Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

For Highly Sensitive Husbands/Wives: Four Ways to Relate to In-Laws

Thanks to reader Anonymous who wrote the following note on the message board of my “Six Strategies to Calm Yourself Down” post:

How do you “get out of the situation” if you have to be around in-laws that talk about the same stuff (sometimes negative) whenever you go around them. I’d rather stay home and send the kids with my spouse! However, I know this isn’t the Christian way of doing things (you must be around some of every type of personality in order to get along with or at least witness to people). PLEASE HELP!! Sometimes I think they purposefully let things “roll off the tongue” to provoke me into saying something or try to make me feel bad. I always try to stay as positive as I can me in my mind while I’m around them but it does get next to me sometimes.


I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have in-law issues. Maybe the chick who has never met her in-laws. Scratch that. I know someone in that category, and she still has issues.
I try to follow these pieces of advice when my positive cap keeps falling off at a family picnic.
1. Set some boundaries.
Preferably from the day you said, “I do,” but anytime after is okay too. Boundaries prevent some of the natural irritation that results from two people didn’t exactly choose each other as friends or relatives, but spend a big chunk of time together.
For example, Eric’s family isn’t Christian, and we celebrate many of our holidays together. I needed to reserve Christmas Eve as our “holy” night—where we go to Mass, and have our “Happy Birthday Jesus!” party–and Easter morning as our sacred time (before we unwrap the chocolate bunnies and find the eggs filled with jelly beans) with the room to my unapologetic Catholic self. This makes me a much more pleasant daughter-in-law and sister-in-law when we have the family over for Christmas day dinner, or Easter dinner. I got my religion out of the way first (much like working out before you binge).
The same goes for prayers before meals. If we have a family dinner at our house, we’ll stay away from pork (one family member is Muslim), but I’m sticking with the traditional blessing (which starts with the Sign of the Cross). Eric’s family may silently send light to Goddess Iris or whoever, but the kids are only going to hear about Jesus, Mary, and Joseph for now, or until they opt to send light to Goddess Iris in college (at which time I will have come up with more coping strategies).
2. Repeat: “I love my husband.”
This last past year I have felt a bit like a military wife because Eric basically held two jobs: one as an architect, and one as caretaker of an elder. Life is getting a bit more manageable now, but there were many weekends last year when I got no break from the kids. When Eric was home, he was totally exhausted, overwhelmed, and grumpy. I began to get angry at the situation, and resentful.
My friend Vickie helped me work through it. Unlike my pleasant mom-in-law, hers was a vicious, angry, vengeful woman who would insult her at every chance, a grimalkin whose mission was to drive a wedge between she and her husband, Mike, in order to insure that the couple would divorce. If anyone had a reason to be resentful, it was Vickie. But she wasn’t.
She stayed focused on Mike. “I repeated to myself over and over again ‘I love Mike. I am doing this for Mike. I must respect her because she is Mike’s mom. I’m not going to call her a witch or something that rhymes with witch because she gave birth to Mike, and I love Mike,'” she told me. (It’s good to hang out with friends as positive as this, I’ve found. She truly inspires me.)


3. Talk to the hand, or your girlfriends.
This woman I met the other day at the pool said to me, “My husband gets so angry with me when I tell him his mom is a selfish, pathetic, judgmental, and calloused lunatic.”
“Huh,” I thought to myself, “I wonder why.”
“Blood is thicker than water,” the saying goes, and it’s worth remembering that when you are about to say something less-than-kind out loud.
I always try to think about it the other way around. I know my mom has her quirks (sorry, Mom!), and it can be really funny when my sister points out one of these quirks in a witty way (sorry, Mom!). But it’s not all that comical when someone else (besides my sisters) tries the same act. That’s like a Catholic telling a Jewish joke, or a Jew telling a Catholic joke. You need to be Jewish to tell a Jewish joke without coming across as offense and a Catholic before you describe what the nuns did in confession (while slapping your knee and laughing out loud).
Everyone needs to vent, though, so I suggest you do it with your girlfriends because 1) chances are good that they will have an anecdote that makes your own situation like Candy Land (for example, the story I just read in “The Mr. and Mrs. Happy Handbook” about the mother of the groom who tried to poison the bride), and 2) they won’t get peeved if you call your mom-in-law a “selfish, pathetic, judgmental, and calloused lunatic.”
4. Concentrate on the project.
When I compiled “I Like Being Married,” with Mike Leach (my writing mentor), we interviewed hundreds of couples about what kept them together.
This one older man, who had been married to his wife for over 40 years, told me, “You don’t have to be in love. You just have to be compatible.”
I didn’t include his quote in the book because I didn’t find it particularly romantic or inspiring. But it’s a great practical piece I’ve remembered ever since I sat down with a pen and paper in front of him.
His insight applies to all aspects of marriage, including relationships with in-laws. In that regard, marriage is very much like a working relationship, and the more diplomatic in tone, usually the better. You don’t have to be in love with your co-workers to succeed at accomplishing a task. You just have to concentrate the project, which is keeping everyone out of therapy.

  • suezann

    mother-in-law problems, i have a mother-in-law who is very dominating, and who thinks that i am not good enough for her son, i love my husband, we have two kids with special needs, i don’t stop her from seeing the kids and i have just cut off all communacation with his family, for keeping the peace if there is not communation with his family, i speak when i am spoken to,otherwise she doesn’t call me and i don’t call any of his family. please advise what to do.



  • Jen

    I say you need to find other ways to cope with her. Just speaking with she speaks to you, is sort of giving her the upper hand in the relationship. I know what you are going through though. I have been in a similiar situation.. sort of opposite at the same time… I am the communicator that everyone in my hubby’s family that will ask when / if we can do stuff.. and sometimes, thats too much. There has to be an equal balance. Have you tried to talk to your husband about this? Have you asked you MIL if those feelings are accurate that she has towards you? Its a TOUGH situation and I applaud you for trying to do what is best for you and your family! Keep up the good work. :)

  • Cheryl

    I don’t have and never did. My first husband, god rest his soul, his mother passed away when he was 5, and his grandmother raised him, but she passed a way before I married him, Then I lost him, Now I am married to my 2nd husband. I met his mother, and we became fast friends
    and I wouldn’t trade her for anything. I think I took her death more then my husband. She was wise and simple. I could always go to her with a problem or anything. I really loved her. The way we became friends. I sat down with her and just asked her if she had a problem with me, She said,NO,because I know that you will do right by my son, if not, you will find out what you did wrong when you get to heaven.
    That was it.

  • Dee

    When my mother-in-law was alive, I got along with her very well. We both kept our negative thoughts to ourselves and focused on the positives. I enjoyed her. However, I can’t stand my sister-in-law to the point I avoid having her and her husband over. She always has to be right, always has some project for my husband to do when we visit them, and flaunts her high intelligence. For years they were “moochers” too even though he has inherited quite a bit of money from his family. I don’t want to keep my husband from his only sister nor do I want to offend him, but she makes my stress levels really go up. I really have to bite my tongue when I am with them.

  • sah

    I do know two people who absolutely love their mil and fil. My husband and my sil (married to my brother) My sil has been a part of our family for over 17 years. She’s a wonderful person. My husband and I have only been married for a little over a year. He and my sil always comment on other people who have so much conflict with their in-laws. They can not relate to the rest of us who struggle. My in-laws seemed to like me before we got married. Then we said “I do” and it all went downhill from there. My in-laws have now made it known how much they dislike me, to everyone. My husbands brother has gone so far as too scream in my face how much he hates me. He is a very aggressive person and needs to learn anger management skills. He is unpredictable and loses control over the smallest issues. He has been taken to jail for previous problems. I now do not want my children around him until he gets professional help. That upsets everyone else in the family because we do not come around as often. Although, each and every one of them has be hurt by his lack of self control. He is extremely violent. But, his family just wants to sweep everything under the rug and pretend like nothing has ever happened. None of them apologize for mistakes they have made or wrong judgement calls they knowingly made. However, I am expected to apologize when I did nothing wrong but be concerned about his behavior and protect myself and my children. I grew up in a family where we all help each other, and sometimes it meant doing things that might not be “the easy way” to deal with things. My family would not sit back and allow for such inappropriate behavior. That is only one event that has caused friction between me and th in-laws. I could write a book already. I try to take it one day at a time. It is a tough situation. It really makes me appreciate how fortunate I am to have such loving and caring parents. I am proud to say that my family loves my husband and think of him as their son. I will definately follow their example when my children marry. I try to tell myself that this is a learning experience on how not to treat my children’s spouses.

  • Susan

    The article was helpful to a point, but it’s not always a matter of just needing to grit one’s teeth and ignore the behaviour. Sometimes it can’t be ignored, and sometimes it shouldn’t. When my inlaws act in ways that undermine my parenting (e.g. “Don’t you just feel like slapping your mom sometimes?” “Well, what do you expect from niggers?”), I can’t just tolerate it; I have to deal with the consequences. It does children no good to see their parents disrespected.
    My solution has been that they can see our children in our house if they honour our rules. My husband can see them any time he wants. I’ll be outwardly respectful, and I won’t bad-mouth them, but my responsibilities do not extend to appearing to approve of behaviour that is simply unacceptable. If I need to say to my children, “Gram and Gramp believe differently than we do; you are not to speak (or act) that way,” I will. My inlaws will be fine; my children will not be fine without my guidance.
    Thank heaven my husband agrees. I dread they day when we become responsible for their care and I am forced into their constant presence.

