Toxic Mother-in-Law: 5 Years Later

Updated on April 5, 2018
kalinin1158 profile image

Lana is a freelance writer, blogger, and editor who helps women to regain their power after experiencing toxic relationships.

When I wrote "10 Signs You Have a Toxic Mother-In-Law," I was happily married to the man I could see spending the rest of my life with. But our domestic bliss was tainted by his mother's disapproval of me, and her constant passive-aggressive attacks. Her negativity was seeping through every aspect of my life, and there was no escape from it. Sometimes I even wondered if it was all worth it.

Five years later I reflect on how the relationship with my MIL changed.

The Toxic MIL Epidemic

But first, let me tell you about the "10 Signs" article and the response it received.

I wrote it because I needed relief from the anguish my in-law discord was causing me. After all, writing is meant to be therapeutic. So I've exercised my demons. I've described being in a relationship with this woman, and I gave a name to what she was to me. This is how the "toxic mother-in-law" was born.

Since it was published hundreds of women (and even men) shared their mother-in-law woes with me. They left comments. They contacted me on social media. Those who wanted to keep our conversations private sent emails. The overarching sentiment was: "I'm glad I'm not alone."

Suddenly it seemed like there is a toxic MIL epidemic. Call FEMA, call CDC, call someone, because the toxicity is reaching dangerous levels!

Moved by their sincerity, I wanted to offer some advice to the battered and emotionally drained daughters-in-law, but I didn't know what to tell them. I was in the same boat as them. So I offered a compassionate ear. I figured, having your feelings validated can make a difference too, however small.

Still, I tried to distill some sort of wisdom from my "monster-in-law" conundrum and to pass it on.

For me, it was accepting the status quo without ever expecting it to change. This is the path of least resistance, the one I took because it offered some peace of mind. "Take your situation philosophically, treat it with humor and find comfort in the fact that other people love and accept you" was my mantra to those with a toxic MIL problem.

As I wrote before, "she will never accept you, and you can never have a relationship with her."

Doris Roberts' character Marie on "Everybody Loves Raymond" had many tell-tale signs of a toxic mother-in-law.
Doris Roberts' character Marie on "Everybody Loves Raymond" had many tell-tale signs of a toxic mother-in-law. | Source

The Glimmer of Hope

I do not recall having had any hope up until the day my daughter was born. Suddenly there seemed to be a new beginning, inspired by the new life that entered the world. Everything seemed small and petty compared to this terrifying, overwhelming, exhausting love you feel as a mother. So we were both mothers now. It leveled a playing field (somewhat) and gave my mother-in-law a new perspective on me.

She started treating me better. She'd said things she never told me before, like that I'm beautiful or that her son made a good choice by marrying me. We still disagreed on a lot of things, but we also made an effort to find common ground and to be respectful. The baby became the balancing force, something that kept both sides grounded and more focused on maintaining a positive environment. We had a common goal now: a nurturing loving family for the little one.

All of a sudden there was that light at the end of the tunnel. So I thought: finally!

A new baby can change the family dynamics somewhat, but it will not fix a conflict.
A new baby can change the family dynamics somewhat, but it will not fix a conflict. | Source

But it's always one step forward, two steps back with her. All it takes is one fight to turn our fragile temple of peace back into shambles. She's still the same person. She still makes choices that are selfish and unreasonable. She's still demanding and overbearing. She still conjures up drama where there is none. She still injects her opinion into everything.

Parenting became another point of contention between my MIL and me, which was one of my biggest fears about having a baby. Being the arrogant know-it-all, my MIL is often critical of my parenting choices, just like she was critical of everything else. She gives out unsolicited advice like candy and practices new "divide and conquer" tactics.

So is there improvement? There is a slight improvement in the level of honesty between us, and a basic recognition of each other's strong sides. But in another way, it's become more difficult because I find myself being way more emotional when my child is involved. It doesn't take much for me to perceive her as mistreating my daughter, and that is something I find impossible to tolerate.

However, I still hope that we can be more honest with each other instead of shutting down, and that the communication will be there, even if understanding and acceptance won't.

Let's Get One Thing Straight

To reiterate, having a child is not a fix to a family conflict. Not at all! The only thing that made any difference for me is being more upfront with my mother-in-law.

At some point I gave up on trying to impress her or earn her affection. I've accepted that this was never going to happen. So I started being more honest. Say how I feel. (Politely) call her out on her bullshit. Respond to her passive-aggressive manipulative ways with direct communication. I thought: she already hates me, what do I have to lose?

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 (as calmly as possible), 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 that's the key: I don't measure our progress by how "nice" we are to each other; I measure it by how honest I can be with her.

Another thing is: boundaries. It's so important to have boundaries with a domineering MIL, otherwise she will take over! Say "no" when she goes too far, and make sure to be direct. Vague doesn't work!

Hope Springs Eternal

Do you think the relationship with your mother-in-law will ever change for the better?

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Keep Calm and Speak Up

The worst part about toxic MILs is that they make us question our self-worth. And we are often alone in that feeling, wondering why we aren't good enough.

Don't do that. Stand up to her. Because she will walk all over you if you don't.

I know that in some cultures you're not supposed to speak up or disagree with the elders. I come from a similar culture, and it's a struggle for me, too.

But you have to do it. You have to find a way to speak up in a respectful but firm manner. You have to find a way to be true to yourself - more or less - otherwise a relationship is impossible and you will always feel bullied by your MIL.

And I want to reaffirm that you're not crazy, you're not overreacting. You're not wrong for feeling the way you do. So have faith in yourself, and in your marriage. The relationship with your husband's mother might change for the better, or it might not. She will grow to appreciate you some day, or she will despise you even more.

But in the end, this is not about how she feels about you. It's about how you feel about you. Cultivate peace of mind, integrity and strength of character. It'll help you face any critic that comes your way.

Questions & Answers

© 2017 Lana Adler

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    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      8 days ago from California

      DD,

      you are not crazy. Do what you believe is best for your son, and don't bother with those who want to attack you for it. The environment at your MIL's house doesn't sound safe, especially for such a young child. If you don't feel comfortable with him being there, don't bring him over there. If she wants to see her grandson, she's come around to respecting your wishes eventually. If not, her loss.

    • profile image

      DD 

      9 days ago

      My son just turned one this week and my MIL has ruined most of the last year with him. She had 20 cats, now down to 11, 8 dogs of which 3 are closed off in the dining room and use the restroom there while the others are a pack outside and have bitten both me and my husband on the back of the leg multiple times, and two birds that poop outside of the cage onto the floor. She also has one bedroom with a screened door on it devoted to one cat that pees everywhere. She has bad knees and rarely cleans. We used to have a wonderful relationship, we just didn’t go inside her house as the stench hit you the minute you walked in. I dreaded speaking to her about our child not being allowed at her home since the moment I became pregnant. She is not the forgiving type and continuously writes family members off for years. She suffers from depression and I believe has bipolar disorder from her manic episodes. She started to plan his nursery in her home and I told my husband he had to speak to her about the issue. She got over it within a few weeks and she continued to come to our home and we went out with them very often. She brought it up a few months later begging us to let him come over. Again we said no you have too many cats. We left it just at that to minimize hurting her and upsetting her. She then brought it up just a day later and I was forced to go into further detail but still was as nice as possible explaining to her the conditions were not okay for a child as well as the dogs that have bitten us. She replied horribly and said she would never be a part of our lives again. I blew up. I have seen her do this repeatedly to her son and other family members and I had enough of it. I said some horrible things about her mental instability and the fact that she caused so much stress during his birth, crying to my mother in the waiting room because I wouldn’t let her in there (nor my own mother...) even though I spoke to her about it months ago. She doesn’t respect any of my wishes when it’s something she wants. Now she has turned the whole family against me saying I’m keeping her son and grandson away from her and my husband won’t stand up for me. Multiple other family members, even her own mother while I was still pregnant agreed with me that it’s not fit for a child and that she knew my MIL would never think it acceptable for a child to be in her home but now they are siding with her and not standing up for my son or me. They won’t even let me tell my side of the story. They just hand up on me. I feel so alone right now. I’m second guessing myself thinking maybe I am crazy. She stormed over to our home today unannounced and demanded to only speak to my husband to make arrangements to see my son every month. I feel sick to my stomach about all of this. My husband tells me it’s my fault that I should have just ignored her when she keeps pushing the issue. Finally her husband stood up for me today. He has always told me he understands and that some days the smell sickens him when he comes home. Her response to me today about her dogs biting us was well they’ve never drawn blood and my son never was bit by any of my dogs when he was growing up. Are you kidding me? I feel like my heart is going to explode from anxiety. And now the holidays are here and I don’t want to go to any of their family functions. Please tell me I’m not crazy for not letting my son go to her home. No one will stand up to her because they’re afraid she’ll get mad and ignore them for years. I just want to leave with my son and escape this horrible nightmare.

    • profile image

      SD 

      6 weeks ago

      Thank you for this article. My MIL is just like you described except probably 1000x more manipulative & destructive. She did not teach her children good life skills(besides my husband, who taught himself) and this is why she is divorced and has 2 children(women, both over 50yo) who've had failed marriages & live at home, well except for the one who bounces all over from house to house, job to job, 1 horribly bad decision after another, with men who are in jail or on their way. In our 3yr marriage, she has moved that failure into our home(purchased before I was in the picture *she helped my husband at a time when he was divorcing, PRE-Me), I live scared and on egg shells AND might I add my FIL came with the house & marriage, which I knew going in and for whom I stepped up to the plate as a round the clock nurse/chef/caretaker when he had Quadruple bypass heart surgery, 6mos into our marriage. NO one came to see him, just called to make sure I was doing my job. It's been getting worse because the more independence I assert, she is not happy. After she moved this 1 daughter back into our home w/out discussion AGAIN, 2wks ago, I blew up at her, waited until it was face to face, not over the phone miscommunication, and told her it was BS that she keeps doing whatever she wants w/this house, just cause it's in her name (for reasons of his past divorce, which I understand), but this is supposed to be HIS home and she has held that over his head since day 1 and every day I've been w/him. So, as I "blew up" basically saying she had no right, it wasn't fair, her daughter is NOT OUR F'ING problem and I do not feel safe AT ALL(this "sister" is not a good person, a cheat, thief & terribly irresponsible & selfish, although, knowing her mother, I can't even blame her, she is as she was raised), her retort was to scream at me and say "What am I supposed to do, I'm her mother" *Also note, she has said sisters 15yo daughter living w/her & another 50+ daughter still living at home, with 2more bedrooms to spare & she's using our home like some kind of halfway house for her rejects or menopausal b*tch streaks. I'm 41, so we've earned a little time to enjoy our lives together & this woman is doing everything in her power to destroy the 1 relationship out of her 6kids and own failed marriage, that is actually working. It's miserable & I swear this woman enjoys life when NO ONE around her is happy, suffering is like her heroin. We are looking for a new home w/no savings because #1 -she uses this house at least 3x a yr to threaten us w/something new, "do this or get out, I'll just sell the damn house". Finally, after last weeks argument w/her and her disgusting manipulative ways, I told my husband, this isn't an ultimatum, I would never ask you to choose, I'm just letting you know I love you but I can't live like this anymore, your mom is your mom, and she's made it very clear that she is now out to get me because I actually stood up to her, so I have to go, for my own self preservation, she has put me in such depressive states over the past several yrs because of her disgusting behavior ( I just wasn't raised like this, I was raised w/love and compassion) that for my own health, I have to go. I've had some dark days in my life, but my general rule of thumb is that people who have such negativity and greed in their hearts, I don't have in my life because it's toxic. We have cur her off and are trying so hard to move fast, so we can be done. I was very clear w/him when this all started that I will never be able to get back to a good spot w/her, this is why most of her children have abandoned her, even w/an apology, I will trust her, so please think about if our marriage is more important, cause when either I or We go from this house, that's it, no more, she is done for good. I am so tired of crying.

    • profile image

      A. 

