Keeping the Peace: Mother and Husband

goodhome631May 8, 2008

I'm asking this question while trying to be a good daughter. (I suppose it could go on the marriage forum as well).

My mother, divorced from my father, has never accepted my husband (she is the only person in my family who has not.) I think mostly out of jealousy (sense of losing me) and also my husband is a lot like her (strong-willed). I have been married 6 years, and basically my mother and husband both dislike each other (I can't blame my husband at all in this situation). My mother continuously puts my husband down (She even did it while I was in labor -- he was out of the room) when he's not around. To keep the peace (and my own fragile relationship with my mother on an even keel), I ignore it or occasionally defend him when I feel it is necessary (obviously, I never share any of this with my husband). I only tell her good things about him and never complain.

We live in a different state. Mostly I go visit my mother without my husband, and it doesn't cause a problem. However, for various reasons, every 3-4 months my mother comes here to visit. My husband does his best to avoid her but we have a small house. My mother tries to act like all is well and engage him in conversation, etc. He's not one to pretend and is glacially polite (has never been anything but).

But the tension is killing me each time this happens. I can't very well kick my husband out of our own house during these visits. But they are miserable when my mom and husband are in the same room. For me, it causes a lot of stress.

Any thoughts on how I can reduce my own stress during these visits?

My mom and I have always had a turbulent relationship. I have periodically been estranged from her; however, I have always felt that for my own peace, I need to work on our relationship and I know she loves me very much. She is a generous person and adores her grandchild (our son). We just disagree on my husband! I have tried to "change" her all her life without success, so I now just focus on the good things in our relationship. Having our son has helped immensely in taking her focus off of me.

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Well good for you, goodhome, for taking such a responsible position, in your relationship with you mother. (I really like your expression "glacially polite", it really sums up what is going on!".

Your mother is not helping you, by making derogatory remarks about your husband. She needs to realize that you have made your choice, and she should respect that. Your relationship is further strained, because if you have problems with your husband, in the future, you won't be able to turn to her for advice, because she will undoubtably say "I told you so".

I would have a chat with your mother and say to her that its unacceptable for her to denigrate your husband and you want it to cease. If she wants to visit, then those are the rules.

After all, she loves her grandson, and he is half your husband !

Let the past stay in the past, and start afresh with the new rule.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 7:00PM
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Could your mother possibly stay in a nearby hotel while she visits? Seems to me the cost would be worth not having all the attendant aggro of your mother and husband temporarily sharing space.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 12:19AM
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Does she bad mouth your husband to her grandson?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 10:16AM
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Thanks for your responses. I couldn't ask her to stay in a hotel. That just isn't done in my or my husband's family. It would be very hurtful.

I've tried confronting her about speaking about my husband before, but she doesn't wish to understand. She says her comments are because she is concerned about me and that I don't let "other people" walk all over me. Also, she doesn't want to see me being treated like a "doormat". (These have been her perpetual concerns all my life, no matter how I happen to feel about any particular situation).

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 3:10PM
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I should note also that she doesn't badmouth my husband to my son (but I expect it is possible when he is older -- he's only 2 right now).

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 3:14PM
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"I couldn't ask her to stay in a hotel. That just isn't done in my or my husband's family. It would be very hurtful."

More hurtful than letting her destroy your husband in HIS own home? Just because something hasn't been done in the past doesn't mean it isn't time for a change now. You're putting your mother ahead of your husband--that's a situation that you will regret sooner or later. When you marry, the person you put FIRST is your spouse. If your extended family cannot respect your marriage, then you have to make some changes.

I'm sorry--in this case, you seem to be bending over backward to enable your mother to hurt your husband. At every turn, I'd have handled things differently. First, my mother wouldn't have been in the delivery room with me--that's a husband/wife event, that should NOT include other family, IMO (I realize not everyone agrees--just expressing my feeling). Especially if my husband and mother didn't get along, and I knew it, there would have been no way my mom would have been invited to that event. Then, if she dared bad-mouth my husband at that point in time, I'd have insisted she be removed from the room. I absolutely would not have listened or played referee. And no way would I EVER let any family member (mine or his) make my husband uncomfortable in his own home.

I have a rule that I've taught my daughter well--if the person is someone you wouldn't normally let in your life as you met them as a stranger, there's no reason to cowtow to them, merely because of an accident of birth.

You've got to decide--which is more important? Your mother or your husband? If you continue to allow your mother free rein, she's GOING to destroy your marriage--which sounds like it's what she wants. Or you can be the adult here, and let your mother know, in no uncertain terms that you love her, but you aren't going to allow her to hurt the others you love. Make some rules, let HER be the one to make the decision. If she violates the house rules (NO criticizing your husband, even behind his back)--then it's HER choice to stay at a hotel next time around. Let her know up front, she's welcome to visit as long as she knows how to behave as a proper guest, but don't feel a bit guilty if you have to put your foot down--I really think that foot may be the step that saves your marriage in the long run.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 11:08AM
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What azzalea said.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 11:33AM
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Agree with azzalea, and am flabbergasted that anyone would suggest THE HUSBAND move into a hotel during MIL's visit! Seems to me, with the expressed hostility from the MIL, *SHE* should be the one staying in a hotel!!!

No way would my husband be made to feel uncomfortable in his own home. That's not right.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 5:55PM
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I am going through an equally if not more disturbing relationship with my mother. It's as if it's a disease that is eating my mind away, how can she constantly disrespect her daughter's husband, this is someone very important to her daughter. In my case, I have now started speaking up after years of staying quiet and I am now drawing the line after my mother gossiped about my husband's family and shut the phone on his face when he confronted her. That was it. But then again I'm a daughter so after a few days, I sent her videos pics of my child again. She later started complimenting my sister's husband profusely on a group chat just to make my husband feel horrible. It has now after this point led me to seriously put my foot down 'cause she finds every opportunity to walk over my husband. She can't get access to my daughter unless she learns to respect my husband. I learnt that by me letting her be with my child without my husband she was getting more encouraged and felt she could do whatever and it will be ignored.

It is the saddest thing in life because your mother is able to hurt you like none other but instead of a constant emotional rollercoaster, it's time to take control of your life and how you want to shape it going forward. Do you want to be a happy mother who focuses her energy on healthy issues and her child's development or one that is caught in these emotional games?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 12:26PM
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If your husband is being disrespected by your mother, it is your place to stop it. If his mother were doing that to you it would be his responsibility to stop her. I am sorry to say but I think your husband will one day leave the mess his life is. To save your marriage I think you should stop your mother from disrespecting your husband. Your children will see this kind of behavior and may grow to do the same thing. Personally I would leave my husband if he did not stand up for me.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 8:37PM
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