Some mothers-in-law don't know when to quit, and it can be annoying. Just ask these people!
People on Quora share the underhanded thing their mother-in-law did to them. Content has been edited for clarity.
Something Doesn’t Add Up
“I remember the day of my first all-girls baby shower thrown by my best friend. I decided to do two different events, one tiny brunch for my co-workers and friends who wanted to celebrate with me, and one for my family because our space could not hold everyone at one time. My mother-in0law decided to show up to my first event for those not related (with a bunch of people I didn’t know) where I was catching up with my friends from college and was extremely rude and nasty to everyone! She insulted the decorations my best friend put up extremely loudly and said the gifts were cheap and tacky. She also insulted the food and was mad I didn’t make a grand announcement she was the ‘mother-in-law.’ Everyone knew, but she wanted me to stand up and tell everyone who she was. She wanted me to let her have the floor to host things her way instead of my best friend. She left abruptly and I didn’t even get a goodbye. Luckily, I texted my husband the entire time and explained how horrified I was.
As I found out later on, she left the shower and called him ‘crying’ complaining she hated me and I was such a horrible daughter-in-law, and how he should leave me and find someone more respectful of her. She pleaded with him to leave me and was extremely mad he didn’t. She ended up asking to get her gifts mailed back to her (to add she’s always claimed my husband was her favorite child and I came along and stole him away from her when we moved in together, I encourage him to keep a close relationship with his mom, but she loved him in a creepy way).
A few days later, I was in the hospital giving birth and I got a call from her telling me how thankful she was I gave her the first grandchild and how amazing I was, and her son couldn’t have picked a better daughter-in-law.
Needless to say, I’ve never trusted her since.”
Her Plan Did Not Work
“The woman (I’ll call her Ann since in almost 30 years I have never once referred to her as Grandma, not even to her face) was a pathological liar and despised my mother, and I use ‘despise’ as a mild term. She turned almost the entirety of my mother’s family against her, and then against my father when he entered the scene. I think there was one uncle and two great aunts who adored my mother, but Ann decided they weren’t really part of the family.
Of course, when my mother married my father, Ann and her husband had absolutely nothing nice to say about him or his family. They had very grandiose ideas of self-importance, and my down-to-earth, hard-working grandparents were simply peasant scum in their eyes. Their daughter-in-law (who was just as stuck-up as them) was the picture of perfection in their eyes.
Now, when my parents started their family, Ann and her husband started having crazy ideas about what ‘grandparents’ actually have a right to do with their grandchildren.
For example, they wanted to ship me off to a ‘lovely French family with a child about her age’ they knew, and my mother had never heard of (the child in question was seven, I was barely two). Reason? They wanted me to be fluent in French before I’d even really learned English. You can guess how my parents responded to that. They also insisted on trying to (legally, mind you) name one of my sisters and a brother (Araminta and Barnaby, I believe, my parents preferred Jessica and David. Ann threw a fit.)
There are a lot of examples of their behavior, and this doesn’t even include the physical abuse that Ann subjected my mother too, or her endangerment of mine and two of my sister’s toddler lives. Literally.
This story, however, pertains to the plot Ann, one of her nieces, and her ‘perfect’ daughter-in-law cooked up to, uh, dispose of my mother. Now, this is borderline comical, but moderately concerning regardless. Ann and her little cronies thought they would be able to gather enough evidence that my mother was totally ‘insane.’ and therefore have her admitted to a psychiatric facility. Once disposed of, they would appeal to the courts with this proof my mother was unfit and there was no way my father could raise three daughters by himself (because apparently those super loving, ultra hard-working, and extra helpful parents of his would just leave him stranded with their three granddaughters?) Thereby gaining custody of my sisters and me.
I’m not really sure what they thought they could do with us if they ever got us, maybe it was just the prospect of taking us away that appealed, but at any rate, my parents got wind of this ‘plot’ and I don’t know what my father said to Ann, but the threat of psychiatric facilities suddenly disappeared.
