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How to Cope With a Difficult Mother-in-Law

These strategies for dealing with difficult mother-in-law problems are inspired by a reader’s question. Her mother-in-law is causing all sorts of problems in her marriage, and she doesn’t know how to cope.

One way to cope when your mother-in-law doesn’t like you is to read Reluctantly Related: Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law by Deanna Brann PhD. The more support you get, the better off you’ll be. You’ll never find all the answers to dealing with any family problem in a blog post, but you will get the support you need in a book!

Here’s what my reader said, on my article about how to handle problems with your mother: “What do I do about my boyfriend’s parents, who don’t like or accept me? They are very clear about their feelings for me, and it makes me uncomfortable.”

How to Cope With a Difficult Mother-in-Law

If your mother-in-law problems seem insurmountable, remember that this is a relationship conflict that you and your partner need to work through together. This may be the worst problem you face – and it may help you build a better relationship and marriage.

Talk to your mother-in-law directly

Dial up your courage, take your boyfriend’s hand, and sit down with him and his parents. Describe how you feel excluded, rejected, and disliked by them. Ask if you’ve offended them. Basically, you’re asking what their problem is – in a gentle, nonjudgmental, open minded way. Ask for three reasons they’re not comfortable with you or your relationship with their son. The first reason or two they give are excuses; the third reason is the closest to the truth.

Don’t expect your in-laws to change

Your mother-in-law won’t change, and your mother-in-law problems won’t be solved overnight. People can and do change, but it’s not realistic to stay in your relationship and expect your mother-in-law problems to suddenly disappear! Generally, toxic in-laws won’t do an about face and start welcoming you to their family gatherings. Be realistic, and expect a future similar to your present situation. If you’re not currently welcome at your in-laws’ family gatherings now, you can expect not be welcomed later.

For more tips on coping with mother-in-law problems, read How to Stop Your Boyfriend’s Mother From Ruining Your Relationship.

Be kind and friendly, but not a sycophant

“Sychophant” is a fancy way of saying “suck up” or “toady.” My reader mentioned buying her boyfriend’s mother a Mother’s Day gift – this is a very sweet, kind thing to do. But her boyfriend later discouraged her from buying his mom a birthday gift because she didn’t appreciate or want the first gift. If your mother-in-law refuses to accept gifts or have you over for family events or holidays — or if you’ve done everything you can to cope with toxic in-laws — then don’t buy them gifts! Be polite, but don’t try to win them over. Sometimes the best way to cope with toxic in-laws is to leave them alone.

Avoid ultimatums

Don’t ask your partner to choose between you and his family – unless you’re married. This marriage tip applies to all relationships! Generally, it’s not a good idea to ask your boyfriend to choose between you and his parents. If you’re married, then your expectations of your husband and your mother-in-law is different. But, girlfriends who ask their boyfriends to make that choice may be causing more conflict than it’s worth. Coping with difficult parents or parents-in-law requires patience and wisdom.

Decide what you can live with in your marriage

coping with mother in law

“Coping With Mother-in-Law Problems” image by Laurie

Are you happy in this relationship? Can you live with your partner’s parents or your mother-in-law not liking or accepting you? You need to decide if this is a small price to pay for your relationship and whether you can tolerate being excluded from or snubbed at family gatherings. After all, all love relationships have their own unique challenges! But if you are seriously upset or bothered by partner’s parents, and if it’s causing conflict in your relationship, then you need to decide what you can do about it. And, what you can do does not include changing your boyfriend or mother-in-law.

If your mother-in-law problems are wrecking your relationship with your husband, read 20 Simple Tips for Communicating Better in a Relationship.

Remember that you can’t change anyone but yourself

Don’t ask – or expect – your boyfriend or his parents to act or think differently. After you express your feelings about how you’re being treated (or mistreated) and after you ask what you did to cause his parents to treat you this way, then you need to let go. You have to let them be who they are.

Your mother-in-law or toxic in-laws may not be able to accept you for who you are, but for your own peace of mind and soul, you have to accept them for who they are.

To learn more about coping with toxic in-laws, read 4 Peace-Loving Ways to Embrace Miserable In-Laws.

Do you have a mother-in-law problems, or can you offer tips for coping with them? Comments welcome below…


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80 thoughts on “How to Cope With a Difficult Mother-in-Law”

  1. I have been married for over 25 years. I have had my ups and downs with my mil. It has not been easy for me and realized a few years ago that she would never like me over a picture. For years, she had pictures out of her family, with my husband’s other siblings and their spouses wedding pictures included. My husband and I’s wedding picture was very hurtful how she placed it. She intentionally covered up my face and body in the picture by how she arranged the other photos around it. I remember when I found it, I asked her why my face was covered and she told me that it was the only way to make it work and that is how she wanted it to be, she liked it that way. At the time, I was so naive and thought it had to do with the arrangement of the pictures and the fact that there were so many on the table. When I finally was able to comprehend what really occurred after another significant event with her calling me telling me I am an incredibly rude woman for something she said I did not do for an event that she never attended , I decided to see if possibly if I moved the picture she had hiding my face away from my face if she would notice. I did it ever so slightly and was able to see my face nicely. The next time we visited, my face was covered up once again. I knew in that moment that it was intentional, moved on and never said anything .

    I was young and naive when I married into the family and for years I really tried hard to make her like me but often when she would gain my trust, she would say something very critical or make comments that were meant to be hurtful. I never thought it would end up like this. I saw that look of annoyance the last time I saw her and her lack of disrespect towards me rubs off on my husbands siblings with them gas lighting over certain situations towards me . The only time we never see that is when we have been generous in the past towards them with gifts or money. I wanted us to be a happy family, sharing, caring and loving each other and I fully believed that would be the case, with ups and downs of course, nothing perfect but a good, loving family none the less. It did not go that way and yes it was due to some things that I have learned and regret not understanding. What I have come to understand, you can not change others. While the relationship in the beginning was fine and there were a few moments, you can not change people who are difficult.

    My advice to those of you who are engaged or have boyfriends, if your in law is difficult , it will affect your life if you marry one way or the other. You will either be strong and forge a life with the one you love, standing by your husband no matter what, being nice even in the most difficult of situations. If you are not strong, it will affect you and can destroy you especially if you have a husband who has issues and doesn’t want to deal with her directly. Are you wiling to go the whole journey without ever divorcing and have her there hurting you, doing things such as favoritism and slighting you? The thing with me is, I want my mother in law to be around for my husband and children, this is my husbands mother. I do not like the things that she has said to me over the years and with age now, understand that more than likely she is mentally ill. It all started to make sense to me a few years ago with trying to understand how she could be marvelous but I feared going to her home because I did not know if the person who was negative, critical and difficult would be there, she was like 2 people dark and light. I do see things that slight me such as covering up my wedding picture with another photo and I am not ok with it but I sit and just take it. Sure it hurts but I take it because I still remember a very bad argument that happened years prior over her being difficult when we visited them ( out of state) and she threw a huge fit about keeping our kids for a few hours who she had not seen in a long time. The worst is the favoritism that I see she does with other grandchildren but as long as my children do not figure it out then it will not be addressed. I have to live with this because I love my husband. This is his family and though I find them very much exclusive and there is relational aggression ( which I hope my children will never repeat by seeing) I live with it because this is my husbands family. If you can not live like this, then find someone else to lay roots down with.

    Please do not take my advice lightly, remember too, the most important thing is to love yourself and think about being with someone who can give you security, feel protected, validate you and be able to take up for you and your children. If he can not take up for you or your future children, then there will be discourse if you don’t understand that is how he is built. At the beginning of my marriage, my husband sat down with his mom and told her to not be so critical of me and it stopped for years. Due to that, we were able to get along but in later years, he doesn’t, it has changed and it has made me miserable because there is darkness over this, seeing the toxicity go on. Though this is my issue and the only way to handle it now is to say nothing because is I do, then I am looked at as a bad person. I do long for that young man to emerge to take care of business but the wonderful man I have today is just tired and I worry about his health over it all. My relationship is not healthy, not the one I have hoped for with my in laws, and my husband reminded me they never were due to being very broken people to begin with. Do I regret marrying my husband, no. I just did not understand the dynamic and even if I did, I still would have married him. I just would have laid down some boundaries and encouraged my husband to find employment closer to my mother.

  2. I have been married for over thirty years. I have a difficult m-i-l. I’ve had a few years to analyze this relationship. But it boils down to this: my family and myself come first. I spent 28 years walking on eggshells, wondering what offense (perceived or justified) was going to set her off. As we would have moments where we seemed to be getting along well, I would let down my guard and pow! I’d be in the dog house again. She has not spoken to me since my birthday in April of 2015. I’m not certain but I think it was because I told the florist from whom she had bought flowers for my b-day, that the bouquet looked fine, that it just needed a day or two to open up, which went against what my m-i-l believed after looking at pictures I had sent her (thanking her for, what I thought, was a beautiful bouquet. She called and asked if I didn’t think it looked too small and I assured her that it was lovely and would open up later but she still had called the company to complain.) But this time, instead of getting fretful, instead of feeling guilty, angry, trying to fix it, I’ve let it go. It truly is not an issue in my life…because I’ve chosen to not let it. My husband, with my full encouragement and even reminding, calls his folks on a regular basis. The kids know that Grandma has issues with me, and really aren’t thrilled with it, but, again, with my encouragement, they contact them from time to time. They all drove the six hours to visit one weekend. I happily stayed with my aunt. I am at complete peace with this. And no doubt she is as well. When one is in a relationship, it’s important to be willing to overlook imperfections. Whether it be siblings, spouses, friends and inlaws, we all do things that perhaps grate on each other’s nerves, or are different from others due to how we are raised. But, we learn to love each other warts and all, and find areas that we do enjoy …at least that’s what we hope to do. But it’s a two way street, right? I want to encourage you to always honor and respect your m-i-l, even if she isn’t with you. Be cordial and pleasant when you encounter her. Be gracious to her when you visit and vice versa. You can do all that without compromising your own well being or the well being of your family. If she gets tacky with you then quietly say, “I’m sorry you feel that way. It was not my intent to hurt your feelings. Please accept my apology.” Or, “I am not sure why you are speaking with a tone. Is there something I did to offend you?” Now it is her choice. If she chooses to brush you off so be it. It’s not easy…I hate to have people disapprove of me, lol! But I also regret spending 28 years having to watch every little thing that came out of my mouth and being doomed or corrected (“why don’t you drive to the store instead of run to the store” “You wash the clothes? I let my washing machine wash my clothes”) when I would relax. One more word of advice that it totally off topic: When you visit your parents or in-laws, at the end of your stay, wash your sheets, clean the bathroom you used, vacuum the carpets, mop the kitchen floor. You and your kids, if you have them, have invaded their quiet lives and they’ve willingly and gladly welcomed you to do so! My mom was always so grateful (although it was not expected) when we left her home as clean and tidy as when we arrived. Probably even more so, as when the kids grew older, we’d move furniture and do a deep vacuuming. (and don’t ask if you can do it…just do it!) Peace and Joy!

