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10 Signs You Have a Toxic Mother-In-Law

Updated on December 01, 2016

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 10 signs you might be dealing with a toxic mother-in-law.

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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 person 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 will communicate to you, in delightfully subtle ways, that you are not good enough for her son, and 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. To establish her dominance and to prove that she was right about you, she will expect you to do things that please her. That would include you wanting to spend time with her, appearing at every family event, learning her way of cooking, cleaning and just about everything else under the sun (because her way is clearly better), adopting her religion and culture, and last but not least, giving her grandchildren when she's ready to be a grandma. If you fail to do any of that, you are indeed a rotten daughter-in-law, and she has a right to complain about you to anyone who'll listen.

Slander is a useful tool in her tool belt.
Slander is a useful tool in her tool belt. | Source

5. If you are still not bending to her will, she will move on to heavier artillery. She will start a smear campaign in her community, trying to turn everyone against you. If she succeeds, those people will start putting pressure on your husband to leave you, saying that they're just "worried about him" and they "want him to be happy."

6. She will not 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 unmannered your kids are.

7. Her parochial 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 husband. If he's not siding with her, she will be punishing and destructive towards him, too. At the same time, she will be demonstratively granting her love to his siblings and your sister-in-law.

8. She loves 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 can 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. 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 for them. That includes the people they marry; you. She will never give up on trying to destroy your marriage, or to control her children's lives.

10. There will be "good days" when she will be on her best behavior and everything will appear normal. You may even be tempted to think that things are getting better. You'll lose your vigilance.Then, out of nowhere, she will turn on you again, and you will be reminded - if you don't know it yet - that she will never accept you, and you can never have a relationship with her. That last one, by the way, may not be a bad thing.

Toxic mothers-in-law require constant vigilance.
Toxic mothers-in-law require constant vigilance. | Source

What Can You Do?

I wish I could tell you that there is an easy remedy for a toxic mother-in-law. Alas, there isn't.

You could stay the hell away from her. That's a simple and effective strategy, but it has its drawbacks. Something to do with the law of attraction - what and who you avoid in your life persists. The more you resist something, the more it follows you. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your mother-in-law is in your life for a reason. Look within and find out what it is.

So maybe instead of completely avoiding her you could...dare I say it - be more upfront with her? I found that being more honest with my mother-in-law empowers me. If I've managed to let her know how I feel, that something she does bothers me (without being rude or emotional), that's a victory to me, because in my family (and in many families) the status quo is sweeping things under the rug and moving on.

And to that end, I have to accept part of the responsibility for our relationship because I'm not always vocal. I don't make more effort to communicate. I react emotionally, and I shut down. In other words, I act like a child.

But one step at a time...I don't expect us to be friends 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 with strong minds, and we 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" fueled by the genuine love and concern for her son.

Lastly, I find great comfort in the fact that my own mother is a kind, caring, generous woman who's very fond of my husband. She is my angel, someone I hope to resemble as a mother. So that makes my monster-in-law... somewhat bearable, and at times even amusing.

© 2015 Lana Zakinov

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    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 17 months ago from San Diego California

      I really feel for you. I am fortunate that my mother in law is sweet as a kitten and has always been fond of me. In fact, everyone in my wife's family adores me, except my wife of course who lives with me and knows my weaknesses. My mother and my wife get along splendidly, but then again they don't live in the same state and since they are both strong willed women you never know. I really loved your splendidly crafted rant here. Great hub!

    • kalinin1158 profile image
      Author

      Lana Zakinov 17 months ago from California

      Thank you Mel :) You are indeed fortunate. My in-laws live 20 min away, and my MIL often expects us to drop by on a moment's notice, because she cooked something "amazing," which happens a lot, as you can imagine. Well, it least back when we were still speaking.

      Lol the line about your wife made me laugh. Of course she adores you! The weaknesses only make you more endearing to the ones who love you sincerely :)

    • MommaStu profile image

      Mindy Studer 17 months ago from Sunny South Florida

      This was fun to read... I have a monster-in-law. Creates drama, believes herself to be the center of the universe, doesn't understand why my husband can't be at her house kissing her ass all day everyday. Ugh.

      As I always say, it's so nice to know I'm not alone. =)

    • kalinin1158 profile image
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      Lana Zakinov 17 months ago from California

      The feeling is mutual - it's nice to know I'm not alone :) Sometimes it's a very lonely experience because you don't want to talk to your husband about it - it is his mother after all, and you don't want to talk to other people because they don't understand. But this was cathartic! Thanks for stopping by Mindy, stay strong :)

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 17 months ago

      I am so sorry that you have this kind of mother-in-law. I'm sure one can make life a living hell if the spouse is very close to her. I've been married twice, and I'm very fortunate to have had two wonderful mothers-in-law. The first one was like a second mother to me and helped me raise my children even after the divorce. The second one lived in another state, but she and I got along beautifully. They are both deceased and I miss them.

