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I’ve been a toxic daughter in law!

(112 Posts)
Mummymoo2015 Tue 16-Feb-21 12:06:15

Hello!
I have been with my husband for 9 years we have 3 children. I have spent a lot of this lockdown reflecting on my past behaviour, I have suffered with anxiety and PND over the years and I feel like my in laws have always taken the brunt of this. They mean well, they aren’t the most interested but their hearts are in the right place. Looking back at my behaviour, I know I can be a prickly character and I haven’t been great all the time! Not all bad!! But definitely not perfect- I have had some bad moments 😬
Is it worth apologising to my MIL? Or should I just go forward and try to be better? My MIL hates confrontation and any awkward conversations so I’m tied between writing a letter and just saying how grateful I am to her and sorry if I’ve ever been difficult. Or do I just go forward and show her with my actions that I appreciate her?

What do you think?

NellG Tue 16-Feb-21 12:21:03

Do both, never underestimate the power of a heartfelt apology. Do it for both of you, it shows you are acting with self respect and that you see her as a person with needs and wants too. Offer her the chance to discuss it but also say you'll understand if she doesn't want to. Then move forward being the person you want to be. Good luck, I hope it works out well for you. x

silverlining48 Tue 16-Feb-21 12:25:31

Good for you. You could see what your husband thinks, but if you don’t feel you can just say sorry about your behaviour, then a card/flowers would be lovely, as well as you showing that you appreciate her/ them. Am sure they will be very happy and hope things get better.

sodapop Tue 16-Feb-21 12:26:08

I agree with NellG get back on track with your mother in law, I'm sure she will appreciate your honesty.
Whatever happens then don't dwell on the past, move on with your new intentions. Good luck.

Esspee Tue 16-Feb-21 12:38:01

Please tell me you are my daughter in law. An apology from her would mean so much to me. I just want to love her as my daughter.

cornishpatsy Tue 16-Feb-21 12:46:48

I think actions speak louder than words.

Behave in a better way, or correct whatever you feel you have done or not done. If you cannot keep the good behaviour up then nobody knows about it but if you write a letter you will be expected to change as soon as it is read with any slip ups becoming a bigger issue than it needs to be.

When there has been a period of you being better then would be the time to apologise for the past as it shows it is meant as you would have changed.

NellG Tue 16-Feb-21 12:49:33

Esspee I hear you, that one admission that no one is perfect would have made so much difference and opened the door to what I always hoped would be a happy relationship.

Redhead56 Tue 16-Feb-21 12:52:43

Be kind and let them know you appreciate them we all make mistakes non of us is perfect.

mokryna Tue 16-Feb-21 13:05:17

Send her some flowers and a lockdown card to brighten her day, today. The apology should be face to face, so would have be later, maybe at a nice tearoom with just the two of you.

Smileless2012 Tue 16-Feb-21 13:23:58

I also agree with Nell; do both. Some flowers with a card would be a great starting point. There's no need to go into specifics, your m.i.l. will know what you're apologising for.

I'm sure she'll really appreciate it, like Esspee and Nell; if only.

I hope it goes well and here are some flowers for you.

Nannarose Tue 16-Feb-21 13:44:48

I actually wonder if you have been that bad? These are strange times.

I think you should read these replies and take what seems to suit best - but some of the most heartfelt will come from those who have felt wronged in some way by their DiLs.

I would advise actions - they will be seen as positive. Wait until you see the response, and things have settled down, and then you may wish to say something.

Rmegan Wed 17-Feb-21 10:37:15

If you were my DIL I would be so pleased to receive an apology and if you felt you couldn’t do
It face to face or your MIL would feel uncomfortable write her a letter. I had a bad relationship with my dad and we couldn’t talk about feelings but after my mum died I wanted him to. Know that I loved him and I apologised for some of the things I had done in the past. We were very close after that although I never heard I love you from his lips. It’s never ever too late to say sorry.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 17-Feb-21 10:40:08

Make the gesture, by letter by all means as you feel your MIL will be most comfortable this way.

You have down what many of us never bother to do, look honestly at our past behaviour and try to make amends for what went wrong. Good for you.

You deserve the satisfaction of knowing that you have done everything that is possible to make up for it, and I don't think you will have that satisfaction unless you apologise.

Your MIL may be too embarrassed to answer, but at least you will know you have done what you could.

