Charity with mother-in-law


#1

Has anyone found good ways to deal successfully with a demanding non-Catholic mother-in-law preserving everyone’s dignity? While respecting the age difference, it doesn’t seem a power struggle belongs in the relationship, as a wife deserves certain respect due to her position, as well as a mother does. It is best to avoid putting son/husband in the middle, also, as that can turn into one more unpleasant dynamic. How can a Catholic wife stand her ground charitably with child rearing and life-style issues and keep peace while living with unreasonable demands from the mother-in-law? If anyone has any suggestions or advice, please respond.


#2

[quote="jeanannemarie, post:1, topic:231988"]
Has anyone found good ways to deal successfully with a demanding non-Catholic mother-in-law preserving everyone's dignity? While respecting the age difference, it doesn't seem a power struggle belongs in the relationship, as a wife deserves certain respect due to her position, as well as a mother does. It is best to avoid putting son/husband in the middle, also, as that can turn into one more unpleasant dynamic. How can a Catholic wife stand her ground charitably with child rearing and life-style issues and keep peace while living with unreasonable demands from the mother-in-law? If anyone has any suggestions or advice, please respond.

[/quote]

It would help if you could give some examples of things she's done that have annoyed you


#3

Hello, God bless you and thank you for sharing your story!

I agree that more information would be helpful. It is difficult to respond not knowing if your mother-in-law’s unreasonable demands are wanting to give your children candy or treats or if she is demanding that you take your family to a gay pride parade…

In the meantime I will keep you in my prayers, God bless you!


#4

[quote="jeanannemarie, post:1, topic:231988"]
Has anyone found good ways to deal successfully with a demanding non-Catholic mother-in-law preserving everyone's dignity? While respecting the age difference, it doesn't seem a power struggle belongs in the relationship, as a wife deserves certain respect due to her position, as well as a mother does. It is best to avoid putting son/husband in the middle, also, as that can turn into one more unpleasant dynamic. How can a Catholic wife stand her ground charitably with child rearing and life-style issues and keep peace while living with unreasonable demands from the mother-in-law? If anyone has any suggestions or advice, please respond.

[/quote]

You cannot keep your husband out of this. If it is your problem, then it's HIS problem as well. I don't know any detail, but if your mother in law has problems with the way you AND your husband agreed to raise your children, it is his place to deal with his mother.


#5

I'm sorry if I don't sound sympathetic to the MIL issue but you basically married her too. Is this difficulty so surprising given what you knew about her before you married her son? Are you as respectful of her as you can be, deferring to her in as much as you can without being a doormat or allowing her to run your life? Or do you resent most of what she has to say?

I ended relationships with men that I thought I could have been happily married to simply because I knew that their mothers would always be a problem in our lives. I didn't want to live with the disharmony. I treat my MIL like my own mother and I have never had anything but a great relationship with her.


#6

My MIL is very opinionated and over-protective old fashioned Italian lady. I have learned to just accept her the way she is. I treat her with respect and let what she says, slide off my back. I know it’s her old fashioned views and it has nothing to do with me. When I’m around her, I just act the way she wants me to. When I’m away from her, I am “me” again.


#7

Do you & your husband support each other in your parenting decisions? I went through this to some extent when mine were young, but my husband always deferred to me as he really didn't know what methods were right & preferred expressing no opinion rather than a wrong one. At times I avoided or limited times spent with MIL to reduce the impact on myself & our children--as a 1st time mother, it was very difficult to sort through all the advice, hers included, and decide what was right for us. I did let my husband know what I was doing as best as I could. Do at least talk to him about the situation in a non-confrontational manner & let him know what you are experiencing. As time moved on, I was able to let go of a lot of it.:twocents:


#8

Your husband needs to take a stand, not so much against his mother, but for you. She needs to understand that while he is and always will be her son, he is your husband now and she can no longer make the decisions concerning his home life.


#9

[quote="Catholic1954, post:8, topic:231988"]
Your husband needs to take a stand, not so much against his mother, but for you. She needs to understand that while he is and always will be her son, he is your husband now and she can no longer make the decisions concerning his home life.

[/quote]

Yes, my husband has done this also, but it took him a long time to do it finally. That's when things got a lot better.


#10

Thank you everyone for your input so far. It is not my MIL, but my daughter’s. She is asking my advice, and I was in turn was asking in hope of helping her. I think I am in over my head and will turn this over to my daughter. I will advise her of this situation.


#11

[quote="jeanannemarie, post:1, topic:231988"]
. It is best to avoid putting son/husband in the middle

[/quote]

You have it backwards. It is **you **who should not be in the middle. Your DH needs to establish firm boundaries with his mother and HE needs to correct her or deal with her when she crosses them.