      On the other hand, I've experienced two wonderful daughters-in-law and one toxic one. My older son is married to his second wife, a very nice daughter-in-law, and I still have a relationship with his first wife and her mother. My younger son wasn't so fortunate, and although I wish that marriage had lasted because he really loved her, the whole family feels a relief that she is gone. This is a very good analysis of the situation some people find themselves in.

    • Karli McClane profile image

      Psycho Free Zone 17 months ago from USA

      Very well written hub. Sounds exactly like my MIL. Fortunately, my husband recognizes her for what she is and refuses to tolerate her abuse. It appears that just recently she has decided to cut both of us from her life, as neither of us are subservient.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

      I've been around the sort of person you so aptly described in this article. Luckily it isn't my mother in law. Actually, I love my in laws.

      Wonderful read!

    • kalinin1158 profile image
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      Lana Zakinov 17 months ago from California

      Thank you, MizBejabbers. I agree, good MILs do exist (my mother for example), but I guess I wasn't lucky with mine. And I'm sure she doesn't think great things of me either.

    • kalinin1158 profile image
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      Lana Zakinov 17 months ago from California

      Thank you, Karli! It's the best validation to know that there are other women like me who are going through the same toxic bs with their in-laws. It's funny, we are in the same situation right now. Neither me nor my husband are dancing to her tune, so she's freezing us out. It's actually quite nice, although I would still like a geographical distance in addition to that.

    • kalinin1158 profile image
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      Lana Zakinov 17 months ago from California

      Thank you Larry! I like my father-in-law, and I think he likes me too. Although not as much anymore after years of propaganda at home. Plus, he never hears my side of the story, so I think eventually, just to avoid conflicts, he started agreeing with his wife...

    • Karli McClane profile image

      Psycho Free Zone 17 months ago from USA

      Geographical distance is wonderful; my husband and I were lucky enough to live several states apart from my in-laws for the first several years we were together. Re: what you said about your FIL, mine has always agreed with his wife. If he didn't, he would have her nagging at him constantly. Sometimes, when she isn't around, he forgets to be a jerk, but usually he dehumanizes me. He absolutely refuses to use my name when speaking to me, and when he's talking to my husband (about me), I'm always "she", "her" or "your wife", never Karli.

    • kalinin1158 profile image
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      Lana Zakinov 17 months ago from California

      I can relate. Although my FIL had never been a jerk to me, he keeps his distance and pretty much acts as if I'm not there. And if his wife is around, forget about it... It pisses me off that our relationship is totally my responsibility. He'll never reach out, talk to me like a human being, or just call...It's all on me. So by default, I'm a bad DIL because I'm not around.

      But how am I supposed to be around when she's around? Maybe some people can pretend, or kiss ass - I can't. And I never want to learn. I feel like: if you don't like me before you even tried to get to know me, screw you. I don't want to be around people like that.

    • Karli McClane profile image

      Psycho Free Zone 17 months ago from USA

      I feel the same way. I'd rather surround myself with people who are supportive and inspire me to be my best self. Those who create conflict don't deserve my time.

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 17 months ago

      but it only seems quite natural

    • kalinin1158 profile image
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      Lana Zakinov 17 months ago from California

      What does? Animosity between in-laws could be construed as natural, but being a toxic person...that borders on pathology. And although I try to make light of it, it's a serious problem.

    • kalinin1158 profile image
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      Lana Zakinov 17 months ago from California

      Hear, hear Karli!

    • Iamthatwife profile image

      Maizie 17 months ago from North Western Canada

      I think these women, who consider themselves mother's, are very sad human beings. My mother-in-law has for nearly 25 years worked very hard to paint a picture of me to her relatives and friends where she is the victim and I am the asshole. For most of my young adult life I scratched my head and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong, why could she not see that I was a good person, that I loved her son and that we were happy. A little over a year ago I found out that my husband had been having an affair with a woman who was a very long time family friend. I'm pretty sure that my mother-in-law knew, helped her 'favourite daughter" try and weasel her way into my shoes and hoped that our marriage would end because of it. Much to both of their disappointment, I'm sure, I chose to try and salvage our marriage because I loved him. This so called "friend" was poisoned by my mother-in-law, she on every level tried to convince my husband that our marriage was not worth it, his parents hated me and on and on, why would he want to stay married to a woman like me.