      2 months ago

      When my husband and I were dating, and we dated for many years, his mother was so distant I thought he was an offer. Imagine my surprise when we married that this woman suddenly wanted us to change the date of our wedding, tell us where to on our honeymoon (in fact, she booked it and paid for it without consulting us). Then, when we were pregnant with our first child, she insisted this child should have a Chinese name--I am not Chinese, my husband's family is, but he's very disconnected from his culture at this time. Add in that the entire family hates their new country, Canada. So, I became the place to bring all their hatred and rage towards their new homeland, Canada. "We hate Canada. We hate Canadians. Why are you all this why?" Sister in law said to my face, "I hate Canada. I hate Canadians. I just keep my Canadian passport to travel." They hated the weather which they told me about. They hate the people here. They hate that we have too many brown people here! (if you can believe it) One time, my family and I were desperate to show how kind and welcoming Canadians can be. So we cooked an entire Christmas dinner, with an organic turkey, and all the trimmings, and brought it over to them (an hour away). Big mistake, it didn't help them like me or my family better, it made them hate us more. MIL and SILS have not once in all these years cooked Christmas or Thanksgiving. The last Thanksgiving we attempted to have became crazy as MIL asked me to bring the entire meal over to her once again. I said no. She then said I am a horrible hostess and I never roll out the red carpet when she or her daughter come over. This was laughable as I'm the only one who cooks. I'm the only who has hosted holidays. They come from Singapore and in Singapore MIL was very privileged, had maids, etc. So, she never hosts events. And oh yes, the battle of cultural foods. Chinese food is the BEST. One time, as they have dairy allergies that come and go, I made birthday cake for my FIL. Dairy free and I made 7 minute frosting with egg whites due to their dairy allergy. They all scraped off the icing, very deliberately, leaving large piles of icing on their plates. But then, they go out to the worst, most disgusting restaurants you've ever seen and will happily eat utter garbage (including at those buffets with the ice cream machines--their dairy allergy only shows up at my home). After 10 years+ of being told repeatedly they "hate Canada" I asked them to stop. I thought maybe they didn't know they were hurting my feelings--plus there were now children involved, these children being Canadians. Turns out, they knew. Turns out, I was just supposed to take it. So, then they shunned me. Completely shunned me. Very effective technique. Makes you feel crazy. I mean, they are walking around spewing hatred, I ask them to stop, and I get shunned. So, I encouraged my husband to continue having a relationship with his parents as I didn't want to be blamed for standing between them. So, he would go over there without the kids and I. This seemed to work just fine as my MIL just likes my husband for what he can do for her--he would spend hours and hours and hours there doing chores for her. She hates him the most in the family--younger brother can do no wrong but my husband is her slave. And now it comes out she thinks I am "punishing" her by not allowing her to see the grandchildren! She barely cares about those grandchildren, btw. For example, when I was pregnant with my youngest, I had a horrible pregnancy and was on bed rest. I asked MIL to come and help out a bit as my own mother was helping with my oldest child and getting exhausted. MIL huffed and puffed ans said, "No way, [she's] too busy to help out [she's retired and in great healthy, was busy travelling then]." So, you can see you can just never win. MIL couldn't care less about grandchildren, and felt entitled to express all the hatred of her new country that she picked to immigrate to, upon me and her grandchildren--when I finally had enough, I am still the bad person for protecting my children from this abuse. I read somewhere once that if you've been dealing with a toxic in-law situation for over 10 years there probably is no hope. I agree with that. At this point I wish my husband would cut them out of his life entirely. I mean, they care so little about us that they are barely in our lives except to phone and demand he does stuff for them. They don't remember the children's birthdays. Don't phone. We could be dead for months and they wouldn't care. What I regret is trying. All the meals I've cooked. The interest I showed in their culture. The hospitality I showed (one time my SIL, who says we "don't roll out the red carpet" stayed here. My mom was here. My mother did this crazy b's laundry. My mom left lavender on her pillow. My mom cooked for her. SIL ate all of our food, gobbled it all up, saying it was great--but then turned and said she "hates Canadians" and we're not hospitable enough). So you just can't win. I wish I had never had them in my home. I wish I had never tried. And of course, my husband's brother's wife can do no wrong. Insanity!

    • profile image

      Mary P. 

      3 months ago

      What do you do when your mil basically makes you feel like crap over everything you do. My husband and I we have a close relationship with all of his guy friends. I would never cheat on him and I hadn't ever even thought of that. Then suddenly one day she feels its okay to talk to my mom about it. She said she feels like I shouldn't be around his friends that she's worried. And what she didn't know was that my mom n me have a close relationship, we tell eachother almost everything. And she hates that cause she has never been close with my husband. But anyways she thinks i will cheat on my husband. It really hurts having someone think so low of you. There are days where i dont know how much more i can take. The only thing that calms me now is smoking. And i am trying so hard to quit. I had gone 3 months with no nicotine and suddenly she started a whole drama fest and i just couldnt handle it. I went right back into it. Im the happiest when its just me and my husband. I just dont know what to do anymore. All i feel like doing is crying. I just cant seem to understand what i did to make her hate me this much.

    • profile image

      musicproducermom 

      3 months ago

      I think i might start taking your advise by being honest with my in-laws in the future because like you said they already hate me so what do i have to lose? I don't know who to turn to about my in-laws issues and i'm just exhausted.

      The main issue is my husband's sister. she's a narcissist, rude and crazy. I noticed her ridiculous behaviors even before we getting married to my husband. The sad thing is her parents would just keep taking her crap, mood-swings and yelling. it's like they're so afraid of his sister, they just let this unreasonable person run the show. Little backstory, his sister started making stuff up about me after we got engaged, called me a slut, also bailed on our wedding, she also yelled at her mother alot and my FIL never have once put a stop to that kinda behavior.

      His sister didn't start reaching out until we had our first baby. The reason why all of a sudden she wants to be involved is because she wants her 4 kids to have cousins to grow up with i just knew it. ( i don't feel this person is sincere one bit )

      My husband and me and the girls live in a different state than his parents and sister's family. Due to his intense residency schedule it wouldn't allow us us to go back to visit so during the last 5 years his parents came to visit a few times. Now he's done with residency, so we went back to visit for the first time in 5 years. I wanted to stay at a hotel ( to mainly avoid his sister ) but my husband said no because he wanted our girls to spend more time with his parents which i understand but i also didn't want his sister to just stop by anytime she wants and i just had a feeling she would and start drama somehow.

      Of course right as we rolled into my in-laws house her and her whole family was already there. I had a pretty bad stomachache at the moment after being in the car for 13 hours and needed to go to the bathroom real bad but because they were there i stuck around and be social until they left ( I did small talk with her husband and played with her kids a bit but i didn't talk to her).

      Sure enough the next day i was still sleeping in bed and heard her screaming at my husband in the living room. Later on i asked my husband what happened he said she stormed in and started yelling and said how we don't know how to forgive and are holding our kids hostage, my husband asked her to leave as we're not ready to talk i was still sleeping and asked her to come back at a different time she refused, my MIL also got woken up by her screaming and guess what my MIL told me to do? she told me to go talk to her immediately because that's what she wanted. I was shocked that my MIL actually told me to go talk to her when i was still in my PJ.

      The next day she wanted to talk again the whole family were ready this time. I told her my opinion of her, that she's spoiled and controlling and if she wants us to forgive her we need time because not everything is up to her. Are you guys excited to see what's next after i said that? My FIL jumped me! He yelled at me saying he'd not let a new person (me) to divide his family up! The reason why we're at this point is all because of her spoiled daughter! (but i didn't say that). We checked into a hotel that night i asked my husband to drive us back home the following day and he did. But before we left, he said he wanted to stop at his parents house to talk to his mom (since his mom wasn't in the conversations she had to watch 6 kids in a different room), he said his mom would take our side. Well right when my husband walked in his mother started yelling at him saying she can't believe he did such a thing by upsetting his dad this much.

      I don't think his parents is fair from day 1 and i think my husband finally see it. I'm sick to my stomach with his parents and sister and if i had a choice i'd love to not ever go back to visit. My husband wouldn't let me do that tho but he did say we'd stay in a hotel from now on. My FIL is very close to my husband, FIL loves fishing in Alaska but have no $ to buy a boat he's been asking my husband to buy him a boat after for years after he's done with residency. His family is his family of course i wouldn't ask him not to give his parents $ if that's what he wants but i wonder how my husband feel about the idea now after seeing his dad yelling at his wife in front of everyone.

      Any tips and advise what to do going forward would help! thanks for reading my long message.

    • profile image

      Schap 

      3 months ago

      It’s so hard. They favor one in law

      Over the other.

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      Randy 

      3 months ago

      It kills me that grown adults can't let go grudges and ill-feelings. I have never disrespected mother-in-law. In the beginning I did everything to let her know that I am a good man. But slowly she began to dislike me for no apparent reason, my girlfriend said that she thought her mother was acting like that because I was taking her place as we began to get more serious fast-forward 2 years we had our beautiful daughter during the pregnancy and post pregnancy things got worse and worse to the point where we are no longer together and even after she got her wish and no longer she refuses to even keep things civil for the sake of my daughter her granddaughter. I am not invited to any of my daughter's events when they have them, we gonna have to have separate birthday parties for her. Her first birthday is coming up. I will invite her even though she wont come. My daughter doesn't understand yet but in time she will, what do i tell her without making her grandmother look like a bad person. And than there's the possibility of them making me look like the bad person potentially harming my relationship with her. I don't know what to do. Where's mom in all this, well that's the main reason I cant be with her anymore she refuses to call out her mom's bs even though she has admitted to me that her mom is wrong in all of this. I don't care anymore that this lady does not like me, its not about me. i'm worried about the example this will be to my daughter. She shouldn't have to be exposed to this. I can be civil and I have to let go and forgive the lady for the drama she caused between my ex and me.

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      Miranda 

      3 months ago

      Thank you for the response. It has not been easy. It is still difficult, again, I keep my distance and have my own interests, family, friends, and spouse. We do have to be with my husbands family for a celebration in a couple of weeks. I am getting a little stressed about, even after all these years.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      3 months ago from California

      Miranda,

      Your MIL sounds like a tool ) and I can tell she hurt you many times over the years. She also made you doubt your self worth. Perhaps, you still ask yourself: what was wrong? Why didn’t she love and accept me? Why couldn’t she see all the great things about me?

      The answer is certainly not lie in your faults. From what I could gather from your story, it was never about you. Hopefully you realize that now.

      That’s what I despise about toxic MILs - they can make us question our self worth, “she doesn’t like me so I must be less than.” But on the positive, you learn to recognize your worth, and you learn that you need to teach people how to treat you, and you learn to distance yourself from toxic people in your life. You’ve done a great job of that. Keep it up! :)

    • profile image

      Miranda 

      3 months ago

      It would have been nice as a young bride and mother to have this support 33 years ago. I am a sensitive person, some wounds from childhood. As a young bride and newlywed, I needed love and support. My MIL and my husband always had a difficult relationship and when I was brought into his family she transferred her meanness to me, as well. We were not kids out of HS when we married. Both of us were established with careers and education. We became pregnant 2 months after our beautiful wedding day. We had a beautiful 10 day honeymoon. We were 28 years of age and very ready to be married and start a family. Two months after marriage we told the MIL we had some exciting news and she responded, "What you are pregnant, so whats the exciting news? Don't expect me to be a built in babysitter, and I am not excited to be a grandmother." I was living 2000 miles from my own family, lost my brother in a car accident as a teenager, took care of my older sisters kids when she was sick. I am attractive and fit. I have a teaching degree, kindergarten through 6th grade with an art endorsement. I just retired from 25 years of teaching art. I love kids. She would say such mean things to me during my pregnancy. "You are letting yourself go" This is after working an 8 hour day and doing chores. If I looked good, she would say you look good for once or where did you get something so nice? We have always lived in the same town, my sister in law has never had a nice thing to say about her mother or her other brother's wife, she also caused a lot of family division, but years later is now close to all of them and I am still on the outside. I have chosen to distance myself from the in-laws to protect myself. I think the MIL's behavior to me and my husband is abusive and confusing. Hot and cold. I am a successful teacher, avid outdoors woman, I hike alpine hikes to 12,000' elevation. The FIL was always wonderful and loved and respected, he is deceased and missed. MIL is remarried. I still stress when we have to attend family gatherings. We don't attend all get togethers. When in their presence I try to be polite and joyful. After 33 years of marriage I try not to allow them to steal my happiness. I have 3 wonderful adult sons and 2 fantastic daughter in-laws.

