The Complete Book of Mothers-in-Law: A Celebration

Mothers-in-law are no longer a joke

I've accepted that this was never going to happen. So I started being more honest. Say how I feel. Politely call her out on her bullshit. Respond to her passive-aggressive manipulative ways with direct communication. I found that being more honest with my mother-in-law empowers me. If I've managed to let her know how I feel, that something she does bothers me as calmly as possible , that's a victory to me, because in my family and in many families the status quo is sweeping things under the rug and moving on. And that's the key: I don't measure our progress by how "nice" we are to each other; I measure it by how honest I can be with her.

It's so important to have boundaries with a domineering MIL, otherwise she will take over! Say "no" when she goes too far, and make sure to be direct.

The Complete Book of Mothers-in-Law: A Celebration

The worst part about toxic MILs is that they make us question our self-worth. And we are often alone in that feeling, wondering why we aren't good enough. I know that in some cultures you're not supposed to speak up or disagree with the elders. I come from a similar culture, and it's a struggle for me, too. But you have to do it. You have to find a way to speak up in a respectful but firm manner.

You have to find a way to be true to yourself - more or less - otherwise a relationship is impossible and you will always feel bullied by your MIL. And I want to reaffirm that you're not crazy, you're not overreacting. You're not wrong for feeling the way you do.

So have faith in yourself, and in your marriage. The relationship with your husband's mother might change for the better, or it might not. She will grow to appreciate you some day, or she will despise you even more. But in the end, this is not about how she feels about you. It's about how you feel about you. Cultivate peace of mind, integrity and strength of character.

The Glimmer of Hope

It'll help you face any critic that comes your way. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. When my husband and I were dating, and we dated for many years, his mother was so distant I thought he was an offer. Imagine my surprise when we married that this woman suddenly wanted us to change the date of our wedding, tell us where to on our honeymoon in fact, she booked it and paid for it without consulting us. Then, when we were pregnant with our first child, she insisted this child should have a Chinese name--I am not Chinese, my husband's family is, but he's very disconnected from his culture at this time.

Add in that the entire family hates their new country, Canada. So, I became the place to bring all their hatred and rage towards their new homeland, Canada. Why are you all this why? I just keep my Canadian passport to travel. They hate the people here. They hate that we have too many brown people here! So we cooked an entire Christmas dinner, with an organic turkey, and all the trimmings, and brought it over to them an hour away.

Big mistake, it didn't help them like me or my family better, it made them hate us more. The last Thanksgiving we attempted to have became crazy as MIL asked me to bring the entire meal over to her once again. She then said I am a horrible hostess and I never roll out the red carpet when she or her daughter come over.

This was laughable as I'm the only one who cooks. I'm the only who has hosted holidays. So, she never hosts events. And oh yes, the battle of cultural foods. Chinese food is the BEST. One time, as they have dairy allergies that come and go, I made birthday cake for my FIL. Dairy free and I made 7 minute frosting with egg whites due to their dairy allergy. They all scraped off the icing, very deliberately, leaving large piles of icing on their plates. But then, they go out to the worst, most disgusting restaurants you've ever seen and will happily eat utter garbage including at those buffets with the ice cream machines--their dairy allergy only shows up at my home.

I thought maybe they didn't know they were hurting my feelings--plus there were now children involved, these children being Canadians. Turns out, they knew. Turns out, I was just supposed to take it. So, then they shunned me. Makes you feel crazy. I mean, they are walking around spewing hatred, I ask them to stop, and I get shunned.

So, I encouraged my husband to continue having a relationship with his parents as I didn't want to be blamed for standing between them. So, he would go over there without the kids and I. This seemed to work just fine as my MIL just likes my husband for what he can do for her--he would spend hours and hours and hours there doing chores for her. She hates him the most in the family--younger brother can do no wrong but my husband is her slave. And now it comes out she thinks I am "punishing" her by not allowing her to see the grandchildren! She barely cares about those grandchildren, btw.

For example, when I was pregnant with my youngest, I had a horrible pregnancy and was on bed rest. I asked MIL to come and help out a bit as my own mother was helping with my oldest child and getting exhausted. MIL huffed and puffed ans said, "No way, [she's] too busy to help out [she's retired and in great healthy, was busy travelling then]. MIL couldn't care less about grandchildren, and felt entitled to express all the hatred of her new country that she picked to immigrate to, upon me and her grandchildren--when I finally had enough, I am still the bad person for protecting my children from this abuse.

