a grudge, of sorts. can you help? sorry so long.


Hi all.

I am having a little “personal issue” I need some help with, thought this might be a good place.

Ever since my dad passed away unexpectedly, my mother in law has really bothered me. Not just the usual annoyed, I mean, dug under my skin, made it crawl, seething bothered me.

Here’s the deal. There’s a lot more to this, was a lot of building up to this, but this is where it really started to get me.

I was at the Amish getting horses shod when my mom called. My cell phone service was bad, so all I heard was “dad’s dead on the couch”. I called husband and he started getting ready to leave and called his parents to come down to do chores. They were there when I got home and got in their car and left without saying a word.

I’m not from here. My parents live a few hours away. The they never got together except birthday parties at my house, etc, my in-laws drove up to my hometown for the services. They showed up at my folks’ house just before the preacher was to arrive to meet with the family on Friday to prepare for the service. They stayed at the house thru the meeting. We had viewed the body at this point one time, and visitation was to be that evening for 2 hours. We all felt we needed to go early to “get it together” in time to meet people. We left for visitation 2 hours early. She went, too.

The visitation was to be 2 hours long. It lasted over 4. She stayed thru the whole thing, then drove BACK to my folks’ house (30 miles) at 11pm to eat pizza with us, then BACK to the town the funeral home was in to stay at the hotel. The family was to be at the funeral home 2 hours before the service the next day. Guess who was there? She stayed thru the funeral, ate dinner after. We invited folks to socialize and visit at my folks’ house after, and they left to come home.

Now, this in itself isn’t all bad – except she never spoke to anyone, including me! Not a soul. She sat off, by herself, just there, taking it all in. When I got home, I had cards from all her friends, but no one had told any of mine – they all just wondered where I disappeared to and figured someone would have called if it was something major!

This ate at me for a month. Why did this woman’s behavior bother me so bad. Outwardly, it seemed like a nice gesture to be there, but it didn’t feel at all like that to me. And later, I learned my kids had the same feeling. It felt nosey, invasive, etc. Not kind.

After things calmed down, I was still bothered by something that I couldn’t put a finger on. I sat up in bed one night and it hit me. The weekend before dad died, we had hauled cattle for them (they don’t have a trailer, they have to use mine). Their grandson has been caught stealing from their shop, so they were talking about re-keying the shop, except their daughter will not keep a key from the grandson. However, husband and their daughter are the only 2 allowed to have keys. I was standing right there, and I was explicitly pointed to NOT have a key (don’t have one of the old keys, either). And as we worked thru dad’s estate, mom was willing to leave the farm (large and worth considerable money) to our spouses in case something happened to us, and trusted the spouses to hand it down to our kids.

My mother is willing to leave our family farm to my husband, but I am not even “family” enuf to his family to have a key to their barn. That’s what’s been eating me.

It felt better to have it “named”, so to speak, but now everything my mother in law does is like just another supporting piece of evidence. She’s not going to change. She’s self-centered and insecure and tries to buy her children and grandchildren’s love. She calls 15 times a day for bogus reasons, I really think just to be sure to know what’s going on. If she can’t reach one of us on our cell phones instantly, she’ll call everyone you know trying to find you. But God forbid you interrupt her. I am not easy child 2’s mom, nor do I try to be, but I handle the same things in our house when we have her as I do and have for the other kids, which includes dr appointments and daycare/after school care, just how husband and I have chose to operate, and it works – until she gets involved. I had summer care set up to keep easy child 2 involved and active (she’s getting extremely overweight) and mother in law threw a fit, so now easy child is staying with mother in law all summer (by the way, mother in law is extremely overweight, as well, and can’t walk more than 8 minutes at a time before she’s too tired to go on). easy child 2 stays at her other grandma’s the rest of the year, and is not allowed to be involved in any extra curricular activites (trying to change this, mom won’t let her so far, tho.) There is just so much more to this that I can't spend all day typing. I've been with husband 6 years. My birthday has been acknowledged 1 time, tho everyone else gets taken out for dinner for theirs AND a gift. She buys easy child 2 things all the time, and lets her be selfish with it when difficult child 2 is around (we're talking easy child will not want difficult child to touch a mcdonalds toy she got 8 months ago and left lying on the floor of the car for that entire time, and this woman will back her up on it). She points out that difficult child 1 is really not my child. When he didn't want to invite the bio's to his graduation, she stepping in and took care of that for him. Stuff like that.

My question to you guys – How do I let this go? I plan to talk to mother in law, but I don’t expect it to change anything, but I have GOT to move past it. She’s not fair to my kids, she’s not fair to me, and we are “outsiders” to her, and its not going to change. I’ve got to accept it, and I realize that, but I don’t know how. And if its me and my problem, please tell me that, too.



Active Member
What does husband say about this? I'm wondering if maybe he should do the talking to her- to let her know he's supporting you and expects her to treat you like his wife- with respect.


