Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help ! - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

Hello Everyone,
I am writing this post as I am at my wits end and have had no luck trying to get my in-laws to respect boundaries. I will put in as much information as I can in this thread so that everyone can have a clear picture of what's happening before they start giving advise / tips.

My husband and I have been married for 7 years and been together for 9. We have a 1 year old daughter together. My main issue at the moment is my in-laws. I just don't know how to get the message across to them that they need to respect boundaries and my wishes.

Just to give a bit of history, my husband is the oldest of 2 boys. When I first met him at Uni, it seemed odd to me that his parents were very heavily involved in his life. I didn't think much of it then - maybe I should have. When we got married and we had problems i.e financial - his parents would always step in and assist. I was very uncomfortable with this but when I would say something, my husband would point out that I was being ungrateful.

My husband's health is not fantastic and there was a time when we were living in 2 different cities because of work and he fell really sick and had to be taken to hospital. He was in the ICU for a couple of days. He didn't ring me but rang his parents. my Mother in law (MIL) was the one who drove down to where he was and took him to hospital and her and my father in law (FIL) kept this from me because I had important commitments at work. I was in an absolute panic because I'd been trying to get ahold of my husband for 24 hours and had no idea what had happened. Finally I rang my FIL and got it out of him and he cant keep secrets. I was so mad at them that I didn't speak to them for months.

Soon after this happened, I fell pregnant. our daughter would be the first grandchild on both sides. During my pregnancy I took my in-laws on a couple of events baby-related (scans, shopping). at this stage, I was still mad at them but thought it would be best to let bygones by bygones. When I first took my MIL and FIL with me to the baby shop, I was looking at bottles and my MIL said "you don't want to look at bottles. Bottles are bad for your baby. you don't want to think about bottles for at least the first year". She breastfed her boys for a long time so she's a snob and know-it-all when it comes to this. The whole family looks down on women who cant breastfeed and regards them as failures. I really hate that ! I didn't know if I was going to be successful at breastfeeding so I said to her that I would decide which option was best for me, thank you very much. when I told my husband about this, he agreed with her and said that breastfeeding was the way to go.

That aside, my husband and I always said that when it came to naming our children, he would pick the first name and I would pick the middle. I am Asian so I gave our daughter my grandmother's name as her middle name. When my husband told my MIL this, she told my husband to get me to change my name choice because "kids would make fun of my child at school". When my husband replayed that conversation back to me, I was so mad that I told him that I was never going to change my choice of name. What business is this of hers anyway ? Am I wrong in thinking this way ? My husband initially contemplated giving our child both her grandmothers names as her middle names so i'm not sure if this is the reason why she reacted the way she did.

After my daughter was born, I had my parents come visit (they live overseas and I see them once or twice a year). After they left, my husband insisted that I go stay at his parents place (they lived 4 hours away from us at the time) so that they "could help us" as we were both first time parents. Boy was that a big mistake! my husband was a very nervous anxious parent, as was I. the entire time we were there, she would hover around my husband so that he wouldn't get a chance to bath, change nappies, carry baby, rock her to sleep. he probably preferred that because he was so nervous ! She wouldn't do it to me as I told her to politely to back off as I was a first time mum and needed to figure things out for myself when my husband would eventually go back to work. if I had to have a shower and gave the baby to hubby, it would be MIL carrying her when I got out of the shower. Everytime my husband had to change nappies, she would hover and stand next to him and give him instructions. if he showed any nervousness, she would just take over and do it for him ! same for changing clothes and carrying baby ! It got to the point where I would go and stand next to him so that she would stay away and let us FIGURE THIS OUT OURSELVES.

