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Frequent Fry HerTM
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Midwest Mutineer
Age: 34        MIL Age: 65
Wisconsin

My MIL is a Martyr-In-Training!

frequent fry her - Midwest Mutineer Frequent Fry Her TM. - Midwest Mutineer /Posted: 2-SEP-01
When DH called his mother this weekend, she informed him that she would be visiting BIL and SIL for her birthday in November.  Now, BIL and SIL live about three hours away (kind of a long drive).  I'm sure MIL expects DH and me to be there and dance attendance on her, even though she never came out and said as much.  The problem is, DH and I are taking a vacation (our first in three years!) in late October/early November, and we will get back late on a Saturday.  DH informed me that he then wanted to drive down on Sunday to be with MIL.  My first reaction was to gape at him.  "What??"  We will have just spent an exhausting day traveling cross-country, and then he wants to get up the next morning and log six more hours in the car just to wish MIL a happy birthday?  Use the phone, honey!!!!  I'm tempted to tell him that he should go down to see MIL by himself - that I will stay home and unpack, shop for food (we'll have been gone for a week), and do laundry so that we have clean clothes to wear for work the next day.  To tell the truth, there's NO WAY I want to end what is sure to be a beautiful vacation by seeing my MIL!  Something tells me that DH won't be pleased by this (that guilt thing is a powerful force), but I refuse to jump just because MIL says so.  However, DH still asks, "how high?"  Damn those bloody apron strings.  If DH doesn't cut them, I'm going to take the hedge clippers and sever them myself!

        Signed - Those Apron Strings Are STILL Too Tight!

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

RESPONSE:  Those Apron Strings Are STILL Too Tight!
Posted: 23-SEP-01
Think of it as a present to your husband.  You are caving for the greater good.  Fewer headaches.  I know we always seem to be the ones making the sacrifices for our husband or wives.  But, since it's his mom's birthday, I would make the sacrifice.  Only because MILs have the gift of guilt trips, and especially on a holiday or their birthdays.  Suck it up this time and do it.  That's not to say always give in, but for her birthday I would do it.  Maybe your husband will appreciate it.  Maybe.

RESPONSE:  Those Apron Strings Are STILL Too Tight!
Posted: 23-SEP-01
I don't think you're being very fair here.  First off, your MIL didn't even ASK that you drive down to see her, and yet you're mad at her!  Secondly, your husband wants to take an opportunity to see his mom on her birthday and you're complaining the apron strings are too tight?!?  Wow.  Maybe you are not very close to your own family and can't understand why he wants to see his mom.  But if I were in his shoes, I'd want to do the same.  Yes, it may be inconvenient timing since you're coming back from vacation.  But I think it would be a nice gesture to your husband to go visit his mom with him.

RESPONSE:  Those Apron Strings Are STILL Too Tight!
Posted: 28-OCT-01
Whoa there, second poster!  I see exactly why this woman is upset.  Didn't her DH KNOW when his mother's birthday was when they planned the trip?  Yes, the apron strings are too tight - mom may not have asked him to come.  But DH is still feeling the tug, or he wouldn't have made such inconsiderate plans.  It's ridiculous to drive six hours just to deliver a birthday wish in person.

frequent fry her - Midwest Mutineer Frequent Fry Her TM. - Midwest Mutineer /Posted: 12-JUN-01
I am so depressed this morning, and I don't know where to turn.  After MIL's latest snide little exclusory act (see the message signed "My MIL Thinks She's Khruschev"), I decided to have a serious discussion with DH about his mother's behavior, and how awful it made me feel.  He stated that, no matter what MIL says or does, or how much it hurts us (or, rather hurts ME), that we have to just smile and nod and forgive her, because, "She's Mom," and that she won't be around forever (thank goodness!).  DH then claimed that MIL doesn't intend to hurt anyone by these actions, and if we try to tell her that we HAVE BEEN hurt, it only serves to drive a wedge between us.  When he called her on the carpet (reluctantly, I might add) for her last insulting e-mail (see message signed "MIL Makes Attila the Hun Look Lovable"), he claimed that WE hurt HER.  I asked him to at least set limits with MIL.  He asked me not to do this to him.  By that, I inferred that he will never stand up to her for fear of alienating her (and calling down the wrath of his siblings), and that no matter what slights or insults she sends my way, he expects me to endure them without protest because, "she didn't mean it."  I couldn't believe my ears!  Am I being so unreasonable to ask him to help me, and to support me?  I feel so lost, and so very, very hurt.  I love my DH, but the thought of having to stand alone against his mother's slights and manipulations just makes me want to cry.  I plan to see my counselor about this, but I'd also like to hear what you all have to say.  Please help!

        Signed - Standing Alone

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 13-JUN-01
I am getting married soon, but the MIL is doing the husband bashing emails and sending them to me, thinking they are funny.  I can't think of anything to do, because she is paying for the dinner.  So I just use my e-mail program and put a filter on her e-mail so it goes directly in my trash, and I don't have to put up with her cr@p anymore.  Plus, I screen my phone calls now.  Just try to stay invisible my friend.

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 13-JUN-01
Having the support of your DH could make all the difference in the world.  It is as though he is saying that what you feel and think aren't as important as his mother.  I felt for a long time that my DH didn't care what his family did or said to me.  Finally, he stepped back and took a look at what was happening, and has agreed that they are over the line.  We have been much happier ever since.

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 14-JUN-01
You have all of us to back you emotionally.  I know the tactics these MILs use.  I am pretty sure my MIL is descended from one of the many fierce Mongol Hordes that invaded Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages.  I wanted to send her a one way ticket to outer Mongolia.

