For Sale, One MIL- I’ll Pay YOU!

Right now I am struggling with being charitable and behaving how I think I should (and am eternally expected to) and wanting to just scream with frustration at the woman. Who? My mother-in-law. I know all the jokes about MIL’s and all the stereotypes, but mine? She takes the cake. Everyone who knows her tells me they’re glad she is mine, and no one will trade me, under any conditions.

Before DFM and I married, he told me what to expect, and I just could not believe any woman could be that bad. He is not close to his mother, and has not been for years, and after six and a half years of trying to be patient, look for the good, and like the woman, I give up. She really is that bad.

Some examples:

  • When we got married, she complained the photographer did not take enough pictures of her, while there was not one picture of me with my mother. (she paid for the photographer)
  • She invited herself to stay at our home while we were on our honeymoon, then she was still there and did not leave when we got back.
  • The one time we went to her house to visit her when we moved to the northwest, she entertained us in her bedroom, wearing her underpants. We have not gone back.
  • She makes sideways comments about my parents divorce status, and frequently badmouths her terminally ill husband.
  • She lies about weird things, like her daughter leaving her (Hispanic) husband, how her camera broke at the wedding of her grandson (to an Asian woman), and how the camera also malfunctioned at the wedding of her granddaughter (to a black man), taking only pictures where the groom was absent.
  • When she comes over, she insists on folding my laundry, but she buries things in the layers, like my underpants in with the kids jammies and the dishtowels, so I have to go through the entire basket to find things. It does not matter that I ask her not to fold it.
  • In her house hang framed “glamour shots” of herself, and no pictures of her grandkids.
  • Her voice and mannerisms change based on who is around and how well they know her.
  • Everytime she comes over, she brings groceries, always commenting how she never knows what I will have to eat for the kids. As if I don’t take care of my kids? We have a years’ supply of everything in the basement, duh?
  • She calls me “Girl”, and even Jeffrey has told her not too.
  • If I leave her at our house for any time at all, there is always something laying on my scriptures when I return. A phone, a pencil, a tablet, a towel, a toy, a pillow…
  • She thinks all Mormons are going to hell, and we know she will tell our kids this when given the chance.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. The very worse thing for me is that you cannot pin her down on anything. Generally I am very straight forward, and if I see or hear something that troubles me, I talk about it, openly. You cannot do that with this woman- ever. She will deny, evade, lie, anything she has to do to avoid confrontation or real honesty. DFM likens dealing with her to ‘nailing jello to the wall”, and wishes me luck.

So what do I do? As my husbands mother and my children’s grandmother, she is entitled to a certain amount of respect, but even that is becoming difficult for me to dish out. All the pretending is making me want to put my head through the drywall. And even though I refuse to pretend around her, and I insist on talking about the elephant in the room, she just continues on her merry way, as though the windshield wipers of her mind wiped everything anyone else says away. AND, she is not crazy or getting dementia- this is all calculated.

In closing, I want to apologize to my dear husband, for doubting him and his assessment of the relationship. She is one wacky woman.

7 thoughts on “For Sale, One MIL- I’ll Pay YOU!

  1. My Father’s Mother is much the same way, and she openly criticizes all of her inlaw children a lot of the time. She lived with my family for 2 years while I was in high school and I think my mom just about murdered her in her sleep. She says things that make people generally uncomfortable and makes herself frequently unwelcome. Luckily she generally prefers to be left alone to wallow in her self-absorption so we are not too frequently put through the mill. I wouldn’t worry too much about her putting ideas into your kids heads. It sounds like they’ve already figured out that they don’t agree with some of the things she does. It’s remarkable how some people blot out their own influence by being unpleasant.

  2. From Dr. Phil’s website – TOTALLY describes your MIL.

    “‘You are a Passive Warmonger’
    Instead of fault-finding or engaging in character assassination, these toxic partners try to thwart their partner by constantly doing that which they deny they are doing — in such an indirect way as to escape accountability if they are confronted. A passive aggressive person is as much of an overbearing controller as the most aggressive, in-your-face person you could imagine — only they do it insidiously and underhandedly.”

    Sound familiar?

    You are not required to be best friends with this woman. You are not even required to be friends at all. You are required to give her the respect that all human beings deserve, and that’s all. You don’t have to see her very often, and your kids will pick up on how crazy she is sooner than you think. They will take their cues from you, and either shrug it off or go crazy trying to make sense of it.

    Do NOT try to make sense of it. Illogical people by definition do not think logically, so quit trying to make her actions logical. They’re not, and they never will be. Every time she does something crazy, just think “you are a passive warmonger, and someday they’ll come up with medication to help you. Until then, I’m just going to breathe deeply.”

    Confrontation doesn’t work with these people, unfortunately. And since they’re constantly rewriting history, they are always in the right. You could show her a video of herself being horrible, and she’d tell you that it never happened, despite the photographic “evidence”.

    Good luck, and just thank heaven that in your husband’s case, the apple fell really far from the tree. I hope you live really far away from her.

  3. Wiz,
    Oh holy cow!! That is her to a tee! Now at least I have a name to call her in my head as I am dealing with her.

    My problem has definately been trying to make sense of her and what she does, and my natural mechanism is to confront her, which as you aptly point out, does not work. At all.

    The more I know my MIL, the more of a miracle my husband is! Thanks for the info!

  4. OK, you are so brave to publicly write about anyone (especially family) who could concievably log onto to your blog and read about themselves.

    So so brave you are…I am in awe.

    She does sound like a complete nutcase. Makes me appreicate all of my family and in-laws just a little bit more…and we are a pretty disfunctional group in and of ourselves.

  5. Brave or bordering on insane? It’s a close, close line!

    In this case, I don’t care if she were to read it- It’s nothing that I haven’t said to her already. As I wrote, I like to talk about the elephant in the room, all the examples I gave are true, and I am not embarassed.

    Maybe that is insane!

  6. Just work on drawing simple limits with her and otherwise with politeness.

    At least you understand what her problem is now, and there are sources and materials on how to deal with such people.

Comments are closed.