  3. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for the past four years and my relationship with his mum had been great. Last year this time however we had a really hectic breakup which affected both familys deeply. But now a year down then line all is well
    The sad part however is my relationship with his mum had never been the greatest, yes she accepts and loves me but its distant from both sides , especially when I hear about my close friends relationships with their boyfriends mums. What makes it worse is that she has a god daughter who she is extremely close with. I’ve never allowed it to bother me up untill her god daughter is about to get married as she has fallen pregnant. My boyfriend mum is so involved, and her god daughter even calls her “mom”. But when the family jokes if my boyfriend and I (who are older than her god daughter), is next , she makes comments like she’ll “kill both of us”, or “we to young”. All this while she buys her god daughter furniture and basically paid for the wedding. I’ve grown a very thick skin towards this . But as i’m getting older and do realize my boyfriend and I will probably get engaged in the next year or so, it makes me feel really hurt as I would want a better relationship. I became very distant , I dont show emotion so I remain very neutral, and continue to have respect and do things she asks . But I feel as though I might explode. Unfortunately Im not a very approachable person either and I cannot be “fake” happy . So i’ll rather remove myself from the situation. But I can feel this is bothering me as every last comment my boyfriend or my own family makes or asks about the wedding I explore or make sly comments back in return. I don’t want to be the one that looks jealous as Im really not . I just want to know how to handle this situation better.

  4. I really need help.! I lied to my boyfriend about my family.He told his mom about it.After awhile the true story came up and it was his mom that found out the truth.My boyfriends parent are very upset with me.But my boyfriend and i was going to break just because his mom told him to leave,but it was hard cause we both loved each other so much.I asked for another chance to prove that i will show him how much he really mean to me and how much i really love him.I feel that our relationship has change from before.We hardly talk on the phone.Im really sad and i realy miss him.Please me what should i do inorder for his parent to forgive and give me another chance with their son.How can i make them happy again and love me?

  5. Nisha, I understand your pain. I’ve dealt with the same pain, and am still coping with it. It shocks how a “mother” – a woman herself – can be so mean and nasty to another woman, so self-centered and ruthless, and jeopardize her son’s marriage. Women should empower each other; it deeply saddens me when I read and hear mothers-in-law (or even daughters-in-law) making life difficult for each other.

    You cannot change your in-laws. Try your best to build a relationship of mutual respect and regard with your in-laws. And if they still do not approve of you, please do not waste the prime years of your marriage on those who’ve the cruel heart to ruin it. Instead, focus on cementing your relationship with your partner, and most importantly, focus on yourself. You should be proud of yourself for supporting your father; blessed are those children who get the opportunity to give back to their parents. Please do NOT let go of your economic independence, ever. I don’t think a married woman should ever feel guilty or ashamed of fulfilling her own needs and aspirations, or of giving a premium to herself (as long as she can balance her duties related to marriage – and it’s my belief that every woman has the ability to do that).

    The harshness of patriarchy still looms on marriages in India. If a woman musters courage to stand up against a bad marriage, she is accused of being “bold” and of being self-centered for putting herself and her needs before her marriage. If a woman cries out of hurt and anger, she is ridiculed for being a “victim”. Basically, she is deprived of her right to self-determination. As if she is a mere nothing.

    I will pray for you Nisha, and for every woman who’s struggling to keep her marriage, and her sanity and self-respect, intact.

  6. I don’t know where to begin…….Me and My husband tried are level hard to deal with my mother in law in past two years. In the starting of our courtship everything was fine but then they demanded a huge wedding and asked me to leave my job as it require frequent traveling around the world. I have to support my aging father as he has given his whole life taking care of me and my sister due to which I cant leave my job. My husband understands it and is very supportive. I tried my level best to convince them but she started poisoning my husband against me by saying that i wont take care of him properly. When she was unable to do anything she told him that she will kill herself if he goes against her and then she started hunting a bride for him. When everything was out of my control we both decided to get married thinking that they will know how much we love each other. We got married this June but still his parents are against our marriage and doesn’t want me to visit them ever. They asked my husband to leave the house. My husband loves his parents a lot he wants everyone to be happy but now left with no choice.

  7. Hello I am American and my wife is Sri Lankan (Southeast Asian) and we have been married almost 1 year. Her mither is very controlling and in this culture the daughter/son are taught to be submissive to the parents and not question/correct them. Up until recently my MIL has been fine with me but she is a drama queen and accuses everyone of judging her. Recently I was involved in one of outbursts to which I sent her a text message to correct her. She never acknowledged my message just called me the next day like nother had never happened. No apologies or asking foregivness which is the normal. The MIL’s father has been in the hospital lately whom I love like my own grandfather. Twice this week she calls her daughter aka my wife to ask her if I will stay at the hospital all day but never communicates anything to me even when I text she never replies. I feel she is trying to control her daughter and also try to get her her daughter to take her side over mine but I may be wrong. Please help me understand this and how to deal with it. I am concerned it is going to hurt our marriage and cause problems.

  8. Boy oh boy where do I begin? I met my fiancé at university and when I came up and met his whole family they all really seemed to like me- even his mum . Things progressed and I ended up moving in to her house with him. His eldest sister had just moved out at 30 and his younger sister was still at university. Things were great for ages and we got along really well. Then her partner moved in and it was slightly different but still good. Then it gets to a year coming up to me living here (yes I’m still here. Typing this upstairs while she’s in the living room actually) and she starts getting very defensive and snappy. I start to hear her partner say things to her in the kitchen like ‘leave it. Calm down and leave it.’ And then it was to Christmas and it turns out they’re getting married. I had made a joke about this a few months earlier because his mum was coming over from Portugal where she lives and I said I bet it was because they’re getting married. Anyway, I send her a congratulatory text as I’m visiting my dad and she sends back something like ‘yes well I thought it was important that we told all of my children when they were together. Thanks’. Very cold and off. Fast forward a few months when she’s ill (which she never is) and she screams at me on the stairs ‘don’t you look at me like that!’ in front of everyone. It transpires that she thought I’d read her diary- she’s been keeping since she was 14- and that she didn’t want to talk to me about it because I would tell her son and that would upset him. It then got said that she talked about it with both of his sisters and her partner. So I’ve been walking around for months confused as to why she’s angry and now I look back and I can’t help but think or what everyone must have thought of me! Anyway, 3 weeks after that I got proposed to which had apparently been planned for months and he just hasn’t told anyone he was going to do it- not even his mum. His mum and her partner came home after telling someone about their wedding plans and her partner was really lovely and so were his sisters who I get along with great and hang out all the time with- and she went upstairs to sort out her daughters dinner and go to the toilet and then came downstairs and went ‘congratulations’ and then went off to bed half an hour later. It’s like she still thinks I’ve read her diary. And my fiancés dad isn’t the greatest man so she thinks she’s finally got this family unit and I’m interfering. It’s never outward criticising to me or to my fiancé- in fact she talks me up to him! But it’s the little looks and this little catty comments that are never ending. And the sense that she just wants me fine because I don’t fit into her perfect family life that she has now she’s married. My family are all over the place and most don’t live in this country expect my dad so it gets very difficult around holidays and she always has an opinion about my family too. I can say things and moan but that doesn’t give anyone else the right to, you know? And my mother was an alcoholic and recently died a few months ago after not seeing her for 8 years and she had opinions about that too. It’s just a bit much. I’m hoping it will die down once we move out and she’ll go back to liking me again- because she honestly did- and I’m just trying to remain positive. I do talk to my fiancé about it but we’ve both agreed she’s unapproachable as she never sees that she’s done anything wrong. Still only really sends me messages when she wants me to do something or for me to convince her son to do something. We’re not even married yet and it’s already difficult. It’s the family unit and the whole presumed diary reading mostly so we’re just being positive about the whole thing but it’s so nice to know that I’m not alone! It would just be so lovely if she told me her issues with me instead of all the cattyness. Ah well!

  9. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on how to cope with your toxic mother-in-law problems! I’m glad you realized the hard truth, that she won’t change. If you keep expecting and hoping that she’ll change, then you’ll just end up with bruises on your head from beating your head against the wall.

    May you let your expectations of your mother-in-law go, and may you accept her for who she is. Toxic problems will ease up if you accept and surrender — while keeping your boundaries intact.


  10. I could not have stumbled upon this article at a better time…I wish I had discovered it months ago. Anyway, my hubby and I have been married for 10 years. My MIL has always been a little too interfering, but I didn’t realize how bad it was until the birth of our first child ( her first grandchild). She was controlling and manipulative, she insisted on being in the delivery room and wouldn’t leave. She stayed with us first ( big mistake) as my parents have other grandchildren and have done this so out of courtesy I invited her first. I asked her not to bring her dog but she did anyway. The whole time she was here was all about her. The problem I have is this was 5 yrs. ago and I can’t seem to let it go. It was worse when my son was born. I still have communication with her and we have moments of getting along, but she’s just too intrusive and has to be a part of every decision we make. She’s also very jealous of my relationship with my parents and have asked that my kids don’t call my mother grandma. She’s definitely trying to compete for alpha grandma role. There is lots of other issues that I won’t go into here, but this article helped me realize that she won’t change and I can only control how I behave. I do need help in letting go how she was after my daughters birth though…every time I think about it I feel furious. And by the way, she was aware that I’d didn’t want her in the delivery room. I have talked to her about it but she just makes excuses or blames my postpartum hormones on why I was so unappreciative of her. Thanks

  11. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thank you for sharing how you’re coping with your mother-in-law, Vanessa. Your experience and wisdom will help others who are dealing with family members who are interfering, disrespectful, or negative.

    My prayer is for peace in your family. May you find healthy ways to cope with your mother-in-law, and may her negative energy not infect your family or marriage! I pray for joy, healthy communication, and acceptance in your life. May you be emotionally and spiritually healthy – and may you set the right boundaries with your in-laws so you can have healthy relationships as far as it depends on you.


