Whoever said family bonds are the strongest never had to reckon with their mother-in-law. These women share the pettiest, most annoying thing their MIL ever hassled them over.
She Ruined Their Vacation
“When my now-husband and I first began the discussion of marriage, she made a statement of ‘I better like the girl my son marries, or I will make her life a living nightmare.’ Many times, she has done just that.
But my most recent and most unforgivable act is one that takes the cake. My husband, children, and I went to the mountains with my parents for New Year’s after spending Christmas with his family. My parents (dad and step-mother) had just purchased a new home and wanted us to come up and stay for a few snow-filled days. We were excited to get out of town, and the kids were excited to get to see snow for the first time.
We arrived on December 31st and had an awesome time. Everything was great. Except for the dozen-plus phone calls my husband would receive from his mother every single day. Unfortunately, on January 2nd, the day before we were supposed to come back home, my stepmother lost a family member rather suddenly. She was a complete mess. I think the one ray of light for her was having the grandchildren there to hug her and help her get through it.
That same night (about 5:00 pm) my mother-in-law called again, now claiming her son needed to come home that night because she had a very special doctor’s appointment in the morning, and he needed to take her. He explained to her the situation and told her he wasn’t planning on coming home until sometime the next day, and asked why her husband (his father) couldn’t take her.
She immediately began to go into a co-dependent freak-out. Claiming she has nobody in her life and he doesn’t understand what this medical condition is doing to her.
Knowing the situation in my parent’s home and how pivotal our children were to my mom, my husband decided to pack them and tell me he was going to head home. He said if I wanted to be with my children for the rest of their winter vacation, I had better pack my bag as well. Being as we drove up in a single-vehicle, I was left with no choice. My husband drove our family down the winding mountain road two hours home in the dark. We didn’t speak for a few days after that, and in fact, I don’t believe my father has spoken to him since.
The icing on the cake was when my husband arrived at his mother’s house the next morning to take her to this ‘very important appointment,’ she acted surprised he was there and casually stated, ‘Oh you didn’t have to drive all the way back down the hill just for me.’
Yet she kept him monopolized for 10 hours that day and multiple time during the remaining days of winter vacation.”
Her Mother-In-Law Took Advantage Of Her
“My mother-in-law is evil. I’d heard tales, from my sister-in-law, about how she pretended she didn’t recognize her grandkids if they saw each other in public, or just ignored them. But I thought they were exaggerating. I honestly couldn’t believe anyone would do the things they described.
I thought, ‘I can get along with anyone. My job trained me to solve the problems for the most demanding and difficult people.’
But I had no idea I wasn’t dealing with a regular kind of difficult person.
Before I got married, I wanted to spend some bonding time with my soon-to-be stepdaughter. She was five, and I decided to take her to see the Grinch at the Old Globe.
I tried to get tickets all morning before they sold out but I was on the phone at work. I would get on the line, but would be on hold then had to hang up when a client would call or come in.
Later that day, my soon-to-be mother-in-law stopped by my work to ask to use an office to take some tests. We were talking and I told her of my plans. I was really excited. When she heard of my problem she said, ‘Well I’m headed home, and I’m not doing anything, I can call for you.’
I was thrilled and said thank you, my stepdaughter would be spending the night over at her house so I could get the confirmation the next day after we picked her up. I’d researched and knew the date time and seats we wanted, and I thanked her and sent her off with my credit card info. I didn’t hear from her, so I assumed it went fine. Later, she did message me saying ‘I got them,’ but nothing else.
The next evening, my fiancé and I drove to a park to meet her halfway to pick up the child. It was raining so I stayed in the car and when I saw my mother-in-law, I smiled and waved and she just looked away.
My fiancé and my stepdaughter came running and she jumped in the car. The child was smiling and excited. As she was getting buckled in, she said excitedly, ‘Guess what! Guess what?!’
Before I could respond, she announced, ‘Nana is taking me to see the Grinch!’
Call me stupid, but I honestly never saw it coming! I’d never dealt with anyone that would do something like that. I saw it in movies but didn’t think people like that were real.
It wasn’t even something you could resolve. It wasn’t like we could talk and clear the air. It wasn’t just a difference of opinion, hurt feelings, or anything an apology would fix. She knew what she did. She planned it, it was not an accident, and it was clear she didn’t think she’d done anything wrong. My ex-husband never intervened but had excuses as to why.
I’d never seen anything like that from my fiance before. But then he hadn’t gotten everything he needed from me by that time, so I’d get to see just how close that apple fell to the tree, a few years later.”
