my in-laws will ever have with us. And so, on a strange level it makes me grateful. I will never care much for my in-laws, and that's okay. I love their son and our family with all my heart, and that is what matters.
Christel on November 28, 2019:
For 28 years my mother in law has shown favoritism and nothing I do is ever right no matter how hard I try . No matter my illness I have always asked her if there is anything I can do to help her I’m more than willing, but then she and my father in law act like I’m the bad one like I never asked to be there for them that’s far from the truth.
Tararizer23 on November 23, 2019:
This succinct info all in one spot was the most helpful & supportive info I found. Can’t thank you enough!
Ellen on November 21, 2019:
Thank you for writing this. I knew my mother-in-law was toxic but I had no idea how much. it's funny because I believed in the best and always thought there was a chance she was a human being but I discovered she really was a heartless piece of !@#$.
Jessica Lee on November 13, 2019:
I just want to thank you so much for this article because it made me feel so much better after reading it. I also have a toxic mother in law and she is currently living with my husband, our 9 months old daughter, and I. The issue is that she thinks our house is her house and she makes sure everyone knows too. She talks shit behind our back all the time and I would here it after from some family members. She is so jealous of me because I’m basically living the life she always wanted. She’s single mom and retired so she can’t afford to live anywhere alone. We even made plans about building a back house for her so we can have some privacy. I feel so stuck because she’s so dependent on us but tells everyone shes the opposite. We even pay for her car payment and everythingggg. She doesn’t appreciate any of it. I’m so over her. I need her to not be in my life or in our back yard or I’ll go insane in the long run. I love reading these comments because it shows that I’m not alone and feelings are valid.
Step Defhero on October 20, 2019:
My daughter MIL. When my daughter 1st met her husband, it seemed as if she met the perfect person, along with the perfect in-laws. Fast forward 2 years later, to the year they got married. My daughter has been grooming me how to act around this new family. They are perfect dad. They are God fearing and very religious. They don't cuss much, they don't drink and so forth. That was ok with us, but then the games began. They got married and decided to have a child. She became very reluctant to what she invited us (including our extended family) to. She would prep us and tell us not to swear of drink. The 1st gathering of their we went to was the 4th of July celebration. They, yes they had beer/wine and some hard alcohol drink they made in a punch bowl. They did not swear like sailors, but they said the sh#t word here and there. We stayed prim and proper as one could be. Now 2 years later, I have been banned from all gatherings, including grand child's b-days. My whole family including extended family has also been shunned by them, in the way of my daughters doing. We were at a loss of what to do. We are at a loss of what to do or even think of them. Then the words of what my daughter uttered to me made me angry and resentful. She said I am toxic and the family is toxic and these are not words my daughter would of ever said before. I blamed the husband at 1st, but couldn't wrap my brain around his reasoning for this. The son-in-law and his mom had a strange closeness, but his mom has that same kind of relationship with her adult daughter and other adult son too. When my daughter started talking about how they are perfect and religious, I notice how she was dissing us, by what she was saying. This is not my daughter. This is not how we raised her. She was loved by the whole family, in fact she was the only girl for awhile. It took a while and some soul searching and some computer work (like this site), to realize that she married into the Monster-in-law scenario. As of now, I cut all contact and the my family has distant themselves from her and his family. I love my daughter, but I will not allow her to disrespect me and the family that loves her unconditionally. When she decides to open her eye's and see what she actually married into, then I will have my arms open for forgiveness. Until then, I do not allow her to peek in, just to jab at me and my family. It took awhile to realize it is her husbands mom and her husband himself (apple does not fall far from the tree) who is the toxic, most unchristian like people she married into. I hope they find a way to make the marriage work, but I do think their marriage is in trouble. Who will my daughter turn to, once they turn on her!?!
A-L 83 on October 14, 2019:
My MIL is one of thee nastyest peices of work u will ever see i have been with my husband for 17yrs and she hasn't liked me for 17yrs nor does she like my SIL husband she has nothing nice to say about me ory husband but she has lived with us for 12 years the only child she likes is her last born and needless to say she loves his wife and child but unfortunatly the feelings arent mutual she will not do wat ever u ask her to do its always her way or no way be it with cooking cleaning or with my daughter her daughter cant live with her so she has been With my husband and i and truthfuly not sure how much more abuse i can take
RejectedSon on October 10, 2019:
Hello, I’d like to give my view, as a man who’s been through the same thing.
