Family Drama, Again!

It’s no secrete that my mother-in-law and I do not have the best of relationship.

I make an effort, because she is my husband’s mom.  I spent years trying to be the daughter-in-law she seems to want, but it never worked.  And then, one day I decided to stop trying to be someone I’m not, because it’s not right and it wasn’t working anyways.  I will never be subservient to my husband, I will never be a stay-at-home mom, we never intend to move to the city they live in so that we can ever visit once a week (or more).  And, I will never be able to provide her with multiple grandchildren, even if I wanted to.

(As an aside, I honestly don’t think it’s me that she hates.  I think it’s the concept of me – her son’s wife.  I think any women who married her son, that didn’t match her 1950s version of wife, would be treated the way I am treated.  And, I also don’t think Mr. MPB would have married someone who met her 1950s version of wife, so I don’t think she would have liked anyone who fell in love with).

But, even though years ago I stopped trying so hard to be her version of the perfect wife, I can proudly say, I have never in my life been mean or cruel to her.  I have been as polite as possible, I bite my tongue and avoid confrontation at all costs (this is my husband’s expressed wish, so I try my damndest to do it).  Yet, I have still gone out of my way to organize thoughtful gifts from their kids and grandkids and I even started this visit by inviting her for pedicure with me as my treat.  Needless to say, I know I’m not perfect, but I have tried to treat her the same way I treat other people, in-spite of the fact she’s not all that nice to me.

Well, this trip, I said something that she really did not like (in fact, I’ve asked a few friends who would give me an honest opinion if I was out of line, and they have all told me that I was not).  She proceeded to give me the silent treatment for 2 solid days.  And, she even ignored my son, as if trying to make me angrier.  And let me tell you, it did!!  It’s one thing to be mad at me, but to ignore a toddler, who doesn’t understand, is simply cruel and unacceptable.  Little MPB kept trying to play with her and hold her hand, and she kept pulling her hand away from him and simply ignoring him.  This was not okay.  In fact, I’m still angry that she would treat a child this way, especially her own grandson.  When she did start talking to Little MPB again, she proceeded to teach him to play on the stairs and to plug/unplug items into electrical sockets (I’m fairly confident she wasn’t doing this to intentionally hurt her grandson, but the fact that we’ve spent his entire life discouraging these unsafe activities and she proceeds to teach him these things while mad at me, makes me wonder.  And for the record, at this point I did voice that these games were unsafe and not allowed, this didn’t help her be less angry at me, but I don’t care when my child’s safety is involved).

She also ignored my family when they also stopped by to visit the next day.  Which resulted in some very odd conversations between my family and I, as they asked what was wrong with her – we all came to the conclusion they were being ignored because they were related to me, the spawn of the devil.  I told them the truth of the situation, they also reinforced that what I said wasn’t inappropriate.

Then, the next day when we were saying goodbye at the airport, both her and her husband goodbye to Mr. MPB and Little MPB and gave them hugs.  They both did not say goodbye to me, and refused give me hugs. 

I am a big girl, and honestly part of me could careless if I never have to speak to his mom again.  But, part of me is also heartbroken as I go out of my way to do nice things for them – I’m even the one who encouraged/forced Mr. MPB to invite them out for Christmas this year.  I seem to be the only one of their children and/or children’s spouses who does this stuff for them.  And I do it, because it’s the right thing to do.

But, I’m officially done.  This behaviour was simply unacceptable, and not something I will willing exposure myself to anymore.  I will still be polite if they talk to me, but that’s it.  I will not be doing anything special or nice for them, not anymore.  I will not be forcing family visits, in fact, I wont even be encouraging them.

And I struggle with future visits.  I’ve made the decision that I do not plan to be home if they are in my home again because I do not need to be exposed to people like this.  But, then, is it appropriate that I am being chased out of my own home?  And, is it appropriate to leave my son near them, people who withhold love and affection from a toddler?  (Mr. MPB points out that he was raised this way and turned out normal, so for Little MPB to spend less then a week every year with this type of behaviour isn’t the end of the world).  Mr. MPB would obviously be with them all, but I’m not sure that is enough.  Maybe the better option is that if they choose to visit, we tell them to stay in a hotel, which will give us daily separation/breaks?

I don’t know the answer to any of this right now, I assume I will calm down over time.  But, I also know that I will not willing be treated this way again.

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30 Comments on “Family Drama, Again!