      Some days I feel like after all of this time I should just throw in the towel and call it quits. Problem being...I can't make myself stop loving my husband and I want what is best for my family. I'm stronger than they are, their jealousy and pettiness is just sad, really. I've walked away from both of my in-laws, I can't have them in my life anymore. My husband's father also knew about the affair and figured it was all okay as long as no one found out. He's a cheater too. It's never okay to cheat, or lie, or just in general be shitty to another person you say that you love.

    • kalinin1158 profile image
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      Lana Zakinov 17 months ago from California

      Maizie, I feel for you. Sounds like you've had many painful experiences with your mother-in-law, and you're still hurting. Some people tell me: "Why do you care? She's not your mother. Just smile and ignore her." I wish it was as easy as putting on a fake smile.

      The sad thing is, they will never understand the pain they cause because, like you said, they consider themselves the victims, and we are the villains who ruined their sons' lives. These women are twisted; this is not normal psyche, in my opinion.

      They feel hurt, too, in their way, or more accurately, they feel threatened. That enables them to see you as an enemy, which is a very aggressive predisposition: everything you do is bad or worthless, your husband isn't really happy, you're a bad wife/mother etc.

      I do hope that your marriage survives and even becomes stronger following this turmoil. It's never ok to cheat, I agree, but if your love is real, it's worth fighting for.

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      BiteyMouse 13 months ago

      My ex came from a wealthy family. My MIL was in the same boat as me. She was not accepted by her mil because she wasnt rich enough. this always bothered her and I guess she thought she could make up for it by marrying her son to a rich girl. But, no, I was just a career girl that loved him with or without money or career. My Mil would routinely call to check the status quo. Anytime I got another job or project she would snap at my ex "So, what are YOU doing to further your career?" (He was in grad school.) I could feel him growing resentful of her and me. A few days before we split up he refered to my last project as my 'Little writing job." He'd never talked about my work like that before. He started sleeping with not one but two fellow students. Everyone who knew us knew, faculty included. I started to unravel. I was being betrayed by him, my mother had recently died, we were in a city that did not respect IR marriage, finding work for me was challenging, I was feeling depressed. Then my mil came across the country for a visit. By the time she left 4 days later we were separating.

      My mil told me she suffered from depression and that it was dibilitating and horrible. So I was surprised when the first thing she said to her son when she entered our house was "well, THIS is cheerful!" she was disgruntled and annoyed that I had painted to house in bright colors. She looked at her son as if he'd allowed me to ruin their plans. We were officially separated 3 weeks later then divorced almost 4 yrs later after he stalled and plowed through 3 different lawyers, that last one a female which I'm pretty sure his mother arranged. I did in fact go through a bad depression at the house she visited and I feel pretty sure she wanted this to happen. My ex and her talked often while he and I searched for our last house/ apt to live in and he repeatedly chose some very dark and dreary places which I rejected. I really think my MiL set me up for the whole crash.

    • kalinin1158 profile image
      Author

      Lana Zakinov 13 months ago from California

      Hi Bitey,

      thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you've gone through some very challenging times, and tried your best to save your relationship. But it requires the efforts of both partners. A toxic mother-in-law can certainly ruin a marriage but I think in this case your husband is equally to blame.

      I hope you're feeling better now, putting this behind you and looking to the future with optimism. Blessings :)

    • profile image

      BiteyMouse 13 months ago

      Thanks Kali,

      Im remarried now 5 yrs happy. You're right, he certainly played a big part. But when we first met and dated he was in his 6th year of no contact with his mother. I should have run! But I thought he was handling her the best way he knew. Once we got married though she slowly infected our relationship and turned him into the Manchurian Candidate.

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      Missy 7 months ago

      This week has been so challenging for me. I am a newly wed. I love my husband so much. He has three children from a previous marriage. We are in the military and right now the oldest is living with us. It hasn't been easy but we are seeing great progress in his behavior and grades. I do not have a biological child and right now we are trying.

      My mother in law is a tyrant. Since I met her the first time, I could tell she doesn't care for me. It's ok; I am in a relationship with her son. So since Eldon has come to life with us she doesn't approve of how we are perenting. She disapproves of us letting out son go to summer camps, alter sever practice and so on. She is afraid that someone will molest him. I am no stranger to child sexual abuse. It happened to me as a child and I would never let it happen to mine.

      So while my husband is away in school, my son and I are going about our lives and his mother send me messages asking why I block her on Facebook which I never did. Some one my post do not come up for so so quickly she feels I and holding info about her grandchild when I am not. Anyhow, after this I thought I would have a heart to heart with her about my childhood so she would know I have lived through child abuse. That was a mistake. I told her this in confidence and that evil woman took it upon herself to share my abuse and make me a victim all over again with my son mother.

