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How would you feel?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Ok people, I know a couple of you already know the um.. "situation" with my in laws.... but I just wanted to ask your opinion on this. I was going to post it when it happened but was too mad to even talk about it...now I am breathing again so I'll tell ya! Ok, we've been married for a year and a half now and moved away from my family and are living near Hubbys..anyway, its my Mother in Law that is doing my head in....every time she comes round she's looking round the house with a grimace on her face, she offers to wash up clean the windows etc etc...making me feel like a total idiot.. you know...anyhooo, we went on holiday over Christmas, and when we got back, I found that my furniture had been re-arranged, (lounge and kitchen) my carpets had been cleaned, she'd gone through my entire washing pile, washed and ironed EVERYTHING, stripped washed irioned and re-made OUR bed, cleared out under the bed and under all our cabinets,and worse of all, she had been through my enire wardrobe and arranged my clothes, been through all my drawers and folded everything - AND my underwear draw! She had even separated my socks, bras, knickers, tights ...everything! and put them in all in different drawer! Now this made me SOOOOOOO MAD you wouldn't believe... Im very private and I feel she totally invaded my space, I mean c'mon...my underwear?!!! I guess I should be grateful for her help, but it makes me feel like a 5 year old who can't keep her room tidy ya know.... it's really insulting to me to have my M-I-L come and clean the house when I'd already done it! Any comments? Am I allowed to be angry? Bare in mind we have already told her a hundred times I don't want her to do it (help with washing/ironing etc)....so she goes and does it while Im on holiday....
post #2 of 27
Oh, I'm with you girl. I would be so mad!!!! What does hubby say about this? This reminds me of a tv show we have here in the states on CBS, it's called "Everybody Loves Raymond". It's exactly the same thing: Ray's (hubby) parents live across the street and the MIL is constantly inspecting the wife's "cleaning abilities." It's difficult to give advice. On this show the wife has tried everything to get MIL to stop but nothing works. Maybe you could write her a letter letting her know how you feel? Good Luck Girl!
post #3 of 27
My mom-in-law stayed with us for 2 weeks over the summer. She told me this story about a neice or someone who used to have a house that "looked like mine" but she found some kind of support group and now her house is much better. I'm just not a decorator type person. I actually do things in my home and I homeschool, and until I have a sewing room or a classroom, that means it's in the living or dining room.

Anyway, I think that was very intrusive. You are adults and it's not her business how you keep your sock drawer. I assume she has a key (why?), but whatever made her think you would appreciate having someone else go through your stuff? sounds like she's got control issues - or she's very very bored. Either way, it's her problem, you're not the one who's wrong to be so upset about this (though I'm sure she'll tell you how ungrateful you are or something like). I'd be changing the locks myself and finding someone else to housesit the kitties.
post #4 of 27
violated. To have my personal things picked through would be very upsetting. I can almost understand the control issues she has that would compel her to rearrange the furniture and clean the carpets. For the life of me I can't comprehend how anyone can think it's okay to go through someone elses 'unmentionables' even in the name of straightening up. Some major lines were crossed.

How does hubby feel about what happened? Was he as angry and upset as you are? Did it bother him as much? If he did then you guys should present a united front and say enough is enough. And get you key back. Sounds harsh I know, but it's doubtful that the M-I-L is going to start listening to you now.

You have every right to feel as angry as you do. I would be mortified if it were me. You're an adult and don't need someone following you around refolding your clothes.

I hope this doesn't sound harsh, but I really think his mother may need some professional help, because I don't think that's normal behavior. She's got major control issues that overshadow any I've ever heard of. I'm sure the chances of convincing her of that are nil, so all you can do is take charge from your end of things.

You can't change people but you can change your actions.
post #5 of 27
I honestly don't know how I would feel. I have a great M-I-L. It does sound like there may be some obessive compulsiveness involved. Or maybe she has issues letting go of her son. Did she do everything for him when he was home. There is always changing the locks!
post #6 of 27
Be open about it. You could change the locks, or stop having her kitty-sit, but that would not address the real problem.
Talk to your husband first. Tell him what happened (in case he doesn't know), and how you feel about it. Do NOT expect him to feel the same way (after all, she's been arranging his underwear drawer for ages). If he is really obstinate about seeing your perspective, ask him how he would feel if YOUR mother went through HIS underwear.
Tell your husband also that you are going to talk to his mother about this. Assure him that you will be respectful, but you will talk to her whether he agrees with you or not. Ask him not to take sides. This way if she goes running to him, you know that even if he is not on your side, he's not on hers either.
Then sit down with your MIL. If your husband agrees with you, have him there too. Tell her (in a NICE way) that you do appreciate the thought. Thank her sincerely for trying to help. Then explain that you do not want her to do it again. I know these things seem contradictory, but they are not. It WAS sweet of her to want to help you. You just don't like the way she chose to do it.
Don't say anything that is not true. Don't say "we don't want you to work so hard" or anything like that. She can get around that. Make it very clear that you do not want her going through your things again. Not for cleaning purposes or any other reason.
She may be miffed, but it will be the best way. You don't want any misunderstanding about what you are saying.
Good luck!
post #7 of 27
My mother is as controlling as your mother-in-law sounds. She has been known to try and rearrange my kitchen cabinets to resemble hers.
She wants my house painted to refelct her decor. I could go on and on.