She Finally Had Enough
“The biggest and worst argument I had with my mother-in-law, unfortunately, ended our relationship. We argued about whether I had the right to dictate/demand how she treated me while she was a guest in my home. My mother-in-law’s Eastern European culture allowed, and some would even say, expected, a mother-in-law to be able to say anything she wished to her daughter-in-law and treat her daughter-in-law in any way she wished. At the time of our argument, I had been married almost 15 years and had been with my husband for over 16 years.
During this entire time, she had repeatedly, criticized me, demeaned me, humiliated me, embarrassed me, harassed me, and corrected me, nearly every time she was in my presence. She also tried to tell me how to parent my children, tried to make medical decisions for them. She even interfered in their education, going so far as to tell one of their teachers she didn’t know what she was doing. She even told a contractor I had hired to redesign my home, not to listen to me, and instead tried to give him directions she preferred over my choices. And nearly every single time she behaved badly, I would either politely and respectfully disagree with her, or else ignore her. More than anything, I just wanted to keep the peace, for the sake of my kids and husband.
However, her behavior began to escalate around when my oldest son turned 10 years old. The last time she visited, she became extremely impatient with me over my inability to wait on her as she liked. She threw a tantrum, yelled at me, called me names, and even threw a bag of coffee at me. Her behavior shocked and dismayed my son. My husband did not treat me this way, and previously I had brought my son to work with me and he had witnessed how I managed my staff. He saw how they spoke to me, respected me, listened to me, and took direction from me. After my mother-in-law left, he came to me said that he didn’t understand why I didn’t allow anyone else in my life to treat me badly, but I did allow my mother-in-law to constantly disrespect me and abuse me. He said it hurt him to see his mother being hurt. His opinion of her treatment of me hit me like a ton of bricks. It made me realize her behavior was deeply affecting my child, even worse than it was affecting me.
Therefore, I wrote her letter and confronted her. I detailed her treatment of me over the course of my entire marriage. I told her I loved her as the mother of my husband and the grandmother of my children, but she would no longer treat me badly or disrespectfully if she wanted to be allowed to come to our home. I laid out clearly and respectfully how I expected her to behave, and agreed I would behave in the same way. I explained to her that if she felt she could not adhere to the rules and boundaries I had requested, then it would be best if she stayed in a hotel when she came to Denver or else stayed home in Pittsburgh.
It did not go over well. The next time I saw her, my mother-in-law yelled at me for nearly four hours. She told me she was a ‘hot-head’ who didn’t have a ‘filter,’ and who ‘calls it as I see it.’ She said she was very confident in her opinions and feelings and assessment of situations, and she would never change. She said she didn’t see anything wrong with the way she had treated me. She also said she was deeply offended by my requests and accused me of being mean and just trying to hurt her. She denied ever saying anything that was meant to be mean or hurtful toward me. She said she could never forgive me, she couldn’t trust me, and we wouldn’t ever be able to have a relationship again.
As a result, my mother-in-law is not welcome in our home and she has a very limited relationship with two of our three grandchildren. This is her choice and her decision.”
She’s Serious About Her Left-Overs
“My mother-in-law was always known for her notorious cooking skills. I think she could mess up a glass of water if you let her.
At the time, my then-husband (her eldest) already left us and moved to London, and in her household were living my two brothers-in-law and my sister-in-law.
My son (one year old at the time) and I were invited for a Friday night meal which included a sleepover (I didn’t have a car at the time, so I didn’t have much of a choice).
I arrived at her house that Friday night only to discover she laid out all the ingredients for dinner, and told her youngest to tell me to start cooking.
I didn’t mind much, I like cooking, although she did invite me to dinner at her house. So, I found it a bit awkward, especially because I also had to make sure my son didn’t make a mess or endanger himself.
We sat down to eat, and everything was standard. After dinner, when I was helping to clear the dishes, I heard my mother-in-law tell her daughter-in-law, ‘Hide the food so S. won’t finish it all.’
I was livid. First, I was still nursing at the time. Secondly, I was half their weight at 55kgs. Thirdly, you made me stand around and cook, then behave as if I am about to steal the food out of your mouth!
I decided to go out for a run and cool off, thinking about what I should do. As I was running, I noticed something on the ground and discovered it was a nice sum of cash. There was no one around, being after 23:00 and it didn’t seem as though anyone was there to look for it. I saw this as a sign, went back to the flat, grabbed my son, called a cab, and went home.