my husband had really bad reflux as a child and still suffers reflux as an adult. I know that my baby DIDN'T have reflux. But everytime my baby made a noise, she would comment that my baby was "unhappy, unsettled, something isn't agreeing with her" which would send my husband into an ABSOLUTE PANIC. I told her to cut it out and she told me in private that she would but she NEVER did. This continued for MONTHS and everytime my baby threw up or spat up, my husband would make me stop whatever I was doing and give the baby a breastfeed because according to my MIL, that would "soothe my baby's burning throat and the milk would wash it all down". my midwife and GP laughed when I told them what happened and they would say to me that my child showed ZERO signs of reflux.

my MIL actually said to me that I never go to her for advice and that I take advice from "random people" and my response to her was that I choose to take advice from my GP and my midwife whom I regard as experienced professionals in their field. I also had to tell her that I would never go to her for advice because my husband involves her more than he should. ordinarily I wouldn't have an issue with that if I knew she was giving good sound advice but everything she said was the total opposite of what both my GP and midwife would say.

When my child was 6 months old, I got a job offer that I couldn't refuse and moved 4 states away. My husband had to become the stay at home parent as my earning capacity was higher than his. I have been working for more than a decade and him a couple of years. This is another reason why I would never take advice from my in-laws - my husband spent nearly a decade at Uni constantly changing programs. As teachers, I thought they would have given him better guidance instead of letting him run around like a headless chicken and wasting so many years of his life. As parents I am sure they have done the best that they can but still I would never take on any advice from them.

Since we have moved, it seems like we have seen them more times than ever. My husband feels lonely and homesick so he loves it when they come down. Each time they come down they overstay their welcome and don't think twice about it. My MIL will buy toys for my child even after I've said she doesn't need them. if I say no, she will go straight to my husband who will tell her to do what makes her happy. Whatever toys she buys for my child, she will comment for weeks on end about how THAT TOY is my child's favourite toy and how much my child "loves" it and how she couldn't possibly live without it ! My husband yearned all his life to have a decent relationship with his grandparents and this never happened so he's desperate for my child a decent relationship with his parents. At the expense of rules and boundaries that we have set for our child.

They constantly buy things for my child or for our house which I know we will never use and I end up chucking them into the bin. I have asked them before to not waste their money and it falls on deaf ears. Every time I go away on a work trip and come back, there's more crap there than there was before that we don't need. My husband doesn't say a word because in his mind his parents are just trying to help. He doesn't mind that they try to clutter up our place with rubbish because he's a bit of a hoarder himself (nowhere near as bad as them though). They will tell my husband that because they bought those items, they now have to go without because they don't have much money. I hate how they put the guilt trip on him !


Both my in-laws are retired teachers and have no hobbies or interests. My MIL spends a lot of her time on Facebook stalking people which is why I've had to restrict her access to my page. They have lived in their house for 35 years and don't believe in spring cleaning. They have so much stuff in their house that it's not funny. There's no space for us to stay when we visit because they have just hoarded so much stuff. this is why I have said to my husband that I will never step into their house again now that my child is walking. It is like a death trap. My sister in law wont go to their house either. She pointed out that she and her husband (my brother in law) suggested to my MIL to clear out some of her belongings and my MIL started crying. my sister in law thinks that my MIL attaches memories to things and therefore cant bear to get rid of them. I have no issue if she wants to that to her own house but I have a big problem with her doing that in MY house.

What should I do to get them to back off once and for all ? I also forgot to mention now that we have moved 4 states away, they send my husband weekly care packages, filled with random things !

PLEASE HELP ! Any advice is appreciated !

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 05:10 AM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

Have you actually told them to back off?
Really if it bothers you so much have a firm conversation with your husband. He might not know exactly how much it bothers you...could be passing it off as insignificant.
Inlaws are hard. When it comes to advice they can give all the advice they want doesn't mean you have to do it.
As far as stuff for the baby...my inlaws do that too but I either take the Toys they don't play with and pack them away or give some to charity.
I don't know..sounds like they are doing most of this stuff out of love for their grandchild.



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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 05:14 AM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

I could have done with a little less information.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 05:29 AM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

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Originally Posted by Blondilocks View Post
I could have done with a little less information.


