Borderline Personality Mil: Crazy!

My MIL has Borderline Personality Disorder, in a nutshell it means that she is two-faced, manipulative, sneaky, and just plain off. I have been with my husband for over 8 years and she has caused me MANY hours of stress due to her lying, nasty, hurtful comments to others (for NO reason), even once accusing my husband and I of taking advantage of her mother when we sold her a car for over a thousand dollars less than the value, allowing her to pay us $105/monthly due to the fact that she was on a fixed income (that was over 3 1/2 years ago, the car is still running smoothly!). The most recent issue I have is that I just had back surgery and my Mother has been staying with us to help me with my almost 2 year-old son. My MIL called my Mom and proceeded to rip on me, telling my Mom how I talk rudely to her (my own mother) and also treat my husband like a boy and not a man. She then told my husband that I control his mind and tell him what to think, even stating that I tell him that they do not love him. Needless to say, these things are untrue and we were scheduled to have my son's 2nd BDay party at her house, but she told my husband that we should reschedule because of her mother's heart trouble, that she may need surgery. When I did (I had already sent out the invites), I wrote that we all wished for her mother to get well soon. She called up stating that my comment was "cold as ice" and then left hours of nasty message s about myself and my mother. We rescheduled the party, and my Mom was nice enough to pay since I am not working due to disability. Originally I did not want to invite her, but have since decided that it is about my son and that she can come as long as she behaves herself and stays away from me and my Mother. I just found out that she called my Dad and his wife to discuss this, which is TOTALLY inappropriate since I do not discuss my personal business with him. My question is, at what point can I say enough is enough and refuse to allow her around us anymore? Will I be hurting my son if I keep him from her? She has been irresponsible with him in the past, I have caught her outside when he was 14 mos inside, driving him with the carseat not tightened, etc. I say NO MORE unsupervised visits, but what if I want to cut off contact all together? Is that mean to my son? How much do we need to endure to justify estrangement? Thanks, I am exasperated!
nilestheninja nilestheninja
31-35, F
40 Responses Apr 4, 2007

I am so happy I found this post! It feels nice to know that I am not alone. My mother in law has borderline personality disorder too. Her first outburst is when she found out I was pregnant. She lost it and couldn't believe we were going to have a baby. She went on a heavy drinking binge for 2-3 weeks, calling me and my husband wasted, threatening to kill herself. She even asked my husband "can't you find it in your heart to just let me die?!?!" I couldn't believe what I was hearing! Every big positive moment my husband have had in our lives together she has **** all over (excuse my language). I have always been respectful and have tried to not go off on her, but I've had it. We have only been married a year and a half and she is just out of control. If I do the slightest thing that upsets her she goes off on me for weeks, and will throw anything she can in my face. She is always threatening my husband and I that she is going to harm or kill her self. I don't know how to handle her, and I am afraid of letting my daughter around her. She is the most manipulative person I know and loves to use her emotions to terrorize people.

You are not alone. My wife's mother has Borderline Personality Disorder. I've been with my wife since 2012. She makes us crazy. She believes that we need to seek her permission prior to any decision that we make. She believes that anything that we want to do requires a long "family" discussion. She feels that she wasn't capable of parenting when my wife was a child so my wife (who is now 31) should allow her to parent her NOW that she's capable. When we moved her mother text me to forbid us to move to where we live now and was irate that we didn't ask permission first. When we got engaged my MIL was angry that I didn't ask permission and even angrier that my wife said yes when she was directed to say no. My MIL was enraged that we got married without asking her if "she was ready". Worse yet, she lashes out at me for taking her daughter and not giving her anything in exchange for her daughter. HUH?!?! Now, my wife and I are planning to start a family and my MIL is livid that we have made our decision regardless of whether she wants to be a grandmother or even wants to love our child. My MIL finds a problem with everything. She is a manipulative liar. She has consistently told my wife that I'm using her. The other day my wife took MY mother to an emergency medical procedure and my MIL was enraged and told my wife that she betrayed her and that her actions were immoral. Since my wife was so stressed out I sent her flowers at work just to be sweet. My MIL told my wife that I sent her flowers to reward her for betraying her own mother. Am I wrong that I've insisted that my wife limit her interactions with her mother? I've insisted that she not respond to the barrage of cruel and psychotic text messages that she receives and if her mother starts her cruelty over the phone I've instructed my wife to end the conversation. I don't know what else to do. I have a stubborn and nasty Irish temper and I've kept my mouth shut just to keep the peace, but this craziness can't go on.

I'm happy I found your post as my MIL is a BPD waif. I have no relationship with her (my choosing) as all my interactions with her made me feel confused, disgusted, emotionally dumped on, and manipulated. I knew something was wrong but couldn't put my finger on it. I saw my role as supporting my husband as he dealt with her and his bipolar sister. I put my foot down about our kids--she can visit with them twice a year. I read somewhere that if BPD grandparent cannot have a healthy relationship with mom and dad then she is certainly incapable of doing so with vulnerable children. That made perfect sense to me and cut away any guilt I had about making my husband's dealings with his mother more difficult. My #1 priority is to keep our kids physically and emotionally healthy!!

I definitely feel your frustration as my own mil is a chronic liar and mood swinging lunatic . Honestly I think your son is better off without her presence in his life . If your son is surrounded by your love and your husbands and even other healthy family members and friends then he won't be missing out. Hitler was someone's relative but I wouldn't want my kids with him, you get what I'm saying . Don't feel guilty for cutting ties with someone who is toxic in your life .