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 14-JUN-01
If your counselor is anything like mine, he is going to tell you to stand up for yourself.  Calmly and maturely present your side to both your MIL and your husband.  Letting your husband know what your counselor told you helps also (it did for me.)  In my case, I finally told my husband that my MIL was HIS mother, not mine, and I was no longer going to put myself in any situation where I am going to get abused in any way.  Simply put, I wanted nothing to do with my MIL.  He could see her, talk to her, whatever he wanted - but I wanted to be left out.  I told him that I was going to trust the fact that, after 8 years of marriage (and 5 years dating before that), he knew who I was and what I was about.  And I was going to trust that, no matter what his mother said to him about me, he would know better.  He agreed, and told his mother what the deal was and why.  My MIL wasn't going to stand for that.  My DH had 2 horrible visits with his mother (without me) and 2 horrible telephone conversations with her after that.  He told his mother that he wasn't going to discuss me if I wasn't there.  My MIL's only reply was, "Your wife has destroyed this family, and I demand that you leave her!"  That was the end of their relationship also.  Believe me, my DH was the same way as your husband in the beginning.  No matter what MIL said or did, it was "just the way Mom is" and had to be accepted.  It got so bad that I was ready to divorce my husband, even though we had no other problems except my MIL!  Before deciding to "disown" my MIL, I spoke with counselors, my pastor, family, friends.  Not one person disagreed with me!  This really opened my husband's eyes too.  However, I must tell you that my husband has been disowned by two of his siblings because of this.  He is still very close with his father (divorced from MIL) and one brother.  Well, that was years ago, and we have been extremely happy ever since.  From time to time, I will ask my husband if he is still OK with not having his mother in his life.  He always says, "Without a doubt!"   My prayers are with you.

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 14-JUN-01
Your DH needs to know that YOU are not the one driving the wedge between the two of you and your MIL.  SHE is driving the wedge between you (as a couple) and her.  You two are one individual, and he needs to make it clear to his mother that she needs to think a little bit more about how she is speaking to the both of you.  Even though you entered the family, you two are now an item.  If MIL hurts you, the obvious fallout is that HE will inevitably feel your pain (you can only suck it up for so long).  Since it's obvious that her idiocy is not directed personally at you (as he's said she "just doesn't think" and, "we just need to suck it up"), then things will only decline over the long run if she's not aware of how hurtful her actions are.  It's also obvious that NO ONE is going to be good enough for her boy, and if he wants to make ANY relationship work, he's going to have to set boundaries with her immediately.

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 18-JUN-01
I feel your agony!!  I have been married nearly nine years and my MIL has been a constant problem.  My husband seems to have no spine when it comes to his parents.  I don't know how many times my husband has said, "That's just the way she is," or, "She means well," or, "I'm sure she didn't mean anything by it," or, "She was only trying to help."  Yes, I'm sure she thinks she has good intentions, but does that always make it okay?  Unfortunately, my MIL is still an issue in my marriage, but I have to say that things are better than they were in the past.  I think that the things I have learned from all of this are as follows:  As far as my marriage goes, I would say that my husband is making an effort to consider my feelings more concerning the time he spends at his parents' house.  On my end of things, I try not to allow myself to react with so much anger.  I have noticed that when I'm angry, that is when my husband really goes on the defensive.  If I'm calm, he can listen and understand where I'm coming from a little better.  That's not to say that he doesn't go back to using one of those comments above, but at least he doesn't feel attacked, and maybe sometimes I actually get some support.  As far as my MIL goes, I have learned to put up with her personality.  I have learned that much of the way she acts really is just the way she is.  She tries to give people she doesn't even know advice, and she takes center stage in every situation she's in (not just the ones concerning me and her baby boy).  That's not to say that I let her take over things, oh no.  She has learned her limits with me, for the most part anyway.  Mostly, I try to keep my distance from her, as difficult as she makes it.  I have never allowed myself to become too close to her because I have always felt like it would be like selling my soul to the devil.  I would never have my own space if I didn't keep myself emotionally distant from her.  My husband has said that it bothers him that I'm not closer to her, and I told him point blank what I just stated above.  I think I still hold a grudge for how difficult she made things before we got married, and the fact that she has never actually apologized for the way she behaved.  She spent years trying to convince me of what a good person she was.  She used to go on and on about how much she does for others.  At my wedding reception, the one my mom had (we let our mother's each throw a reception after going alone to get married - whole other story, but I'll definitely have to write it someday), my mom called my DH's parents and invited them to come (trying to mend fences).  Well, my MIL and FIL did come for a short time.  My new MIL went around telling everyone (she didn't know anybody but my parents) about how they were good people and they didn't like to fight with people.  Everyone was asking me and my mom what she was talking about.  It seems it would have been so much easier to just tell my DH and me that she was sorry for everything, rather than going around like a guilty-acting fool.  She doesn't have the ability to admit she's wrong about anything.  Anyway, I just think we women give these clingy mothers of grown men way to much power over our lives when we let them get to us (though I'm guilty of it myself, especially when my DH can't see things for what they really are).  I really feel for you, and I hope things get better for you.  Please follow up.  I would love to know if the counseling helped.

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 01-JUL-01
I can totally relate to your story. I have been with DH for 10 years, and the first 6 or 7 were complete he**!  My MIL was always meddling and making critical, judgmental comments to me, or "implying" negative things about me.  When she was called on it, she'd deny it to the hilt.  For years DH told me "she's just joking", or "you took what she said the wrong way," or worse yet, "you're imagining things."  Not only that, but his parents expected to be involved in every aspect of our lives; they even joked (hinted) about going on our honeymoon with us.  They'd even get mad because we would spend part of each holiday day at their house, and then part of the day at my parent's house, like I was supposed to disown my family when I married DH.  These are just a few horrifying examples of how my in-laws acted.  I would have to write a book to list them all.  It felt like it was me against DH and his entire family, and, like, DH cared more about his family's feelings than mine.  I was expected to treat them with respect, and ignore their rude behavior, but they could act however they pleased.