  • Chip

    Its taken me 30 years to come to the conclusion that love is not a feeling, but a choice. We don’t beat up on each other so we probably will remain together. My mother has never accepted my wife. Somethng in the beginning (commnent, disagreement, words said, ect) that messed things up for the rest of our marriage and doesn’t appear will ever be resolved. The one comment that the older man made above, ” You don’t have to love, just be compatible,” speaks to me too. For better or worse, til death do us part. The one thing my mother had that I feel is good to pass on to the younger kids, marry your best friend. My mom and dad had a good marriage for their time until he got Alzheimer disease. He’s been dead for 10 years now and still talks and misses him. But back to the problem of inlaws, I love my inlaws, but you can’t always pick them. My son is married now 2 years and I’m a new grampa, but I think I have seen my wife’s parents once at the wedding and once at the rehersal dinner. Not what I hoped for, but I guess if the kids are happy, then so be it. Now that’s off my chest, I hope there was some insights that will be helpful to someone.

  • Nic Marsh

    It only took one time for me to put my ex mother and sister in law in place. I let them know quickly that I was the woman of the house and I wasn’t having it. She didn’t speak to us for about 4 months but she got over it quickly!

  • Pat

    Fortunatley I have few inlaws now to deal with. they can be trying. in my first marriage my mother in law a widow moved in wiht us at the time we were married one year, the marriage stated downhill then. Even as as RN I “knew ” little about raising children===and I didn’t either but allof the things i didn’t know my sil knew less but that was ok, we worked side by side in Pediatrics, hower=ver i stillknew nothing. My mil died after 5 yrs with us and it took the marriage annother 22 yrs to die. Most sentences began with if mom were here. Fortunately a bout 12 yrs ago he w ent to be with mom in heaven I hope. All in all it was guite a trip, any time I hear how bad things a re I tell them how a b outmoving your mother in law in with you when you are married such a short tiem. There was not room for both of us i thought many time I should be the one to pack up my daughters and let her have him. To frost the cake when she died the obit read WE lived with HER what a funny misprint.

  • Betty

    My in-laws are toxic. My mother-in-law is controlling, liar, false, and all the negative adjectives you can imagine. On top, she is very dumb, I offered her to start over, to let the past go, and she just kept on going… criticizing and badmouthing me. She has been doing this since we met and will never change. I talked to my father-in-law, thinking that perhaps he will understand the situation and do something about it, he was worst than her.
    My husband finally believed me when he heard his mother asked me if he was the father or our children (five years later). He talked to his parents and of course nothing changed. He thinks it did, I know it did not and will not. I try to explain him they will never like me nor accept me, my mother-in-law told me this, to my face.
    Divorce is not an option for us, we are very happy together; we love each other and our little ones very much. We had to go to marriage counseling over and over, until my husband finally understood his family does not welcome me.
    So, we just visit them only in special dates, we go out and meet in neutral places (restaurants, parks, malls) from time to time, and they are not welcome in our home, perhaps in the future, 50 years from now!
    All I know is they are wasting precious time, and when they realize their mistake, it’s going to be too late.

  • g


  • Tony Roberts

    I am not married yet, but engaged to be married. Her parents are against the marriage and have made it quite clear to her that I am not the one for her. this will be her first marriage and my second. I am 16 years older then her and that along with her being of a different race then me means that they do not accept me. Instead of responding negatively to their dislike I say and believe that they are only looking out for what they think is their daughters best interest and that they are good people that just do not qquite get the concept of our love. In this way I do not further alienate the parents or my fiance. so far it is working out fine.



  • John

    What do you do when your in-laws do not speak the same language, my in-laws are from south america and only speak spanish with a variation of quecha

  • KC in Louisiana

    I do not like my inlaws. that have made me feel judged since I met their son 17yrs ago. I was getting a divorce from another marriage at the time and had two young children from that previous marriage. one was two the the other five. it all these years I still call her Mrs. ____. not mom. not by her first name.I feel like the unwelcome person in their family. alot of the new neices and nephews didn’t call me aunt when we married. 17yrs later the same thing. my husband was not married before and has no natural children of his own. so it hurt to feel like the second hand wife instead of the only wife around husband gets upset when I talk to him about it (not fight, just talk) he sees nothing wrong with them. my sister in laws are worst. they toterate me because I am his wife. the stay huddled together and whisper. always. my husband tell me try to get to know them, try to talk to them. it last 30 min. everytime. then its back to whispering. if I go into the room where everyone sits and talks. little by little they move to the next room. one day I ended up all by myself in the room, and hubby walked by asked what I was doing in there. I explain everyone just left one by one. he said then go in there. I did. it happened again. no I don’t they are rude. they treat everyone who marries into their family like they are an intrusion. if I say one bad thing about THEM my husband gets mad at me. and if I try to get out of going there with excuses. he gets mad. so I am forced to endure this over and over. I honestly think he is embarassed to go over without me, because he would have to explain why I don’t want to go.

  • Nita Berry

    Why do you assume the problem is with the parent in laws? I have a daughter-in-law who was sweet as pie until the day of the marriage. I so wanted a daughter in my family of three sons. I have NEVER tried to run their lives. In fact it is just the opposite. If it could even possibly make a problem for them, then whatever I was thinking went out the window. Now,almost seven years later and little to no contact with my son OR his wife, he is on heavy doses of valium and seeing a shrink. I am all for psychotherapy but regaining faulty memories is doing no good for our relationship.I KNOW whithout a doubt the memories are faulty. He is seeing a nationally know psychiatrist here in San Antonio so at first I thought it would be great. Now I just pray and keep my thoughts to myself.I can say,do,or think nothing right. I just pray and pray that God will let the truth be known WHATEVER it is.I did a lot of things wrong raising my sons but not everything.Iam quite willing to take the fault that is mine but I am not willing to give up my son on lies and “recovered” memories.I love him so much and this hurts beyond belief.Everytime he brings up divorce,she gets pregnant.After six+ years, they have four children. I never get to see them. The first four years I kept trying to start over,forget the past and welcome my daughter-in-law back in my life only to be kicked in the teeth by lies that even followed my husband to a VA rehab when he broke his hip. Her father voluteers there.I was supposed to have broken his hip.He is an alcoholic and I wasn’t even in the room.He cracked ribs.I wasn’t even at home. Just keep in mind that it isn’t always the parents that you give the credit to. This situation breaks my heart but in reality, I can do nothing to change it.Nothing except be here for my son when he needs me and I will always be that.
    Broken Hearted

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much for defining a TURE way to deal with the IN LAWS. I am going to immediately apply the missing aspects to my own life.
    Let me start by saying,I have been in my husband’s life for over 10 years since the early days of high school. I can completely relate to the writer that spoke of her mil being very nice to her up until she said “I DO”. How embarassing is it for your mil to cry (literally) like a baby durning your ceremony. Not just tears of joy people, tears of pain. I could have killed her on the spot. But I didn’t. Now I am NOT the type of person that holds her tougne but with this situation I tried. Why because “I LOVE MY HUSBAND” and I know he loves his mother and I don’t and didn’t want to hurt him. I have admit that for many years I didn’t know how to deal with my frustrations and since my husband has been my best friend for a very long time, I choice him as my avenue for venting about his mother. Let me tell you I haven’t said some very nice things. I DID say true things just not nice ones. Recently, I learned to refine the way that I present things to people, especially where the mil is concerned.
    However, a year or so into the marriage I broke on her at 7:00 in the morning. I had my fill once I spent most of the night replaying the ignorance that came from her mouth earlier that day, in the presence of the rest of the family. I didn’t sleep that night and I found myself being angry with my husband because of my displaced feelings with his mother and I had to put a stop to it there. Because once again, “I LOVE MY HUSBAND” and I truly refuse to let his mothers insecurties upset me.
    In our most recent conversation, she informed me that she knows of a soilder that is deployed, married and he still sends his mother a monthly allotment, just because he wants to. I have some great advice for her. HOLD YOUR BREATH

  • Anonymous

    If you have problems with the inlaws, then you have problems. Don’t get married if you dislike obstacles…

  • hyanno

    My MIL is also very controlling, I have been with her son(the only child) for 16 years now, we have been married for 14 years of that. My MIl was great at first then I got to know the true B*** that she is!
    She still makes my hubby feel like he is 2 years old-when he is 44 years old-she thinks that she can control everything that we do. If we are out for the evening she will call repeatedly(thank-GOD that I only have caller ID or my answering machine would be nothing but her stupid messages). Well everything blew yesterday, when she told me to sell my computer(I paid cash for it 2 years ago). She also had the nerve to show up at my home and demand that her son go outside and help her to pick up our yard(he herniated the dics at L4-L5 in his spine, has been off of work for almost three weeks and is going to have to have 2 surguries), but she insisted that he go and help her. Well, I was in the basement washing and drying clothes, and knew none of this till I came upstairs and he was laying in bed, in a fetal position and literally crying, with tears streaming down his face. I askes him what had happened to him, and he told me what she had done. Well it is like this, it was a good thing that she didn’t return my phone calls, or else I would of started packing and put the house up for sale, so that we could move far, far, far away from her. Is is also lucky that I didn’t get into our vehicle and go to her house. I have calmed down know and realize that she is stupid, ignorant. I told my hubby that if he doesn’t tell her where to stick it, that I will have do problem telling her!!!!! He gave me permission to do so, but she never called here at all!!! I think she will probably wait a few days and call, but not to worry, I wont forget what she did this time. I swear that she thinks that the embylical cord id still attatched!!!!
    I thank GOD every day that neither my mom, mydad & step-mom, nor anyone else in my life is this way. Sorry that is is so long, but I really needed to get this off of my chest.