      My son's biological mother demanded we send him back home with out a justification. At that point I knew that my Mother in Law had shared my story with this woman. My son's mother is not educated and makes conclusions from her own thought process and said that I too and a child molester because it was genetic.

      My am so hurt and I feel my so violated. My husband quickly called his Mom and she said that she felt the children's Mom had a right to know. I tried to call her but the coward will not talk to me. It's ok, I cachave a great relationship with my step son and my husband with out my husband's or child biological mother.

      My husband is my rock and I have been truthful with him since the day we became friends and fell in love. I feel grateful that he feel the sense of duty and loyalty to me.

      We will keep on trucking, I will continue to be the best role model to this little boy I am entrusted to raise and make a reproductive member of society.

      I am ok with closing the door, those two do not need to be in my life.

      Thank for reading and letting me share.

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      Chrissann 7 months ago

      Oh my goodness that's my life now. I've tried to be the bigger person and apologize for my role in the whole twisting of my words and her comment back was " Its just like you to make this all about yourself !" That wasn't something I'd ever expect and a reply to a sincere apology. She hadn't talked to me in a year and when I found out why I honestly felt bad. However now learning about some disorders I see now where I went wrong. I trusted her and WANTED her to except me and Love me. I'm without parents and my foster parents gave me one hug in three years so needless to say I was just a paycheck. Family is so very important to me and I've always gotten along with all my ex's moms and dads. Even my ex husbands mother called me the "Final piece to their puzzle".

      This man I'm with, we're not married but have been together for six years. We have a four year old boy together and he has an eleven year old Daugher. She and I are very very close and our relationship is super awesome.

      My boyfriend went to see his mom about two years ago to ask a bunch of questions. Including why she never responds to ,y texts, why did she get up from our sons birthday party at a park and leave without saying a word. When he returned home five hours later he was a different man. Cold, hateful unloving and cruel. To this day he's still not the same. I've asked numerous times what they talked about. Noe I get the ol'nothing special. But back the. He told me that they talked about every tin I do to piss him off and everything I did to piss her off. Omg Really?! I'm just so sad we can't have th relationship I so long for in a "mother in law" and my relationship with her son has never been the same. (There are other issues but that's a whole different topic) this woman said to me "What more do you want you already have my son!? And "Stay the Hell away from me," She said those very hurtful and confusing things in 2014-ish she like in your blog has gone from one side to another. Good days where I'm actually visible to her and very bad where I'm ignored even when I speak directly to her. I don't know how to do this passive aggressive crap. I like to talk things out and then have a great day. So very awkward and frustrating. My question is how do I get my guy to come around? He knows she's not right or Knew. He's even gone months not talking to her. Guess who she gets mad at???? Lol Yep Me!! What do I do??

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      Candy 2 months ago

      This is a great article! My mil has done these things since the moment I met her. After about a year of her not getting a reaction, she baptized my middle school daughter without my permission. At this point, avoiding her is my only option. My daughter isn't even her son's daughter either.

    • GARH608 profile image

      Pathways thru life 2 months ago from Mid West

      Great hub. I had a monster in law. My now ex husband appeared to side with her, which resulted in the ending of our 18 year marriage, and we have 3 children together. It's been disappointing.

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      Riyanka 2 months ago

      My mother in law is very abusive, she always insulted me in front of relatives and even in front of the house maids, she use slungs against me and my parents. She called me and my parents by different names which are very insulting. We are living in the same house where my husband spent a lot of money during the construction of the house and now she wants us to leave the house because she can't tolerate me. She is getting more abusive day by day and even tried to attack me physically. I don't understand what to do, we are not in a position to move out of our house right now cause we already have spent our entire savings in the construction of this house. Please suggest me something.

    • kalinin1158 profile image
      Author

      Lana Zakinov 2 months ago from California

      Thank you Candy!

      That was certainly a bold move on the part of your mil - to baptize your child, let alone a child who has no biological relation to her. And I completely understand your urge to avoid her. Sometimes it's a way to go - if it's not a big deal because you don't see each other a lot, and if it doesn't create tension with your spouse. In all other cases I would encourage you to be upfront about your feelings...

    • kalinin1158 profile image
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      Lana Zakinov 2 months ago from California

      Thank you, Pathways thru life!

      So sorry to hear about your marriage... I know how destructive a monster in law can be to a relationship. In my humble opinion, a husband should never side with his mother against his wife. I understand your disappointment. Better luck in the future, eh? :)

    • kalinin1158 profile image
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      Lana Zakinov 2 months ago from California

      Dear Riyanka,

      I feel for you. I know how painful it can be to live with an abusive relative; in this case, a mother-in-law.