  12. HI everyone. Oh dear, yes I agree with most of you when it comes to this. To the dealing with the MIL thingy. Mine is not different from yours and yes after all the attempts of making it eight, it has not happened.
    Me and my partner have been together for 4 years now, and I have only seen my MIL a few times. After our first year together, as I am from another country, my partner had to negotiate with his family about bringing me over their home for a Xmas meal. I heard the fights on the phone and I read the messages too. I wasn’t very nice, but I knew my partner’s family was complicated. Anyway, after that we went on to visit every week for Sunday meal or just to say hi. A few months down the line my MIL asked if we wanted few pieces of furniture, to which I said yes. You all know that moving in together and buying all sorts of stuff needed for a home is expensive. The thing is, she has always offered advice and things to which some of them were expensive and sometimes not needed however I have always accepted it all in a polite manner. Until she started to ring my partner everyday. About ten times a day. Then she started to ring twenty times a day, and then 30 times a day. After, she started to ring me and text me asking what was my partner doing as no one answered the phone.
    I must admit I have lost it. Things like this started to grind on me, to top it up on Valentine’s day she rung about 40 times to which my other half had to answer.
    They spent about two hours on the phone. Only for her to cry and moan about how unhappy she is in her marriage. See, I understand that people need support and someone to talk to, but I guess that was a bit too much.
    She started to interfere in our relationship and our life. Telling us what to do and what to not do. I know that this has started to make my partner upset too. So much, that in the summer, lets say two years ago, she rung me whilst we were at the cinema. And I text her back saying we are at the cinema we can’t speak right now. She text back saying she was the mother and my partner needed to answer the phone!! I replied to that, as I was livid, my partner has a day off to be with the wife and relax, we call u later. Oh dear, she bombarded me with hundreds of texts saying how dare you, I gaven u everything, I offered u money trot u to go see ur family, I done everything for u.
    I just left it like this. But since that day, she invites my partner out, every week for every family occasion, including birthdays and Xmas, to which I am not invited. Well, this makes me really sad, as my family is far away from here I expected a little of respect and understanding. Would it cost them a lot to be nice to me? Instead my MIL tries everything to break us apart. The most recent was, we have been evicted of our home as I am a student I do work but I do not earn loads. My partner helps, we agreed with this, we are here for each other. But then, we needed a home as we had no means to leave our home in 7 days. Well I don’t have to tell u that she has tried then too to tear us apart.
    Honestly, it makes me sad. I have done nothing wrong to them, but she is very possessive and controlling to the point, I have said I do not want her in my life. She is hurting everyone but all she cares about is me leaving my studies and pay for her child to stay at home enjoying life. No need to say, she has emailed me saying I should die and leave everyone alone. Nice isn’t it? Including I should go back to my own country and stop abusing her child.
    At this day, she invites my partner for concerts and theatre sessions to which she knows I would not be able to attend, I’m only a student. Money is all she sees, and all she cares about. Pretending she is nice to my other half, but deep inside I know she is trying to make my partner choose in between me or her. I know she is, jealousy is all I can breath.
    I try my best to ignore it, she will always hate me, and will always discard me from the family. Luckily, our children will have my parents to visit and to talk to.
    I am currently taking a teacher degree, as u can see I have been successful and I never asked help from no one. My partner feels divided and to be honest I understand how this all feels to him. I only hope things can get better, but realistically I know I am only lying to myself, so the best to do is to ignore comments and mean attitudes. It is me who does not want bad energies in my life. To all of u, be strong. Being too nice only makes it worst 😉

  13. Thank you for being here, and sharing how you’re coping with mother-in-law problems. I think our yearning for close, connected, caring relationships are so important to us – and that’s why it still bothers you that your mother-in-law isn’t as caring as you’d like her to be. We need to feel cared for and loved, and it hurts to be rejected.

    Have you read any of Byron Katie’s books? They’re awesome – they’re about accepting the reality of what is, instead of wishing things were different.


  14. I have been married for 43 years and my mother in law has never really liked me. Recently I have been having some health issues and I am surprised that it bothers me that she just doesn’t care. You would think she could pretend but I think this is just another way to get under my skin. I am surprised at how much it bothers me that she doesn’t call after a biopsy, and I am sure that she feels pleasure to know that ir hurts my feelings. I had thought that deep down she had grown to care for me but no. I can’t believe it bothers me so much. She knows how it hurts my feelings that the results are positive and she doesn’t care. I can’t change her so I am just venting. It really hurts because it would be nice to talk to someone other than my husband.

  15. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thank you for sharing how you’re coping with a toxic mother-in-law. It’s so stressful to deal with conflict in your family – and your mother-in-law is part of your family. Sometimes there’s nothing we can do to fix the problem, no matter how hard we try. All we can do is focus on our marriage and the other healthy relationships in our lives, and let the mother-in-law behave the way she wants. We can’t change her.

    My prayer for everyone coping with mother-in-law problems is for strength and wisdom. May you see the changes you can make, and may you accept reality for what it is. May you choose your battles wisely, and maintain a core of peace, joy, and love. Amen.


  16. I have been with my husband now 4 years and married for 2, this is the 2nd marriage for both of us.
    To this day I have not met anyone is my husband’s family (except his kids) nor have I ever talked to anyone from his family. His mom seems to be the control person in the family and makes in known every time to my husband that I can’t come not am I welcome to family functions even funerals. She told my husband recently that she had info that I was a heavy drug user!! Really, I’ve worked for a school district for 18 years now and they do random drug tests a few times a years. It gets me that she is spreading these lies about me and she’s never talked to me once and loves nothing but judge us because we were both married before, but she seems to forget that her herself is on her 3rd marriage.
    It’s gotten to the point my husband and step kids don’t go to holidays at his family anymore. I understand he is standing his ground that until they accept us as a family then he won’t attend. I feel horrible, it’s not like I made him choose it was totally his choice but it makes me feel bad. But after all the lies she’s started I have no desire to ever meet any of them.

  17. I used to think that my relationship with my future mother-in-law was awful. Then I realized, 1) not everyone will like me, 2) we don’t have to get along, and 3) life does go on. Whatever her reasons for doing the hurtful things she has done, at the end of the day it comes down to me and my fiance. Never once did I ask him to stand up to her for me (although plenty of folks have said I should have when it comes to her). How dare I, when that’s the guy’s mother? If she changes for the worse after we’re married, that’s on her.

    We are all adults and should be able to talk stuff out- I’m half her age and I know this well. I’ve asked her on more than one occasion (respectfully) to come to me and speak with me if she doesn’t like me or is mad at me for any reason- because chances are that there was miscommunication or misinterpretation somewhere along the line, as there so often is; usually the way someone else words something gives her a fit, next thing I know she’s up on Facebook calling me everything but a white woman. The kicker for me was when other members of her family came forth and shared their own histories with her. So for a while I was mad, feeling like I was the only one who would stand up for themselves.

    I’m not married yet, and I have somehow come to terms with not having a relationship with her. I wanted one and maybe that’s where MY problem really started.

    Some part of me hopes things will be different with time. Maybe we will be able to visit without backlash. Either way I love him so I make it work, get over myself and keep living. That’s what women do.

  18. Dear Camilla,

    Thank you for sharing how you’re coping with your mother-in-law problems! It sounds like you’re doing all you can to set your boundaries and stick to them. You’re an inspiration, and I know our readers will find hope and practical tips in your comment.

    In peace and passion,

  19. Dear all,

    My future mother in law is nosy and thinks she is the best. When she has made a lot of mistakes, and she should not tried to pose as an extraordianry person with all her behavior flaws.

    Actions speak louder than words and she should not say a word about me, when I have behaved decently and besides more decent than her through all the stages of my life. Thanks my parents who gave me good advice and education to be able to make my own decision and do the right thing.

    This MIL is annoying basically, because she has tried to tell my fiance and I apart. She plays the victim, call me names etc. As I said, she plays the perfect, when she has done a lot of indecent things and then she says bad things about me, and gives me advice when I don’t need. Plus, she should not give any moral advice when she has not followed any moral in her own behaviour.

    The typical things that she did/does:

    1) When I met her she tried to sell herself as a nice and caring person. I thought she was like all my potential MIL, honest and decent. However, she wasn’t – She did this to be trust (but at my back, she was manipulating her son against me and telling me bad things about her son to put us against each other)

    *** Never stay alone with the MIL, because she can treat you badly and none can see this. Besides she will use every word you said to play the victim.

    2) She got involved in her son and my relationship. Saying that “she just wants to help”. Lies, she is a very controlling person.

    *****Never accept a MIL in your relationship. Set Boundaries.

    For me, the intrusion was really weird, I was brought up by my parents who educated me to make my own decisions and never got involved in my relationships, because since I was a kid they told what to look in another person. So, I was totally shocked of how manipulative this woman is/was.

    3) She often sends e-mails to her son, about how bad I am and/or trying to make him call off the engagement.

    She even said that he should not marry me, because I am not good enough for him, (well I am an educated professional, I have studied abroad, I have no kids, never being married, etc) she said a lot of hurtful things…Well, she helped me as an inspiration in a way.

    **** Look for articles, evidence about MIL destroying marriages and relationships. Then, talk about that with your partner. In my case, sadly to say, my fiance did not take me seriously at the beginning when I told that his mother was a witch, it was only until I showed him some evidence.

    So, I started to send my fiance articles about “nosy mothers in law”, reasons why mothers in law are nosy and troublemaker, and about how MIL can destroy a marriage etc.

    In the end, he realized that his mother has possessive issues, and that she is a controlling woman. Additionally, he realized that if he wanted to marry he needed to stay at the wife’s side. Because now, the birth or chilhood family will be second.

    3) This MIL is so hypocrite, she did not even have a MIL in her own life, (I am sure,any mother in law would have liked her as a Daughter in law, due to her long story), but she insists on minding my/our couple business.

    Please, don’t let the MIL destroy your relationship, protect your relationship.
    1) Never stay alone with her, Don’t let your kids with her
    2) don’t leave close to her
    3) set boundaries
    4) be polite and cordial
    5) never trust her
    6) explain your partner that he must back you up

  20. This is one of the best articles I have read about toxic in laws. It’s not about not getting on or simply getting unwanted advice from my MIL (that wouldn’t be so bad). It’s despite 8 or 9 years of trying to be pleasant and friendly and nice to my in laws and hoping they would accept me and my MIL still making nasty comments to me. I have finally figured out it’s because my family are working class, not sophisticated or well connected or wealthy that she discriminates against me. She told me in the beginning she thought I was lucky to get my husband – that set the tone for her whole attitude towerds me. She pretends to be nice to me in front of everyone, but when no one else is around she makes really nasty comments to me, attacking the food I serve and telling me I should have a job even though I have two children one of which is in preschool. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t know why I should have to put up with it anymore. It is undermining my confidence and happiness and I won’t have it anymore. I hate the advice that tells you to basically suck it up for the sake of the family. Luckily my husband is supportive.