    • profile image

      Anon 

      4 months ago

      I just had a second attempt at suicide and now I am fully cognizant of the fact I have a toxic M.I.L.

    • profile image

      Otomita 

      4 months ago

      Ohh boy this this is also me. with the Golden child And perfect sumisive sister in law. I hate having them on FB I have them in restricted so they can't see my posts but I seriously wish I would delete them all or close my Account because of my mother inlaws hate they all hate me because I disagree with the way they gossip and their politics etc..

      Should I delete them? When ever something bad happens to me I come back to why are things so difficult with them and just get all bummed up.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      4 months ago from California

      Janel,

      This is so very familiar! I can relate in almost every detail. Silent treatment is classic, and the people trying to “enlighten” you about how to treat her, how to give her a pass on everything because of A, B, C.

      So many toxic MILs think they’re entitled to time with their grandkids, and when they don’t get it on their terms, they take it as a personal attack on them. You are totally in your right to decide whether or not to visit grandma, especially since it’s not the best timing.

      Still, the distance is nice. Also, with time you become stronger and less affected by her shenanigans. That’s nice too. So stay strong, my dear! She’s just mad that she can’t control you.

    • profile image

      JanelMarie 

      4 months ago

      Lana thank you so much for writing about this. I thought I was the only one dealing with an insane MIL. I have been dealing with her for 10 years and she has made it clear that I am NOT who she would have picked for her son. When I had my daughter I thought I saw a light but it was very temporary. When my daughter was 9 months old I had so much anxiety about her visiting I developed shingles (I am only 36). After one too many comments and a week of misery I lost it. Basically had a coming to Jesus moment with her and told her she is at a crossroad and I am willing to walk whichever road she chooses but I have no problem tossing her in an old folks home and throwing away the key. Things improved significantly after our chat then my brother in law married the girl of my MIL’s dreams. At the wedding she pretended I wasn’t there, to the point I wasn’t in pictures until one of the groomsmen said something to the photographer. Then we moved to WV and she was supposed to visit in August. She informs me she will not come to WV because there is nothing for her to do (apparently hanging out with her son and granddaughter isn’t enough). Then tells me to pull my daughter out of school the first week and come visit her at her Cape Cod house. I say no that’s not happening and she calls my brother in law cryin that she is too old to travel (she travels ALL the time between her LA home and her Cape home, so that’s bs). I get the nasty texts from my brother in law and new wife that I am being rude and need to accommodate her. So once again I am the big bad person and she’s the emotionally unstable fragile person whom I should be catering to. Now I am trying to work things out with her and I am getting the silent treatment. I swear my 3 year old is more mature than she is. The part that kills me is NO ONE stands up to her and they don’t understand why that’s the way she acts the way she does.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      6 months ago from California

      CountessC,

      Your story is a good reminder that death doesn’t solve a conflict between people. At the end of the day you’re still left with the burden of all the toxicity that transpired between you two.

      First, don’t feel bad. It’s perfectly natural. You’ve spent years avoiding and putting on a happy face so now that she’s gone all that suppressed anger is coming up to the surface. Let it! Don’t tell yourself: I shouldn’t be feeling this way. You HAVE TO let it come up and FEEL it.

      You’re probably spoke about this with your bereavement counselor and s/he told you the same thing.

      If I can offer a recommendation: write it down. Put it in a form of a letter to your late MIL. Tell her *everything you ever wanted to tell her but couldn’t. Don’t hold back. Don’t edit. Let it come out the way it’s coming out.

      Then finish it but saying: “I take full responsibility for my feelings, and I let them go. I wish you peace and serenity. I forgive you.” Or something like that.

      If you feel like you’re not ready to forgive - that’s ok. Save it for the next letter ) But do forgive eventually, it’ll help you let go of a huge weight you’re carrying around.

      Thank you for the advice! I do limit my participation in family events to no more than once a week. That’s my boundary that lets me have a peace of mind, dignity and some control. I have never taken separate vacations but I can see the appeal )

      Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      CountessC 

      6 months ago

      Iam pleased I found your article as my berevement therapist said I had a toxic mother in-law (I've never heard that term before). My mother in-law passed away Feb 28th and it was drama all around. For me it was my liberation day (I was there when she took her last breath and I cried as seeing a human being in so much pain was hard to see and I wished we were able to have a great relationship as we had a lot in common creatively). Its sounds horrible thinking like that but for 14 years she was very cruel to me and tried everything in her power to end my marriage and to knock my confidence. What was upsetting was my husband, his dad and sister did nothing yet they know she was cruel. Now that she has died I am reffered to as her bestfriend and how wonderful she was to me. This women tried to make me miscarry while pregnant with my son. When I complained to my husband and father in-law I was told I was being disrespectful. All the key traits you place in the first article was spot on.Now that she is gone I am left with anger and why questions. I dare not disclose my true feeling to my husband as he and his family (he would immediately complain to them) would come down on me like a ton of bricks and it would be an ugly sight. My berevement therapist has been helpful and it has been a relief to get it all out and work towards healing. Any advice on my part? well, what i did was avoid, avoid, avoid as much as I could. so, family gatherings something always came up for me. Don't skip all of them but, most. work, mild illness, kids, appointments or just wanting couple/ family time are good excuses. When visiting her for long breaks I would amuse her by asking her to teach me new recipes or asking her about the 60's and what she use to do them. it would take the edge off her cruel ways for a day or two. It is a very difficult situaion to be in and speaking to your other half must be done if he is not receptive that's when going on holiday on your own, with friends or family for a period 2-5 weeks is good. I did that several times as I moved from the USA to the UK to be with my husband, going to the US for 5 weeks with our son several times a year allowed my husband to miss us enough to realize how much we mean to him. I call it reflection time.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      6 months ago from California

      Donna,

      that's a great point. So how do we make sure we don't become monsters-in-law? Hopefully, by becoming self-aware, confident, secure women who don't obsess about their kids' lives because they have their own.

    • profile image

      Donna 

      6 months ago

      Its amazing how many women complain about their awful mother in law yet have no problem inflicting the same drama on to their son/daughter in law. Its a terrible cycle.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      7 months ago from California

      Otomita,

      "never seeing them" definitely helps :) I agree, it's totally fine if your husband visits his parents on his own. I think you've got a handle on the situation. Keep up the good work!

    • profile image

      Otomita 

      7 months ago

      Thank you Lana!

      It's been hard but thank goodness we never see them. I read alot of Psychology about disfuncional families.e entire family have been really disrespectful to me. At the beginning I asked to my father in-law hey do you guys like me and he answered don't worry we will change you. He's grandma that I have not met posting on my friends wall because I critized a Republican idea.And saying shame on me.He's brother pushing me because I dropped he's phone and I was on the way. He's father jk I'm brainwashing he's son to be a liberal. I could go on all day long. Honestly just not having contact with them is what keeps me happy and sane my husband and decided that he will visit them and it's ok if I don't come and if they come here Ill treat them nicely but it will never be a great relationship.

      Thanks for letting me vent.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      7 months ago from California

      Hi Otomita,

      thank you so much! Yes, it's very common for dysfunctional families to have one sibling as a golden child and one as a scapegoat. Usually, the scapegoat is a sibling that chose to distance him/herself from the dysfunctional family, and s/he is punished for it in passive-aggressive ways. Meanwhile, the sibling that stayed with the parents (or that still largely relies on parents) can do no wrong.

      It's typical, it's sad, it's ridiculous...Try to brush it off. But the racist comments shouldn't be tolerated, in my opinion.

      Peace :)

    • profile image

      Otomita 

      7 months ago

      Hi Lana and everyone,

      This article is amazing. It has helped me a lot I was reading about the Golden boy thing and I related so much. the first time I met my parents in law I noticed the preferred the younger brother over my husband although my husband is such a nice guy and the brother is a complete inmature idiot that used to be a neonazi and drug addict that threw himself from a ceiling and almost died of brain damage. I feel bad for him but he is still very inmature and super rude and arrogant and I cant believe how they treated my husband like if he was bad because he was living far away. Then they started with me because I'm from Mexico they started with comments about how I was not white (although I'm super pale and from Scottish French decent

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      7 months ago from California

      Hi,

      I know all the advice on this subject is easier said than done :) but it gets easier with time, I promise. You're dealing with the same person (they don't change at all) but you're not the same. You grow and you learn and you begin prioritizing your peace of mind above anything else. And that means shifting your focus from a toxic MIL, no matter how much she demands your attention with all the outrageous things she does.

      I sincerely hope you will be able to move to your own place soon and start a family.

      Cheers!

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      7 months ago from California

      You are so welcome! Knowing that my experience has made someone feel better makes it all worth it :)

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      7 months ago from California

      April,

      WOW that's extremely meddlesome behavior that borders on malicious! She had NO right to do that. You have to let her know that it's not OK under ANY circumstances and that if she does it again, there will be serious repercussions.

    • profile image

      April 

      7 months ago

      How do you deal with a mother in law contacting an abusive parent that I have had no contact with for over 3 years. She sent pictures of our child without our consent to this person? What do you do?

    • profile image

      Thank you for making me feel better... 

      7 months ago

      You have made me feel so much better with your articles. I was so down because of my MIL of 10 years, she's getting worse. Worst she has ever been and it's started effecting me badly since the beginning of this year. I read your articles and you have lightened my heart Lana. So thank you so much.

    • profile image

      Thank you Lana! 

      7 months ago

      Hi Lana,

      I just wanted to say thank you for the follow up article.I often come back to your article to reread it and almost engrave it in my mind. Something you wrote resonated in me, "...she already hates me, what do I have to lose?". I have never thought about this like that. If I could just engrave that within myself I am sure I can get through this with most of my sanity intact until my husband and I can finally have our own home away from the toxic fumes.

      My husband and I want to have children, but would rather do it when we are on our own so it is only us and the baby. Both our mothers are toxic so we want quite a bit distance for our sanity and the childs. I already know that if my husband and I have children my MIL will play favorites with my SIL children if that time comes. I simply can't tolerate that. My mom also did that with my nieces and nephews and it used to anger me so much. She would later tell the kids things about there parents that were inappropriate. I would get upset and correct her only to get verbally abused when we got home. It really is a never ending cycle and just thinking about it is so draining.

      I read a comment from HADITUPTOHERE, and it shot me back to growing up. My Fathers side of the family including my grandmother always rejected my brothers and I. My uncle was the golden child and could do no wrong. We were always looked down on. Has not changed till this day,but I didn't grow up around them much after the divorce so it hardly affects me.My MILs golden child is my SIL and they are so similar to eachother. Luckily, it is only my MIL that I have to deal with on a daily basis. I think a war would start if it was all three of us.

      Cheers

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      7 months ago from California

      Hi HadItUpToHere ,

      yep, this is classic narcissistic abuse. The hardest part is when it starts affecting your kids. I can't even imagine how I would react in this scenario, so far my MIL only has one grandchild - my daughter. I just know that if she started treating her differently, I would not take it well, to say it lightly :)

      As for your dilemma, I can't advise but if it was me, I would not hang around these people. I would unfollow or block them on social media. And I would just live my life, enjoy my husband and my kids, and the company of people who actually do love and respect me.

      Because the bottom line is: this is a sick dysfunctional family. They may not look like it to the outside world (and they all work very hard to project that perfect image) but this is what they are. Why would you want to be around that?

      Good luck to you!