  1. wow, I can’t believe she would actually treat her grandson that way! Her behaviour sounds completely immature. If she had some issue with something you said, she should have just said so and then moved on. And being rude to your family is also a shitty thing to do. I would be insisting she stays at a hotel next time she wants to visit personally, unless she apologizes for the way she was acting!

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  2. Something happens to already difficult parent or in-law relationships when children come into the picture. Behaviors that we are willing to deal with and manage as adults can be too hurtful to expose our children to. I’m so, deeply sorry that you and little mpb have been subjected to such meanness.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay sweetie, calm down.
    I think how you handled it is completely perfect, I am surprised how can any sane adult allow/ teach a child to play on stairs and/or play with electrical sockets! Like really…. so it was excellent that you put down the boundary, more for little MPB than anyone else.
    2) your husband is right, havig them over for a week is really not going to damage little MPB but Mr MPB would need to agree to keep an eye on little MPB non stop. Else, yes damage can happen because clearly what was taught is not what any sane person would teach a 3 year old!! So long as you both agree to this rule, there is no issue there. No matter how weird, they are his parents, that is a bond he shares with them which is older than the one you share, love or hate your parents, its an older emotion than the one with a spouse.
    3) no, why would you leave your home? That is weird, but yeah keep off. I would say use that time to take some self care. since clearly they dont want you, spin it around as say, its soo amazing you are here, thank you for watching little MPB and off you go to spa :))
    4) little MPB is still little to understand meanness from adults since he has not been exposed to it. He would just accept t and slowly move away from her, dont worry about him, kids are way too smart and sense better than us where they are not wanted/loved. He will ignore her too. I wanted to share with you that my MIL has a preferential treatment for G over A. No specific reason, its just that she is fonder of G than A. Does it bother me, no! Because its her loss. A doesnt care much for her either, infact he refuses to stay with her if grandpa is not around. It hurts her, but serves her good.
    So basically kids are smart, they will form their own equations, you dont feel upset for it or for him. So long as there is no damage, its all good.

    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yikes! Her relationships seems toxic not only for you but also for your son. I would push very hard to cut them out. Who needs family who treats you like garbage. In my opinion that’s not truly family. Family does not intentionally put their grandchild in danger!! Sounds like you might be dealing with a narcissist, I recommend reading up on some tips for coping with this personality type.

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  5. I’m fuming right now. And honestly almost in tears for Little MPB, that part is actually breaking my heart.

    I wish that you never had to see her or hear from her another day in your life. She does not deserve the honor of having you as a daughter-in-law. And she does not deserve the title of grandma to Little MPB if that is how she is going to treat him. A toddler. Who did absolutely nothing wrong.

    I got to the point last year of no longer planning trips to see my MIL, no longer bringing it up to B that he should call his mom or that we should see her or invite her anywhere. And I only answer questions she directs to me with the smallest amount of words I can use. I do not ask her any, I do not initiate conversation. Though 2+ years later I sometimes look at her when I reply, which I couldn’t do for over a year.

    The anger does get easier to deal with and the visits eventually get easier when you realize that you don’t have to participate and you don’t have to live up to any expectations they have for you. And when you realize that the visit is only VERY temporary and you are doing it for your husband who you love. That is how I see visits now, they are just an act of love towards my husband (and son because he does seem to enjoy the visits for the most part) and nothing more than that.

    I think it is completely fair to ask her to stay in a hotel when (and if) they visit. Which may not be much anymore without you coordinating (I know we see wayyyyy less of my in-laws after I stopped being the coordinator).

    How does DH feel about the situation if you don’t mind me asking?

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  6. I’m dying to know what was said but regardless, they needed to just forgive and move on if it somehow did offend them. It’s very hard for me to consider cutting anyone out of my life entirely because I have way too much empathy, apparently. But definitely cutting back on seeing eachother would be in order.

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  7. That is just awful (especially the part about ignoring your son). I think setting some clear boundaries (as you discussed) is more than reasonable. She can’t cross such a huge line and expect no consequences. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that.

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  8. There was a similar dynamic for me and my grandmother, and let me tell you it still upsets me all these years later. She hated my father (her son-in-law) and took it out on me and my brother. We were always treated inferiorly to our cousins but thankfully it did not damage our relationship with them. I have always wondered why my mother did not do more to stand up for me, so my unsolicited advice is to make sure your son sees your husband loudly defend him since they are his parents and it shouldn’t fall on you. It is cruel to treat a child negatively because you dislike their parent, and it’s frankly emotional abuse. If they continue this I would cut them out of your darling son’s life. They don’t deserve him.

