Where can I start about my mother-in-law? For my birthday
(in early January) she gave me a dozen almond nuts wrapped in cellophane. I thanked her
and she said perhaps I could use them for cooking. I replied that we would probably just
eat them. She said, "well I couldn't crack the shells" She had obviously bought
a bag of mixed nuts in for Christmas and given me the ones she couldn't get into. And she
didn't seem embarrassed in the slightest. Oh, and when my husband rang her to tell her we
were expecting our first child her first comment was: " There was a program on last
night about birth defects, did you see it?"
Not long after we first started going out we were at her house and as she had to nip
out somewhere she said: "Upstairs is out of bounds and I've cleaned up there today so
I'll know if anyone's been up there" I was only 18 at the time and NOT used to being
spoken to like that, I was appalled! She's lovely isn't she? I could go on but perhaps
I'll save other stories for another time... Relatives0111-02
My tale of the mother-in-law from Hell includes the wedding, but mostly life before. I
had dated my ex-husband for about 10 years before we got married. Part of the reason for
the long wait was that we met when I was 15, and I wanted to wait until after college to
get married. But I digress. My husbands mother, "Gertrude" was really a
piece of work. During the years we dated she never missed an opportunity to insult me and
call me a slut/whore/etc. When I would come to visit "Rick" (at their
non-air-conditioned house) wearing summery clothes (tank top & shorts) she would
declare it an outfit for "easy access".
Once in college I decided to bleach my hair. I was very pleased with how it came out.
When his mother saw it she loudly proclaimed, "you look like a whore!"
Ricks sister "Janet" (the nice one) happened to be sitting there at the
time and admonished her, "Mom, you shouldnt say things like that, its not
nice." She replied with "I say what I think. Thats what I think. What, I
shouldnt say what I think?" Whatever.
Gert was quite a swearer too. (However I am sanitizing most of what shes said as
I am NOT a swearer.) She could say things to make sailors blush. Ricks other sister
"Judy" was aiming for being a carbon copy of her mother. The two of them often
swore in front of Judys children. Interestingly enough Judys daughters
first words were to repeat a common insult Gert used towards "Mark" Judys
8 year old son when he wasnt the proper "slave" to her desires. "Mark
Im going to cut your Ba**s off. (Nice thing for a grandmother to tell her 8 year old
grandson eh?) They were both so surprised when she said it and wondered where the little
girl got that from?
She was also notorious for volunteering people to do things without their permission or
often even their knowledge. Like one time I show up to visit Rick only to be informed by
Gert that we will now be babysitting Ricks sisters children for several hours
while the parents and the sisters and their spouses (but not Rick) go out to dinner.
Ricks brother had learned to avoid Gerts demands by screening his phone calls
so he didnt have to deal with her. Then he would conveniently return her call after
it was too late to do whatever it was she wanted. Unfortunately Rick was too much of a
mammas boy to put up any fight to her demands, no matter how unreasonable they got.
Also, because she couldnt get the brother to do things, Gert often heaped even more
things on Rick.
After I graduated from college, I thought I should try to put some effort into finding
a pleasant way to relate to the woman who I knew would eventually be my mother-in-law. We
spent several months going shopping, doing lunches and hanging out. Things seemed to be
going well. However the more I spent time with her, the more she felt she could order me
around and volunteer me to do things. One of the things she had been doing that bugged me
was: whenever it would rain, she would call me and ask me to come pick up Rick and his
father from the train station and drive them home. I should also mention that they lived
about 2 blocks from the train station, and usually the guys walked. (I lived about 20
minutes away.) She could have picked them up as she was home all the time, but she
didnt like driving, so I was supposed to do it. After several of these trips to pick
up the guys, I asked Rick to please ask his mother not to volunteer me for anything else.
He assured me he would take care of it, and from now on if he needed a ride from the train
station he would call me directly.
