General Etiquette > Family and Children

Dear Prudence: My MIL redecorated my house

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Did anyone see Emily Yoffe's recent column on this subject? Link is here:

Text for anyone with link following issues in quote below:

--- Quote ---Dear Prudence,
My boyfriend of three years and I are in our late 20s and we recently moved into a modest house together in the same town as his parents. Prior to that move, I had my own apartment and he lived with his parents. We recently were away for the weekend and I let my boyfriend give our keys to his mother so she could hang a photo for us that she had reframed. When we returned, our entire house had been redecorated. New photos on the walls, new pillows on the couches, new kitchen items and existing kitchen stuff reorganized. Upstairs there were new pictures over the bed and new towels. All my toiletries had either been replaced or rearranged, including my medicine cabinet. My laundry had been done, with my underwear and bras folded in my drawer. My closet was rearranged. She also went through my Facebook profile and printed off some photos I had uploaded and framed and hung them. I know this seems nice, but to me it just felt invasive. I feel completely violated. I am embarrassed at some of the things she came across (she went through my bedside table and all my drawers). My boyfriend doesn’t see the problem—she’s always been like this with him and I guess he’s used to it—and it’s causing a lot of tension between us. She spent hours and tons of money, so am I being crazy, ungrateful, oversensitive?
—Feeling Violated

--- End quote ---

The MIL's actions seem so completely over-stepping that it;s hard to think of a positive good etiquette approach for addressing this. Has anyone got any thoughts on how you could explain this is wrong to the MIL or is she just a lost cause?

Stories of over-stepping MILs and how to deal with them welcome! My MIL is lovely but I do find this a fascinating subject.

In her position, I'd change the locks and let my SO know that if he wants a copy of the new key, he has to promise that his mother will never, ever have a copy in her posession for any length of time.

Change the locks. Get counselling. If he doesn't get it, change the boyfriend.


This is a case of 'too good is no good'. 

We have no idea whether MIL was sincerely trying to be helpful or if this was a subtle attempt to make your taste conform to hers.  Regardless, she stepped over the line. 

The LW has the right to feel violated and should have the locks changed. 


--- Quote from: Winterlight on July 23, 2013, 09:06:20 AM ---Change the locks. Get counselling. If he doesn't get it, change the boyfriend.


--- End quote ---

I agree!

I can't think of a single positive way to spin this.  The MIL stepped so far over the line it isn't even visible from space.


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