Difference being that it's my mother, and not my mother-in-law. Sounds to me like Mom just isn't ready to let her son go yet. I agree with others that the ball is in your husband's court, but it is up to him to decide if he is ready for that kind of confrontation, putting himself between his mother and his wife. It all depends on the nature of their relationship to begin with.
post #8 of 27

I'd explain it to your husband and let him handle it. It's his mother. This way you don't coming out looking like the bad guy.

You have every right to feel the way you do. I'd think about changing the locks too.
post #9 of 27

I agree with all the people on this board.

I myself have mother-in-law issues, so I understand.

I would suggest, talk to your husband. Make it clear that If He does not talk to her, you will. You must be firm. He must be firm. If that does not work, then you may have to be more firm with her than you prefer.

I sense it is not as much as her meaning well, as a control issue. Perhaps she just cannot let go of her son, and used to do this for him. She has to understand and learn that he is an adult and must let him live his own life...it does not mean he would cut off contact with her, just that she must not intrude on your house. She may get it or not. But you must do what you can to save your sanity and stop this behavior.

Sometimes this is impossible. I saw this with my own parents, in a different situation. They could not be reached.

You may very well have to change the locks, and don't feel guilty. You have EVERY RIGHT to your privacy, and if your husband does not agree to this, you may have to do it anyway. I don't know your husband, but he may
1) not want to feel he has hurt his mother
2) not be strong enough to confront her

This is not a critisism. Both of these are very common. My hubby at first was (and in some way is still) afraid to confront his mother. Parents are masters at the guilt trip. But now he says the next time she says something deragatory to me, he will stand up for me....let's see....

I hope your son will speak to her.

I sympathyze. It is not an easy position to be in. But this has to be nipped in the bud as best as possible. This is your husband's and YOUR life, and in-laws can be a part of it without invading your privacy. Going through your house and changing anything is outrageous!

Good luck.
post #10 of 27
Oh wow...I would have been really upset too!!!! I can't beleive she had the nerve to do that! I was just going to post that she reminded me of the mother in law on the "everybody loves Raymond" TV show, but Sabra beat me too it!

I think letting hubby handle it is a good idea, but if he won't then you'll have to say something. I don't envy you, there. Let us know how it goes. Good luck! My thoughts are with you on this one!
post #11 of 27
I used to have problems with my own mother being critical of how clean I kept my home, but it was never as bad as your problem! I don't blame you one bit for being upset.

I agree with the others, your husband needs to stand up to his mother, and he needs to be very firm. She probably has good intentions and just wants to make sure her son is happy and well cared for. She needs to understand that her interference in his life is not wanted or needed, and that she does not set the standard for how things are done in his home.
post #12 of 27
This is just coming from someone that is compulsive about cleaning and who has to be doing something at all times. When I go to my mom's house during the summer, I have done the same thing. Mind you, I don't go through her underwear. But I have been known to suggest a furniture change and clean the crap out of her house. Beleive it or not, when my mother in law was alive, I would do things like polish her silver. Weather it bothered either one of them, I don't know. Of course in my mind, I was doing something helpful and saving them some work.
I don't know how stubborn your mother in law is. The one and only time I had a problem with my mother in law, my husband sat down and told her how bad she hurt my feelings. She came in and we talked it over. I can say that any problems with in laws need to be worked out. I went through 3 years of fighting between my mother and my husband. It is not easy and I could have pulled my hair out. It makes it hard on a marriage and the relationship with your parent or parents.
I really hope you can work something out!!
post #13 of 27
I would be so angry, too, if that happened to me! And, you have every right to be angry!

Even though she is your mother-in-law, she still has no right to come into your house & move your furniture, clean your drawers(especially lingerie), without asking for your permission.