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  9. I am so furious on your behalf, that is disgusting behaviour, it wouldn’t matter if you were out of line with the original thing, that is not a proper way of handling things at all. I actually think Mr MPB is in the wrong there. He should have stepped in as soon as she started to ignore Little MPB. His mum, his problem. You have done your best and it is time he stepped in, set boundaries and took charge. I get that it is hard to do as it is soooo tempting to just go “oh well we see them once a year”. I disagree with him that it isn’t harmful, it teaches him to accept behaviour that is incredibly rude and horrible just because someone is related to him or older etc. Sorry if that comes across as harsh. Emotional abuse like that (because that is what it is) is unacceptable.

    We have this exact problem with my FIL, though slightly less severe. My husband and I will have to have a discussion soon about what we want to do when it happens again, the ignoring has not yet extended to our son but I am adamant I will not reward toddler-like behaviour with any of my time. And if I go, so does my son.

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  10. My one set of in-laws are like this. I used to have a fairly good relationship with both of them. A few months ago, his stepmother stopped talking to me. I have no clue why which is driving me crazy. My husband doesn’t want to ask but last time they can’t to visit, everyone got a hug except me. I eventually started bailing on dinner with them or spending time with them for my mental sanity and they treated the kids better when I wasn’t around.

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. For people who are supposedly older and can help guide us, they sure get things wrong sometimes.

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  11. Ugh. I’m sorry. I can kind-of relate because, while my MIL is a wonderful woman with whom I have a good relationship, my father has been married since late 1989 to a woman I can’t stand who also cannot stand me. It has made for some very uncomfortable situations over the years and put a strain on our relationship as well.

    No advice to offer, just wanted you to know that you are not alone in dealing with family drama.

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  12. To hell with that woman. Your whole family deserves better than that BS behavior. I have a tumultuous relationship with my own in-laws, but we are all respectful of one another, and we ALL try. Not just me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother. Frankly, if they can’t be respectful to you, they are disrespecting their son and their grandson. And the fact that she gave little mpb the silent treatment is just ludicrous. There is no way I’d welcome that back into my house without a sincere apology.

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  13. You should not be chased out of YOUR home by these rude people. If they choose to visit they should stay in a hotel, end of story. They seem ridiculous, selfish and immature and you don’t need that in your life!!!

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  14. You can’t talk to me? Well, you can’t stay in my house. You treat my kid poorly? You can’t stay in my house. Let me help you make a hotel reservation. You want to cut up during a visit? Perhaps you should take a beat and go rest in your hotel. Nah, this is all too crazy. Nope, I think you’re well within your rights to have some hard boundaries with folks who treat you poorly.

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  15. Oh no this is awful and unfair. You do not deserve to be treated that way and neither does little MPB. I’m glad you’re done dealing with that kind of treatment and so sorry you had to even experience that!

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  16. I’m sorry you are having to navigate these difficult relationships. I have a hard time knowing what to do in these kinds of situations. I absolutely hate passive aggressive behavior. Sounds like you are doing the best you can given the situation.

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  17. MPB, don’t you dare allow that woman back in your house to ABUSE you and your son. They should have ZERO access to you and little MPB. And Mr. MPB should have put an end to it when she started that sh*t–he’s just glad he’s not the one taking it from her and he’s content to let her serve it to you. And rationalizing it by saying “Oh it’s not so bad” and “Oh it’s only occassional”. His “normal meter” is clearly broken. It’s NOT ok, EVER. It’s also not happening to *him* so why does he even have a say as to how much vitrol is acceptable for her to spew at *you and his kid*?! She is a monster for toying with the emotions and well-being of a toddler–don’t assume that she meant well with any of that “playing” on the stairs and plugging/unplugging things BS. Why are you still giving her the benefit of the doubt?! Because the TRUTH is too awful? The truth is she is a hateful narcissist who takes pleasure in you groveling to her and *punishing* you when you assert yourself. Look up narcissistic personality disorder. The only way to “win” with a Narc is *not to play*. And Mr. MLACS should read some books and try to understand how NOT normal her behavior is and that as an adult he has the right, the privilege, the *obligation* to protect his wife and child from his emotionally abusive mother. Here is a link with a list–in light of this post I suggest you both start with “Emotional Blackmail”: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/10-powerful-books-that-can-teach-you-how-deal-with-narcissists.html
    I know I’m a hot-head MPB and you don’t like it when I get on my soapbox about your MIL but I’m not wrong and I know you’ll regret it if you don’t DO something to protect yourself and lil MPB–and your marriage. XOXO

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  18. Same situation here with my husband’s mother. And like you, I’m just done with it all. And it feels so good to just be done.