Active Member
I wish I knew. my ex and now deceased mother in law was a thorn in my side for a long time. I was the only one to care for her in many ways. she never failed to talk bad about me to others all along. I ignored her vile ways and continued to minister to her for 30 yrs. one day I snapped.

I had been walking into her house and heard her on the phone talking lies about me and my grandmother (she didnt even know).
I told her off and left. in time she gave drug money knowingly to ant for a few yrs and continued to interfere in any way she could.

truth is some people will not like us no matter how we try. I prayed and prayed to get over her evil ways. in time I realized she was eating up my mind with thoughts of her. I was not going to let her have my thoughts. I forgave her in my mind. forgave and forgot. I know she was not right. it had nothing to do with me. try to remove yourself from thinking of her. it will only cause you harm and will not affect her at all.


New Member
If it will make YOU feel better by talking with her, by all means do so. Just so you aren't hoping to change her, because it won't.

I've basically learned to pretty much ignore the "negative" people in my life - and that includes my mother. I will talk to her, update her on the kids, but I don't go out of my way to do things with her. I did buy her a hanging plant for mother's day (which I always do), but I just left it at her door on Monday on my way to work.

My "ex-laws" were very negative people (well, they still are) and the few times we've been together since the divorce (sons' plays, graduation, wedding) they STILL won't talk to me. Doesn't bother me a bit, in fact, I quite enjoy that I don't have to put up with them anymore!!!


Well-Known Member
Well, I wouldn't even bother talking to her. The woman sounds like a fruit loop! Except fruit loops are too sweet and good a comparison. A sour grape? Dried up prune...

I, too, would talk to your husband about it. I would probably approach it along the lines of "I know that there's nothing you can do to change your mother, but it really hurts me when your mother (ignores me) (leaves me out of decisions) (butts in to our child rearing decisions). Even so, could we try to present a united front?"

If she won't include your and difficult child 1's birthday's, husband should be planning them and making a big deal out of them and asking her to come along as a guest, not the organizer.

I'm sorry to hear that she overruled your plans for easy child 2's summer. Is it too late to tell her that you have rethought it and that you and husband agree that the best thing for easy child 2 is to do what you originally planned? She had her chance to raise her own children, and I imagine that she would have raised all holy get-out if her mother/mother-in-law was that involved in the process. Someone needs to redefine her role to one that's more appropriate.


Well-Known Member
My advice is a little different in that I would try to let it go. Your mother in law seems like a singularly uncaring and selfish woman. I suspect she has aligned herself with easy child 2's bio-mom and sees you as her threat. This will not change any time soon. But letting her bad behavior affect you is something you need to stop, especially while you are so emotionally vulnerable from your father's unexpected death. The good news is that you see the situation clearly and can adjust your expectations accordingly. Many {{{hugs}}}.


Thank you all for your thoughts.

I should have mentioned, but I have talked to husband and he is in total agreement (prior to today). He sees it, and thinks we need to talk to her together. At the same time, he's not at all good at standing up to her. He ignores her (she's been this way all their lives, is my understanding, and he's VERY talented at it.)

Thankfully, she is not in cahoots with PC2s mom, as easy child 2's mom dislikes her more than I do. She won't even answer her phone calls. However, the less I tolerate her, the more she may try to get to easy child 2 thru her mom, I don't know.

I need to talk to her for my own piece of mind. In the rare off chance that she doesn't realize and would change, I need to tell her how this affects me and my kids. I don't expect her to care, and I don't expect her to change, but I need to give her the chance. And MWM, like you said, then I have to let it go, and that's the part I'm struggling with. I'm learning to detach from difficult child 1, I suppose this woman will take a while, too. Except I'm not detaching from a relationship with her, more like I'm detaching from the dream of having a relationship with her.

Thanks all.

PS - I have a wonderful relationship with my ex-mother in law. She's one of my best friends and I love her, and I am SOOOOOOO eternally grateful for her, especially now that I know what the flip-side is like.


Former desparate mom
When an in law makes me feel bad, I tend to obsess about the why's, who's and what's until I make myself tired. None of the kids in husband's family confront. Just not their thing or do they care to waste the energy. Weird but it works well in their family.
Anyhow, I decided to be polite and respectful because they are husband's parents. If something is said directly to me, I do respond and speak up, but mostly I smile politely. I keep it superficial.
I know how I feel about being left out. It's obvious to me that I'm the in law but they don't intrude on my marriage or the children. At least not to our faces.

I'm sorry about your m i l is making you feel bad.


Well-Known Member
My mother-in-law--God rest her soul----was the most negative person in the world. sister in law's children did no wrong. Mine, however, were never treated the same way. She loved them---she just favored the other two. I have always understood that I couldn't control her actions, but I could control my reactions. Was it fair? NO! But, nothing I could have done would have made any difference.