However, DH slowly (too slowly at times) wised up over the years and began to notice things, but it took 6 or 7 years for him to really begin to see how obnoxious they really are and to try and do something about it.  It was pretty bad, and I threatened leaving him because I couldn't take my MIL's crap anymore.  He finally realized how miserable I was, and how ridiculous it was to let his parents have control over our adult lives, so a couple of years ago he began to set limits, like making his parents call before they came over, and and limiting the amount of time we spent with them during each visit to an hour or two.  He and I also agreed it would be better if I began to spend less and less time with them, and let him go visit by himself most of the time.  It got to where I only had to visit with them about once every 4 months.  Over time I could tell this was really starting to get to them, because, despite their best efforts, they just couldn't get back the iron fist control they used to have over us.  They became so outraged that they finally told DH in blunt terms what they think of me (because, of course, it was all my fault that they couldn't run our lives and meddle, and I was "ruining" their relationship with DH).  He was ticked off that they badmouthed me (everything I ever told him they thought about they admitted), and by the fact that they believe this is all my doing, because, actually, he was feeling pretty good about how he was handling things.  He felt like he finally made them treat him like an adult.  He was ticked that they hated it so much, like they just can't respect him as a man and believe that he would expect to be treated like one.  This happened about a year ago and we haven't spoken to them since.  I'm so glad they opened their big mouths!!!!!

Anyway, I hope your DH comes around like mine finally did.  I've been in your shoes where I've felt like DH and his whole family were against me, and it sucked!!  There is hope, though.  Hang in there!

Signed - Stood Alone For A While Too, Glad It's Over

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 03-JUL-01
Men avoid confrontation with woman at all costs, ESPECIALLY their mothers.  They never really lose that "little boy feeling" around them because their mothers never STOP treating them like little boys!  Your husband is still trapped in the dynamics of his childhood relationship with her and just expects you to join him.  You, on the other hand, have a right to be treated with respect and not have to endure abuse in order to be married to this man.  It doesn't matter if she is his family, verbal abuse is verbal abuse, and asking you to put up with it is asking you to lose your self respect.  He has NO RIGHT to ask or expect that, and if he really thinks about it, he wouldn't want you to do that anyway.  If HE wants you both to interact and have a relationship, then HE needs to make sure that you are both civil, which may mean telling his mother that if she can't treat you with respect, then he will be forced to limit contact with her.  He needs to refuse to take sides (right now he is taking hers since she is the least rational and it is easier for him to make YOU compromise).  He needs to tell his mother that he loves you both, but that when she is mean to you, it HURTS HIM!  He will not want to do this.  He has been avoiding it at all costs and letting you suffer the consequences.  But it is time that he acted like a man, not a child, around his mother, and set some boundaries of what is acceptable.  You need to stand firm and tell him that you are open to having a relationship with his mother because it is important to him, but that you WILL NOT be treated abusively anymore.  And if that means no contact with your abuser, then that is how it will have to be.  Your husband's demand that you endure continual humiliation around her on his behalf is not worth your self-respect.  Good Luck!

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 5-JUL-01
This is response to the July 3rd poster.  Well said!  Your words were some of the most intelligent, sound words that I've ever read here.  Your wisdom and balance came through, and it sounds like you've thought long and hard about these MIL issues.  Kudos to you for a wonderful post, and for some very helpful words for all of us. J

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 7-JUL-01
Your DH needs to stand up for you.  After all, it's HIS mother.  He is just as guilty for allowing the abuse to continue.  He is the one who needs to go to counseling to learn how to deal with her.  I feel for you, as I am in practically the same position.  I wish you luck as you deal the WW (wicked witch, as I call mine).  LOL.  Hey, accept her as the b!tch that she is, don't expect any more than that, and you won't be disappointed.  Be strong!!!!

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 8-JUL-01
I am standing beside you because my MIL is the exact same way.  My husband and I have a beautiful 21 month old boy.  The only grandchild on both sides.  Well, last Xmas,- everyone sent their gifts EXCEPT for MIL.  She lives one state away.  Her comment was, "If you want them badly enough, come get them."  I was furious, but my husband's favorite line is, "That's just my mom."  What kind of grandmother would deprive her grandchild of gifts?  It is July and she is still has the gifts and the tree up.  She doesn't make an attempt to visit at all.  The past 6 years that we have been married, she has been up maybe 3 times.  We have to go to HER WORLD.  My husband, like yours, needs counseling to learn how to be a husband and father and to "cleave to thy wife, and leave thy mother."  We just had a big blowout (Friday, July 6) over his mom, and I am packing for me and my son, and going home.  As a friend who has a husband who does counseling said, "Give him a reality check - that you won't be around to push around."  God Bless you, and whatever you do, don't lose your self, your self-respect, and dignity for anyone.

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 16-JUL-01
I know exactly how you feel.  It's hard to say what to do about it though.  I went through this with my husband for a long time.  It wasn't until he realized what a jerk his mother was being that my relationship with H grew.  Now, any battle I have to fight her is done with him on my side.  It's practically impossible to fight your battles against the MIL alone without looking like the bad guy.  I just want you to know that you aren't the only one, and that I wish you good luck.

RESPONSE:  Standing Alone
Posted: 16-JUL-01
Regardless of who a person is, or what their title is (e.g. MIL), it does not give them the right to be mean.  You have to give respect in order to get it in return.  You don't automatically receive it just because you're someone's mother.  MILs think they have all the rights in the world, and we DILs have none.  I can't live with that.

frequent fry her - Midwest Mutineer Frequent Fry Her TM. - Midwest Mutineer /Posted: 11-JUN-01
Well, my MIL is at it again.  I thought she'd give us a break after her latest stunt.  Knowing that DH and I are not planning to have kids, she sent us an anniversary card with pictures of her other grandkids inside - no check, no gift, nothing except a heavy dose of guilt.  Today we received a card from her in the mail.  It was addressed only to DH, who handed it to me after he opened it.  MIL had "accidentally" forgotten to send this check (for a very small amount) with our anniversary card.  Nice?  At first glance, yes.  But then, we realized that the envelope, the card, and the check were addressed ONLY to DH!  There was no mention of me anywhere on what she claimed was our ANNIVERSARY gift.  I guess I'm persona non-grata with her, but at this point I don't care.  If she wants to start another Cold War, that's fine with me.  The less contact I have with this witch, the better.  I'm heartily sick of her manipulations.  But watch this space.  MIL has asked DH to attend an award dinner on her behalf next week, and he wants me to go along.  Hmmm.  Spend an entire evening listening to other people expound on my MIL's virtues?!  Oh, this ought to be good!!!

