Evil Mother In Law

This site has been really helpful. Shocked to see all the similar stories about passive aggressive mil's.
Most of what I've read is from women who have pa mil's. I'm a guy that's been married 18 years and my
mother in law is no exception. She's the master of passive aggressive behavior. Some examples:

Giving me 10 pairs of underwear (tightie whities) on our 10th wedding anniversary. Keep in mind that tightie whities come in a 3 pack so she had to open the packages to get 10. Not sure what she did with the other 2 pair.

Giving me a bottle of salad dressing that she knows I hate as a Christmas present. (at least I got a gift, right?)

Countless backhanded/ jealous remarks. I recently bought a boat for my family. Her response was "Do you know how to drive a boat?" Knowing that I was a lifeguard at a lake as a teenager (that's how my wife and I met) "You know how to swim?" and "You've water skied before?"

She's very observant of things we purchase but never, ever compliments us on these things. She'll return home and almost immediately buy the same (I mean exact same) item. Last year she saw that we had a new flat panel LCD tv and never complimented us on it. When she got home a few weeks after visiting us, she called my wife bragging about the new tv she bought (exact make & model) saying things like "You wouldn't believe the picture on this new TV" and "You wouldn't believe how little space this takes up". My wife replies "Duh, we have the same TV". MIL insists that her's is better. She has 2 tv's and 3 home stereo's identical to ours, all purchased after ours were. Funny thing is we never brag or call attention to things like this. Our new TV was bought because our old one broke & we needed a new one.

She's been furious over some of the cars I've bought for my wife. Bought her a black Miata for her 30th birthday a few years back. MIL ripped me for buying such an unsafe car, it's too small, you can't put anything in it, etc. Her last 3 cars have been the EXACT make, model and color as my wife has had (yes she had the same Miata shortly thereafter). She'll never say she likes my wife's car but instead will criticize it in some backhanded way. Within 6 months, she'll have the exact same car.

Took an anniversary trip to Puerto Vallarta a few years ago. MIL says "You have to be careful of the people down there", "Can't imagine what you'd do down there" + many other backhanded compliments. 9 months later she took a trip there.

Leaves post it notes for me throughout the house. "Change bathroom light bulb", "Faucet is broken", etc. Funny that things in our house seem to break only when she's there.

I have 2 daughters (9yo, looks exactly like my wife) & (3yo, looks exactly like me). MIL showers 9yo with gifts and almost completely ignores 3yo. Have called her out on this several times but she ALWAYS find a way to victimize herself. "So I can't buy nice things for my first born grandchild?"

Insisted that flower bed in front of our house "would look better with more color". Although she was told not to worry about it & that it wasn't her responsibility, she planted flowers any way. Upon returning home that day she was just finishing up. She noticed that my car had just been washed and proceeded to put her dirty hand print (remember she was planting flowers in a garden) on my driver's side window and said "looks like they missed a spot!"

When they visit, I've repeatedly asked them to bring their luggage in through the front door of our house rather the the garage so that our cars don't get scratched. They ALWAYS ignore this and bring it in through our garage.

I could go on and on. 18 years is a long time to put up with this. She's treats my wife (her only daughter) almost as badly. I'm fortunate that my wife (who I really adore) completely understands.

These are a few of many examples.

Worst part is that my wife and I try to do really well for ourselves. We're by no means wealthy but have been able to live fairly comfortably in the years we've been married. We've never needed or asked for their help or support. Have always tried to tread lightly and be respectful of her. Father in law is her puppet, does everything she wants. They treat our house like a hotel when they are there. Looks like a tornado went through when they leave (they put trash in kitchen sink, spill coffee on carpet, etc.).  Have called them on this before. She'll put her coffee cup on a big bath towel when she puts it down and asks "is this ok?"

Upon reading all the profiles & characteristics of passive aggressive behavior, was surprised to see that she looks like a textbook case. Doesn't seem to be a good solution aother than to ignore and/or tolerate.
Glad to see I'm not alone...

norumrules norumrules
12 Responses Jun 11, 2010

My Mil is a master at passive agressive behavior. I am really allergic to cats and nuts. She got two cats and named them Hazel (nut) and Filbert (nut). And she insists on bringing them to my house when she visits. What a *****. She was also present when my beloved dog was run over (I was working out of town) and two days later she came over with a little spotted dog, looked just like my dog, and gave her to my daughters. Not your dog she said I got it for the kids, you need to deal with your feelings in another way she says to me when I tell her to take the dog back. Then the dog has parvo and it cost me 550. I am about to get a divorce over this 13 year stint of bad behavior.

i feel your pain. my mil ignores our kids all year and then sends a box of junk on christmas with a note saying how much she loves our kids. she loves them so much that not one item in the box matches their ages, development levels, or interests?? she loves them so much that they never get so much as a birthday card or an acknowledgement that they exist at any other time of the year?? she loves them so much, she has never even made an attempt to meet our children, but she will fly the children of my husband's ex-wife to her house for the summer when they are not even related to her??<br />
luckily my mother and my fil (who had sense enough to divorce psycho a long time ago) more than make up for what mil lacks in love.

