Should I just give into Mother in Law?


#21

I think your in-laws are being ridiculous but I also don’t advocate calling them by their first names if they don’t wish you to. My parents are offended by people other than friends in their own age group calling them by their first names -they find it very disrespectful. I would call them Mr & Mrs …whatever their last name is. Its formal but its not like you have warm relationship with them anyway.

I call my inlaws by their first names because right after we were married my father-in-law stopped me when I called him Mr.----. He said I could call them by their first names or mom & dad. I chose first names. My husband doesn’t call my parents anything because (and they absolutely adore him) haven’t really figured out what they want to be called & we’ve been married 20 years. They sign cards to him in various ways. They are both from Europe so they’ll some times sign it mom & dad in the native language of either my mom or dad. Or their sign it mom & dad with their last name.


#22

[quote="faithfully, post:20, topic:238597"]
Again, any adult that I don't know well enough to call by their first name, I don't know well enough to leave my children with...

Sounds like grandparents they don't want to be...

[/quote]

I agree with not leaving my children with them, but for different reasons. I wouldn't leave my children with them because of their inappropriate behavior and my concern about how they would influence my children negatively. I also know many older people that I would leave my children with in a heartbeat, knowing that they were kind, loving people who would be fabulous with my kids. Calling them Mr and Mrs would not be a matter of not knowing them well enough, but a sign of respect for my elders.


#23

[quote="Arlene, post:22, topic:238597"]
I agree with not leaving my children with them, but for different reasons. I wouldn't leave my children with them because of their inappropriate behavior and my concern about how they would influence my children negatively. I also know many older people that I would leave my children with in a heartbeat, knowing that they were kind, loving people who would be fabulous with my kids. Calling them Mr and Mrs would not be a matter of not knowing them well enough, but a sign of respect for my elders.

[/quote]

Exactly. I have a couple of adults that I call Mr./Mrs. I don't plan on changing it when I have kids. And I would TOTALLY trust them with children. Infact, two of them that jump to mind immediatly (a husband and wife pair) would be among the FIRST that I'd go to in an emergency (again, I don't have kids). I don't plan on calling them by their first names, ever....even though I've known them for quite a few years now.

There are people that I call by their first names that I wouldn't trust to watch my dog play outside.


#24

[quote="purplesunshine, post:23, topic:238597"]

There are people that I call by their first names that I wouldn't trust to watch my dog play outside.

[/quote]

Haha isn't THAT the truth!!


#25

[quote="purplesunshine, post:23, topic:238597"]
Exactly. I have a couple of adults that I call Mr./Mrs. I don't plan on changing it when I have kids. And I would TOTALLY trust them with children. Infact, two of them that jump to mind immediatly (a husband and wife pair) would be among the FIRST that I'd go to in an emergency (again, I don't have kids). I don't plan on calling them by their first names, ever....even though I've known them for quite a few years now.

There are people that I call by their first names that I wouldn't trust to watch my dog play outside.

[/quote]

I understand the whole RESPECT thing... but I'm just not going to agree to this. If an adult feels compelled to MAKE ME call them Mr. or Mrs. so and so... (not something I choose to do because I just can't get myself to call them by a first name)... Then it tells me they feel they are superior to me. Meaning I can't trust they don't think their old world remedies (Like say dunking a feverish child into a cold bath) aren't something they will go ahead and use instead of following my inferior instructions. What if they think washing a child's mouth out with soap is ok, and use something as dangerous as lye... What if they think they should feed my kid bread and he has celiac... some fake disease they've never heard of...

These people are making rediculous demands on the OP. And the mother even shows what a nut she is by laughing at her in ER...

She's not trustworthy... but she THINKS she is...

I'd be this side of filing a restraining order if DH made me visit...

Sure there are people I call by their first name that I wouldn't trust my dog with. That's because I'm familiar with them, I know them well enough to KNOW they aren't trust worthy.


