My mother-in-law hates me


#1

I’ve been married to my husband for 17 years tomorrow :slight_smile: and we have 4 wonderful children together. He was raised Catholic and I was not. His mom was tickled pink when we got married (we eloped) until she found out that A: I wasn’t Catholic, B: I was divorced. She told my husband that I was going to hell and would drag him with me. She’s said that our 4 children are bastards because our marriage isn’t recognized in the eyes of God and, therefore, we are constantly committing adultery. She has told me that our kids will go to hell when they die because they aren’t baptized. I don’t even know how many Catholic magazines and societies she has signed me up for. I have been hit with a barrage of Rosaries, holy water, prayer cards and other misc. Catholic information which I have no idea what to do with. She calls me ‘what’s-her-name’ at family get together’s. She has been mean to our children when she does pay attention to them, which is infrequently, even to the point of asking my husband to remind her of what their names are! I have told my husband time and time again that if he wants to go to the Catholic church, it’s totally fine with me, but he has chosen not to. At one point my husband told her that he believes what’s in the Bible to which she replied “The Bible doesn’t matter, it’s what the Church Tradition says that’s important.” Is that really true? I have found at least 7 mentions in the Catholic Catechism that say otherwise. I have talked to priests who say she’s not correct in what she’s saying to us, which confuses me. I have prayed for her for 17 years, but honestly, I’m getting so worn out by it. I can’t comprehend why I would even WANT to become a Catholic if that’s how the Catholic church teaches it’s members to treat people.
At this point I’m not even sure what it is that she would like to see happen. I’m not sure if we are supposed to get our marriage annulled and go our separate ways or get re-married in the Catholic church or what?? I wouldn’t even have a problem with getting our kids baptized if I thought for a second that would make her happy. I respect her right to believe what she does, and I’ve never bashed her beliefs, but I’m almost to my breaking point. I have never once bad-mouthed her in front of my children, and yet they tell me that they don’t want to go to their house because “she’s the mean grandma”. They just instinctively know she doesn’t like them, I guess, which is sad.
Any advice?


#2

To break this down:

  1. Your husband was raised Catholic but chose not to follow the Church’s laws with regard to marriage (your previous marriage would have had to be examined by a Tribunal to see if there was cause for a decree of nullity, as the Church would have regarded it is as valid unless proven otherwise.) In the eyes of the Church, then, yours is an adulterous relationship (unless living as brother and sister.)

  2. Presuming you were legally married, your children are not “bastards”, and it is an ugly term for anyone to use, ever.

  3. Your MIL is a terrible example of what a Catholic should be; instead of offering a loving example and gentle urging to get things straightened out, she has apparently been mean, spiteful, and downright un-Christian. To treat innocent children the way she has is completely outrageous. With an example like this, it’s easy to question why you should convert, and to see why your husband doesn’t take his faith seriously.

Why don’t you seek out a good priest who can answer your questions and guide you? There’s a lot going on here… marriage outside the Church, unbaptized children, a non-practicing cradle-Catholic husband…and you need someone other than your MIL to give you the real facts and direction.

Likely, MIL will never change.

God bless!


#3

Why in the world do you subject yourself and your children to this horrible woman? And why does your husband allow his mother to treat his family so badly?

She is no example of how a Catholic should behave.....where is the love??? And it's certainly good to pray for her, but you don't need to allow her to abuse you with such nastiness.

I think your husband should let his mom know that his family will not be visiting her anymore. She will not be a part of your lives unless she decides to apologize for her bad behavior and begin treating you with respect. Chances are good she will not change. That's okay. You need to get away from the poison she spews. And your children don't need to be treated badly, either. I know this seems extreme, but at this point, you have to protect your marriage and your children. And MIL seems to be out to destroy you.

As for the Catholic church, I recommend you go to the RCIA classes that are taught in our parishes. Here you will learn about the faith and be able to ask questions, etc... You can decide if you want to become Catholic or not, no pressure. Your MIL has given you so much bad information, you should just forget what she has said and start anew.