    • profile image

      HadItUpToHere 

      7 months ago

      Forgive me as this will be long. My husband and I have been married for 25 years with 4 kids. My MIL has always treated me badly. I’m at the point where I don’t know how to handle it and I need to make a decision. She will belittle me in front of the other girls ( there is 1 daughter and 4 sister in laws, 1 doesn’t come around any longer). There seems to be a pecking order in the family, with 1 son being the golden child and 1 the scapegoat. I’ve guessed we are at the second to bottom and I’ve been treated as the scapegoat from time to time. There have been SO many hurtful things over the years I don’t even know where to begin. She will be sure the golden child’s family appears perfect. They lost their home and she bought them a beautiful home that they don’t have to pay her back for. Our son was in town for a visit (he lives out of state). We had plans for him to see her, I texted to confirm the plans and she said they were invited to another grandchild’s sporting event instead. She will take a group of grandkids school shopping, except mine, then post about it on Facebook. The golden child’s wife plans a bday party for him every year, that we’re not invited to. They will discuss the party at family get togethers then act like they’re not if we walk by. The golden child’s wife would say things to me when my kids were little like, “do your girls need any shoes/clothes? MIL buys my kids so much I don’t know what to do with it all.” One year we forgot one child’s Christmas gifts at MILs house and she gave it to another grandchild. She’s very controlling and manipulative. I try to talk to the other girls and they either ignore me or talk to me in a condescending tone. Most of their conversations revolve around bashing some other woman, so as I’ve gotten older realize I don’t want to be in their clique. I could go on and on with the abusive things they do. Failed to let us know that everyone was to wear a specific color to my in laws 50th anniversary to not including us in the planning. I’m at the point where I can’t even attend holiday gatherings, which is all we’ve been doing for the past few years. I guess I don’t know what to do at this point. My husband is very supportive and my children don’t even want to be around these people. Do I just stop going altogether? Disappear off the face of the earth? They take this to social media also; like each other’s posts, post pictures about social outings I was excluded from etc. I just want out. After attending a holiday event, I leave feeling hurt, angry, confused. My husband confronted his mom and she just cried and played the victim.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      7 months ago from California

      Sarah,

      thank you so much for your comment! I don't even know what to say other than to repeat...you're so not alone!! And you're not a bad person if you don't get along with your MIL. Chances are, the opposite is true...You're doing great. Keep it up, sister!

    • profile image

      Sarah 

      7 months ago

      I am almost in tears of relief after reading the last sentence you wrote. You literally took the words out of my mouth. I am so relieved to hear that I am alone and that I am not the horrible person I’ve been made to feel like. You are so right, I will work on my character because she obviously has a never worked on hers. Thank you so much for writing this so perfectly.

    • profile image

      Sally Rogers 

      7 months ago

      My daughter has a toxic mother in law and she handles her very well and vented her frustrations to me her mom. That was until her little baby girl was born. My daughter and I are very close and I will go help her out once a week with her baby just to give her a little break. The toxic mother in law seems to have turned her attentions to me now and doing her damn best to draw my daughter away from me. My daughter will come to my house only and within 10 mins the mother in law will ring her and say she needs to see her. So my daughter rather than make her wait will immediately leave for a quiet life because if she doesn't do as she wants, the MIL will ring her son and tell tales on my daughter. I don't really know what to do as I am not needy in anyway but I am now losing out because I don't see my daughter or my grand daughter even when they are in the same town because MIL gets priority and she "makes" them stay with her for as long as she can purely so they don't have enough time to come to our house. The MIL is so cunning and sly its baffling me. Of course I'm happy to share our grand daughter but she wants her all to herself and is not happy unless she has it her way. I cant say anything to the MIL for fear of upsetting her son and losing my grand daughter all together and also damaging my relationship with my daughter. Ive talked to my daughter about it and she just says oh don't worry about it Mom but I am seeing less and less of them and the MIL is seeing more and more.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      8 months ago from California

      Hi Christine,

      yes, it's so very exhausting...But your journey is only beginning. if you do have children, your in-laws will be meddling and intrusive on a whole other level! It's just the way they are. The less attention you pay them, the better.

    • profile image

      Christine 

      8 months ago

      I know all about the toxic MIL situations. My in-laws are the definition of monster in-law. My husband and I got married in August of last year, every. single. day. after they would bug us about children this children that. Finally we got sick of it because most of our conversations started of with them asking about our “sex life”...

      We finally told them that it may or may not happen, we are not actively trying for children right now.

      They went unhinged! Claiming we were going against nature! How they wanted every gift they ever gave us back! They claimed I was “controlling” my husband and consistently ask why he would marry me knowing that I didn’t want babies immediately, as if it must just be my decision and not a joint decision.

      Finally when they realized that they were not getting anywhere with their manipulative whispers of divorce or whatever it may be, they start threatening to disown my husband. I feel terrible for him because it is his family and they have been through a lot, he is very caring and despite the fact his family speaks ill of me constantly and threatens us both daily, he loves them and still wants them in his life. I’m fine as long as he is happy.

      It’s a never ending battle with them.

      It’s a constant flow of disapproval of how I’m not “womanly” enough, or they complain because I don’t do ALL of the cleaning.. things like that.

      It will never end and I realize that but it is so exhausting. It’s nice to hear other women’s stories of monster in-laws.

    • profile image

      Shayne Austin 

      8 months ago

      Lana, thanks for the response. I’d like to start off saying I am grateful for the free babysitting but it ends there. My issues aren’t with her taking parking spots or bringing food over. Her parking is one example of her destroying my property and I’m the one with the responsibility to make the repairs. She’s not even aware she’s doing it. I mentioned how much I spend in groceries each week that my wife and I have provided. My issue is the fact that she leaves dishes, dirty food covered dishes in my kitchen and about my house with no concern to pick them up and put them in the dishwasher. It’s hard to fully articulate all of this but it’s my attempt to depict how much of a control freak she is. I hopped on here the other day as pissed off as a hornets nest. She’s not bringing food over out of the goodness of her heart, it’s what she wants to feed my kids. Reading over your list of 10 ways I marked off at least 6 of them. It’s unhealt for me and my wife does nothing but brush it off because she is terrified of her mom at 35 years old. Always has, always will. I am stuck in the middle but it is my great intent to make it known to her that these are my kids and all she needs to do is be grandma and the caregiver when I or my wife is not around.

      I appreciate the advice and I will persevere. It helps to at least write my complaints out here. Thanks again.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      8 months ago from California

      Shayne,

      thank you for sharing, it's a rare treat to get a comment from a guy so I'm thinking extra hard on how to respond :)

      I gotta be honest...I'm sure you have legitimate issues with your mother-in-law but the way it's described, it doesn't inspire a lot of compassion. This woman babysits your kids for free, cooks meals, brings her own food over, and probably more - and you're complaining that she took your parking spot?

      Taking care of 2 small kids is a big responsibility. Not every grandmother is willing to take that on. My MIL watches my child for a few HOURS at a time, if that, and it's only one child! Also, personally, if I'm with the baby by myself all day and I somehow managed to cook a meal, I probably won't have a chance to clean up. My hands are full. Literally.

      But I do sympathize with you. I know it's hard, especially if you feel like you can't bring up any issues to her, so you have to deal with everything silently. But that's something you have to discuss with your wife, to make sure you're on the same page about your babysitting needs. Because if you don't want to hire a proper nanny, accept your MIL's help and be gracious about it.

      Good luck!

    • profile image

      Shayne Austin 

      8 months ago

      I would like to start off by saying I am a male and I am having these problems and issues with my wife’s mother.

      Having found your original article I have discovered I’m not the only one with a toxic mother in law. My latest issues have come from her being at my house full time three days a week to provide me with free child care. I will say that I appreciate it but it’s getting to a point where things she is doing in my house are costing me money. I’m not even sure where to start this, I have so many issues on who she is as a person. Her entitlement, her demeanor, her attitude, her empty minded head towards anything that’s not her concern. If it doesn’t benefit her or make her look good in her own eyes, she’s not doing it. Like I said she watches my kids three days a week at my house. I know going home on those days that I have the responsibility of cleaning up after her, her husband and my two young children. I don’t know a better way to put this but she “half asses” everything. She’s lazy, extremely lazy. It shows from the state of her squabbled hell hole house. I’m sure she’s never cleaned there. She makes lunch but leaves the dishes on the counter or wherever. She changes the kids out of their pajamas but leaves them on the stair railing. I came home to her one day telling me the bag of used diapers in the garage needs to be taken out to the garbage because she filled it.

      I buy somewhere near 200$ of groceries each week for myself, my wife and two kids. She brings over the food that she wants the kids eating. And then those leftovers are left in my fridge.

      I had one issue when my son was maybe 2. I arrived home after work to her still there and her husband in my kitchen. My son was upstairs with her being out down for a nap. He wouldn’t settle, she needed to get to work. So she won’t leave a crying child, in her mind she came to the kitchen to grab some of the gummy candy she snuck into the house and was going to give it to him while he was laying in bed. This was her idea to get him to stop crying, let’s give a 2 year old a choking hazard while laying in bed. I stopped her and you could just feel the “you don’t tell me what to do” look on her face. I reminded her he’s my son and I make the calls.

      The latest issue which brought me here is her entitlement to park in my 2 car sized driveway when I’m not home. But last night she came back over. I’m home, my truck is in half the driveway. I woke this morning at 4am for work to find new tire tracks from her suv on the other side of the driveway. Now typical she parks on my side which is already destroyed. I have a spring project to fix the turf she has destroyed but has no clue to it.

      It’s eating my brain. I know she’s not gonna change and my wife is so terrified of her mother at 35 years old. I’m not allowed to confront her. I’m not allowed to say anything. I’m stuck to decompress here and with a close friend and my mom.

    • profile image

      Micky Mouse ME 

      9 months ago

      Love your blog too! Toxic people make you feel like you are crazy!!

      My MIL has always been the Queen of her family (widowed for many years, Head female of all siblings due to her own mother having a breakdown) and to top it all, she has two sons who are both either weak or lazy.

      My problem with MIL became worse when we had our first child and it was a downward spiral. She critised me at every opportunity, had an entitlement that she could do whatever she liked as she ‘was the grandmother’, made lots of patronising comments, insisted that she wanted ‘her day’ with grandchild and it was her right. The final straw came after I went out with her for the day and numerous negative comments came out from her .... Afterwards we had a conversation about child’s 1st birthday party - I told her that I never had parties and I always wanted a novelty birthday cake (a Victoria sponge with sprinkles is all I ever had and I wanted my child to have nicer things). I went on to say I wanted a big party in the garden with paddling pools/sit on toys/bubble blower etc for kids followed by an adult party/bbq in the evening .... The novelty birthday cake would be the icing on the cake! ..... She snapped at me and said ‘I’m doing Xs birthday cake. I’ve always done A and Bs birthday cakes (her sons) so your not doing it!’. When I defended myself and put her in her place by saying ‘you’ve had your turn of being a mother, now it’s my turn’ she became even more toxic. The conversation ended with her having the last word by saying ‘well X will have to have two!’ Six months later when the birthday party arrived it all went to plan. The kids party, evening bbq, the novelty cake..... and all I got was multiple comments from her that the cake was ‘quite nice’, another cake that a friend of mine made was ‘soooo much nicer that the Madeira!’ And she told pretty much everyone that ‘they would need cream with the Madeira as it was quite dry!!’ Because I knew that she wanted to be involved I suggested she made some cupcakes for the kids party and she could do what she liked - hopefully that would keep her happy and also keep my husband happy that I’d asked her to be involved. How wrong I was!!

      In numerous times when I stood up to her the waterworks would start - and then the lies. To my face she said ‘I know I may have done/said some of these things, but I’m not willing to admit it to my son ..... I don’t want him to think any the less if me’.

      My husbands family stopped sending cards and presents to us and the kids and were totally on MILs side. Husband is upset that his family turned their backs on His kids .... but mother in law continued to send birthday, Christmas and Easter presents. After talking to one of his extended family I was told that MIL is only sending them as she advised her to and to try and keep things as ‘normal as possible’ - You have to keep up appearances or something to that degree.