      It is a difficult situation; one that cannot be resolved until you and your husband move out and live on your own, or your MIL moves out. I believe living with the parents is very detrimental to the marriage, and to the psychological well being of a couple. In the meantime, talk to your husband. Let him know what's going on; it's his mother after all. Abuse should never be tolerated, especially one of the physical kind. Good luck to you! Stay strong

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      Mister Hardlife 2 months ago

      This is very similar to our situation to a certain degree. My wife and her mom doesn't get along at all, but MIL wants to control everything in her life including me and our 5 kids. She has us at her beck and call, she wants us to drop everything (including my work) to drive her places, clean, cook, do home improvements and so much more!! She wants to control all aspects of our life including our finances. MIL wants my wife (which includes me) to send money to her relatives (which live in an asian country, don't want to mention which) who have the means to make a living but rather live off of MILs monthly contributions (they love to kiss her @**). MIL is also a bi-weekly bingo player and plays at least a few hundred per day. She loves to shop and buy expensive things (jewelry, bags, etc.) for herself. That is her perogative, she can do whatever she wants with her money. But when MIL sees us buy toys for our kids or buy ourselves things, she says were wasting money (she would rather see our money in her pocket for her bingo or relatives fund).

      She also calls everyone stupid and she is the smarted person in the world. She says she accomplished alot in her life (she married a retired military man with a hefty retirement account plus disability). My father in law (my wife's stepfather, her bio dad just didn't cut it for MIL) just goes along with it (she calls him stupid in public, I feel so bad for him). He doesn't even have a say for his own money, he asks permission to buy himself stuff. FIL once added his biological son's (from a previous marriage) children to his will and MIL got furious and took everyone out including my wife and just had MIL as the only beneficiary to everything.

      MIL had us watch one of her homes, but made us pay for everything (from all of the mortgage to upgrades and free labor from me to fix, repair, paint any and all things to make her house perfect... she even made my kids pull weeds with they're bare hands! Its amazing because she pays her relatives big $$ just to change a light bulb). She made $150,000 out of the house that she made us pay for everything and fix up for her and didn't shell out a penny to our family of seven!! I only have a small online business, that barely makes enough to feed us, let alone upgrade a whole house for profit! Not even a thanks for the hard work, she made us feel that she was doing us a favor by living there (she has another big home back in the home country and all her relatives live there for free including meals, utilities and everything!!). They used some of the money to pay off they're California home and use the rest for bingo and to go home to the home country for 6 months to show off how rich she was and be "Queen Bigshot" and belittle everyone. She'll hand out money to anyone that kissed her butt enough...

      So my wife was furious with MIL for a very long period of time, but things eventually calmed down and we were living in an apartment at the time and she wanted to get into a house. Our credit wasn't doing so well due to having to charge up our credit cards to fix up MILs first house and not having the means to pay it (its either the credit cards or the kids get to eat, literally). She asked her mom to use her credit, (she was very hesitant), with us footing all expenses (inspections, down payment, etc.) All she and FIL did was sign a few papers (she complained about that too). We lived at the house for a couple year and paid for everything as usual plus upgrades. MIL and FIL agreed that all proceeds would go to my wife if the house ever sold. Low and behold, we sold the house for $40,000 and they want to keep all the money... My wife is not talking to them and is just barely coping now. We're a struggling family of seven and her MIL doesn't see that. MIL says that I should get a regular hourly job (I make 50 to 60k a year and she wants me to quit that to do my former job as a pharmacy tech at $18 per hour, wheres the logic there?) and maybe I can afford to take care of your family. What she doesn't see is that I do take care of my family PLUS her (the queen), FIL, her bingo habit and her 13 brothers and sisters and their kids and their kids kids!! We give up! Somebody help!!

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      lin kelly 2 months ago

      I hate my mother in law. She gas moved into my home knowing she doesn't like me. She called me a B@$#, dirty, and a monkey. She has 4 sons but clings to my husband because he is the only one who doesn't see her evil ways! I am on the verge of divorce and she is happy! This woman has told my husband and brother in laws she should of gotten an abortion everytime she is mad at them. And dogs them out. Expects me to kiss her butt because I am married to her son. Told me I treat my mom better than her (she is my mom who loves me, you hate me...demon lady). Expects my husband to pay all her expenses because she refuses to work at the age of 49. But my husband who I love hasn't had a stable job in 2 years so I am forced to be the bread winner. She shows favoritism with grandkids and did I mention hates that I have a better relationship with her mother and sister! She hates when they come around me or the children saying that my kids are her grandbabies and if she doesn't want some one around them then that should be so. She is crazy! It's so much I am screaming as I type this....ugh...so if I want a piece of mind I now have to give up 7 years of marriage because he has chosen his toxic mother over me!

