Wife's mother passed away - difficult mother-in-law
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Navigation »Talk About Marriage »Focused Topics »Dealing with Grief and Loss » Wife's mother passed away - difficult mother-in-law

Dealing with Grief and Loss The grieving process is difficult. When we lose someone close to us, we go through many different emotions.

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Old 12-31-2011, 02:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Wife's mother passed away - difficult mother-in-law

Hello everyone,
here is my situation in a nutshell. My wife's mother has been diagnosed with melanoma roughly 4 months ago, and she unfortunately passes away last Thursday. We have the wake next Tuesday.
It is a VERY difficult situation for my wife due to the fact that she was extremely close with her mother. I cannot imagine what she is going through and I am trying very hard to be as supportive and caring as possible. We moved in with my in-laws about 2 months ago so she can help and be there for her mom. We left everything behind and made the move; jobs, friends, house. Everything.

We are both relatively young; my wife is 24 and I am 30. The problem is my mother, my wifes mother-in-law. My mom has always had a difficult character to deal with - "her way or the highway" type of personality. She never accepted my wife for what she is, was against the marriage, etc. She seen the wifes parents once or twice - and wrote them off right away.

Now that we are going through such a hard time, she didnt change at all. The wake is Tuesday and my mom, dad, as well as grandma who is here visiting from Europe will attend the wake as well as the church part but the dinner is what caused a situation. When on the phone with my mom, my wife asked her to bring my grandma as well because she would like her to be there and then come with us for the dinner, My mother threw in her face, at a time like this, that she was not personally invited so she will not come. Obviously my wife started crying and got mad at me that my mother will never change and still is set in her ways even now.I did mention to my mom that even though there will be more than just family members at the dinner I dont know if she is invited. She replied that she knows that my wife wishes it was her (my mom) that died instead of hers. I replied that it doesnt matter what anyone thinks right now, to put everything aside and just be there for my wife. I dont think she liked that.
Like I said; she never liked my wife even though my wife tried a number of times to reach out. I really dont know how to handle this.
Im afraid that when my mother shows up at the wake she might act in a way that she usually does and i dont want a scene or my wife to get even more upset. Then again, I dont want to upset my mother either.
From the conversations with my mom it seems like this is yet another "drama" that she enjoys so much. Even though she cried when she heard the news, told me I have to be supportive, I get a feeling like she is "enjoying" the situation at hand.
Im at a loss. What should I do??? Im an only child and I truly love my mother because I know deep inside she is a very good person but when it comes to this Im stuck. She likes to be the center of attention and Im afraid she will not be able to withhold that at the wake, yet I would like her to be there. She has a very dominant personality and it hurts that at a time like this there is nothing I can do to make her understand and act appropriately and with compassion.
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife's mother passed away - difficult mother-in-law

I would assign someone in your family to monitor your mother. A brother or sister perhaps? They should stay with her, and make comments every time she gets out of line. Preferably someone who is diplomatic, and can handle her with humor.
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Old 12-31-2011, 04:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife's mother passed away - difficult mother-in-law

Thank You for such a prompt response LoveSherman. The problem is that Im an only child so I would have to have someone from my wifes side watch her... Language barrier aside, but I would hate to "delegate" someone to that task and take away from their time to grief. My wifes family is VERY VERY close and the death of such a young woman is sending a shockwave through them. I understand that my wife will go through a number of stages after the loss, and I accept that some of that anger will be directed towards my mother and me. I also accept that she might wish that it was my mother that passed away and not hers.
But in the end, I still want to be able to have a relationship with my mother without feeling guilty; but I can deal with that later. My main concern now is the funeral...
Any more ideas LoveSherman? Anyone?
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife's mother passed away - difficult mother-in-law

Your statement title made me laugh here wish you good life now
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife's mother passed away - difficult mother-in-law

I'm sorry that your mother is acting this way. Sadly, my mom is almost the same way......(read my previous posts if you want to know more). My mom likes to cause a scene every time things do not go her way and this makes my fiance livid. He always gets mad at me for giving in to her and not putting him first, as he should.

I think you need to be more candid with her. I know that you love her and all, but you need to learn to put your foot down with her. She will never change, but you can change how she treats your family. You need to tell her that you either make an effort to be civil with my wife, or I am out of the picture. If she acts dramatic, then let her. DON'T give into her, it will only make things worse. You need to not give in to her ways and ignore her. She will eventually learn that her behavior is unacceptable.

As far as the funeral, you also need to tell her that if she cannot to act civil during your wife's difficult time, there will be no reason for her to come to the funeral. You need to set boundaries for yourself. It is time for her to realize that her dramatic ways are no longer acceptable.
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife's mother passed away - difficult mother-in-law

My mom is the same way as yours. I think you need to sit her down and explain to her how upset your wife is. Tell her that her being difficult could devastate your wife and your wife's family. Let her know that if she can't keep herself under control, she's not invited. If she is still indignant or you think she will be, tell her she's not welcome. Your wife comes first in this situation, and if your mom can't control herself she needs to be excluded.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife's mother passed away - difficult mother-in-law

My heart goes out to your wife, as I also lost my mother at far too young an age. This is such a difficult time for her. I had the opposite problem with my husband's family -- they were completely absent, didn't attend the funeral and some of them never even sent a card.

This situation needs to be dealt with very delicately, but at the end of the day your wife and her family need to come first during this difficult time. If you don't have anyone to monitor your mother, then you have to do double-duty. If you see her getting out of line, remove her from the situation immediately and swiftly, and deal with the repercussions later. Your mother being angry with you is nothing in comparison to the devastation your wife is feeling, and will feel for years to come. She does not need the added hassle of a difficult personality.

It's been 6 years since my mother died and I still miss her every single day. It doesn't get easier, but it does get "less hard" if that makes more sense.
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Old 10-11-2013, 07:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife's mother passed away - difficult mother-in-law

All I can say is I hope I never do to my children's spouses what some people do to theirs... I'm very sorry you are dealing with this on top of everything else.

I like the 'Assign someone to monitor your family' idea.

Beyond the wake, funeral, etc. what you did that nobody can ever take away, is show your family that your wife comes first. Keep setting the tone and they will either 'accept' or not but your marriage will flourish just the same from you being the kind of guy that stands by their woman.
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Old 10-11-2013, 07:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife's mother passed away - difficult mother-in-law

Grow some balls and put her in her place. Being your mother does not mean she can act and say whatever she feels like, whenever she feels like it.
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