I read somewhere once that if you've been dealing with a toxic in-law situation for over 10 years there probably is no hope. I agree with that. At this point I wish my husband would cut them out of his life entirely. I mean, they care so little about us that they are barely in our lives except to phone and demand he does stuff for them.

They don't remember the children's birthdays. We could be dead for months and they wouldn't care. What I regret is trying. All the meals I've cooked. The interest I showed in their culture. The hospitality I showed one time my SIL, who says we "don't roll out the red carpet" stayed here.

My mom was here. My mother did this crazy b's laundry. My mom left lavender on her pillow. My mom cooked for her. SIL ate all of our food, gobbled it all up, saying it was great--but then turned and said she "hates Canadians" and we're not hospitable enough. So you just can't win. I wish I had never had them in my home. I wish I had never tried. And of course, my husband's brother's wife can do no wrong.

What do you do when your mil basically makes you feel like crap over everything you do. My husband and I we have a close relationship with all of his guy friends. I would never cheat on him and I hadn't ever even thought of that. Then suddenly one day she feels its okay to talk to my mom about it. She said she feels like I shouldn't be around his friends that she's worried. And what she didn't know was that my mom n me have a close relationship, we tell eachother almost everything.

And she hates that cause she has never been close with my husband. But anyways she thinks i will cheat on my husband. It really hurts having someone think so low of you. There are days where i dont know how much more i can take. The only thing that calms me now is smoking. And i am trying so hard to quit. I had gone 3 months with no nicotine and suddenly she started a whole drama fest and i just couldnt handle it.

I went right back into it. Im the happiest when its just me and my husband. I just dont know what to do anymore. All i feel like doing is crying. I just cant seem to understand what i did to make her hate me this much. I think i might start taking your advise by being honest with my in-laws in the future because like you said they already hate me so what do i have to lose?

I don't know who to turn to about my in-laws issues and i'm just exhausted. The main issue is my husband's sister. I noticed her ridiculous behaviors even before we getting married to my husband. The sad thing is her parents would just keep taking her crap, mood-swings and yelling. Little backstory, his sister started making stuff up about me after we got engaged, called me a slut, also bailed on our wedding, she also yelled at her mother alot and my FIL never have once put a stop to that kinda behavior.

His sister didn't start reaching out until we had our first baby. The reason why all of a sudden she wants to be involved is because she wants her 4 kids to have cousins to grow up with i just knew it. My husband and me and the girls live in a different state than his parents and sister's family.

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

Of course right as we rolled into my in-laws house her and her whole family was already there. I had a pretty bad stomachache at the moment after being in the car for 13 hours and needed to go to the bathroom real bad but because they were there i stuck around and be social until they left I did small talk with her husband and played with her kids a bit but i didn't talk to her. Sure enough the next day i was still sleeping in bed and heard her screaming at my husband in the living room. Later on i asked my husband what happened he said she stormed in and started yelling and said how we don't know how to forgive and are holding our kids hostage, my husband asked her to leave as we're not ready to talk i was still sleeping and asked her to come back at a different time she refused, my MIL also got woken up by her screaming and guess what my MIL told me to do?

The next day she wanted to talk again the whole family were ready this time. I told her my opinion of her, that she's spoiled and controlling and if she wants us to forgive her we need time because not everything is up to her. Are you guys excited to see what's next after i said that? My FIL jumped me!

He yelled at me saying he'd not let a new person me to divide his family up! The reason why we're at this point is all because of her spoiled daughter! We checked into a hotel that night i asked my husband to drive us back home the following day and he did. But before we left, he said he wanted to stop at his parents house to talk to his mom since his mom wasn't in the conversations she had to watch 6 kids in a different room , he said his mom would take our side.

Well right when my husband walked in his mother started yelling at him saying she can't believe he did such a thing by upsetting his dad this much. I don't think his parents is fair from day 1 and i think my husband finally see it. I'm sick to my stomach with his parents and sister and if i had a choice i'd love to not ever go back to visit. My husband wouldn't let me do that tho but he did say we'd stay in a hotel from now on. Any tips and advise what to do going forward would help!

It kills me that grown adults can't let go grudges and ill-feelings. I have never disrespected mother-in-law. In the beginning I did everything to let her know that I am a good man. But slowly she began to dislike me for no apparent reason, my girlfriend said that she thought her mother was acting like that because I was taking her place as we began to get more serious fast-forward 2 years we had our beautiful daughter during the pregnancy and post pregnancy things got worse and worse to the point where we are no longer together and even after she got her wish and no longer she refuses to even keep things civil for the sake of my daughter her granddaughter.