#26

[quote="faithfully, post:25, topic:238597"]
I understand the whole RESPECT thing... but I'm just not going to agree to this. If an adult feels compelled to MAKE ME call them Mr. or Mrs. so and so... (not something I choose to do because I just can't get myself to call them by a first name)... Then it tells me they feel they are superior to me. Meaning I can't trust they don't think their old world remedies (Like say dunking a feverish child into a cold bath) aren't something they will go ahead and use instead of following my inferior instructions. What if they think washing a child's mouth out with soap is ok, and use something as dangerous as lye... What if they think they should feed my kid bread and he has celiac... some fake disease they've never heard of...

These people are making rediculous demands on the OP. And the mother even shows what a nut she is by laughing at her in ER...

She's not trustworthy... but she THINKS she is...

I'd be this side of filing a restraining order if DH made me visit...

Sure there are people I call by their first name that I wouldn't trust my dog with. That's because I'm familiar with them, I know them well enough to KNOW they aren't trust worthy.

[/quote]

:shrug:

I'm not saying that the OP's mother is a nut. But why make an issue of what people prefer to be called. One of the ladies is not too fond of her name becuase she thinks it makes her sound very old-fashioned..more so than calling her Mrs. X. One of the guys that I know that goes by Mr. X is military and has been called X, Sgt. X, Crnl. X or Mr. X his entire adult life and dosn't plan to change now. They wouldn't be mad if I called them by their first name, they would only find it rude, not becuase I called them by their first name, but because I am going outside of what they prefer. I know a women who's husband died but who never got over the thrill of being called Mrs. X....so long after her husband died she was still going by Mrs. X and did so until her death. I was a child, but my parents, grandparents and even GREAT grandfather all called her Mrs. X beucase she loved it. If she wasn't dead, I'd trust her with my life.

Why paint ALL last name loving people with the same brush...it's rather rude if you ask me.


#27

I have my son call adults by Mr. and Mrs. x, and I used to call adults by their last name as a kid. What bothers me about calling my MIL/FIL Mr. and Mrs. x (and I'm not entirely sure it's still an option they're willing to live with, or if they now absolutely insist on mom/dad) is that my MIL would never introduce herself to a 30 year old woman as Mrs. x, I know for a fact she would introduce herself as "first name." So I feel like the insistence of calling them Mom and Dad/Mr. Mrs. x is about my MIL making a point that she thinks she's superior to me. When I met them I did call them Mr. and Mrs. x, I was 23 at the time. It's not like I've known them since I was a little kid and called them Mr. and Mrs. for years and years. I called them that for a total of 10 months (which I only saw them 4 or 5 times).

I'd have a much easier time giving in on the name issue if they would apologize for their behavior. Any acknowledgement that the problems in our relationship have at least something to do with them would be nice. Even a "I'm sorry that or relationship is so strained I'd like to make it better" would suffice. I know that demanding apologies gets one no place in life so I've never asked for one, but have had my husband make it clear to them what parts of their behavior I find hurtful.

The relationship/or lack there of with the in-laws really eats me up inside. The problem is that when we are in contact with them they have cast a dark shadow over literally every big event in my marriage, from the wedding onwards. I'm having a hard time deciding if it's self preservation or vengefulness that stops me from giving into them and starting a relationship again. I do pray for them and our relationship nearly every day.


#28

For sure, for sure, OP’s MIL is a nutcase. No doubt about that. She is someone I wouldn’t prod with a stick. And I think OP is right to want to keep her distance. And if someone laughed at me after I had a miscarriage, well, their head would still be spinning.
So on that point we agree.


#29

This is a complete assumption on your part which has no basis in factual reality. Just because newer generations have become more relaxed about signs of respect given to elders doesn’t mean that those of who are not comfortable with these more relaxed ideas have superiority complex or would harm or ignore a parental instructions.

The only way these two things are connected is because you have decided they are. I can make my own assumptions based on your words. The fact that you feel you get to decide what to call people based on your feelings about them

not something I choose to do because I just can’t get myself to call them by a first name

and get upset if they don’t agree with you actions seems a bit self-centered not to mention lacking in the manners department. People have the right to be as Mr & Mrs without someone attaching all kinds of imagined motives to their reasons.