#4

My husband HAS stood up for me and the kids, but he's also wanting to honor his father and mother by being kind and talking to her with a gentle spirit. I honor him by going along to family events even though I don't want to. I think it's important for me to submit to his authority on this and honor his parents as well. She very rarely says anything directly to me. Rather, she will make a comment when we're all sitting at the table together eating, knowing full well that nobody will say anything to her. One time his sister even called me after Thanksgiving dinner and apologized to me on her behalf for the nasty thing she said at the table. Most of the time, she just talks to my husband in private, saying all kinds of mean things. He usually tries to listen but at a certain point he will just say "Mom, I don't want to talk about it anymore."
Cutting off communication with them would also mean cutting it off with his siblings, which he doesn't want to do. His mom doesn't have holiday celebrations at her house anymore so us 'girls' take turns having Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving at our houses. If we didn't get together because of the folks, we'd never see any of them either and I think that would hurt him very much.


#5

It sounds like you have been more than patient and loving here - I am impressed by your willingness to endure this treatment in order to support your husband.

Please do not think that this is how all or even most Catholics live their faith. Yes, your marriage is not valid in the eyes of the Church, but that is frankly none of her beeswax. In any case, it's your DH's responsibility to marry in the Church, not yours - if anyone, she should be directing this "correction" at him. And even more so - it is horrible for her to use this fact as an excuse for being hostile to her grandchildren who are completely innocent here.

Now, I can see her discussing the childrens' baptism or Catholic marriage with you in an educational and thoughtful way since your DH is not really all that in tune with his faith, but these items should never be used as weapons against you. How terrible.


#6

[quote="lazydaisy67, post:4, topic:239874"]
My husband HAS stood up for me and the kids, but he's also wanting to honor his father and mother by being kind and talking to her with a gentle spirit. I honor him by going along to family events even though I don't want to. I think it's important for me to submit to his authority on this and honor his parents as well. She very rarely says anything directly to me. Rather, she will make a comment when we're all sitting at the table together eating, knowing full well that nobody will say anything to her. One time his sister even called me after Thanksgiving dinner and apologized to me on her behalf for the nasty thing she said at the table. Most of the time, she just talks to my husband in private, saying all kinds of mean things. He usually tries to listen but at a certain point he will just say "Mom, I don't want to talk about it anymore."
Cutting off communication with them would also mean cutting it off with his siblings, which he doesn't want to do. His mom doesn't have holiday celebrations at her house anymore so us 'girls' take turns having Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving at our houses. If we didn't get together because of the folks, we'd never see any of them either and I think that would hurt him very much.

[/quote]

"Honoring his father and mother" does NOT mean that you should continue to be subjected to this vitriol. He has NOT stood up for you, if he allows her to say one word.

Has no one in that family any backbone? Apparently not, if no one speaks up to her. You actually sometimes host this woman in YOUR home?

Take the advice of a previous poster, and get good and correct information about the Catholic Church. You could also, after speaking with a good priest, get information about the process involved in pursuing a decree of nullity.

God bless you, and good luck in this.


#7

[quote="lazydaisy67, post:4, topic:239874"]
My husband HAS stood up for me and the kids, but he's also wanting to honor his father and mother by being kind and talking to her with a gentle spirit. I honor him by going along to family events even though I don't want to.

[/quote]

Dear lazydaisy,
Thank you for coming here and sharing your story. I am sure you could fill volumes of postings with 17 years of history here. Please be assured of my prayers.

First: please know that the commandment "Honor your Father and Mother" does not mean you honor someone in their sin. If your mother in law is acting in a seriously sinful way, then you are NOT honoring her by subjecting your family to it. Quite the opposite. It will be hard for you but I suggest that your husband honor his mother by visiting her alone, calling her, sending her cards and the like but not involving your children especially.

It is sad to me that your children know they are not loved by this woman. Please prayerfully consider the damage this could be causing them spirutually and emotionally. When your children are older they may ask, and rightfully so, why they were subjected to the "mean grandma."

