Alison here. Pretttttyyy pretty stoked about introducing this new series you’re about to experience, and to see it all coming together is nothing short of a dream come true. I hear EVERY DAY from brides with in-law questions and issues, and this series was an inevitability.
Now, I think we all know that there are lovely, kind, wonderful in-laws out there, as well as go-with-the-flow in-laws, and not-very-involved in-laws…. clearly, since in-laws are people, naturally they come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. And many make a bride’s transition from girlfriend to wife easy breezy beautiful – even delightful in many cases! – and for these types of in-laws we are beyond grateful. They disprove the reigning stigma. Trust me, great in-laws do exist!
Unfortunately, they don’t exist in all cases. Even more, they are hardly the exception to the rule.
Now, without further adieu, I introduce you to Miss S, and her story…
Who am I?
I’m a hard working, chocolate-loving gal who met the love of her life in grad school. I never was the type of girl who daydreamed about her wedding – BUT I saw enough TV shows and heard enough stories to fear having a mean, evil mother-in-law. I promised myself at an early age that I would never, ever let myself marry a guy who had an evil mom…
Fast forward 15 years and here I am with, who I believe to be, the most manipulative mother-in-law on earth. So much for sticking to my promises.
The problem is I didn’t realize how evil she was until after I got engaged. I was happily engaged for exactly 7 days before my world crashed around me in ways I had never thought possible.
My mission is to share my story with the hope of helping my fellow ladies out there who are experiencing similar problems. It can be a depressing and heartbreaking time, but remember you are not alone and you can get through this. If I did, so can you!
And a little more about me - Things I love: chocolate, cabernet sauvignon, salsa dancing, eating good food with good company, traveling with my fiancé, the color whiteThings I hate: Obviously, Mean In-Laws
When MIL = Manipulator-in-Law
I used to describe my future mother-in-law as “controlling” and “overbearing.” Then my fiancé and I met with a therapist who made me realize that she was more than that – she was a manipulator. And thus, what I call a Manipulator-in-Law (“MIL”).
The art of manipulation is mysterious to those more simple-minded folks like me who would never even dream about purposely hurting others for selfish goals. However, dealing with my MIL has helped me see what manipulation looks like in real life and how to wrangle yourself out of it, no matter how painful that process might be. A MIL not only makes you feel personally miserable, but can also ruin the relationship you have with your significant other. Trust me when I say it is important for the survival of your relationship and marriage to deal with the MIL before it is too late.
So you may ask, what does a Manipulator-in-law look like?
A MIL can take many different forms. Mine used the following two methods to manipulate my fiancé (1) money and (2) threats to hate me if my fiancé didn’t do as my MIL insisted. The most telling example of her manipulation is the story of my engagement ring. My fiancé used the money he had saved up throughout the years and sold some of his stock investments to buy me a beautiful engagement ring. He spent months and months looking for the perfect rock for me. Because his bank statements were being sent to my MIL’s home, my MIL found out how much he had spent on my rock… and was absolutely furious at how much he had spent. It is true that he spent way more than the typical rule of spending two or three-months of your annual salary because he based it on his future salary, not his current. Regardless, the point is that my fiancé spent his own money, not his parents so it shouldn’t matter. However, my MIL insisted that the money in my fiancé’s bank account and stock investments were NOT his money for reasons that require an entirely separate blog post on how they used finances to control him. My MIL told my fiancé that she would hate me more and more every time she saw me with that ring. Quite strange that she would hate ME, even though it was my fiancé who picked out the ring, but my MIL knew that my fiancé wanted her to like me so this was her way to manipulate him. She also threatened to not approve the engagement if my fiancé proposed with that ring.
My MIL told my fiancé that the only way she would approve the engagement would be under the following conditions: (1) my fiancé buys a SECOND less expensive ring at a price that my MIL sets, (2) my fiancé proposes to me with this second less expensive ring and (3) my fiancé hands over the FIRST nicer ring to my MIL. My MIL said she would put the first nicer ring in a safe deposit box until she decided that my fiancé was making enough money to afford that ring, and at such time she would return the ring to my fiancé. Crazy huh? Her plan especially makes no sense considering that the main reason she got mad in the first place was because my fiancé had spent a lot of money on the first ring! If she didn’t like how much money he spent, why in the world would she make my fiancé spend even MORE money to buy a second ring? It doesn’t make any sense. My analysis is that it was more than about the money – she wanted to be in control of the entire proposal, and she could not stand the thought of my fiancé giving me such a nice ring and giving so much love to another woman. I joke that my fiancé is probably the only guy who had to buy two engagement rings to propose to one girl.
As crazy at this all sounds, my fiancé, a victim of her manipulation throughout the years, yielded to her demands in an effort to make sure she approved our engagement and continued to like me. But he went along with the plan with an important twist – my fiancé gave me the first ring and gave my MIL the second one. He was able to pull this off by buying a second ring that was on the large side but of lesser quality (and thus able to fit into the budget my MIL had set). I’m surprised my MIL hasn’t gotten the ring she received appraised yet. I can’t wait to see her flip out when she finds out that her little plan didn’t work.
And here’s the worst part – after my fiancé proposed, we called our respective parents to share the happy news. My MIL asks me on the phone, and I quote, “Do you like the ring? My son spent so much time looking for it.” It makes me sick to my stomach that she would ask that question to my face after trying to manipulate the whole situation behind my back.
Looking back, it really amazes me that both my fiancé and I did not realize how manipulative my MIL was until I talked to my therapist. We never thought about using that word “manipulator” to even describe her; we always just described her as overbearing. I guess we were naïve about the whole situation.
So ladies, ask yourself, is your MIL simply overbearing or, in fact, manipulating you and your significant other? Remember, the first step to winning this battle is to recognize that you are in fact being manipulated. And there’s no shame in admitting that you have been the victim of manipulation. It’s not your fault that your MIL is so crazy.
So I’d love to hear from you all. Have you had less than positive experiences with your in-laws? … what has been your experience?
Thanks everyone, it’s so nice to share my story with all of you!
xoxo - Miss S