#30

[quote="Elsport1, post:1, topic:238597"]
they will not let me in their house (but they still manage to come uninvited to the big events in our lives) or have any relationship with them until I am willing to call them mom and dad or possibly Mr. and Mrs. x or Grandma and Grandpa.

[/quote]

Then call them Mr. and Mrs. X. If you do have children, I don't think it would be bad to call them Grandma or Grandpa...most people do this for the benefit of the grandkids anyway. But if that's a sensitive area for you, then don't do it.

[quote="Elsport1, post:1, topic:238597"]

It seems like such a silly thing to feud over but it is what it is.

[/quote]

I don't think it's silly. If you can't bring yourself to call them 'mom' or 'dad' because it doesn't fit, and it's difficult for you, then don't.

[quote="Elsport1, post:1, topic:238597"]

I feel like them not letting me call them by their first name is a power trip.

[/quote]

I wouldn't fight her about that, I'd give it to her. If you don't want to call her mom, and she demands that if you don't, then call her Mr. and Mrs, I'd not fight over that one. But that's just me.

[quote="Elsport1, post:1, topic:238597"]
The incident at the ER was probably the worst incident (there has been no apology for that or anything else, I have repeatedly apologized for any rudeness on my part) but there have been others that seemed a bit more planned out and calculated to emphasis her power in the relationship.

[/quote]

How did she laugh at you in the ER, what did she do? Was it noticed (and acknowledged) by anyone else?

[quote="Elsport1, post:1, topic:238597"]
I feel like agreeing to call them Grandma and Grandpa (i'm not positive they'd be okay with that but they have hinted that they would accept that title) is giving into my MIL's attempts to treat me like a child. In fact she has insisted rather vocally that I am her child. So any suggestions on what I should do?

[/quote]

Because you feel so uncomfortable calling her 'mom', then I wouldn't do it. She said you could call her Mrs. or Grandma, and you could do either. As to being her child, you are her daughter-in-law you know. You are her child in that sense. That does make her, as part of your family, your mother-in-law....why not call her mom-in-law? :p Actually, I know someone who does that but it's an endearment that both parties are okay with. Something tells me that she would take very big issue with that though.


#31

[quote="Elsport1, post:27, topic:238597"]
I have my son call adults by Mr. and Mrs. x, and I used to call adults by their last name as a kid. What bothers me about calling my MIL/FIL Mr. and Mrs. x (and I'm not entirely sure it's still an option they're willing to live with, or if they now absolutely insist on mom/dad) is that my MIL would never introduce herself to a 30 year old woman as Mrs. x, I know for a fact she would introduce herself as "first name." So I feel like the insistence of calling them Mom and Dad/Mr. Mrs. x is about my MIL making a point that she thinks she's superior to me. When I met them I did call them Mr. and Mrs. x, I was 23 at the time. It's not like I've known them since I was a little kid and called them Mr. and Mrs. for years and years. I called them that for a total of 10 months (which I only saw them 4 or 5 times).

I'd have a much easier time giving in on the name issue if they would apologize for their behavior. Any acknowledgement that the problems in our relationship have at least something to do with them would be nice. Even a "I'm sorry that or relationship is so strained I'd like to make it better" would suffice. I know that demanding apologies gets one no place in life so I've never asked for one, but have had my husband make it clear to them what parts of their behavior I find hurtful.

The relationship/or lack there of with the in-laws really eats me up inside. The problem is that when we are in contact with them they have cast a dark shadow over literally every big event in my marriage, from the wedding onwards. I'm having a hard time deciding if it's self preservation or vengefulness that stops me from giving into them and starting a relationship again. I do pray for them and our relationship nearly every day.