I didn’t hear from her until 16:00 the next day, when she accused me of being rude, and a few other far-fetched things. She also said that that’s why everyone hates me (?!).
I stayed away from her ever since.”
No Business At The Dinner Table
“My in-laws had a family business and two sons. My husband is the younger son.
What my in-laws wanted to do with their business is none of my business, so to speak. I have done my best to stay out of it over the years.
However, there was one time when something was happening with the business that related to how much work each son was doing and how much they were being compensated. I felt it was unfair to my husband but, again, I was doing everything in my power to stay the heck out of it.
We went to visit my in-laws, and I think my mother-in-law knew it wasn’t really fair. But, she was trying to talk herself and everyone around her into believing it was fair. She just kept talking about it. No matter how many times I tried to change the subject or tried to distract her, she just kept talking about it. I think she wanted me to say I agreed with her but I didn’t agree, so I kept giving noncommittal answers. This went on for a couple of hours, and my temper was getting closer and closer to snapping.
I finally lost it. I yelled something about how I knew they were causing issues for my husband.
She looked shocked and stopped talking.
After I had calmed down, I felt bad for yelling at her. I shouldn’t have but she just wouldn’t leave it alone and I got so frustrated from repeatedly trying unsuccessfully to change the subject to something else. Now that I am older, I know I should have walked away, even if it was rude.
I saw her again a week later at a large dinner. She said something about changing what they were doing with the business in my husband’s favor. I just pretended I hadn’t heard her and started talking to someone else because I really didn’t want to be involved.
They needed to discuss these things with my husband and not with me. After a while, that became the rule. Both my husband and I would tell them they needed to discuss business issues with my husband and not to involve me every single time they tried to talk to me about it. We probably had to repeat that mantra for years but eventually, they got it.
That is still the rule to this day.”
A 20-Year Build Up Of Anger
“For 20 years, I kept silent as my mother-in-law crossed boundaries, doing my best to ‘never cause a scene’ as I had been raised to do.
Asked to babysit in the early years of our marriage, I came home from a doctor’s appointment to find she had emptied my kitchen cabinets and drawers to rearrange them her ‘better way.’ As I entered and saw the mess, she grabbed her purse and left it with me. She never babysat again.
I controlled things a bit better by making sure we visited her home as often as possible, rather than her visiting ours over the next decade or so. When she would visit our house for the holidays, I would lock the doors to the children’s bedroom to avoid her emptying their toy box and closets to tell me they have too much stuff.’ I would take two Aleve before her arrival to avoid the migraine I knew was going to come.
All this ended on Christmas Day 2002. We had 24 guests that Christmas Dinner and I had a broken arm. Instead of canceling, my husband and I still put on the full spread. As we sat down to eat, she was telling everyone how I couldn’t cook when we were first married (I could), and how her son would go to her house after work to eat dinner before coming home to my cooking (never happened). The dinner was ruined for me and as soon as I could, I left the table and went outside for a break.
My husband came to check on me and I told him I was done. She was never to be in our home again while I was in it, I was no longer visiting her home. When someone has to pre-medicate to survive even an hour in her presence, it was time for us to grow up and protect ourselves from her.
He went back inside and asked her to leave. She wanted to speak to me first, he warned her not to do so. She found me in the front and literally chased me three times around the front yard and driveway as I told her she didn’t want to hear what I had to say.
Eventually, I turned and let her have it; twenty years of it all came out. I was ashamed of myself on one hand and justified on the other, and in the back of my mind, I was glad my parents, who were inside, were not hearing or seeing me cause a scene.
Finishing, I turned to see my father with his face in the corner of our front porch, shaking. As I walked up I heard that he was stifling his laughter.
I immediately began to apologize and he said, ‘I am proud of you. How you made it 20 years with that woman without losing your temper is beyond me.’
We walked into the house and he loudly announced what everyone else had missed.
Two days later, after having been told by both her son and myself she was no longer welcome in our home, she showed up with family in town for a visit. Knowing her as we did, we knew this was a ploy to get back in our home. I met her and the two visiting family members on our front sidewalk and explained the couple could come back later to visit, but they were being played. They left with her.”
On Her Wedding Day, Seriously?
“My former mother-in-law was very fond of telling me how to raise my children, and what was ok for them, and what was not. Now, she did successfully raise three physically healthy children, but science had evolved by the time I had my kids. Also, she’s much more of an alarmist than I am.
I lost most of these battles, but the one time I won was my wedding day. My oldest was about six months old, he was running a low-grade fever. It was Saturday, so his pediatrician was not available for a visit. She insisted he must go to the emergency room. I thought a low-grade fever with no other symptoms could wait and watch a bit.
