Marriage can be bliss! But the family you marry into maybe another story. These spouses share the ugly things they've heard from their mothers-in-law.
Not all MILs are great. Content has been edited for clarity.
“Well, the easier question is what hasn’t my mother-in-law done? But the meanest thing she did to me was after my mother died in April of 2012. I had to clean out the house that she and my brother shared after he died in December that same year. My mother-in-law had come by my mom’s house to drop off my daughters, and I was in the basement packing up some of my brother’s belongings when my mother-in-law took it upon herself to take my great grandmother-s mirror off the wall and put it into her car and drive away. She stole a piece of family history!
When I came upstairs and noticed it gone, my youngest daughter told me “Nana stole it.” When I went to her house to get it back, she called the cops and told them an unwanted trespasser was on her property. I waited till the cops came, and my children and I told the cops what had taken place. The cop said I had to take it up in court, but I had to leave. My youngest daughter then went into the house and told her nana something. I’ve no clue to this day what it was, but when she came out I was given the mirror back. That was the meanest thing besides telling me she hoped I would die on my way to have a heart catheterization and tried to take my children away several times by unnecessary CPS investigation”
The Last Thing She Needs Right Now Is Guilt
“It’s a long story, and many people will probably feel the same way as she did.
My husband and I got pregnant with our third child in 2017….everything was going well. We kept the pregnancy a secret from everyone except our immediate families. As I was approaching 35, we opted for the first-trimester screen, if anything, a fun way to peek in at the baby and get reassurance that all was well. Well, all was not well. Over the next 6 weeks, we had test after test is done, confirming our fears, that our baby girl, who we wanted SO badly, had Down syndrome and a heart defect. I’m sure this is where everyone is grabbing their pitchforks right along with my mother-in-law.
Specialists told us honestly that most people who hold a prior belief that they would keep a child conceived with this diagnosis, ultimately change their minds when this actually happens. Put me in that boat too. Somewhere from 80–90% go through a termination. I don’t say this to make myself feel better at all. I regret every day, that I had to be in a situation to have to make any choice About continuing or halting the life of my child. I have always been pro-choice, for everyone else but me. I never expected I’d be in a situation where I would terminate a pregnancy for any reason. I could go on and on about the reasons I went back and forth, but ultimately we ended the pregnancy. It continues to haunt me as the worst and most traumatic thing in my life.
Anyways, my mother-in-law, who lived 40 minutes away and only came to visit our sons maybe 2–3 times a year wrote me countless emails as we were going through testing and the most horrific decision-making process. She promised if we kept the baby that she would be involved and would go so far as to move into our house to help if we needed it. It was lousy to hang that promise over our heads. It made us feel even more guilt and started a rift that has only widened. In the months after we said goodbye to our daughter, she posted anti-abortion articles daily, sometimes several times a day (this was during the times when states were establishing their own abortion restrictions). How were these posts not aimed at me, to hope to make me suffer? I still feel the grief daily.
My husband and I welcomed our third living son in June 2019, and two weeks after he was born, my in-laws moved 14 hours away into the mountains to be closer to God.
First off, I’m so hurt to have the added guilt about the worst event in my life. But also, my children may never see their Grandparents on that side ever again. They only saw their youngest grandson twice. We’ve talked on the phone only for a few minutes a couple of times since they’ve moved.
I should still be in counseling. But instead, I’m writing about it here.”
A Terrible Woman
“My son has Prader Willi Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects stature and intellectual ability. My MIL told me it must be my fault, because there’d never been anything like that in their family. I ignored her. I only do confrontation when it is unavoidable.
However, a friend then told me that she was spreading rumors about me in our small town. She was telling everything that I had a drinking problem (I don’t actually drink except on very special occasions but hey.) She told them that I hadn’t wanted the child and had tried to abort him by getting wasted every night, then throwing myself down the stairs. This would have been difficult, we lived in a ground floor flat.
My husband was scared of her so it was up to me to confront her, and this was something I felt was worth the unpleasantness. She didn’t deny it. She said it was my fault he was ‘wrong’ and that I might as well have tried to abort him. She continued telling lies.