[/quote]

I also had a strained relationship with my mother in law. She had a way of making me feel very inadequate around her. I didn't do things fancy enough, my taste wasn't high class enough, I didn't do things the proper way. She was a snob through and through. But she put such a nice face out to the community that everyone thought she was such a genteel lady. She questioned my childrearing decisions and tried to sabotage me once or twice. Seeing as how we lived next door to them and they owned our house, keeping distance wasn't really an option. My girls grew up spending time over there every day. (Not my choice, my husband was a stay at home dad and he brought them over. Once he went to work and I stayed home it changed.) And I called her by her first name from the day I met her. So I don't think a relationship is necessarily defined by what you call someone. Hard feelings are hard to mend. Next month my husband and I will be married 29 years. I think over the years she and I had kind of a truce. The only thing in common was we loved the same man. And I was the gatekeeper to her granddaughters. That gave me a smidgen of respect.

Now, she has dementia. She moved in with us. She is like a child in how we have to guide her around. And my cross is that I have to resist the urge to be spiteful and gloating when what I really want to say is "HA, how the mighty have fallen."


#32

oops…I mean
I’m not saying that the OP’s mother is NOT a nut.

I really think the OP needs to cut off this poision woman.


#33

[quote="rayne89, post:29, topic:238597"]
This is a complete assumption on your part which has no basis in factual reality. Just because newer generations have become more relaxed about signs of respect given to elders doesn't mean that those of who are not comfortable with these more relaxed ideas have superiority complex or would harm or ignore a parental instructions.

The only way these two things are connected is because you have decided they are. I can make my own assumptions based on your words. The fact that you feel you get to decide what to call people based on your feelings about them and get upset if they don't agree with you actions seems a bit self-centered not to mention lacking in the manners department. People have the right to be as Mr & Mrs without someone attaching all kinds of imagined motives to their reasons.

[/quote]

:thumbsup: Yeah, I wasn't really wanting to go there.....


#34

[quote="Rence, post:30, topic:238597"]
Then call them Mr. and Mrs. X. If you do have children, I don't think it would be bad to call them Grandma or Grandpa...most people do this for the benefit of the grandkids anyway. But if that's a sensitive area for you, then don't do it.

I'm slowly coming to this conclusion too, but I'm not 100% sure it's still an option.

How did she laugh at you in the ER, what did she do? Was it noticed (and acknowledged) by anyone else?

My husband, infant son, and the ER desk clerk were there when this happened. When we were leaving the ER she of course wanted to know every little detail about what was going on, which I don't blame her for at all, and was answered calmly and respectfully. But basically there wasn't any information to be given, the doctors didn't know what was going on or why it was happening. At this point we're still hoping beyond hope that the baby will make it. My MIL then gets paranoid about me climbing stairs at our house and wants to know what we're going to do about it. I told her we'd deal with the problem the best we could. Well that answer wasn't enough and she kept asking over and over and over and over about the stairs and I kept giving the same answer. My husband rather gently told her to back off and she responded that she'd had a really long day (she'd driven a few hours that day) well I not very kindly told her I didn't care if she'd had a long day I was going through a miscarriage. She responded she'd been through a miscarriage too, I yelled at her that hers was over 20 years ago and mine was happening now and she needed to get a grip. She laughed at me LOUDLY and for at least 15 seconds and then responded that I needed to behave myself. I unfortunately told her I hated her and left the ER with my poor stunned husband falling behind. I have apologized for my part of the evening. When my husband talked to her about the night she denied laughing at me. My husband heard her, I heard her, she did it. This happens routinely she has bad behavior and then denies it...it happened at my wedding when her family tried to throw leaves on me when I was leaving the church and when I turned around and left out the other exit the family BOOED me. Our church did not want things being thrown (ie bird seed) and I didn't want to do the bubble thing. If I'd wanted to do a grand exit I would have planned one! This happened after the photos so they waited and planned this for quite some time. She denies the event. I had pictures of the event from the photographer but unfortunately threw them away so I wouldn't have that reminder. Now I wish I had them so I could show her cold hard proof that she had leaves in her hand! My behavior in the relationship has not been perfect, I just want some acknowledgment that hers hasn't been either.

