in-law advice

My mother-in-law has strongly disliked me from the moment she met me. My husband and I apologized for misunderstandings from the beginning but she didn’t want to hear any of it. It’s kind of like she thinks she knows everything even though it isn’t what was meant but we apologized anyway. She never came to our wedding and has spoken horribly about me to my husband for over 3.5 years. It has gotten to the point where my husband has little to no contact with her because she never has anything nice to say. It seems as though they have come to an impasse because my husband can’t fix whatever problem there is, she’s never happy. Any advice on how to deal with a situation like this? She lives on the other side of the country. I haven’t seen her in over 2 years. My husband went to visit last year for Easter when we were engaged but they ended up arguing most of the time because his mom couldn’t’ respect boundaries and didn’t like the idea of him marrying me. We got married in May, and she never came to our wedding or sent a congratulations e-mail or card. My husband used to be close to her before we started dating and wants to talk to her over the phone but doesn’t know where to start. We’ve been praying for her over the years. Any advice on what he should say to her? Since day one he has communicated to his mother how hurt he feels with all of her negative comments/abuse and how he wants to fix things, but she continues to be abusive. :shrug: I would love to have a great relationship with her, but if she won’t even give me a chance it’s impossible. Plus naturally I am quite hurt knowing all of the hurtful things she has said about me, even to the point of crying. My husband wants to visit them this year for Christmas possibly, of course not stay with them, but i’m not sure if I even feel comfortable with the idea. :blush:

Please keep us in your prayers. :signofcross:

Do I gather that he has no father or siblings? Does his mother have any living relatives? If so, he can let them know that when his mother is ready to reconcile, they ought to let him know. He shouldn’t use them as a go-between, but they ought to know that he is certainly open to hearing about how she is doing. Otherwise, they might be lead to believe that he wants nothing to do with her and that he ought not be contacted if she has something serious that he needs to know about.

Otherwise, the ball is in her court. He’s approached her several times, she knows where the boundaries are (and must be), and it is up to her to decide that her grudge is not worth holding on to. There is rarely anything someone in your position (and especially in your position individually) can do to hurry things along, except what you are doing, which is to keep the lines of communication open and to pray for her.

If you and your husband have been in the habit of sending Christmas cards and birthday cards and the like, by all means keep her on your list. Don’t expect any reply, but don’t let that stop you.

I wouldn’t spend my Christmas with her. You deserve better than that. If your husband wants to visit, suggest going at another time, perhaps just before or after Christmas. This might just be my thing, but I refuse to spend my holidays with ignorant people.

Thank you for the advice. If anyone else has insight I’m all ears. He has family other than his mother in his hometown but I think he’d still want to his his mother.

She still has power over you to harm you if you continue to worry about her. There is nothing you can do to win her over and your husband is staying loyal as he should. Take a mental break and don’t worry about her at all. She is stewing in her own juice, don’t join her.

Number one, talk to your husband about spending Christmas and other holidays with you. That’s where he belongs, not with his mother. As your Husband, his first obligation is to you, As for his mother, leave her alone unless she impinges on your marriage. Remember the old adage: “Never kick a sleeping dog”.
If and when she does interfere with your marriage, make an appointment for both of you to see your Parish Priest and have him advise the two of you. Otherwise, ignore her as much as possible.

Why don’t you pray for her some more, and perhaps read Ruth (I think it was Ruth, with the mother-in-law) though she and her MIL had a good relationship, perhaps the Spirit will speak to you through the words and give you guidance. Lord forbid any advice I have is better than the Lord’s himself. :thumbsup:

Good Luck : )

Thank you everyone!

I think perhaps your husband divulged too much information to you regarding how his mother feels about you. If it were me I would be VERY clear to mommy dearest that bad mouthing my wife will not be tolerated and that doing so will greatly limit the time I will spend with her and then I would tell you nothing about what she has said about you in order to keep the peace. But damage done.

Your husband does seem to defend you which is great but, it might be time that you had a long heart to heart talk with your MIL. If I was in your shoes I would pray a lot first and approach the subject of her attitude toward you. One on one, without your husband or anyone else in the room.

If I had already tried so much and nothing changed, I would distance myself but continue to be polite.

I don’t have too much advice as I never dealt with a similar situation but will keep you in my prayers. All I can say is keep on praying and put your MIL in Jesus’ hands. Has your husband ever tried to speak to her to make her understand that she shouldn’t behave like that?

I’m so sorry that you and your husband are going through this.

My husband and I have had our fair share of issues with his Father and Stepmother and I completely understand how physically and mentally draining these sorts of situations can be.

I didn’t talk to my husband’s stepmother for over a year. It wasn’t my choice it was hers. There had been issues from the day they got married in 2011 and just carried forward but I reached a breaking point when she crossed a boundary and I told her how I felt about it and she didn’t like me confronting her and cut me off. I tried contacting her by phone, she’d ignore me. I tried facebook, she blocked me. If I went to hers and my FIL’s house, she’d go hide in another room.

My husband and I had begun to resent his father because it seemed like the situation didn’t even fizz on him and he would constantly defend her and had excuses for her all the time and then would remind me that I had issues as did my Mom.

Then after a while we realized that my FIL was having his own issues with this woman.

It wasn’t easy, but we had to limit our contact to a bare minimum. We went to church and prayed for them weekly. I prayed every night before going to bed. Christ would often speak to us through scripture at mass which was very comforting.

Just recently he contacted me through facebook and wanted to re-add me. She never took any responsibility for her actions but she did tell me how much she missed me. That was enough for me.

At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself, “Have I done everything I can do that goes with what I believe?”

I mentioned that I tried contacting her beforehand and nothing. I even went to the extreme of going to see a Psychologist which was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done for myself.

You’ve done nothing wrong. This is your MIL’s issue, not yours.

What you and your husband decide to do for Christmas is completely up to you. However if it was me, I would not bother visiting for Christmas. I’d send a card with a letter in it from he both of you explaining how you feel and go from there. If she responds, great. If not, it’s her loss. Keep praying. No such thing as too much prayer.

What then is the solution for this conflict of relationships - a conflict which arises from the natural affection of parents for their children and of children for their parents? Jesus himself suggests the solution when, in Matthew 19:4-6, he quotes God’s intention when he established the institution of marriage and the home. “Have you not read,” he said, “that he who made them in the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh? So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10:9.

I have been married for over 20 years. My mother-in-law hasn’t liked me from day one.

It used to bother me. A lot. I even once went to Confession to confess that I wasn’t honoring my mother-in-law.

My priest asked for details. He then told me that I hadn’t done anything wrong. In fact, my penance was to pray that SHE open her eyes to what she was missing. :eek:

I told you that, to tell you this. :stuck_out_tongue:

There is only so much you can do. And if what you have written here is true, you have done your part. And so has your husband.

Sometimes, when you have a toxic family, you have to cut contact. It sounds like you may need to do that. And I certainly wouldn’t encourage my husband to spend Christmas with someone so toxic. Guarantee you, it won’t end well.

This is a very tough situation to be in. It is good that you swallowed your pride and apologized but unfortunately that action did not appease your MIL. She sounds like a very difficult woman to get along with and to make peace with. It may be a blessing in disguise for your marriage that she does not live close by to you. I strongly recommend that you often pray for her and have some limited and safe contact such as sending Christmas and birthday cards. Also discuss this with a priest and ask him for advice. Be there for your husband because this situation must be very hurtful to him. I am very sorry that you are going through this and I understand because I have been there too. Be patient and realize that it may take many years to resolve this problem. Pray very much!

I couldn’t agree more with this:thumbsup:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.