The love of my life and I first got together 24 years ago; at the time we met she was 20 and she had been with her previous partner for 3 years.
My (now wife) left him and I was the “next guy”; her mother took an instant dislike to me (she saw the other guy as her “son” already).
I didn’t really need this rejection; after 20 years of physical and emotional abuse from my own mother, just before meeting my girl, I had permanently ceased relations with my own mother.
My beautiful partner and I have built a great life together over the last 26 years; we have two great children, and a successful life together.
We never felt any pressure to “get married” at any stage, as we were comfortable about how strongly we felt about our relationship that there was no hurry, but always wanted to do the deed one day.
This year one of my wife’s siblings made a decision to emigrate permanently abroad, and the fact that she had always wished for all of her immediate family to be there on her day, we got married before that move occurred. That was this year.
It was something we did, just for us, as we wanted it. I didn’t even invite anyone from my side of the family, as, my family is very fragmented. It was just 2 close friends of mine, and my wife’s family.
My father in law gave my wife away, no problem.
But the mother in law made a whole load of rude comments, before the ceremony, and put her boot in, just after the ceremony
She said, I hadn’t “looked her daughter in the eye”, when I said my vowels.
I was crying my eyes out, with emotion during those vowels.
The attention seeking continued after the ceremony at our “wedding breakfast” where she loudly shooed away every course like a 3 year old child; everyone could hear.
I should add this was after 24 years of negativity and put downs of my wife and I being together, often behind everyone else’s back.
The list you have provided describes her behaviour to a tee;
I guess I got lucky in love at the cost of having two awful mothers.
So my final comment is this
Don’t give up, keep loving your chosen one – and don’t let anyone drive you apart.
Raven1961 on September 24, 2019:
What's worse is if you live in the same house with her. Its also a sign that you have a toxic in-law if they are completely duplicitous. They're sweet as can be to your face but behind your back, they talk crap about you. Or, they give you left handed compliments. I'm hoping that my husband's business will take us out of state and that she won't want to move with us. And when it comes to my husband, he just can't cut the apron strings. Every time I want to go somewhere, his answer is, "Maybe we should ask mom to go with us". I don't mind her going once in a while but she can be kind of a buzz kill in a number of ways. I just wish he wasn't such a mamma's boy and would get over constantly trying to live up to her standards. I've told him more than once, "You're married to me-not your mom. Please act like it."
Lana Adler (author) from California on September 24, 2019:
I agree! Best to live separately. It's also easier to set boundaries this way, and to let the little things go.
Good luck to you! Seems like you've got it all figured out, and this time around you have a supportive husband.
WIN-1176 on September 23, 2019:
I had this toxic signs of a MIL in my first failed marriage. One of the reasons why my marriage did not work out was mainly because of her. She was so nosey in all I do including my overseas plan for my nuclear family. My ex husband stood with her. It's fine and I clearly had understood that between a wife and a MIL-I did not let my ex-husband choose between me or my MIL because it was a battle of certain defeat for me. She is his mother and I am just a wife.
But the best decision I ever made was to leave. The only options I had was between to live a miserable life with them or empower and build up myself (be independent, free and happy alone). From there, I stood my ground and left and I never had regrets or guilt-feelings in my life. :) It was an easy walk away because I didn't have kids with my ex.
And now, with in my 2nd relationship I have this toxic MIL again. She's still somehow good. HAHAHA. But, I won't let her take over my heart and head to get defeated. I'm tougher and I just know what I've got to get away with this. It's suffocating to be around this kind of people who are manipulative of your life. She would insist her way of raising kids to my own. I warned my hunny about it that he should set boundaries between me and the kids vs. his mother and he's trying his very best. But we'll just see how far I can go with this. BWAHAHAHA! With that laugh, I know I'm already winning. :p
Last night, I discussed my planned living arrangement with my hunny on how I want live my life with space, peace and privacy with our 2 kids away from my MIL. He's aware, too, of my failed marriage was due to my ex-MIL . It may seem selfish but I am just protecting my mental and emotional health since I am on pursuing my goals too for myself and the future of my kids.