Because you feel so uncomfortable calling her 'mom', then I wouldn't do it. She said you could call her Mrs. or Grandma, and you could do either. As to being her child, you are her daughter-in-law you know. You are her child in that sense. That does make her, as part of your family, your mother-in-law....why not call her mom-in-law? :p Actually, I know someone who does that but it's an endearment that both parties are okay with. Something tells me that she would take very big issue with that though.

[/quote]

So you think that I should relax about the Mr./Mrs. and that it isn't a power trip on their part, just an honest request?


#35

Your questions wasn’t directed to me, but I’m going to answer anyway :smiley: Yeah, it is probably a power trip, but I’d give it to her. You are looking for a way to try to have some peace in the relationship, and this could be a small way to go about it. Since calling her MOM is totally repugnant to you, (can’t say I blame you) I’d do it. Think of it this way, by calling her Mrs, it puts a personal space between you that you probably want, anyway. Calling someone by first name is a familiarity I wouldn’t even want with someone like her. I would still call her Mrs from as far away from her as I could be. :wink:


#36

[quote="Elsport1, post:34, topic:238597"]
So you think that I should relax about the Mr./Mrs. and that it isn't a power trip on their part, just an honest request?

[/quote]

Oh I do think it's a power trip, especially after you answered my last post. But I'd still give it to her. 1) you can't stand to call her mom and 2) she can's stand that she can't control you enough to get you to call her mom and 3) she gave you an out (by agreeing to let you call her Mr/Mrs. I agree with Arlene that it will put a space between you. But I don't think she will be happy with this compromise because I think she said it in haste. But if you do concede to this demand, it will look like you're trying to cooperate. And she will look that much more unreasonable.

Your husband needs to support you more though. He's in a difficult position, that's for sure. But I would have serious issue with him after the ER visit.

Honestly, I have no unearthly clue why you would want to visit her in her home. She has treated you horribly. And she lies. I've had extended family that offended me and I just didn't attend family functions at their home. Ever. In years. Life is too short for all this drama. I would not go to family functions at her home, but I'd call her Mr/Mrs when she comes to your home. Do something else when your hubby goes to his family's home. Go the mall, clip and organize coupons, get a manicure. Whatever. But if it were me, I'd eliminate that negativity from my life. But that's just me :)


#37

[quote="Elsport1, post:34, topic:238597"]
So you think that I should relax about the Mr./Mrs. and that it isn't a power trip on their part, just an honest request?

[/quote]

Also not directed at me specifically, but I'll answer too :p. I can't say her preference to be called that is about power. There are plenty of people who call their in-laws Mr. and Mrs. X, it is a reasonable thing to wish to be called. To want those in the younger generation to use formal names/titles is not necessarily about superiority - it is a custom that has been around MUCH longer than the current custom of using first names regardless of age difference.

To not let you in her house unless you use the name of choice - THAT sounds like a power trip. But the reality is that you don't have a great, friendly, familiar relationship with her, so first names might be just as inappropriate as any other choice. You've described some of your mis-steps in the relationship, and I imagine that there could be a sense that you don't respect her because of this - using the first name might exacerbate the perception of a lack of respect, especially if the conversations in which the names are used are often contentious.

Whether or not she is on a power trip, show her the respect she deserves with her name. She deserves respect as your elder and as your mil, and therefore, should have veto-power over names she doesn't want you to call her. Pick an acceptable name, start using it, and be done with it. Then it will be a non-issue. You can deal with the rest of her nutty behavior from a position of neutrality, and with the confidence that you are giving her her due respect.


#38

I called my in-laws Mr. & Mrs. Lastname until they asked me to call them by their first names. I was raised that you respected your elders and only called them by their first name if they gave you permission. Had my inlaws never asked me to call them by their first names, I would still be calling them Mr. & Mrs. Lastname.

