Mother-in-law situation

Ahh yes, the joys of being married and having a mother-in-law - this seems almost like a cliche type of post - but I would like some scriptural/Catholic advice. Here’s the sit:
I married my husband after knowing him since I was 13 years ol - we were great friends and during college it just developed and months later we were engaged - we were married a little less than two years later (I believe in long engagements - I think that some of the “true self” can come out then…I had been engaged before.

Anyway, needless to say, things were strained - my husband had left home and joined the navy in order to get away from said mother (his words not mine). So when we got married years later, things were somewhat chilly, but they were talking some. I came in and tried to “help” (oh no that’s right) - learned quickly that I was blamed for her child (grown man) leaving home. I let my husband decide the rest from then on. I went along and was polite - even sent replies to e-mails and sent Christmas cards, gifts, etc. Turns out the gifts were taken as me “showing off” - in all reality, my family was in a different economic situation than they were - I did what I normally did for any relative and my husband would sign the cards (ladies you know how this can be).

Things stayed at a tolerable level until my husbands brother got engaged/married. They were living right by the relatives and were didn’t. Needless to say, when the new member came into the family, she wanted to know the situation - in confidence, I explained to her my views. Without my knowing, she took this and ran, not walked to mother-in-law. Needless to say, a few months after the wedding, we got a lovely multi paged letter accusing me of everything from amking a pass at my husbands brother and being “that type of woman” to my husband purposefully trying to hurt her by never bringing up the fact that she had beat him during high school when she would get “ticked” off.
When I got the letter, (sent by e-mail to me) I gave it to my husband even though she asked me not to because of him being in a class for advancement where he was at work. I try Not to keep things from my husband. He told me not to reply at all to her that he would - I was allowed to reply to the sister-in-law. His mother was very annoyed that I wouldn’t answer and to make a long story short, the new sister-in-law started telling us that we were adding stress to her life and that we would one day regret our actions. I guess she was referring to us just quitting. We blocked e-mails (the sister-in-law will occaisionally get a new e-mail address and try to e-mail one of us - we may read it but try to ignore it) - we don’t want to have fights - we’re aware that the mother-in-law has some mental problems (and I’m not just saying that - when my husband did e-mail her and ask her about for instance me making a pass at his brother, she said, oh I don’t remember saying that - we must have misunderstood what she said - anyway we don’t talk we don’t send cards we do nothing and honestly, we have much LESS stress in our lives. When I do get an e-mail from sister-in-law she’s wanting to know about us having kids and if we have since we’ve been married over 8 years. I will not tell her because if I was preggers or had kids it would get back to the mother-in-law. I’ve followed my husband’s lead and let him make the decisions - I do feel a twinge of guilt because I feel sorry for her - she blames me for everything that has happened even though I haven’t spoken to her since this happened. I don’t see what good it would do plus my husband has basically told me not to. Am I seriously doing something wrong or should we just be happy with the past few months peace and let it go? As far as kids go if we did have kids I would not feel comfortable with her dealing with them. If something happens we do have someone - kind of an outside family member who has said he’ll let us know if anything serious - and we’ve defined this for him - happens.
I would like some scriptural back up too if you’ve got it. At this point, my husband spends time with my family and my parents look at him as almost one of their own. I really do wish this type of situation was possible with his relations but I just don’t see it happening. Thanks - sorry it’s so long.:confused:

This is a sad situation to be in, but as you say, your husband has requested that you don’t open up things with your in-laws, and it wouldn’t be right to jeopardise your marriage relationship. Your attempts to be ‘helpful’ previously were misunderstood and caused problems, and ther doesn’t seem to be any reason to think the reactions would be different now.

It is sad, and it isn’t right for families not to be united, but there does seem to be a root problem in your husband’s family of resentment and unforgiveness that you personally can’t do anything about if you good intentions are as misconstrued as they were whan you tried your best…so for the sake of your mother-in-law and sister-in-law’s souls, your biggest responsibility is to pray for them.

It’s a bit strange to me. I have good friendships even with my three sons’ three exes, as well as the current daughter-in-law, so I’m lucky with the women who are or were in my sons’ lives.

Your mother-in-law has some big long-term burden of unhappiness that she doesn’t cope with, she therefore teems with blame and resentment. I don’t think you can cure that, and you and your husband realise that. I can only offer to pray for your family…your husband has effectively I guess lost his brother, and his Mum, but as you say, he has family in your family.

Jesus said, ** “Have you not read that from the beginning, the creator made them male and female and this is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body? They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So, then, what God has united, man must not divide.” **[Matthew 19:4-6]

I hope and pray that some day, realistic reconciliation with your in-laws becomes possible.

God bless you and your husband…Trishie

I don’t know the situation, but I think on some level, you’re supposed to honor your father and mother. I’m no shrink or philosopher, but the way I see it is you have to love unconditionally - like God loves us. We can be pretty terrible sometimes, but God forgives and loves us anyway. This doesn’t mean to take abuse or be around abusive people, but if sending a Christmas card, or sitting through one dinner a year for a birthday would make his mother even a little happy (in her mental illness), it will also bring you joy in knowing that you’ve put yourself aside for the well-being of another. If you cannot physically be around these people, email and letters that are friendly are good enough. You don’t have to be enmeshed, just respectful. Just don’t respond to the negative. Change the subject with a simple, “I love you and I always will”.