To me, it's still best to be living independently away from in-laws. It's never healthy to be sticking around them no matter how good they may treat you.
Lana Adler (author) from California on September 23, 2019:
84...that's rare to have an MIL of such an advanced age! But it doesn't make her any less formidable. She is a family matriarch, and a skilled manipulator. She has the support of her family, and she is never going to change.
Still, when it comes to your marriage and your daughter, she isn't in charge. It's your job to set boundaries with her - respectfully but firmly.
Jasmine on September 23, 2019:
Every one of these describes my MIL. My MIL is actually my husbands grandma. His mother’s is out of the way so the control freak that his grandma is jumped right in to try and fill the shoes. The sad thing is she is 84 has had 7 grandchildren and 11 great grand children. I literally was not worried I mean common she is 84. Little did I know that she is a overbearing control freak. I mean anyone at 84 that wants to control their grandson is psycho. We are newly weds and have been married a year and a half, and I have already contemplated divorce multiple times strictly over this old bat and her puppets (family). The only thing keeping me from leaving is my daughter. She is as passive aggressive as it gets. As well she has practically ended up raising all her grand children because of her control issues. Her family as well follow right along with her because they were raised under a rock and think she is a god. She has an obsession with controlling my daughter because I come from a stable background and she can’t stand the thought that there is other grandparents involved other than her. Everything is about this lady be the center of attention. She has blown all her money trying to buy friends and family. Every time I am around her she has to make insinuations. As soon as I give into her again bam she is back to it’s not enough. The only way it would be enough is if I devoted my life to her and became her puppet. Which will never happen.
Christine on September 20, 2019:
My MIL almost perfectly fits all 14 of these traits. She is a nightmare, and it was especially hard the first 10 years of our marriage. The things I especially struggle with is how she judges how I look. To most people, I look good. To her, I am not thin enough, athletic enough, etc. She sees herself as amazingly beautiful, even though she's not. It is weird. I also really struggle with how she talks behind everyone's back, and that the rest of the family, even though they know she's difficult, takes her word for things. For example, "Christine isn't like you Daphney. You're so laid back, and anyone and everyone can just drop by your house anytime." Then she'd say to me, "Daphney is not doing a good job raising her kids. She doesn't hear them, and she overbooks their schedules." She's always pitting everyone against each other. She's the only one that has it all together. She's awful! I will never let my guard down with her. I think she's a fraud and a terrible person. To the rest of the community, she's great, but they don't have to be related to her. If I could, I'd never see her again. I hate going to family get-togethers largely because of her, but the whole family has also bought into all of her "beliefs" and "lies" about it. My husband is supportive, but it took a while for him to get there. Also, he will never, ever be affected by her the way that I am, so that just sucks. I pray she reaps what she has sown. She's a nightmare.
V on September 12, 2019:
The best way to deal with a narcissistic person is 'NO CONTACT'. Sometimes 'no contact' may seem impossible, then reduce the contacts as far as possible. Narcissistic people should not be confronted (avoid verbal communications). If confronted, they become dangerous. Be careful of these monsters.
Caronica Thompson on September 11, 2019:
I have a very toxic mother n law who pretended to like me and her son's marriage only for her son's sake. She is the kind of person who always wants to be right and the center of attention. Last year after visiting in the nursing home she and my husband decided to go to Atlantic City and play free play down there without telling me about it ahead of time. I had to call my husband's phone and he said he left it in the car I don't called her phone he picked it up. They has spent from 7 at night to 3 in the morning the next day playing the slot machines at Atlantic City. Then after me and my husband gets a new house, he gives her the key to the house because they claimed that she was helping him to fix up the house but you told me that you gave her the key to the house I had found out about it after putting to and 2 together. Then have a nerve to tell me that thought that I wouldn't have problem of her having a key. Now when me and my kids had saw her, spoke to her and said hi and gave her a hug but my kids didn't see her and told them that they didn't speak. I told them to speak and she said that they didn't have to and got upset and drove off. Now I tried to talk to her but now she's not speaking to me. I said hi to her earlier out of respect and she just acting like a teenage retard in their feelings. She saw me and her son smiling and had our arms around each other, and she look like she was displeased. What to do about this woman???