Sure enough, the next time it rains I get a call from Gert telling me to go pick up the
guys. I explained to her that if Rick wanted a ride he would have called me, which he
didnt, and they would be fine walking the two blocks home. She seems ok with this
and we hang up. A few minutes later Rick calls and says "so youre picking us up
at the train station?" I ask him if his mother had called him and told him to call me
to ask for the ride and he says yes. Now Im fuming because Gert is being
manipulative yet again and Rick isnt doing anything about it. Rick tells me at that
point that if I have a problem with Gert I needed to deal with it myself. So I call her
back on the phone and politely try to explain that I do not want her to volunteer me for
anything else please and that I have talked to Rick and he does not need a ride home. Well
she goes ballistic. She screams F*** You, I cant believe you wont do this
after all the things Ive done for you!" and slams the phone down. That was the
last time I tried to be friendly with her.
So now fast forward to our engagement. Once we were engaged I had a little over a year
to plan the wedding. My parents kindly offered to pay for our wedding. I come from a
family of modest means, so I really hadnt expected this generosity. Now, I should
also mention that my family is very, very small. When my grandparents were alive our
entire extended family was 11 people. Because of this I decided to have a very small
wedding, 50-60 people. Unfortunately Rick came from a very large family. Because of this I
allowed him to have two thirds of the invitations. When the limited number of guests was
explained to his mother she had a fit. How could we not invite this one and that one etc.
They all just HAD to come! I nipped that one in the bud by telling Rick that I did not
intend to have my parents pay to host a family reunion for his family. If his parents
wanted more guests than had been allotted, then they would have to pay for those guests
themselves. That ended that debate rather quickly.
Meanwhile, his parents bought a new house in Indiana. (They currently lived in
Illinois.) They did not however put their old house up for sale. Their plan was to move
things from one house to another over time. Fine. Well, a few months before the wedding,
Gert announces that they will be renting a truck and moving ALL their stuff the weekend
before our wedding. Since the other house was not up for sale, it wasnt like they
had to move at any certain time. She just HAPPENED to pick that weekend. Hmmm... Well
Ricks brother informs her that he will be on vacation that week and not to expect
his help. Rick also informs her that its the weekend before our wedding and
well be too busy to help them move. She says thats ok, no problem. However a
few days prior to their chosen moving day Gert called up Rick and laid on the emotional
blackmail thickly "how can you not help your poor mother? You #@**$ ungrateful
wretch" and even though he was in tears because of her verbal cruelty he agreed to
help her move. Oh, I should also add that she threatened to not come to our wedding if he
didnt help them move. I believe that was what finally made him agree to help.
Ah, but theres more! Rick and I had chosen to have a hyphenated last name. So to
let the family know this I used the new last name on the return address for our wedding
invitations. I wasnt sure if that was appropriate or not, but I thought it would be
the best way to get the message across to our families. Well, although they never actually
said anything to our faces, we heard from other family members that Ricks parents
were very upset by us choosing a hyphenated last name. (Of course its all MY fault
was also what I heard.) One day at work I get a call from one of Ricks uncles
(Gerts brother) who is in town visiting. He proceeds to grill me for over an hour
about why on earth would I choose that name and didnt I know how wrong and screwy it
was? I could hear Gert in the background telling him what to say to me. (A classic trick
of hers to make the confrontation, "not her fault") The conversation finally
ended with the uncle saying "what would my minister think?!?" To which I
replied, "I really dont care what hed think as its none of his d**n
business. The uncle hung up soon after that. '
As I said, I had planned a very modest wedding. One of the few "frills" I
wanted was that I had asked the two fathers to wear a tuxedo. My father went right away to
get his. Time passed, and the wedding was only a few weeks away and Ricks father had
not gone to get fitted for his tuxedo. I called him to ask him when he thought hed
be able to do it. His response? "Oh I was planning on wearing overalls to your
wedding. That would be different. Thats what you want isnt it? To be
different?" (I assume he was referring to the last name although he never actually
said it.) I tried to be nice and said that I would prefer if he would wear a tuxedo, but I
would be ok with whatever he chose to wear. He did eventually go get a tuxedo. I also
tried to get his mother to go out with me to pick a dress for her. Her response when I
asked her, "I cant afford a new dress". This from a woman who spends
hundreds of dollars on the home shopping network weekly. You cant afford a new dress
for your own sons wedding? Whatever. I left it at that as I didnt want to get
in another fight with her.
