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Inlaw Relations/Mother inlaw problem


I really don't know where to turn for help. I will give you some background. My mother inlaw has always been 'hard work', she is very much the person in my husbands family who 'rules the roost' Apparently some years ago she was diagnosed bi polar, my husband and I have been married for 21 years and in those years she has said and done many things that have upset me. I have always bitten my tongue as i know it would cause a rift between my husband and her, he loves his dad dearly, who is a very kind sweet man, and I know he would be ordered to take her side. We live in Wyoming they live in California, we have been here 19 years and they have visited twice, we are told we have to visit them. On one visit just after we had moved into a new home her leaving remark to me was " I'm sure you could afford something better than this" meaning our house. A couple of years ago she had a lumpectomy and I felt I was supportive and positive, she is cancer free. During her recovery she decided to come off her Bi polar meds and her personality has become very dominant and on several occasions has said and done things to cause problems with family members, my husbands two brothers and one sister in law. She had knee surgery and insisted on sending me links to see how the surgery is done, not something I really wanted to see so I didn't open he links. She is a complete snob, she has to have the most expensive things and called a family meeting with the boys last year, we were staying with them but I was banished out of the house while said meeting was happening. My husband told me  it was about how they weren't managing on the money they are receiving, they are both retired, 78 and 83 years old. they live in a house owned by my brother in law which he is subsidizing the mortgage just charging them a small rent. She has always lived above her means.
My problem now is my father inlaw has a fairly rare illness but he is doing well on the treatment he is getting from the VA. Mother inlaw is the drama queen saying how stressed she is dealing with all she has had to do to get the treatment from the VA.
I am just touching on how difficult she is to deal with. My husband is adopted and she said when he was young that he needed to find his birth family because he isn't like them!If I listed all the times she has been unbelievably tactless this would be a large book.
Now to my present problem, my husband spoke with her last week, she was on speaker phone, she was telling him about his father's new diagnosis and twice during that conversation she said "I don't want you to tell Wendy, she'll get on the internet and start looking it up" Then at the end of the conversation she said she would send him links to read about it. He told her we would look at it together. We haven't ! My feelings were so hurt I actually sent her a message telling her my feelings were hurt by her remark. The reply cam back that she didn't want me to know because when she had her breast cancer I was very negative and also when she had her knee surgery and she doesn't want anything negative in her life. My husband and I are flabbergasted, I have never been anything other than supportive and positive over the years, if I had spoken to her about the times she has been totally 'out of order' with things she has said and done we would have had words many times.All the family agree it is always about her.
My mother had a serious accident in 2011 and I spent months travelling back and forth to England to be with her and my dad, we had 4 years of positive thinking, keeping my elderly mum's spirits up,she passed away last March and I miss her so much. I am still a little sensitive and cry easily but this email from my mother inlaw has deeply hurt me and I just don't know how to handle it. My husband spoke briefly with her this morning and she said she will call me when she feels better, goodness knows what that means but I will not speak with her because I know from experience it will just be an attack.She is never ever in the wrong. My husband is supporting me but he says 'you know what she's like'.
I know there will be a time when we will need to visit them, I wouldn't say to my husband that he has to go without me, I love my father inlaw but I have had enough of her and her domineering ways, never seeing how hurtful she can be. Any advice would help, please.


Why do you put so much energy into what your MIL thinks about you or does? My suggestion is that you stop focusing on her and focus your energies on your husband and immediate family and friends. The more you let her bother you the more your life will stay miserable. Let her live her life. It's obvious she has a certain way she interacts with the world. This will not change so you shouldn't be surprised every time you interact with her that this is happening. Get on with your own life.

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Dr. David Simonsen


I can answer you questions clearly and straight. Let me help you get your in-law relationships figured out. They can really be challenging


I meet weekly with families that have in-law challenges.


B.A. M.S. Marriage & Family Therapy; Ph.D. Psychology

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