What you say Veronica is all very wise and right, I think.

The honouring your parents thing you mention is in the Commandments of God in Exodus ch.20 v. 13
"Honour your father and your mother so that you will have a long life in the land that Yahweh your God has given you."
Deuteronomy 27: 16 “A curse on him who treats his father or mother dishonourably”.
Ecclesiasticus 3 verses 1-18 including, Whoever respects his father is atoning for his sins…Even if his mind should fail, show him sympathy…etc.’

But St Paul also says, Ephesians 6 v. 4 "And parents, never drive your children to resentment…"

If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek
these things observe with care:
to whom you speak
of whom you speak
and how and why and where.

old needlepoint motto

these intra-family discussions do nothing to advance harmony and promote healing. the in-laws should stay out of the issues and problems among the immediate blood-related family members if they value their sanity and their own marriages.

Thank you to all - My Hubby and I are going to leave well enough alone and just not open anything up - the only thing that winds up heappening when we do try is that we wind up regretting that we’d opened up those lines of communication in the first place.
Thanks -
God Bless

**This part really stood out to me. I don’t know exactly what you said to your SIL about your MIL but chances are it was gossip and not helpful to the entire family situation. She would have found out soon enough what her new MIL was like without your opinion.

Have you ever apologized to your MIL for talking about her behind her back? Sure she seems whacko and has done plenty of things to you and your hubby, but this is the only place I can see where you** may have sinned against the “honor your mother and father” commandment. It would be cleansing for your soul to confess and apologize.

I hope I am not coming across the wrong way. I am trying to write this with love and charity but it just sounds cold. That’s really not how I mean it. It’s just than in my own life I find I have much more peace with these types of situations if I acknowledge my own wrong doing as well as accepting that the other person (or people) will not change…

No, I have not apologized and honestly do not have anything for which to apologize. The SIL asked why things were so “chilly” between the MIL and my husband and myself. I explained to her the situation -explaining a stiuation does not mean that it was gossip. My husband was aware of what I told her and I did not exagerate, just gave her our side of what had gone on - she obviously had already received an earful from the MIL. I will take what I said before back - my husband did tell her that were were sorry if she felt that we had done anything which might have been considered negative towards her - I personally do NOT speak with the woman any longer as my huaband has requested that I not. Neither of us do and I think that’s the way were going to keep it. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and let things stand the way they’ve fallen.

Try reading Toxic In-Laws by Susan Forward - oh, how glad I am to have found this book. Maybe we both can avoid extensive therapy bills.


(sigh) I think they skipped whole volumes when I was in CCD. I know you probably know where this is in the CCC Malia, so if you can please toss the number at us – I need to start highlighting.

I swear, you converts showing us up is starting to really get annoying :stuck_out_tongue:

**Actually I am terrible at remembering sources, lol. I have all kinds of facts floating around in my head but “proving” them is not one of my strong points:o. But I just googled “sin of detraction” and got that definition from the Catholic Encyclopedia on New Advent…

and before my conversion I had no idea that talking bad about someone (when it is true) was in any way a sin! I had a lot of confessing to do that first time:eek:

edit: just realized that in my original post I typed calumny when i meant detraction, sorry!

preciate what you said and I hadn’t really thought about this - and actually, I have NOT said a great deal in order that I would NOT sound like someone “gossiping”. My intention was to warm my SIL who seemed to be becoming a friend of mine. When I did do some research on detracting, I did find something that backed me up - and that is "Thus, when the continued ignorance of a blackening truth will cause harm to the common good, to an innocent third party, to the one about whom the truth is known, or to the one who knows the truth, the facts need not be kept secret."
I truly believed if I did not warn my SIL of her extremely questionable mental status that the MIL seriously could have emotionally hurt her due to the fact of some of the things she had let me know. We didn’t even come out and tell her about the woman beating my husband, and some of the other things, the MIL assumed we had discussed these things with her and wrote these huge meandering letters in which she accused us of doing many things which for 99% of the things we had no knowledge - but in the same letters she would also talk about things she had done such as the beatings and try to justify them by saying that she had a “migraine” and that she wouldn’t have needed to “beat the **** out of him” if he’d has his “homework papers in order…”

I don’t feel that I’m doing anything wrong here as no one knows who this person is in here - I’m just trying to explain the situation. Regardless of if I have committed this sin - and I appreciate you saying it wasn’t calumny you meant as that would imply that I lied about what was said, which is not the case.
We can not find any scriptural basis or Catholic teaching rule that says we need to stay in touch with them - we don’t even stay in touch with his brother and wife and now we have a niece. As I said before, sometimes you just have to cut your losses. I also can’t help but think about the Scripture that says something about if your eye offends you pluck it out - in this situation, we’re not necessarily amputating the rest of his family, just making it so the rest of that familly can no longer offend or hurt us as much. We tried many, many times to make it work and each time we just regretted having tried. I can’t see that God would want us to be involved with them, have a fight and all of these horrible feelings about them. We did leave a kind of ultimatem and that was that when she decided to get some professional mental help - (not going to a friend of her’s who happens to be a priest who actually read one of the letters (according to MIL prior to sending it) -we would consider revisiting this - so this isn’t 100% closed off.

