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Long post (sorry!) about mother in law

I have been married for almost 4 years. I met my in-laws once before we got married, and while my husband and I were engaged (we lived together for 7 months before we got married), I didn’t notice any interference into our lives from my husband’s mother. His parents live in a rural, unpopulated, remote section of Northern CA (a 5 ½ hour drive from the closest airport), and we lived in TX before the wedding; after we married, we moved to my hometown in the South (completely my husband’s suggestion- I had not mentioned it). The interference seemed to start at that point; when we lived in TX, husband called his mother roughly once a month; after the wedding it became more like once every one and a half to two weeks- the conversations were mostly him telling her what we were up to, and the majority of the rest of the conversation (usually a little over an hour) was his mother talking- mostly about what was going on back home (all of his large extended family lives within 20 minutes of each other). She then began mailing him newspaper clippings from home, pictures of his family, and would often send blueprints for building a cabin on a piece of property he had bought prior to meeting me (we did not have money to do such a thing, as we were trying to live on a budget where we already were, which she was aware of. He also had decided to abandon plans of building right away when he met me, as building was something he wanted to do when he was single). The mailings came every other month or so. At one point, she sent a note to him telling him to ‘be generous, these are your family members’ when she asked him to give a donation for his several of his cousins’ college education (he gave 600$ to them even though we were having financial uncertainties at that time, which she knew. And we had just had a baby!). His parents would come to visit us 1-2 times a year, and during these times I noticed that when he would tell his parents things we had already decided to do, his mother would say things like “You know, you should consider x,y,z…etc.”, “have you thought about doing x or y, etc.”….basically trying to get him to think of doing something different than what we had planned; i.e., 'suggestions' after we had made a decision on something. Because my husband respects his mom’s opinion, he would actually consider most of the suggestions she made; frustrating to me, at first not because they came from his mom, but because I don’t agree with 95% of the way she does things, what she likes, etc..(but I have kept my mouth shut about how I feel about her recommendations). I’m now to the point that I don’t like these unsolicited suggestions simply because they come from her- they range from everything from what TV we want to buy, to what to name our daughter, to what second career path my husband should consider, to how to specifically manage our money- ALL unsolicited. It just seemed like everything he told here we were doing, she had ‘suggestions’ us to do something different that she would have wanted us to do! My husband and I had other separate problems that escalated 3 years into the marriage, to the point where I felt they were unresolvable even after working on them for over a year and attending marriage counseling. My husband did not let his mother know we were having problems this whole time. I ended up filing separation papers ….long story short, we ended reconciling after a month, he promised to change a lot of the behaviors that were at issue, and I gave him a chance to do so. He has so far has done all that he said he would and we are working on rebuilding our marriage. While we separated, he told me that he would be returning home for a week to think about things. It was at that time he decided he wanted to do whatever it took to make this marriage work and told me he was committed. When he told his mother of his decision to go back to me, she told him that he shouldn’t go back to me, that I had not sacrificed anything for him (not true, and he even said so), and proceeded to insult where I was from. One thing he had decided to do at that time was to stop drinking entirely- this had been an issue throughout all of our marriage because he drank to excess almost every night. The majority of his family is alcoholic, with the exception of his Mom (his dad has a drinking problem, but he, his mother and Dad are in denial about this). When he told his Mom, she told him that he was capable of just drinking one drink and shouldn’t stop drinking altogether, and poured him a glass of wine at dinner, passing it to him saying ‘here, drink this.’ (he refused). He also told them that he was selling his property because he felt we as a family needed the money (we had recently sold our house so he could go back to school). I never mentioned anything negative about his property or ever asked him to sell it; this was a decision he made entirely on his own. His parents then gave him the silent treatment the rest of his stay there upon learning this, and for a few months (literally) after that when he would try calling his mom she would basically barely speak to him. (this is how my husband would treat me after arguments- I see where it came from. The good news is he has stopped doing this).

My question is how do I bring up all the problems I have with his Mom interfering in all aspects of our marriage during marriage counseling? Husband is not aware how much this affects me and what I have described is only the tip of the iceberg (in the past she would not acknowledge gifts or cards I’d send to her, has made subtle passive aggressive statements to me throughout the years; too much to explain). I get the feeling that I am overreacting a bit (he’s always saying how his mom says things because she wants to helpful. I feel that she has ulterior motives and basically wants us to live/do things the way she would!). How do I act around his parents at my husband’s graduation in June (I won't be seeing them until then)? It is extremely hard for me to be the ‘mature’ person and act like everything is alright because they basically told him not to go back to me, and especially because they insulted where I was from! If I just ignore it then they will think it is okay to say such things and I’m tired of it. How to handle?
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replied May 19th, 2009
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i understand how you feel. i was with my ex for 5 years and he was a momma's boy. his mother was aggressive and she tried to control any situation she was around. he cried to his mom when we had problems (problems that he caused-he cried about the outcome of his stupid decisions). his mom always babied him. she tired breaking us up at the end, and when we lived together she was the women of the household when she visited out home. this women was sweet on the surface but a monster like her son.

i cussed her out, actually through a letter. so she didnt step on my toes too much but she will always be aggressive and possessive. and i just feel sorry for the next girlfriend.

you have to be honest! just tell him how you feel. he might disagree, but they're your feelings. dont let that women bother you or put any stress on your relationship. tell your husband to be careful what he says to her. the less she knows about your business the better. it's really weird my ex mother was married, but she still like mentaling in peoples business.
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replied May 19th, 2009
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my ex's mother was very sweet, she always got him out of trouble. never let him take the trash out or pressured him to do anything. his step father was abusive and threw women in his mom's face.
when he moved in with me he cried to his mom all the time. he was mentally abusive like his step father, he didnt help with cooking, cleaning, or taking the trash out. he was a womenizer like his step father. his mother didnt teach him how to do anything and b/c of her shortcomings it was a heavy burden on me.


so when you said your husband give the silent treatment like his family does. i was just thinking about how much my ex was like his family.
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replied July 3rd, 2011
Mother -in law problems
You must mention all of this during the counselling otherwise it invalidates the sessions and negates the whole process .What a nightmare!
You must get your husband to speak to his mum about your joint efforts to make this marriage work .He should ask for her support in doing this , why would she object ?She has supported him before he should say , he must show how much he is counting on her for this .
As for the family occasion, congratulations , by the way , I think he should tell them how hurt you were by their attitude to where you come from and inform them that neither he nor you condone or accept this , but that for the sake of the family and the joyous occasion , you will do your part in presenting a unified front and enjoying the party.
My goodness you have put up with a lot !! All the very best , Jill xoxox He has to start sticking up for you and your family.
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