      She has smeared my name to anyone that would listen including my own boss (who was a friend of hers), my mother and husband. I emotionally detached from my husband at the time and only stayed due to having two young kids and good financial situation. Over time, my husband realised what she was like - when I was out of the picture she took her anger out on him instead and also caused more major issues (communicating with husbands child from one night stand 30 years ago even though husband wants nothing to do with his past errors and also inviting another ex around for coffee - the girlfriend that husband flirted between when we got together).

      I tried on 3 occasions to try and repair our relationship mainly to keep our marriage safe and later for the kids. Each time she created at the first hurdle ..... She refused to accept that she was a visitor in our family and not the dictator, showed neither of us any respect, had no boundaries (barging into the bathroom whilst husband was having a soak and I was crying my eyes out to him due to her unpleasantness), either had a very poor memory or constantly lied, manipulated everyone around her - Why couldn’t anyone else see what she was like???

      To cut a long story short, she was advised to seek help and saw a counseller. She has told me herself that she’s been diagnosed as Histronic and had CBT (talking therapy) and I believe this was because of anxiety and depression. She was told that her disorder was due to not being good enough stemming from her own fathers opinion of her - she is a perfectionist and ocd.

      Her family is small but they consist of depressives, anxiety issues, ocd, suicide x 2, many mental health issues, sexual abuse from her father to one of her sisters and breakdowns.

      The only way I can deal with this family is to stay away from them as they are ‘all sooooo perfect’ in their eyes and blame others for everything in their lives. Toxic family all round!! I always thought I could make them see other people’s opinion, but they are all show similar traits ..... lack of empathy, controlling, have no boundaries and self centerness.

    • profile image

      XXXXLC 

      9 months ago

      Thank you so much for your blog Lana. I am so glad I am not the only one going crazy here!

      My MIL ticks off all the boxes of a toxic mother-in-law. She is the type that has NO LIFE of her own and a shitty husband (my father-in-law is a selfish prick too) so she puts EVERYTHING in her two sons. She talks about how much she loves my husband and how much she has sacrificed for him and his younger brother, to the extent that she literally starts crying over her greatness.

      Now I am not saying she isn't a great mum to my husband. But she uses her love to guilt trip us into obeying her and NEVER daring to leave her. She (and my obedient husband) made me LIVE WITH HER and my FIL and bother in law for whole 2 years! During this period she would feed me very well but it was constant emotional abuse - put downs, talking shit about my own parents for no reason, even saying i didn't have enough dowries or gold two years into the marriage after I have given birth to my son. I think i was too nice for two years and just held it all in and try to be appreciative of all the good things, like the food that she was paying for. But something snapped in me the other day when she talked shit about my parents again - i think it was the last straw - and I pretty much told her and my FIL to fuck off and then I moved out.

      Only that the place we moved to belongs to my husband and is only five houses away. My MIL still insists that she sees my baby DAILY, she doesn't want to see me, but insists that my husband and my baby visit her every evening. I hate her so much for it. I also get angry at my husband for never standing up to his mum for me. It makes me wish I had never married him or had his baby. I feel stuck and I feel like I am a terrible person for not dealing with this well.

      I know there is no easy solution. Life sucks right? Anyhow, thank you for hearing me out, at least we are not alone in this.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      9 months ago from California

      DMC,

      I feel for you. Toxic people never think they're the problem. It sounds like your husband comes from a dysfunctional family with a controlling/narcissistic mother. In families like that one child will be a "golden child" that can do no wrong, the other is a "scapegoat" who shoulders the blame for everything going wrong in that family. The golden child's spouse and children are also untouchable, while the scapegoat's family...well, you know how it is.

      It is absolutely not your or your husband's fault, and you're right to not want to be subjected to abuse. Stay strong. Focus on people who do love and appreciate you. Good luck!

    • profile image

      DMC 

      9 months ago

      My story is a little different but still roots from issues with my mother in law. My finance and I got engaged back in November of 2016 and his pathological lying, cheating brother got jealous. Instead of congratulating us on the engagement he starting talking nasty about me to his mother which in turn made her hate me. Shortly after the engagement he decided to impregnate his current girlfriend of 1 month, which by the way always wanted to be a stay at home mom and has dropped out of 3 colleges because he wanted her to. The tables had officially turned and everything ended up being about them. Here comes the parties, celebrations, and the continuation of nasty talk about me because I didn't talk to them. I of course stayed away from the family, seek therapy to manage my emotions of truly not understanding why and how to handle my feelings. I invited my in laws to functions dealing with the wedding and instead of telling me the truth by mother in law didn't show up which in turn she told others it was because I was awkward and my family was awkward.A year later after my finance begged for an engagement party it happened. My wonderful future mother in law planned us a damn party but of course the brothers girlfriend had something to say about me and my family. The next day I got a 3 hour yelling conversation about how rude I and my family was and how my mother in law 100% believed everything the girlfriend said and were excited to say his brother purposed to the girlfriend. It become a war I couldn't win nor wanted to be apart of. I have stuck to myself and remained out of the picture to avoid getting hurt, or talked about. Sadly, my finance's grandmother was ill and was only given a few days to live. As any good women would do I traveled with him to say goodbye to his grandmother. Within days the mother in law showed up and had nothing good to say about me and even took my finance in the room of his dying grandmother to discuss my behavior of not talking to her as much. My finance did have choice to have the conversation with her in this setting and later informed her that after everything why would I? Why would I continue to be abused by her, his brother & girlfriend. She disagreed to all allegations and said she did nothing wrong. The next week the baby was born. My finance now hears the nasty talk about him not being a good person and not seeing his nephew enough but at this point we feel as if its a losing battle because his brothers girlfriend and brother wants us to have nothing to do with the kid. Its a constant game to which we are just puppets to them, punching bags even. After all of this though I feel the most for my finance. I wonder some days if its best for me to just leave and allow him to rekindle his relationship with his family. I just don't know what to do anymore....

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      10 months ago from California

      SoCalledEvilDIL,

      you have no idea how much this resonates with me. We're on the receiving end of a silent treatment right now and the family (a.k.a. the flying monkeys) are expecting us to "fix it."

      Funny thing is, in situations like this family members often take the side of an abuser and the abusees are made to feel responsible for any conflict. I say stand your ground and even if you do let her back into your lives (which is totally up to you), make sure it's on your terms. Good luck!

    • profile image

      SoCalledEvilDIL 

      10 months ago

      Everyone is pressuring us to just let her back into our lives, but they don't say "we'll help keep her in line" or "we'll make her understand boundaries ARE important." It's literally just "that's your mom and mil so get over it." WHY DO WE HAVE TO ACCOMMODATE HER? WHY CAN'T SHE JUST RESPECT BOUNDARIES???

    • Vicki Martin Wood profile image

      Vicki Wood 

      10 months ago from Eldon, Missouri

      It's okay, I understand. I have found a way to get along and 23 years later, my kids aren't serial killers, they survived. I wish you the best of luck, I can't imagine would it would be like to have the situation be that bad. I'm glad you can write about it.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      10 months ago from California

      Hi Vicki! My god, that is awful. The little minds are so fragile to that type of gore. And I think you’re right, more often than not things get worse when grandkids arrive. It got a little better in the beginning but then she started crossing all sort of boundaries, inserting her opinion into everything, giving unsolicited advice...You know, the works :)

      If it was up to me, I’d cut contact with her. But the family is all up in arms, putting pressure on my husband and I to mend things with her. The whole situation is weighing heavy on me. After everything we’ve been through, all the ups and downs, to be in this place again - silence treatment, anger, resentment. And a little girl in the middle.

      I’m just so tired of all of this. And this is my life. Can’t escape it. Nowhere to run to. I’m tethered to this woman. I’m angry at her but I’m also disappointed in myself that I can’t handle this situation better. Ah, sorry for venting. Usually people vent to me but I’m just at the end of my rope here. Thank you for a visit :)

    • Vicki Martin Wood profile image

      Vicki Wood 

      10 months ago from Eldon, Missouri

      yeah, things can definitely get better when the grandkids come along, but they can also get worse. Case in point, my MIL used to let my four to six-year-old children watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Terrified that my kids were going to become serial killers, i wouldn't let them go visit her anymore.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      10 months ago from California

      Hi Latina DIL!

      My god, what a terrible thing to say...No wonder you want to stay away from her. It's funny how that works, isn't it? The person says and does hurtful insensitive things, and because you don't want to be rude to them, you decide to stay away from them. Then they judge you for that as well...You staying away also becomes your fault - you being standoffish, you not being respectful etc. It's a peculiar circle of blame!

    • profile image

      Latina DIL 

      10 months ago

      My mil thought it would be funny to tell me, "It's a good thing you're not working in the fields with a baby on your back."

      I'm latina. She's white. All because I said I needed to run home and change my shoes because the current ones were hurting. She's never apologized. And she wonders why I started pulling away from her.