  • teresa inman

    Mike my husband,and myself seperated last spring for about 5 mths!He stayed with my motherinlaw! During this time we were trying to work out our problems,there were times during aurgments we didn’t speak to oneanother.His ex-spouse,whom they have a son with,started coming around alot.I do know alot of phone conversations were taking place between them!His ex,and myself never had any problems!Mike and I spent alot of time with their son,she told me the biggest reason she let her son come so much was because,of me!She knew I cared and took very good care of him!Our relationshape was good! Then when mike was staying with his mom,and we moved back in together,the relationshape changed between myself and his ex!mike brought thier son to my house they stayed the night.Mikes cell rung it was her!She said she was shocked I answered!I was supposed to be the enmy!She said the more she thoughted about them being here the more angier she was!So she picked up their son!He wasn’t allowed for thanksgiving or x-mas with us!the reason,because I was supposed to be jealous of her and her son! I haven’t talked to her about this because I don’t won’t to hurt mikes relationship with his son because they need eachother.So Mike goes to her house to see his son! I encouraged him to go,because his son is the important one here.If I were jealous I wouldn’t let my husband go!And if I was,I wouldn’t hurt a child!It hurts me to think,that my inlaws might have told lies on me,or that my husband,and motherlaw might have led the ex into believing they might get back together these thoughts have entered my mind!But I am holding my head up,because I know I’m doing the right thing for a child and his dad! What do you all think? I sure could use some help with this problem? need to know i’m handling this right! thank you for listing to me, Teresa

  • DR in MS

    I have a Mother-in-law, who lives next door. I have honestly tried to be a good daugther in law and somehow, it doesn’t work. When she was sick I stayed in the hospital with her, and I check on her everyday,.
    But this bugs me to no means—she talks to my husbands ex almost daily along with my brother in laws ex. Then she has tell us about her conversation, and how they did things, My husband is sick and has been all his life, and requires alot of hospital stays. I have never left my huband’s side during any of his stays, and would go to Alaska if I needed too. We have no children together, (beyond my control would love too) but he has children with the ex, and its always something and has been since the word go. I consider his children and grandchildren my children and grandchildren, However MY Mother and HIS mother doesn’t think the same way we do, and it is hard, especially when they are in need. So then they say yalls kids.

  • Norah

    I’m appalled reading these posts……. Many of these letters are full of foul, vulgar language……mainly written by daughters-in-law. It’s plain to see why they would have problems with their in-laws, particularly their mothers-in-law. Where does respect fit into the picture? Granted, many mothers-in-law can be difficult…..believe me, I know. I myself have a very controlling mother-in-law who wanted me to be submissive to her. I stated my case without ever having an argument with her. She still doesn’t like me. I once asked her, in front of my husband WHY she disliked me so. Her answer was: “you really want to know?” I replied: “yes, I really want to know once and for all”. Her answer was: “Well, you make us feel like peasants!….you’re so sophisticated and cultured, etc. etc.”. My husband couldn’t believe his ears. His reply was: “Mom! those are positive things about my wife! That’s the way she is!” My comment to her was: “Well, if you say I make the family feel like peasants…..believe me, it’s not my intention…I am who I am”. My husband and I have been married for over 40 years and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law still don’t want me around for fear I will eclipse them. It all boils down to insecurity. Insecure people are the hardes people to deal with. When people have low self esteem they will do their best to make other people miserable and put them down just to make themselves feel better. Accusing me of making my husband’s family feel like peasants was just not a good excuse for my mother-in-law to treat me like an outcast. I have suffered a lot throughout the years with my insecure mother-in-law and sister-in law. Now I have an insecure daughter-in-law and I’m facing the same problem with her. Another low self-esteem person who resents who I am and is jealous of my accomplishments, as well as my husband’s. My husband and I are respected in our community and this seems to irritate our daughter-in-law to no end. She talks down to us and I resent it, especially because my husband is such a gentle man. He would never think of snapping back at her and having an argument with her. We have been told that we’re not welcome at her house and now we cannot see our two grandchildren. This is heart-breaking beyond belief….but there is nothing we can do to persuade her that we want to get close to her….for nine years now. She doesn’t respond to any of our good gestures towards her. It is hard to deal with “the daughter-in-law from hell” who has decided that we’re not going to see our grandchildren anymore. Our son is caught in an impossible situation. He is not taking an active part in making sure that the children don’t lose contact with us because it is plain to see that he’s afraid his wife will tell him “it’s me or your parents” and risking not seeing his children in the future. So, to some of you daughters-in-law who have posted nasty, hateful comments about your “horrible” mothers-in-law… fair! Take a good look at yourselves and see what YOU are doing wrong in the relationship. Remember your children are entitled to have as many loving grandparents as available…..they many not be perfect, but are YOU perfect?? Ask yourselves if you’re being fair to your husbands in dealing with your in-laws. You simply can’t make up alibis to keep your in-laws away. Your husbands are entitled to have an ongoing relationship with their parents also…without you feeling like you’re not as important. Develop some understanding of human nature so you can keep the extended family intact instead of causing a rift between your husbands and their parents…..depriving your children of their intrinsic right and privilege to be loved and mentored by their paternal grandparents. Develop good self-esteem so you won’t feel threatened by your mothers-in-law. Above all…act in a civil manner, even if your in-laws don’t act the way you want them to act. Keep the Peace and try to bring relatives together instead of trying to “possess” your husbands and discarding your in-laws like Kleenex. Let the guys have some say as to how much contact they want with their parents and how important it is to them to have a paternal set of grandparents for their children. It is NOT only up to you, daughters-in-law, to make that decision. No, I don’t believe all mothers-in-law are “monsters”….nor I believe all daughters-in-law are “from hell”. I just wish my mother-in-law and daughter-in-law had given me a chance, that they had tried to know me better, instead of feeling threatened by me. This is the way I am, this is the way I was raised and I don’t need to come down to their level to be accepted by them.

  • Rolando Quispe

    John: what do you do when your in-laws only speak Spanish and you can’t communicate with them?? John!…..what you do is….use the language of LOVE. Since they’re South American they love to be hugged and kissed. Give them lots of “abrazos” and say “I love you” or “Los quiero”…..they’ll know what you mean. Smile at them and let them know you understand their frustration with the English language. Also, how about you taking Spanish lessons? That will show your “suegros” that you really want to communicate with them. It’s also important for you to teach them some basic English. Imagine how they feel….not being able to communicate with you! It’s all relative. Hope this advice helps.

  • MT

    When my in-laws have family events we are TOLD that we have to be there. If we have plans, we have to cancel them. Of course, my husband has no problem with this. I thought after we had children it would change, but it hasn’t. I would love to attend midnight Mass, but can’t. We have to be at my in-laws house then. Every one else in the family has a backbone, but not my husband. He lets his parents dictate what we do. They have been getting away with it for over 25 years, so it’s not about to change. It’s a shame, but I hate the Christmas holidays because of them.

  • Michele Dulen

    I am having problems with my two daughter in laws. Right from the git go I had told them that the kids and I were close, just in discussion of something else anyway I made it very clear that my family being close was the most important thing to me. No matter what happened, nothing was to come between my kids and me. Well one of the girls obviously didn’t like that, she wanted my son all to herself, which is the way it should be, but in the process of trying to keep me away, she would start stories with the other family members and it excalates, and she will cover herself before my son heard about and manipulate the whole thing into she was not the one in the wrong. Well needless to say she is good and has my son convinced that I’m tryint to get in thier way. If I try to get close at all to either of the boys, they will go tell a made up story about something get everyone arguing and clear herself before it explodes. And it is all on me Anyway long story short they are manipulating relentless, trouble, gossip, sneaky and professionals at what the do. I have decided that I do not conversate with the daughter in laws only with the sons. Only. That way I am not put in a spot to talk and be played. My boys and I will discuss and make plans and discuss what needs to be discussed. Any other ideas.