I am not invited to any of my daughter's events when they have them, we gonna have to have separate birthday parties for her. Her first birthday is coming up. I will invite her even though she wont come. My daughter doesn't understand yet but in time she will, what do i tell her without making her grandmother look like a bad person. And than there's the possibility of them making me look like the bad person potentially harming my relationship with her.

I don't know what to do. Where's mom in all this, well that's the main reason I cant be with her anymore she refuses to call out her mom's bs even though she has admitted to me that her mom is wrong in all of this. I don't care anymore that this lady does not like me, its not about me. She shouldn't have to be exposed to this. I can be civil and I have to let go and forgive the lady for the drama she caused between my ex and me.

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

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What do you do? She brings over the food that she wants the kids eating. She told him he had to get her money back or pay her out of his pocket. I dealt with her before kids by just not talking with her that often and now my husband makes me feel like I have to let her come around more and because she lives out of state they're sleepover visits. And than there's the possibility of them making me look like the bad person potentially harming my relationship with her. I think the MIL's behavior to me and my husband is abusive and confusing.

Your MIL sounds like a tool and I can tell she hurt you many times over the years. She also made you doubt your self worth. Perhaps, you still ask yourself: The answer is certainly not lie in your faults. From what I could gather from your story, it was never about you. Hopefully you realize that now. It would have been nice as a young bride and mother to have this support 33 years ago.

I am a sensitive person, some wounds from childhood. As a young bride and newlywed, I needed love and support. My MIL and my husband always had a difficult relationship and when I was brought into his family she transferred her meanness to me, as well. We were not kids out of HS when we married. Both of us were established with careers and education.

We became pregnant 2 months after our beautiful wedding day. We had a beautiful 10 day honeymoon. We were 28 years of age and very ready to be married and start a family. Two months after marriage we told the MIL we had some exciting news and she responded, "What you are pregnant, so whats the exciting news? Don't expect me to be a built in babysitter, and I am not excited to be a grandmother.

I am attractive and fit. I have a teaching degree, kindergarten through 6th grade with an art endorsement. I just retired from 25 years of teaching art. She would say such mean things to me during my pregnancy. If I looked good, she would say you look good for once or where did you get something so nice? We have always lived in the same town, my sister in law has never had a nice thing to say about her mother or her other brother's wife, she also caused a lot of family division, but years later is now close to all of them and I am still on the outside.

I have chosen to distance myself from the in-laws to protect myself. I think the MIL's behavior to me and my husband is abusive and confusing. I am a successful teacher, avid outdoors woman, I hike alpine hikes to 12,' elevation. The FIL was always wonderful and loved and respected, he is deceased and missed. I still stress when we have to attend family gatherings. We don't attend all get togethers. When in their presence I try to be polite and joyful.

After 33 years of marriage I try not to allow them to steal my happiness. I have 3 wonderful adult sons and 2 fantastic daughter in-laws. I just had a second attempt at suicide and now I am fully cognizant of the fact I have a toxic M. Ohh boy this this is also me. I hate having them on FB I have them in restricted so they can't see my posts but I seriously wish I would delete them all or close my Account because of my mother inlaws hate they all hate me because I disagree with the way they gossip and their politics etc..

Should I delete them? When ever something bad happens to me I come back to why are things so difficult with them and just get all bummed up. This is so very familiar! I can relate in almost every detail. Still, the distance is nice. Also, with time you become stronger and less affected by her shenanigans. So stay strong, my dear!

Lana thank you so much for writing about this. I thought I was the only one dealing with an insane MIL. I have been dealing with her for 10 years and she has made it clear that I am NOT who she would have picked for her son. When I had my daughter I thought I saw a light but it was very temporary.

When my daughter was 9 months old I had so much anxiety about her visiting I developed shingles I am only After one too many comments and a week of misery I lost it.

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Basically had a coming to Jesus moment with her and told her she is at a crossroad and I am willing to walk whichever road she chooses but I have no problem tossing her in an old folks home and throwing away the key. Then we moved to WV and she was supposed to visit in August. Then tells me to pull my daughter out of school the first week and come visit her at her Cape Cod house. I get the nasty texts from my brother in law and new wife that I am being rude and need to accommodate her. Now I am trying to work things out with her and I am getting the silent treatment.