Her abuse and mind games didn’t end there, but that’s really another story in and of itself. We went to no contact with anyone on that entire side of the family over 20 years ago now. I heard that Ann died about 10 years ago, and her husband died more recently. Apparently, they never gave up looking for us, didn’t do a good job, we didn’t tell them, but we didn’t make it a secret. Since they had rubbed my grandparents totally the wrong way, we didn’t even need to ask them to not say anything. My saintly grandmother probably got a good kick out of sending them off on a wild goose chase every time they called, trying to ‘trick’ her into telling them where we were.”
She Can’t Treat Him Like That
“My mother-in-law told us about an upcoming wedding of my father-in-law’s nephew in December holiday time, and we got really excited about it because they are known to host rather well catered and exclusive functions. She burst our bubble immediately, saying point-blank to us all we, my husband and I were not invited. My husband got a bit miffed and we later figured out that something was wrong. My husband called up his uncle to discuss something and then also brought up the subject of the wedding and tactfully asked if the wedding guest list was scaled down since we were not invited. The uncle was appalled and said we were, and he had sent out invites to my in-laws. He sent our invites the following day with his driver.
My husband and I didn’t say anything to the in-laws whenever we visited them, and my mother-in-law kept asking a tad bit anxiously about our usual plans to go up to our other home during the holiday to-do renovations, and we reassured her we were leaving as soon as possible. My husband’s sister sent us a reminder about the wedding the day before, which was a bit fishy because my mother-in-law had already told us we were not invited. So it was obvious even she knew about the plot and they were just covering their bases, the sneaky brats
Anyway, my husband and I pitched up at the wedding just as my father-in-law was stepping out of my husband’s brother’s SUV in the hall entrance, and they all managed to cover up their utter shock really well. At that point, my husband and I realized why we were purposefully lied to. His brother brought all of his three daughters and son, whereas our kids and everyone else’s children were not invited. The wedding was a gender-separated function, as the intermingling of the different genders was not allowed. We ended up at our designated tables, and at the ‘Gora’ ladies’ table, there was not enough space for one daughter of the brother, because I had pitched up. The brother’s wife kicked up such a fuss, despite us trying to accommodate the six-year-old with another chair and table settings, and went off in a huff to sit with her three girls at another table… I blissfully ignored the fuss and enjoyed my rightful time at the wedding.
We ignored the whole fiasco and did not mention anything about it to the in-laws, which we should have done. Qhen it came to the first wedding of the family a few months ago before the lockdown, which was the brother’s first daughter, we got excluded from the wedding and that led to a real family feud, which in my opinion, was long overdue. My in-laws really suck, especially my mother-in-law, and it’s really hard for me to understand how she feels it’s OK to treat her own son as she pleases and expects him and I to suck it all up and be quiet.”
The Distance Helped A Lot
“Within five minutes of being introduced to my mother-in-law-to-be, she advised me she had already picked out someone for her son. And basically was told to go away.
Several months later, it was Thanksgiving. My doctor had threatened to hospitalize me with pneumonia, but my guy pleaded with him. He promised I would stay on the sofa under a pile of blankets. His mom, however, was very angry I didn’t prepare a full meal for him. She told everyone I was lazy for decades!
We wanted to get married on a cruise, but opted for a traditional wedding for her sake. We chose to have it close to where we were living in Arizona, but she never forgave me for not having it in California. Sometime after our 15th anniversary, she told us that we should have just eloped. The wedding wasn’t what she wanted, where she wanted it, and didn’t like the invite list. Mind you, the girl she had picked out was on her list.
The day we were moving into our first home, she made a surprise visit (she lived several hours away). We had to stop everything to fix up a guest room for her. She sat down and wanted the TV hooked up. She became indignant when I didn’t immediately offer her something to drink. I think I was moving boxes into a back room. You know, I was being lazy again.
Several months later, she was visiting again. My husband had gone to bed and she wanted to know why I was so quiet around her. I explained I was intimidated by her outspoken and loud nature. She pressed on and on until I began crying. Sometimes when I cry, I shake a little…. All that emotion.
She then exclaimed, ‘What the heck is wrong with you? Are you sick?!!’
No, not with concern, but with a face full of malice and disgust.