Your story is a sad but common one. People feel torn because of their family and children and what to do? This is not easy for you I know, I can just feel the pain you are in from reading your words I am so sorry for you and your family.

The Catholic church does not advocate this kind of behavior but you probably already beleived that which is why you came here.

Jesus loves you so much, he does not want your family life to be in this kind of turmoil. It is permissible in the eyes of God to keep distance from people and protect our families from them while still honoring them. Please pray about this and seek the freedom that you truly deserve. God bless, hope this helps.


#8

[quote="Monicad, post:7, topic:239874"]
Dear lazydaisy,
Thank you for coming here and sharing your story. I am sure you could fill volumes of postings with 17 years of history here. Please be assured of my prayers.

First: please know that the commandment "Honor your Father and Mother" does not mean you honor someone in their sin. If your mother in law is acting in a seriously sinful way, then you are NOT honoring her by subjecting your family to it. Quite the opposite. It will be hard for you but I suggest that your husband honor his mother by visiting her alone, calling her, sending her cards and the like but not involving your children especially.

It is sad to me that your children know they are not loved by this woman. Please prayerfully consider the damage this could be causing them spirutually and emotionally. When your children are older they may ask, and rightfully so, why they were subjected to the "mean grandma."

Your story is a sad but common one. People feel torn because of their family and children and what to do? This is not easy for you I know, I can just feel the pain you are in from reading your words I am so sorry for you and your family.

The Catholic church does not advocate this kind of behavior but you probably already beleived that which is why you came here.

Jesus loves you so much, he does not want your family life to be in this kind of turmoil. It is permissible in the eyes of God to keep distance from people and protect our families from them while still honoring them. Please pray about this and seek the freedom that you truly deserve. God bless, hope this helps.

[/quote]

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:


#9

LazyDaisy, I'm impressed by your patience. I would have slammed the door on that woman a long time ago. I'm not my inlaws favorite person for whatever reason, but I've thankfully never had to experience what you've been put through by your MIL.

I applaud your willingness to seek out Priests to talk to about this and that you've read at least portions of the Catechism. I also invite you to attend RCIA classes and join us at Mass if you're so inclined. (Noting that as a non-Catholic, you shouldn't take Communion if you do go to Mass)


#10

I am not married,but have a sister in law that hates me.The only solution I have found is to stay away from her,as you can not make anyone change.As for her remarks and cruelty,your husband needs to give her an ultimatum.Either she shows you more respect(as well as your children)or he needs to walk away from her.You and your kids come first! God Bless you,and I will pray that your situation will improve.


#11

I agree with all the other advice here..

her behavior is appalling.

from the information here, it seems to me you have a few options:

1) do nothing and continue to subject yourself and your children to emotional abuse.
2) as others have suggested, have your husband grow a pair *and lay down the law with her. yes, she has a forceful personality - to put it nicely - but his first responsibility is to *his family, not to a spiteful mother. he is failing you and your children by refusing to cut the cord between himself and mommy dearest.
3) if he refuses, or if she continues her badmouthing, do not let your children see her.

here are some other ideas:

4) do his siblings live close enough where you or they could come for dinner (just for the heck of it, not because of a holiday), or even stay the weekend? then your family could leave his mother to everyone else at the holidays.
5) I get the impression your children are fairly young (10 or younger?) I think you should tell them, as simply as possible, that their grandma doesn't understand how to be nice to people she doesn't agree with. tell them your family will respect her by not being mean back to her, but that it's ok to not see her if she won't act in a nice way. I don't know how much you've taught your children about what it means to be a christian, but maybe you can make one day have some "prayer time" other than grace or bedtime prayers. pick one major thing to pray for (say, people involved in a recent natural disaster) and one or two minor things (maybe a neighbor is sick), and ask them what else they'd like to pray for. and of course make sure you always help them pray for grandma to stop being mean!

seriously, I don't know how you've dealt with her for so long.. :eek:


#12

LazyDaisy I'm so sorry that you have been going through this and that you have such a bad idea of Catholics. You sound very patient, courageous and forgiving. God gave you a beautiful heart. I concur with other posters that you don't have to take the abuse. I'm staying away from a close relative for my own balance and the sake of my family. Pray for her soul but stay away from her.


