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Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Specializing in relationship/family counseling
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How do I deal with overbearing, nosey, obnoxious, rude, MIL

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How do I deal with overbearing, nosey, obnoxious, rude, vindictive in laws. I like to wear cute indoor slippers at home. I don't like to wear ugly slippers and socks. My mother in law has been wearing the same pair of ugly socks at home for six months straight, and she has this extremely annoying hobby of cleaning her throat in the KITchen sink every morning for 30 minutes. Yet, she has the nerves to complains about my indoor shoes. Claiming she always has to clean after me! She still believes my boyfriend is her "little boy". He is over 30 for crying out loud. Example would be: My boyfriend took me out for breakfast and we came home around 11:00AM for lunch and she already gave us the silent treatment. Complaining why didn't we call her and let her know where we were. She was "worried"! GIve me a break! My boyfriend is over 30 years old, matter of fact, he is almost 40. Why does she still believe it is okay to breast feed him emotionally?! She respects absolutely no boundaries, she would ask me to stop my perfume because she is allergic to it. I have been wearing the exact same brand and same amount of perfume since the day I met her. She never had any problems, How can that be all of sudden, she developed this allergy! She is so annoying! She would watch me, literally WATCHING me like a hawk when I cook as if I made a plan to poison her whole family! She would tell me how to cook! I am an excellent cook, way better than her! She always butts into my business and tells me how to clean things, how to cook things, how to do this and that. Her excuse is simply she is a very straight forward person, she tells things as how they are. Hello? HOw about show some respect for a change? HOw about being polite for a change? HOw about tone down the sense of entitlement for a change? I try to carry on some intellectual small talks with her, but she is not capable of any. Her conversation is all about herself and her family she is so proud of. I simply cannot stand her! She is very rude and obnoxious. She would cry, scream, and yell for no apparent reasons She also likes to play the victim card. She compalins I put her son in the middle. Meaning, I would pretend to be sweet and caring in front of her, I would bad mouth her behind her back in front of my boyfriend. I don't do that simply because I don't have the time to talk about HER. Life is not all about HER. she should simply get over herself! What should I do? I love my boyfriend, but simply cannot stand her.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 5 years ago.
Hi, I'm Alicia. Thanks for asking your question - I'm happy to help you today.

In my opinion, it sounds like a very frustrating situation, and it sounds like she is used to acting however she wants to act because no one has confronted her about it before (perhaps they are too scared to do so because they fear her reaction). I admire the fact that you continue to try to talk to her with patience, and it sounds like you're really doing your best to be the bigger person.

I would say that your best bet would be to have a calm discussion with your boyfriend about her behavior (not by tattling or complaining, but just asking him for his advice - he must also see the way she treats you). It's possible she's not aware of how she's behaving, especially if she's gotten away with it for so long. You might also consider having a discussion with her at one point, if you feel comfortable enough to do so. You could simply point out, in a non-accusatory way, the things that bother you. Using "I" statements can be very helpful in avoiding placing blame, so saying something like "I feel upset when you tell me how to cook or clean. It feels like you don't like the way I do things." This puts the ball back in her court and also draws attention to her behavior while explaining your feelings instead of blaming her. You could also write down your feelings in a letter/email and give it to her (if you think she would be responsive to this idea) because then the likelihood of emotions getting out of control is decreased somewhat.

Good luck with a difficult situation, and please let me know if you need additional assistance.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi, thank you for your response.

I think you offer great advices. I have some additional information for you to consider before I accept answers So here it goes.



My boyfriend is sharing custody with his ex wife, and he is currently going through physical health issues. But I feel his mother is using his health issue and custody as excuses to prevent him from moving on to his own life.


She is extremely rude. example: at lunch and dinner time, she ONLY pays attention to her own son, and makes statement like "Oh, son, chew this vegetable throughly, it is not soft enough." she would ignore me and treat me as if I was non-existence. It makes me very uncomfrotable.


My boyfriend and I only dated each other for less than 1 year and she already makes rude comments like, "You cannot run away from his daughter forever. Eventually, you are going to meet her." Excuse me? I only dated your son 10 months, who are YOU to tell me when to come in the messy situation and start to take care of HIS responsibility?


I drive to my boyfriend's house once a month because we are living far away from each other. I'd NEVER consider myself as going there for a vacation, I cook, clean, always bring a lot of food for his whole family to enjoy. Yet, it is still not good enough for her. She never at one time said thank you.


I am inclined to believe she has astonishing sense of entitlement issues. Or she has serious mental illness. She's yell, scream, and CRY for no reasons. I don't know what her problems are.


My boyfriend has put her in her place once after she yells at me. Guess what happened? This old hag apologized to HIM, not to ME! How can this be logical? She should have apologized to ME because she yelled at ME! Is she that ignorant or she just playing dumb!


I am really at my wits end. I love my boyfriend with all my heart. He is a very honorable, honest, loving person, but with his mother constantly staying in the middle, it is very diffciult to move this relationship forward.


So here comes my next two questions.


A. Should I confront his mother one on one. Put her in her place once and for all.

b. Should I just give her the silent treatment. Because after all, she is a nobody to me after all

c. Should I stop doing extra stuff when I drive to my boyfriend's house to see him. Because I feel she has taken me for granted.


I hate her! Help.

Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information. I really feel for you because it sounds like such a difficult situation.

That being said, it sounds like she is treating him like a child, and I can only imagine how annoying and frustrating this is to see (especially with regard to her comments about chewing his food?!)

I think you show amazing patience that you haven't blown up completely over this. She has some sort of problem, that much is true, whether it's mental illness or not. It's good that your boyfriend is trying to be supportive of you, and I guess he feels caught between a rock and a hard place, but enough is enough. That she apologized to him and not to you is extremely bizarre. It's like she is in some sort of power struggle with you (or trying to create one, in that she feels like she has to fight you for his attention?)

But it seems that you have a good relationship with your boyfriend, so this is one of those trials to bear, but it is indeed difficult to move forward with her constantly interfering.

To answer your questions as best I can (and I am going to do this in reverse):
C. I would try not to do extra stuff when you drive to his house. There's no need for you to make more of an effort with that than you already have.
B. You don't get any benefit out of continuing to try to please her or "make friends" with her, because no matter what you do, it seems that it's not good enough for her. So maybe you don't have to give her the silent treatment all the way, but there's no need to engage in more conversation with her than necessary. And if she makes remarks directed at you, I would try to ignore them.
A. This is difficult to say. It sounds like she needs someone to do this, and I think you could let her know how much her behavior affects you, but I don't get the sense that she is the kind of person who is responsive to what other people have to say. So you could tell her what you think, but I wouldn't expect any kind of fruitful response. I know it's difficult but it sounds like he has to have this conversation with her, to let her know that he cannot treat the person he loves and wants to be with in this manner.
You could also decide to tell her what you think (and let him know you're going to do this in advance) and simply say that you are involved in his life, whether she likes it or not. She doesn't have to like you, you don't have to like her, but she cannot continue to criticize you and everything you do in this way because you're not going to tolerate it any longer. If she doesn't like it and you don't have continued contact with her, so be it (if that's okay with you, that is!)

I hope that helps. I wish you lots of luck (and patience!) :)
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