OMG! Finally I have people who know what Im going throu,lies lies an lies! I catch her in lies an she still lies or makes an excuss,then has family lie an enable her behavior,I went to the doctor cried I couldn't take it anymore an the things she was saying about me to everyone behind my back,an the crazy things she makes up to my husband on his way to work,she calls or comes over knowing im not here then has him lie to me..(sneaky) very manipulating... shes very sick! she taught my baby daughter 15 months to hit her head an say shes crazy among other things I was diagnosed with ctber bullying verbal an mental abuse then sent to a therapist ,lovely lady with two boys 21 25,years of age,she said her an his relationship was extremely unhealthy an she asked to meet her to tell her what shes doing is abuse to me but to her granddaughter,she went but lied,an my husband said she will lie,an not expect her behavior an turn it around my husband has severe mental problems an no self estem from her,she said to him when he was a little bot(mommy where was I born) she said under a rock,i found you under a rock is what she told him...shes holds up a front to poepke ahe has everyone lies an says I keep her away from my daughter,she comes over once a week then goes home an crys an gets on fb an lies lies an lies even my husband said enough! he got on an said stop disrespecting me,an my wife,he got attacked again,I said what is she doing..he said he thinks is my mom doesn't even know what shes doing, If you look up borderline personality disorder ,it says extreme mood an extreme emotion an very unstable,my therapist an doctor an avas said she needs help,It was effecting my life my relationships (because of her lying)everyone was believeing her on her fb ..shes a grandmother an bashing me for three years to the world an to my family,Thnak god I found people who know whatI have gone throu,an did allot of research its not passed on throu genes its a learned husband has it but not so severe as his mothers,god pray for all of you,an thank you for sharing

We went through the same thing with my late mother-in-law. Lies, manipulation, spreading false rumors, interfering and damaging relationships, etc., etc. By our 7th year of marriage I was in a psych ward for a night on the verge of a nervous breakdown. We never dreamed she could affect our 3 year old daughter at that time. Never dreamed BPD could be passed on by anything she did but now going on 24 years later and 16 years after my mother-in-laws death we realize she is the reason for our oldest daughter's bpd (borderline personality disorder). Just before her sister's birth in 1993 when our oldest daughter was 3 years old she was a happy go lucky, out going child. 6 weeks later she was sullen, competitive, jealous and insecure. Despite every possible effort before her sister's birth to reassure her and include her in the arrival of the baby. Despite our love outwardly and inwardly never changing. Despite affection and time always spent on her. And the child she was before the birth was gone forever. She has never been the same.

We believe my late mother-in-law said things to our daughter behind our back to make her insecure. And considering many, many cruel and manipulaltive things she did before and afterwards we have no doubt that that is what happened. Since our daughter was only 3 when this occurred; it is doubtful she remembers her Grandmother doing this. My husband's mother got angry because when we married my husband moved his business from her home to ours. So she sabotaged his business while customers were still calling her number by telling potential customers lies about my husband and all but destroyed his business. She told everyone our oldest child was not his. She told people the mafia was looking for him. That she had no idea where he was. Sabotoged our niece and nephew being our 3rd child's godparents by telling them we only gave them the honor to get them for babysitting, thought she had to know everything we did or decided, accused me of trying to turn my husband into a Catholic and said my church was Catholic when we told her where we were getting married (It is the United Church of Christ), attempted to cause an argument between my husband and his sister 1 month before she (my late mother-in-law) passed from non - hodgkins lympomia. The list goes on and on. 7 years of sheer hell.

We were so stressed and wound up in fighting her it never occurred to us that she could harm our 3 year old daughter. She was never physically or sexually abusive so it did not occur to us. At that point we did not have a name for her mental problem. Did not know what caused it or how it is passed on. The daughter we love with all our heart and soul was damaged by her own Grandmother because we were stupid enough to allow her to provide childcare for her, our 2nd daughter and our 3rd daughter. She never met our 4th child; our son. There is so much now that we understand and know that we did not know then. Our oldest daughter has on and off put us through many happy times but also hell many times. She was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder by the counselor but the counselor did not tell us about the diagnosis until years afterwards. She never told our daughter either. I said WHY DID YOU NOT TELL US OR OUR DAUGHTER?!!! She said she did not tell her because she did not want to discourage her. We were and are loving, affection and caring parents and because of my late mother-in-law and our ignorance our daughter is damaged for life and does not even really understand it or why.

My advice to you? Cut this woman out of your children's life for good. Your number one priority is your child. If this woman will not face or take responsibility for her problems. If she will not get help that is her problem Do what is best for your child and say goodbye for good. Do what we should of.


What a sad story dear. If your MIL had your daughter for a few days while you were seeking help--I don't think if (sexual/physical) abuse didn't exist then emotionally --in that time frame I do not think that would have caused her to have BPD. It can be hereditary, or caused by some trauma but in what I just read from your story I think the family needs to begin at a healthy place--by not blaming a person for your daughters emotional illness. There could be other factors involved in this: BPD a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contests.

Generally at that young age in such a short period of time she would not have developed this. It is a life-long development of:
*abandonment *unstable & intense interpersonal relationships *unstable self-image *self-damaging-substance abuse

So I think to begin in a healthy place look at the family unit and begin by taking responsibility and internally provide structure and stability. Good luck.