#13

Wow, I have to say I'm very surprised at these responses! I hesitated for so long to go to a forum like this because I thought I'd be told the same things she says. I can't tell you how relieved I am to hear kind words from you. The main reason I haven't said anything to her (and trust me, I've wanted to) is because I believe I have a responsibility to show my faith through my actions. I'm sure you know the song "They will know we are Christians by our love", and that's how I've taught my children as well. It means nothing to talk the talk if you don't walk the walk. Jesus said "blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." One the two or three occasions early in our marriage that I defended myself, I would always quote Jesus' words. She said I had no right to even think about his words, let alone repeat them because I couldn't understand them anyway. I'm not sure I get what she was saying to me, but whatever.

I pray for her because she is the mother of my husband and as such, I have her to thank for my marriage as well as my children. Thanks to all of you who have been kind to me. I'm so very grateful for your encouragement.


#14

[quote="lazydaisy67, post:13, topic:239874"]
The main reason I haven't said anything to her (and trust me, I've wanted to) is because I believe I have a responsibility to show my faith through my actions....

[/quote]

Wise choice. There is nothing that you, as her DIL who she's already decided not to act charitably towards, could say to change her mind. There is no argument, no matter how sound, that will result in a "win" for you. Maybe your husband can make some headway there, maybe probably not. Keep praying for her:)


#15

[quote="lazydaisy67, post:13, topic:239874"]
...I believe I have a responsibility to show my faith through my actions. I'm sure you know the song "They will know we are Christians by our love", and that's how I've taught my children as well. It means nothing to talk the talk if you don't walk the walk. Jesus said "blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." ....

[/quote]

Dear Lazydaisy,

Thank you for your words and happy for you that you found some comfort here!

I urge you to be cautious with your children...specifically I can see how you might be thinking when you wrote "blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you etc...."

This is something that Jesus told us to expect but not something we are supposed to SEEK OUT. In other words we are not supposed to seek out being insulted, or being lied about out being ridiculed. True, people will do this. When someone insults me I try and gently correct them, then I move on as best I can and pray for them.

Putting myself or my children in a situation where I KNOW we are going to be insulted regularly or ridiculed is not what Christ is calling us to do. Please consider your vocation as parents and protecting your children from abuse and it seems like this woman is indeed abusive. Think if a neighbor child were insulting and hurting your child, would you still send your young child over there to play? We need to be Christians and loving but that does not mean we are punching bags or doormats. As children of God we need to stand for the truth and be loving but also tell people we expect to be treated with dignity. You are a child of God and have dignity you are made in his image and likeness!

You are in a difficult circumstance but know that Jesus loves you so much. Turn to him in regular prayer. Also you are right to read scripture and quote Christ! Of course his words are for all!

A side note: be cautious if you have your children "pray for Grandma to be nice." I say this because if your mother in law never changes your children might think that prayers don't work which could hurt their relationship with God. Instead pray for her to be at peace and know God loves her, this might be better just an idea.


#16

[quote="lazydaisy67, post:1, topic:239874"]
I've been married to my husband for 17 years tomorrow :) and we have 4 wonderful children together. He was raised Catholic and I was not. His mom was tickled pink when we got married (we eloped) until she found out that A: I wasn't Catholic, B: I was divorced. She told my husband that I was going to hell and would drag him with me. She's said that our 4 children are bastards because our marriage isn't recognized in the eyes of God and, therefore, we are constantly committing adultery. She has told me that our kids will go to hell when they die because they aren't baptized. I don't even know how many Catholic magazines and societies she has signed me up for. I have been hit with a barrage of Rosaries, holy water, prayer cards and other misc. Catholic information which I have no idea what to do with. She calls me 'what's-her-name' at family get together's. She has been mean to our children when she does pay attention to them, which is infrequently, even to the point of asking my husband to remind her of what their names are! I have told my husband time and time again that if he wants to go to the Catholic church, it's totally fine with me, but he has chosen not to. At one point my husband told her that he believes what's in the Bible to which she replied "The Bible doesn't matter, it's what the Church Tradition says that's important." Is that really true? I have found at least 7 mentions in the Catholic Catechism that say otherwise. I have talked to priests who say she's not correct in what she's saying to us, which confuses me. I have prayed for her for 17 years, but honestly, I'm getting so worn out by it. I can't comprehend why I would even WANT to become a Catholic if that's how the Catholic church teaches it's members to treat people.