Then my health visitor came and told me she’d made allegations that I was abusing my daughter, who was two years older than my son. I went to my GP to find out what she had said. He told me if he had believed her he would have reported me and put the child first. He said he had warned her instead because he knew it wasn’t true. However, she didn’t give up and I got a visit from Social Services. It took them 30 seconds to realize it was a malicious allegation, and six months to leave us alone and stop visiting. Apparently, if there has been an allegation, they have to visit and keep an eye on a family for a while. I understand it, although it’s annoying and frustrating when it is you.
When my daughter was 6, I went to collect her from school and discovered my MIL had picked her up several hours earlier. It took hours to find her, and when I did she called me an unfit mother and hit me when I put my daughter into my car. That time, my husband did stand up to her and tell her what he thought of her. It was a long time before they reconciled.
Eventually, my marriage ended and I was able to sever all ties to her. Didn’t stop her telling people that I was to blame for my son’s condition, and coming up with outrageous stories.
About a year after my divorce, a paper came out that said the strain of PW my son has is caused by a faulty chromosome passed on by the father. Call me petty, but I photocopied the paper, highlighted the relevant bit and posted it to her.
Made me feel a bit better at the time.”
Only Hate In Her Heart
“My husband is from Romania and his mother came to live with us for a year while waiting for her green card; the plan was she would then spend six months a year with us in America and six months a year in Romania. I knew she was the matriarch of the family, and my husband was her first boy…
But this woman hated me on sight. She said the most awful things to me. I was too young, too pretty to be with her son for anything other than his money (I told her ‘if you can say that, then you have no idea what a wonderful man your own son is’). She would do things like go through my purse when I wasn’t looking and throw out my $40 Chanel lipstick. One of the most hurtful things she would do was turn around the pictures I had in the house of my mom, who died at age 34 when I was 12. She pitted my husband against me- she made it out like I was setting her up and lying about it.
The final straw came when I came home from a long, stressful day at work. I sat down at the kitchen table to go through the mail. Over the course of the 10 months she was with us by then, downstairs became ‘her domain’. I would retreat immediately upstairs to our bedroom and watch TV or read until my husband came home. She made him dinner every night (which I wasn’t allowed to eat with them). He would sit with her and have dinner and eventually come upstairs to greet me. When she went to bed, we were free to go downstairs and watch TV, etc.
She was most unhappy that I had the nerve to sit at ‘her’ kitchen table. She picked up my sunglasses from where they were on the table and threw them against the wall; then she started berating me in Romanian. I ignored her and continued going through the mail, which infuriated her. She stood over me and continued yelling.
My dog, a little Yorkipoo who weighs all of eight pounds, was very upset about this. We went through a lot together during my previous marriage and she is still very sensitive to fighting or yelling of any kind. She stood next to my feet and started barking. As I reached down to calm her, my mother-in-law kicked her. Right in the face. My dog yelped and I could hear her teeth crack together.
I stood up so fast I knocked over the chair. I grabbed my dog and my purse and left in my car. I called my husband at work- slightly hysterical, I will admit. I told him ‘This is it. I am going to a hotel. Either she goes, or I go.’ She flew home to Romania three days later. I can handle a bully but I cannot handle abuse of my dog, and my husband couldn’t either.
When it came time for her to have to return to the US due to her green card, I absolutely refused. Her green card was invalidated because she stayed outside the US for too long. I don’t know if we will try to sponsor her again in the future but it hasn’t come up in discussion lately.”
That’s Beyond Messed Up
“Sadly I have too many…two that I can share.
My then fiancé and I spent the weekend with my soon-to-be mother-in-law. We had gotten in late and were promised a lazy morning. I woke up the next morning, walked into the kitchen non showered, and rumpled to find my fiancé’s ex having coffee with his mom. She was dolled up and openly flirting with my fiancé. I felt humiliated. She had been invited by my MIL, I was intentionally uninformed.