What did your hubby have to say? I would talk to him & see what he has to say ..... Have him deal with it, since she is his mother!
post #14 of 27
With all due respect to your MIL she has NO right to come into your home and take over your cleaning and rearranging your clothes. She is basically telling you that you cannot do this well enough to suit her! She needs to respect you and your family. Unless you can get this straight, she will continue. You may not be popular for a while, but politely and FIRMLY tell her she is out of line. God I feel like Dear Abby! What she did was not OK and she needs to be set straight immediately!
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Phew!! Thanks everyone for your responses! Its good to know you would have felt the same way....
As for hubby, when we first got home and I saw what she had done I went a little "looney" (ha ha ha...red faced and shaking! ha ha ha) and starting sounding off...Hubby started saying I should be gratefull and to stop moaning!! Of course this made me a billion times worse... in the end when I had got a grip I started explaining to him properly how it made me feel and eventually he did understand... he has PROMISED me he is going to say something to her...so I'll just wait and see. She had a key because they were looking after the cats, I've told hubby now that I don't want them doing it anymore, we'll ask our neighbours instead who are nice people and love cats...
As soon as I saw all my clothes re-arranged etc I opened all my drawers and pulled everything out, and then put it all back the way I'd had it.... otherwise everytime I opened a drawer I just though "Ugh...she's been in here" ya know?
Anyhooooo Hubby wasn't really as bothered as me cos as Bubbles said its HIS mum and shes been doing it for him for ages...but at least he does understand now and has been really good about it.
Trouble is, I have to go to their house every single morning to get the bus to work.. so its kinda uncomfortable....and its lots of things, not just the way I "keep house".
Anyway, Im glad Im not alone in the way I feel! I thought it was just me being too sensitive or something...thanks guys! I'll let you know if there are any more um..."adventures" ha ha ha ha...
post #16 of 27
Good luck with it Rhea
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks Deb love!
post #18 of 27
Yes, good luck! Let us know how it goes!
post #19 of 27
Bod, if that was my mother in law, I'd go ape! but fortunately I have the nicest mother in law there is!
But I agree with the masses on this one, get hubby to tell her that you didnt' appreciate it and felt violated. and make sure to get your key back, that way it doesn't happen again.
Poor thing. I'd be livid if that happened to me. so I understand what you are going thru.
and hey, if hubby has a yellow backbone, then you may have to just tell her yourself that though it was sweet of her to clean your house, you would really appreciate it if the next time so let you do it YOUR way...
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
HI guys!! Just thought I'd let ya know that hubby did speak to her, and she said "Oh I didn't think it would matter, I didn't think she'd be bothered"....so there ya go.... Anyhoooooo at least he's told her now, whether she takes offence or not is up to her!
post #21 of 27
glad to hear that something has been said. Let us know how it goes.
post #22 of 27

Sam's such an angel (he has to be with you! haha) hey, she'll probably take it okay...she raised such a good guy!

post #23 of 27
I'm glad to hear that someone talked to your MIL. Hopefully, now she won't ever touch your things again.

Something similar to that happened to me, but not as bad as what happened to you. Right after my husband and I got married, we lived with her for a few months until we could find a house. Well, we moved all our things in and I arranged everything the way that I wanted it in our two bedrooms. Anyways, one day I came home from work and she had moved all of my things that were on my desk, on my shelves, in my cabinets, in my closet and in the dresser and rearranged them the way that she wanted. I was so mad that I started to cry!

Well, I know that some of you will probably think that it was ok for her to do that since it was her house, but she didn't even ask me first or mention anything to me about it.

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one that thats happened to.
post #24 of 27

I would have to say she wasn't right for doing that. I mean this was the room that you were staying in and not her right? Hotels don't rearrange the clothes you put in the closets and drawers or your stuff you put on the bathroom counter. Even as a child my parents never went that far in my own room.
post #25 of 27
Spooky :angel2:

I'd have to agree with Sabra...that wasn't very respectful..
post #26 of 27
I don't think it was very respectful, but some people feel like it's their house so they can tell you how to live. Really, I once had a roommate who told me that I kept my bedroom messy because it bugged her, and that did my share of the chores a few at a time all week instead of all at once on Saturday morning because I didn't like the house to be clean. Some people have strange ideas about that stuff when you live with them.

Plus, if you're in your parents' home, sometimes they revert to your childhood. You might be an adult, but the last time you lived there you were a child, so they still act that way. I think it's annoying but understandable when it's their home, and completely out of line when they go to your home and do the same things.
post #27 of 27
I'm really glad to hear your hubby went ahead and said something to her...maybe she will know not to ever do that again, now. Hopefully she won't take offense. Keep us posted.
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