At this point I'm not even sure what it is that she would like to see happen. I'm not sure if we are supposed to get our marriage annulled and go our separate ways or get re-married in the Catholic church or what?? I wouldn't even have a problem with getting our kids baptized if I thought for a second that would make her happy. I respect her right to believe what she does, and I've never bashed her beliefs, but I'm almost to my breaking point. I have never once bad-mouthed her in front of my children, and yet they tell me that they don't want to go to their house because "she's the mean grandma". They just instinctively know she doesn't like them, I guess, which is sad.

Any advice?

[/quote]

My good woman, without meaning to offend but, good grief, your mother in law is a catholic? Thats not what a catholic would talk like, thats what a fanatic would talk like. No saint would talk like that

The Church teaches that mixed marriage between to baptized persons is still a valid marriage (see Canon Law). No, you are not supposed to get a divorce or an annullament by the Church, the Church definitely will respect your marriage even if you were living in the 1600's:). It teaches that, though it is the real Church found by Christ, any marriage by any religion, although not valid is still legitimate and should be treated as if it was valid. I'm not saying that you and your husband were ever married! I just gathered from your words that you didn't marry inside the Catholic Church but in another denomination (also, your children aren't 'bastards' because they are not illegitimate and neither would the Church treat them as if they were because they were born outside the Catholic Church).

You shouldn't be forced to become a Catholic. popes have condemned forced conversion of the Jews and so no, your mother in law shouldn't be scaring you to join the church. I do suggest though that you do study Catholic doctrine to see if the Catholic Church is truly the true religion and compare it to your beliefs. I mean, your husband shouldn't be hating the Church because his mother is being such a horrible woman. That'd be weakness.

I can see that you love your hubby:) so don't break up with him because of his mom (however, if you want to go out, just get your kids, put them in a drawer and shut it! OK, I'm just kidding there you know:p!). The way to deal with her? Just really, don't listen to her. You not only can listen to Church doctrine which is MUCH better then that of your mother in law, you can listen to holier people outside her and you don't have to take her abuse. because somebody is Catholic and because the church teaches that the CC is the only true religion doesn't make us better than all those people who aren't.

I'll pray for you. May Mary bless you!:)


#17

Lazydaisy67,

Your MIL is a good example of a hypocrite and is a reason why some people stay away from the Catholic Church! I am soooo sorry for the the way you feel.......you sound like you would make a better Christian than you MIL. Continue being the good-hearted woman that you are, you are so admirable in your patience, and I applaud you for it.:clapping:

Like what other posters said, you may want to get some info through RCIA but there is not pressure whatsoever. It will only enlighten your knowledge about the Catholic church and its teachings. As far as your MIL's argument about the fact that the bible doesn't matter and it's church tradition....she is wrong. The Holy Scripture is the inspired word of God and tradition did not come first. I can give you a history of the church, but it will be too long to put it here.

Be assured of my prayers.