The wedding itself went off really well. It was quite beautiful, and everyone was for
the most part well behaved. The only minor annoying thing was again Gert. She had asked me
a few days before the wedding if she could see my wedding dress. I told her she would have
to wait until the wedding and be surprised like everyone else. The day of the wedding my
mother, my MOH and I were in the waiting room before the ceremony. Well guess who barges
in uninvited but Gert. (I dont know how she found where we were, as it was a rather
large church with a school attached so there were quite a few rooms she must have looked
through to find us.) "I want to see your dress!" she demands. I hid behind a
screen to avoid her while my mother and MOH got rid of her. And by the way, it was only
about 15 minutes until the ceremony, so it wasn't like she would have to wait very long.
Funny thing, but soon after the wedding Gert had a talk with Rick and honestly did not
understand why I didnt like her. Go figure. After 10 years of insults I'm surprised
she didn't get it. Im now divorced from Rick, and I have to say Im glad
Ill never have to see that shrew of a mother-in-law again.
Now taking votes for how many of us saw that divorce coming from
100 miles away....
I have been in a committed but non-cohabitating relationship for almost 12 years; my
boyfriend is the 4th oldest of 6 children, one girl and 5 boys, all adults. Three of his
siblings are divorced, his sister is currently living with a long-term boyfriend and one
brother has a non-cohabitating relationship with a woman who used to live with him.
A few years ago, to celebrate their parents' 50th wedding anniversary, my boyfriend and
his siblings put on a dinner in the private dining room of a very nice restaurant in our
city - just the family and spouses/partners. I had not met his sister or two of his
brothers prior to this, as they (and his parents) live in different provinces. There was
good food, good wine, a lot of family in-jokes, but I was as comfortable as one could be
in a gathering like that - I chatted with the two brothers I did know, as well as the son
of one of those brothers and the son's girlfriend, and made getting-acquainted small talk
with the "new" family members.
After dinner, my boyfriend's mother stood up to make a short speech. She was listing
the many blessings in her and her husband's lives, talking about "our lovely Aurora
(sister) and dearest Daniel (sister's live-in)", "our blessed Ronald (brother)
and his devoted Barbara (brother's girlfriend)", and so on. She ended with the
afterthought, Oh, yes, we're so glad Kenneth's friend Adriana was able to attend
"(that's me). Friend?????
A couple of years later, older sister and her live-in were in the city over the
Christmas holidays, and we went to have brunch with them at a restaurant near their hotel.
We spent about two hours with them, chatting, catching up, and at the end, when we were
parting, big sister shook my hand and said, quite insincerely, "so nice to see you
again, ARLENE" (NOT my name). I didn't bother correcting her, just said, "it's
been a pleasure" quite warmly and left. My boyfriend has apologized to me for his
family's discourtesies, and we often laugh about these incidents.
Here's a story about a gift my Mom received that I just had to share. About once a
month or so, my stepfather's family get together to celebrate the family birthdays in that
month. When the month of my Mom's birthday rolled around, she got some nice presents, and
one not-so-nice one. My aunt "Jenny" gave her the most hideous, lime-green
sweater that had geometrical shapes sewn on it. It was the ugliest sweater I have ever
seen. And it gets worse. Jenny kindly informs my Mom that, in case she wanted to return
it, she had bought the sweater for $2.00 on clearance from K-Mart! My Mom sucked it up and
thanked her, and promptly buried the sweater in the closet. About a year later, when clash
day in my high school rolls around, I wear the sweater Aunt Jenny gave my Mom, and it
starts unraveling by lunchtime. relatives1218-02
A week after giving birth to my 9 lb. 6.4 oz. son via C-section, of which he was 10
days late and included 2 1/2 days of induced labor, my mother-in-law corners me while
changing my son's diaper. "Why aren't you have sex with my son?"
"What??? I just gave birth."
"Don't give me that. A week is more than enough. Men have needs and it's your
wifely duty to provide it!"
She stormed out of room in a huff, leaving me to wonder why in the world she would
bring this up. My husband has never been that close to her, let alone close enough to
discuss something like that. Plus, any sane person knows the dangers of "marital
relations" that soon after a C-section. relative1228-02
Page Last Updated May 18, 2007