  • Beth

    I think Nora said it best. It all boils down to insecurities. I have been married to my husband for almost 14 years. We have a 3 yr old daughter and expect a son in October. My MIL made it known from the beginning that she disliked me. She said that I thought I was better than everyone else (because my family had money). What she didn’t realize is that it was my Dad’s money, not mine. I had to work for everything I had..and still do. This isecurity has become the root of all evil in our family. My MIL wants to control everything (I believe because she feels out of control with her son…I am the woman of the house now..and she doesn’t want him to be “corrupted”). When we had our daughter, things got worse. She thought we knew nothing about raising children (I helped raise 4 younger siblings) and told us we are doing everything wrong. She was smothering us in the beginning. The things that bothered me the most is how she undermined our parenting and would completely disregard our daughter’s safety (she would let her ride without a carseat in her vehicle). We could not tolerate this. My husband and I had a few arguments about this situation. I wanted to cut off all visitation, but then I realized I had to fight fire with fire on this one…and handle it in a positive way. I went with my husband’s idea. He said to give her the benefit of the doubt and trust her. He warned her ahead of time that if she stepped out of line…she would lose her “priveleges” of taking our daughter places and unsupervised visits. We gave her 3 chances. Each time she proved herself unworthy by making a bad decision and then she told us about it, blatently, like she did no wrong. She hung herself on this one. I am thankful I stood back and let him handle this so he got the proof he needed that she could not handle the responsibility. She has lost her privileges and will have to earn them back. The sad thing in all this is that my SIL has 3 boys and allows her mother to do these things to her children and has a problem with us not letting her go places with my daughter. My husband says she has to earn the trust too….if she allows their mother to do these things with her children and not say anything about it, then why should we trust her with our daughter? When we stood our ground (united) on this issue…it made things better for us. They know we will not “settle for less” when it comes to the safety of our children. We do not see his family as often as before, (we still see them on a weekly basis)but that has allowed us more quality family time together, so it all works out for the best. We are very civil and loving when together with his family and have a great time. We just had to set some boundaries. You just have to turn the negativity around in a positive way without attacking someone, all while upholding your beliefs and values. This situation has resolved so many issues within our families. We have issues with my family as well, but not where safety is concerned. We set some ground rules in place for them as well, and so far all have followed. I completely respect my husband’s wishes on things with my family…so I discussed it with them and said “we want this”. That is the key. Stand united as a couple and let each person discuss the issue with their own family (since they know them best) for the best outcome.

  • Cindy

    My own mom is the main issue with us and we had to dissect everything our parents do that upset us and openly and nonjudgementally listen to what we each thought about our own parents too. Took months to do it. Now I know he dislikes how his parents treat us and the kids and he knows how I feel about my mom and how she treats EVERYONE she comes in contact with. He is my best friend and it came over a period of years to feel that happy with him but we worked it out (argued) and came to the conclusions together. Putting yourself in your spouses shoes is what keeps the marriage together, just as you should with any relationship. It’s your PRIDE that keeps you from saying your mom is wrong or dad was wrong or brother was wrong towards your spouse. You have to go home with your spouse, not your family so you should first consider their feelings, not your family’s feelings. Do they pay your bills and raise your kids or feed your pets? They don’t want the two of you telling them how to live do they? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. As you would like them to do unto you!

  • Anonymous

    My mil uses flipant bible verses and if she doesn’t see me reading a bible, or living, looking like a pious christian, she starts pounding on me. She has never liked me, never came to my bridal shower and did not want me to marry her son. My life with her,(she lives in the same city has been a nightmare. My sil’s murmur and talk about me all the time, ( yet they have skeletons in their closets). Everything is kept secret amongst themselves (The entire family). I am the outcast and I am fed up. I no longer want my mil in my house. Her grandchildren go to their rooms and lock the door. Same goes for the great grandchldren. I have helped her when she had no way to stay (her other daughter in law and her own children didn’t want her to stay with them) In her eyes I am nothing and neither are my children. She has her favorites and my husband is not one of them. She would rather buy face cream to keep her skin young looking than give a poor person a bite of bread. She is very narcistic, always trying to look young and she’s well into her 70’s. I have had to put up with her for 30 plus years. But I wouldn’t trade my husband for all the tea in China. I will no longer allow her to have control over me.

  • L Brewer

    My wife and I were married for over 39 years. She passed on September 3rd, 2006 of cancer. All during our marriage we tried to adopt the idea that our inlaws were there for us as we were for them. All of our parents are gone now with the exception of her mother who is 85. We live in the same town and try to help each other when it is possible. There have been rough times over the years for sure but looking back I wouldn’t want to change much.

  • tara

    My ex mother in law she was the clan leader, and ruled the roost, And everything had to go by her first so she thought before we could do anything. She had to know everything that was going on too.
    All birthday parties, holiday’s had to be spent over there house.
    My father in law was just as bad.
    My ex husband was a mommys boy and that did not help our marriage either. I am going to make sure if I ever get married again that I live far away from my in laws, and never marry a mommys boy.
    It ruined my first marriage and it will never do it again.
    My boundaries are really big now, and if I have to get a restraining order I for sure will keep them away.
    My ex husband brother, lives more 8 hours away, his sister at least 3
    and his other sister at least 2. So it has kept them from alot of times seeing them. They have come in loud and clear, about their personal lives and marriages.

  • Ann P. in Illinois

    My husband and I have been together for almost 27 years-married for 24. I love my MIL and I believe she loves me. I know that we don’t always see eye to eye, but we both “live and let live”. Often, when my kids were younger, I wished that she WOULD give me more suggestions on child rearing, because she is an amazing woman, and after all, she raised my husband to be a wonderful man! I respect and admire her for the person she is, and I’m grateful to her for the man my husband is. Her other kids have their quirks, but I love them too. FIL was a bit rough around the edges-a bit gruff and not much tact, but with a good heart. He passed away in 2000, and MIL has remarried another good man that I am learning to love as well.
    My husband also loves my family. Most of my nieces and nephews would name him as favorite uncle, and I know my mom and dad really loved him. My mom especially. After my dad died, my husband took it on himself to do the small repairs and heavier work around the house that my dad used to do, and he did it because he loved my mom, not because he felt he had to. When my mom passed away, my husband spoke at her funeral with great love and emotion that brought tears to most eyes.
    The trick is to think before you speak, listen with your heart and mind open and ALWAYS have gratitude in your heart for these people that shaped and gave you the person you (hopefully!) love best in life. A regular application of forgiveness probably helps a lot too! 😉 I know that many people aren’t as lucky in their marriage choices as I have been, but I also like to think that the good choices we all make as we interact with each other can make a huge difference in the quality of all our lives. Just my 2 cents!

  • Karen

    How do you deal with a Mother in law who keeps the x-wife in the family. After my husband Seperated from his wife, his parents took her (x wife) in there home to live with them and then mths later help her to build a house right across the street from them. (By the ways — My Husband and I live 2 blocks from his parents and x wife) We cant move away right now because of my Husbans farm. He has to be here to take care and run the farm. Its very hard for us because my Husbands parents who are in there 70s and 80s dont want to give up the xwife and have open doors and understanding for the new wife (myself). We feel the xwife shares alot of information with his parents that is untrue and says things to them to persade them not to have a good relationship to with the new wife. (She is very upset that my Husband got remarried)
    I would really appreciate your advise.

  • Anonymous

    We live out of state from family. I met his family before we married. I’m good with my PIL(parents in law) but its my SIL that has a prob with me. I’m just not good enough for her brother. There are other issues in their family that I’m aware of. They all had problems n so have I with my own life in the past. She started on me with overhearing my conversation with my own mother. Hubby n I were looking at homes n found one we both liked. When the realtor told us that if hubby died it would be all paid for through his VA, I was shocked not expecting that and hubby was very pleased I and our kids would be taken cared of. When I was talkin to my mother over the phone about it, my sil heard that and thought I was a gold digger. I don’t have alot of money to start with and I could care less about money even though it does make this world turn so to speak. I have never been called a gold digger in my life. I was raised catholic and my mother didnt have alot of money n we did alot of free things growing up. I’ve tried to talk to my sil but she wont have it. She pre judges me alot.. Also she says she is a Christian? Christians dont judge by Jesus’ teachings. I dont judge anyone and I love my sil with all my heart. I have nothing against her. She is a stubborn quick judgemental Christian. Thats how she comes off and their parents has told her to back off. After that conversation she has it in for me. I’m also a ver Spiritual person and dont have one religion to stick with. They all fascinate me. I’ve dabbed in with other religions and the one rule applies to ALL…”Treat others as you want to be treated.” I follow that where ever I go. I never treated my sil with disrespect. She seemed nice til she over heard that conversation with my mom. Reading all these posts here, one caught my eye thinking she could be jealous of me in some way, I dont know how when she has more money than I do. Hubby has a brother too than im ok with. That’s his family. I’m an only child and have 3 of my own. (2 autistic n 1 ADHD) Hubby has one child(ADHD). Hands are full. Hubby and I have our differences and its nice to hear older people keep on tickin with their own problems as I read and I dont feel alone. I’m a very positive and High Sensitive Person. A good head on my shoulders as well. I just wished the relationship with my sil would be better. I took some of the other “probs” of mil and placed my sil in that position so that works for me. I just have to keep reminding myself the big picture with my family which is OK. All the lil details may be important but its also a problem in this family. My sil can make me mad yet I laugh instead cause she doesn’t know or/and understand the situation, so yeah I have emailed her and I’m thinkin it got her to shut up but she still has her problem with me. I just go where my husband goes. I also dont want heat to rise either so I will avoid it. Let kids go with him so they can see family but hubby wants me there too so I will sit in the corner (what I’m used to in my big family) and observe what is goin on and smile as they converse with each other and I learn more about them. Keep my peace with my mouth shut til sil talks to me. Otherwise it’s quiet. :)

  • j.martinez

    well my in-law thinks she is the mother of my two kids,my wife is a only child,and at times she goes against me ,i canot make desitions with my wife telling her mother or she will come over and try to run my family,itsn hard at some times i just go for a drive by my self or when i know that she is home i stay working late , i love my wife and i will never play her dirty, but at times all i want to do is leave far away, i moved from puerto rico to new york and she sold everything and moved to new york, now i’m relocating back to the island and i’m praying she don’t move ,but she is filling my wife with alot of negativity, about the relocation.