  21. My mother in law doesn’t hate me, in fact over the years she has been quite pleasant to me, but I do notice the difference in the way she and my FIL have treated my brother in law’s two wives. They’ve been far warmer to both of his spouses, have invited them on vacations, and while I’m not treated hostilely, I do feel that they’ve chosen to marginalize me to some extent — thankfully, my husband is a wonderful man, we enjoy vacations together and have a great group of supportive friends.

    I’ve learned not to internalize it over the years, because I think the big reason for the behavior is the fact that my husband and I are childless by choice, while both wives of the brother’s have provided grandchildren. They were upset many years ago when they asked my husband, then boyfriend, in private if I was interested in having children (his response being no).

    I’ve often wondered if they even realize how it appears to outsiders, when they put numerous photos of my brother in law, his former and current wives, and the many photos of the grandkids up, and there is one high school photo of my spouse up (when we have given them photos of us over the years). My own family (who loves my husband, to the point that my mother and sister think of him as their son and brother, respectively) have noticed it as well, without me prompting them.

    It does hurt at times that they regard me as lesser because I didn’t have children, more for my husband’s sake than for mine, but I’ve learned to shrug my shoulders, get along with them well on the occasions that we do spend time together, and disengage from holding myself responsible for their behavior.

  22. I don’t know what’s my boyfriend’s mothers’ problem, she is so confusing. She acts like she likes me when i come around but then when we leave from there house or family gathering. She’ll call my boyfriend to invite him to lunch when she comes into town, mind you she has never been to our house. It just seems like she is really shaddy and fake i can’t deal with it. I really think its because my boyfriend left home and moved in with me to start a life and the fact that i already have a child does not make it better. Also when we were struggling and didn’t have much they would ask him 101 questions as to why he needs the money, knowing at the time i was the only one employeed and utilities were going up due to a third person in the household and his parents took his phone and his car so i had to lend him my phone when i went to work as well as my car. They to never wanted to give him his car back they asked why he couldn’t use my car while i was at work i mean really i can go on and on about his parents but his mother is the CULPRET…. I just don’t know what to do know my boyfriend has bought me a engagement ring she has a problem with that her only reaction when he told her was “WOW” When she was always talking about we need to stop shaking up and get married. On top of that everytime i talk to her she has a uninterested tone in her voice!!!!! And now that were going to soon be married i know its only going to get worse…. please help or give advice. I really love my boyfriend but i cannot handle his mom and his confusing attitude. oh by the way she invited me to go somewhere with her and when that day came she stood me up…. SO CONFUSED WITH HER CONFUSION!!!!!

  23. I don’t know what to do anymore.. I’m about to get marry in 2 days:0 and I have this sister in law that just keeps saying all this things about me.. That I’m cheating on her brother( my fiancé) when he goes to work then I call her to tell her everything.. She goes telling all his family all this things also she tells my mother in law… Now my mother in law believes her n even when I got my sister in law n my mother in law together. I asked my sister in law to tell me all the stuff she’s been saying to my face she started denying everything… Dat she haven’t said anything n at the end I was still the liar… They believe her even though I confronted her I know my fiancé side of the family is not gonna be in the wedding cuz they don’t like me at all cuz if her I never been in a situation like this n I don’t know what to do can some one give me an advice??? Plz

  24. Desperately seeking sanity..

    My bf and I have been together for a couple if years now things moved quite quickly abd I moved in with him,now we have a baby that’s 6months old.The problem us HIS MOTHER !!
    My partner said when we first got together that he wasn’t really that close to his mum as he said they used to argue when he lived there and that it only marginally got better once he moved out,however,since I first met her I just felt she was v over powering and nosey and she always tried to make herself seem so nice and genuine that I knew it was the opposite regarding some of what she was really like and I know that she has spoken about me behind my back about lots of things.
    The trouble is we live quite close to his family and his mothers side is a close and large family I feel like everything we do us told to the whole family or posted on Facebook !(I’m not exageratonv it actually is talked about with the family my baby gets passed around like a parcel when we are all together and I dread any event I need to attend where I will need to go with my baby.my partner doesn’t seem to understand why I’m so annoyed but it’s caused many arguments as she always calls and asks him everything about our baby,what we have been doing,etc etc down to fine detail!she even sent me a text recently saying she wasn’t happy about the fact we were renovating not to her speed liking as she thought our baby was suffering for it !the way she gies about things is manipulative though and I really am now finding it so hard to even be around her.I hate the way she disregards me when we take our baby round as she completely takes over and she acts like it’s a major offence if u want to hold your own child whilst visiting them.it’s honestly driving me mad..also the other thing that bothers me is the constant comparisonsaxd by her between myself and my baby and get niece and hers as our babies are the sane age,I feel like moving so far away and not telling her where we are but my partner doesn’t understand and I do feel bad as I know he’s stuck in the middle he’s close to his family as I am with mine but my family totally respect us I just wish whenever she asked him he wouldn’t tell her everything or she wouldn’t ask I just want her to stay out if our lives as I honestly don’t feel at ease ever knowing she might want to see her grandchild since my baby has been born it’s so bad I just want a break !it’s getting me so far down..if anyone can relate or help in a positive way pls do I’m not over reacting this family is too much and his mother is a nightmare it’s seriously affecting our relationship now pls help !

  25. First of all I feel when you marry a husband the relationship is between GOD the husband and wife yes you marry into the famiy but by no means is anyone obligated to have contact if there’s such a dislike for a spouse then the hubby or the wife should keep their relationship with there spouse between the two under no circumstances should the spouse of either side tolerate disrespect from a family member to their spouse it should be addressed if inlaws have a problem they should stay away especially if when they come to visit or call they are disrespecting a spouse a spouse is first regardless Of who doesn’t likes it When you marry you are one no longer two meaning if thigs have to get done financially it comes from both spouses why should a spouse help a family member out when they are getting disrespected so much it’s crazy and to all the controlling inlaws they need to back off it may be your child first no one is taking that away but the fact that the adult child chooses to marry doesn’t give their family the right to meddle and be disrespectful its sad and people need to be very careful about how they treat people it’s also very selfish if you love s yur child you would want to see them happy. And the same goes for the spouse to not divide any family members unless they are being disrespectful then boudares have to be set and followed.

  26. Caityn,

    I met my husband many years ago, and I married him. The mother in law did not like me, still does not like me, she has given all sorts of made up stories, and altered the truth. When we had our first child she informed my huabnd that he shold get a blood test to see if the child was in fact his child. SHe had no grounds for saying such a thing. I dont know what to tell you to do, but speaking from experience, judge things for yourself. I had no one to talk to and it was hurtful. Good Luck.L

  27. I also want to say, over the years she has really not wanted to have anything to do with us, and she has no reason. She is just cold and mean spirited. I also realze it was not their to do anything to support us. But whenever thye have needed us to be of support, we have been there even with all the drama.But ML called my husband offered to assist when he was ill and out of work. It was after she collected lots of information about his situation, then she refused to do anything! SHe is a confusing woman.

  28. Also over the years, my husband did allow some of her behavior. He would try to speak with her, and it did no good. It doe not make anyone feel good to have a person dislike you and have nothing to do with ones children cause she does not like you. I think some of it is mental concerns, that she never had addressed. ML’s marrage did not last as she got married on teh rebound.

  29. I want to know if I am dealing with this in the wrong way. I have had problems with my husbands mother for years. She has lied on me in the past, has given so much disrepsect over the years, even for her own son. To get into this would take so much ime, and I dont have the time right now. Her is waht happened. My father in law died last year suddenly. He lived on his own and had left my mother in law years ago. Well during this time my husband ill and out of work. We could get no help from my husbands family, none. However my husbands mother di call me up to speak to me in a terbbile manner and to inform me what she would not assist. Okay, when my father in law passed, she and he toehr three children took everything. My husband did not get anything at all to remember his dad. There is so much to this story, you would not believe. well here it is mothers day and my husbands mother forwarded paperwork for my husband to give her all rights whatever else esle is left. The information is dated may10th that she went to the court to have this forwarded to us, by registered mail. My husabnd and I are clueless, and we do not know how to proceed. My father in law died with no will. What does she want from us. SHe has been horrible over the years. The social skilss for my husbands family is little to none. I hav tried over the years to just deal with it. But no more. Let me know what to do, there is more.

  30. Hi All, I too have a monster mil, only i would say she has hit new levels to some of yours. She calls me by my husbands ex’s name, she has put underwear under our bed pillows thats neither hers or mine. She has dropped hints that im over weight she even sent me an email 3 days after our daughter was born saying i needed to lose weight, not to mention the fact that she totaly ruined the birth by causing rows with my husband, mother and mid-wife. She would ignore my daughter unless her husband was there. She put a hat over my daughters head and said her ears didnt need to get any bigger. Then she was calling her the wrong name saying we were pronouncing it wrong, it is my grans name so i should know how to say it. we house shared and we paid all the bills. They kicked us out 2 weeks after my daughter was born. My friend came over to see me and the baby who was 2 days old and she sat in my bedroom all day didnt even offer to make a drink. I have had abuse shouted at me through the internal door that seperates living area which they keep a key to and came and went as they pleased. She put a citric anti-bark spray collar on my dog, use to hit her, put her in the bin and shut her in a dark cupboard. I had to leave the house everyday from 8am to my husband was home from work. I use to shake and almost faint when i needed to use the bathroom in case she got me. I was and still am scared of her and my hubbys dad. There is so much i want to say, i understand how all of you feel, my hubby gets along so well with my family i never imagined that this would happen. We have now moved out and away and we dont allow any contact with us and our daughter however they still managed to find us and still keep pestering us. we no longer speak to them but she still sends abusive emails regualry and only trhis moning she left my hubby a voicemail as a parcel has been sent there for him, could he collect it when we went they refuse to give us it. Im at a loss still. My hair had started to fall out in clumps it is still patching but im getting there. Ladies hold your heads hi because our men picked us to share their lives with, they didnt pick there parents!