#12

I think the best course of action is to have the child of the MIL be the one to address the issue. If my parents are causing issues, if I address it things work out much better. If my MIL is causing issues, if I deal with it, while the problematic behavior may change, my wife's entire family then hears about what a jerk/ungrateful son-in-law/poor husband or bad father I am. If my wife deals with it, things go much more smoothly.


#13

[quote="Gordon_Sims, post:12, topic:231988"]
I think the best course of action is to have the child of the MIL be the one to address the issue. If my parents are causing issues, if I address it things work out much better. If my MIL is causing issues, if I deal with it, while the problematic behavior may change, my wife's entire family then hears about what a jerk/ungrateful son-in-law/poor husband or bad father I am. If my wife deals with it, things go much more smoothly.

[/quote]

:yup::thumbsup:


#14

Your MIL is not an outsider but she is also not in your family unit. The family is you, husband and children. The husband and wife are the team that govern the family unit.

And when decisions about how to govern your family unit come up or someone outside the H/W team wants to impose their way of doing things it is up to you and your husband to decide how to handle them. My husband and I took way too long to figure out that we were a team in all decisions regarding other people in our lives,MILs, children, friends etc. It's real important when someone outside the Husband/Wife team asks for or assumes something of one of spouses while not considering other, that the husband or wife learn to say " I'll get back to you but first I have to clear this with my H/W." The MIL may not like it. Mine doesn't, but they will have to get used to it.
I think MILs ( I may become one very soon (and it* is *hard) have a very difficult time understanding that their child is no longer autonomous. As the Bible says the two become one flesh.
Act as one flesh and the inlaws will fall in line.


#15

You just said exactly what I thought and I felt it would help my daughter if she heard it from someone besides me.


#16

[quote="jeanannemarie, post:15, topic:231988"]
You just said exactly what I thought and I felt it would help my daughter if she heard it from someone besides me.

[/quote]

I'm the mother of sons. We have a similiar situtation with one of them, and, as one Mom to another, let me state how it appears from this side of the fence: if it is the wife's Mom and/or family....suggestions are like pearls. If it is from the husband's Mom and/or family...put garlic around your neck to ward off evil spirits.

You are in sympathy with your daughter and that is how it should be, she is your child. You have some ideas and have related them to your daughter, and that is fine. You have even come on a board to find support for those opinions and will relate them to your child.
You have a lot of influence.

If you want your child to let her MIL know by word or deed that anything she might say will be seen as interfering, than PLEASE say not one word to her about anything and follow the same suggestions you want imposed on her husband's Mom and/or family.

Try it.Here's what you can experience: Do not invite them for holidays or dinners because that is seen as maniputlation, buck up if he/they complain about gifts or the lack thereof from you, don't be surprised if everytime you visit, his Mom and/or a family member of his is there, be not discouraged if, when you do extend an invite, they can't come or must leave early because he is doing something with his family etc. And if you do have any private time with your daughter, don't mind her husband's constant phone calls, like every half hour, to see what she is doing and when she's coming home. Be sympathetic if things don't go his way and he breaks down in tears. He works hard and he knows you don't like him.

The above scenario generates sympathy because the victim is the wife. Now make the victim the husband, and it gets a big yawn.

People are forbidden from attempting to interfer with another's marriage. We all know that. There is, however, a commandment of God's requiring a child, including an adult child, to honor his father and mother all the days of their lives. That one is equally important and the obligation is not removed when the child marries. One must be careful not to interfer with that relationship too.


#17

I can't say I relate to the above post. I have not had the experiences mentioned. I have noticed however, that mothers who do not have their own daughters have a completely different situation than I do. I also have two sons. I have been very blessed.


#18

[quote="aicirt, post:16, topic:231988"]
I'm the mother of sons. We have a similiar situtation with one of them, and, as one Mom to another, let me state how it appears from this side of the fence: if it is the wife's Mom and/or family....suggestions are like pearls. If it is from the husband's Mom and/or family...put garlic around your neck to ward off evil spirits.

You are in sympathy with your daughter and that is how it should be, she is your child. You have some ideas and have related them to your daughter, and that is fine. You have even come on a board to find support for those opinions and will relate them to your child.
You have a lot of influence.

If you want your child to let her MIL know by word or deed that anything she might say will be seen as interfering, than PLEASE say not one word to her about anything and follow the same suggestions you want imposed on her husband's Mom and/or family.

Try it.Here's what you can experience: Do not invite them for holidays or dinners because that is seen as maniputlation, buck up if he/they complain about gifts or the lack thereof from you, don't be surprised if everytime you visit, his Mom and/or a family member of his is there, be not discouraged if, when you do extend an invite, they can't come or must leave early because he is doing something with his family etc. And if you do have any private time with your daughter, don't mind her husband's constant phone calls, like every half hour, to see what she is doing and when she's coming home. Be sympathetic if things don't go his way and he breaks down in tears. He works hard and he knows you don't like him.