  • threads

    I’ve read these posts and have been married for 32 years and hope my new daughter-in-law likes me. I love her! She makes my son happy and that’s all that counts. He loves her dearly and I hope they will be together as long as my husband and I have been.
    Our secret, we moved away from both sets of parents and deal with ourselves and raised our children (child). They don’t know our business and don’t rule the roost now, as my mother-in-law tried even till about 5 years ago, we had a thorough altercation and finished the “Matriarchy”. She’s in a nursing home now visit on vacations, breaks, when we can. We are about 800 miles away from her and my new daughter-in-law and son, in a different direction.
    We’ve always helped each family as much as possible and never asked for help when we needed it. We trusted God for that and HE lead us through. Now, I hope he will lead us through the next “hump”. I’m sure, but I love my new daughter-in-law and I hope she loves us.

  • hopefulone

    I don’t have any inlaws. My life is boring and I dont go on vacations or visit family. I miss the picnics and bbqs of my family I adopted when I was in high school, but as far as my family goes I never spend time with them and my ex we didn’t spend time with his either. So be grateful you aren’t home alone with nobody to talk to in person to realize how good you really have it. I chose this so don’t feel sorry for me. I am only alone because I haven’t found the right family to adopt me or adopt them. Only my pretend family lol…



  • nancy

    We must be careful girls for hopefully we will all be mother-in-laws one day. If you believe in the sowing and reaping principle, we must be careful what we sow. Yes I had an evil mother-in-law and I also had only sons, so chances were unless I sowed into my relationship with her some good I was not going to reap any good seed.
    Fortunately for me my in-laws lived on one coast and I the other. First thing I did was cut off communication at first until I could be respected as his wife. Didn’t happen. Then when they did come 2 visit,I was not included in the festivities. Oh well, I found other things 2 do, but I did not stop my husband or children from seeing their grandparents. Then I realized that we marry our father/mother and I started 2 allow God 2 work out the evil in my heart, that was a hard realization to swallow. Then I had 2 work on forgiving them, not for them, but for me. My unforgiveness toward them didn’t hurt them a bit, but was eating me alive. Finally, I had 2 zip my lip about them 2 my husband.
    Now when they come they still want my husband exclusively and I have just accepted that. I have learned not 2 take it personally it wouldn’t matter who his wife was, they would probably treat her the same way.
    Hope this helps some1.
    I now have a new daughter-in-law that I love and care for dearly and I have 2 watch and be sure that I am not 2 overbearing as they learn 2 establish their own family, cause its not going to look like ours.

  • Anon

    My In-laws have never “grown up”. It is like I married my husband and got 3 step kids with him (MIL FIL SIL). For 7 years they have financially drained us because they can’t or won’t be responsible for themselves and decisions they make. I think finally my husband is seeing this and has put some distance between them, us and our bank account.
    They would like to move in with us, but who wants to cook, clean pay bills (plus the drama) for 3 ADULTS?? They are quite selfish and LAZY. I could go on but you get the picture…I envy anyone who has normal in-laws…

  • sah

    I have to say that reading all of these posts has definately been a good learning experience. Is the grass always greener on the other side? Maybe? Maybe not? I am the one who wrote about my husband loving my family. His family not so much with me, and my bil really not so much. If you remember what I wrote at that time I was frustrated with the situation. I do not want to give anyone the impression that I would ever treat them with any disrespect. I may not agree with how they do things, but I do respect them because they are my husbands parents. However, being the highly sensitive person that I am, it is hard for me to accept when people don’t like me. Even more so when it’s my husbands family. After my hurt feelings begin to heal, I jump right back up there, again, to try to earn their acceptance. Which may or may not ever happen. I am sure many of you can appreciate those feelings-yea for highly sensitive people. But we are all blessed with the power to FEEL so much more than others. With that being said, we all have the ability to imagine how it would feel if we were on the other side. Not many people can really understand all the emotions we feel. I have many friends and family who tease me because I can not watch too much news and current events, I become at times too distracted with all the turmoil and become more depressed. I physically feel ill and just not good at all. But, once we have dealt with our own hurt emotions and can begin to forgive ourselves and the ones who hurt us, we really enjoy all the FEEL GOOD emotions too. My husband likes to get me to laughing, there are some days that I may be a tougher crowd than others, but he always can get me to laugh and start to heal myself. We both come from two completely different families, but, we both will always try to understand where we are coming from. We are a team, we are in this together to the end. I would not have picked any other man to share all of these times with. “I love my husband”.

  • alx

    I am engaged to be married and have issues with my soon to be pil. They live about an hour and half away. We go to visit I enjoy thier company and we do fine. But when they come down here they don’t call ahead to see if we have plans or to let us know that they plan to stay here for the weekend. I have asked for him to politely tell his parents to call and ask first. He is only home on weekends and I don’t always have weekends off, plus we both have one child each. One time his dad came and stayed on night but did let us know ahead of time, then the next day (saturday) I had the day off, him and his dad went to a benefit golf outing and she was suppose to meet him here with his sister after staying there for a week. She never called till about 7 pm that night, his dad had been waiting for her since 3 pm and then he told her that when she gets here to put her stuff in the car and they would leave, well she took her time getting here and then stalled the leaving thing and finally at 10pm she got her way and they stayed here even thought I had just picked up his daughter that morning and she was going back early on Sunday. Not once did she ask to stay, when his dad replyed that there wasn’t enough room, she replied yes there is and his daughter had to sleep on the couch. I spend my day off sitting at the table from 3 pm till 10 pm because we couldn’t do anything else because of the situation and not knowing what they were doing. And when she is here she takes over the house and the whole situation really bothers me. Any advice?

  • Nora

    I have read all the postings after my previous one of June 29 and I hear you. I would like to say I was most impressed with Ann P’s of Illinois. You should all go back and re-read her posting. Ann: I like your “2 cents” (quoting you) contribution. Actually it’s a very wise one. Everyone should be as lucky as you to have in-laws who can work with you and who understand that you’re trying to create harmony. Congratulations on having a happy extended family situation. I particularly liked your last paragraph in which you mention gratitude, forgiveness and working on the quality of our lives.
    I’m glad it worked for you. I also have shown good will to both my MIL
    and DIL over the years but they haven’t responded well, as expected. I have bent over backwards for my DIL, not to patronize her, but I had a longing to connect with her. She still gives me that cold, steely look. My conclusion is that both my MIL and DIL have baggage/issues that have nothing to do with me because I have been civil to both.
    Michele Dulen: Sorry you got a “double whammy” with TWO daughters-in-law who don’t like you. At the end of your posting you asked for ideas…..well, I think when you told your DILS that “no matter what, nothing was to come between you and your sons”. I have a son….so I understand what you mean very well. But I think you may have challenged your daughters-in-law to proof that they CAN and WILL come between you and your sons. By the way…your “boys” are now MARRIED MEN….they should not continue to think of themselves as “your boys”….eventhough they are to you. My recommendation to you…..and it may not work, but you should try to include your daughters-in-law a part of your planning. Don’t just deal with your sons because sooner or later they will find out that you’re excluding them….and they won’t like that. When you want to suggest something to each couple…first of all, make sure that you’re saying or suggesting something reasonable…like Ann P. of Illinois says: “think before you speak”. Then, get their joint approval. I think your daughters-in-law could be impressed with your new approach to things.
    Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law: hang in there! Instead of fuming about what your DILs or MILs say or do and complaining about it….try to look at the BIG PICTURE. DILs…first of all, consider that your in-laws have been around a while and they have a different style of doing things than you. Neither style is better than the other…..just different generations. Is that so hard to understand? Try to give the “old guard” a chance to get acquainted with you. I think it’s impudent of some young DILs to set ground rules for their in-laws, to “give them one more chance” and to stop “visitation” with the grandchildren. HELLO?? In most countries in the world in-laws and grandparents are treated with respect and deference… matter how quirky they are. You’re supposed to negotiate with difficult in-laws as long as it takes to work things out, within reason. Even if they reject you, don’t give up so easily! There is too much at stake for everyone….your husbands, the children. I’m just amazed at the bad faith and mean-spiritedness of some of the postings here. Granted you need to vent and need a sounding board….but “venting” should have a positive outcome and help you be more understanding of your in-laws and accommodate them just a little….even if they’re crazy!
    Mothers-in-law: if you have a “daughter-in-law from hell”, like I do….hang in there! Send your “DIL from hell” a nice card in the mail telling her how much you appreciate her (even if you don’t). Whenever possible, buy her a boutique gift…”just because”. Shock your “DIL from hell” by giving her a nice, warm hug and a kiss when you see her. Ask her if you can help in any way. You have to be careful, though, because oftentimes “DILs from hell” get suspicious if you’re too nice to them. They can get paranoid and wonder why you’re being so nice. But, no matter…do the right and loving thing. At least do this for your sons….so they can see that you’re being supportive of your “DIL from hell”. Do expect miracles…it may take years, but I trust if you show your good will something great could happen. My husband and I are suffering greatly from our DIL’s vindictiveness…. cutting “visitation” with our two beautiful grandchildren but I still send her a nice card in the mail. She’s blocked us from e-mail and has also blocked the land phone and her cell. By the way, some DIL used the word “visitation” in one of the postings….I greatly dislike that word because, in my book, grandparents have an intrinsic and divine right to connect with their grandchildren….without any interference from DILs or SILs…..unless they’re drug addicts, drunks or into pornography. The rest of the world thinks grandparents should be a part of a young family’s life…..they don’t have to be models of perfection, they just need the same DNA as their grandchildren and same BASIC decency. Sorry to say that as Americans we are losing our traditional values. It is up to us to uphold some traditions… sitting at the table for dinner, instead of eating out of tv trays in front of the tv; fixing a Sunday family dinner and inviting as many grandparents are as available and have them partake of the meal. Mothers-in-law: go out of your way to cook a Sunday meal and shock your son and daughter-in-law with your hospitality. Don’t meddle….just tell your son and DIL: “you know where I live” or “call me when you want to get together, I’ll bring a pie”.
    MILs and DILs….create PEACE AND HARMONY whenever possible. Read “The Secret” if it will help….it talks about the Law of Attraction….see if it works for you for relationships. It hasn’t worked for me yet in regards to my DIL….but it has brought me abundance in the meantime. In the meantime….let’s all try to “attract” our in-laws instead of scaring them away. Aim for a WIN/WIN….that’s the MATURE way of handling conflict.
    Please let’s continue to