    • kalinin1158 profile image
      Author

      Lana Zakinov 2 months ago from California

      Dear Lin Kelly,

      thank you for sharing with me. And wow...this is rather extreme. I am so sorry that you have to deal with such an abusive MIL. She decisively fits a definition of a toxic person, and people like that are only happy when they're making others miserable. I think in your case it's best that you keep distance from your MIL, which is pretty difficult to do if she's living with you, of course. In this situation a husband has to step up and ask his mother to leave. Why isn't he doing that? You say you love your husband but...if he's chosen his mother other his wife, I would question if he's the right partner for you...Good luck, and stay strong. Let go of the toxic people in your life, or learn to ignore them...Or better yet, kill them with kindness :-)

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      Raz 2 months ago

      Omg... this is exactly proving me that my mil is toxic! Each and every point is happening with me. She sucks my soul and energy out! I tried and tried with her. I've tried being so good. It's not good enough. I got to point I just want to relax and lay back and not always feel like I need to be alert of her. That drove her crazy. She wants me to know that she comes first to her son and he loves her most. I respect a persons love to their mother but do not put in my face trying to prove I am not worthy of his love. She is psychotic. I really do think she is. We live with her. We got married 6 months ago. So we've been living with her for about 6 months now and it's a living hell! I can't take it anymore. I feel like this is getting in between my husband and I. I want to move out but I know he loves his mother and is scared of leaving her alone. She always makes him feel like she's lonely and has nobody. And he has such a good heart that he falls for it. I don't know what to do. And she always is upset from me and I don't even know what I'm doing wrong. I clean, cook, try to be as good as I can be but it's not good enough for her. I'm so tired of this. I don't know if I can take it any longer. I've come to a point in which I just hate her. I've never hated anyone ever before. I don't think I've ever felt hate like this before. I dislike things but her I hate. I can't do this anymore.

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      Lana Zakinov 8 weeks ago from California

      Dear Raz,

      I feel for you. I can't even imagine how hard it must be for you to live with your toxic MIL. And to have the very beginning of your marriage tainted like that, the time that should be the happiest for you and your husband...It reminds me of a saying that when you get married, you don't just marry a person, you marry the whole family. Oftentimes that includes a hostile mother-in-law.

      It seems that she feels like she has to compete with you for your husband's affection and assert her number one place in her son's heart. It's so typical...Unfortunately, in some cultures it's traditional for a new wife to move in with her husband's family, or for a mother to move in with her married children. That "close quarters" situation gravely exacerbates any tension that is bound to exist between the women. And like with any abuse, it's a repeating cycle. If you ask her about her MIL, I'm sure she would tell you that her husband's mother treated her badly. So hopefully when you're a MIL, you don't treat your daughter-in-law the same way. Stay strong, talk to your husband about what's bothering you (without directly attacking his mother, he will not like that), and hopefully at some point soon you can start your own family and live separately, as any young couple should. Good luck to you :)

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      Barbara 8 weeks ago

      Well - it is easy to blame mothers in law, but there are times when a daughter in law is a vicious one. I loved and respected my mom in law, and we were good friends. Today, I am a mother in law of a vicious, passive-agressive DIL, who hates me just because I exist....So - I think that discussing bad DILs may be helpful.

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      Lana Zakinov 8 weeks ago from California

      Hi Barbara! Thank you for your comment. Absolutely. Anyone can be a toxic person. Sometimes a DIL is a vicious one, as you've said. But I think a far more common situation is when a mother in law will have a problem with her son's choice, or initiate a power struggle, or try to sabotage his marriage...And the comments women leave here is a testament to that. Perhaps, a toxic DIL is a topic for another article!

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      Jamie 8 weeks ago

      You could not have explained a toxic mother in law any better. It is what my own, precious and not overbearing mother warned me about before I got married to my husband regarding his mother. The toxicity started very early on in our relationship and seems to get quieter but also more vengeful. And then you mix alcohol into the equation with my mother in law and you purely get a monster. It's heartbreaking that my husband probably never had a good example of a mother growing up. I hope he sees and sticks to the idea in time that if she isn't going to at the least add something positive to this marriage then she needs to learn the hard way and be cut off. 6 years of this nonsense is absolutely enough!

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      Lana Zakinov 8 weeks ago from California

      Dear Jamie,

      I'd say you're ahead of the game because you've identified who you're dealing with. That's half the battle. So many women let their toxic MIL get into their head. They start doubting their self-worth, their husband, their marriage...Ultimately questioning if it's all worth it. It is, if you've got a good man with a listening heart. Stay strong and know that nothing lasts forever. One day she won't be part of your lives anymore. But before that, maybe some sort of resolution is possible. I would also encourage you to speak up, respectfully but firmly. Things tend to get really weird when they're quiet. Good luck!