Blp,is very much a mental illness,my mother in law taught my baby to hit her head an say (im crazy!) at 16 months an just thought that was the funnkist things,instead of resding books an teaching her 123,or abc.she taught her something so avusive(in my eyes)an the doctors an other so mean an so wrong!that is mental an emotional abuse,an yes two nights can most defintly be the cause,onetime can do a lifetime my mother in law told her son at age four(mommy where was I born) she said I found you under a rock,thats like saying your trash,an go crawl back under the rock I found you.An told him she didn't want him all the time also she said im not your mother..just horrible mean things(he has such mental problems,an she still does it.its controlling ..shes very unstable crys (ALL THE TIME I NEVER SEEN SUCH EMOTION) my life!its like you would think people would get sick of it an on to afraid of her (cuz she gets crazy!)an my husbands horrified of her shes a bully an threatens him)I guess he told me.When she doesn't get her way....horrible things happen.(she eveb once ask me whos truck was outside in front of my daughter)like I had another man here when my husband was working..shes a total nut! an her behavior,is very unstable shes only going to teach my daughter to lie manipulate an be like that..Its a learn behavior.She talks about me to my face in front of my child(horrible things)talks about me on her fb,lies an lies she then asks for my daughter for the day,I say no she crys doesn't understand or comprehend why? She mentaly like a child,an she is so unstable,so yes that child could have been so emotional abused in two nights.

IM sorry for what you went throu,same I went to the doctor,an told her what was going on she diagnosed me with verbal mental an emotional abuse,an said she needs help an im sending you to a therapist for help dealing with this(she even said Its blpd,an the therspist also said my husband just told me he has it,My daughter will not learn this trait! its insane an crazy! who wants to live like this..ok,shes insecure yes. lies yes. very jealous yes. starts fights between my husband an I .yes she has destroyed my name talks about me to everyone .horribly.(why cant she understand shes talking about my daughter)im her mother.shes abusing my child,an when she had my child for awhile(drama) not cant she just vivit,she lies an acts like a child,please don't take her she does what she the first time she did that I should have said ok more.if you cant respect me an my husband you cant take her anywhere..its crazy,i shouldnt have to say please. DO NOT TAKE HER TO PLACES I SAY.enough she agrues (part of me thinks she thinks my daughter is hers.Shes always comparing her to her an her family(my husbands cusins) If his mother would do reseach my daughter only gets certain things from both,An she doesn't like banans because she does,she doesn't walk talk chew her nails because her son does,she doesn't have the same personality as you she doesn't use her left hand like a second cusin on your side..just crazy(my daughter is herself! that's the identity part of blpd,I never once compared her to my sisters children,my sister if my daughters left handed its because her uncles on the blanc side are(an they are)...I don't say that an wouldn't compare her to anyone shes a lovely cute smart sweet baby ..hersef..she will kill my daughters self estem if she doesn't stop.Like she did my husbands.So heres another isuue I have to address,an yes it will be a fight an argument ..I said do not kiss my daughter on the mouth when you have a cold sore she said she cant get them that way (an why,she says.. I have them)what!crazy... to me why would you want your grandchild to have cold sores..?cuz you have then she said she cant get them my son has them he got them from my,it was transferred throu kissing an contact when he was a baby (I think she will give my daughter these on purpose.He learned the mental illness from her an his gramal,also so its time I break this cycle with my daughter thank god I see how sick she husband doesn't hes used to her.He says just don't tell my mom no an she wont get mad(an get the whole family mad an talk about you on fb page)an make up lies.the first time she did this I should have cut all ties with this women shes toxic.

Adding to this,when I say she gets things from both sides its parents not a third second cusin..great aunt...anyway shes herself.(let her become herself) shes not you! that's the identity the whole time visiting she does this ...its insane

1 More Response

I can say that my MIL has done the raging on me as well.
Saying terribly mean things to me like Im not a good mother to my kid. She does even worst to her hubby and I feel for him a lot.
My MIL feels my wife is an extension of her and has told me her to divorce me many times. Its pretty sad the scenario I have been put in but I did alot of research and understand why things happened the way they did. It makes so much more sense now. My suggestion is the same as some others do as much research as you can
its sooo important to learn what to expect.

To be honest from what I have learned and they are really beautiful people.
They just cant control their emotions and react in ways that they cant help.
so many of them have gone threw so much. Anyway I didnt like my MIL for the longest time and thought she was verbally abusive which she is but I feel its because of many other things going on that she hasnt let anyone else in for.

I have BPD. Found out at the age of 52. It is devastating because it basically means your parents didn't care about you and you have no social skills, do not know how to love and be loved. I feel we, as BPD, are judged harshly but in saying that i also have to say that you need only SUPERVISED visits from your mother-in-law with your child. Please read about BPD and at least be informed and some compassion would not hurt. But safety first

I have had it bad with my in-laws esp. Mil. So i know how it feels to have it bad on both sides of the family. I have bpd and don't like it when ppl say, the "borderline" this and that. I struggle with this disorder almost daily and feel that bpd sufferers are judged and put in a box. We have feelings and suffer immensely. I hate having this disorder, as i was abused as a child mentally and childhood was very traumatizing. I am in no way excusing the behavior of the evil mil's but not all of us are evil. We have our moments and i always feel bad after i loose control of my emotions. I'm trying to get help and I'm a new mom, so this makes things so much harder than a person without any problems. I also have to deal with relatives who are not healthy ppl mentally. It really sucks. It's a struggle for me to get out of bed, most mornings let alone care about my life. I would have never chosen to have bpd. I try hard to be better, but have my down days.. Try to put yourselves in the other persons shoes, instead of judging that everyone with this disorder is this and that. Bpd is curable. Dialectical behavioral therapy DBT, helps those who suffer from this awful condition.

