Posted by: Author | December 31, 2012

The Dreaded Mother-in-Law Curse

My own mother-in-law was a mean, unhappy woman who didn’t like me. She even once told me that when my husband married me that it was like he died. I was quite stunned at that statement and resolved that I would do all in my power to be a good mother-in-law and from the time each of my sons was born, I prayed that I could at least like the person they would choose to live their lives with. The thing I forgot to pray about was that the person they chose would like me. I don’t know why that never crossed my mind- perhaps my ego thought that wouldn’t be an issue.

Anyway, the girl my elder son is marrying in October is crazy about him and that makes me happy. She’s a sweet person but it makes me sad every time they visit since she seems not to want a relationship with any of us other than my son. On past visits, I often invited her to do things with me and she would say yes to my face but when it would be time to go, she would go in my son’s room and close the door until I was gone.

This time, I decided not to put myself out there and try to get her to interact with me one on one. Amazingly, she still hurt my feelings. The spouse and son were going to run an errand that would take like ten minutes when we left a restaurant one night. We had come in two cars and I was going to car when the spouse suggested (not me) the fiancee ride home with me and the younger son. She refused and said she’d go along for the errand. Then, a couple of days later, my son got a new car stereo and was installing it. She and I were in the living room and she suddenly got up and left. A few minutes later, the son came in and said he didn’t know why he had an audience out there. I said, “huh?” She was out there in the 35 degree weather watching him. I can only surmise from that that she didn’t want to be in the room with me since it was in the 30s and windy. Not comfortable at all.  There have been other minor things but they add up to a lot of hurt for me.

The last three days, she has been in hurry to leave. It makes me sad that I’ll never  enjoy time with my son with her ready to be gone almost as soon as she gets here. All she talks about is her parents this, her parents that.

Is the mother-in-law relationship inherently evil? Are all the jokes and cliches true and is there no way to get around that? Is there really any daughter-in-law who has a relationship with her mother-in-law that exists separate from the relationship with the son? Am I being unrealistic? I only know one woman who does things with her daughter-in-law as a friend. Can it happen or am I just an eternal optimist? I really want to know because I’m driving myself crazy trying not to be hurt and trying to figure out what’s wrong with me that she doesn’t want to even be in a room with me alone. Any mothers in law out there with advice?

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Responses

  1. Sorry Jillian. Relationships are hard. My almost mother-in-law was a little crazy, but we got along great, in fact when I broke up with her son, she called me at work crying. That was an uncomfortable conversation.

    My oldest brothers wife, Brenda, had a really hard time getting along with my mom when they first got married. She kind of acted the same way for a long time & I should probably ask her what changed, because they are great friends now. I do know that Brenda grew up poor, ie. no indoor plumbing until she was a teenager, so our way of life was very different. Maybe she was incredibly shy & out of her element. I should probably mention that my brothers are all half-brothers & their birth mom is certifiable. I know that she tried to make trouble between my younger brothers wife & my mother, so it’s possible she had a hand in the issues Brenda had in the beginning.

    Have you met your future daughter-in-laws family? Seeing how she interacts with people she loves & feels comfortable with may help you feel your way. Don’t give up on her, the relationship you crave may still be possible.

    • Thanks Kathryn. I have seen her with her parents. Her mother is a controller. Very much so. She cuts her off mid sentence and discounts her opinions but the girl thinks her mom is always right. She can’t see it at all. The dad does whatever the mom says.

    • I’m glad, too, Kathryn to hear that it is possible to have a good relationship with a mom in law or a mom in law to be.

  2. I wish I could offer you some advice. I have 5 kids and have prayed for the same thing you did…that they would find spouses good for them and be happy. I don’t understand snubbing someone like your future d-i-l is doing. Not at all. Life’s too short to live it that way. I, for one, am glad you are my friend and I see how much you do to make others comfortable. Hmmm. Maybe she’s worried she’s being disloyal to her own mother if she likes you? My husband never went in search of his birth parents out of a strong loyalty to his adoptive mother. Even now, 20 years after she passed, he’s not interested. So loyalty is a very strong motivator.

    • She’s very much under her mother’s thumb, Laurie. Even while they were in England, she Skyped every day with them. It’s sad really that she can’t get free. Her parents smother her and won’t let her grow up. My son posted on FB last week when she was putting a log in the fire. Her dad’s comment? “That’s man’s work” – her mom said, “we don’t let our kids play in the fire” – she’s freaking 26! I make fires, does that make me a man?

    • And thanks for saying you’re glad to be my friend.

      • It sounds like it will take years for this girl to get out from under her mother’s control and have a notion of her own. Put on your patience cap. It’ll be worth it in the end, I hope. :)

      • Thanks. I hope so, too Laurie. I’m backing way off and insulating myself for now.


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