        Signed - MIL Thinks She's Kruschev

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

RESPONSE:  MIL Thinks She's Kruschev
Posted: 14-JUN-01
What did the first anniversary card say that was the "heavy dose of guilt" that you mentioned?  Why are you upset about receiving pictures of your nieces and/or nephews?  With the second card, my mother in law addresses everything to me (any checks are in my name, etc.).  This is because it is easier to have one name than two.  She knows that what's mine is his and what's his is mine.  I don't think it is unusual or insulting at all.  If it was just your name on the envelope/check, this would not be such an issue.  What is the award for?

RESPONSE From Poster:  MIL Thinks She's Kruschev
Posted: 15-JUN-01
This is the original poster responding to the author of the June 14th response.  I'm going to be patient with you, because you obviously have not read my other postings about my MIL.  In the past, my MIL has sent us checks and/or gifts for our anniversary, and everything (cards AND checks) has been addressed to BOTH of us.  Now, suddenly, we got an anniversary card with nothing inside but pictures of our nieces/nephews from a recent family gathering (one which we didn't attend).  It would have been even nicer if she'd sent photos of EVERYONE who was there.  The fact that she sent photos of JUST HER GRANDKIDS in our anniversary card (a card she barely managed to sign this year) made me wonder.  Then, later, she sent the check to DH, and only DH, after previously sending everything to both of us.  Get the picture now?  And, as for the award, my MIL used to work at a local Catholic high school for a number of years, and they're giving her a service award.  I'm going.  It won't be for my MIL, but to support my DH.  And I suggest that you read my entire history with this witch before passing judgment on me.  Capisce?

RESPONSE:  MIL Thinks She's Kruschev
Posted: 18-JUN-01
Whoa, Coyote, lay off the previous poster!  MIL's really getting to you, girl!  You're right.  We need to read your previous posts.  I agreed with the previous poster until I read your dossier, the previous posting of IL transgressions you're experiencing.  Your posting above sounds like not such a big deal, out of context of the rest of your postings.  But when you add it to the rest of the cr@p you've undergone, your irritation makes sense.  But you have to forgive us if we can't remember every piece of cr@p you've had to wade through.  I want you to know, a number of us feel for you.  I'm totally in the same boat.  It's like Chinese water torture.  Your MIL does these little, irritating things until finally, you can't tell what to blow off, you can't tell if she's trying to slight you on purpose, and all you know is, SHE'S MAKING YOU CRAZY.  And you never know when to expect it.  DH says, "It's just a water drop," and you're screaming, "But it's making a dent in my skull!"  And, it's hard to blow off the guilt trips.  If it was just a matter of blowing her off, reveling in the fact that she makes herself as miserable as she's made me at times, then I could even welcome the guilt trips she tries to put us on.  But she hurts her boy, who's married to me.  And that, ultimately, hurts me.  By the way, doesn't your e-mail have a "Block Sender" thing where you can block anything coming from her?  Tell her that you "accidentally" put her on the "Block" list, then go through a series of mishaps trying to get her off.  Never succeed in taking her off "block sender."  Good luck to us all.  God help us all.

RESPONSE:  MIL Thinks She's Kruschev
Posted: 20-JUN-01
I completely understand the poster's pain.  My MIL also does insidious little things like sending cards only addressed to DH.  In fact, for Easter she did the reverse:  She sent a basket addressed to both of us, but it was filled with just socks and underwear for DH.  Now if that isn't a game, then what is!?  Also, my MIL recently sent a framed picture of DH's sisters to him.  My dh agreed that it was a guilt-trip, especially since we've made it clear we want no contact with her.  She sent a little note that read, "To DH, remember your real family.  Love, Mom."  Give me a break!  The original poster has a manipulative and power-tripping MIL.  She has the right to feel hurt and angry.  And for your info, I didn't have to read any of her other stories to understand her pain.  It seems obvious that the MIL is playing games!!!

RESPONSE:  MIL Thinks She's Kruschev
Posted: 21-JUN-01
First of all, I am coyote and have not responded to this story before.  So whoever wrote the June 18th posting, relax, I have my own MIL issues to deal with, especially with people have been coming down hard on me and calling me irresponsible.  I don't appreciate it, so I wouldn't do it to someone else.  If you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all.  Especially when people are coming here to vent.  They don't need to be scolded.  Secondly, to "MIL thinks she's Kruschev", I can totally relate to this.  One of my pet peeves is getting the card I always get from my MIL directed to son and daughter-in-law.  I've explained that I feel left out or deliberately set apart from this, so what does she do?  She went out and bought a daughter-in-law card for my birthday.  This woman expects me to call her "mom", but she continues to make me feel like I'm not one of the family.  It may be hard to understand, but you would have to know this woman.  The last thing I would want to do is listen to any virtues of my MIL either.  Please, what a joke!  Also, that was very strange to have sent pictures of her nieces and nephews for an anniversary card.  Is she trying to hint towards something?  Good Luck!