    I really want to know what you said to her! 😂

    Our big feud with my MIL started 2+ years ago and it’s still going strong because she refused to move on… Buckle up for a long ride.

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  19. Where was your husband all that time? Didnt he see her behaviour, esp toward the boy? She is completely emotionally immature, maybe even psychologically disturbed! To be angry at you, fine, she has her way of seeing things, but behaviour toward the child is totally unacceptable. I am married into a culture where the in-laws are highly respected and they should be because i want my mum to be respected as well, but such a b3haviour wouldnt be tolerated easily from my side
    I would talk to my husband seriously. If she was angry, she should have solv3d a problem by talking to you. I hate such toxic.people and wish them out of my sight.

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  20. Curious … do you two invite them to visit in your location? If so with next invitation MR.MPB suggests timing and says since they are not talking to you it would be better for them to stay at hotel. If they propose visits, MR. MPB suggests they stay at hotel because (same reason). Since they choose that you do not exist they may not suggest they come your way.
    Encourage Mr. MPB to visit his parents by himself during non-holiday times.
    Does he see they would not speak to you? That you are invisible to them? Is that ok with him? IF so he should be happy for you to not go and not be present to be invisible. Because she will not apologize or change and her husband, to save his marriage and his peace, will follow her rules. BUT DO KEEP ENCOURAGING HIM TO MAINTAIN HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM, and take full responsibility for 100% of what that means….including mother’s day cards, gifts, plans, communications, etc. And ttake a polite interest through your husband in their health and well being.

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  21. Where was your husband when all of this was happening?! I understand being non confrontational (believe me, I’m Queen of avoidance- to a fault) but his parents are being disrespectful and cruel to his wife and son in your own home. He really needs to speak up and tell them flat out this is not acceptable. They can apologize and start treating you respectfully or get out. If they can’t abide by that they don’t get to visit at all. And if they can, they still need to stay in a hotel at their expense.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Are you and DH on the same page? Bc for me (and my relationship), showing a unified front is important not only for our relationship but for having relationships with other people in our family. We, unfortunately at times, have to teach people how we want to be treated.
    I’m sorry she was quite frankly, a nasty old lady. No one should put up with that behavior. Even if Mr MPB turned out fine. That’s like listening to the folks that don’t wear seatbelts…their reasoning is they haven’t got into an accident yet and they’ve been fine?! It’s still crazy. 💜

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  23. Oh my gosh that is terrible behaviour, particularly taking out her anger on Little MPB. That is truly awful. You poor thing having to tolerate that. Ugh.

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  24. There is no excuse for this rude immature behavior. Your mother-in-law needs to deal with the fact that you are her son’s wife. Remember, respect works both ways, you must give it to get it.

    Don’t make her issues your problem. Act as if her behavior or attitude towards you doesn’t matter. Be civil, but don’t go out of your way to accommodate/help/invite on the holidays in anyway.

    Don’t stress yourself out at the prospect of your next get together (especially if they are coming to your house). Tell your husband who you feel and that he should speak up and let his parents know their behavior is unacceptable.

    From experience with dealing with a toxic family relationship – you must stand strong and no longer tolerate this bad behavior.

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  25. You are totally doing the right thing ! You need to also put your foot down with your husband. He needs to make his parents respect you and your home or they would not be welcome there either. I can not believe they did not speak to you, let alone shade a child! I am angry for you ! Your husband needs to have a chat with them. I am sorry you had to deal with that. I pray it gets better and if not, you are okay with closing that door…

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  26. Wow! I thought I had mother in law problems. I have the opposite problem my mother in law always does what she wants with my son and criticizes me. Personally she is immature and if she doesn’t get her way she seems to act like a child. That’s unacceptable for a grandparent to do that to their grandchild. I feel you pain. But from my experience with my mother in law it’s not going to get better. I’m just curious does your husband take her side?

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