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Wife and Mother issues
Old 10-29-2013, 04:41 PM   #1
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Wife and Mother issues

Hello ERers!

This forum has been great at financial advice so I thought I'd try relationship advice too! My wife and I are 26 and she is pregnant with our first child. My mother and her seem to butt heads a little but for the most part get along in person. The problem lately has been more my mother. She has been talking about my wife behind her back. Most recent incidents were right in front of my mother-in-law!

My wife is upset and pretty much fed up with the whole situation. Not sure what I should do here. I think the obvious answer is to confront my mother but I'm worried that will just start even more drama.

Anyone else have conflict issues between wife and mother? How did you handle it?
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Old 10-29-2013, 05:02 PM   #2
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I don't recall ever having anything like that. But you should probably have a private conversation with your Mom indicating that you're not happy about her talking about your wife behind your wife's back emphasizing that it reflects poorly on her (your Mom) and that it would be good if she stopped. Be low key about it.

She will undoubtedly deny that she is doing it and you can graciously accept her denials, but at least the message will have been sent and she'll know that people are noticing her behavior and hopefully will stop.
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Old 10-29-2013, 05:11 PM   #3
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Exact same thing happened to me, and the situation was resolved when we moved to another state.
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Old 10-29-2013, 05:46 PM   #4
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Sorry to hear this. You definitely need to talk to your mother and make her aware of how harmful this can be, especially with child/grandchild on the horizon. The sooner the better. We can hope she isn't really aware of what she's doing and how it can be harmful.

I was blessed to have a wonderful MIL who unfortunately died way too soon.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:08 PM   #5
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I never had to deal with it. But if faced with that I'd have had to have a talk with Mom and remind her that I'd made a commitment to my wife and if she forced me to make a choice, she would lose.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:08 PM   #6
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My Mom tried to direct my gal on something way back when - I said "Mom, Sky is the woman of this house". Mom backed off and while she and my gal had been friends before their bond grew stronger - they became more like equals. Reaped benefits from that statement for decades.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:12 PM   #7
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Yep, you need to talk to your mom. What I would try to do is to avoid a direct confrontation the very first time. It wouldn't be easy, but if possible I would try to make the points you want to make without accusing her of anything, or even mentioning her. Maybe you "have a friend" whose mother is saying unkind things about the friend's wife. Then go on about how the "friend" handled it. Tell her how you feel about folks who make critical comments behind people's backs.

Untruthful? Maybe. "Chicken"--Nope, it's actually tougher than just having the direct shoot-out. Too indirect? Probably, but at least you've put her on notice about how you'd view this issue and done it without putting her on the defensive. And when she does it again (and she probably will), the foundation will be set for you to have the very direct talk. ("Mom, you may remember when I told you about . . ."). And if your wife feels an indirect approach isn't enough, that she wants you to confront your mom head on right now, then maybe she needs to have a little patience rather than demand a "win" right now. Theres is going to be a long relationship, the long run is the important thing.

Anyway, good luck. It will be important to deal with this before the baby comes, because THAT is when even the sweetest MILs feel the need to chime in with helpful advice, and when the new mom will likely be very sensitive to any hint of doing things "wrong."
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:25 PM   #8
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I was informed of one in our family. DS and her MIL had minor issues.

I learned sometimes Mom's want great things, perhaps miracles from children's spouses. Generally they(either party) can't figure out how to express that, and stuff gets weird.

MRG
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:27 PM   #9
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Samclem has some good ideas. One way or another you need to have this conversation with your mother. It is essential that your wife know you have done so and that you have her back. If mom doesn't respond favorably you and your wife should decide how to deal with it together.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:28 PM   #10
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Side with your wife or get used to single life.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:50 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone!

Sounds like the consensus (and I agree) is to speak with my mother about the issue. What makes it difficult is the fact that she doesn't say anything bad to myself or my wife so I want to avoid playing the "he said she said" game. Samclem had some good advice.