CalGirl on September 06, 2019:
My m-i-l once refused to allow us into their home after we'd driven over 2,000 miles to visit, b/c we did not arrive on the expected date...even tho' we'd called to inform her...bc our child, her grandchild, expererienced a medical asthma emergency along the way and we had to seek medical intervention. We arrived, so tired and sick at about 10 PM...on a stormy night...and she sent us OUT to a campground down the road, with a sick child, to spend the night in a thunder-storm in our mini-van. We visited to say "good-bye" the next day, and continued on to other relatives. We NEVER went back again, tho' we never turned our children againts them, nor did we confront our in-laws about this stooooopid situation. We figured....we'd allow them to develop their OWN relationships with our kids on their own terms...which they NEVER did...surprise! NOT! My kids, their grandkids, one of them their FIRST and only grandchild for many years....could make up their own minds upon the value of their developed relationship w/those grandparents.B/c one of our sons wanted to...he flew back from coast to coast to say "good-bye" to a grandfather /f-i-l who died recently...a week before he died, and then, once again for the funeral a few wks later. We all considered it "our family representation."
Cassandra on August 30, 2019:
It took a lot of courage and I have been so much at peace when I placed a stop to my former mother in laws shenaniggans.
My neighbors shared the fact that she knocked on their door to inquire about my children and myself. My son and I were out running errands at that time. My neighbors felt it was important that I know she was knocking on their door. Is this Stalking? I say it is.
She's even had her friends write to my son and even tried to send a friend's request via FB and even call him. All this when he was still a minor.
She's even accused me of destroying the letters that are forwarded to my house from college for one of my children. The clerks who handle the US Mail told my daughter what the MIL told them.
I know better than to do such a thing. Destroying other people mail would be breaking a Federal Law.
I do let the kids know they have mail from her and they have decided not to open their letters. I have told the kids to let me know when they would like to view them. I don't hide anything from them.
The mil and my late husband used to get into awful arguments just about every time she would visit us.
Many of the other relatives know her toxic ways and they keep a distance from her. Many understand my position.
I have no obligation to put up with her nonsense and I don't.
Lana Adler (author) from California on August 29, 2019:
I do have one, Lori. I try to remain kind but it's hard, it's so hard. My instinct is to withdraw an then deal with my emotions on my own. People keep saying: don't let it get to you, but that's where I struggle the most. She's also more toxic with me than with almost anyone else. Oh well. I take it as a learning experience ))
Fatima on August 13, 2019:
I have mother who is blending me every time and slams the door in her room i don’t like her what she’ll I do
Lori Colbo from United States on July 26, 2019:
You write a lot about toxic mothers-in-law, you must have one. I had one. It was no picnic but I stood my ground and remained kind as well as I could. She really was much more toxic with my then husband.
Nick on July 21, 2019:
I just want to thank you for this article. I’m currently experiencing this. My mother is the monster mother-in-law-law, and point by point it’s exactly what my wife is experiencing. She, like you, has a great mom who is a great mother-in-law to me. I feel bad that my wife doesn’t get the same experience but I’ve accepted there’s nothing I can do other than support my wife and help her keep distance.
It has brought my wife and I even closer together and has forced me to discuss some of the rude things my mom said/did to me as a child with my wife. It’s been therauptic for me, and my wife knows that if my mom could be terrible to her 8 year old son, she’ll have no issue doing the same to her 30 year old daughter in law.
Toxic moms are hard to discuss. I almost never bring mine up - partly because I was lucky to have a great dad, partly because I’ve accepted as an adult that she did the best she could (not very good), and partly because I’m just not going to be that guy. For me, the negative feelings toward my mom in childhood have faded into feelings of indifference as an adult. It is hard though, to see my mom be rude to my wife, who has done nothing to deserve it.
For me, the biggest anxiety is future children. We’re going to have them. I loved my grandparents. My dad is the best - I want him in my children’s lives. My parents are married. I even think my mom will be a good grandmother, I just know the guilt trips, the petty comments, and the overall bad behavior is not going to magically go away and it’s hard.
Anyway - thank you again, so much. I needed to read this and will share with my wife.