  31. CZ4ever,
    I know what u r going thru. My MIL is so mean and hateful. She puts on a front infront of ppl and tries to be miss perfect. She thinks she knows everything about everything and she makes up stuff about me to make me look bad. U cant talk to her about these problems cause she is right and I wrong. She doesnt like it that I do most of my work from home and thinks I should answer to her. My wife(her daugther) and I r so sick of her crazy controling ways we r now saving money to move away where we can live n peace. As long as we r around this lady we will never be happy

  32. I personally don’t give a rats but what my mother-in-law thinks of me. She should worry about how I feel about her. She lives with us because we thought it would help both us and her out by living with us. Well, this has changed recently as she thinks she can spend more money than she can afford and choose to not pay us rent. This has happened 3 times in the last 6 weeks. She pays us $1000 a month…this includes; water, electricity, gas, internet, satellite TV, car insurance, home insurance, rent, groceries, car payment, and among other things paying for her meals when we go out to eat…because she rarely pays for it. If anybody out there thinks $1000 a month is unreasonable please let me know? Because the average per month rent around here is $500 and her car payment is $286…she’s already spent almost $1000 right there. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m at my wits end…I love being home because I get to spend time with my wife and baby girl but then she’s always there and on occasion I can’t even stand to look at her. I often choose to go out to concerts or the movies by myself to distance myself from her. I try talking to my wife but it does no good because she doesn’t realize the damage she is doing to us. I don’t know if she doesn’t see it or what but I wish she would get a clue because I’m almost to the point of leaving.

  33. Hi. I need a serious help, My mother in law she pretend to be very nice in front of my husband and society but when i went to visit her. In absence of my husband, she says me bad things, she put all kind of restriction on me.. where i have to go and not, when i have to go, Even i have to ask her to visit my mom place and book the ticket so i feel bad about it. when i say all things to my husband. he get angry on me and do not talk to tome…She took all my money. she hurts me with her words but i cant speak with my husband too because he is mommy boy…please suggest me.. when i call her she says many bad things ….pls reply…

  34. Help! My MIL is driving me crazy! She makes nasty put downs to me all the time, but never in front of people, then if I bring it up she denies it and says I make things up because I don’t like her! She is right about my not liking her – she is mean and viscous. I am ready to leave and if not for my step grandchildren I would already be gone. My husband of just ignores the entire thing and does not defend me. I try not to keep talking to him about it, but I do tell him, then drop it, but I have gotten to where I will not even stay around her, I make excuses and leave. She called me once to apologize but said “I want to know how we can get past your making up things I say that I did not say”. Some apology! Oh, she lives next door to us, she treats another DIL the same to point that family has disowned them. I am desperate for help, any suggestions would be appreciated.

  35. hi all, wow! i must say i feel so sad that so many people have such issues withe their in-laws. i feel for all of you. i have a situation as well.I have been dating my boy freind for a yr en some months now, the thing is there is a girl in his life that he dated before me, ths girl has a child with another man who rejected responsibility but my boyfriend said he would take care of the child as tho it was his, thats nice of him, i have no problem with that. they broke up en we started dating his mother has head of me but we have not yet been formally introduced, the problem i have is that his mother would like her son to marry the other girl tho the son tels me he doesnt want to marry her but me. his mother likes this other girl so much, how do i get to win his mothers love as well, i would like for her to give me a chance as well.

  36. Hi I have read this article and felt that some of it was relevant so I decided to comment. I am single so I dont have a toxic mother in law but my brother does. He has been with his wife for 12 years and married since September 2011.February this year he welcomed his first child with his wife and he had an argument with the mother in law one weeks after the birth of his son and a second argument 5 days later. She was watching him and commenting on what she believes he is doing wrong and he felt she was belittling his ability as a father and she event as far as grabbing the baby out of his arms and told him he was mad. They had been staying with her because work was been done on their own house. Chaos erupted and my sister in laws family went crazy ganging up on my brother and he felt he needed helped and got my parents involved. Neither i nor my other brother got involved. We felt it was best to stay out of it and not make things worse. To this day nothing is fixed because the mother in law wont admit she was wrong and to top it off my sister in law is believed to be suffering from post natal depression and her behaviour is very strange and its down to her mother who is a control freak.She fails to realize her grandson has a father and thinks her daughter can make all the decisions about the baby.My family roughly see the baby once or twice a week for maybe an hour or two in total.We cant babysit him as according to his mother we dont know him but she wont give us the chance To make the situation worse my brother was verbally abused in his own house by his mother in law. She could not look my brother in the eye when she called him a liar. When you cant do that you know wrong but dont want to admit it. I believe marriage exists between 2 people and a third person hanging around is not good and my family needs to get the in-laws to back off.

    Its strange that in the 12 years they have known each other they never argued but when they live together for a number of days they fight. Its safe to say there are people you can get on with but not live with.

  37. Where to begin?

    Have been married to my wife for over twelve years. We have three great kids and my wife and I both have decent careers, all things considered with the economy. I love her and our kids more than anything else, of course.

    Just about the only tough part of life is having to deal with a mother in law who, from Day One, has found numerous opportunities to put me down, argue at family events, create conflict between family members and in general, to be as difficult as she possibly can.

    To give some history on her life, she had three kids with her now deceased ex-husband. He became an alcoholic during the marriage to her and I understand why this may have happened now.

    My wife’s sister lives in another state and her husband cannot stand our mother in law. My wife’s brother has been in an on again, off again relationship with a woman for years and she and my mother in law cannot stand each other. Basically, my mother in law is not happy with any of the three of us.

    I have been described by close friends as a great family man and I try to be as available as possible to my wife and kids. My wife and I both work but yet we manage to make time to go to our kids’ school plays, honor roll programs, sports events, family time virtually every weekend and in general, the kinds of things that a healthy family does with one another.

    So, what’s the problem? The short answer is..my mother in law. Whenever she is around, there is a high probability for discord and for her to manipulate situations to her convenience.

    Just to put this into perspective, here are a few examples:

    1. When our first born child was delivered, we were in the recuperating room at the hospital and my wife, my mother in law and I were having a conversation. I forget exactly what the topic was, but I clearly remember her telling me, “You’re not important anymore”. I will never forget that she said that.

    2. At her house one year for Christmas, she yelled at a family member and myself because we were not cleaning the dishes as she liked. We were using hot water, dish soap and sponges, so to this day, I have no idea what the problem was.

    3. She likes to embarrass my wife and me in front of other people. She likes to point out how rough her life is and how easy “all of these people” have it these days.

    4. I have had friends who have met her the first time, some for just a few minutes who quietly say to me later, “What is the deal with your mother in law?” after she has said or done something that is rude to someone at a social event.

    5. She is obese and has had heart surgery; nonetheless, she loves to eat fast food. On the occasional time when she may watch one or more of our kids, the restaurant of choice for her is McDonald’s, despite me asking her on many occasions not to take them there all of the time.

    6. There are frequent situations where she questions why my wife and I do things a certain way. While I feel that we don’t need to explain our family’s decisions, we often find ourselves doing so. Then, she goes into a protracted lecture about how things were done “back in her day”.

    My wife will occasionally set her straight, but in general, I seem to be the only one in the entire family who has the backbone to tell her that she is out of line. It’s gotten so bad that I cannot stand to look at her if I am in the same room with her at times.

    I firmly believe that she is upset that her children have all found significant others with whom they will spend most if not all of their lives with and she is a bitter person because of the cards that she feels life has dealt to her.

    I know that some people would say to just go talk to her and sort it out, but she is a person who never sees herself as anything less than perfect and righteous. Doing so would be a waste of time and probably would make things worse. An honest person can say “I’m sorry” when they have wronged another but I have never heard this woman apologize for anything to anyone. She is miserable in life and will likely die as an unhappy, obese person in her home by herself.

    Please let me know if any of this sounds familiar in your own situations. I just have no idea how to effectively deal with this situation. Thank you in advance.

  38. I wish I could have consulted on-line advice as a young woman. Thirty-two years into a mostly good marriage, I have to admit that the pain and damage from a pretty awful mother-in-law have been more than I would have ever agreed to had I known from the beginning what was in store for me. At the risk of being called manipulative, I think if I had it to do over again, I would take a break for a few months until the dust clears so that choices between mother/wife are apparent. This would allow a young man to mature in his understanding of why he chooses one way or another, and allow the in-laws to reflect upon what kind of love they have for their child. If it is truly a valuable connection, they will make room for someone with some differences. If not, everyone deserves to realize that and move accordingly–geographically, breaking-up, or moving on. In the sense that my marriage has survived, I guess you could call it a success. But having tried everything previously described, ignoring crap, trying to please, not attempting to please, not talking or attempting to talk on a regular basis, going for therapy, not going for therapy–I tried all of these things over the years for not a while, but for several years at a time. Really, none of them made a difference because the woman is truly personality-disordered. The final error I made was letting her move in with us because she needed help caring for her husband, a sweet, kind, gentle soul. This was the worst hell of all. Never, never consider doing this one. The one clear answer is to move the boyfriend/husband into a mature understanding of why he is making choices and what the actual compromises will be in his life. Anything that disguises that will be no favor to anyone, including him.

  39. im in a relation for 1year 4months but my boyfriend’s mother hates me like hell i dint even do anything.. She would always accuse me of possessing my bf..she is so rude n mean n alse very harsh.

  40. it really breaks my heart when i see this, i was hoping after years of dating and having my heart broken i would fall for someone who was my parents type and whos parents would also agree – but its not quite like that no one wants us together. hes a of different religion and race and his parents believe and remind him hes wasting time, my mother does also my dad on the other hand has his bits to say but none so damaging as my mom and his parents. his parents met me only twice and i believe its also his fears why that number is so low..we still decided to stay together and he sometimes worries me if im going through all this for no reason since hes easily swayed by other decisions…i often feel its just a matter of time before he starts swaying on his parents decision of me also. our biggest concern is religion; since he practices his faith and i dont there is already enough conflict in what kind of wedding there will be or what our children will follow. chances are we might be expecting but i fear so much to have children with him versus just taking all this heat myself and leaving, the last thing i want is to bring a child into this mess especially if i feel hes not YET 100% on portraying me as his wife to his side of the family. its only when we meet strangers hes introduces me as his fiance and typically he gave me a ring but its not an engagement ring at that either i guess it was a x-mas gift and the way it was given to me was on a horrible event of him lying about his ex gf. im not sure what to do if im pregnant but lately im not as happy as i hoped we could have been. im just wondering for all you women out there, as far as the torture from the in laws – is he even worth going through all that trouble for?

  41. My boyfriends mother approached him and told him to breakup with me because all im in for is to screw him over and take his money which I dont understand cause im the one bringing in the paychecks and foodstamps, she also says i overexxagerate my pain from my cyst, and kidney stone…. we are wanting to get married soon how do we tell her without her attempting to injure us both? we also think im pregnant should we tell his parents soon??? HELP!!!!!