Any other thoughts on how to present this to her?
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:25 PM   #12
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..........
Any other thoughts on how to present this to her?
The other factor is the new baby. Access to the grandchild can be a football when there are hard feelings between mom and grandmother.
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:29 PM   #13
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You say that your mother has been talking about your wife behind your back. Who is doing the reporting? Have you validated the reports?
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:56 PM   #14
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Your first child; their first grandchild(maybe)? Wow, the dynamics of that situation would make a therapist a lot of money.

Whatever you do, do it with kindness, love, and all the 'respect' you can summon. I've learned a passive approach makes few enemies, one can always change direction later.

Best wishes,

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Old 10-29-2013, 08:16 PM   #15
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I think the obvious answer is to confront my mother
That. Just use an I feel statement. When you said x, I felt hurt because I love my wife and I don't like hearing her run down. I would appreciate it if in the future you wouldn't say x.

There are scripts on how to do this that go like this -

I felt hurt when I noticed that Y happened.
In the future I would like Z to happen instead.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:24 PM   #16
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Thanks everyone!

Sounds like the consensus (and I agree) is to speak with my mother about the issue. What makes it difficult is the fact that she doesn't say anything bad to myself or my wife so I want to avoid playing the "he said she said" game. Samclem had some good advice.

Any other thoughts on how to present this to her?
Get the person from whom you are hearing this from, and/or whom said your mother told them the bad things, in the same room or phone call with your mother and bring up the subject directly.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:35 PM   #17
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Get the person from whom you are hearing this from, and/or whom said your mother told them the bad things, in the same room or phone call with your mother and bring up the subject directly.
Yikes! You're gonna need flak jackets.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:40 PM   #18
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You say that your mother has been talking about your wife behind your back. Who is doing the reporting? Have you validated the reports?
As a suggestion I would try what Meadbh said. Validate first. It bothers me that this is "heresay" and as you say, she doesn't do this in front of you or your wife. One never knows who is really stirring up trouble. Otherwise I'm afraid you risk getting into a he said/she said with your mother's feelings hurt causing more damage between your mother and your wife than intended.

Trying to put myself in your mother's shoes having you say anything to me(her) would certainly (1) embarrass me(her) causing me great discomfort (2) make me angry if he wasn't true, possibly taken out of context or made to sound different than what was actually intended (3) perhaps damage a relationship your mom has with whoever might have said something. Lastly, if i knew I had not treated you that way I would deny it to the hilt anyway so where would that get you?

Also, consider perhaps you may not be the one to address this. It puts you right smack in the middle between your wife and your mom, creating a triangle. I'd like to suggest if it is your wife that is having a problem with it, perhaps she is the one that might considering handling it with your Mom if the situation calls for it. Nothing can bring two women together more than discussing what some other person said about what one of them said about the other. Unless, of course, it is at the point you feel you need to run interference. Is it at that point? Somehow your posts don't give me reason to think it is since she doesn't do this in front of you or your wife.

One last thing, pick your battles. This may all resolve itself on it's own when baby comes or even before. Your mother WILL realize her relationship with your wife is paramount to grandchild access. She will want a good relationship with her.
Just some things to think about and be careful.

Add On: I reread your post for the third time. I find it odd that your mother-in-law would report to you or your wife what your mom said about her daughter that was said "in front of her". Like another posted asked, do either of these sound like something either of them would do? Does it pass the reasonability test for you?
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:27 PM   #19
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You need to man up here and stand up for your wife, which means having a conversation with your mom. There's no other option that's going to solve this problem in the right manner.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:31 PM   #20
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ATC,

Several good suggestions. I will emphasize DO nip it now. My in-laws were the best and accepted me totally. My much-loved parents were totally against DH. My mother offered the minister $100 NOT to perform the ceremony...throwing that in so you have an idea how bad it was. Thirty-two years later, she swears she does not remember that. She asked me what gave me that idea? The minister told us, lol. He was not that amused.

I walked out of the room when they dissed DH (he was a Yankee, gasp!), begged them to stop, ordered them to stop, etc. It finally DID stop - only because they finally gave up....like, 20 years later.

Any tactic you can use, the sooner the better, without causing painful rifts, do it.

All is good now for us, but it took several years....when things should have been different.
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