  • Deng Mayom Changath

    The in-law friend or toe?
    Just the word in-law is often suffiecient to get your gaurd up. most of us are extremly cautious about our dealings with in-law because we have learnt through narrtive or personal experience that treading on the wrongs toes will surely lead to disaster. the funny part is that we don’t all have chalant attitudes towards our relative but we end up being cold and distant when all we get is negatives puplicity from our in-law
    Our miniscule faults are almost always highlighted more than our greatest virtues. and then,there is rivalry and jealous. I have problems with one of my wife in-law who wants to have the best of everthings, but can not stand my being successful and happy!
    my wife younger sister goes to Kenya and Egypt for voctional holiday every year, and stil not happy!

  • Mel

    I can totally relate to many of you. My mil can be very demanding…did I say can? I meant IS very demanding. Every year the whole family has to go on a vacation together. When we’ve explained that either we can’t get off work or we can’t afford it she doesn’t understand and all but calls our bosses to beg them to let us take the time off. My husband and I haven’t been on a vacation by ourselves in 4 years (we’ve been married 4 years…together for 9…)
    She also is very negative. My hsuband and I are not small people but both of us were athletes in school and now our muscle has turned a but flabby. We have tried hundreds of diets, at her request. She recently even told my husband that he should have gastric bypass surgery! It caused my husband to become so depressed the other day that he cried most of the evening…and he NEVER cries. She makes sure that in every conversation and his weekly phone call to her to remind him and I how “fat” we are. Because of it, even now my bil and sil say things. I am under doctor’s care because of my thyroid and the doctor had even said I may not be able to lose the weight right now because of problems with the thyroid.
    My husband and I can’t get pregnant either and have been told by Doctors that we probably won’t ever be able to. She’s convinced and have told us every time that if only we’d lose weight then we’d get pregnant. We tell her over and over again. It doesn’t make a difference though.
    The problem is that we live in the same town as them, whereas his brother and sister moved to other states. Its not just us that see this by my sil and bil’s spouses. Being far away though they don’t have to deal with is as frequently as we do though. ITs overwelming. never is there anything positive that is said about us…HELP!!!

  • Wendy

    It’s sad for anyone to have to live and experience the deadly sting of in-laws. In-laws seem so threatened at the fact that we’re in love with their son, or daughter and want to spend our lives in love together, having a good life. Making a family of our own TOGETHER!! What’s so F*&^% wrong with that?!!!! People say “Scorpio’s” have deadly stingers that can leave their victims crying for months…. Mother-In_LAWs are WORSE, their DEVILS in sheeps clothing and a black fork tongue!!! I first met my husband 18 years ago and from the beginning my sister in law and MIL, didn’t like me. I asked my (future)husband why? All he could say was, “Their just like that, nothing against you!” I have tried to be on every good term possible,especially when we had children together. I was nice and cordial, yet without over doing it cause I don’t want to appear “fake”. No matter what good I tried to do for the sake of our children and that of my husband, it wasn’t enough. Any ways, they were against us from day one. My two children from a previous relationship was told, would never be accepted into the family so for years our children lived with such “division”. I wanted unity but couldn’t force my husband to help bring it about. He had a wierd love hate with his mom and sister. Any ways, it’s because of this major problem that my husband and I divorced. They’re happy we’re not together, but it really hurt our children the most and for that, I am most regretful. They learned much love through my ex-husband and I, now they’ve learned “hate”… a fine line played in both. Many of you who stand your ground with your in-laws, I commend you. You deserve to be treated better and don’t take any stupid *^&*))#. I was nieve, I let it go too far and too long and the damages are irreversible. I hope this helps some of you in the mean time, keep your chin up and don’t lose the faith,, especially in YourSelf!!!

  • Ann P. in Illinois

    Thank you for your kind words about my previous post. I’m sorry to read of your difficulties with your family, and hope that with time thing will improve for you.
    My path with my in-laws has not all been thornless roses, but compared to what I have been reading here I have no grounds to complain.
    It is unlikely that I will ever have a DIL, because my son is autistic and will probably never be able to have a relationship leading to marriage, but my daughter will be 21 in November, so I expect that in a few years I will be a MIL. I will do all in my power to make my SIL feel welcome in our family. I’ve told my daughter many times to make sure she likes the family of the boys she dates, because whether she likes it or not, they will be a big part of her life! If nothing else, she will owe them respect, because they gave the man she loves life.

  • cristal

    I write this to encourage my sisters in christ to not let in-laws ruin your marriages with their insensitive views of you whether they’re right or wrong. I let what my in-laws said about me take me to hell and back for 11yrs. until the came when my husband lost his mind and inlisted his father to help him get in touch with an old girlfriend who happened to be married also and the rest you can figure out. Well after this GOD gave me the chance to decide to forgive and stay in the marriage or forgive and divorce after all I prayed for GOD to give me a way out of this because my husband let them treat me the way they did. Well, with much, much prayer I came to the conclusion that love WAS stronger than pride and my love for GOD is what helped me get through the sin of adultery but, GOD also let me see how I steped away from my vows by physically taking myself away from my husband. Our, men are visual creature’s and will be swayed by satan’s tricks believe that this is what God warns us about in the bible stay away only for a time that is agreeable between the two of you but, come back together before satan comes to your door step. It, has been 2yrs. since this tragedy some would say came upon my family but, in the end we have come out of it stronger than ever as a couple we no longer let other’s come between us and that was the biggest factor in our marriage. Coming to this realization wasn’t easy but, it has gotten us to obey GOD when he says we shall leave our mother and father and bond to EACH OTHER and being faithful to GOD since this has let me see another one of GOD’s promises that even my enemies will be at peace around me how great is GOD that works out even the worst of times for our good. I hope this story helps someone before you go through any of what I went through but, should you please rest asure that if, you go to GOD in the moment of your time of need and stay there he will bring about all HIS promises to you just be still and wait for GOD to come.
    I love you my fellow sisters in christ!!!!!

  • Neena

    My in-law issues aren’t with my deceased mother-in-law, but with my sister-in-law. I’m living in Bahrain for the past 6 and 1/2 years, and yes, I know you all are thinking well good for you, you’re far far away, but not really, because my husband is Syrian so we are only a 2 hour flight away from his country so every other year we (I’m) forced to visit his family and not only this, but he’s got a sister whom lives in West Virginia, so I’ve got the best of both evils. So one year I’m faced with the Syrian relatives, and the other year still the syrian in-laws in the the States, and to make matters worse, it’s not like we have our own house in either country, we don’t so in each visit, that means we are actually living in eachother’s you know what for the length of our stay. But my main issue is with my sister-in-law in the States more than the ones’ in Syria, the one in WV is controlling and soooo moody and sooo sensitive to ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING I say. And if we take any kind of trips together, the whole time in the car she’ll just keep her back to me and hardly talk to me, and she has such a long face half of the time and has such a major serious personality. She need to lighten up!!!!
    Example: On one of my visits a to the US, we ended up staying 3 weeks in their home, (Yippee!), anyway, one time I went upstairs to grab something from my suitcase with my son. When I was upstairs, and was ready to come back downstairs, I could have sworn that I saw her middle daughter behind us and snooping in my bags, which I’m sorry, but this is a major faux pas of mine, so on my way down I yelled to my son, “I hope that my niece is not looking through my bags!” When I got downstairs, my sister-in-law took such offense to that and was going to ride it and ride it and wasn’t going to let it go, and really wanted to tear me apart on this comment. And as it was, it was my mistake, apparently my niece was sitting at the table downstairs, and I think because these people stress me so much, I hallucinated the event. I did apologize to her, but she was not going to let it go, she carried on and on and on. And the worse of it all, is that my husband always takes her side, which really really bugs me to bits!
    I could go on and on and on about her. The fact is, she’s always ready to bit my head off all of the time.

