Mother In Law causes trouble in our family.
By David & Robert
John: We chatted on the phone and you invited me to offer this piece as we spoke about how hard it was to get a few days away and leave the children with my Mother In Law and how appalling her behaviour is.
My partner and myself married 5 years ago and have two adopted children between us.
My Mother In Law was not too keen on her son marrying another man, but she was outvoted within the family and attended the wedding under duress.
Snide remarks were made all day until several other guests told her to shut the fuck up or leave, and she shut up but was like a storm cloud throughout the day and towards the end of the evening function ( 40 guests ) - my 'husband' - her son - had words with her and an almighty row blew up between them - ON OUR WEDDING DAY EVENING - and he told her then that unless she learned to behave we would have absolutely nothing to do with her at all and this day - our wedding day - which she had gone out of her way to ruin for us , wanting to make it all about her -- could be the last time she ever saw him - and she reluctantly surrendered only after she was shouted at so harshly - so loudly and with such venim from her son, my husband, that it shocked me and everyone who heard but, in his defense, her behaviour had been appalling and she only surrendered because everyone was staring at her and she was embarrassed.
Naturally she has brought this up a lot and made herself out to be the victim and I think she seriously thinks of herself as the victim in all of this even though we have repeatedly reminded her she tried to ruin our wedding day - and how the whole family was disgusted at her actions, she just shrugs it off saying ' If only they knew the truth .' - but what truth is beyond us.
Skip forward 5 years - and after a strained relationship, this week she announced she wants me to throw two separate birthday parties for my 1 year old daughter so that one party will be just her side of the family.
I immediately said absolutely not, not on your life - and she has taken to being a bitch towards me and my / our children and to such a degree I had to ban her from seeing the children as she kept bad mouthing me to them and I WILL NOT allow her to undermine my authority with my own children.
My partner was unbelieving of this for a while and made all sorts of excuses for her being alone, having lost his Father
10 years prior, and with very little life of her own, bounced onto us for company and attention, even though she has nothing nice to say about me - and something she has caused friction in our relationship but is, after all, my partners Mother and while I make excuses for her, she doesn't give an inch so I have now given up trying any more.
However, this caused a fight between MIL and her own son as he was also not amused at how she was trying to manipulate one side of the family - mine - aganist what she considers to be her side of the family - that of my partners - and that segregation, that seperation - that denying one side and making it appear to the children that the two sides are different and not to be celebrated together but apart, sends a loud message to our impressionable youngsters and I simply will not have it.
She still phones her son and while he is fed up with her by now and sees her as just a pain - he still hasn't had the guts to tell her where to stick her interfering nose and how to keep it out of our relationship and family, and as long as he doesn't, there will be stormy waters between us.
I appreciate it is his Mom, but we have a relationship and 2 young adopted children to look after and if MIL cannot cope with her own life and leave us alone, there will be problems in the future for us all.
David and Robert
John Bellamy answers:
Let's understand where she is coming fom. She was a central figure in the family, the Mother, and then she was not ;- husband is dead, her children have grown and gone and she has not found / made a life for herself outside of interfering in yours and it is very sad for her.
Her son, your partner, may be unable to recognise what is going on and you may need to take him to one side and have a quiet word with him about how you will NOT allow her to desytroy you relationship and that you are 'on guard' against ANYONE you see as a threat to your peaceful way of life and if it becomes too much, his Mother will be banned from ever calling, ever popping in and ever seeing the Grandkids again, and as a guardian of these children, you have the right to stimpuate what is best for them, as much as your husband is, and if it's his Mother that is causing the trouble, he needs to know EXACTLY where you stand and where you BOTH go from here in keeping this under control.
You MUST show a united front to his Mother as well as to the children.