Those were just a few examples from the very onset of my relationship with her. I’ve been a part of her family for almost 23 years. I’m not as submissive as I used to be, but she still tries to railroad me at every opportunity. My husband has gotten better at interference, but he would rather not deal with her either. At one point, he completely cut off communication with her until she apologized to me and made efforts to fix her behavior. It was a great two years!! Slowly she slipped back into her old ways, but became better at hiding it.
We have since moved to Florida. Life is so much easier with that great a distance between us. I wouldn’t move back for anything!”
She Saw It Coming
“On the day of my (first) wedding, we were having a small family-only reception at my parent’s house after the ceremony. Over cake, my mother-in-law said she had an announcement to make. She told us, without a hint of concern how her announcement would be received, as she had just retired from her job and her lease on the house she had lived in for years had expired, she would be moving into the house my husband and I had just finished building as soon as possible.
To the rest of the family, including my husband, it was a complete shock. My traditional mother immediately remarked, surely it was not fair to move in with the newlyweds. My mother-in-law responded she had no choice as she only had her government pension to live on. My husband just sat there, gobsmacked and speechless. Ten minutes later, my mother-in-law left the house. She had been there for no more than 30 minutes and had not attended the wedding. It was obvious she only came to make her announcement.
Months earlier, when I got engaged, my father, knowing what my future mother-in-law was like and she and I did not have a good relationship, had done some digging. He knew her lease was expiring, and he knew the date of her impending retirement. During the course of the building of my husband’s and my house, (which my husband completely left up to me to oversee) I had made sure that there was a fully outfitted one-bedroom apartment in the walkout basement. I had told my husband it was for his mother, as I knew what was coming, but I don’t think he believed me. He viewed it as a way to make extra money as a rental unit and that ‘yeah, sure, Mom can move in and pay rent someday when she’s too old to take care of herself.’
Well, she moved in the same day we did and for the next two years until, for other reasons, I made her move out, she never paid a penny of rent.”
That’s Not A Funny Joke
“When I married, my lovely husband told me his mom would stop holding back, and say what she wanted. She really has no filter, looking back, I should have taken what he said more seriously.
She had invited me to one of her book club meetings (I am an avid reader and moving took me too far away from my original group), I showed up only to be greeted rather strangely, lots of hugs, and ‘bless your hearts’ from old ladies I didn’t even know.
I sat near my sister, who was already part of the group, and after the meeting explained everything to me.
Apparently, all the ladies come half an hour early to gossip (my sister had come early since it was her turn to bring refreshments). Whilst there, someone asked my mother-in-law if she was getting grandkids, to which she spilled my very private fertility issues! I was livid.
My husband and I had discussed them with her some time prior, and she knew how hard everything was for me since in the original conversation, I was crying buckets of tears, and then I found out she dropped this into a conversation with a bunch of her old working buddies.
I told my husband and we went to have a discussion with her. He tore her, off saying how she betrayed us and how we did plan on having kids if not biologically than through adoption, and if she planned on ever seeing her grandkids, she would bite her tongue.
I tried to keep my head held high and went to the next meeting, which was held at my house (it was supposed to be held at hers, but she convinced me somehow). While there I went off to grab some cups and came back to see my mother-in-law’s friends staring at me with their mouths agape, mother-in-law looking at the ground, sister breathing heavily, and my centerpiece wedding photo book open on the table. My sister told everyone to go home, and all these elderly people ran for the hills, not wanting to be caught up in what was about to go down.
Apparently, my mother-in-law had made another joke at my fertility complications, and asked my sister not to say anything! She said that my stomach looked so big in my wedding photos that she thought she was getting a grandkid or three, but we all knew that’s not possible.
After my sister told me this, I screamed at her, saying this was no joke and to never come near me again. I’ve now adopted two siblings, and my mother-in-law has never been rude again, but those comments sting. Because I’ve always wanted to experience pregnancy, and have the feeling that there is no bond stronger than the one with the human you’ve carried. But I now realize I have kids of my own whether I’ve carried them or not, and would go to the moon and back for them. Thanks to my sister for telling me the things my mother-in-law thought she could get away with. She still sees her kids, but I have to be very careful so that they won’t pick up her behavior.”