I can top the "gifts" your MIL gave you. A good friend's MIL used to garbage dive. She gave my friend a sweatshirt she found in the garbage and she had the balls to say that she thought my friend would like it.

Third paragraph should of said choose her over you. Couldn't edit post.

I'm fully aware he's trying to share his experience, but i'm sick and tired of people putting up with ****** behaviour and then saying 'oh well' and go back for more. <br />
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By the same token, this is a comments box. It is there to comment on the experience that has been shared. <br />
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Do i have a comment about your situation Sharatears? If your husband has not got your back and you actually feel he would choose her over me, then i feel for you. Your problem is with your husband. If your husband saw through the (i presume) abusive behaviour or saw how upset or unhappy you are having his mother in your home, and isn't doing anything to rectify it, the problem is with how little he regards your happiness and wishes. That's not mil's fault, that's your dear husbands. Do you really think if Husband didn't want her there that she wouldn't be there?! If he wanted her gone, she would be gone. <br />
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But then i don't suppose you like that comment either? Easier to blame the mil who is only acting this way because the spouse who's mother it is, is either too cowardly to stand up to mummy, too scared, or just blatently doesn't give a toss about their partners feelings. NO SPOUSE SHOULD COME SECOND TO MUMMY OR DADDY OR ANY OTHER MEMBER OF THE FAMILY OF ORIGIN. So you carry on blaming mil for all your woes because it's easier than standing up for yourself and defending normal realistic boundaries. <br />
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I believe there are only so many chances people get to behave decently in my home. You come to my house and abuse my rules, verbally abuse me, etc and you wont be returning for another visit. Too many people get caught up in the "but it's family, it's what you do for family". <br />
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Bottom line, if you wouldn't accept the same behaviour in a stranger, why on earth are you accepting it from someone who happens to share a bit of dna with the person you fell in love with? No one has the right to make someone else miserable. People have more power than they think, they just don't want to use it for fear of not being "polite" or "nice". This Politeness and niceness is what the inlaws count on to continue their manipulations, abuse and control.

He's trying to share his experience, which I believe is what this whole website is about. We don't come here to be judged, just to relate our own experiences. In my case, my MIL doesn't speak a word of English, but still manages to show her negative feelings and actions towards me, and she lives with us eventhough I've told my husband I wanted her gone. She has him so wrapped up around her little finger, that he would choose her over me. I suppose you have a comment about that?

Totally missed the point. There is no likeness to blaming the victim of abuse in my post at all, your not a victim, you see what is happening and your a willing participant by this point. She does behave how she does because there are no consequences for bad behaviour, she's always welcome back to continue where she left off. You don't lose sleep but are sharing your experience on a site that says they hate their mother in law. I'm not the one you need to stand up too, i'm just a person who see's first-hand the negative effects of favouritism. If this ****** situation works for your family, more power to you. Personally i wouldn't waste my precious resources, such as putting people up in your home, on people who do not respect your families wishes. Good luck to your children, they're going to need it.

Well, you only have to see them periodicaly, right???<br />
I say do what you've been doing- unless your wife would like you to do or say more. The only thing that I would absolutely say something about is the gifts for your children. I would lay down the law there, or have your wife say something. As the kids get older that will be a BIG problem. Your MIL is looking to get a rise out of you. Don't give her what she wants. Passive agressive people like to plant the seed and then sit back and watch the drama grow. Ya know?

I totally hear you on the gift thing!<br />
I am allergic to eggs, which my MIL def. knows. So my MIL (husband's mother) gave me an egg slicer for Christmas this year. Not only that, but HER mother (husband's grandma) ALSO gave me an egg slicer!<br />
I got 2 egg slicers for Christmas and I'm allergic to damn eggs!<br />

Interesting comment. Not sure I agree with your logic, though. That's like saying that a victim got murdered because he/she let the murderer do it to them. After reading many other similar stories, I'm simply sharing some anecdotes of my personal experiences that seem to be so strikingly similar to other posts I've read. I'm certainly not losing any sleep over their behavior and have stood up for myself and my family more than enough. The more I stand up for myself, the harder they push. In your opinion I need to grow a backbaone. In my opinion, you need to **** off. How's that for standing up. Have a great day!!

The solution is this... Grow thee a backbone. Your wife too needs to grow a backbone. If all they do is complain when they stay at your house, make them stay in a hotel. Get some boundaries and some consequences in place. No she cannot just buy a gift for the first born as there is now a second born. The only acceptable time for the first born to just get a present without the second born getting one too is on the first borns birthday. <br />
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Seriously, man up. Start standing up for your family. Would you accept the same treatment from your family? From your friends? From strangers? No. Don't accept it from the inlaws either. They continue to treat you and your home and your family like crap because you let them. So does your wife. You always have a choice, putting up and shutting up may seem the easier option, but it will not change anything. Standing up for yourselves will be hard, mil will flip her nut, but eventually, there will be a change. Even if the change is that you dont see them anymore. <br />
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Your children will not thank you for putting up and shutting up. Especially when first born works out that she's 'better' than the second born. Favouritism causes long lasting psychological damage for all people concerned. You really want that? Man up then.

She gave you underwear and salad dressing for gifts??? What a b!tch!