The day of our wedding she showed up several hours late for pictures (I had communicated with everyone the need to be on time for pictures prior to the ceremony so we could get them over with and enjoy the rest of the day). She walked in making a show of herself and of course, no apologies. She did openly make some comments about how silly it was to take pictures prior to the wedding. Due to her tardiness, we had to take a few pictures after the ceremony. I was told later that she shared with several guests how rude I was to make people wait to eat so I could have my picture was taken, “that should have been done prior to the ceremony”. She also knew my own mother was battling cancer and I was struggling to pull this wedding off alone.”
The Story Of The Hideous Dress
“I was 21 years old and getting married so naturally my friends threw a wedding shower for me and invited my future mother-in-law (hereafter referred to as MIL). A lovely party and I was showered with gifts as happens at a shower. You are going to think I’m lying or exaggerating but, I promise you, this is a true story.
I picked up a beautifully wrapped gift and was excited to see it’s from MIL. My husband’s family is fairly wealthy so I was sure it was going to be something awesome. I gently remove the wrapping paper and ribbons — she clearly paid to have it wrapped and I wanted to save the expensive paper and bows.
I opened the box, pulled back the tissue paper, and there it was. The most heinous green dress I’ve ever seen. It was the type of dress your grandmother may have worn to a special occasion (if she was blind). I am talking about vomit green with a lace overlay and a satin lining complete with armpit stains.
Shorter, sleeveless and did I mention the pit stains? I wish I had a picture of it. I truly can’t do it justice in words and apparently neither can Google Image Search.
I remember feeling all the blood run out of my face when I saw what it was. Everyone in the room went silent with looks of shock on their faces. And then MIL started to laugh. She said that it was a tradition at showers to give a heinous gift and that she had spent all afternoon at the Salvation Army looking for the worst thing she could find.
I was the first of my friends to marry. I hadn’t been to any other showers so I was not well versed in shower traditions. I put on a brave face and forced out a few laughs. But I remember thinking at the time that this was how Stephen King’s Carrie felt when she realized she was the butt of the joke after being doused in pig’s blood.
I’ve been married 35 years now and MIL has been gone for the last 10 of them. In those years, I have been to many showers and have never seen anyone else do such a thing; I’ve never heard of such a tradition and neither has anyone I’ve ever asked. Please share in the comments if you have ….”
Selfish MIL Stole The Last Moments She Had With Her Husband
“My husband passed away October 22, 2019, at 6:10 pm. It was a Tuesday. He was in ICU at a long-term care hospital. The thing my MIL did? She denied me the chance to say goodbye or even try to change his mind. The following events are the little she told me when I arrived after he passed.
Bobby had been on and off intubation (where they put a tube down your throat to breathe for you because you’re unable to on your own) for weeks. His mother was visiting him every day at this point. She’d decided to blame me a couple of years before while he was recovering from a quadruple bypass and they discovered cancer. I was somehow responsible for him being so ill (because I magically gave him cancer I guess) and so she turned NASTY towards me. When we were both there with him she was snarky and rude to me, to the point it made him uncomfortable and stressed him. Many times he asked her to not act like that… but she did. So I didn’t want to ruin his visits with her or cause him stress when he was needing to focus on getting better and stronger. In August I took to just visiting him in the evenings and overnight when I knew she’d be gone since she didn’t like driving in the dark.
I’d been away from him for a week because I had a respiratory chest cold thing, with a fever – and that’s a huge no-no to come around someone as ill as he was with. Because he was intubated they kept him pretty sedated plus he couldn’t speak on the phone. So, we hadn’t spoken in 8 days. Sunday the fever broke and I went to visit him. As far as I know, he wasn’t aware I was there, he was heavily sedated that night. Monday I woke up with a fever back just under 100. I debated going but was scared to put him at risk. Didn’t see him. That Tuesday morning he was back off the vent but (according to her) he’d had enough and told them to put a Do Not Resuscitate on him. His mother was with him at the time. She said they asked him several times over the course of an hour and he kept true to his request. They then gave him some morphine to relax him and make him comfortable. It still took several more hours after that before he passed away. I got the call at 6:40 pm from the hospital staff when I was about to walk out the door to come to see him. She couldn’t even be bothered to tell me herself.