#18

You crack me up! Yes she’s Catholic, and, in fact, is a lay Carmalite nun. I’m sure I spelled that wrong, sorry. My husband most definitely does NOT hate the Catholic church, but he has made a choice that he feels is right for him and I respect him for it. I never, ever once pressured him into making a choice one way or the other. We got married at the courthouse in front of a justice of the Peace so I don’t know how that figures into the equation, I’m assuming that is part of what makes it invalid. My first husband and I did not get married in the Catholic church either, so doesn’t that invalidate that marriage as well, and if so, wouldn’t we fornicating as opposed to adultering? One way or the other, I think the responders are correct in stating that there won’t be a “win” for me in this scenario. I’m not really looking for that, just trying to figure out if she’s as far off base as my husband and I think she is. Neither one of us has ever, ever talked to a Catholic who says that she’s right on the money with her thoughts.


#19

[quote="lazydaisy67, post:13, topic:239874"]
Wow, I have to say I'm very surprised at these responses! I hesitated for so long to go to a forum like this because I thought I'd be told the same things she says. I can't tell you how relieved I am to hear kind words from you. The main reason I haven't said anything to her (and trust me, I've wanted to) is because I believe I have a responsibility to show my faith through my actions. I'm sure you know the song "They will know we are Christians by our love", and that's how I've taught my children as well. It means nothing to talk the talk if you don't walk the walk. Jesus said "blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." One the two or three occasions early in our marriage that I defended myself, I would always quote Jesus' words. She said I had no right to even think about his words, let alone repeat them because I couldn't understand them anyway. I'm not sure I get what she was saying to me, but whatever.

I pray for her because she is the mother of my husband and as such, I have her to thank for my marriage as well as my children. Thanks to all of you who have been kind to me. I'm so very grateful for your encouragement.

[/quote]

God bless you, I am so sorry that your primary exposure to Catholicism has been at the hands of a woman who seems to have missed out on the most important message-- love one another.

Personally, I've taken the road where I forgive, and move on-- but I do not let the abuse continue. As long as this person has no repercussions for her behavior, she will not change her ways. Therapy with a Christian therapist for you and your husband would probably be a good idea. No father should make his kids hear their mother be abused, nor should they be treated unkindly.

As much as you love your husband, and he loves you-- I have to say you have a husband problem, not a MIL problem. He needs to stand up and let your MIL know where the boundaries are (with love), and then stand fast.


#20

[quote="lazydaisy67, post:18, topic:239874"]
You crack me up! Yes she's Catholic, and, in fact, is a lay Carmalite nun. I'm sure I spelled that wrong, sorry. My husband most definitely does NOT hate the Catholic church, but he has made a choice that he feels is right for him and I respect him for it. I never, ever once pressured him into making a choice one way or the other. We got married at the courthouse in front of a justice of the Peace so I don't know how that figures into the equation, I'm assuming that is part of what makes it invalid. My first husband and I did not get married in the Catholic church either, so doesn't that invalidate that marriage as well, and if so, wouldn't we fornicating as opposed to adultering? One way or the other, I think the responders are correct in stating that there won't be a "win" for me in this scenario. I'm not really looking for that, just trying to figure out if she's as far off base as my husband and I think she is. Neither one of us has ever, ever talked to a Catholic who says that she's right on the money with her thoughts.

[/quote]

It can get confusing with marriages, but if we ignore your first marriage, your current marriage would be considered invalid because your husband did not get dispensation to be married outside the Church. If your original marriage was deemed invalid for some reason, you and your husband could get what is called a convalidation through your local parish if that is what the two of you wanted.

As for your first marriage-- I get confused with licit and illicit and natural and unnatural marriages. I had a moment of crisis today myself because I was reading about how the marriage between a non-baptized person and a Catholic can't be sacramental (because baptism is the sacrament that opens the doors to the other sacraments). BUT, if the non-baptized person gets baptized, then the marriage becomes sacramental if the marriage is valid. I'm probably not explaining quite right, but it's on this site. forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=405642

So, were you ever baptized in any Christian tradition? Was your first marriage civil or in a church? I think both of those would come into play if you were to look into getting your marriage convalidated.

As an aside-- even if you did do all this, and had the children baptized Catholic (which means you and your dh would have to promise to raise the kids Catholic and see that they're catechized), your MIL would probably find something else to browbeat you about.


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