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      Alyssa 7 weeks ago

      I have a narrcistic MIL. I feel for those of us who have to deal with this issue it sure is not enjoyable! I never noticed much of her behavior till after our son was born. Wanting to control what I want for my child. Major jealousy issues! She lies so much she can't even remember the first lie she told you. The list goes on. But I will not tolerate it for the sake of our son. That behavior is toxic so I limit our time with her. That's the best way it has worked for us arguing isn't going to solve anything. Even though we limit our time she'll still throw jabs but that's okay it's her lost in the end and her own doing of why we don't come around

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      Ruth101 5 weeks ago

      This article really helped me alot omg I was able to show my husband it helped him realize what was really happening he noticed before but now he really sees how his mother is to me and him shes also codependent parent ive been going through it really bad the last few years im trying my best not to let her get to me but its so hard bc I really love her son and our children he even has another child by another woman the mother hasnt been in his life ive been with his son since he was 1 1/2 hes 12 yrs old now shes the sameway with him bc it was the first grandchild and his mother has nothibg to do with him but hello woman I've been with him hes got amother i have a son to he was 2 when we got together hes going on 14 next month his father died when he was 7 mths old then we have 2 girls together she says she has special love for her sons first child.she doesnt love the other children the way she loves him the kids are and get very upset with this woman.im so scared if we don't get or stay away from this woman ima lose my husband i try not to put him in it but she want let us have alife its always negative with her.thanks this article shows me that im not crazy like she is always saying

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      Lana Zakinov 5 weeks ago from California

      Dear Alyssa,

      i understand your frustration. I agree, arguing isn't going to solve anything. Both parties have to be willing to listen and be receptive, not just attack each other. When you're dealing with a narcissistic person, that is never the case because they're always right. It's especially tricky when the child is involved. i would still encourage you to be upfront with her. You have to establish the boundaries for her behavior, and stand by them. You do have control over the situation. Good luck!

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      Lana Zakinov 5 weeks ago from California

      Dear Ruth,

      You are certainly not crazy. When I first wrote this article, I had no idea how many women had the same experience with their mothers-in-law. The stories are almost identical, with both sides embittered and unable to resolve the issues. I could tell you: it's not your fault. I could tell you: cut all ties with her. Or I could tell you: it may get better. At the end of the day, at some point in the future she will no longer be around. Permanently. How do you want to remember her? What do you want to tell your children and grandchildren about her? Can you honestly say that you've done everything you can to mend your relationship? Find common ground? Communicate your feelings openly and respectfully? If you've answered "yes" to all these questions, then without a doubt this woman is horrible and should not be allowed to walk the earth. But if not...try. Try again to rise above the resentment. Extend an olive branch. And if nothing works, then it least you know that you've done all you could. Good luck, and stay strong!

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      jason loeb 5 weeks ago

      My mom has been driving my wife and I crazy. Been married for 3 years had so many family issues due to my moms manipulation. We have a very close family and my mom wants to control us all. My wife tried having a conversation with my mom which has turned into a 4 month ordeal. My mom has pitted my 3 siblings against me (none are married). My wife does not want my my mom alone with her only grandchild due to all the issues we have and it drives my mom crazy. Going over my parents house tomorrow with my siblings to try and rectify this crap. My siblings think I owe them an apology and threatened me that I might not be invited to my sisters wedding. My mom is the only issue of my life and marriage.

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      Obie 4 weeks ago

      Oh my gosh this writing hit the nail on the head! Tad relieved its not just me

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      Sara H 4 weeks ago

      I have the same experience with my mil. Whenever my husband has a different opinion about things, she gets all worked up and tells my sister in law about it. She also said she wouldnt mind telling us both to leave if his behaviour doesnt change. But if my sil does anything to upset her then she calls my hubby and complains about her to him. She has no one else to talk to so she badmouths them both to each other causing the brother/sister relationship to fall. Shes got major issues. (Even with me, if i got to that, id be typing out an essay here)

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      Paul Smith 4 weeks ago

      I'm in the same boat with my mom. She's decided that my wife just "did care enough" and has completely excommunicated us from her life. She even moved and didn't give us an address. Super sad. I miss my mom but not the manipulation or emotional abuse. Glad to see we're not alone.

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      Lana Zakinov 4 weeks ago from California

      Hi Jason,

      I understand what you're going through. It's a very difficult situation. I do hope it turns around though and your family becomes whole again. But if it doesn't, and if you feel that your mom is the only source of drama, take a break from her. Some distance might do you good. If nothing else helps, time and space might. Good luck!