    • profile image

      snorris2684 

      10 months ago

      I have a so called "MIL" that started trying to place wedges between my spouse and I. It started by her complimenting me, saying he couldn't do this or that without me. Then anything he did, she would say, I didn't know you were smart enough to do anything like that. I would confront her every single time and tell her she is not manipulating our marriage with her ugly intentions. I told her if she wasn't abusive and manipulating for her own selfish needy ways, she wouldn't always need to say things belittling persons. She is emotionally abusive and codependent on her two "adopted" children. She tells us every visit about being angry and hurt staying at grandmas during the day, while the boys worked on the ranch with her parents. She makes it known she despises men. She had no contact with her brothers after she married. My husband spent his entire life reminded it cost $6000 more to adopt him then his sister. He feels guilty and believes he is obligated to repay her the extra cost. There is more to the adoption issue, I will explain in a moment. When she could not succeed coming between my husband and I, she had his sister find a divorce attorney online, in our state. Then, she sent a $1500 check and letter telling the attorney her son needs a divorce and this is the down payment. My husband knew nothing about it until the attorney called our home and spoke to me. My husband came in from work, I told him about the call I got. He found out through the attorney, his mom sent the check and told the attorney he doesn't want a divorce. Then he called his mother to chew her out. She told him he had to get her money back or pay her out of his pocket. We sent her monopoly money the next day with a note that said, "This is all you get from us". "You sent the check, you get it back". So, her tactics failed and she began using his older sister to call, ask him a million personal questions. Then she would call my husband, using the information, to criticize him about our parenting/family decisions. He was emotionally suppressed and abused all his life and rarely speaks up to her. His parents are wealthy, but his mother never worked her entire life. His father earned the income and did all investments to become wealthy. His father has passed away, so she has control of all the money now. His mother has taken him out of the family will numerous times for him speaking up to her or "allowing" me to disrespecting her and hurting her. She informed me what she, his sister and my husband speak about regarding my marriage and family is none of my business, it is between them. So, I said I hope you know you can't walk all over me and get away with it, because it will cost you. She is the perfect manipulating controlling abusive "victim". My husband has 2 sons from previous marriage. I have a daughter from previous. We adopted a baby together. I have little use for conversation with the MIL and grew tired of dealing with her. At one point, she told my husband not to "allow" me access to his money, it isn't mine. So, his checks got deposited to our joint account and I moved half to my personal account and sent her notice every payday. Then is sister began calling saying mom was loosing weight, sick from worry he wasn't happy but felt trapped in our marriage. In reality, she found out about the adoption of our baby girl, and she was furious. She was visiting when the baby was 2mos old, ask if I was babysitting, I replied no. She asked who's baby was and I replied ours. She turned to my husband enraged and said, "You didn't tell me you got her pregnant". I spoke up and said, because he didn't. She asked, "Where did this baby come from then?" I replied, "We adopted her at birth". She turned to my husband, bright red face, anger all over her body, and said, "You adopted a child and never consulted with me before you did that?" She went on to say, "I am shattered you betrayed me for your wife to be happy like this". To which I responded, "He can't betray you with or for his wife, you're not part of OUR marriage, you're just his mom". WE didn't need your permission, we are adults. It wasn't your business unless you intend to pay for everything for her, including our mortgage. She stormed into the guest room and left the next day. As she left I was told, I am the absolute most evil disrespectful daughter-in-law she has even known. To which I responded, "Hey honey, did you hear your mom, she said I was number one to her". So when she went back home, she had his sister start on him about how depressed, betrayed and hurt she was we adopted and he is trapped with me forever, because she doesn't think he is happy. So, after a year or so, he moved out, taking only one of his two sons. His sister told him mom thought it best to just take the oldest, it is easiest for him this way. I let him move, kept his son and my two daughters and our life went on like it was our normal. She expected me to fall apart, become angry, say/do things to hurt/anger him and cause him to want a divorce. I wouldn't give her the satisfaction. After less than a month my husband moved home. It was under my conditions, regarding his mom and sister invading our lives. No answering their questions and talk to them only in front of me. His mother attempted to be the innocent concerned mom, telling him she always like me and was sad when his sister told her he moved out. He wanted to believe that in his heart. I told him she is manipulating him again. To prove it to him, she hates me, she was lying and manipulating him, acting innocent & make him guilty to blame him for moving out. I had him call his mother, ask for $5000 and tell her he was getting a divorce and needed to hire a lawyer. She began instantly bad mouthing me & expressed a check to him. So, upon receiving the check, I had my husband sign it, deposited in the bank, when it cleared I moved the money to my own savings. Then I called her and told her I took that $5000, put it in my account & he can't access it. She was furious. I told her she wasn't slick enough to manipulate me because I wasn't abused by her all my life like my husband, so I didn't fear her and I will not allow her to invade my marriage, family and home without paying one way or the other. I thanked her for paying $5000 in damages she did trying to destroy our family. I told her if she didn't want to keep paying, she better learn limits and boundaries and any psychiatrist could help her with the mental defect she has in that area. Phone calls to my husband were very limited following that. However, she and his sister began sending birthday and Christmas gifts only to my husband two sons, excluding the girls. So, my husband called his mother, put her speaker phone and told her he would not tolerate her treating the girls like that, if she isn't going to do for all the kids, not to send anything for anyone. At which time she stated, "Well, I just do not feel like those are my grandchildren because your blood does not run through their veins". To which I replied, "Who are you exactly?" she responded, "I am his mother". I responded, "That is a lie, your blood does not run through his veins, nor does his "alleged" sisters. I then stated, "We do not accept you as related to my husband or our four children". "If you or **** (his sister's name) call invading our privacy to harass our family again, I will sue you in court". She took a deep breath of disgust, (feeling ignorant for saying that about our daughters at that point), told my husband she was not leaving him any of "her" money in her will". I said, "You never worked, it isn't your money it is his dad's. She hung up. After five years of no communication following that, my husband called them. They ask him not to speak to them in front of his wife. He not only speak in front of me, he uses speaker phone to do so. He told them he will not disrespect his marriage to please them. He won't isolate calls so they can try to manipulate him to damage our marriage, he will not tolerate it. Phone calls are very impersonal and quick now days.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      11 months ago from California

      Hi Chris,

      good question. Why are some people toxic? I don't know. Maybe it's a personality disorder. Maybe they're our karmic challenges. Maybe it's just women who can't let go of their sons (some kind of subconscious attraction?).

      But please don't let it affect your self-esteem. Remember the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

      It was never really about you. You could be the kindest, greatest, smartest person on the planet and a toxic MIL will still find you unacceptable.

    • profile image

      Chris 

      11 months ago

      I went through the same thing with my last relationship. I never understood why this women disliked me so much. She ruined our relationship because after a while I couldn't deal with her toxcity and smear campaigns. In the end, my ex broke it off. It was quite hurtful and it really effected my self esteem. Even my ex would make comments like maybe my mother sees something that I don't see. Why are some people like this?

    • profile image

      what if 

      11 months ago

      what does a mother in law want .they etiehr let go or they don't this is hte problem , they raised thier son , now does the woman he married take care of him, the new marriage has to walk the walk and learn , to many time the mother thinks she should step in and show, it is worse if a husband goes to his mother for advice, ahh, here is the thing, the father should have been available this is what is happening the fathers are out of the pictures ,My advice to anyone who feels thier mother in law is interfering move far away and do it quickly ,stay in church in new town and find close friends ,beleive me years of being with a mil that would not accept ruined and scared my family now to turn it around before i die break the curse , mothers raise your sons, and let go , if he comes crying back tell him to stand up and take care of his problems don't nurse him

    • profile image

      Hell and back 

      11 months ago

      I have chosen to stay away. My husband goes to family gathering but I can not handle the stress that she causes me. The worst part is we have not sad anything to the rest of his family but his oldest sister is now sticking her nose in the middle of it. Mind you this is the same women that is stay with her husband until the kids are out of the house then divorcing. The whole thing makes me stressed,sick,depressed and disgusted. I can not be present because mouth sometimes gets the best of me when backed into a corner. Like the old saying when it rains there normally a mother in law pissing on your parade. I know it is rains it pours but sarcasm is all I have left....

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      11 months ago from California

      Of course, Pat. We all need to vent from time to time, people with a toxic MIL especially :) I know it's a difficult situation. I wish you patience, strength and wisdom. Hang in there!

    • profile image

      pat begg 

      11 months ago

      My problem is slightly different from posts I have read. My husband, his mother and I actually live under the same roof. We pooled resources and bought a property which I will come to love eventually. I believed her when my toxic mil said she was easy to live with. The opposite is true. She forever "huffs" and if I suggest an easier way to do something she throws a childish tantrum, and I really mean tantrum.

      Lost count of the times I have retreated and cried my eyes out. And yes, my husband often turns on me.

      I know I am not a bad person, I have friends....She has none, never has. She has the personality of a garden shed, extremely old before her time and of course, very set in her ways. I choose not to communicate with her if I can help it because everything is taken out of context. Stated she would do the cooking.....Most of my portion goes in the dog. Just a nightmare.

      I could go on but won't bore folk. However, on reading the word toxic, this describes her totally. Thankyou for letting me vent

    • profile image

      Virginia-Woolf 

      11 months ago

      Of the hundred posts I’ve read dealing with manipulative mother-in-laws, yours resonated immediately with me and is spot-on unfortunately in describing my mother-in-law’s behaviors.

      I have been married for nearly 7 years and am in a bit of a self-awakening as I do take responsibility for not dealing directly with my MIL and walking away as opposed to setting those needed boundaries.

      I could cite hundreds of instances of my MIL behaving beyond poorly and without class (as she has none) starting with the moment she stepped in to see me in the labor and delivery room years ago and commenting to my husband that he should probably just go home because it was going to be awhile to the days thereafter when she would stop by unannounced and criticize me for the clothes my infant child wore to the time she displayed my husband’s pictures with his ex-high school/college age girlfriend at his fortieth birthday party (which she held as our baby was just 3 months old) and went around telling my family that this was her son’s (insert name of girlfriend here) as if their relationship still very much existed. She prides herself on being a devout Catholic and being kind to others yet has yet to demonstrate said kindness to me. To this day, she goes out of her way to exclude me from family pictures. She is superficial and constantly first comments on a person’s appearance as if that aspect is critical to the individual’s instrinsic value.

      While I was raised to be respectful of people’s beliefs, she can not fathom a world where other religions or beliefs exist outside of her own. She is incapable of intelligent, meaningful conversation because her days are dominated by playing victim to anyone who will listen about how her life and life in general is so bad.

      I did try very hard to have, at the very least, a mutually respectful relationship with her and have been kind beyond what I believe she really deserved. This however has not gotten me very far. While we have moved far enough away to where she can not stop over unnounced, she continues to watch our child 2 days a week in our home. It has gotten beyond excruciating for me to have her here as I work from home and have grown tired of her constantly questioning my parental decisions/actions (she once said to me, “I don’t believe the problem is your child as s/he doesn’t behave that way with me.” She also insists on bringing food for my child to eat despite the fact that we have plenty of food that I would like my child to eat in our house. This constant “I know better, your child prefers me” behavior has gone on for too long and I would prefer an arrangement where she would not be my child’s babysitter but my hands are tied with my husband.

      While I have come to a point where I have had enough and am setting new boundaries such as limiting access to information about our child and family (as all information is used by her to either slander me with her family and friends or used for manipulative reasons) and calling her out on her behavior, I also recognize and resent not having proper support from my husband over the years as he has failed in my opinion to recognize his mother’s actions and words and plays the part of being too busy or not concerned because he believes I am letting my emotions get the best of me. I am truly contemplating divorce because our days are riddled with arguments and I don’t believe it is a proper environment for my child.

      While my husband has stepped up a little in having frank conversations with her about her behavior, I don’t believe it is enough And Is perhaps too little too late. I feel so stuck right now and am trying very hard to get to a peaceful place but am finding the right decisions very hard to make.

      Thank you again for your article and sharing your story.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      12 months ago from California

      That's awful! What a stupid thing to tell to a new mama. Anyway, she doesn't know what she's talking about, girls are the best!

    • profile image

      Goodbutnotgreat 

      12 months ago

      Everything you said in part one is my mil to a T. I thought things were getting a bit better during the end of my pregnancy but it got worse because I had a girl and not a boy like she would have preferred. I was told I didn't do as well because of the gender, and told this within a couple hours of having her.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      12 months ago from California

      This is unacceptable. She should never speak badly of you in front of your son. It just shows the kind of person she is. Hang in there! Your son won't be a teenager forever. One day he will understand, and he will make his own judgment.

    • profile image

      Momof1 

      13 months ago

      Sadly my marriage couldn’t survive my mother in law. My ex-husband moved in with his mom after our divorce, 14 years later he is still there and so my son goes there on his dads weekends. And my mother in law has manipulated my son also. My son loves me and we have a good realtionship but as with all teenagers when we fight things come out of his mouth that I know came from my mother in law. So I ask and she doesn’t deny. I ask my ex to speak to her but he doesn’t want to rock the boat with her and if I do then my son turns on me. It’s a no win situation with me. She is my nightmare.

    • profile image

      Ynot 

      13 months ago

      After reading this, I realized that most women ( with age) are really just witches in denial. Scary stuff, and even scarier that they even had sons to ' raise' ( or should I say...'lower') Sure glad I was spared from this evil nonsense. Sincerly, mom of 4, grandma of 7. Peace!

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      13 months ago from California

      We're not at that point yet but at times I'm very open to this option! Thanks for the advice :) Always good to know when things work out.

    • profile image

      Happy in Illinois ! 

      13 months ago

      After many years of marriage, watching her tear me down . Trying to be a "good" daughter in law , I decided enough was enough . It was divorce him or she had to go. The word toxic was such a nice way of putting it when it came to Brenda. The funny thing is it wasn't just me she had the issues with . It was anyone and everyone . She couldn't even get along with coworkers. She treated us like the black sheep of the family . I refused to let my child be part of such a "toxic" "narcissistic " woman's life . Funny my child never asked for her , my husband and I became much closer . Sometimes you just have to move on , and close all the doors . Best 2 years of our marriage so far! We will celebrate our 6th anniversary this year! Word of advice if this is your situation don't divorce your husband , divorce your in laws

    • profile image

      Kristy 

      13 months ago

      Not sure if anyone else is experiencing the same thing I am. Something that is present with my MIL situation is that my husband and his mother behave more like spouses, as far as carrying on conversations and making decisions. I cannot get him to have a single conversation about our future without him getting angry. But he will discuss just about anything with his Mother. How do I break through that?

    • profile image

      Andraya13 

      14 months ago

      The problem is if I stand up then my husband gets mad at me that I should just let it go and not let her get to me so I'm the end either she is disrespecting me or my husband and I are fighting

    • profile image

      Vj 

      14 months ago

      It's funny, mine got worse when I had kids. Moreso because she wanted to br around more. I dealt with her before kids by just not talking with her that often and now my husband makes me feel like I have to let her come around more and because she lives out of state they're sleepover visits. I ended them because she did some inappropriate things while here, but after 3 years since children I haven't found a balance yet, besides ignoring her. Oy.