You might want to point out to her that she is the Mother In Law from Hell and with a little practice, you could easily be the SON IN LAW FROM HELL and as you are sure she does not want to take you on - and all you bring with you to defend your family - she really doesn't want to bring that out of you and you would much rather be nice together but - if she continues, IT WILL HAPPEN , and she WILL meet the son in law from hell if she so chooses, but that as this is her choice, she had better be prepared for what she is bringing about as you will go to the ends of the earth for your relationship and your children and if that means going to war with her, you will, but that you would much rather this not happen and if you can both ( meaning her but include yourself ) make some changes, it could be beneficial for all concerned. Point out how you want her in your ( YOUR ) childrens lives as a positive influence but as it stands, at the moment is unlikely as she is so negative and this is not good for the children.
Remember, it is all about the wellbeing of your children, not her, even though she may want to make it all about her, IT IS NOT.
MIL are often the worst and you could be the most perfect match for her son and she would still resent. Often, being the central charachter in the family for so many years gives Mothers the impression of invulnerability and power and when this is taken away from them they fight to maintain their power which is slipping away fast as her children move away and do not need or require her any more and she clearly has not made a life for herself outside of being a Mother, even though all her children are grown and gone, she still wants to assert power over them as the Mother - when the truth is she has very little power left any more and so feels lost in a world where she feels powerless.
Point out to her that if she were better behaved she would be invited into the family and asked to baby sit and be a part of the ' inner circle' but becaue she has always misbehaved, she has brought this on herself - through her bad actions, and she really has no one else to blame, and this needs pointing out to her that her attitude, her behaviour is why she is unwelcome and if she does not change her ways, she really will end up a lonely old women on her own with no visitors and no family as they have all had enough and have pulled away because it is too painful and hard on their relationshiups when their own Mother disrespects and tries to divide the family.
Talking to her will be hard and you BOTH ( you and your husband - her son - and I hate to say it, but he needs to be doing most the talking and not you ) where you both need to come from an agreed front where you both speak with one voice and both agree what the outcome will be and the stipulations that need making and it is up to you both to manage this one, - it is his Mother but that should not allow her the right to destroy her childrens lives because she resents and is envious. She had her life - now it is time to leave you alone to live yours and any interferance needs meeting with very strict guidelines / rules of engagement and anything that veres away from the agreed behaviour must EVERY TIME be met with both of you stipulating the rules or she will be asked / told to leave.
She will push. She will fight. She will stir it up between the two of you. She will do whatever she can to destroy as she wants comfort for herself in other peoples misery, even if caused by herself, she doesn't care who is hurt and whose relationship she destroys - as it will unlimately make her feel better because she is alone and why should anyone else be happy when she is not.
It is sad, but you have to be firm with her, compassionate and understanding BUT DO NOT LET THAT GET IN YOUR WAY as the level of compassion and understanding from her - clearly is lacking and where she seems not to give a single thought as to how this must be affecting her own son and his partner, she only sees it all from her point of view and that is a very self centred selfish place as it is all about ' ME ME ME ME ME ....'
She sounds a selfish old women and you are best keeping her at arms length but also be aware how she is suffering as well and while allowances must be made - she is after all his Mother - new rules - new guidelines MUST be put in place and adamantly adhered to - with a firm hand, and any time she tries causing trrouble, any time she mouths off to you - OUT THE DOOR - and maybe even a month long probationary period to see if she can behave and if she cannot, be strict and ban her - for your childrens sake as well as your relationahop.
BUT: Try and get her on your side, as it's better for all concerned to get along as a family, but do not allow this to all end up her way and you loose out. Include her, invite her, and as long as she behaves, she will be invited again but every time she misbehaves, she will be told to leave and the children educated about the consequences of bad behaviour and use MIL as an example of what happens when you misbehave - you loose out on the nice things.
My own twin brother and his wfe had exactly this from our Mother who resented her daughter in law and even the grandkids as she saw them as stealing her limelight and it was hard for some years until my brother and his wife made some changes, took measures and Mother HAD to come round or be left sitting alone at Christmas sulking in the other room, so by taking the chairs away and making her sit with the afmily, she joined in and changed her selfish manner and actually made an effort that benefitted everyone. It actually worked.
I wish you well and you both need to stand strong united.