Yammy Wed 17-Feb-21 10:40:15

My father's advice to me was never put anything in writing you do not want to be used in evidence in the future.
Change your ways if you feel you need to, be different towards them not over the top but kind.
They have never confronted you about it so perhaps going forward in a different manner is the best. See what happens.

jaylucy Wed 17-Feb-21 10:40:51

There is always a good reason to make an apology -either face to face or by letter.
Have you ever thought that the way your MiL behaves towards you is because of the way that you have been treating her?
At the very least, give her a call and say straight away , before she puts the phone down on you that you want or need to apologise.
Don't expect an overnight change in her attitude to you though as she will probably wait to see that you really mean it - your hard work begins now!

Copes283 Wed 17-Feb-21 10:44:34

I know "say it with flowers" is an advertising slogan, but very apt on this occasion, I think. I'd love it too, if you are my DIL. She's been a really judgemental b***h! But I would forgive so long as it was genuine, and in your case it sounds as though you've had an epiphany. Bless you for your honesty. I hope it all goes well for you. X

justwokeup Wed 17-Feb-21 10:45:43

I'd feel very uncomfortable with a conversation like that but a bunch of flowers with a card saying 'thank you for everything you do', signed just by you, would be lovely and very much appreciated. That's all, make your future actions speak louder than words. I've just done this with a family member, can't remember why we started off badly, but it's never too late to get along better.

jenwren Wed 17-Feb-21 10:47:28

Me too

Applegran Wed 17-Feb-21 10:50:01

I totally agree with NellG - and I respect you for your ability to have clear eyed understanding of your behaviour. You look to me as if you are opening up to accept responsibility - and it isn't easy to do that. And you also look as if you have a good heart and care, while also having had challenges and stresses. I salute you and strongly suggest you look at NellG's response and if you can follow what she says. I wish you well and think this is likely to turn out to be a very important time for both you, your husband and your in-laws. You won't change over night and don't worry if you go back to old ways - so long as your are ready to acknowledge and accept the reality, you will be able to say sorry when appropriate and go ahead far more happily. Do not beat yourself up! It doesn't help change and just makes you feel bad - which makes it harder to be who you want to be. Acknowledge, accept, and be as kind as you can to yourself and to others.

timetogo2016 Wed 17-Feb-21 10:51:48

I think what ever you do Mommymoo2015 it will be appreciated.
I think alot of good has come from this covid lockdown tbh,it`s made alot of people look at their relationships/friendships and how they have behaved be it good or bad.
I wish you all the very best and agree 100% with the Gransnetters advice.

Harris27 Wed 17-Feb-21 10:51:50

I was in the brunt end of a over zealous mil. Her apology came to me weeks before her death in a very odd but understandable way. It meant the world to me to have her say not quite sorry but near enough. She talked about her being demanding and that I had always been there for her. I think she knew over the forty years her son and I had ha swords many a time about her attitude and unkind words. He actually didn’t get what I got off her and never really speaks about her now. So sad. But yes move forward and write her a letter or pick a time when you are bath together again and say it kindly and with feeling she will appreciate this so much, good luck and well done for seeing this.

WhiteRabbit57 Wed 17-Feb-21 10:52:00

I was a toxic daughter-in-law. My in-laws, from my first marriage, were wonderful to me. Far better than my own parents. They were also annoying in many ways, eg he never listened to what you said the first time, and made you repeat every sentence. That drove me mad. However, looking back with hindsight, and now as a mother in law, I realise they were just trying their best and I wish I could apologise for my behaviour towards them. It’s too late now.

Corinnaj Wed 17-Feb-21 10:53:22

I literally could've written this post myself 6 months ago. My MIL isn't the easiest person to get along with on occasions. I've been with my hubby for 18 years (3 kids) and the amount of sulking me and his mum have been with each other is unbelievable! 😄 It took my hubby losing his job at the start of the pandemic for me to see the truth and the truth is; she's always had our back. She's a devoted grandma and a very loving mum. Yes, she can be a pain in the bum sometimes but can't we all... 🤷🏻‍♀️ I sent her a massive bunch of flowers with a card saying "thank you for all you do. We all love you very much". FIL said she was in tears when she received them. That was it. I make more of an effort than I've ever done and just trying to see things from her point of view more often. So far, so good. Xx

Jess20 Wed 17-Feb-21 10:54:34

A friend had a 'toxic-SIL' and all the family found her stand-offish, difficult and abrasive. A couple of years ago the SIL had treatment after long term mild depression which began as post-natal depression many years before. She finally got help after the kids left home for universit, which gave her some space for herself. The person just explained about the depression and has changed, now getting on well with everyone and far more involved and positive. It wasn't done as a big reveal or anything, just as part of normal conversation.

Buffy Wed 17-Feb-21 10:57:03

Do it ASAP. I was not the nicest DIL that I could have been. It doesn’t keep me awake at night as it was so long ago but looking back my actions or lack of them must have been very hurtful.