  • lisa

    Soon after my son married, his wife called me to let me know that it says in the bible that when a man marries, he is to leave his mother and father and cling to his new wife. Which means that we don’t need you anymore. So don’t be coming over all the time and stuff. He’s married now and we have our own life to live. I always believed that the meaning of that scripture is you physically leave your parents home and go make a home for your new wife. You don’t say “See ya, nice knowing you, it’s been fun. Any suggestions on how to let her see a different meaning to that scripture? She is a minister’s daughter and knows the bible inside and out. Her words, not mine.

  • Juanamie

    Many of us have heard the saying, ” It’s not the family you’re marrying but that person”. The biggest lie told to mankind!! The family can made or break your marriage if you let them. And never forget mother is the queen of the pack. My husband and I have been
    together 30 years this May, and married 26 years this coming Oct. It took 20 years for her to make an effort to try to like me, to love me would be out of the question. I’m very big on family it means the world to me. But I married the prince her first born son. No money to speak of, not of royal breeding, didn’t know my place, and not even close to being her first choice. In her eyes a match made in hell. After many years of going to his home to be punished for my unworthiness, she crossed the line. Her remarks, never sugar coated made one of my children cry. At that point I knew in order for my husband and I to make it, I had to keep that 7 hour ride to hell always 7 hours away. It took 15 years and a lot of prayer, and I’m sad to say my children only having one grandma, (my mother). And it was a loss on both sides my children not really knowing their father’s family, and a family that never cared to be there for my children. I never wanted my husband to miss out on seeing his mother when ever he felt the need, but our agreement was I didn’t go. For 17 years that worked and he never put me in harms way. Because when it would come down to it I was going to be on the losing end and I knew it. Not because she was right and I was wrong, he just didn’t want to hurt his mother. Always for the most part putting us first it finally came that day when he had to make that trip and we had to go as a family. She wanted a family reunion all wives and children included. In the passed I was the only wife that would go, her sons and their children would come, but never the wives. This time would be different, my husband begged for weeks. Only prayer and my love for him got me in that car. I felt like I had been hog tied to the rear bumper, and praying that the flumes would kill me before we got there.
    All I can say, is that God is a good God, and in His time answers prayer. I was welcomed with open arms, for the first time my children were treated and felt like she was their grandmother. It was hard for her a times but she did it, she wanted it to work out between us. God had also healed my heart over the years I was willing to start over. Now I won’t lie to you and say we’re the best of friends but we’re good and blessed to have each other now. I just want to share this with you. There are some people you pray for and just have to love the HELL out of them, (SMILE).

  • lady of light

    My in-laws were good people. My mother-in-law always had a cup of coffee ready for me, and a “listening ear” and was supportive and helpful. She never interfered in my marriage. She always made me feel welcome anytime but never came to my house unless invited. It is good that I had this kind of “role model” for a mother-in-law and my father-in-law was equally kind. Now I am a mother-in-law and when my daughter-in-law told me during the Christmas holidays “You are like my best friend.” I knew that all the prayers I prayed, the wisdom God gave me to just simply let the children know we love and care about them and to resolve my difficulties with my therapist in conversation and many times to keep my opinions to myself unless I have something good to say. There is wisdom in “Choose your battles carefully.” If something REALLY important comes up, it is more likely your children will listen. The only problem we have is that my son and daughter-in-law bought a house further away and we don’t see them as often. She is working full time and my son is working full time so they don’t answer their phone or like to receive calls in the evening. The grandchildren always seem glad to talk to me when I do get through, but they don’t take the initiative to call. I feel a bit disconnected from them compared to the past, but I still do my job which I believe is to pray for them everyday. You say that you get tired of the in-law conversation “always being the same and often negative.” I would like some suggestions from some of you as to what things to share and talk about when visiting or calling. I always ask how they are doing and of course I am interested in anything that is going on in their life that they want to share, but I don’t want to pry beyond what they share.
    Your article was good because it shows that their are difficulites that , though not insurrmountable, are real. I suggest that anyone who wants to read about a wonderful mother-in-law – daughter-in-law relationship read the book of Ruth in the Old Testament of the bible. It is only four chapters long. Ruth was a courageous woman and was blessed in many ways because of her devotion to Naomi, her mother-in-law.

  • Nora

    “Lady of Light”: you asked what to talk about and share with your son and daughter-in-law. Well, the less you talk….the better. Sad but true. Just listen to what they want to talk about…..praise them for whatever accomplishment, whether your son put shelves in the garage or your daughter-in-law made a great apple pie. The best thing is to keep a low profile…….it may not work at all for you, but at least they will remember you as being accommodating to them. Ask how was their day at work……maybe they have something they want to unload on a caring person like you.
    Things are not going so well for us. We haven’t seen our grandchildren in two months (we only live 8 minutes away) and we may not see them ever again with the way both my DIL and my son are acting. (he has no other recourse but to go along with my DIL from hell. My husband and I were very anxious to see our grandkids, so we decided to go to their house. We both prayed out loud until we got to their house. We’re no holy rollers…but we just needed to say an “Our Father” a “Hail Mary” and a “Memorare” asking for divine intervention. When we got to their house, we peaked through their living room window and we saw our beautiful granddaughter dancing around like a “Princess”. She saw us and gave us a big smile that said: “there’s granpa and grandma!” but she was hesitant to walk up to the window and looked towards the kitchen several times to see if her mom was looking……she was! Our little grandson was running toward the window when he saw me and his grandpa….with a “there’s grandpa!” kind of happy face. Just at that moment we see my DIL from hell intercepting the boy before he got to the window. She picked him up at took him upstairs while the boy looked back totally perplexed and disappointed. Then she came out to the front porch and told us to get out of her property. My husband lost his temper (which is very rare for him) and said: “listen young lady (40+)you wouldn’t be in this property if it weren’t for us!” (we gave them a few thousands to get into a beautiful two-story house). I didn’t expect my husband to say that but he had every right to do it.
    Later on that evening we returned on the advice of a good friend who has some experience in this matters. She said: “go back and ask her to lay out all her grievances about you two…..don’t say anything, just listen”. We came to their front door and you could hear a pin drop…like the whole family was hiding from us. We rang the doorbell again and no one would answer, we knocked and no one would answer. Then I saw her neighbor across the street, who also works with her, heading towards our car which was parked down the street….at the same time I heard our DIl say behind the front door: “I think they’re hiding inside their car”. When I approached the neighbor, I said: “Mary…..would you tell Joan that we would like to hear what she has to say about us? that we want all the dirty laundry aired so we can go on with the business of being an extended family”. What followed was unexpected….Mary got histrionic and she started crying and gesturing with her arms saying: “it’s so scary what you’re doing to Joan!” I asked her what was “scary”….and she said: “you peeking in the window hoping to see the kids”. I replied: “what’s scary about two grandparents in their 60s longing so much to see their grandkids that they are willing to do a humiliating thing like standing in front of their living room window waiting to get a glimpse of them”. She had no answer for that….then I said: “Mary, what if you were deprived from seeing your grandson Billy?” She had no reply for that. Then, she returned to her house…..all the while sobbing and crying for her friend (our DIL from hell, as if she were performing in a Greek tragedy….minus the amphitheater! My husband remained by the door and finally our son opened the door, only to be told “get the hell out of here!”. My husband said: “we want to hear what Joan’s gripes are about us, once and for all”. He replied: “you already know what Joan’s gripes about you are…..she doesn’t want you near our property!” So, we left sad….but happy at the same time that our grandkids saw that we’re still in the vicinity. (they are often told we’re away on a long trip)….hoping that our grandkids will bring up our names every now and then and request to see us. Hopefully, their mother will have enough love and compassion for her kids to make it happen. So…..the moral of the story is: don’t forget to say: “Lord, forgive them for they do not know what they’re doing!” and keep praying for them to be enlightened and reflect on the wicked, mean-spirited thing they’re doing to their own kids. DILs from hell, reform! don’t do this to your kids! they have a right to have as many grandparents as God gave them. Get a life! and don’t be plotting and scheming how you’re going to leave your in-laws out on a limb. The same goes for MILs from hell. Be fair and get some self-esteem….there are lots of books out there to read: spiritual, self-help, etc. that will put you on the right track. Insecure people are a pain in the derriere (this is not considered “vulgar language” because it’s in French…:) Don’t be paralyzed with hate and revenge…..turn it around and create Peace and Harmony! If I can do it, in spite of having a DIL from hell….you can do it! I’m ready to forgive our DIL from hell anytime she makes any nice gesture towards us…..but I better not hold my breadth! In the meantime, I would like to ask everyone on this forum to please pray for these two loving grandparents who are being tortured by their DIL from hell, unnecessarily. Thanks in advance! I will remember all of you in my prayers.

