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MIL/SIL Issues

DENIP's picture


Recently, my MIL began stonewalling me, being pass aggressive, when we'd visit.  This has been going on for the past 3 weeks. Each time I attempted to give her a hug and engage with her, she'd act busy sweeping, organizing, making her bed, and would stay in her bedroom for a majorly of the time. She lives with her sister and one of her sons, so I'd just end up talking to my husband's aunt.

This past 7/4/24, at a family gathering, I brought with me my electric toothbrush, toothpaste, and regular toothbrush, in a clear, gallon Zip Loc bag, to clean my Invisalign retainers after eating. There was no other place to put the bag other than the credenza so I layed it flat. Nothing to see that would be repulsive. His one aunt asked whose it was and I said mine, so that she could put it just a few inches back from where I put it, no big deal. MIL says aggressively, "You don't put that there where people are eating--- that's disgusting!" Mind you, there was an extra table in the living room for people to sit since to eat, but it was not in full, open view for people to see. No one had a problem with it but her. Everyone was already eating just fine with no issue. 

I told her that I didn't know where else to put it, that the car was too hot for it and my purse too small. 

I just think it was an excuse for her to be nasty to me, because she isn't being honest and forthcoming with whatever issue she has with me. I told my husband how uncomfortable it made me feel and what happened, and how I did not want to stay there any longer (we'd been there 4 hours anyway). He just said, "Ok." Nothing more. 

I think it could be that SD got ahold of her in some way since she and I are not on speaking terms since January and her DH isn't really conversing with her either, due to some very disrespectful, hurtful things she said and did and has not owned up to at all. SD has been targeting me to blame and saying her DH is not there for her, etc. The full details are in previous posts that you can find the link to on my page, if you are interested in knowing what happened.

The other thing I think it could be is a post in my FB account that my SIL could have twisted and told my MIL about. It was a post dedicated to my husband for his birthday. No ill-will at all in what I said. I said that he was "there for his family to give wisdom, comfort, to fix what is broken and never complains." I meant my family included. I just didn't say "our." I wasn't thinking "grammatically correct" at the time. It was the morning. 

My MIL doesn't have social media so, it was definitely a member of the family, more than likely one of my SIL. If that's the case, why did they not just ask me what I meant instead of assuming? I just noticed my SIL deleted me as a FB friend. She told on herself by doing so. Now I know it's because of her in some way. They both feed each other. It's so toxic. 

ESMOD's picture

Yes... your SD could have passed on some negative talk... 

But.. she may also be someone that is more averse to hygiene stuff being around when you eat.

I get the car was hot... but I actually would have been a bit grossed out to see your used toothbrushes where I was eating.. it's just me.. I get they were in a bag.. but it's just a bit yuck for me.  I know you didn't mean for it to be.. but maybe find a bag/purse big enough to keep them in out of sight next time.

i also am not a big hugger.. but if she has been and this is new behavior.. your suspicions of your SD may be correct.

Nothing much you really can do except to be nice and civil.. maybe she will come around?

advice.only2's picture

Why not confront your MIL “Hey is there an issue?  I’ve noticed when I’m around you keep yourself busy or don’t want to talk to me?”  The passive aggressive bullshit really pisses me off, my mom does this all the time and I call her out on it now, she always evades and says nothing is wrong, but man does her attitude suddenly change.  Like good lord stop acting like a 14-year-old! As for the toothbrush incident, was there no bathroom counter to leave it on? 

DENIP's picture

I can understand the toothbrush point of view and would have been fine with them moving it. It was my MIL nasty, disrespectful, unnecessary comment. I'm not 3 years old, I'm 48. There's no reason to shame someone like that. 

Also, to confront my MIL is tricky. She lies about why she's avoiding me. But, in time, I'd ask in front of my husband so she can't disrespect and abuse me. 

I can tell you, this changes our relationship. I'll never look at her the same again. 

advice.only2's picture

“MIL for the past several visits you have seemed upset or off when I’m around, is there something going on?  Are you okay, would you like to talk with me about anything?”  This way you are letting her know you have noted her behavior and are willing to discuss.  No need to tip toe around a crotchety old woman who wants to act like a 14-year-old.  I stopped doing that with my mom and she stopped her bullshit pretty quick when she realized it wasn’t being tolerated.

DENIP's picture

I am definitely going to try and confront her. I'll remain respectful, of course. No need to match her toxic behavior. It will be the next time we visit for sure. 

ESMOD's picture

Could she be having cognitive issues?  she is older.   personality and appropriateness can change.

ESMOD's picture

If this is true... ignore it.. and minimize the time you spend with them.. don't worry about what they say.. you say they always have been toxic.. why do you care what toxic people think?


Thumper's picture


Sounds like the best solution for you would be to politely refrain from attending all gatherings with mil and sil present.  For what ever the reason, they do not care for you. 

You are 48, right?  You do not have to go anywhere you do not want to. 

BTW, I would have been upset too about your oral hygiene products.  Certainly you know that was gauche, right?  A retainer sitting in a zip lock bag,  on a credenza because as you said : " There was no other place to put the bag other than the credenza"---

Really, no other place?

Yeah, I think it is best to stay clear of MIL and SIL...

JMO of course








DENIP's picture

It wasn't my retainer in the bag. It was only my electric toothbrush, toothpaste, and brush that I clean my retainers with. 

ESMOD's picture

that's splitting hairs.. oral hygiene products are your tooth brush devices too.. no one wants to see that when they are eating.. others may have been more polite not to say something.. but you should  take note that multiple people have pointed out that they somewhat agree with her sentiment on keeping that stuff in a more private way... thought her delivery of the message may have stung.

I guess this is kind of how it may come off to many stepkids when their step parents try to correct them.  You aren't her child.. you don't feel like it was her place to tell you what you should be doing..   Now...her POV is that you are old enough to know better and you making that faux pas was a negagive reflection on her.. since you are married to her son.. but you also say that she and SIL are toxic.. so I would stop worrying about what they think about you... and I would refrain from visiting as much as possible.

I mean.. If I had a toxic family member.. no way am I trying to approach them for a hug.. what for? to pretend we are all cool and close.. when we both full well know that isn't the truth?  Nope.. I'm not pretending.. I will be pleasant.. and civill.. but I'm not going to gush and hug someone.