She Feels Better When She Belittles Me

My husband has one sister and he has always joked that he is the "golden child".  His mother believes this too.  My husbands lost his father when he was 14 years old.  His mother made my husband the man of the house, and waited on him constantly because he "worked". His sister did the household chores, many of them for her brother. As you can guess this has carried into our marriage. We have now been married for 17 years and have 3 teenagers.  He seems proud of the fact that I have raised our kids 90% alone (because he's too busy with work) and that I take care of the house single handed.  It never stopped me from doing what I can for the house, because as I have told him I can always make a phone call and write a check.  We own a landscaping company together that we started when we had a 2 year old and a 5 month old.  I have always supported him and his decisions and he has always referred to me as his business partner.  We have a successful company and a few nice things to call our own.  We did this together as a team.  His mother lives 5 states away and we only see her 2 or 3 times a year.  They talk on the phone 3 or 4 times a week.  She has never liked me and it is getting more noticeable as each year slips by.  She hears what she wants to hear and turns it around to suit her.  She gets hurt when she is not included in certain things, and blames me for leaving her out. She wanted my husband to come visit her a few years back, and I told him to go that it would be good for both of them to have some time alone.  My husband couldn't arrange a trip because it was during a busy time for our business, and to this day she says it's because I didn't want him to go because I didn't want them to have any fun without me. She actually told me this on the phone. I sent her flowers for Mother's Day and she sent them back to the florist because they weren't pretty enough.  I made her a quilted wallhanging for her wedding 9 years ago, when she opened it up she said "If this took any time away from the business then I don't want it". It now sits folded up on a couch in the back room.  On one trip we took together, we got lost and I was trying to tell my husband that he should turn on a certain street.  He kept passing the street and every time this would happen the stress in the car would increase. He finally stopped to talk to someone for directions and while he was out of the car and out of earshot she got in my face screaming at me "Stop trying to do everything your way because you don't know everything". We finally were directed down the street that I had originally told him and she insisted that it wasn't the same street. Then she was upset with me for the rest of the day because I was "Sitting in the back seat pouting", as she put it.  I was sitting in the back seat with nothing to say to her because it wasn't worth it.  She just left after a three day visit along with her sister and my husbands sister.  It went well considering how stressful it was leading up to the visit.  I got along great with my sister-in-law and aunt, but my mother in law can't even look me in the eye and carry on a conversation. The only thing she is capable of doing with me is small talk and criticism.  She opened my freezer to tell me how much it was packed and that she should cook something that I need to get rid of.  She opened my cupboards to tell me that I have them stuffed with stuff.  She asked me if I was planning on giving all of the stuff to my kids.  I didn't quite understand what she was getting at and was unable to respond.  Now stories are coming out from our relatives that she feels bad for my husband because he had to cook all of the time during the first 10 years of our marriage because I didn't cook.  I have absolutely no idea where this is coming from because my husband has cooked a handful of things in his life and they were on the grill, accompanied by the rest of the meal that was prepared by me.  I always had a hot meal ready for him when he came home from work and always cleaned up the kitchen afterward because he was tired from work and parked himself on the couch.  I have worked out of the home since we started the business because I felt my kids were the number one priority.  It was a real special perk for me to draw a paycheck and be home with the kids.  She seems very jealous of me and believes in her heart that my husband has worked hard to achieve success and I am spending all of his money. We bought a nice car, my husband was the one that insisted on it, and the first time she drove it with the kids (we were not with them), she drove recklessly and made comments to them about how it's not so special. She also has problems with other family members and has alienated herself from her sister.  Looking in on that situation I personally feel that all she needs to do is apologize to her sister and things will be better.  They haven't talked in 4 years.  Her husband is an unpleasant person who also dislikes me, but I think it was from listening to her fill his head with things that she wants to believe are true.  My husbands aunts and cousins welcome me into their home and treat me well, so I believe they aren't listening to all of the things she says.  Every time I am with her my feelings deteriorate and it's getting to the point where I don't want any relationship with her at all. I realize that she is my husband's mother and my children's grandmother and I won't interfere with their relationships, but I am a very unhappy and stressed out person when she is around.  I don't know how to deal with her.  My husband doesn't want me to say anything that will make her angry.  Why should I be so concerned about her feelings when she doesn't care about mine?  I don't know how to fix this.
HelloItsMe HelloItsMe
41-45, F
3 Responses Jul 20, 2007

You really sound like me, have a business, work hard but she makes out I do nothing (when I even have to write his texts!) (even the kids help out) and yours seems to be lieing just like mine, they have traits of a narcissist, believe me. He has now become just like her, and I dont know what to do. He has caught her lieing many times just to cause arguments yet he turns around and takes his frustration out on me, even in public.

I share your feelings. My MIL treats me as if I'm "invisible". My husband, however, sides with me and sees that his mother mistreats me but it makes me sad for him. I feel responsible in a way that he has had to distance himself from his mother because of her feelings toward me. I don't think it's an easy situation either way, with or without support from your husband.

Hmm, is your husband any help about the fact tat your MIL attacks you? It seems like he should be standing up to her on your behalf.