**That’s because there isn’t one. Contrary to what many non-Catholics believe, the Church doesn’t dictate to us how to run our lives. We have free will in all things and must do our best to live according to God’s laws and our properly formed consciences out of love for God, not because we “have” to.

So if you and your husband have prayerfully decided to cut ties for your own health/sanity/peace then that IS the right decision. **

Ok, here’s the question…

Does anybody care that Ryecroft’s side of the story isn’t the only one? :shrug: I find this very funny that I come on here looking to see if I can find any family - I just found this site a few days ago and was considering posting on a few forums - but instead I find myself and my MIL spoken about by perfect strangers as well as my own SIL as evil and mentally ill. Let me tell you we are not. We are both regular people who attend Mass regularly and attend programs, classes, and as many Holy Days as possible. Oh, and to further my credibility I work for a Catholic (Franciscan) retreat center, teach first grade Sunday School, and assist in NFP classes, family life classes, bible study classes, and anything else we are asked to do. Our MIL is a regular sponsor for RCIA as well as a Secular Franciscan herself.

So if we are evil, what else can we do?! :confused:

“Boy when you little scamps get together, you’re worse than a sewing circle!”

Mrs. Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction.

Peace and Good

SIL - something we should all realize, every story has many sides. Every thing said on the internet is public. Prayers that your family can have some peace.

Seems that Malia’s advice to go to confession and apologize, and puzzleannie’s advice to think twice before opening your mouth to or about others would indicate that, yes, there is more than one side to a story and people recognize this.

When people post on here there is typically a “vent” aspect to it, and as such we certainly recognize we are getting one side.

That said, we also post in charity to give suggestions, advice, or admonition, so we are certainly placing the OPs words in the most charitable light-- we take them at their word, that this is a fairly accurate portrayal of the problem (as they see it).

Many people here blow of steam from time to time, and there is nothing wrong with that.

The first rule of internet forums is: don’t take things personally.

I find it funny that you just *happened *to come on a forum (out of the millions on the web) “looking for family” and then just *happened *to find (out of the millions of posts on CAF) this thread that is *a year old *and the other thread that is several months old.

As Rick famously said, “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”

Well, since the OP does not have any identifying information in her profile-- not even her age or her location or any hobby or identifying interests-- it seems to me that her description of events must have some validity in order for someone to recognize themselves in the description. That tends to give support to, not refute, the OP’s rendition.

All of those things are quite commendable. But, even people who go to Church regularly commit sin, myself included.

Perhaps the best thing would be to let it go and move on in Christian charity.

Just want to point out that detraction is the UNJUST revelation of a fault. There are situations in which it is proper to reveal a fault or crime - just think of the sexual abuse crisis!!! I don’t think it’s wrong for families to talk about their issues. HOW it’s done, WHAT is said, and WHY, however, are all things that have to be weighed by the conscience. It’s not for us on this board to judge the state of the OP’s heart and whether she should go to confession.

Actually, 1ke,

It’s not that difficult to find people on sites like this if you know who you’re looking for. As I said, I am involved in a lot of different programs and classes and was looking for Catholic resources for the people I work with to use. So I find a few including this site and wonder if any family (or friends) are on here. I know the names they generally use, so I put them in the search. When I found people that I might recognize, I looked at their threads and posts to see if anything looked familiar.

As for the discription of events, well, she’s my SIL. I know how she sees the things that have happened. That’s what I mean. This is her side, but there are other people involved here. I just don’t appreciate a bunch of people who don’t know me passing judgement when they can’t possibly know all of the sides of the situation. I just thought I would point out that in order to be impatial, one must know all sides. I was shocked and dismayed that she would come on here and share private family issues with total strangers. :frowning:

Now, yes, I must admit that there is some sound advice on here, too. Prayer and forgiveness and confession can never be wrong. :signofcross:

Oh come on, this is the second post of hers (that I’ve seen anyway, I bet you are reading them all) you have dug up and responded to. This one was made nearly a year ago.

Sorry to say, but if you truly are this good Catholic woman and happened by accident to come across her posts, the right thing to do would be to leave them alone instead of trying to defend yourself to a bunch of strangers on the internet who would never know you.

And don’t tell me how you are doing this to protect your family’s reputation. Sorry, but your friends aren’t and family aren’t looking through year old posts, and even if they are her story could apply to any number of people and unless they were intimately involved (like say your MIL) they would have no idea who is being talked about.

Admit that you tried to find her here on purpose. Why is incomprehensible to me. Don’t you have a child and a family, don’t you have anything better to do than stalk your SIL online? I am sorry for being harsh, but it just seems a little bit outrageous to me. I’d even have an easier time believing that you are the MIL pretending to be the SIL stalking your son’s wife for some irrational/crazy reason.

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