  42. OMG!!! Its really terrible what mother inlaws are doing to us because we all tend to get into relationships with nothing but love and all you get is cake on your face.. Well I too am stuck in a more or less similar situation where,I am a Southj African woman(tswana to be correct) I have been dating this guy for almost 11yrs we have a 18mnth old daughter. We love each and were supposed to get married last year but things didn’t go as planned because of his mom. Oh well,at first things were fine she used to be nice and until I was pregnant,she never said a word or congratulated us(it didn’t really bother me because one of her daughters was pregnant too so I guess she was concentrating on her while my mom was happy for me)..The baby was born n still nothing,her son had to force her to come see the baby(in our tradition its after a month),and guess what that was the last time she came n she only lives 5 mins away from me,everytime she sees me she pretends n says she will come but a year down the line still hasn’t pitched!! When they were supposed to come pay lobolo(negotiations for marriage) and damages(what a man has to pay for empreganating a girl before marryiage) she said its just too much for her son and her and must help her support her 2 daughters(talking about 33yr old and a 25yr old both have kids)and I must take care of our daughter alone. Since then no phone call or questions about the grandchild!!! Burt in any case I have learned to accept because he is there for his daugfhter and me!!!

  43. My boyfriend’s parents live with us for free. In six months they have taken over the house. They are the worst roommates imagineable. We pay for everything. They even hide food and coffee (that we pay for) that they don’t want to share. They have a nightmare shitzu and they hate my normal dog. They run up the power bill, drink all the time, play two tv’s loudly all the time, and leave their clutter on every surface. Please dont let thus happen to you. My boyfriend promised before they moved in that no matter what our relationship would always come first and he would talk to them or even throw them out if they became a problem. Now he is saying the opposite things, like that I’m going to have to move out now because he will not tolerate me complaining about them. Our relationship is basically over and my life is temporarily out of order. Don’t believe a guy when he says he’ll put you first, don’t let your partner’s parents move in for free, don’t give up your life-long plans for them! Save yourself!

  44. Hi, I have dated my boyfriend for eight years now, and I am at a lost to what I can do. My boyfriend is rather controlling, and makes demands to my everyday life. I am very close to walking out of the relationship. I graduated a year ago, and I am doing my master’s right now. Here is the problem, every since high school I’ve worked. Since graduating from college to now (ten months), I had a temporary job and now I am not working. My boyfriend and his parents are demanding that I move into their home to get a job in the area. I can’t live with his parents because they are controlling, to the point I am told when I have to shower, which is ridiculous because I am twenty four years old. I can’t live with someone telling me that I am not allowed to visit my family either. I don’t know how to politely tell them to “eff off.” What would be the best course of action?

  45. my fiance mom wont let me around for holidays or his birthdays nothing with family functions….and my fiance doesn’t seem to care…well hes very laid back…we get along for a yr then she will kick me out of the family again…im angry at him bc its like he doesn’t care…he says she never wants to see you again…he says it like he enjoys saying it….every time she calls him it just makes me cringe…idk what to do..

  46. As I read all of these problems, and responses – as well-meaning as they are – I can tell you that as someone who’s had several mothers-in-law, I’m smiling to myself thinking, this is an age-old problem that goes back since forever, in all cultures. In some countries the MIL is even expected to “punish” her daughter-in-law (funny how it’s always HIS mother) and treat her harshly; make her wait on her hand/foot etc.. Here’s my take: boyfriends/husbands who don’t seem to “get it” that their beloved is being mistreated by his family, whether it’s his mother or sister or whoever shunning you, goes over to see them without you, has little respect or even love for you, and is telling them (with his actions) that their cruel behavior is acceptable, and you should consider getting rid of him. Would he love you if you did that to him? Of course not. He’d feel like a dishrag. If he’s the father of your child or children and there’s more at stake, I’d ask him why your little family with him doesn’t seem to be where his loyalties lie? They had all their lives to create their own families. And I’d never talk to in-laws, or prospective in-laws, asking them what’s wrong. I’d keep my distance and make them come to me. After putting up with 3 hypocritical mothers-in-law, I decided to take matters in hand and with my behavior, trained my last one to earn my respect, not the other way around. I was polite and wouldn’t speak much to her. Now that the shoe was on the other foot she had to work on getting into MY favor. There’s an Oedipal thing that goes on with many of these women and there’s nothing you can do about it. The one to work on is your guy – it’s easier for him to pretend that you are the problem, or that there is no problem, when quite frankly his loyalties should be with you. Btw I have been happily married to the same man for 23 years. It’s him, not her.

  47. Hi everyone, I really need your help, I am going out of my mind with my inlaws…please read my sotry I know it’s really long but I really really need your advice. I am married for two years now but been with my husband for 9 years and at first I tought that his parents were ok and that they just need to get to know me because my intentions towards them were nothing but good, I gave my best for them to like me, I spent my vecations with him at his parents vecation house, I spent christmas and Easter with them for years ( so he would not miss out on his family because we live very far away from them ) and not just for a few days we stayed for a week or two…I wanted to show them that I want their son to be close to his family even though we live together now and that I don’t want to come in between their relationship, but I want to belong here and be a part of this family too. Not very long after that they started making rude komments like “was my sister always big”, then it got like this “our older son is now done with college, he can get off getting married but you guys can’t!” They kept saying that in front of everyone (even though at that time we have lived together for two years and dated for four, and the older brother had nothing but short term girls for over five years with many girls, he was not planning on having a steady relationship at that point at all. But they kept pressuring him into it, telling him he needs to get married, he needs to find a wife and so on. But at the same time making sure that getting married was not an option for my husband and me. They started making jokes of how my fahter and my mother look like ( my parents are much younger then them and are atractive people, for our wedding they looked rally nice, paired up colors of the dress and tie, my mother is very nice looking for her age, a tall blonde woman and it got to bother my mother in law) so she started making jokes about my family, my religion, my nationality, everything and anything that was involved with me (this starded about three and a half years ago when thier older son their “golden child” whom they love more then life itself, nothing like they are to my husband brought home a visius snake of a g/f, who soon became his wife (thanks to the pressure of the parents). He wanted them to accept her, because he was affraid they wouldnt, so he and she starded to make up stories about me and my husband, and told them that I said some things to her, and blah blah blah. Which has made my situation a living hell. One day after we got engaged we went down to visit them for a couple of weeks, My husband, his mother and I wanted to go and pay respect at his grandmothers grave, light a candle and put up some fresh flowers when we came across the family priest on the way to the cemitery, he looked at me and said to my mother in law is this the new daughter in law (the older sons g/f at the time) whom your husband was telling me about, your husband told me that he has never seen his son so much in love. And at that point we (my husband and I) had just got Engaged, like a couple of months ago after dating for five years, and this girl has been with the other son for only 5 months, I said to the Priest, no, Im not her, and I told him that Im the younger sons fiancee, at what he replied that he has not heard anything about that. I was crying after that for hours, I felt so disrespected. Two xmases ago was the last time we spent the holidays with them because they totally disrespected me infront of the whole family and were making fun of me, we took off early next morning (stayed for a total of 20 Hours there) and I cryed the whole 5 hours ride home. I told my parents what has hapend and they were out of their minds mad about this whole situation, and the thing is that my husband is a rather quiet guy, and never got to stand up to them like I said they never paid much attention to him. They even came up to visit the older son, for his engagement to which we were not invited to, and for his family to meet her family, and they have not told us that they are comming up, they didn’t even want to tell us when we found out that they are comming why they were comming! that was last christmas eve, they were litterly 10 minutes away from our house and have not even called to tell us marry christmas!! I was soooo upset because my husband had a bad accidant a couple of weeks befor that and now his family ignored us. Two months ago I had a miscarriage at almost 3 months pregnat, I had to have a curettage, we were so disappointed and hurt because this baby was a blessing for us, it was that one positive thing that has happened to us for a while and then we got to find out that the baby’s heart stopped beating, and that it had stopped growing…my husband told his parents, that we lost the baby, they have not once asked him to talk to me to ask me direktly if I am ok…she calld our house phone once and my sister picked up because she was there taking care of me, but I was at the doctors at the time and she told me that my mother in law has only said to her, that we shouldnt worry that this happends a lot and that it’s such a common thing right now, it is appearing everywhere and that she knows a lot of people whom this happend to and that she hasnt even asked how I am doing. Yesterday was my birthday and guess who called on my cellphone all of a sudden?? My mother in law, I didn’t pick up, so she sent me a text saying “Our dear MM, we wish you from the bottom of our Heart nothing but best wishes for your Birthday, with all honesty your mother and father-In-Law.” aghhhh How come that now she knows my private number? (which she knew for years and only called if her son didnt pick up on his cell to ask me why he’s not picking up and if he is ok) and she didn’t know to call after I lost my baby, thier first grandchild!! Im really frustrated, thank you for reading, this is only a short version of this situation it’s just driving me insane!…Thanx again.

  48. My mother in law has talked a lot of bs and I have always brushed it off, I find out because of my sister in law she doesn’t agree on what her mother says about me, my mother in law has never said anything to my face. I just recently found out that she thinks I am having an affair with my brother in law, her other son. I have NEVER giving her or anyone a reason to think this!!! My brother in law is like a little brother to me and I would never see him like that ever. I talked to my brother in law about it and he said he was going to talk with his parents. I dont want to ruin the relationship they have but I am so sick of it and it makes me so disgusted that his parents would think such thing. I have not told my husband yet because I know he will be very upset and hurt, but I am really close on telling him everyday. I don’t know what to do, confront them and letting them find out that my sister in law tells me evrything and she will also be in trouble, tell my husband and let him handle it, or just let it go??