Filomenakelley on July 17, 2019:
Hi I don’t know what to do my husband he always tells is mom everything!!
karen on July 12, 2019:
You may not believe this but I have a married son and those 14 things listed describes my dil perfectly. Not me. I have tried to get along with her. She 's nice when my son is there and nasty or silent when he's not. We even stay away from them sometimes but my son says it hurts his feelings. He works out of town for several weeks at a time so when he's home he likes to visit with us. But sometimes we just stay away. Too keep the hard feelings away. His other family members aren't welcomed either cause she dont want to clean the house up behind them. He hasnt seen any of his family in the 8 years they have been together. 8 years. His grandpa is getting up in age and 2 great grandkids . 1 he's met twice the other he has never seen her. Her family is always at their house. She told me when they first married that she never wanted anyone at their house. Ever. Anyone.Just her family.No friends or his family. Most of his family has never even met her.Nobody in our family has ever done anything to her. Yes some mils are a nightmare. but be honest...so are dil and fil. In laws in general. Not all in laws but some.This mil doesnt want to take her place. I'm his mom..always will be. Nobody will ever change that. I dreamt of the day my boys got married so our family could grow and make some awesome new memories. He would have his own house and family. But even though they are a family they BOTH also still have their other family members too. And neither side should be made to feel the way she makes us all feel. We welcomed her into our family and she kicked us to the curb. Without my sons blessing. Now there are kids involved and mommy and daddy arent very happy anymore.
Mia Thompson on July 09, 2019:
I’m interested in your material.
Lana Adler (author) from California on July 04, 2019:
just know that your stepmom doesn't define you. She doesn't see you for who you are. She can't tell how wonderful and smart you are. Her behavior is stemming from her issues, and hers alone. If she fails to give you love, acceptance and validation, it's NOT ON YOU. It's also not on you to try to fix your relationship with her. You shouldn't be put in that position. It's the adult's job.
Just remember that your stepmom isn't the mirror of you. She is the mirror of herself.
Alexis w on June 27, 2019:
My step mom always tries to make me look bad to my father and she is never satisfied with my achievements I have no clue what I did to her that was so bad and she cares more about ice cream than her own step daughter and if I break one small rule she will tell my dad and make it seem like I ate her own children sometimes I wish I could tell her off but I would be in big trouble I have no clue what to do cause we barely even communicate unless we want something or nhave to talk to each other and I'm only twelve and have drama with everyone in my family no joke any advice?
Lana Adler (author) from California on June 19, 2019:
That's a good point, Grace. I adopt approach #8 quite a lot, actually. The less contact, the better. Thanks for reading!
Grace on June 18, 2019:
Very informative article. For me, I think I would adopt approach 8. insist on some physical distance. Spending a lot of time with negative people can affect you terribly, and sometimes you are not even aware of it. So I would ensure that I move on with my life as normal as possible, without her rubbling off her negative energy on me
Lana Adler (author) from California on June 08, 2019:
thank you so much for your heartwarming words. It makes me so happy to know that my article helped someone, even in the smallest way. I wish you and your husband many happy *peaceful* years together! You are making great progress and I know you're going to come out on the other side stronger wiser and happier.
P.S. And I've been meaning to watch Dr. Brown's talk on Netflix, this is a sign to do it now!
Mawi on June 07, 2019:
I heard this recently which put a closure to many of my painful memories and brings peace to my soul : "People who take advantage of others (like a toxic MIL) just demean themselves. They deserve our pity. Not our anger."
I tried relationship counselling for my husband and myself after tolerating MIL issues for 14 years (We even moved away to another country but still she poisons my husbands mind over the phone asking what I'm doing and what he's doing and what the kids are doing and giving her strong opinions on it. Also I see the same controlling / fighting attitude coming from my husband as well but it seemed to make him miserable as well. It was the same "burn and put medicine cycle" attitude that MIL use on me. I didn't understand why my husband does that to me until I read Lana's article on "14 signs of a toxic MIL".
It says "9. She's completely self-centered and narcissistic : Like any narcissist, she sees her children not as individuals, but as extensions of herself. She will go to great lengths to correct any "deviation" from the path she's chosen. That includes the people they marry; you. She will never give up trying to destroy your marriage or to control her children's lives.)."