RESPONSE:  MIL Thinks She's Kruschev
Posted: 21-JUN-01
RRRGH!  I tell ya, nothing gets me madder than when in-laws try to impose their views about whether you should have children or not.  My husband and I are not planning on having any.  I told my MIL that (before we got married) and she said, "I'll have to talk to DH about that."  He's a flippin' ADULT for God's sake, and I'm sure he knows what he wants and what he doesn't want.  Never give in just based on what your MIL wants, because she'll never be happy, no matter what you do.  Plus, you'll be stuck caring for the baby most of the time, and probably getting irritating advice to boot.  My MIL just wants grandkids, and it is a purely selfish maneuver on her part.  She even said that if there ever was an "accident", she would adopt the baby!  Of all the nerve!  I told my mom that, and she couldn't believe it.  My mom said, "Well, I guess she doesn't know you have a side of the family as well".  She's so self centered.  But, she got what she asked for, and boy did she ever!  My loser BIL got his girlfriend pregnant (they did it on purpose), and now she doesn't want to have anything to do with loser BIL.  And, there is a big custody fight about it too.  So, now MIL has to fight to see her grandchild.  She should be careful what she asks for, she just might get it.

RESPONSE From Poster:  MIL Thinks She's Kruschev
Posted: 22-JUN-01
This is the Midwest Mutineer, the original poster of "MIL Thinks She's Kruschev", and I wanted to thank everyone who supported me on this issue.  My MIL is a consummate manipulator who uses guilt as a deadly weapon.  In the 10 years I've known her, I've seen her use almost every sneaky, underhanded, guilt-inducing ploy in the book in order to get her family to do what she wants.  This woman has driven me to get counseling - which, fortunately, saved my sanity and allowed me to set my own limits with her.  To Coyote - I'm beginning to wonder if our MILs are clones of each other.  Does that make us soul sisters, united by the bonds of pain?  Mine sends cards to "son and daughter-in-law" too, for every occasion, Christmas, Easter, you name it.  And I get "daughter-in-law" cards FOR MY BIRTHDAY, too!  Arrggh!  And I used to call this witch "mom" - her idea, not mine!  No more of that.  To add to these frightening similarities, DH and I recently paid off a loan to MIL.  She gave us money towards the down payment on our house.  We paid her back in full, AND we managed to take a few vacations and HAVE SOME FUN along the way.  Your finances are your own business.  No one has the right to criticize you, especially when you came here looking for support.  NO ONE needs to be torn apart by complete strangers when one's MIL is doing a perfectly good job of that herself!  So stick to your guns, girl, and stay strong.  And God help us defend ourselves and our sanity against control-tripping, manipulative MILs.  Amen.

frequent fry her - Midwest Mutineer 4 of 4 needed Posted: 7-JUN-01
My martyr-MIL strikes again!  Despite her apology, she's still ticked off at us for missing the last family get-together, and the resulting e-mail debacle (see the message signed "My MIL Makes Attila the Hun Look Lovable").  This week, DH and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary.  We view this as no small feat.  We have recently overcome some serious problems in our marriage, and are now more committed to each other than ever before.  But my MIL is still trying to stir the pot!  In the past, both my parents and my MIL have sent us something for our anniversary - a small gift, or a card with a check enclosed.  Neither of us are really gift-oriented.  We're very thankful that our parents think so much of us to send us something for our anniversary.  This year, my parents sent us one of those neat, upscale 4-slice toasters with the electronic controls - they've seen firsthand the old, battered, spark-emitting toaster we've been using since our dating days.  You wanna know what we got from MIL?  She sent us a card all right, with pictures of all her other grandkids enclosed.  No check, no gift.  She barely even managed to sign the card.  Subtle, huh?!  I should add that DH and I have made a conscious decision not to have children.  His mother, being a very conservative Catholic (and my apologies to all the devout Catholics out there), won't accept this.  If I could only tell you how many times I heard, "When are you going to give me some grandchildren?" after we got married!  I have to chuckle at this.  If MIL is trying to freeze us out, then I couldn't be happier!

        Signed - Her Ploy Won't Work!

RESPONSE:  Her Ploy Won't Work!
Posted: 8-JUN-01
I know exactly how that feels.  There is nothing in the world wrong with not having children.  My best to you, and happy anniversary too.  My in-laws never acknowledged any of our anniversaries.  I would rather be in my shoes than yours.  But I did get nagged at, about having a baby, in her hinting ways.  Ouch, as she would always talk about her sister's grandchildren and her friend's.

RESPONSE:  Her Ploy Won't Work!
Posted: 8-JUN-01
I was just sitting here reading your story.  Congrats on being married for 8 years!!  My H and I have been married for 16 years, and my mil has never even TOLD us, "Happy Anniversary!"  No call, not to mention cards or gifts.  It hurts doesn't it?  I have gotten her and my FIL cards and gifts before for their anniversary, but ours is nothing to them L.