  49. I have a major problem and I have no idea how to cope with the problem. I literally live rhe movie monster n law. My fiancees mom convinced me to move with her and completely destroy my relationship with my family. When i had moved in she acted like she was tje nicest person in the world but i had no clue what awaited me. The whole time i had lived there i had seen more then dad had in his 4yrs in the navy. Right i had moved in she was constantly changing such as selling her drug left and right,cops kept coming to the house, she would tell the police she had pot and she was going to smoke as soon as they left and they did nothing she would go “fishing” where her stash was/is. She is an unemployed person who always goes to the casino and her husband is always on and off with employment and if he doesnt have a job then she hates him,cheats on him,kicks him out, and abuses him. As soon as he gets a job she all the sudden loves him and treats someone else like a piece of crap. One night she chased me around with needles that she had just used and pinned me down and i tried fighting her off finally my fiancee realized she wasnt joking around and tried getting off of me and she threatened if she doesnt do it now she will get me when i was sleeping so auston had to stay up all night and then she had his brother try to chase me down to stick me( everybody but my fiancee is bipolar in this family). Another day she was trying to get me to do a drug deal with one of her customers and i wouldnt do it the next day she turned around and started trying to get his exgf started in on everything (i have anxiety really bad) which kept getting auston and me in fights because i told him that his mother and her were trying to destroy us which the other day his mom and her started all over again the day before we were suppose to get married and she sent him love txt and his mom and her threatened me on facebook that they were going to kill me and make it look like an accident or have her old gang members from bloomington,ill to take care og me and his ex would take care of himwhen im gone rather we are married or not (which my fiancee wasnt happy i got a full protection order against his mom and his ex). Well anyways, overtime she kept asking for more and more money out of me and her son like $100/month for rent from me and some other things which wasnt bad and made her son pay $200 out of his ssi(he’s deaf and dad died) of his $295/month which he gets allowance of that and he is 20 now and she got me to pay for our phone bill every month and car insurace each month until i ran out of money then she convinced me to cancel the insurane (she is very good at brain washing). After awhile she asked me to let her use my credit cards and she would pay me back which she did for awhile but then stopped so i stopped letting her use them so she waited til i had the flu and i was in the dead sleep and stole my cards and my car when i woke up my cards were in the right place but my keys werent and i asked her and she said well i borrowed ur car, i didnt think u would mind. I went in the car and it smelt like pot and i hadnt noticed my cards yet. A month later i noticed i never got my bills so i called my credit cards and they said it was received and delivered i checked the trash nothing so i checked the other trash bags and my bills were in there my cards were all maxed out! I told my fiancee and he said please dont turn her in she is my mom ill talk to her,nothing was done. His mom yet again acted like nothing was wrong like nothing ever happened. Again i waited for something else to happen well one day our niece was playing around and playing hit her mom and her mom smacked her so she went to her grandma for comfort instead grandma smacked her even harder and amerie went running off i went to comfort her and my fiancees mom told me i better not tell her son so i did anyways i dont believe in secrets. The next day they were both smacking our nephew and laughing because he would laugh and they would smack him harder so i told my fiancee and all the sudden he went up to his mom and yelled at her and then she threatened to seperate us and make us do everything at different times or break us up and put me out. So we left her alone and at tax season his brother claimed without his permisson to get more money and his mom and me met up with my fiancees money and she said she was going to gamble because he doesnt know how to use his money so she used some bought “him” a truck that she took over and gambled and lost all the money and told me i better never tell him well again i told him and he was furious but he didnt metion anything so i didnt get kicked out. The next day we were talking about kids and she was laughing on how she use to abuse her kids such as beat them until they were covered in blood,let other people beat them up,she would hold them down and put a whole pack of cigerattes and make them smoke it, etc. And then she said that she would make my future kids smoke pot and treat them that way if they act up and when they turn 18 take them to a strip joint. Later that night she told me i better not break his ex up and him from beings friends they have a future and im using her to pass him in school and if you get pregnant while you live here then i will punch your stomach and take it from you when it is born and kick you out so you better pray if you every are you best take the pill if you know whats best . Aka she is known by the police as crazy kelly with a long record. But 1 day he shot and didnt pull out in time so i was scared and took the pill which my fiancee still blames me and i do to because we had a miscarriage later down the road. Well a couple weeks later i had an incident at work and had to go to the hospital and she wanted to take me and my fiancee told her no because she was talking about making give shots and medicine she needed to sell and was pissed he told her no and that i changed him supposedly. The nextday she told him to fix her spark plugs and he took me to go get my pain meds first well since he did that she called and said that heifer has got to go. Auston busted out in tears and we went to his moms and she was pulling on me and yelling at me that im no good,to fat,dont know how to cook, making crap up and calling everyone saying im trying to kill my fiancee. She told me my rent only pays for the bedroom floor. And she took them all out for his brothers 21 bday at the casino and told me i had 5 mins to move out and she was going to make the neighbor kick me out if i was still there so i hid like i was a criminal. A week later he asked me to marry him there is way more but the end of it i cant take his mom no more and i love him and want to marry him but we have been fighting over her ever since we got our own place and getting closer to marriage and he said i have to deal with her and he wont and never has stuck up for me but he says he loves me wat do i do and wat do i tell him

  50. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Caz,

    I’m sorry to hear how your mother-in-law is causing so many problems, and your husband doesn’t seem to notice! Men are definitely different than women – I know that my husband takes things less seriously than I do.

    I think it’d be good to get an objective perspective. Not me, because I can’t come to your home and see your mother-in-law in action! Perhaps a trusted friend or family member can visit while your mother-in-law is there, and see the problems she’s causing. You need someone to give you an outside point of view – someone who has seen your mother-in-law and your husband interacting with your twin babies.

    Your friend or family member can then help you figure out how to deal with your mother-in-law’s behavior.

    Another possibility is to get help being more assertive at home. You might call a help line, and ask if there are any workshops or courses in your area that teach boundary setting. Some churches have classes on setting healthy boundaries without destroying the whole family!

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best as you cope with your mother-in-law.


  51. hi
    i am at my wits end.my partner and i have twin babies 8 months of age. his mother is causing problems in our relationship.the thing is she cant help us out with the babies as mentally she is not able but my partner cant c that there is a problem there at all.when im working he has her down all the time and i do be a nervous wreck thinking about her holding the babies,carrying them shouting in their little ears,etc etc when she had her own kids she used to get the neighbour to feed them as she was afraid and she tells everyone that! she is 63 but going on 93.it has caused a lot of fights as i have told my partner my concerns but he is not listening im actually thinking about leaving him and moving away least my babies be out of harms way then!

  52. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Joan,

    Thanks for sharing your life here. It sounds like you and your boyfriend really want to get along with his parents…but unfortunately getting along with people is a two-way street! Sometimes a mother-in-law (or father-in law) can be impossible to get along with, no matter how hard you try or what you do.

    I think your boyfriend has to be the one who stands up to them — he needs to stand his ground. If you’re the woman he loves and perhaps one day wants to marry, he needs to protect you by telling his parents that he wants to live with you no matter how much money they’ll give him to move out!

    Here are a few more thoughts, in this article I wrote for you:

    How to Handle Parents Who Interfere in Your Relationship

    I hope it helps, and welcome your thoughts here or there.


  53. I have an unexpected situation with by BF’s parents. I visited his parents last August and was under the impression it went well. They asked about me and told my bf there were no problems (we’ve been dating for 6 years). We moved in together (we asked for their opinion and they said that they were uncomfortable but okay with it). We’ve been living together for a bit and suddenly his parents have said that they don’t like me because he looks at me first when he talks to them and am therefore controlling. They have told him they would pay him to move out ASAP. He and I don’t know what to do about this. I want so bad to work things out with them but they only talk to him. I have every respect for them and am beyond hurt (not to mention I cannot afford the apartment myself). Any suggestions?

  54. I am one of those who were rejected by my in laws.The world con’t stop there girls.They rejected me before they knew me an dI understand because of cultural differences.I ended up the relationship with my husband because I found it hard to stand the heat already.Here I am concentrating on my job to support my kid and finally my in laws got what they want.My husband got married from their flocks.Be cool girls and remain respectful in their eyes.

  55. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear H,

    I think you’re right that your mother in law and the problems she brings will never change. And, it’s definitely more complicated when your husband thinks its best for your kids to see her.

    There are no easy answers, and I certainly can’t give you the solutions here! But I think it’s important to let your husband work out his relationship with his mother, and try not to get in the way of that. You can’t solve your mother in law problems…but you can accept her for who she is, and set boundaries that protect you and your family.

    I don’t know exactly what boundaries to recommend since I don’t know your family dynamics. I encourage you to talk to a family counselor for support and guidance.

    And, if your mother in law only wants occasional contact with your family, them maybe you need to just let it unfold that way. Maybe that’s the best thing for everyone? Maybe let her take the lead on family visits, and tell your kids that grandma loves them but is very busy with her life.

    I hope this helps a bit, and that you’re able to set boundaries that keep you happy and healthy. One of the best ways to learn is by reading books, such as the one I recommended in this article about toxic in laws and family members.


  56. Forgot my point. Its tough to get over it and accept that you have been used as a scapegoat for a family matrarch to bully for attention and sympathy. My husband has said he doesn’t care if he never sees her again but can we really live like that?

  57. All this advice is useful and I have tried everything. I came to the conclusion that my mil will never change and despite all the.trouble she has caused (taking full advantage of my husbands weaknesses) I said I was willing to talk. She refuses and all she wants is to speak to dh. She manipulated him by claiming that she.wants to see.the.children but has not contacted them for months. (she.was.able to phone my husband on my 40th.after.three.months of no contact. Knowing full well she.might.cause.trouble. I am torn now and no longer want to expose.my kids to her manipulative controlling garb. But do not want to rock the.boat with husband who thinks its.best for.the.kids.to see.her even though he.is aware that she.bad.mouths me to my kids. He has.40 years of control to get over.

  58. I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost 2 years. I don’t have a relationship with his parents because they say they “aren’t ready to get to know me” for fear that they will like me and that I’ll leave the relationship and they’ll lose me. I know that this stems from the fact that my boyfriend’s brother is always in and out of relationships and my boyfriend also has an ex-wife of 13 years. To me this is a horrible approach and is just so frustrating. I plan on being with my bf indefinitely and the longer they stay away the more I will resent them. They want to get me gifts and I always say I don’t want anything but to build a relationship. What’s the point in giving me a gift when you don’t even give it in person? My family is the complete opposite to this. If my bf didn’t show up to christmas they’d ask me what was so important he couldn’t make it! Being with family and an ever-growing family is what’s most important!

  59. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Stephanie and Kris,

    I’m very sorry to hear about your mother in law problems, and how it’s affecting your relationship. I can’t offer personal advice or counseling, but I encourage you to get in-person support. Please call a counselor or a support helpline. You need to talk to someone in person, who can help you figure the best way to cope.

    Please talk to someone who can give you objective, professional support. You’re already headed in the right direction — reaching out for help and sharing what you’ve been through — and now you need to surround yourself with resources that will give you the strength and courage you need.

    You might find this article helpful: How to Find Solutions to Relationship and Family Problems — it describes six ways to get help.

    Please read that article, and get in-person support – or online counseling help.

    I wish you all the best — and welcome you to come back anytime to update me on how you’re doing!


  60. I have been in a relationship for almost 3 years. My boyfriend’s sister (mother because his mother died at age 10) who is the family matriarch has decided I am unworthy and has shut me out. My boyfriend continues his usual relationship with her, goes over to her house frequently and leaves me here because I’m not allowed in her house. My take on this is different. I think his lack of support for me is equivalent to her refusal to acknowledge me. It’s quite demeaning in my opinion and considering that our relationship is shaky from interpersonal conflict, it only magnifies our problems. I’d rather just leave.