That is awful and I'm sorry to hear it. My experience here is that I am a psychology major who grew up with a borderline mother. First thing I would do is see how your husband feels about this. If anything this could effect him significantly as it is his mother. What also needs to be considered her is how much damage could this do if she is involved with your son. For me I've dealt with post-traumatic stress since I can remember from being as the wrong end of a borderline. It can be extraordinarily damaging. Finally to be more direct, consider your own personal boundaries. One thing borderlines have next to no regard or understanding for is personal boundaries. Be flexible but firm. To be verbally and or psychologically abusive toward anyone is clearly going far beyond a persons boundaries. That is something never to be tolerated. One thing I've learned is with dealing with personality disorders (or more precisely character disturbance) intuition has a paradox. You should be critical of it yet you should also trust it. If your intuition is saying that you've had enough and you can't stress over this anymore to the point that you need to take action, with the obvious supporting evidence, you should trust that intuition. It is suggested in the book "understanding the borderline mother" that you may want to sit down with her, with a sportive person present to witness the conversation, and define your boundaries clearly. The book suggests stating clearly that you feel disrespected by her behavior and that you have a right not to tolerate it. In the event that she chooses to behave this way toward you or others that you will be leaving at that time or asking her to leave. Also stating that these terms are an effort to keep the relationship as opposed to loosing contact because you want to give her a chance to be a part of the family. However also note in the conversation that gossiping and slandering behind your back also jeopardizes this relationship, given that you have a right not to tolerate such behavior. Likewise a borderline may (frankly) fly off the handle in a conversation like this. In this event the say to stick to you're boundaries. Polity inform her that you will believing now and thank her for her time. Then leave. Doing this says you mean what you are saying and you are sticking to it. This is of course if you choose this path. Also from the book "I hate you, don't leave me" When dealing with a borderline who is having a tirade, try speaking quieter as it takes more effort to listen and less talking. This sometimes may be calming to a borderline. Also taking an agree to disagree approach with this may help. I hope at least some of this helps. Good luck.

Very wise advice Greg that you gave here. It is very important to have boundaries and limitations that might have a consequence if these boundaries are crossed numerously.

I have had experience in being subjected to behaviors that are extreme and intrusive. My step-son has many issues and had caused much damage in my marriage and stress to my health where I landed in the hospital. As a result I took action along with therapy where I had my husband and step-son in therapy to understand what they both did. I also engaged the MIL who played an intrical role in the event that was very devastating to me. My husband's ex-wife was part of the picture as well.

I set boundaries, limits and depending on the situation where they have crossed the line, I have put consequences in place. All have worked well except the one thing that no one will address, the step-son is an alcoholic and under the influence of alcohol is where he violates personal space and gets very aggressive towards me or anyone who is disapproving of his behavior. What I have wanted is that when he is in my home that he is not to drink or be drunk. My husband thinks that we should not expect that. What do I do?

I wonder if people who posted a couple years ago could share what your outcome was. My husband and I just set a boundary with his mother that she will not be unsupervised with our 3 and a half year old until she sees my husband's psychiatrist. The last six months have been horrible. I've never dealt with someone who's borderline, and it's been like taking a ride on the crazy train. She's gotten a lot sicker since her boyfriend died. Well, she has refused to go to the psychiatrist since it's not her with the problem, it's us. I stood up for my son when she tried to manipulate us through him on Christmas Day, and now I'm the evil one. A couple weeks ago a grandma with mental health issues killed her two grand kids and herself in Connecticut. I'm not taking that chance. She threatens to kill herself all the time. What scares me is it's been about a month since her son set his boundary with her, and she just emailed him a couple days ago for the first time. I know it's only a matter of time before she starts feeling desperate like she has in the past. I just hope my husband is strong enough to stand by his boundaries. Thanks for letting me vent.

OMG these are the things that scare the heck out of me. I heard about that grandparent killing her grandchildren. Did she remove them from a daycare facility or a elementary school? If it were either one, both schools should be held liable for allowing this person to take the children without the parents consent.

jluvsb09 your situation is awful and I will pray that you stay steadfast and committed to your boundary/limitations/restrictions for the safety of your family. Your husband needs to be reminded of that as I am sure you are doing that.

My husband's ex-wife is brutal and has the potential to be violent. My step-sons when they get married and have children, their safety (kids) will be an issue with her. My goodness I am not prepared for that. In fact the ex-wife already came after (phone) my grandson and this is very concerning to both my husband and I.

I will pray for you. Oh, I too would be interested in the outcome....Ugh...

I would cut her off, I just recently did the same and my son is 4. I think he will be better off without the drama and crap she brings to the table, not to mention the tension and stress when she's around. You don't have to put up with it and if you explain yourself well your husband will be ok :)

I wish I knew what to do in that situation. Sounds like your husband at least agrees with you, my boyfriend either denies everything because he doesn't want to get in the middle of me and his mom or chooses to look the other way. Either way I wish she lived in another country.