Just getting the Doctor's appointment put me through a lot of stress with my husband as he was not feeling comfortable to talk about this issue but it also made him stop and think / give serious thought to the issue. We had only two Doctor's appointments and our relationship feels like it's on the path to recovery. We're happy now. It's like an evil spell has been broken. He realized his Mother's behaviour is toxic. He realized that he has not set the boundaries he should have from the beginning. Doctor gave us "homework" :) to watch / listen to Dr. Brene Brown talk on Netlix which helped a lot for our relationship to recover. (There's another Dr. Brene Brown "Ted Talk" as well). Also My family Doctor told me about a good book "5 love languages" where each partner identifies his / her "primary" love language out of five types (touch, quality time, service..). The couple stays happy as long as each other's love tank is full with the support of his / her partner :) It's a wonderful book by Gary Chapman.
Every child has an emotional attachment to his/her Mother. So I feel sad that my husband lived his whole childhood with such a controlling and emotionally manipulating Mother day after day which I never experienced in my childhood. My Mother is a kind Mother. I wanted him to feel peace in his soul. I wanted him to feel happy. I wanted myself to have the same. And with the wonderful help of this article from Lana and relationship counselling Doctor and my family Doctor, my home is peaceful for my husband, myself and our beautiful kids.
Thank you Lana. Good blessings to you, your family and lots of love. I'm wishing all married couples in the world struggling with this issue will find peace as I have and enjoy the love and happiness of having a family.
Gk on June 02, 2019:
I have been married for 17 years and I also have a toxic MIL having all the 14 traits.She has always poisoned my husband against me and my parents ever since I got married .THe result is that there is no joy left in our married life we live a lifeless life My husband never stood up for me and always sides with his mother even when she is wrong.she is very intrusive in our marriage finding faults with my house keeping skills as well as my parents( whose house I had left when married)she and husband abuse my father .even today as they are more moneyed .she poisons my school going sons against me I get lot of solace and relief reading such articles that I am not alone suffering in this world thanks a lot
Rhodora on May 26, 2019:
They are most selfish person in this world, no consideration....
SS on May 25, 2019:
This is so true... They are so toxic....they want to destroy the relationship between the couple.shameless creatures on earth who thinks she s always right and knows everything in the world
Klaudhina on May 17, 2019:
I dont know what to do sometimes. It is so clear that my mother in law doesn't like me, first of all she dont have any pictures of us in her house, she never look at me when she is talking especially if is more people in the house she just talk to them and she kind of ignored me. Or sometimes she is really nice in front of others and when we are alone she dont talk to me or ask me how im doing etc,etc she pretty much dont care about what im up to, how is my family, my plans nothing. And every time we have dinner or birthdays at her house i just got anxiety attacks, i try to be nice and make conversation but is like she dont care or she give that look like (you know that im just been polite for my soon ) even in Christmas and my birthday ones she gave me a used staff lol. I told my husband the way i see and feel things but im ended being the bad woman and he get upset with me , but she is so smart that she makes sure that only i can see her subliminal messages. Im a Christian so i pray a lot to God that He c ok n heal my emotions and thoughts but i can help it every time that i come back home from her house i feel this heaviness in my heart and back. Something honestly i think she has bipolar disorder no kidding and i try be patient but other time i just prefer not to be around her and just stay in my house with my dogs and my husband or just go out with my husband.
Otomita on May 12, 2019:
Do any of you have problem with your father in law too? I like him better but he is so difficult and hurtful.
Toni on May 12, 2019:
Great article. My MIL is so awful. Incredibly manipulative and spiteful. I have let her behaviour really affect me emotionally and it has made things difficult between me and my husband as my MIL is so emotionally manipulative. I have absolutely no respect for her. Your article has encouraged me to let go. To be honest I have to laugh at how ridiculously pathetic she is.