  • Faith

    Okay, after reading these stories…I don’t feel so bad, and I could get some great advise from a lot of you!! My mother-in-law is best described as a MONSTER-IN-LAW! She drives me absolutely crazy. She’s the type that is so nice to you it’s sickening…but it’s not the true nice, it’s the “I really hate you and as soon as you leave the room I will start talking about you” nice. She is so fake I can smell her rotten attitude. She babies her only son (my husband) to an unbelievable extent. He’s 34 years old and he still brings his laundry (2.5 hours) to his mothers house, because I don’t do it right. She is constantly challenging my ability as a parent and every time I see her she tells me what I am doing wrong with our children, and then quickly gives me her idea of the right way, and if I tell her a certain way in which I want things to be done with the kids, she completely disreguards what I say and does it her way anyway, and then procedes to tell my husband that what I am doing isn’t right, and he does whatever she tells him to do, and that starts a fight between us. When my husband and I fight, it’s always my fault in her eyes. Even when he is clearly in the wrong, she asks me what I did to make him so angry!
    Here’s the icing on the cake…When my 2nd daughter was born this past April, she came to visit me in the hospital with my sister-in-law (whom I have no problems with) and she wanted to hold the baby. my room was filled with visitors and she is sitting in a chair holding my newborn daughter, talking to her in a cutsie voice and speaking loudly she tells her that she looks nothing like her father and asks her “who’s baby are you?” All my visitors heard what she said and looked at me with puzzled expressions. I couldn’t believe that she had just completely disrespected me, and infront of all my friends and family to boot. I was outraged and could have slapped her at that moment, but for my husbands sake, I always keep quiet. Now, please, tell me that I am not crazy to think that she is out to get me (in the betty croker, suzie home maker kind of way)! And the worst part about it is, my husband doesn’t believe that she is like that to me. She changes face infront of him. Sometimes I think they are ganging up on me. Please help, I need advise before she wrecks our relationship!

  • Lois McDonley

    The minister’s daughter who blew off her mom-in-law may be Bible based but does not have a Christian attitude. She should remember Ruth and Naomi, where the daughter-in-law helped her mom-in-law and ended up being very happy and successful in life.
    I would advise this mom-in-law to be very kind and gentle to this obviously insecure young woman. Perhaps the mom-in-law may have come across as a bit pushy at first, so she should let the couple have some time without contact. Then, a note or a phone call, or a little package with something thoughtful may be a good opening move. If the couple attends church, the in-laws may go to the church and perhaps invite the couple to dinner afterwards.
    BTW, when the grandkids arrive, babysitting help will probably not be refused…even by someone who is in-law-phobic! Any other opinions?

  • Norah

    OK, MILs and DILS……I empathize with all of your problems. But lets face it, you cant change people… can only make up your mind to cope with peoples idiosyncracies. But you must be as fair as you possibly can with the person who makes your life miserable, even when its obvious that theyre out to get you. JUST DO THE RIGHT THING…..always act as if a third person were observing you interact with your MIL or DIL from hell. As long as you are civil….thats all you can do…..remember there is a God and he is watching both parties.
    Forget yourselves and think of how many people are being affected if you choose to act bitchy. Its not about revenge folks…..that attitude only perpetuates a bad situation. Let the other person act wicked, scheming and malevolent….you don’t have to lower yourself to that level. Many DILs and MILs are always thinking about themselves and see themselves as victims all the time……but do a little thinking and figure out what youre doing wrong that is irritating the other person.
    Faith, you say that your MIL acts so nice to the point that is sickening to you. Well, would you prefer that she be openly nasty to you instead? Also, it was her intrinsic, God-given right to hold her
    newly-born granddaugher. She had no right to say Whos baby is this anyway….just because her daughter did not look like her son. But consider the source….and realize that everyone in that room thought she was completely out of line… didnt look bad, your MIL did, by saying something outrageous like that.
    DILs and MILs…..get help, get counseling. Its important for you to hear from another person if youre being fair in your dealings with your in-laws. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our feelings and insecurities that we don’t realize that were being ugly and impossible. Sometimes we cant see the trees from the forest and things keep getting worse instead of improving. Also, whenever possible, as your DIL or MIL to sit down and talk about some issues and make it a point to be fair and civil during such conversations. In my case, my DIL will not agree to talk to us because she doesn’t have a leg to stand on and knows that if we sit down and talk she won’t have a good reason to justify her hateful actions. People who are wicked are also elusive and will not agree to sit down and solve problems, because they want to perpetuate a bad situation.
    Sometimes all we can do is pray for things to improve and pray for our DILs and MILs from hell so that God will enlighten them…..that’s all we can do. My husband and I suffer greatly because our DIL from hell won’t let us see our grandchildren….but our only consolation is that we are always correct and always reaching out towards our paranoid, insecure DIL. She’ll have to deal with her conscience day in and day out…..with the fact that she is depriving her children from their intrinsic, God-given right to have as many grandparents as are willing to love them. That’s why we can sleep at night, knowing that we’ve
    been good in-laws to this confused, mixed-up DIL of ours, especially when she’s done all the insulting and slights, but we have never come down to that level.

  • Norah

    Hi there! is anyone making progress in their dealings with MILs or DILs? We have not made any progress…..we’re still trying to connect with our DIL so she can tell us once and for all what is it about us that she dislikes so that we can change that. This reluctance of hers to come to the negotiating table only makes us believe she’s not interested in having a relationship with us. Our son is equally reluctant to meet with us and it boils down to being intimidated by his wife. We understand that he is now an adult married man and his loyalty to his wife is first….but it would be nice if he could keep in touch with us without fearing his wife’s wrath.
    Have any of you MILs tried some nice gesture on your DILs to help improve your relationship? or have some DILs tried to be patient and kind to their MILs? Did it work? The idea is not to perpetuate a bad situation, but rather make it better…..make it a WIN/WIN for everyone concerned. I can’t help think how many sons would have less stress and be happier if their wives could try harder to accept their MILs as they are and work with them a little to make things better. Also, I can’t help but think how many sons would be happier family men and live with less stress if their moms would keep a low profile and be as prudent as possible, respecting this new little family. Being there for them if she’s needed, but not meddling in the young couple’s life.
    Now that we’ve been banished from our son’s family unit by our DIL from hell, we are waiting patiently for a miracle, for God to enlighten her to do the right thing. In the meantime, we’re going about our lives, trying to live one day at a time, trying to identify with other people’s pain and help them. We miss our grandchildren so much! but what can we do? If anyone remembers…..the last time we saw them was when we stood in front of their living room window and looked in. We saw both our grandkids and they were getting ready to run towards the front window….until our DIL from hell picked them up and took them upstairs. What kind of a person would do this to their children….especially when the grandparents are respected members of a community?? Does anyone have any suggestions on how we can reach our DIL?

  • amazed

    I think a good first step would be to stop referring to your daughter in law as the DIL from hell. It sounds like the relationship is very antagonistic. Perhaps you should do a little soul searching as to the possibility that something you may have said or done could have resulted in the mess that it sounds like you are now in. Being self-righteous can blind us to our own faults. I’m not saying your DIL is in the right, but right now it sounds like she is not very receptive to the energy you are putting out. Try to understand her, even if you disagree. She is a human being, after all, and the mother of your beloved grandchildren!
    Good luck. Life is too short to get tangled up in such drama!

  • Norah

    Amazed: Thanks for your input and the advice is well-taken. However, my husband and I are comfortable with the fact that we have treated our DIL over-the-top kindly and have bent over backwards to be nice to her. I have never said anything unkind to her and have never had an argument with her. We have avoided confrontations with her at all costs. We have overlooked all her nastiness towards us and have let her know every time that we are forgiving and willing to work things out. For the last ten days or so I’ve been trying to turn negative energy into positive by praying for her everytime I feel bitter because she won’t let us see our grandchildren. My husband and I pray for our enlightment every night so we will find a way to reach her heart…we also pray for her enlightment. Yes, we’re aware she’s a human being and we have tried to understand her, support her and cooperate with her in ways I can’t even begin to relate on this site…..but the nicer we are, the nastier she gets. We’re trying to understand her and see things from her perspective, precisely because she is the mother of our beloved children and our beloved son’s wife. We’ve had feedback from both her own mother and sister that she is impossible to deal with….so I wonder if we have a chance! The reason I’ve called her my “DIL from hell” is that she is just that!…..and this is the only place where I can express this truth without badmouthing her to people we know in common. I don’t like sharing this type of frustration with my friends because I feel disloyal to our son and grandchildren and that’s no good. In any case, thanks for responding.
    In the meantime, I hope some DILs and MILs are making some progress in their relationships.The idea is to build a relationship, not destroy it. Doing the right thing by the other person is always a good rule…….which is different from being self-righteous.

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