I know
She's obviously irritated but it was hard to read.



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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

Sorry wasn't sure how else you're meant to get the full picture if I gave out bits and pieces of information that didn't seem to make sense. You didn't have to read it if you felt it was too much information.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

He knows how I feel about it. I have brought it up enough times that I probably sound like a broken voice recorder now. Regarding my in-laws, at the start I would drop big hints which they never got. So I had a firm polite conversation with my MIL telling her to back off. And she went straight to my husband and said that I attacked her and bullied her, which I didn't do. But that's what she said to him. My FIL was there too and he overheard the whole conversation but chose to go with what my MIL said. So there you go. It feels like im damned if I do and damned if I don't.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 05:22 PM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

Is this a dealbreaker for you? Because it may never get better.

Your husband needs to be told - TOLD, mind you, not ASKED - that his parents interference will no longer be tolerated, and then don't tolerate it. And he needs to cut the apron strings.

People don't get a free pass to cheat just because their marriage sucks.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 09:29 PM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

With strong mothers, it's almost impossible for the child to stand up to her. Either because he's afraid of her being disappointed with him or because he's used to her and enjoys her ways.

This isn't going to change. A therapist would tell you that the only thing YOU can do is set boundaries and consequences for what YOU will do if they overstep those boundaries. You can't change them, you can only change what YOU do. Yes, you need to make it clear to your husband what YOU will do, and then do it. He will then have to choose to support his wife or his mother.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

I feel like sometimes it is an absolute dealbreaker for me because I am always made to feel like the bad person her for raising my concerns and setting boundaries. It also doesn't help that my MIL goes into victim mode and tells the men in her life i.e my husband and FIL that she feels like I am attacking her. She is so fond about *****ing about her own MIL and I know for a fact that she would not tolerate such crap from her own MIL.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

I react very badly now when they overstep boundaries which I know isn't good but I cant seem to help it because I have tolerated this for about 9 years and I feel like I have finally burst. My husband says he doesn't take sides but it is clear in his actions that he takes his mum's side. This is most probably because when I am frustrated with his parents, I take it out on him because he's so blind to everything that they do and that makes me SO angry !

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 12:31 AM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

Then it's time for you to educate yourself on Boundaries and Consequences. Seriously. Read every book you can find on it. See a therapist about it. Find forums about it. It is the ONLY thing you can do to change this.

Well, that and to stop CARING what he and they feel about your actions. By caring what they think, you are handing over your power to them.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

I thought I had educated myself on boundaries and consequences. I also stopped caring a long time ago about how they feel about my actions. This is probably why they haven't stopped. They feel that if they go straight to my husband and he says yes to what they want to do, then it doesn't matter what I say because my opinion is irrelevant in their eyes.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 08:43 AM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

For the record. I didn't read all of it. Took one look at the length and figured it wasn't worth my time.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 09:06 AM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

You're kidding yourself. You DO care, it's obvious, and it's human nature. Have you read Boundaries In Marriage? What can you tell us about how boundaries and consequences work? Give us an example of a time you've used it.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 09:23 AM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

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Originally Posted by MarionStar View Post
They were very heavily involved in his life. I didn't think much of it then - maybe I should have.
^This, sadly is correct.

You married into a dysfunctional family with boundary issues that pre date your marriage.

Your task here isn't so much to set boundaries with your MIL...that won't work, it sounds like it she's been in charge forever..but rather work with your husband on the larger issue of boundaries (or the lack of them) from a historical perspective that pre dates you.

This is one of those occasions where the lift for you is pretty heavy, b/c the issue isn't so much one that emerged since marriage, but really is ingrained probably for life. Their enmeshed relationship has obviously worked for them, it's you with the problem (although it shouldn't be).

Consider marital therapy, you might need some help here, he has to separate from her emotionally before he can work with you as a team to support your rights and frankly, mere presence.
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