Although I myself do not have BPD or anyone in my life with the affliction I do have a severe case of Bipolar disorder. LOVE almost always outweighs my chemical imbalance causing me to notice when I am treating someone I care about wrong. Although it is difficult for me to manage my "outbursts" I do my best and i always will try because I care about my husband and my children. When I fail I make up for it by talking and explaining how I felt during my mood swing and including my family members ideas on how I could do things differently next time. I then utilize their ideas whenever I have enough control to do so. Although I live with Bipolar every day, it is NEVER an excuse to treat any family member badly. I take responsibility for anything hurtful I do and I do my very best to fix it. I do this all without meds because I do not want to live my life in a stupor as I did for years. Therapy helps a lot. My point here is that while yes, your MIL is suffering from something very real and awful to live with (for her and everyone around her) I think she knows she's suffering from it an uses it as leverage with her own children and an excuse to treat people terribly. I am not saying she has total control but if she is high functioning she does have a measurble amount of control. To be blunt and honest, if she truly cared she would put a little more effort into being respectful at the very least. Don't put your marbles in her "disease" basket. And your son doesn't need her he needs you. A happy, comfortable, sure-of-yourself mommy. Although he is your husbands son he is your son too and you have all the right in the world to put your foot down and cut his contact with your MIL until he is the age where he can understand what healthy and unhealthy behavior is and is not. I would go to counseling with your husband to tell him that you want to cut contact with your MIL. Having a therapist there would act as a buffer, someone there to tell your husband that you are being very reasonable in your wishes. I am so sorry you have to go through this battle sweetheart. Best wishes and all my prayers❤

Oh wow that sounds alot like the lady I have to deal with!! If they are anything alike cutting her off wont do much but give her more to ***** about. I mean do it if you think its best but expect ALOT of moronic annoying bombardments. My mil watches her other grandson (her daughters son) and she smokes pot around him and gets all kind of drunk its insane. So before my baby was even born I was she will never be around my kid for more than an hour. Ever. >_< And quite honestly... if you both agree on it... you dont have to justfiy anything at all. I dont think its bad for children to have very negative people cut out of their lives at all. I think it helps prevent issues concerning that kind of behavior.

cut her off for a while and let her prove she can be trusted with your child or around your family

Thanks so much for all these comments. It's so comforting to know I'm not alone in having to deal with a Mother-in-law who has this disorder. From what I've read, my MIL has a high functioning version of BPD, which has made it that much harder to pinpoint. My husband is the baby of four boys and has always been the favored "golden" child. When I first came into the family about 10 years ago, my MIL would tell me terrible stories about the three other sons and their wives and things they allegedly said about my husband and I. Her stories seemed reasonable to me since I it reflected how my SIL's treated me - opposing our marriage before they even got to know me and not including me in their family events. My MIL would dote on me and my husband (and our first son) to the exclusion of the others. When I questioned it, she would explain that the others were selfish and only wanted to be with the SIL's families. My MIL would constantly go back and forth like a yo-yo with her emotions and beliefs (even in a single sentence) and would expect you to agree with her completely opposite statements at all times, but would justify them by saying she was very smart/quick and passionate. My husband would always justify her favoritism too - saying I'm sure she is the same way to the other brothers when she is with them and that she has her "crazy" moments. It wasn't until I had my second son that I finally got wind of the personality disorder. Out of nowhere, she started to make remarks to me (especially when no one else was around) about how I was incompetent, a messy housekeeper, not a good wife to her son and was constantly criticizing me for how I handled my older son (even though when she followed her own advice it never worked). She refused to hold my second son (even when he would reach for her as a baby) and would say that he looks like me, not her side of the family. She would only interact with my first son and continues to buy him presents and give them in front of my second son, who his now very much old enough to understand. She started telling my husband in front of me how she wanted him to be with one of his old girlfriends and was overjoyed when he recently hired a female assistant who she always wanted him to be in a relationship with. She has continued to try to drive a wedge between my husband and I by telling him that I am "the problem" (she knows it is not him, it's me). She also loves to tell me stories about all the things she buys now for the middle son and his wife (who she now idealizes, while she demonizes me). She has always used her money to show love and invoke jealousy between the siblings. I now understand she was telling my SIL's stories about me this whole time to make them turn against me and continues to intentionally drive a wedge between all her children. I have learned that she has favored and then disowned two of my SIL's in turn and is working on the third one now. I also started to see a pattern of her joining a great group of friends that she would shower with love and then getting into a fight or decide she was done with them a year or two later. I have decided to cut myself off from her to stop the constant attacks. However, my husband will not stand up for me when she says these awful things and continues to defend her and my (diagnosed bipolar) FIL or acts in complete denial of her behavior, even pretending it didn't happen. I used to believe I had this loving, supportive family with my in-laws, but now feel completely down like someone has pulled the rug out from under my feet. Her attacks continue to sting, but what is worse, is that it really is driving a wedge in my marriage. I have repeatedly seen my BIL's standing up for their wives, but mine (the "golden" child and baby of the big family) refuses to do so for fear of being outcast. He also refuses to accept that I don't want to have contact with her and is constantly looking for ways to pressure me to join. Unfortunately, we live 5 minutes away from them and cannot move away. I need to save my marriage and my children, but am totally struggling!


I have the exact same problem with my sister in law! I try not to hate her but she makes it impossible. She lies, she's always a victim of something, she manipulates, and no matter what you do to keep the peace she always finds something else. Its gotten so bad my brother no longer talks to any of us and my siblings have always been close. I want her out of our lives so bad. The amount of damage one psycho woman can do to a strong, close family is phenomenal!

I don't know if you are still active on this but I have been married for a few months and my MaiL is BPD... this is the first thing I have read that I can relate to. Thank you gor writing this as it makes me feel like someone could understand how awful a person can be without any cause!