I don't think it is unreasonable for your MIL to want to be called Mrs. Lastname (despite the fact that the whole thing sounds like a power trip on her part), I do think that her insisting you call her Mom is extremely unreasonable.

Does your FIL feel the same way as MIL?


#39

[quote="rayne89, post:29, topic:238597"]
This is a complete assumption on your part which has no basis in factual reality. Just because newer generations have become more relaxed about signs of respect given to elders doesn't mean that those of who are not comfortable with these more relaxed ideas have superiority complex or would harm or ignore a parental instructions.

The only way these two things are connected is because you have decided they are. I can make my own assumptions based on your words. The fact that you feel you get to decide what to call people based on your feelings about them and get upset if they don't agree with you actions seems a bit self-centered not to mention lacking in the manners department. People have the right to be as Mr & Mrs without someone attaching all kinds of imagined motives to their reasons.

[/quote]

If it's just a matter of calling people what they like that's one thing. When it's to flex their Position in life... that's entirely another. With regard to this OP, it seems the MIL does not care for DIL. Or is just socially lacking. She's laughing at her during a miscarriage in ER. She wants her to call her mom, when she has one, and since she wont, she can now just stay away, or call her Mrs. X. This woman is toxic. She's seemingly trying to show the DIL that she is "elder" in need of repsect. Which tells me that DIL should expect that MIL will not respect ANYTHING that she has to say. That's a guess... I'd obviously feel this out more in person. But if there were children involved, I would not allow this woman near them. She shows that only her feelings are important and no others.

I am, I admit, using my personal experience here. I have a grandmother that behaves in this fashion. I can't tell you how many times she risked mine and my sisters health because she chose to ignore my mothers directions about certain things. Only because my grandmother thinks she's older and wiser... granted she never demanded any specific names. She just thinks that her life experiences trump everything.

Age does not earn you respect. Behavior, knowledge and experience does. For example, I have doctors that are now much younger than me. I have NO PROBLEM calling them Dr. so & so... I don't try to call them "little timmy"

I'm also Mrs. X... So, I guess if my MIL said, I'd really prefer you to call me Mrs X, AND I felt it was a superiority issue I'd say... that's a great idea, you call me that too! 'Cause that's who I am... If however, it's 'cause she doesn't like her first name... I get that too. There are very friendly ways to let others know of your preference. For example, I can't stand to have my name shortened. The ONLY 2 people that do it are my MIL, and SIL. That's on purpose. They have been told I can't stand it. So I don't repsond. It's done to be insulting.

It's when it's done in a snotty way... does anyone here think the OP's mother is just expressing her genuine desire to be her mother? Laughing at her misfortune? Refusing for her to come to the house because she didn't address them appropriately? This is not normal behavior. Certainly, not behavior worthy of respect.

My issue is with... Hey, you're not really family, so you address us as such.

On the other hand... I had one friend whose mother we ALL called Mrs. X... And I squirm to call her by her first name, even though that's how she announces herself to me NOW, as an adult. She seems quite content to have a FRIEND call her by her first name. And we are now friends. I would never allow my children to call her that.

So, in the end, it's not a matter of "I get to decide what to call you." It's a matter of how I will act with a person who is establishing just how close they will allow you to get. A good friend, a close family member does not need this sort of formality. A person that doesn't want to be either will maintain this sort of formality. And that's fine. We can even have a great relationship. But don't expect to informally pop on over for a visit. Or just hang out. I would NEVER expect that of the same person. Send me an appropriate invitation if you want me over for dinner, I'll RSVP in a timely fashion.

I suspect, I'm not making myself understood here, and that others will just assume me rude... that's fine too...if you choose to assume so. I'm not explaining myself very well, that I can accept. I know how I feel. I don't have bad relationships with others so I guess I'm doing ok.


#40

Thanks for all the advice and opinions. I think I'll have my husband tell them I'll call them Mr. and Mrs. x and in the future make sure my husband is very firm with them about what is unacceptable behavior. God willing perhaps we'll be able to maintain at least a civil relationship.


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