frequent fry her - Midwest Mutineer 3 of 4 needed Posted: 7-JUN-01
Once again, my MIL has proven that she doesn't think her married children should have lives of their own, that we should attend each and every family function, no matter where it is, no matter when or what the cost.  Death might be an acceptable excuse, but even then I bet she'd make us get a note from St. Peter.  The latest debacle?  Oh, this is a doozy.  MIL's married children (except us) have started to have children of their own, and she's absolutely delighted to be a grandmother.  She's a widow, and has let us know, in no uncertain terms, that grandchildren are now her reason for living.  My youngest BIL and his wife christened their first child last fall.  Since DH was the boy's godfather, we made a special effort to get there.  A few family members couldn't be there for the christening, but amazingly enough, MIL didn't make a big deal about their absence.  I thought she was starting to change her ways.  How silly of me.  This spring another nephew was due to be christened on the West Coast.  Since I'm going to a pricey professional conference this summer, DH and I figured we couldn't afford to spend $1200 on two tickets to spend a weekend out west.  Besides, no one had kicked up much of a fuss when some other family members missed the last christening, right?  WRONG!  We spent Easter with BIL and SIL and DH's godson, and MIL was there too.  Even though we'd made it clear months ago that we could not attend the West Coast christening, she still tried to guilt us into coming.  She told us that they were planning to have a family picture taken, and wouldn't it be nice to have everyone there for it?  In addition, they were going to throw a 40th birthday party for one of his sisters, whose birthday was the end of the month.  NONE OF THIS had been mentioned to us earlier.  Still, we stuck to our guns and told her that we were not going to be able to be there.  Since the christening was set for Mother's Day weekend, I figured I'd better send MIL her gift a little early.  DH doesn't pick out cards or gifts for his family anymore, but lets me do it - no more of that, I can tell you!  At any rate, I ordered a lovely collection of plants (tulips, daffodils, etc.) in a ceramic cachepot from a well known, upscale, mail order company, and sent it posthaste to her house.  Just in case, I sent her an e-mail to let her know it was on the way, on the off chance that she might have already left for the christening when it arrived.  Mother's Day (and the christening) came and went.  I reminded DH to call his mother out West, but he forgot.  No way am I going to start calling "his" mother for him!  But, since he didn't call, I figured we were both in deep trouble.  And boy, was I right.  A few days later, I got an e-mail (and this is the message that prompted me to delete anything I get from my MIL) from my MIL, sent ONLY to me, not to me and DH:  "I'm sorry to have to tell you that your Mother's Day gift basket arrived after I left for (the West Coast) and was kept at my neighbor's house, unopened, until today when I got home.  It's very sad looking, all yellow.  I've put it into an airy place so maybe it will perk up.  Next year, it would probably be better to either send it early or later, if I'm going to be away.  We missed you two on Mother's Day.  I was surrounded by all of my children, except for you.  That made me very sad, especially when we posed for a family picture.  We were trying to figure out when we'll all be together again for any occasion, and couldn't come up with a possible time, unless somebody has another baby/christening.  Anyway, thanks for the thought."  This woman isn't just an expert manipulator, this is a master at work.  In one message, she managed to convey that 1)  Our gift wasn't good enough.  2)  We're bad children for not being there and that we made her sad (which is so much more guilt-inducing than name-calling or threats).  And 3)  That we should have a baby so that the whole family can get together again.  And she sent this message directly to me, and only to me!  I was FURIOUS!  Absolutely, positively LIVID!  I printed the message and showed it to DH who crumpled it up and threw it away.  He said the best way to deal with it was to ignore her.  Later, he said that he would deal with it.  At the time, I agreed.  The less contact I had with this witch, the better.  THEN, the next week, MIL called!  We have caller-ID so I knew it was her, but DH didn't want to pick up the phone.  Now, if MIL gets our answering machine, she'll turn around and try to call DH's cell phone, and will keep pestering us until we respond.  Since DH still hadn't "dealt with" her, I was getting angrier with every ring.  Not wanting to prolong this, I answered the phone and passed it right off to DH.  He wasn't happy, but he took it.  He very calmly explained to MIL how unhappy her message made us, and that she is very good at using guilt as a weapon.  She denied everything, then accused me of deliberately sending her flowers late so they'd be dead when she got them.  What??!  She's lucky she got a gift at all!  Then, she claimed that she'd never meant her e-mail to sound guilt-inducing.  Riiiight.  When DH got off the phone, he said that MIL had apologized.  OK.  But I would have liked for her to apologize to me in person.  After this little display, I will never again go out of my way to be nice to this woman.  If DH wants to get her a Mother's Day or a birthday card, then it will be up to him.  I'll be civil to MIL, but more than that she should never expect.  DH says that this incident saddened him, but that we should forgive her because, "she's my Mom."  I might be able to forgive her, given time, but I sure as he!! won't be able to forget!  I know now that I am going to have to take more of a stand against MIL myself.  While DH is in my corner, he's not going to set any boundaries with his mother.  As much pain as it will cause him, I now realize that "I" will have to put my foot down against her abuse.  No more.  I've learned my lesson.