  61. I have been in a 3 year relationship with my boyfriend (Jason) who lives a stones throw away from his very toxic parents. Not only have they spoken maybe 10 words to me in those 3 years, but they treat Jason, their own son, with no respect, compassion or even love for that matter. I’m not just saying this because of the absolute distain I feel for them…but they are absolutely the unhappiest, most miserable people I have ever encountered in my 44 years on this earth.

    If it were just him and I, I would be able to deal with all of this. However, he has a daughter who is 4 years old (Abby), their ONLY grandchild and the only grandchild they will ever have. Jason and Abby’s mother were never married. He has never missed a visitation with Abby and is a good dad. His parents however think that “they” should be the ones raising Abby. They talk badly about Abby’s mother in front of her and to whomever they come across. They tell Jason that he needs to talk to Abby’s mother about ‘this and that’ concerning their grandaughter…the things that Abby’s mother is doing wrong. When he scolds Abby in front of them, they step in and scold him in return, in front of her.

    Last month they informed Jason that Abby’s mom can pick her up at “their” house if she wants to instead of his house. This was during the same arguement of them jumping on Jason about Abby’s eating habits when Abby is under her mom’s care because she was having a hard time having a BM. They told Jason that if they think she should see a doctor for this or any other problem, then they will just take her straight to ER if they want to.

    They have their own bedroom for her, their own clothes her, and their own toys for her at their house. They refuse to be a part of our Holidays together including Thanksgivings and Christmases. They even refuse to attend Abby’s birthday parties. They have their “own” at “their” house with Abby. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the picture.

    Jason only see’s Abby every other weekend and 3 hours on her mid-week visit. Jason and Abby spend their 3 hour mid-week visits at his parents house, not his house. On the weekends that he does have, Abby is at their house about 50 percent of the time because he doesn’t want to deny them time with Abby, because Abby likes spending time with them.

    Jason has had a really hard time financially the last 2 years. Due to the economy, he was let go from his job, was on unemployment for a year and finally found a job a year ago making almost half of what he was making. They know he has struggled. He has found a better paying job in the town where I live, 70 minutes away, and is going to move in with me and my 2 kids. When he told his parents, they could care less that Jason was moving away. The only thing they asked was if they were going to see Abby any less. He informed them no that they would still be able to see her as much. They would still have mid-week visits at their house and they could get Abby on Friday evenings and bring her to my…our house on Saturdays. We would then take Abby back to her mom on Sunday evenings. They then asked about what Jason was planning on doing with his house since he is moving 70 minutes away. He said either rent it out or sell it. Well they had a better idea. Instead of Jason renting it out for extra income, his parents would pay him the rent he would be getting from someone and ask Abby’s mom if she wants to live there for free. Of course they would be right there across the street in case Abby’s mom needs anything or help with Abby when she is sick and can’t go to pre-scool or is out of pre-school for the day. How conveniant for them. They sure didn’t care that Jason had a hard time paying his bills for 2 years, but are more than willing to use their money to ‘buy off’ Abby’s mom with a free place to live. To make matters worse, Jason is allowing this to happen so that Abby and her mom can live in a “better” community. What about our dreams of selling both of our houses and finding something in the country between his hometown and my hometown. Why should Abby’s mom have a free place to live and us not being able to use any equity in his house to put down on another place? I have only been in my house for 4 years and don’t have much equity. But hey….as long as Jason’s parent’s get what they want, who cares about anything else huh?

    Jason tells me that I am the one who is being the “bigger” person. Ya know what? I’m tired of being the bigger person. I’m tired of them getting him all worked up and in return getting me all worked up too. I love their son. I love their granddaughter. I treat her as if she were my own. I play with her. I read to her. I buy her clothes and toys like I buy my own kids’. I am a good person. I am a loving and caring person. I come from a good and loving family. Tell me? If they really care about their grandaughter like they think they do, shouldn’t they be glad that Jason and I found each other and that I want to continue being a possitive and loving person in Abby’s life? Can’t Jason see that their behavior is having a negative effect on not only him and I, but on Abby as well? I just don’t know if I have it in myself to keep allowing such unnecessary turmoil and drama in my life. It’s wearing my down.

  62. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Sherry,

    It’s important to remember that you can’t change your future in-laws! Who they are now is who they will always be. People CAN change, of course, but they don’t usually change without motivation.

    People – whether they’re family or in-laws – aren’t perfecti and they can’t always live up to our hopes and expectations. Perhaps your in-laws aren’t the type to call you, buy you birthday presents, or talk about engagement parties. That’s just who they are.

    It sounds like they’re nice to your face, which is really important! My best advice, based on what you shared here, is to accept them for who they are. The only person you can change is yourself — your own attitudes towards them. I really think the most peaceful, mature, and wise thing to do is accept them as they are right now.

    Congratulations on your wedding — and may your marriage be blessed!


  63. hi. my boyfriend and i are in love for about 3years. we’re going to get marrried but his parents don’t put a step forward. they don’t even call to find out wether i’m alive or not. they don’t buy me presents for my birthday, in spite of that whenever they see me they greet me so well and they pretend ( i guess so ) they love me even more than their son.
    i wonder what are they waiting for after 3years that they don’t even talk about an engagement party !?!?!?! pleasssssssssse helppppppppp

  64. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


    Thanks for this tip on mothers in law who don’t like you! I think it’s so important not to dwell on the people you can’t please or “win over” — and it’s healthier to just let them go.

    Your advice about not casting pearls before swine is a perfect way to say it….and the beauty of that quip is that it can apply to so many different situations and mean so many different things.

    All good things,

  65. I have been married over 24 years and my mother-in-law has never accepted me. She has rejected me, ignored me and criticized me. She stopped speaking to me for three years without explaining why. To make peace I apologized–I’m still not sure what I apologized for. I have tried everything I know to have a healthy relationship with her, but to no avail. Over the last few years she has turned colder to my husband and children as well. She is his stepmother–his real mom died when he was 16. She has two sons and now has two grandchildren from them, which she adores and favors. She barely speaks to my children. It has been so hurtful to us all but I have finally given up. I only wish I could turn the clock back and never have wasted my time and energy trying so hard to have a relationship with someone who doesn’t want one. My advice to others with this problem is to spend time with those who truly do love you and let go of those who don’t. Not worth it! Do not cast your pearls before swine.

    1. Teresa,

      Though years have gone by since you wrote your reply, you are right with your advice. Those that reject and estrange a relationship is painful, it is best to find comfort with those that love and accept you and your family fully. No child, whether in law, step, grand or natural child should experience those things and it is my opinion that sometimes we need to protect ourselves, our families from people who reject you. If she was not looked at as a parental figure in your husbands life ( but I have a feeling she meant something to him), it is time to let go until she reaches out, that is if she does.

  66. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


    Thanks for your comment — and I’m glad you had the courage to leave your marriage after eight years! It’s sad that you had to do it, but it’s better than staying in a situation where your husband and mother-in-law are lying to you.

    I wish you all the best in your future!


  67. it’s only going to work out if your husband doesn’t defend his mother. I left my marriage of 8 years after my husband and his mother both lied to me blatantly and had no intentions of coming clean.

    it was the most hurtful day of my life.

    to this day neither of them will admit that they lied, or apologize – they tell me I’m wrong (even though our bank statements and phone bills say otherwise)

    good luck to those still in this situation.

  68. I have a fairly good idea her side. She is married to a man who is almost 30 years older than herself and I think now that he is in his 80s and she in her 50s she is facing the reality of the age gap. Also she lost a daughter at 5 leaving her with my bf as her only child so I know she was hoping for grandchildren. For obvious reasons this is not a possibility for us as I am 48 with 3 almost grown kids. I as a mother can understand this although would support what ever made my child happy and would never reject them or thier decisions even if it were not what I had hoped for. I must admit all of this makes me feel somewhat insecure as I worry myself about our age gap and what the long term future may hold. This is an affulent family and my bf has inherited alot and has never wanted for anything where as I have to work very hard to meet all my needs. My bf is somewhat selfish when it comes to money possesions etc where as I am a total giver by nature so sometimes I fear our walks of life may interfere with a long future together. The unanswered questions I think is a dilema for all of us ,so for now I am holding on to see where the future will take me.

  69. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Roselle, it’s interesting that you haven’t met your in-laws in person yet! My husband hasn’t met my mother, actually (so he hasn’t met all his in-laws, either). If you do meet them, I hope it goes well 🙂

    Susan, it sounds like you’re in a very healthy place with regard to your boyfriend’s mother. What a shame; I don’t understand how people can be so judgemental and unaccepting. It’d be interesting to get her side, wouldn’t it? What’s going on in her mind? Anyway, it’s her loss…she’s creating distance and conflict between herself and her son.

  70. Well I saw my boyfriends Mom for the first time in over a year an a half. We had a yard sale and she stopped by. I was very enthusiastic towards her said it was great to see her and 2 of my kids were there so I introduced them etc. She was very very cold toward me but I feel it was some progress that she showed up knowing I would be there.But I agree with the coments left that I should just focus on my relationship and let the cards fall where they may. I’m not going to go out of my way to create a relationship with the family but if in there presence I can only be who I am and I refuse to be rude because thats just not me:)

  71. hi!
    mine is quite different to your situation, Iam married for 5 years but I never had a chance to meet my in laws in person. I just dont have the grasp of others mind and emotions, what matters is that Im in control of mine….

  72. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    That’d be great — I’d love if you responded to her question about starting her own business!

    Here’s the link to her question – just scroll down to the end…

    Ask a Question

    Thanks Susan! And, I’m guessing that you saw her question in the email in box? In that case, just come to Quips & Tips and search for the title of the article. I’m not sure if there’s a more direct way to find the article, but I’ll look into it.

  73. I wanted to respond to a comment left regarding a gal wanting to start her own business, I am in the beauty indusry for 28 years and wanted to comment to her, just wondering how you comment on individuals post. Im not much on the computer so if you could guide me that would be great. I just see many post but not sure how to pick a specific one:) thanks

  74. Thank you for your time! I like the advice and plan on following it. In the present this situation has not had a huge impact on our relationship, more than anything I feel saddness for my boyfriend and truthfully I think in a selfish way I had hoped this would change so my boyfriend would feel the freedom to marry me without worrying what trouble this could cause him with the family. I also think your right in that no matter who he was with they would find some fault in that person.
    Funny also you mention that if they met me and realized how loving and nice I am and how compatable I am with thier son they would struggle. My boyfriend has said almost the exact thing to me. Again thanks, I enjoy this forum and found it very helpful!

  75. If your mother in law doesn’t like you, then I think you should just let it be. Don’t try to make her like you because you can’t force anyone to like you! Just concentrate on building a great relationship with your boyfriend or husband. Don’t let your mother in law ruin your relationship.