I am so glad I found this! My step-mother is BPD and her most recent antic was to try and ruin my wedding. She was so wrapped up in the fact that she was not in control of the planning and that she "wasn't being honored" during the reception that she called over 20 people and told them they were no longer invited. I won't bother with the rest of the story, but it includes her lying to people after the wedding and telling them that my husband and I did things to her that never even happened. We were trying to figure out what to do if there were ever children involved. My stepmother physcially and psychologically abused me from age 5, and I wouldn't trust her not to do it to my child. Finding this feed made me realize the inevitable; she simply has to be cut off before there is anyone else involved in our family. Her own family already does not speak to her, and nor does my father's. She simply cannot control herself (compulsive eating, alcoholism, lying, sabotaging other people's joy) and I will NOT allow her to do to my children what she has done to me and my brother.

Its not mean to your son its protecting him:) you should keep him away from her untill hes old enough to understand her. For now he cannot protect himself or understand why she is the way she is. When he gets older if he wants to see her let him. So he can decide weather she is someone he wants to be around but for now KEEP HER AWAY!

Also, it really helped me to read up on the disorder. The book: "Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship" by Christine Ann Lawson was particularly helpful. For some reason it is around $50 so I would highly suggest you get it from the local library. It really helped me.

My mother-in-law has Borderline Personality Disorder as well as my husband's grandmother. BPD is genetic and often if a mother has it, the daughter will also develop it. My husband's grandmother doted on his brother and constantly gave him lavish gifts. On the other hand, she barley even acknowledged his existence and rarely gave him a birthday or Christmas present. Grandparents with BPD often choose their favorite grandchild and treat the rest horrible. We do not have any children yet, but I cringe to think about the effect my mother-in-law will have on my future children. I have not been able to break apart form her yet because my husband is extremely loyal to her, but he is in therapy right now which is helping. It sounds like you only have one child right now, but I implore you to get her out of your life before you have another child or she will adore one and disregard the other. Break off from her, but please also make sure your husband is ready for it or it could damage your marriage. Get him into therapy right away!

distance and disown

You would be doing your child a favor by keeping her away from that woman, she might mental scar the kid.

32 years of this and just last year a friend recommended a book called Understanding The Borderline Mother. It changed my life. My children are grown and have been through so much with my MIL that I must strongly advise everyone here to cut this toxic person from your lives. Because of her love of self my children had little contact with their Grandmother but I can assure you that every time I let my guard down it was a painful disaster for all involved. One thing you must be ready for is your husbNds reaction. From the book I learned females can inherit this from their mothers but males do not. However, they wll defend their mother to the grave. This is behavior they learned from birth for self preservation. This is why you fight the same battles over and over. It is a must read got them but, you should read it first to understand that even though he may agree with you it is nearly impossible for him to "give her up." I could tell stories, but you all know what it is like so there is no need and it only breaks my heart again. After my husband had a heart attack last year and she showed up at the CICU with her latest drunken boyfriend I decided I was done. I have not had contact with her since. I do not answer the phone when she calls and leave the room when my husband answers to talk to her. I also do do not ask him what she said. This is his fight now as I can longer fight it for him. The weariness has overwhelmed me in the past and my choice has been to remove the toxicity from my life. If they do not seek treatment it is best you do it early as late. My prayers for you all. Peace sisters.

I wouldn't subject my children to such an abusive person....especially one with a diagnosed Personality Disorder! What does your husband (her son) have to say? Was he emotionally abused during his formative years? Family dynamics is a varied yet interesting subject.....exercise good from bad especially in your life!

Wow thats really harsh. I'm sorry for your situation. I wish there was something I could do to help.<br />
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Cheers,<br />
Thomas<br />

Thank you all so much for your comments and stories. I am at my wit's end dealing with a borderline mother-in-law and this was so helpful, just knowing that we are not alone and that other people have had similar scenarios. My husband and I have been fairly successful at trying to set boundaries up until now, but have ceased contact with his mother after her most recent outrage. Our current problem is that she completely manipulates his brother who barrages us with reproaches and attempts to create a 'reconciliation' with this horrible woman. It is so distressing to have finally reached a healthy place in dealing with her just to have him try to drag us back down into the drama. The fact that this close family member wants to put me and my children back into a situation with the person who abused my husband and wreaks havoc wherever she goes is so depressing and makes me feel like a second class member of this family. I feel so powerless. I completely agree, by the way, with the general advice of this thread--your children do NOT need to be around your mother-in-law, they aren't missing anything except disillusionment and drama. Thanks for the forum for expressing these feelings--it is so hard to explain to people who don't understand.