A word of caution: even though you feel at the moment that you have no expectations of change if you have this talk with your mother in law, are you sure that you won't be even more frustrated/angry afterward when nothing has changed?

Just a thought...

timer lady

Queen of Hearts

As you have no power over mother in law's actions (I doubt your little chat will have a positive effect, given her long hx of this stuff), it's going to be your "reaction" to her antics.

I learned a long time ago that I cannot control or spend (alot of) time being offended by others. It's my reaction or lack thereof that helps or haunts me.

Good luck with this.


Well-Known Member
It has taken me 56 years to learn to turn people off. My mother in law of 37 years, I think still hopes husband and I will split. Trust me, talking to your mother in law will most likely make it worse. She isn't ugly to me to my face, she wouldn't dare, but the under-current has been there all of our married life. Our difficult child was adopted at birth and she really hated that and wondered what in the he** we were thinking. (NONE of her business!!) Our grown daughter has four children (our lovely grandchildren who we adore) and mother in law and father in law send those children (THEIR great-grandchildren) gifts and $$ all the time and difficult child (their grandson) gets nothing. It's all I can do to not blast her....but it would serve no purpose. It'll never change, but it's yet another way to get to ME. They never, ever babysat when our other children were babies, they never went to a game of theirs or a recital. They just were not interested. I guess the fact is...I just don't like them very much, mostly her. The feeling is mutual.

Shari, let it go. You have more to do in your life than to waste one ounce of your energy on her. She doesn't deserve it.

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
{{{Shari}}} I feel for you. My mother in law has never liked me or my daughter's. I think in the early years she tried to be accepting for her son's sake, but really, after a short time it became apparent that she thinks we are "less than", undeserving of being with her son, less smart or important than her own children and grandchildren. She speaks down to us, she speaks disparagingly of difficult child and even of easy child, who she has worked hard to get where she is!

During our wedding, she stood with her eyes closed the ENTIRE time. Afterward, she found a small table away from everyone and sat in stony silence. In every picture she looks like she is frowning. My mother commented to me that she seems like a very unhappy person. Haha - that's the nice way of putting it!

About a week after our wedding, after H and I returned from our short honeymoon, H received a packet in the mail from his mother. Apparently, she was removing him as beneficiary of some bonds she had. H had been the beneficiary for 10 years on most of those bonds, but after he married me, she changed them all to his brother and sister. When I pressed H to explain, he was tongue tied - I think even he was stunned.

Our birthdays are never ever acknowledged, she and father in law never attend any events planned for us, and my kids only receive the smallest of gifts at Christmas. One year they spent Christmas with us and she gave each girl a $5 holiday pin from Walmart and a small beaded bag. When we carried the luggage to their car so they could go see thier daughter's kids (thier REAL grandkids) they wouldn't open the trunk until my dds and I had gone inside. I imagine it was filled with many gifts for her REAL grandkids and I'm almost thankful that she waited until we left before allowing my dds to see that!

Following a really traumatic incident with her during one of our vacations I demanded that H speak with her. He said he would, but he never did. He kept saying he would speak with her, but he wouldn't. He just didn't have the balls I guess to tell his mother she was rude and mean. I was going to say something but instead I meditated about it. My solution was simple: keep my distance. Be cordial and pleasant when they were around, but no longer would I take days off of work to entertain them when they were in town. No longer would I speak niceties on the phone with her (it was all BS anyway) and no longer would I allow my kids to be present when they were around. I deliberately sent my dds to their father's house when IL's were visiting. I created a menu the week before their arrival, made all the food and froze it so H could prepare it when HE got dinner ready before I got home from work. I didn't turn to stone or become cold - I just stopped going out of my way to make them feel welcome or overflow with affection for them.

I realized that each time I complained to H about his mother, it hurt him. He KNEW what she was doing and how it affected me but I realized that he wasn't in the frame of mind to do anything until it affected HIM. So I stopped talking about it and carried on with my own plan. Eventually, H saw things for himself and he too made changes in his reaction to them and he backed me up when I objected to a visit or two with them. IOW, he came around and now things are better. It was hard to explain to my kids why they were that way up until the incident that changed it all for me - at that point I directed my kids to call them by their names instead of grandma and grandpa. I figured they weren't acting like grandparents, why give them that honor? We definitely shook things up. This past November, my mother in law once again did something monumentally stupid and rotten to my difficult child and H had finally grown the you-know-whats to say something and say something he did! Wow - I was sooo proud of him at that moment. It didn't change anything for anyone but US. WE both benefitted. I think it meant more coming from him than me anyway. His mother feigned ignorance, but she knows. And his father is tripping over himself to be nice to us.

Shari, I'm sorry to go on...Only YOU know what feels right in your heart and how to handle this. If going into it you know that nothing will change on HER end, then you're two steps ahead of the game, in my opinion. Many hugs to you. Stay strong and do what's right for YOU and your kiddos. YOUR family is most important, not the IL's. And as long as you have H backing you, you're golden.