I swear my 3 year old is more mature than she is. If I can offer a recommendation: Put it in a form of a letter to your late MIL. Then finish it but saying: I wish you peace and serenity. Thank you for the advice! I do limit my participation in family events to no more than once a week. I have never taken separate vacations but I can see the appeal. Iam pleased I found your article as my berevement therapist said I had a toxic mother in-law I've never heard that term before. My mother in-law passed away Feb 28th and it was drama all around.

For me it was my liberation day I was there when she took her last breath and I cried as seeing a human being in so much pain was hard to see and I wished we were able to have a great relationship as we had a lot in common creatively. Its sounds horrible thinking like that but for 14 years she was very cruel to me and tried everything in her power to end my marriage and to knock my confidence.

What was upsetting was my husband, his dad and sister did nothing yet they know she was cruel. Now that she has died I am reffered to as her bestfriend and how wonderful she was to me. This women tried to make me miscarry while pregnant with my son. When I complained to my husband and father in-law I was told I was being disrespectful.

All the key traits you place in the first article was spot on. Now that she is gone I am left with anger and why questions. I dare not disclose my true feeling to my husband as he and his family he would immediately complain to them would come down on me like a ton of bricks and it would be an ugly sight.

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My berevement therapist has been helpful and it has been a relief to get it all out and work towards healing. Any advice on my part? Don't skip all of them but, most. When visiting her for long breaks I would amuse her by asking her to teach me new recipes or asking her about the 60's and what she use to do them. It is a very difficult situaion to be in and speaking to your other half must be done if he is not receptive that's when going on holiday on your own, with friends or family for a period weeks is good. I did that several times as I moved from the USA to the UK to be with my husband, going to the US for 5 weeks with our son several times a year allowed my husband to miss us enough to realize how much we mean to him.

I call it reflection time. So how do we make sure we don't become monsters-in-law?

28 REAL Thank You Notes to Your Mother-in-Law

Hopefully, by becoming self-aware, confident, secure women who don't obsess about their kids' lives because they have their own. Its a terrible cycle. I agree, it's totally fine if your husband visits his parents on his own. I think you've got a handle on the situation. Keep up the good work! It's been hard but thank goodness we never see them. I read alot of Psychology about disfuncional families. At the beginning I asked to my father in-law hey do you guys like me and he answered don't worry we will change you.

He's grandma that I have not met posting on my friends wall because I critized a Republican idea. And saying shame on me. He's brother pushing me because I dropped he's phone and I was on the way. He's father jk I'm brainwashing he's son to be a liberal. I could go on all day long. Honestly just not having contact with them is what keeps me happy and sane my husband and decided that he will visit them and it's ok if I don't come and if they come here Ill treat them nicely but it will never be a great relationship.

Yes, it's very common for dysfunctional families to have one sibling as a golden child and one as a scapegoat. Meanwhile, the sibling that stayed with the parents or that still largely relies on parents can do no wrong. It's typical, it's sad, it's ridiculous Try to brush it off. But the racist comments shouldn't be tolerated, in my opinion. This article is amazing. It has helped me a lot I was reading about the Golden boy thing and I related so much.

I feel bad for him but he is still very inmature and super rude and arrogant and I cant believe how they treated my husband like if he was bad because he was living far away. Then they started with me because I'm from Mexico they started with comments about how I was not white although I'm super pale and from Scottish French decent. I know all the advice on this subject is easier said than done: You're dealing with the same person they don't change at all but you're not the same.

You grow and you learn and you begin prioritizing your peace of mind above anything else. And that means shifting your focus from a toxic MIL, no matter how much she demands your attention with all the outrageous things she does. You are so welcome! Knowing that my experience has made someone feel better makes it all worth it: WOW that's extremely meddlesome behavior that borders on malicious! She had NO right to do that. You have to let her know that it's not OK under ANY circumstances and that if she does it again, there will be serious repercussions.

How do you deal with a mother in law contacting an abusive parent that I have had no contact with for over 3 years.

Review: The Complete Book of Mothers-in-Law by Luisa Dillner | Books | The Guardian

She sent pictures of our child without our consent to this person? What do you do? You have made me feel so much better with your articles. I was so down because of my MIL of 10 years, she's getting worse. Worst she has ever been and it's started effecting me badly since the beginning of this year.

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

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

My uncle was the golden child and could do no wrong. We were always looked down on. Has not changed till this day,but I didn't grow up around them much after the divorce so it hardly affects me. Luckily, it is only my MIL that I have to deal with on a daily basis.

I think a war would start if it was all three of us. The hardest part is when it starts affecting your kids. I can't even imagine how I would react in this scenario, so far my MIL only has one grandchild - my daughter. I just know that if she started treating her differently, I would not take it well, to say it lightly: As for your dilemma, I can't advise but if it was me, I would not hang around these people.