    • profile image

      Teresa 

      15 months ago

      When I first met my MIL to be, she was the most stoic, hard to talk to, and strange person I have met. I love to talk to people and do not have problems carrying on with people I don't know at all. I tried gain her acceptance for the first five years. She had an accident and I cared for her in my home. She was resentful towards me for her accident that she had and the fact she was having to change her life, which I understand that, but not my fault. I was trying to help my Husband out with her because of my love for him not her. She made it clear we were not going to be in a good relationship and I finally excepted that was the way it was going to be. She made it a point to call me by my Husband's ex-wife's name and telling me how great she was with her. I know different. I am told they had the same issues. She does this to try to get to me. I know what she is doing so I find it amusing and just change the subject. She would call me the help. I just laughed with her. She met her match with me. I will take the high road and always conduct myself with being better than to be manipulated by her. She was bedbound when I cared for her and I put everything into helping her get back on her feet. I thought we were getting somewhere, but instead it was like she hated me more. So okay you hate me, but I refuse to let you destroy my happy marriage. I have my own Mom I do not need another. Now my Husband does most of the errand running for her which I wish I could help him out with this, but when I go around her she brings out the worst in me. She stares me down, she makes mean comments at random. I told her not to bite me because I bite back and that we will get along if she wants to and if not, that is okay. The family will not help other then my Husband and that is why I have helped so much. They don't like her much because she has been so cold to them. When we go out to eat all together they get to the restaurant early so they can arrange to sit as far away from her as possible and I am always the one sitting in front of her. Won't happen again. I will be the early one. They come to the house and make arrangements to get as far away from her as possible. Her Grandchildren look terrified of her. Again leaving me with her. I am always kind to her unless she throws a random tantrum, then I stand my ground. She is not used to someone standing up to her as she has been a bully most of her life. I was bullied and stood my ground while growing up and put a stop the that happening. Finally after seven years I have come to know it does not matter what I do she will never accept me nor like me. I do not go around her, don't call her, don't answer calls, and consider her a non-person in my life. I will have to be around her during the holidays, but I will make sure I am not sitting as the primary conversation even though she does not jab while others are around any longer. I guess she did not like getting it back in front of whomever. She treated the only person who stepped up to help her in a desperate time for her terribly and I rearranged my life to help her. She has caused arguments between my Husband and I and we are a couple that never argued and have always been best friends. For my Husband I will do the same during holidays but that is all I will have to do with her any longer. She is the only person I have met that acts like she does and that caused such a negative impact on my mental health for a while. So for my health it is best for me to stay completely away from her. I have accepted that she will never accept me and that is okay because I am good with who I am. I know I did the right thing helping her so I can move on and live without the toxic MIL.

    • profile image

      Victoria 

      15 months ago

      Omg

      I am so glad I found this article and that I'm not alone. Thank you so much. I had a really bad day- my bf got a new job and told his mother he can't travel and help her move overseas. However today she flipped and accused me of selling my car and moving at the same time- like he's staying to help me? And that's why he's not coming? Amongst other abusive crazy things I ended up in tears. My bf sticks up for me and calls her out but she is so narcassistic and says crazy stuff to him too :(

    • profile image

      Molly Magee62 

      15 months ago

      I sent my comment about five days ago - the post affair comment/story. Will it get put here or on the one the preceded this. Hope so. Thanks.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      15 months ago from California

      Hahaha excellent technique Tonester! I gotta try it :) My in-laws have a habit of just walking in if the door is unlocked.

    • profile image

      Tonester 

      15 months ago

      Toxic MIL? I know it all too well. My MIL has done things that would be unbelievable to most unless they're on the site with me. My mother-in-law had a family picture at my wedding of myself my new husband his brother his sister and his mother and his father. She cut me out of my own wedding picture saying that she just wanted a family picture I noticed this when I was seven months pregnant with her first grandchild on Thanksgiving. As far as boundaries are concerned she and my father-in-law have always had a knack for just showing up either right at dinner time during the week or on the weekend. It used to and. Me. We said something once years ago in a very nice way and she replied that she shouldn't have to make an appointment to see her own son and grandchild. Notice she didn't mention the daughter-in-law LOL! Well one day, that all changed. This was probably the last time they just showed up at our house. One wonderful afternoon my daughter was away spending the night at a friends house and my husband and I were taking advantage of some "alone time". Well, sure enough they showed up ringing the doorbell. The first we decided to ignore it as it was the end most in opportune time to have a visitor, but being like she is she kept ringing the doorbell. And I had a feeling it was her. So I got up put on my robe and went to the door, when she saw my disheveled hair blushing cheeks and a bit of a smile on my face she knew she had interrupted something. She asked if they come at a bad time, and I just smiled and said "well, we think so" in a nice and somewhat comical way. My father-in-law laughed. But she was so terribly embarrassed she immediately left. My husband and I had a good laugh and I said I bet she won't do that again. Whatever it takes to break the bad behavior cycle.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      15 months ago from California

      Hi Ann,

      I applaud you for finding the courage to stand up to your MIL. That was an act of respect for yourself. I agree, sometimes you have to make a choice about who you want in your life. And if you feel that it's the right choice, then it's right for you and your family. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Ann 

      15 months ago

      Yes....my mil is acting the same as most of the stories in this thread. Manipulation, divide and conquer tactics, accusations......the lot! The thing is I have put up with it for 20yrs avoiding argument, brushing it off, ignoring her, none of it works. I have recently developed spiritual awakening for myself since my own mother passed, meditation, peacefulness and inner quiet which has helped me overcome my loss and find comfort. I hadn't seen my mil for a while but she invited herself to stay a few months ago, I suddenly felt anxious and uptight about the thought of her coming. It was the visit from hell is all I can say, she used snippets of time alone with me to insult me, my children and stood side by side with my husband, shoulders touching, to deliver a tirade of sarcastic text that flipped the switch in my head to say "that's it"!!! No more! You do NOT do this to me in MY house ever again! I have banned her from staying, blocked her manipulative emails. I never wish to speak to her again!. Quite frankly I never really got any support from my husband on this situation because he thinks I will eventually fold....give in, No way ! I realised that by developing spiritually it had made me softer, more open minded more emphatic, learning to love myself more, until her visit, I could just not believe that her behaviour would escalate to that level, how wrong I was to have let her stay, I do believe that I have done the right thing for my sanity in having no contact. I read somewhere that you have a right to choose who you have in your life, I respect myself and love myself enough to make those decisions and stand by them, no respect....no entry.....end of!

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      15 months ago from California

      Hi Garth,

      you can take comfort in the fact that hardly anyone enjoys going to family functions :) But if you really feel unwelcome, maybe you should talk to your wife about it. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Garth 

      16 months ago

      My mother in law i tolerate but inside i cant stand the sight of her. To me she is controlling and an authority. she is judgmental and critical. overly fussy. She does not bond with my family. she lives on her own and has no pets and makes negative comments about males. she is overweight and a constant yacker. My wife calls and talks to her everyday sometimes 3 times a day. I dont enjoy going to family functions as they make you feel unwelcome or like your an imposter. really they are not my kind of people. I come from a fun family full of life and mischief. I often wish i was a ghost.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      16 months ago from California

      Hi AHossin,

      thanks so much for your comment. You know, I'm in the same boat as you. I'm figuring things out as I go. So far what I've understood is that personally, hushing up and pretending smth didn't happen doesn't work for me because I tend to dwell on even the smallest stuff way longer that way. I feel frustrated, angry, hurt, mistreated etc. Then I vent to my husband and make it even worse.

      I understand you very well. Although I encourage women to speak up, I know that sometimes speaking up and confronting a toxic person can backfire. Yes, they act like you've hurt them. Like you've been rude. Like you're ungrateful and generally unlikable. To this day, my MIL never validated my feelings in any sort of compassionate way. And I accept that. Because I know that from her pov this is right. She truly feels this way and I don't think there's anything in the whole universe that can convince her otherwise. And that's ok. To an extent, the challenge is to accept this person the way she is. The other part of the challenge is to stand up for yourself when she goes too far.

      Does this answer your question? From where I stand, you're on the right path. You're self-aware, you recognize that you have some room for improvement too, and you're speaking up about your feelings. You're way ahead of the curve! Keep at it.

    • profile image

      AHossin 

      16 months ago

      I totally agree with the conclusion in your first article, that if someone is always rubbing us the wrong way then there surely is inner work to be done on our part.

      Things have always been difficult with my MIL since a few months before the wedding. We mostly got along before that. Eight years and one child later, things are much worse. I'm more sensitive now when she comes to my house and takes over everything. I feel she is taking my job as a parent away from me. I am partially to blame, as there are some things I could've let slide or told her how I felt earlier.

      She is a widow, and my husband is her only child. I have been trying to understand her p.o.v., but when I want to tell her my feelings she acts like I'm hurting her. She always interrupts and never wants to validate my feelings. She is always the victim and the center of attention. She avoids confrontation and literally gets up and walks away. Once I closed the kitchen door and forced her to talk to me. She drinks and says horrible thinks about me and her son. She talks about us to other family members. I cannot take this disrespect. I finally stood up for myself when she made a hurtful and untrue accusation about me to my husband. She was still angry about a prior clash we'd had and had possibly been drinking. I called her on it and she refuses to take any responsibility. She is only focusing on how hurt she feels and acting like she didn't do anything wrong. She feels entitled to say what she wants about people.

      Should I wait for an apology or pretend this never happened?

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      16 months ago from California

      Hi Alma,

      it's nice to hear from a mother-in-law for a change :) If I understood correctly, you feel like your children don't appreciate what you do for them and the sacrifices you've made, and they are now loyal to their wives instead of their own mother, and they keep your grandkids from you. I'm sorry if this is the case. You know, in my experience, most of the problems in families stem from the lack of communication. Over the years resentment builds up and the relationship becomes damaged, often beyond repair. And it happens because one side refuses to admit any wrongdoing. There is no shame in apologizing. Listen to your kids, really listen with an open heart. It can make all the difference. Peace :)

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      16 months ago from California

      thank you! I'm glad it was helpful to you, hello.

    • profile image

      Hello from Middle East 

      16 months ago

      Thanks a lot for this great article I sent the link to my friends whom suffering the same problem!

    • profile image

      Alma 

      16 months ago

      Mother-in-law's don't have a say when your son's get married they do whatever they want you can't get involved with the grandkids or anything because when they feel like they want to take your grandkids away you have no right no matter even though what you did and help your son in every way and aspect most people or most daughter-in-laws do not see depreciation of mother does for her son or the grandchildren most of time it's all like the sun say it's about the wives did not ask to take care of the mothers but when the mother dies I wonder if they cry I have two sons I have three grandchildren and my son feels at his wife and talked about his mother and he can let her get away with it I'm a mother-in-law but most of all the things I've done for my son and my grandchildren his mother ex mother-in-law did not do anything for them and this is how they treat your their own mother I wonder what this world's coming to be when you work 2 jobs and support you two children and your husband abandons you you do the best you can to the best of your ability and then for them to say you didn't do enough and yet turn around and say you have to apologize to my wife but your wife can talk about your mother I don't think that's right I work two jobs and I did everything I could to my ability and I made sure they didn't have kids here in there but yeah it depends who they marry and who their faithful to because they wait to see you in the mother dies to see what they can collect it's not about what they love their mother cuz they don't they can't stand you once I get married it's all about what the wife says you're only in the way and only bothering them and give them headaches yes my grandson had a birthday yes I called my son but I think it's not fair that everything a parent does for her son's order children that son should not keep the grandchildren away from the grandmother although you go out your way and do a whole lot for them they don't appreciate what you do in life they criticize you and say you didn't give them enough you gave him poor life and work two jobs where you broke your body down and do you think they they appreciate it no all they think about is themselves thank you so much

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      17 months ago from California

      Thank you! I ain't gonna lie - it does sound wonderful! :-)

    • Karli McClane profile image

      Psycho Free Zone 

      17 months ago from USA

      Another well-written article; thank you for sharing your experience. My MIL stopped talking to my husband (and me, of course) over a year ago, and it's been wonderful.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      17 months ago from California

      hi dudette,

      that's certainly something to ponder...Although I wouldn't dwell too much on it. Most relationships between a MIL and a DIL (or in your case, a mother and a daughter) are eroded by years of resentment, animosity and conflict. But your mother has no history with this girl, and if she is this happy easy going person like you said, she probably has no judgment towards your mother. She simply accepts her, maybe even appreciates her. Give it time, and she will start seeing her for who she is.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      17 months ago from California

      Alyssa,

      I know this hurts. I honestly don't know what to tell you. Only you really know your situation, and only you can figure out what's best for you and your family. I can tell you: don't take it personally, but I'm sure it's hard to do when you're being cut out of family photos...I will say this though - try not to let your MIL take center stage in your life. Don't devote all your time to thinking or talking about her words or actions. Ultimately, this is just noise. You have your own family now, you have a beautiful baby boy, you have a devoted partner, you have other people who love and accept you...nothing else matters. Good luck!

