Who else has a mother in law from hell? How do you cope?

My dog is going to have his vaccinations next week. I want to take my MIL along and have her put down. Please stop me from doing this. All advice appreciated.

Fantastic....really great to have got that off your chest...and well said...obviously hit a nerve... so I dont think she is dementing..she wouldnt have tabulated all that and kept quiet! I wouldnt be so bold as to suggest you are better on your own..but I think you may find more happiness without the constant stress...and I guess if you dont get the backup with your OH....then you will be happier alone....I wish you all luck x

Bravo, Sarah! I wonder how good that felt. Only way to treat a bully is to bully them back. Best of luck over the next few weeks, and we are always here if you need to rant!

Yep, am now living in another village.

But have since seen MIL - told her that "your son is being upset by your behaviour and that you are creating not only problems in my couple but with OH's ex and that could lead to the ex seeking sole custody. And wouldn't it be awful if the kids were dragged through that because of you? Oh and if you really love your son you will let him live an adult life as every time you stick your nose in he suffers and I thought the whole point of you being a mother was to make your son happy'

This was said in front of OH who didn't say anything but stood beside me and let me talk

Apparently since then she has not said one word about me......first time in 2 years that she has actually kept her trap shut

Am not planning to move back though - sad to be living alone but not missing the constant stress!

Sarah, I'm glad you are perhaps a little more "free", and imagine that you might even feel a little weight lifted off your shoulders.

If OH isn't backing you up, he is not worth the hassle. you need to know that your partner will support you through thick and thin, but if you know that he will choose his mother's psychosis over your happiness, freedom, and opinions, he is honestly not worth the hassle.

hopefully he sees the light before it is too late.

Glen - Looks like you might have missed the update posted yesterday. Sarah has moved out, and fair play to her!

She has always been a forceful character but I have wondered about dementia as she seems to get more hysterical by the minute....brain tumour is one option I did not consider but she has regular health check ups as she has dangerously high blood pressure and suffered from a cancer years ago.

I have also thought about talking to OH's ex, just need to find the right time and place.

But for the time being I am just keeping out of sight as I am so fed up and the loss of respect for my OH is something that needs to be won back as I cannot ignore his refusal to back me up on anything....

Thanks to you for the kind words. At least I get peace and quiet where I am and I am sooooo pleased I never sold my place when I was tempted to several months ago. Big sigh of relief there!

Oh wow Sarah...I am so sorry to hear this.....really....parents should never, ever come between their kids and their partners....but the more you tell about her, the more convinced I am that she is really psychiatrically ill... is her behaviour becoming more and more weird? or has she always been strange? a brain tumour for instance can cause huge changes to a personality.....also dementia causes personality changes before it becomes apparent what is happening...often outright aggression....are the men in her life (husband and son) both really so incapable of standing up to her...? or calling her doctor? if it is a brain tumour they could be saving her life... but if she has always been like this...then I guess nothing you can do....joining forces with wife number 1 if you are on speaking terms may be useful....strength in numbers.....hoping your OH comes up trumps!

Sarah, I am so sorry that you find yourself in this situation, but I take my hat off to you! I do think she has a definite psychiatric problem, which is something you cannot do anything about. But you have put a roof over your head, and can only hope that your OH grows a pair, and does what is right by you and by his children.

Best of luck for whatever happens next, and I think I can safely say that we are all here for you on SFN.

Thanks for all your advice

Update is that Mother in Law went way too far a couple of weeks ago and I am now living alone in a property that I own outright. OH is playing ostrich and hiding his head in the sand and mother in law is now making strategic strikes to split us up permanently. Apparently she is also putting OH's ex wife through hell and is bent on taking over their children.

Interestingly 2 British friends of hers took me to one side to say they were concerned about her behaviour - apparently she calls herself the mother of my OH's kids and talks about my OH as if he is her partner (not in a phyisical sense but in terms of day to day living). They are worried she has a deep rooted psychological problem......"understatement of the year", I said to myself

One thing that did cheer me up was realising that an anagram of Mother In Law is Woman Hitler. NO offence to the lovely MILs out there (and my previous one was a darling) but for the nasty, vicious ones I found this most appropriate!

Haha, Carol has reminded me that on the few occasions my parents and in-laws met, the two mothers glared at each other and never a word was exchanged. My father never talked in company anyway, so hardly a case of the fathers either. The difference is that the two women glared at each other like angry cats. In the end we stopped having family get togethers at all because the tension was palpable. My mother surprised me, she was a gentle, open and accepting person, MIL quite the opposite, but how they ever reached that impasse with never an exchange of words I do not know.

you know..I was thinking earlier... my mother in law initially was pretty awful...mother of 6 kids...4 boys and my OH the smartest of her kids...at the wedding my family and his didnt speak...dislike on first meet! I loved my father in law, and decided to ignore 'her'. Initially she was rude...(I offered to help with lunch...she said no...I wandered off, next thing I heard she was complaining to my OH I offered to help then buggered off!) this went on for a few years...but I found it funny...I used to think she had a gap between thought process and what came out of her mouth....in the end I used to just laugh out loud at her..and eventually, with her....we became great friends. I am not suggesting this will happen with you...but maybe..laugh at her..when she is mean...laugh...smile always at her...as if she is only pretending to be a cow....and just listen to what she says...smile then carry on with what you are saying...and ignore it. If you ever show you care..she wins..treat her like a naughty child and just smile...I honestly believe this will be the worst thing for her...she wants to hurt you and if you show she cant...then she may be forced to rethink. Do you have parents alive..? is so..maybe have them over...and get them to play the game.....and give you support of course....but if you are not going to get support from your OH...then you need to have a game plan. If she ever hits your kids...I would probably give her a slap! she wants contact with her grandkids and has a lot to lose, so play on that...