I would unfollow or block them on social media. And I would just live my life, enjoy my husband and my kids, and the company of people who actually do love and respect me. Because the bottom line is: They may not look like it to the outside world and they all work very hard to project that perfect image but this is what they are. Why would you want to be around that? Forgive me as this will be long. My husband and I have been married for 25 years with 4 kids. My MIL has always treated me badly.

There seems to be a pecking order in the family, with 1 son being the golden child and 1 the scapegoat. Our son was in town for a visit he lives out of state. She will take a group of grandkids school shopping, except mine, then post about it on Facebook. I try to talk to the other girls and they either ignore me or talk to me in a condescending tone. I could go on and on with the abusive things they do.

Failed to let us know that everyone was to wear a specific color to my in laws 50th anniversary to not including us in the planning. Do I just stop going altogether? Disappear off the face of the earth? I just want out. After attending a holiday event, I leave feeling hurt, angry, confused. My husband confronted his mom and she just cried and played the victim. I don't even know what to say other than to repeat And you're not a bad person if you don't get along with your MIL.

Chances are, the opposite is true Keep it up, sister! I am almost in tears of relief after reading the last sentence you wrote. You literally took the words out of my mouth. You are so right, I will work on my character because she obviously has a never worked on hers. Thank you so much for writing this so perfectly. My daughter has a toxic mother in law and she handles her very well and vented her frustrations to me her mom.

That was until her little baby girl was born. My daughter and I are very close and I will go help her out once a week with her baby just to give her a little break. The toxic mother in law seems to have turned her attentions to me now and doing her damn best to draw my daughter away from me. My daughter will come to my house only and within 10 mins the mother in law will ring her and say she needs to see her. So my daughter rather than make her wait will immediately leave for a quiet life because if she doesn't do as she wants, the MIL will ring her son and tell tales on my daughter.

I don't really know what to do as I am not needy in anyway but I am now losing out because I don't see my daughter or my grand daughter even when they are in the same town because MIL gets priority and she "makes" them stay with her for as long as she can purely so they don't have enough time to come to our house.

The MIL is so cunning and sly its baffling me. Of course I'm happy to share our grand daughter but she wants her all to herself and is not happy unless she has it her way. I cant say anything to the MIL for fear of upsetting her son and losing my grand daughter all together and also damaging my relationship with my daughter. Ive talked to my daughter about it and she just says oh don't worry about it Mom but I am seeing less and less of them and the MIL is seeing more and more. But your journey is only beginning. In comparison to work, I thought, how scary could this woman be? We went for a Chinese meal and it was very adult, on an equal footing.

My own mother will give me advice but Rhona will really listen to me. We are also busy socially, and two mornings I do voluntary work at the hospital. We see the grandchildren three or four times each year. These days, mothers-in-law are less likely to interfere. I have never argued with my daughters-in-law. Try as the all-new mother-in-law might to subvert her stereotype, the image of her as a battleaxe is rooted in history. The Roman satirist Juvenal said: Queen Victoria, who had the British Empire to watch over, still found time to be critical of her daughters-in-law.

Aug 06, Elise Noorda rated it liked it.

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Interesting study of this wrought-with-danger relationship. I was given this book by my daughter and son-in-law - yikes! Wonder what they are trying to tell me? Assortment of historical, cultural, positive and negative examples. In the words of one MIL, "There's one thing I've learned for sure, Mothers-in-law possess a power, whether we want it or not. Every phrase we speak carries pressure When I see you, I can bring in the shadow of my presence either good or evil; without even realisi Interesting study of this wrought-with-danger relationship.

When I see you, I can bring in the shadow of my presence either good or evil; without even realising it I might sweeten your morning or lace it with alkali.

MY MOTHER IN-LAW AND I PART 1 - Nigerian Movies

And I love how they've enlarged and enriched our family. This book has made for some very interesting thoughts. Mar 05, Aileen Ng rated it liked it Shelves: It's an interesting book about famous people and their mothers-in-law. It's also about famous people turning into mother-in-law themselves. How daughters-in-law interpret about their in-laws. Some can be the best in-laws but some are really in-laws from hell be it the parents or the daughters.

It all boils down on respect and compromising. The author manage to project the feelings of how it feels like when one do get married and whether it's worth the fight. Jun 15, Baniza rated it liked it Shelves: Mothers in law versus daughters in law is like a Taboo to all countries.