Being Put In Her Place
“My mother-in-law posted on her page the name of my future son with a photo of myself pregnant with my father-in-law, whom I was naming my child after. We had found out it was a boy, and for my father-in-law’s Christmas present, we had his name embroidered on a baby bib and gave it to him to let him know of our decision. He loved the gift and the fact his grandson would have his name.
Let me explain why there was so much wrong with what she did. Now, while I didn’t have any pregnancy issues or complications, I am a superstitious person and have seen a few friends and relatives suffer miscarriages. I did not want to advertise to the world via social media I was pregnant, and a few months later lose the baby and have to deal with endless questions and concerns about it. I told my husband I wanted to wait well into my pregnancy to tell extended family and friends we were even pregnant, just to be on the safe side.
This meant her post where she had tagged my husband and me was the first time my aunts and uncles and cousins were finding out I was even pregnant. They were quite offended, obviously feeling left out.
We had only told our siblings and parents of the fact we were pregnant. My husband had family friends congratulating him about our child to be that he hardly even knew.
I am also a somewhat private person and don’t want to post my children all over the internet for their own safety and privacy. It is a personal decision my husband and I came to mutually and quite naturally. We don’t want their lives on display. I told my husband about the post and told him to speak to her immediately and have it taken down.
The underhanded part to me, she took it down but then went all over his hometown telling people I was embarrassed to be with my husband and have anything to do with his family. She said I thought I was better than them and didn’t want the post up because I didn’t want to be associated with them. She told people this so she could get sympathy and have people tell her how horrible and ungrateful I was to her and her family. She kept saying it was a family picture and she was posting about her grandchild. She never apologized and still thinks she is right.
I had to instate a family-wide rule and tell everyone please do not post anything without asking myself or my husband about it first. I told her if she asked him and he had been ok with it, I wouldn’t have said anything.
Now I simply say, ‘Are you the parent? No, then shut up. You have no say. This is my family, which is separate from your family.’
I told her, her son is no longer her family but now makes up a new family. She was not happy about the reality of my statement.”
Never A Good Idea To Assume
“My mother-in-law was renovating and building extensions to her home, charging all her building materials to an account my husband and his brother had opened at their local hardware shop when they were building a deck out front of their parents’ home.
When the deck was finally finished, the two went to pay off the bills and were shocked at the exorbitantly expensive cost they were expected to pay off. Going through the invoices and signatures, they realized their mother and her builders had been charging everything to the brothers’ account without their permission. The hardware shop employees had assumed, as she was their mother, this was some sort of internal family arrangement and had gone along with the mother’s booking of hardware materials.
When confronted, my mother-in-law tried to laugh it off and told her sons to just pay for it. It took some convincing and threats of no more visiting on the sons’ parts to get their mother to finally agree to pay.”
She Thought She Could Hide it
“This was about thirty years ago, but it still riles me up. My mother-in-law never seemed to like my daughter, having told me she was a spoiled child because ‘no one ever said ‘no’ to her.’ On another occasion, Grandma was visiting, riding in the back next to my daughter in her car seat. My daughter said something to us, in the front seat, which we chose to ignore.
So, my mother-in-law smacked her! She tried to hide it, being in the backseat, but we knew, and our daughter confirmed it. I wish I could say I slugged her, but it would be a lie. I can say that we stopped driving five hours to get her for holidays, and of course, five hours back. I will add I can’t remember her holding her granddaughter on her lap, telling her stories, or even speaking kindly to her.
Although an accomplished knitter, she never made anything for my daughter. The homemade sweater came from my brother’smother-in-law! After that, we adopted her into my family as the loving grandmother she was, very grateful for her loving attention and beautiful soul.”
It’s A Good Thing They Turned Around
“She babysat for all of the kids one evening and we left for a pub, and my husband realized we didn’t have our bank card. My husband pulled the car up-front and asked me to run inside so he wouldn’t have to repark. I opened the door and she had our bank card and was ordering from a butcher to be delivered to her home.
I snatched it out of her hand, and she explained she was trying to reach us at a pub to let us in, we left it there. My husband did not want to irritate her, so we let the $357.00 bill go. She really thought she got one over on us. Well, I went back and thoroughly looked back through the bills. Sure enough, we had plenty of items purchased for her apartment. I changed our banking after the incident.”