Mawi on May 09, 2019:
Thank you Lana. Your article "14 Signs You Have a Toxic Mother-in-Law " brought peace to my soul that I have been looking for for 14 yrs of marriage. I'm so glad you were capable to put those words together because my experience matches 100% to what you wrote. I have nothing to add or take out when I compare with your article. Finally someone in the world understands my pain. I'm so thankful to you and wish you loads and loads of good blessings for writing that article. My husband always ignores me or keep quiet or yell at me or say I will be the same kind of MIL one day :( I will not be a toxic MIL for my boys. I will make sure I never hurt my children that way. I feel free now. Lots of love and thank to you Lana.
Barbs not taking it anymo on May 05, 2019:
So my mil moved in with us by announcing to her son six months prior in a phone call that she was moving in with us. He really had no idea how to say no and felt he needed to help her. I said okay as long as it works. She moved in and proceeded to be a total selfish bitch. She said my dog may jump on her, give her a bruise and she may die because of her medicine. She said either the dog goes or she does, I told her the dog stays. She had a rage fit about how I cooked her steak. My better half had to remind her this isn't a restaurant and she is capable of using the kitchen to prepare her own meals. My better half had to work a month on nights, she proceeded to have rage driven fits of anger with me. Her son has been close to tossing her on the streets. I finally had enough and told her she can no longer behave like a mean child and either straighten up and get out or just get out. She is getting out at the end of the month, my issue is I just want to tell her what a horrible shit she is and how much I dislike her. This last month is the hardest and wish me luck not lashing out at the horrible miserable mil.
Lale on April 17, 2019:
I love this article, perfect description of my mil...thank you for sharing...more power To you Dear Lana.
Gone again on April 09, 2019:
Please help. My man is 47 and he could not stand his mother when we first got together, but since the grandparents passed away, for some reason, they have gotten closer. I hate to say it but $$$ is involved handed down from grandparents to her, and he is her only child. Every time she would call him I would have to calm him down because she worked him up so badly. Now he acts like that never happened, and I am out of my mind.
I use to stick up for her but now that I go around her, because I do love him, I see everything he use to say about her is true. I tried talking to him about these things she does, manipulative, guilt trips, etc. but he then pushed me away. I think I am starting to see him turn into her. We have been together for 12 years now. I cannot and will not bow-down for $$$.
He has not even married me. I've been with him for 12 years and I have nothing to fall back on myself, but that is what's good about us women, we can bounce back from anything. Now I am going back to school, and am going to try to get a job just so I can make it in this hellish nightmare we call life. I was a single mother when I met him, and he spoiled my child, so I thought he loved him, but now that my child is a teen I see that they have no relationship whatsoever. I have learned so much throughout this prosses. I wish I could go back to that person I was before I met him and say, "RUN!!!".
Lana Adler (author) from California on April 09, 2019:
I'm so sorry to hear that your marriage was affected so much by a toxic MIL. I am familiar with the "golden boy" syndrome when the man refuses to stand with his wife out of fear of losing his mother's affection. It's very sad and disappointing indeed.
I do hope that you'll find a way to let go of the toxicity and detach yourself emotionally from this woman, and whatever else you need to detach yourself from. It's in your power! And I love that you already found a way to treat this as a learning experience, and I'm sure that one day you'll be an amazing MIL. Good luck!!!
Lana Adler (author) from California on April 09, 2019:
that sounds annoying as hell. You just have to work on your skill of - politely - putting them in their place. They'll get the message, you'll see!
Debra Roberts from Ohio on April 03, 2019:
Holy shit, you just described my mother to a tee!
Gloria Guillen on April 03, 2019:
Yes i had a mother-in-law that was very controlling and dis-respectful towards me and she beat me and threw to kick my children in the air to get me a divorce and tried to poison every time i got pregnant. However, she also was in the black arts where she would do some harm to me on several occasions even at the point of getting my ex-husband to beat me up and he did. Later on through my years, i discovered that she was only after the money because my ex-husband wanted her to get a job not realizing that he couldn't give me money to buy diapers because he told me to ask his mother for it. Moreover, it turns out he was so afraid of her, that he broke down and cried because she had him so controlled (he was 30 years old) that he could not tell me why. Do i went to her house to find out what had happened only to find out that she wanted me to get a divorce to leave him because she knew he was her gravy train. It was me or her and i ended up having my ex-husband into a divorce because he took her side and took the kids and she raised them and tried to prove i was an unfit mother. Not to mention that he pointed his gun at me as a threat.