Our house was full of guests from all over the country, and this lady was screeching about how I’m a neglectful mother. I just couldn’t deal with it. I grew up in a house with more siblings than you can count. Exactly none of us went to the ER with only a low-grade fever.
So I put my child in my car and went to leave, to go get ready with my family instead. I had a lot of them, baby lovers all. He’d have been well taken care of without alarmism. He felt fine and smiley after a dose of Tylenol.
This lady followed me to my car. She had the nerve to reach in my open window and try to take my keys out of the ignition.
So I punched her in the face, and she fell down in the street. Not my proudest moment, but she pushed beyond my boundaries after a ton of requests not to.
I did drive away, and I had a beautiful wedding (to the wrong guy, but anyhow). My son was just fine. I maintained his Tylenol, and he had a great, smiley evening. I did take him to the pediatrician on Monday, and no further treatment was prescribed. When you come from a really large family, you kinda know when the doctor is needed and when the doctor is not needed.”
That’s An Effective Method
“When I first got married, my mother-in-law used to call the house on Saturdays, very early in the morning. She knew very well we slept in late on Saturdays. She would call and ask me what I fixed for her son for breakfast, or order me to get up and cook him breakfast. She would say things like, ‘His shirts don’t look clean, what are you using to wash them,’ or ‘How much salt are you putting in his food, he looks like he is swelling.’
My mother-in-law would call me to tell me what I should cook for his dinner or how to wash his clothes. She even tried to tell me what to wear to bed one time, and on and on. This went on for a while. I told my husband to please tell his mother to stop calling so early in the morning and to leave me alone. Nothing! He was afraid of his mother for reasons I found out later.
One day, when I picked my husband up from work, I drove directly to his mother’s house. When we got there, I took the suitcase out of the trunk, walked into the house. I told her if she thinks she can be a better wife to her son, then she can have him back. I dropped the suitcase and left. My husband was mad (understatement), but I had had enough and he was not doing anything to help the harassment I was getting from his mother.
My husband called from his mother’s house, telling me to come and get him right now. I told him, only if he would tell his mother to stop harassing me. I don’t know what they talked about, but when I got back to the house, she was upstairs crying. We drove home in total silence the entire ride.
She stop calling me on those ungodly hours but things were never the same between us.”
“After about two years of marriage, we moved into a bigger home. That Christmas, we decided to host at our house to invite both our families. I was excited to show the moms I could host a big dinner, and they asked if they could bring anything. I said maybe a side dish or dessert or something, not a big deal.
Well, come that afternoon, my mother-in-law showed up with tin-lined boxes filled with an entire cooked turkey dinner. My dinner was almost ready, but she insisted on hers. She also brought all her dishes and place settings, a centerpiece for the table, glasses, you name it. She placed her hand soap in my kitchen to go with the tea towels, kitchen rugs, and other kitchen decor from her house. She insisted they wear their slippers in case my floors weren’t clean.
I was mad, but let it go. Then, my own mother who thought it was all weird as heck came to me and asked if I’d seen my washroom yet. The woman went as far as to redecorate my entire bathroom right down to the shower curtain with all stuff from her house. I was flabbergasted.
When she left that night, she re-packed all of her boxes and left. I told my husband he needed to talk to her and that can’t ever happen again. Low and behold, come Easter, the same thing. I’d had enough. She could do it at her house from now on. The following Christmas, my new son was nine days old. She showed up at seven am with a camera and tripod. She insisted we were doing a family photo right then and there. I kicked her out of my house that day and never looked back.”
Well, That’s Unnecessary
“When I married my ex-husband, my daughter from my first marriage was four. We stayed married for 18 years and had another daughter. My mother-in-law used to really treat my two girls differently, paying attention to my husband’s biological daughter and ignoring my other daughter completely. My husband at the time didn’t differentiate between the two kids, he was great about that. According to him, the kids were both his.
One day while visiting my mother-in-law’s home, she pulls me aside and said, ‘I wanted to make sure you know I will only pay for my granddaughter’s college,’ (meaning her son’s biological daughter) and then, ‘I hope you understand.’
I was really taken aback because I wasn’t expecting any help with either of my kids and college, and I’ve never asked her for anything, nor did I expect anything, and she didn’t have to tell me about it anyway.
My youngest daughter is now 18 and does not have a relationship with her grandmother at all due to the way she treats her sister.
My marriage didn’t last for other reasons, but I will never forget how that woman treated my kids.”