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What to do? My husband doesn't like his mother.

He really wants nothing to do with her, so I am the one who makes sure she sees her grandchildren and spends time with her. He hasn't seen her in months. He feels she is taking advantage of me. She is now refusing to drive anymore, which is fueling his animosity. Now, I want her to come for Christmas Eve dinner, but she said we will have to come and get her and take her home. I promised my father-in-law that I would take care of her, so I feel immense guilt at the thought of her being alone, however, she has alienated most of the family. If I don't help her, no one else will. I just want peace for the holidays :(


Asked by beaban3 at 5:55 PM on Dec. 19, 2012 in Relationships

Level 2 (7 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • It sounds like she could be taking advantage some. Does she not drive because she wants someone else to drive her? Is it about her not being comfortable driving or for her need for some kind of companionship? Ts sounds like a delicate issue. I think if it were me I would be willing to make the effort as long as it wasn't at the expense of my family or marriage.

    Answer by QuinnMae at 6:13 PM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • Why are you more concerned about your MIL's feelings than your DH's feelings?

    Answer by feralxat at 6:13 PM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • Being kind and respectful of older family members at Christmas isn't going to hurt anyone!! Tell your DH he will have a happier wife if he'd help out with this, if not out of respect for her, then out of respect for you and the promise you made...

    Answer by Nimue930 at 6:15 PM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • Taking care of a mentally ill, manipulative, hurtful relative doesn't mean you have to cater to them. It means you make sure they have food, clothing, shelter and medical care.

    You should, IMHO, read through this group and learn some new strategies. Think of it this way: It's your relative that has all of these issues. You've told your hubs that the person is taking advantage, but your husband continues to bend over backwards to tend to the relative.

    How would you feel?


    Answer by feralxat at 6:45 PM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • you can offer to take her food from the meal and bring the kids to visit if she says no then its not about being with you it is about control. We have an aunt like that and the only reason we even bother is because we love her inspite of herself, she was not always this way.

    Answer by luvmygrandbaby at 7:27 PM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • I think I know how your dh feels. My mother is that way. She is sick (and we know it) but she also uses her sickness to try to bend everyone around her to her will. I know she is mentally ill, but I can't get a psychological eval. done because her doctors think I am making things up. If my husband were to do the same thing you are, I would be very hurt and probably a little angry at him. To him, it probably feels like you are trying to make him have a relationship with someone he doesn't want to be around. So, for him, it's almost like you are choosing his mother over him.
    I understand that you promised your FIL that you would take care of her, but that doesn't mean you have to (or should for that matter) bow to her every demand. Doing so will only reenfoce the idea in her head that she "runs the world."

    Answer by spiritguide_23 at 9:54 AM on Dec. 20, 2012

  • It depends on how much you are doing, and how you feel about it.
    If you can manage what you're doing, then OK.
    If you are wishing that he would (or feeling that he should) be supportive or involved (i.e., you're the one who "has to" make sure of various things), then to me that's problematic. Feeling some resentment indicates that you are not honoring your own personal limits in the area. Doing what you do because YOU choose to, not because you "have to" or because HE won't or because "somebody has to," is the key.
    My goal would be to accept and honor his feelings, and to make my own choices so that I'm taking responsibility for what I do. You may be motivated because you feel some obligation, but if you OWN it and realize that ultimately, you DO choose to do these things, you won't be acting on "shoulds" (that breed resentment & trapped feelings) but rather on freedom & choice.
    It makes a huge difference.

    Answer by girlwithC at 11:31 AM on Dec. 21, 2012

  • She has a lot of reasons why she can't drive anymore, but it is hard to believe her, as she says whatever she needs to, in order to get her way (we think she really believes half of what she tells us). We have caught her making up things in the past. My hubby is well aware that there is some mental illness, but he has been hurt in the past. I am certainly not putting her feelings ahead of my husband's, but want to do the right thing, if that is at all possible. I can assure you that he comes before her.

    Comment by beaban3 (original poster) at 6:31 PM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • Great perspective - thank you. Thank you also for the link.

    Comment by beaban3 (original poster) at 7:19 PM on Dec. 19, 2012

  • It's HIS mother. He doesn't have to LIKE her, but he will always love her.
    I'd leave it up to him. Maybe being alone for the holidays will make her realize what a manipulator she's been!

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 1:59 AM on Dec. 20, 2012