    • profile image

      dudette 

      17 months ago

      My situation is very different from most here:

      I am the family scapegoat, my mother is the narcissist who has been mistreating me for decades, until I went no contact 2 years ago. My younger brother is the golden child.

      5 months after my daughter was born (first grandchild), he impregnated a girl he only knew for 3 months - he couldn't stand all the attention NM was giving her. Luckily for him, his baby-mama is a lovely girl, so much so, that I am absolutely flabbergasted as how she can stand my needy, lying, manipulative and psychotic mother. My mother's worst fear was always that her golden child would marry somebody she'd disapprove of. Well, they aren't married, she's from a different religion, she has tattoos (horrific for her), and she's always happy and easy going, something my miserable NM will never understand.

      Now, I haven't had contact with any of them for 2 years (when my NM started treating her golden child's child, different to mine), but I can't help wondering: how the F, can this girl even stand to be in the same room with her, let alone get along with her?

      There is no doubt in my mind that my NM treats her better than me, she can't lose her GC, but for how long will she be able to keep up the facade? She's a terrible actress with very little patience.

      I just can't get my head around it.

    • profile image

      M Olinde 

      17 months ago

      I lost my daughter to my mother in law . It's a long story but my daughter was the golden child and my son, became the scapegoat. My husband was too weak to support me. So when my daughter wanted to leave the house and go live with my mother-in-law she did and she would pull up in the driveway and take her every Friday even against my will. We never got our relationship back and my daughter just moved away from the house to California so we probably never will but my daughter has a great relationship with my mother-in-law. Glad to know I'm not alone

    • profile image

      Alyssa 

      18 months ago

      I'm wondering if anyone has any advice for a MIL constantly. Or including you in photos putting the on insta/Facebook and act is if you were never there. And only wants pic of her son(my hubby) and my son. ? ever since he was born to the announcement of our son I've been cut out.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      18 months ago from California

      Thank you. I'm deeply ambivalent about whether or not the relationship with my mil changed, so I'm not kidding myself. I'm just trying to figure things out as I go. And I think everyone secretly hopes that the baby will love them the most :) They just don't say it out loud :0

    • profile image

      Disor Poky 

      18 months ago

      You said things changed after your child was born. Don't kid yourself. She is on a path to destroy your relationship with your own kids so she can be their favorite. My son and DIL who is in first trimester told me MIL told them three times "your mom and I have a contest going to see who your baby will love the most." Whhaaat???? Who would even consider something like that? Good thing son and DIL know a narc move when they see it. Wishing you the best of luck and always be ready for a surprise!

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      18 months ago from California

      You hit the nail on the head Diane: it's all about the boundaries! That's the real issue. For years I thought that the root problem was that my MIL didn't like/accept me, and that if only she got to know me, she'd change her mind. Because of that thinking I engaged in some approval-seeking behavior and never set the boundaries. In hindsight, having proper boundaries is more important than being liked. Boundaries protect you, give you some control of the situation and keep the other person accountable.

      I do admire you for finding your voice and for trying to have a relationship with your in-laws for so many years for your children's sake. It shows that you're a really good mom. I do not believe that you were a terrible mom! But you might have internalized some of the negativity around you. Toxic MILs will do that - criticize you in subtle ways, chip away at your self-esteem, pin one sibling against another, play favorites, and blame everyone but themselves for the eroded relationships. You did nothing wrong. If anything, you did more than anyone would have done in your situation. It's time to let it go...

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      18 months ago from California

      You are not alone Alyssa! Although in my experience, having a child had a positive effect on my relationship with an MIL, but it's a temporary peace I suspect. I totally support your intent to be more firm and outspoken with your mother-in-law. Be a nice b* who doesn't give a rat's a* about an old woman's mind games :-)))

    • profile image

      Alyssa 

      18 months ago

      Glad to know I am not alone. Having our first child changed things for the worst with my MIL and I just didn't realize her narssistic behavior until to tried to be overbearing and controlling when our little one arrived. She was jealous of the fact my mom would help me with him . Which my mom and her agreed they would split up days to help. My MIL wouldn't show up instead complain about how my mom was always here. MIL and her MOTHER and CONTROL FREAKS and get mad when we place boundaries for our family . HOLIDAYS are another issue since my fiances parents are divorced that means 2 houses including my parents which makes it 3 houses in one day with a now toddler so we decided to split up holidays so we can keep our sanity and make our own traditions and my fiancé gets the guilt trip I had a talk with my MIL that we will rotate holidays and she was upset and "concerned" how are we going to determine who we get to spend holidays . Which I had already told her " we are Rotating" and then goes on to state how she's super concerned and I told her there's nothing to be concerned about it's a deiscion my fiancé and I make and it shouldn't concern her. This was Easter 2017 till this present day she's been throwing little rude comments to our ONE YEAR OLD! Who does that? Told my son that Mother's Day is grandmas day?!!? There's no win win. I'm damned if I do damned if I don't. So I started to keep my distance even with that and when we do come to visit it's always something. I think it's to the point that I will no longer come around neither will our son. Her behavior is unacceptable towards me because she couldn't get her way for the Easter acting is if I'm not there cutting me out of pictures. LOL it doesn't even get me mad or hurt it's amusing that a 50 year old woman behaves this way. But I am so thankful that my mother respects our family doesn't give us the guilt trip about holidays and has an open door policy. My mom respects and treats my fiancé as one of her own. But I will no longer try to be the "nice" one and brush it off. I'm going to tell it like it is. Communicate with her about my dislikes not that it matters or would I even get an apology which I don't expect. But just to set my foot down on what's not okay it wouldn't matter either way I look like a B*** if I'm nice and I look like a b*** if I mean so I might as well just be one I figured . But a nice b***.. its a blessing in disguise because she's everything i don't want to be when it comes time our son has his own family I will not become that woman! Any word of advice? Should I make it clear we are no longer coming around? My fiancé has spoken on my behalf which he agrees his mothers side treats me horrible because they can't get their way with me and control me . But of course she denies it and says she loves me for him lol what more can we do?

    • profile image

      Diane 

      18 months ago

      While the wedding should have given me a massive clue (she yelled at me on that day), I still had high hopes that I would be accepted as part of the family. My husband and I had been together about 4 years prior to marrying. We were both adults and on our own when we married. Paid for most of our wedding (in laws got a horse and carriage for us which I would not have paid for but they "wanted" to do it. My parents paid for the buffet and about 1/3 of the photographer, only because my mom told the photographer NOT to send me the bill). Boundaries immediately became a problem and not just for my MIL, but also my FIL. They are in this together. Just read your first article!! Then we moved to Sicily for 3 years. MIL asked to be around for the birth of our first child, their first grandchild. First words out of her mouth, "I can't wait until she calls you a bitch." Seriously, 9 hours of travel and THAT is what she thought of to say to me after 46 hours of labor. Then the FIL and SIL arrived... I was a terrible mom, could not do anything right. We had to entertain them for a week less than a week after I had my baby. My first Mother's Day was terrible, she had such control, and I barely got any time with my mom even though she lived about 30 minutes away. We moved back from Sicily and had to stay with them for 2 weeks. I was informed I was not raising my child properly (she was not even 2). I was a bad mom. My husband said nothing all this time. When we moved into our new house, and my SIL had her baby, they were always taking care of her child, no time to give special grandparent time for my child. My SIL's child (she was not married and did not even know the father's full name) got all sorts of grandparent time AND was around whenever they would visit with us. My MIL would say my SIL is a really good mother. Anybody who did not have to care for their own child, most of the time, could be a "good" parent. I had a second child. He was treated as secondary, as well. I finally found my voice, but communication needs to be a two way street. They would poo poo my feelings and tell me I was wrong. I tried for about 8 more years, with no support from the husband, either. I really felt I had to try, for my kids sake, so they had two sets of grandparents (my parents are great!). I stopped when I found out what the three of them were spreading about me to all the family members and their friends, I fordbid my husband from talking to his sister and have kept the kids from them. My kids have had their own cell phone numbers and email addresses for YEARS which I sent to them, multiple times, after they got them. Yet, *I* was the problem with their relationship with my kids. I stopped trying. I no longer bought birthday, Mother's or Father's Day, or Christmas cards or presents. I left it ALL on their son, my husband, to take up the slack. He has not wanted to. He never wanted to. I was the reason they had the relationship they did have because I would push him to talk or email them every week or two (he was deployed a lot, so I could not get him to do it weekly). My kids wanted nothing to do with them because they would be blamed for problems caused by my SIL's kids, since my SIL's kids were always around when my ILs visited with us. I got headaches. I had stomach issues. I thought I was the problem and absorbing all of the blame which has led me to so many different anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications and LOTS of therapy, YEARS of therapy, STILL in therapy. 9 years after I abruptly stopped with them and I still have times where I wonder what I did wrong to deserve their treatment (this is not everything, either, only a small sliver). Married 24 years and the *relationship* is worse. There really sin't one. IF they visit, the kids and I are ignored. No, they were not invited to my daughter's high school graduation (her choice and I supported it) since they told her she was not making the right decisions for her life. What I realized, however, is they ALWAYS ignored us, even during the kids birthday parties. They also kept their son from enjoying the kids birthday parties, as well, by hoarding his time. Now it is like they don't have a son, either, just their goldenchild daughter and her daughter (but not her son, interestingly enough). I don't think they see it as a loss, either. Meanwhile, here I still am, wondering what I did wrong that my kids do not have grandparents, or even much other family, on their dad's side. I know, but I still wish it was different.

    • profile image

      Rashmi 

      18 months ago

      Your first article gave me hope that I am not alone but second article I cant relate to much because this female is so toxic that she could give sarin a complex. Lol.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      19 months ago from California

      Jen,

      wow! Talking about drama. You're right, "toxic" doesn't even begin to describe it. And yet, to me it's their most defying characteristic - that they poison the lives of people around them.

    • profile image

      Jen 

      19 months ago

      If we're talking about Toxic MILS, mine really takes the cake.

      So much that she my Mother, who stood in as my POA, while my husband was trying to get home from deployment, while I was birthing my first child, went so far as to have my SIL go into my Mom's PT job and say very mean things to her; only then to turn around and villify her on Facebook to the while world.

      To this day my MIL and SIL are the most bipolar bitches. They pretend to be concerned about but in reality couldn't care less....

      My husband has always been the black sheep of his family. And because I am his wife and I have his other daughter, I fall into that category as well. We are normal people. They think they are normal, but normal do not go around destroying other people's lives. True normal people go around building up each other. Toxic is such an appropriate yet not fully-encompassing word for what my mother-in-law is.

    • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lana Adler 

      19 months ago from California

      Emily, wow. That is truly awful. Maybe she suffers from some kind of senile brain dysfunction that makes one really-really mean? Sounds like a classic narcissist though.

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