OMG, do not let this women into your town. My MIL is severely borderline and is causing such much drama and pain in our lives. She has also focus in on me as the cause of problems in her relationship with her son, my husband. Never mind the fact that she never cared for him as a child because "it was inconvenient" and "her husband's fault." Nothing is ever her fault. The first time I met this women, we had just gotten married and were living in Florida. The last day of our vacation we were supposed to fly home to Miami. It just so happened that a hurricane came along and blew our house away. That day she tells us that we cannot stay with her because she is trying to sell her house and it would be difficult to show the house with us there. She asked if I could call my mother and ask if we could stay there. I replied "I can call my mother, but I never have to ask if I can stay with her." As you can imagine, her version of the story is extremely different. She says that when the hurricane came along I was so cold and callous because I was dancing around being excited about the money I was going to get, while all these people were dying. She also states she had to make us leave because we were trying to move in with her. My husband and I were in the military at the time and pretty much had to live anywhere the military would make us go. Things have gone downhill since this time and she has viciously verbally attacked me on my occasions.<br />
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Four months ago her husband passed away and because she is so borderline she totally melted down and was incapable of taking care of herself. I knew better than to get involved and try to help, but we did anyway. Initially we moved her to LA to go to her mother's house. This is about 3 hours away from us. She caused she much chaos and disruption with her drinking and threatening behaviors that her mother called us and begged us to come get her. Luckily at the time my FIL, who has been divorced from her for over forty years took her in, thinking he might be able to help her, get her into AA and maybe stabilize her. After a month, he said he tried, but she had to leave because she was causing drama, going through his personally belongings and being verbally aggressive with him. <br />
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We mistakenly agreed to bring her into our town. She has an RV, so we found a place for her to park it, so she can live in it. The first week wasn't too bad. Of course, we spent a lot of time with her trying to get her settled, taking her to appointments and trying to get her into mental health services. Week number two was not too bad either. She was being cooperative and going to her appointments with the psychiatrist and drug and alcohol services. The only problem was the fact that she lied to the psychiatrist and the drug counselor about her drinking and using prescription pills. She portrayed herself as a poor grieving widow, with a horrible life and everyone felt so sorry for her that they bought the whole story and believe there is nothing wrong with her and my husband and I are just over-reacting. Oh, btw, I have two master's degrees in counseling and psychology and am ABD for my doctorate in clinical psychology, so what do I know. The third week she was here we began to set some boundaries with her regarding how much of our time she could consume and told her she would have to take the bus to her appointments and pretty much take care of herself during the week, but we would be willing to take her to Mass and to the grocery store on the weekends. This is when the problems began again. My husband is "whipped" and can't think for himself because I control him. She has been leaving crazy, drunken messages at all hours of the day and night and our life is becoming a living hell. <br />
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Yesterday we confronted her about her behavior and told her that she should probably go back to Washington. She became completely unglued, verbally attacked me, verbally attacked my parents, called me every name imaginable, and refuses to leave. Because she was receiving services where I work I am concerned about the problems she could cause for me there. It is a total nightmare. At this point I am severing all ties with her and between her and my son. It is up to my husband if he wants to continue to be involved, but I don't want to hear about it and talk about her anymore. She has completely consumed every ounce of energy that I have over the past month. She has now hooked up with some random guy and is living with him. He thinks there is nothing wrong with her and says he is willing to help her. We tried to warn him, but it seems he will have to learn for himself. <br />
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DO NOT LET YOUR MIL INTO YOUR TOWN OR AROUND YOUR CHILDREN. The damage she will cause will not be okay. Look at the damage she has caused to your spouse, is that something you want for your children? You must take care of yourself and your family. I feel like I opened the gates to he** by trying to help her and now I cannot close them again. <br />
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Do not let this happen to you.

I am THRILLED to find this discussion!!!!1 Thank you all for sharing!!<br />
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I have been married for 10 years and we have been dealing with this "crazy", "odd", "unpredictable" MIL all this time. I just came to the realization that she must be BPD. We really don't know what to do with our current situation. Sure it would be great to cut her off. However, my husband, and I, are both only children, so my MIL has nobody, except for her alcoholic sister. MIL lives alone, as she self proclaims that she can't live with anyone. She can't maintain a relationship; classic. The past year has thrown her into a downward spiral; the economy leaves her with little money and few options; she had to move all her things into storage and stay with a roommate, which of course she can't handle. So she's broke, has no savings or retirement, has no medical insurance, is too young to yet qualify for medicare. And, she just totalled her car. During the past year, she has severely declined and her bad behavior has escalated. We would love to cut her off, but feel she would be homeless on the street. <br />
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Of course, we go back a forth with being ready to cut her off, and feeling sorry for her and wanting to help. She lives 8 hours drive away from us, and we've thought it would be 'easier' (like between a rock and a hard place is easy) to move her into our city NOT with us, but in an apartment, so that we could at least 'keep an eye on her' and 'make her' get treatment. She seems to not only exhibit BPD, but recently seems to be 'losing it' with forgetting, lashing out, etc. it seems like dementia/alzheimer's, but I wonder if I'm thinking this because dementia/alz is easier to label, and I really don't understand the nuances of BPD.<br />
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And, like many of you here, we have a young child and do NOT want him exposed to her crazy talk and behavior. <br />
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Is this ridiculous thinking on our part? Any advice?!?!?

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I just want to say thank you for everyone who wrote something on here, I no longer feel alone or that it is all my fault. My husband and I have also chosen to not allow his mother around our children since she chose not to go get help and try to get better. She has said and done some awful things and I feel all the stories shared all to well. She was allowed to watch my kids and at one point started verbally abusing my daughter and making obvious to her that she "loved" her little brother more. Such a sick sick woman. She will never see our kids again. We plan on moving out of state and not telling her or any of his family where we are. It's so sad because it is his family, but it is choice that he made and I will stick by him always, espeacially if it means we can have some peace in our lives. Good Luck and best wishes to all of you.

I am pretty much in an agreement with all of the women's comments. <br />
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It took me awhile but I realized that my MIL focuses on me the most.....the copying off of me in the past (perfumes, purses, etc) she is extremely jealous and threatened by me. (I don't think that I am gorgeous or anything like that...but I think out of two DILs she would be me).<br />
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Plus, I have managed to stop her from totally manipulating my husband about me.....example when I thought that her and I were still friends....she would be nice to my face, but behind my back, she would encourage my husband to divorce me. She looked for all sorts of ways to start a fight with me...the littlest things that I may have said or done wrong..not intentionally.<br />
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She's been throwing it in my face that she's FAVORS my SIL now, which is fine by me. I used to be the favorite and my SIL was on the outcast. (But, I also noticed that she does that when she's at "war" with someone...she'll befriend someone she used to not like or is not as close to as an ally).<br />
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My SIL does not talk to me anymore..clearly she's chosen our MIL's side.<br />
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I am a firm believer that what goes around will come around......MIL will turn and sh*t on her next. She always does. SIL should be so lucky that the heat & focus is on me.....because before this MIL was gearing up to gang up on SIL for awhile and then our big explosive fight happened. If anything...SIL should realized that I saved her from having that dragon breathing down her neck.<br />
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These women have serious mental issues and for some sick reasons, they get even more deranged when their sons marry another woman. That attention is no longer focused on them anymore. It is our fault for taking their sons away.<br />
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I'd be protecting your children first. I still do not have contact with my MIL. I haven't been posting much stories anymore...since there are no more dramas these days... (which is good for me)!!<br />
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Take care of yourself and your children first, always.