The above scenario generates sympathy because the victim is the wife. Now make the victim the husband, and it gets a big yawn.

People are forbidden from attempting to interfer with another's marriage. We all know that. There is, however, a commandment of God's requiring a child, including an adult child, to honor his father and mother all the days of their lives. That one is equally important and the obligation is not removed when the child marries. One must be careful not to interfer with that relationship too.

[/quote]

I am reminded of the old adage, "A son is a son until he takes a wife; a daughter is a daughter for the rest of her life."

Perhaps it's unfair, but I think it's natural that a women would turn to her mother for guidance and support. Now, I would never disrespect my husband's mother, and I value her input regarding certain child-rearing practices (after all, she raised my hubby and he's like, the best person I know!), however... one of the reasons that I appreciate her so much is because she minds her own business! She is much more involved with her daughter's daily life than ours...because that's how my sister-in-law wants it!

My MIL raised my husband to be a capable, self-reliant, confident man. To interfere in his family now, it seems to me, would be inconsistent.

We are very respectful and fair when it comes to holidays, etc., and I would never begrudge my husband time alone with his folks, and encourage him to visit often to help around their house, etc. But it's easy for me to be kind and charitable with them, because they are so respectful of me as well.

I guess the bottom line is, in my experience, in the "in-law" relationship, you often get what you give.


#19

It's Lent. I have too many negative thoughts coursing through my brain when I read this thread. I will make an effort to put a positive spin on this.

I presume that people have had their feelings hurt on all sides of the in-law equation. I find that it's too bad that people can't see that their family may have nearly doubled in size, rather than a child is somehow taken from them. I can see my in laws get aggitated the minute they see my family. They constantly refer to my family as "the 'my maiden name". And it's always done with a snotty tone. Yes, my whole family has picked up on this...

Interestingly, my whole family LOVES my DH. The guys invite him places. The women all gush. The older women tell me how lucky I am to have such a great man for a husband and a father. I'm in agreement... He gets embarassed. They will tell him. "You're such a good daddy!" He has a family assigned nick name. (his parents took issue with that.) He is one of us! I am sometimes jealous. How come he gets all the love and affection. My mother always calling to see what size of something she can buy him.... etc... and I'm the gum on the bottom of his families shoe, and they just walked on their fresh clean carpet.

I find myself getting defensive at the post above from the mother of a son. But I don't know her true situation. It may be awful. But I read it and thought, man if that was my MIL writing that... I'd want to knock her over... 'cause she'd be actually writing in a fashion to make herself, yet again, the victim of our marriage. As if we married to hurt her. As if I took her baby away.

But then I must breath..... not everyone's case is mine.

So, what can I take from this? What can the OP's daughter do? Love my husband anyway... he really is awesome! If it has to be in spite of his family, so be it. That's their choice. Not mine. Learn how to actually treat a daughter in law... learned by way of how one doesn't like to be treated... Oh, and I've learned to deal with passive aggressive behavior. I just say "no", and I move on. Sometimes I pretend they are developmentally slow, and in the way I wouldn't get angry at such a person, why extend it to them. I think they are most upset now adays, as I won't feed their need for drama... It's such a one sided act, it looks silly. They are somewhat forced to behave. And I THINK, they are realizing there is much more fun to be had when they do so! But who knows, I could be 80 by the time they are fully on board with this marriage!:shrug:

I


#20

[quote="StJudePray4Me, post:18, topic:231988"]
I am reminded of the old adage, "A son is a son until he takes a wife; a daughter is a daughter for the rest of her life."

Perhaps it's unfair, but I think it's natural that a women would turn to her mother for guidance and support. Now, I would never disrespect my husband's mother, and I value her input regarding certain child-rearing practices (after all, she raised my hubby and he's like, the best person I know!), however... one of the reasons that I appreciate her so much is because she minds her own business! She is much more involved with her daughter's daily life than ours...because that's how my sister-in-law wants it!

My MIL raised my husband to be a capable, self-reliant, confident man. To interfere in his family now, it seems to me, would be inconsistent.

We are very respectful and fair when it comes to holidays, etc., and I would never begrudge my husband time alone with his folks, and encourage him to visit often to help around their house, etc. But it's easy for me to be kind and charitable with them, because they are so respectful of me as well.

I guess the bottom line is, in my experience, in the "in-law" relationship, you often get what you give.

[/quote]

As I stated previously, we have two sons. Relationship with second dil is fine, thank you. Her mother and father are extremely nice and we even go out with them alone on occassion. All have a good time on holidays etc. This dil has thrown up her hands re. the others too. She's been hurt by them as has her husband. It is very upsetting to me and my husband to see her hurt. As I said to her, if I thought they'd listen to me or my husband, we would say something, but it does no good.

I thought too that you do everything right, you get back what you give. Well, that's naive. You don't. And you do learn to let go even of your own kid.


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