Me - Husband - MIL
June 8, 2012 9:13 AM Subscribe
I want to keep my sanity when my MIL comes to visit, but this strange dynamic is making it very challenging. What steps can I take to make these times more bearable?
posted by okay-quiet-time to Human Relations (33 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
When my mother-in-law visits, it's for about one week at a time, roughly four times per year. As an introvert, I can deal with my very extroverted husband and stepdaughter, but when MIL is here, it's just too much. The constant noise stresses me out beyond belief. Husband and I work from home, but he's outside and I'm inside. We share our space with her about 50/50 when she's here.
What aggravates me:
- MIL feels slighted by me, and as a result I'm criticized by my husband for not being as welcoming towards her, like he is towards my folks when they visit. Husband is angry that I'm more social with my parents than I am with her. This guilt trip leads to me retreating even more so, which of course just makes the situation worse.
- MIL makes little remarks/implications that I am not fulfilling my responsibilities as a step-parent (we are custodial). She's also just a really annoying person. She is very controlling and passive aggressive. I really do put forth effort with her though. I engage in conversation with her frequently, but it's not long before she says something I find insulting.
- I don't feel like my husband takes my side. It seems like my husband feels this need to show loyalty towards him mother when she's here, and this really grosses me out. I've tried talking to him about this, but he reasons that she's only here a short time, so I should just suck it up. Also, he argues that I'm the same way with my parents (although I really don't think they are as controlling).
To protect the good in my marriage, I often choose to distance myself from being with both of them. I feel like there's this strange dynamic happening with the three of us. MIL and husband likely have issues with one another, but they need me there to project their anger and frustration onto someone besides each other. In our most recent conversation about this, my husband told me that I need to speak up for myself and be more assertive. I'm going to give this a shot this time round, but I will admit, I hate being confrontational.
Our marriage is good, not great. These visits take a serious emotional toll though and it takes me a long time to recover. My husband, on the other hand, seems to bouncy back just fine once our company is gone.
What am I doing wrong and what steps should I take to make these visits more bearable?