        Signed - MIL Makes Attila The Hun Look Lovable

RESPONSE:  MIL Makes Attila The Hun Look Lovable
Posted: 8-JUN-01
I learned the same lesson as you.  My SIL (BIL's wife) called me to see what our plans were for Mother's Day, because her mother was having a BBQ for her whole family and she wanted to make plans.  This was two weeks before Mother's Day.  I told her that we hadn't made any plans yet.  (Note:  Every holiday, my MIL always waits until the last minute to see what my mom was planning, so she could ruin the plans.  "Your mom is planning dinner at 5?  But I am doing mine at 5:30!" . You get the picture.  We live out of town, so that adds to the "fun"!)  So my SIL and I decided that this time we would make the plans ourselves and MIL would just have to agree.  This time, my husband, my BIL, his wife, and I said we would take my MIL for a nice dinner on Saturday night and spend the evening with her - then on Sunday, I could visit with my mom and my SIL could go to her family BBQ (my husband's other siblings could spend Sunday with my MIL).  We OK'd the plans with our husbands and decided to call our MIL that day (giving her two weeks notice).  Easy enough, right?  NOT!!!  She was as pleasant as could be.  She said that it was fine with her.  Anyway, Saturday we came into town.  My husband tried calling my MIL, but couldn't reach her.  We tried all afternoon, but no answer.  My husband called his brother to see if he knew anything.  Nope.  They both decided to just keep trying.  That evening (about 7), my husband finally spoke with my MIL.  He told her the name of the restaurant where we were to meet.  Her response was, "There's just no way I can make it tonight.  I was invited to a BBQ today, and I just got home.  I'm too tired and full to go out now."  My husband was angry and just said, "Well, good-bye then," and hung up the phone.  He phoned his brother to tell him, and my BIL said that it was her loss.  They were not going to change their plans for Sunday.  My husband agreed.  The next day at my mother's house, we all helped prepare the BBQ and were having a great time, until the phone rang.  Guess who?  My MIL wanted to know where we were and when could she expect us at her house.  She told my husband, "After all, it is Mother's Day, and I am just as important as her mother."  I told my husband he could go if he wanted, but I was staying at my mom's house.  It was not fair to my mom or to me to have to change our plans just because my MIL decided to blow us off.  My mother suggested that my husband invite his mother to our BBQ - that way we could all be together.  Thankfully, he went to make the call.  Her response was that she would attend, but he had to go and get her and visit with her alone first (my MIL is not old and perfectly capable of driving).  I suggested he go and visit her and then come back without her.  There was no need for her to attend my family's party if he had to go over there anyway.  He agreed, but she wasn't going to allow that.  After he left her house, she came alone in her own car.  She walked into my mother's house without knocking or saying hello to anyone.  She walked right over to where my husband was sitting and sat on his lap!  She acted like it was her party.  She treated my mother like a servant.  "This food is cold, warm it up for me.  This drink is warm, I need more ice!"  Disrespectful and rude doesn't even begin to describe her behavior.  My husband was too embarrassed to move and my mother was too respectful of my husband to say anything to my MIL.  It would have been a horrible afternoon, but while my MIL was in the bathroom, my uncle announced that he couldn't wait to, "see what ACT 2 of the entertainment would bring 'cause this witch couldn't be for real!"  After that, we just laughed at everything she did and said, like it was all a joke, and finally, she left.  When my husband and I finally got home on Sunday night, there was a message on our answering machine from my MIL.  She was demanding an apology for her horrible day, and demanding that, "Next year, I will decide how you spend Mother's Day!"  (Please note that my MIL's other children didn't get this treatment.)  Anyway, the following year I had my child, so I celebrated Mother's Day at my home and invited my mother over for dinner.  My MIL got a card.  The best news is that since then, my husband and I have mutually agreed that having someone like my MIL involved in our lives is like slowly digesting poison - it makes you sick all the time and ultimately kills you!  So, we no longer have anything to do with her.  She is not welcome near us or our children.  What a wonderful change it has created in our lives!  I saw a bumper sticker the other day that sums it up.  It read, "Life is to short to deal with A$$holes".  Too true.

frequent fry her - Midwest Mutineer 2 of 4 needed Posted: 7-JUN-01
Not only does my MIL attempt to guilt us into coming to visit (which has the opposite effect for me), she has just discovered the joys of e-mail.  Now that she has moved to the East Coast (she used to live in the same city as DH and I - horrors!), she has very little to occupy her time.  She has a part-time job, but it's not enough!  So, she spends most of her time on the computer, either playing video games or surfing the Internet and sending e-mail to her children.  Gawd, she's the worst "spammer" I know.  I can get as many as five to ten junk e-mail messages (cute or religious-themed stories, unsolicited advice, etc.) from her in one day.  My DH has stopped reading all this spam she sends out.  He works in sales, and gets an average of 50 emails from clients a day.  He doesn't need MIL adding to the load!  Now MIL has gotten it into her head that e-mail is a better way to communicate than the phone.  She will ask us, via e-mail, to do things for her.  Now that DH is no longer acknowledging her messages (and he's told her why he does this), she's started sending ME things (I work from home) to pass along to DH!  What am I, his secretary?!  Like the fact I work from home (I'm a novelist AND a full-time homemaker) means that I have all this spare time?  NOT!!!  And if "I" have the temerity to ignore her emails, she'll send a snippy little message that says something like, "Why are you ignoring my e-mail?"  Then why doesn't she pick up the phone?  Well, I had the last word.  I put her e-mail address in my "kill" file - anything she sends me automatically gets deleted!  Big grin.

        Signed - You've Got MIL-Mail!

frequent fry her - Midwest Mutineer 1 of 4 needed Posted: 7-JUN-01
Has this ever happened to any of you?  Whenever we go out to visit MIL, she presents us with a list of things that need to be done around her house - like repairing a door that scrapes along the floor, staining the deck, sanding/painting the faded siding, etc.  She is wealthy enough to afford to have these things done right away by a professional.  But instead, she puts things off (and lets things worsen) just so she can ask her visiting relatives to do it for her, as if she's too frail and weak to pick up a phone and hire someone?!  She's in her 60s, and is fairly healthy and active.  If any of us show reluctance, she'll go off and say that she's not asking very much, and that she supposes she could call someone - but that would cost money, and wouldn't it be so much easier if we just took a few minutes to do this for her?  Now I dread going to visit her even more than I already did.  When DH and I show up, DH, of course, wants to help his mother out.   So he will drop everything to take on her "to do" list.  A few years ago, we decided to visit MIL in late summer/early fall, because we wouldn't see her at Christmas (not that she didn't complain about that, mind you).  So we went out there with plans to both spend time with her, and do some sightseeing.  Well, she gave DH such a list that he spent a couple of days doing these chores, and since he didn't want my help, I was left alone to steam.  When I complained, he said I was being selfish, and that his mother needed these things done.  Selfish?!  It's selfish to want to spend time with one's DH on one's vacation?!  After a screaming argument and more than a few angry tears on my part, DH came to the reluctant conclusion that, yes, it probably was unfair of him to leave me alone on our vacation while he ran errands for Mother.  It's taken him a while, but now he's started to see through his mother's manipulations.  She still tries, of course.  Every once in a while, she'll mention that she's "started a list" for the next person who comes to visit.  Sheesh!  You'd think she'd get a clue as to why no one wants to visit her!