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      4 weeks ago

      My mil has been living with us for almost 12 years! She's young, healthy and doesn't suffer from any disabilities. For me, I have peace when she's not around.

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      Rina 3 weeks ago

      Hi , points 1,4,6,7,8 are completely applicable in my case .I have been married for 18 years nw but still i cant make any decision on anything .She is too controlling and i think in years to come i might go into depression.No matter how hard i try but not able to handle her and live in peace.She lives with me and my husband kind of know everything about her but still there is nothing which could bring relief to me .I have stopped talking to her but still most times i fall prey to her dramas and mentally torturing mind games .I think i m not strong enough to not let bother myself because of her .I really dont know what to do so that i can live my life .At times my husband also indirectly stops me doing things which he think might not be approved by her . One of such things is going out with my friends .Its is disturbing and all her acts or toxic behaviour destroying my mental wellbeing .Somebody tell me how can i ignore her and keep myself strong by not reacting to her indirect torturing skills.

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      Lindsay 2 weeks ago

      Thank you for this. I'm in the middle of the storm. After 13 years of getting emotionally abused I quietly removed myself from situations. That of course, only made it worse as I'm being "disrespectful and a little snip."

      Trying to always find the humor so I don't lose my mind.

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      Angelica Medina 2 weeks ago

      Nice to see I'm not alone

      My monster in law doesn't like me but wouldn't say it to me but says it to others

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      Lana Zakinov 2 weeks ago from California

      Dear Sara H,

      it's so typical for toxic MILs to pit siblings against each other and to talk about* people rather than to them...It all comes down to the need to maintain control over the situation and to never be directly challenged in their righteousness. Unfortunately, this behavior is often too ingrained to change...

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      Lana Zakinov 2 weeks ago from California

      Dear Paul Smith,

      I'm so sorry that this is what it came to. This is sad...But not unusual. So often a toxic mother (or mother-in-law) will go to extreme lengths to play the victim and to withhold her time/affection from those who she perceives had wronged her. In your case, she moved away entirely...An ultimate silence treatment. But when things are tense, some distance might be good. Just don't fall into a guilt trap :)

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      Lana Zakinov 2 weeks ago from California

      Dear Rina,

      I'm so sorry to hear about your challenges at home. I can't imagine living with a MIL that's so abusive and controlling. I know it may not be possible but I would definitely try to live separately. Living together with your in-laws is just unhealthy, and it makes it that much harder to maintain any kind of mental self-sufficiency. Have you tried talking to your MIL? Or call her out on her behavior? I know it's hard but you have to speak up to her, calmly and respectfully, even if your husband can't.

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      Denise 10 days ago

      I must say I feel much better knowing I'm not the only one everything mentioned is a direct reflection of my mother in law. She even made up a story saying that I didn't greet her a day before my wedding mind you she said this to my husband a week after we got married. Lucky for me my husband is a very open and honest person and he knows me in and out so he didn't believe what she said. She was also mad at the fact that I am nice to my father in law and not to her mind you I tried to hug her and she stood dead-still so I made up my mind that never again. Lately she's been fake as hell never once made an apology for the lies that she told. Like you luck for me I have an amazing mother who absolutely adore my husband so I normally call her when monster in-law throws one of her tantrums, she is a pain in my ass. Life being as hard as it is who still invest in people with evil intentions? Not me that's of damn sure.

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      Lidija 4 days ago

      This describes my mother in law perfectly, especially from #5 and down. I am looking to move again because she followed us from GA to FL and now from FL back to GA. I swear I cant get rid of this women, I never hated anyone this much. How could someone so evil give birth to someone sweet such as my husband.

      She caused a scene at our wedding and left, not that she just left but she made his sister and his niece leave because she was her ride. He doesn't have to much family so this was really hard.

      She uses and abuses people, if you give tis women a broom it would fit her perfect!!!

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      Joannadee 32 hours ago

      I thought that this was a problem unique to more traditional cultures but I was sadly mistaken. This is a wholly universal problem and I can relate and sympathize with you. I am of Asian ancestry and it is a very misogynistic culture. What really makes it worse is the expectation that they physically live in and do move in with their son and his family. The dil' s life is miserable on a day to day basis till they die. They will under no circumstance move out of that house because they have the support of their son 100%. There is no aspect of everyone's life that they do not want to control. They are outwardly very sweet, smiling but inwardly seething with rage and would rather see you dead or their son marry someone who is more moldable and amenable to their line of thinking. In their own wild fantasy they have even lined up one or two women who fits the bill for him and encourage him to call them. That's what I have to put up with.

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