Yes these are totally sick women just like my own sick in laws, it's pathetic

From personal experience, I would strongly encourage you to keep you MIL from your children. I gave my children the choice when they were older (preteens) of having a relationship or not. "After all, she is their grandmother," I told myself. But I am now deeply regretting that decision. My daughter, mostly via e-mail did develop a relationship. I thought she was old enough and savy enough not to get manipulated. I was so wrong. My daughter is getting married this summer. MIL has been "behaving herself" at the few times she has visited from out-of-state. However, recently at a family funeral, she launched into a verbal attack on my SIL and niece. That's it. My husband and I no longer want to have her in our lives, period. Kind of the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Now there is huge conflict with my daughter over inviting MIL to her wedding. It would cause a great deal of pain and anxiety for family members. However, in a case of classic "splitting" behavior, my daughter is insisting she not only attend, but do scripture readings. Never mind that I have been a psychiatric nurse for 30 years and that my daughter has an undergrad degree in psychology. She STILL managed to do damage, even from long distance. My SIL took a different path and has never allowed her children to have contact with her mother. In hindsight, I truly wish I had done the same. Please, follow your instincts and protect your children and family from her, starting now.

My MIL is serverely afflicted with BPD and drug/alcohol addiction. She is extremely destructive to all those around her. She is completely unwilling to acknowledge or seek treatment for her sickness. She has sought for years to persaude my husband to leave me and go home to her because of her feelings of abandonment that stem from this disorder. She came emotionally unglued when I was pregnant with our daughter. She made comments of how it made her sick how much my husband would love his daughter. How she just hated him. Again this stems from the fear of being further abandonded by her son in her mind. She makes rediculous false claims about me, consistantly makes inappropriate phone calls to my parents, yells screams rages, etc etc etc. You really can't imagine the magnitude of how horribly I have been treated and villified simply because I married her son. My husband is ashamed of his mother's behavior. I have always been careful not to badmouth her despite her unforgivable behavior. To comment on your question about protecting your son's interests. First of all I would NEVER leave my child unsupervised with anyone with this disorder. They are far too unpredictable. You never know what damaging thing will be said or what behavior your child could be exposed to. I wanted her out of our lives after all the years of constant drama. We took the stance that she would be allowed to see our children if she was being medicated, involved in long-term therapy, and sober. She has never and probably will never be able to meet these three requirements, so it makes it easy. I think the best thing you can do is be as educated as possible on this disease, understanding will help ease some of the hurt and anger you are feeling from being so badly mistreated. My other advice is to be supportive of your husband. I have researched the effects on children who's parent's have BPD. I am sure his childhood was extremely turbulant and painful. I also try to remember that my MIL is the only mother my husband will ever have and that no matter what he will always love her on some level. Good luck. These people with BPD are a plague on everyone and they are relentless.

I think enough is enough as well. I went through a similar situation, and we finally cut ties w/her and its been over a year and life couldnt be better. My daughter is 22 months now and she hasnt seen her since she was 8 months old, and I feel like their the ones missing out not our children or us. I feel like our children begin to feel the tension and stress of situations like these and its just best not to have them involved in that. I always told my husband if they couldnt be a good part of our lives then they shouldnt be apart at all. It took awhile for my husband to finally see the light, but if you read my story you will see we went through pure hell with this woman and hopefully ill never have to do it again. I hope that everything works out and you do cut ties, b/c I know for myself life is so much better. Good lucky honey:)

I say enough is enough. She verbally ABUSES you and your mother. She has to EARN the right to be a part of your son's life and she quite frankly does not deserve to be in either your life or your son's life. It seems to me that she probably will not stop. For some reason abusing you makes her feel better but as you said what is fair to your son. Well I speant 5 years as a children's Counsellor and I can tell you this. Children do NOT want to see their mothers upset AND abusive people eventually contaminate every life they are near. He might not ever be on the recieving end of her abuse BUT if or should I say WHEN he hears, and understands, what this *person* is saying about you, He will not like her and he will not WANT to see her. So cut the ties now, while he is young and doesn't fully understand her ugly behaviour. DO NOT let her contaminate his life in ANYWAY. Hmmmm I guess I feel somewhat passionate about this situation, perhaps I had a similar situation ;) and cutting off ALL communication was the BEST thing I ever did!! I have no regrets and my kids are older and the could care less about knowing her. OK, just my opinion, I hope things are a little better then they were when you originally wrote this.Take care, Trish

This woman lives to torment you! You must maintain your good example for your family members. So don't let her abuse you. If you could put a spin on the situation an treat her like a joke or a Fan. I read recently that your enemies are your greatest fans. When she tries to harm you,say here we go again! Laugh in her face! Feel pity for her cause her whole life is a bundle of negative energy which of course is what she will attract, and she my dear is your greatest fan!