        Signed - MIL Uses Family as Slave Labor

RESPONSE:  MIL Uses Family as Slave Labor
Posted: 8-JUN-01
That reminds me of my FIL's mother.  The sad thing is that her list is only for him.  She just wants to visit with his brother.  So, my poor FIL (who is a WONDERFUL man), who doesn't have a lot of money to travel as often as his brother, ends up spending his vacation working like a dog.  Meanwhile, when his brother (twin brother, I might add) visits, they wine, dine and have all sorts of good family time.  My FIL would never complain, but it just seems so wrong.  I guess his mother trusts his capabilities more than his brother's.  Who knows!?!?!?

frequent fry her - Midwest Mutineer Posted: 7-JUN-01
Thank goodness for this site.  If I don't vent to someone about this, I'm going to run stark raving mad.  You see, my MIL is a would-be martyr - she is a master manipulator who uses guilt as a deadly weapon, and I should have seen it coming long ago.  Before I get into the horror story itself, let me give you some background.  My DH comes from a very close-knit family.  He has five brothers and sisters, and a very conservative Catholic mother (his father died in 1990).  Although I have two brothers, they are so much older than me that I was raised as practically an only child.  My parents live on the West Coast, my MIL on the East Coast.  We live in the Midwest.  DH and I had been dating for only a couple of months when Christmas rolled around.  I had already met DH's family.  I'd been invited over for Thanksgiving, and been given a very warm reception.  But Christmas was different.  DH's family always got together for Christmas.  I had just finished graduate school and couldn't always afford to fly home, so I had gotten used to celebrating Christmas without my folks.  But this year DH didn't want me to spend Christmas alone.  So he asked his mother if I could spend Christmas with them.  My FMIL replied that Christmas was "for family only," and that I would not be welcome.  OK. I see the reasoning in that.  After all, I had met them only once, and Christmas is a very family-oriented holiday.  I didn't want to be an interloper.  Bless his heart, my DH spent the early morning with his family, then promptly left them midmorning to spend the rest of Christmas day with me.  This decision ticked my then-FMIL off big time!  Now, the next chapter.  Once we got married, I soon realized that my MIL expected us to drop everything and show up at her place for the holidays.  This meant both Thanksgiving AND Christmas.  DH and I were typical newlyweds - living in a tiny apartment and struggling to pay off student loans and still make ends meet.  To make matters worse, one of my BILs died the day after Christmas in the same year DH and I got married.  This was a real tragedy - my BIL was newly-married himself, and died of a strange wasting disease.  He was a great guy, and still very young.  His death hit everyone quite hard, but my MIL most of all.  While I understand her grief (and I grieve with her), she has used her loss as a guilt-inducing tool.  If we told her we could not make it for Christmas (for financial reasons, or just because we wanted to be alone together), she'd whine that she just wanted her family to be together at Christmas, that she didn't want to be alone for this holiday because of all the bad memories, etc., etc.  This worked for the first couple of years after BIL's death.  After a while, I began to dread going to the East Coast for the holidays; it meant having to deal with MIL's "my life is over" attitude, and perpetual, unassuaged grief.  I know what a blow her son's death was to her, and I empathize with her, but after five years of the same "poor me" syndrome (and no abatement of mourning), my sympathy began to wear thin.  At that point, I put my foot down and told DH that we would NOT cater to his mother's whims over the holiday, that I wanted to see MY family for a change, and that, if he didn't want to alternate families over the holidays, then he could go to his mother's for Christmas, while I flew out to the West Coast.  That shocked him, I think, because he bought into his mom's grief game and didn't want her "to be alone" at Christmas.  But I made him realize that "I" had every right to want to spend as much time with my family as he did with his, so we agreed to alternate Christmases with our respective families.  Whew.  Of course, MIL did not take this well.  And, as more of her children began to get married and couldn't show up for every single Christmas, she started to complain that "the family never got together any more," and that she was so lonely in her great, big house that she'd built for the express purpose of entertaining her family.  Gee, don't married people get a life of their own?  Not according to my MIL!  We've managed to pull away from those suffocating confines.  And honestly, right now we much prefer to spend Christmas at home, alone, just the two of us.  But, of course, the holidays wouldn't be complete without a phone call from MIL, who has to tell us that things just aren't the same without us, and how much she really misses us and hopes we can be together again soon.  Arrrrghhhhh!!!  How much smothering can a person stand?  Stay tuned!

        Signed - Should Have Seen It Coming

RESPONSE:  Should Have Seen It Coming
Posted: 8-JUN-01
I hate the holidays for the same reason.  You just don't like this woman, and it's hard for you because of your DH.  Why are the holidays the time that they seem to be lonely?  She says that because she isn't getting the response she wanted and she can't face the change.  It should be what we want to do as adults.  Wait 'til you have children, she will really expect you to just lug everything to her place.  And from there, she will be the gatekeeper, because DH will think mom knows all about babies.  Try to ignore her as much as possible and let DH deal with her.  Let him visit alone sometimes.  And do what you're doing, stay home alone and have a peaceful day.

RESPONSE:  Should Have Seen It Coming
Posted: 11-JUN-01
I am in the same boat as you with regards to the holidays.  When I first met my husband, we spent Christmases with his family, as my parents had just gone through a divorce.  When our children came along, things changed, of course.  My MIL insisted that EVERY Christmas be spent at her house, even if that meant traveling a distance (over an hour) with a sick child.  She did not care.  She wanted everyone at her house for Christmas.  Period.  That was almost ten years ago.  The one time I stood up to her, she didn't speak to my husband for several months.  He declared that we had marital problems because of this.  Unfortunately, he's a real wimp when it comes to her demands.  She still expects everyone to cater to her, although she's in for a big surprise this year.  We will not be going to her house for Christmas at all.  My DH has finally agreed to alternate between families during the holidays.  It only took 15 years!  We'll see how it goes.  I wouldn't be surprised if she throws a fit and insists that we come there.  The kids and I won't - DH can go if he wants to.  However, if he chooses his mother over his family, it may be the last straw with me.  This pattern has been a problem since we had kids.  I am sick and tired of this woman and her son manipulating my life.  Now, FIL is ill and they are beginning to use that as a guilt-trip to get more favors, so I will have to deal with it.  More later.

 


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