All that time she was there with him and never called to tell me what was going on so I could come and see him one last time or say goodbye.
Keep in mind he and I had been together since high school, December 21st was our 28th anniversary. Yet she acted like I had no right to talk to him or say goodbye. I had to produce our marriage certificate for the staff at the last few hospitals because she would tell them we weren’t really married and SHE should be the one they went to for medical decisions when he was incapacitated.
Oh and here’s where she added one last insult to injury – when his health had started to go downhill rapidly in July and he was in ICU she told him (with me in the room more than once) that he didn’t need to worry, she’d already prepaid for his final details since he asked for a simple cremation and no service or fuss. She chose the funeral home, which I was fine with since she paid. Except when I went there two days after be passed away to go over everything they informed me she’d come in and rescinded her plan so now I was responsible. So dump several thousand dollars of unexpected expense on top of it. (And he’d been sick for years so there were no life insurance money, savings or retirement plan funds left by then). I had to swallow my pride and grovel to the family for help but he was taken care of, no thanks to her.”
She Thought Her Son Was Her Husband
“My husband deployed last year. His mother went slightly insane because her husband had gone to Vietnam and left her when they were both very young. She kept pretending that her son (my husband) was her husband. She even went as far as to say that to my husband. She didn’t believe him that he really wasn’t going to a combat zone and that there was little or no chance he would be in that much danger.
The week before he left, she decided to throw him a shindig. She wanted him to dress up in his dress uniform and wanted him to be paraded around all of her friends. She didn’t bother to tell me about it, and I couldn’t take off, so she monopolized the last weekend and pretty much the entire last week before he left.
After he left, she began calling me–just like she did in basic. ‘He called me, did he call you?’ was the very first thing out of the mouth on the first message. During basic training, she made into a competition to see who got more attention. For the deployment, I couldn’t handle that. I just decided to block her number.
While he was gone, we communicated through Facebook messenger. It was the least expensive and easiest way. His mom refused to use it because it was of the devil or something. About halfway through, to get back at my husband for not calling her enough, she decided to write him a letter blaming him for absolutely everything that had gone with her life since she had him. This came at a very bad time because he was getting depressed. She let him know that he was the reason that her life was lousy and that the only thing she felt guilty about was giving him an exorcism when he was 11. She is a very sick women. It killed my husband. He was having a hard time of it anyway, and this just made it harder.
After the deployment, she decided she was going to have another shindig and parade my husband around again. Although my husband wanted to see them, he didn’t want to be paraded around, so at first he said he would go, but in a very mature move on his part, he let his parents know that he wasn’t coming. He let them know that he couldn’t handle being around other people quite yet.
They decided that they were going to come to see him if he wouldn’t see them. They showed up pretty much unannounced at or doorstep. I had to work. We went to breakfast. After breakfast they came back to our house, I went to work, and in the four-hour period that I was gone, proceeded to destroy whatever glimmer of relationship they had with their son.
I walked in the door and his mom kind of giggled explaining that they were having a ‘therapy’ session. My husband just got up and said that he had had enough and he was going to play video games. I sat there, with his parents, for two uncomfortable hours trying to think of things to talk about. They finally left and my husband told me what they had talked about.
Basically, his parents let him know that he was the cause of all their problems. They loved him, but if it wasn’t for him, their lives would have been much better. They beat him, but only because he made them. That he hadn’t been such a headstrong child at 2, they might have been able to do a better job. The list goes on and on.
That was almost a year ago. His mom calls, but only to let him know again, what a horrible child he was, so he doesn’t talk to them.
I don’t know if that is worse than not protecting when he was younger and being violated because apparently being gay is worse than being violated. Or pretending he should have been girl his entire life is a worse thing, or always making his ‘golden child’ brother the center of attention is a worse thing, but that is just the latest thing.”