I had one, the FIL only ever said "Yes dear". Made in Hell. Her daughter, my ex-OH with whom I still occasionally work, remembers her with dread. Her dread is that there is an afterlife and they will be reunited.

She sounds like she is missing something in her own life, her comments about losing him, and getting him back, and now having nobody come between them. Perhaps his ex was just as controlling, or made him shut off his family.

Honestly, I'd run a mile from this. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life living "on someone elses' land". It'll never be your home, she will always be there, judging, watching, waiting for you to slip up so that she can make a bitchy comment.

As for her son, he needs to grow a pair. I'm sorry, i know you love him, but, seriously, having his mommy tell him how to live when he has kids of his own?? A little pathetic. If you plan on having children with him, you must also be prepared that one day she may be taking YOU to court.

Sarah I think you are being tested...(sorely tested!)...am amazed you are still there...if my OH hadnt stood up for me..I would have walked...I would ask him (your OH) if you stand up to her, you can count on his support...if you cant...well...I guess you must love him a lot if you stay...personally I would change the locks...never lose my temper but probably look over her head (is she short?) and not speak directly to her...speak via her son or husband..make it clear you will not put up with this interference...probably no one has ever done this...certainly not her kids or husband...!!!! this is the worst kind of mother...my heart goes out to you...but sensibly..if you dont do something..how are you going to continue to live with this .....monster!

Thanks Ben

Both I and my bus partner agree with you - we do have the 'Mama Poule' syndrome in this area but I am dealing with a neurotic (if not borderline psychotic) personality. Bus partner had also mentioned too much time on MIL's hands - a former business women who cannot fill her retirement 'time' and does not have a close circle of friends (surprise surprise) to sustain her.

FIL had his wife sussed years ago - he worked all hours of the day as a artisan and came home to eat and sleep. Upon retirement, when the arthritis kicked in, he used it as an excuse to build a private den in the garage where he has installed a wide screen TV and a comfy sofa. She hates his collection of military stuff so he has covered the walls in pistols and muskets so as to discourage her presence. He has admitted that exaggerating his deafness has had its advantages in that she no longer bothers to bend his ear (and why should she when she has her son, his ex and her current DIL to berate).

OH knows how I feel and I have made it clear that if he does not back me up I will begin to retaliate without his help and if needs be leave him. This will surprise them as they view me as a typically phlegmatic Brit who never loses her cool.

So onwards and upwards as they say

Thanks again for the support!

I am also a experienced intercultural manager in another life and I have to correct my esteemed collegue, i.e. your business partner.

Your MIL is just an overprotective, meddling, tyrannic, dominant, conniving, mean woman with apparently too much time at her hand (of the sort you will find in any culture or any layer of society BTW). Having said this, I know it's not something that can be easily remedied. Did you ever get the chance to really talk with your FIL? Somehow he must have found a way to keep alive in this.

And I'd really suggest you get a though talk with your OH.....

Thank you!

Well she was born domineering (according to her siblings) and became a ruthless and very successful business woman. Her acute business acumen is in sharp contrast to her emotional intelligence which consists of knee jerk reactions rather than thinking things through. Her needs are to be met before all others and she covets her family.

Fertility problems meant that my OH is an only (precious) child. He is also the most laid back person in the world who avoids conflict.

The divorce happened because the love had gone but ex wife did insist that they move when they started their family as she did not want constant intrusion in her family life (she didn't say from who but no guesses needed). The ex wife is a psychologist and special needs teacher and she managed the situation during her marriage much better than me!

Whats guts me the most is that MIL is so ego centric she is willing to drive us apart to fulfill her own needs even though it will put her family through heartache. And the kids are still upset by the divorce (its only been 2 years) even though they get on very well with myself and their mum's partner

Thanks for the virtual tea. I put a shot of virtual vodka in it and feel better already!

Yes it's deffinitely a latin thing, one that you won't really see in northern France either, really something about southern europe in general, unfortunately! I get the odd snide comment from one brother-in-law about being too perfect and not doing anything wrong because he lives his life as if he were still célibataire leaving wife and kids to go off to the local bar or play football or quilles at the drop of a hat, what's more they live in his village not my OH's sister's (not the one in Carcassonne, this is OH's other sister who has a super mil like mine, her mum, which makes up for her OH not being around. good MILs do exist so don't let yourself believe it's normal!) it's all a bit moyen âge...!


My business partner is an inter cultural expert (used by many grand ecoles,multinationals etc) and she believes it is partly a latin 'thing' (rather than an French/English cultural difference) and that rural areas like ours still function on the basis that mother rules the roost even when their children have long since left home.

That said many of my local french friends have said that my MIL problem is an extreme case. This weekend a car salesman friend (who recently had the pleasure of welcoming MIL to his dealership) said she was the customer from hell and wished me 'Bon Courage'

Have had the 'it's her or me' discussion with OH but he's scared that if he can't have MIL for help with the kids that he will lose shared custody. Indeed MIL is so foul to the ex wife that she may well go for custody just to get the witch out of her life. And I can't say I would blame her

Oh and yes, there are a number of families here where the women are slaves to their families even if they themselves have just crawled in from a grueling day at work! I got into trouble with one husband when I encouraged his wife to have 'une pour la route' at apero time and she got home too wobbly to cook......