Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

I’ve been a toxic daughter in law!

(113 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?

GrannySomerset Sun 21-Feb-21 18:12:36

Perhaps your MiL is like my late and much missed MiL. As the mother of an only child, a much loved and waited for son, she made up her mind that she would love whoever he chose to marry. On my side, young though I was, I decided that there didn’t need to be a competition about who loved him best, and that worked well for all of us. So yes, do acknowledge that you wish you had behaved differently and enjoy a future relationship which is much more honest. You are brave and will do the right thing.

BlackSheep46 Sun 21-Feb-21 18:00:42

Wow what a list of wonderful advice - all saying yup, tell her you want to be on better terms with her - but don't make a big deal of all that - it's too embarrassing !! You sound really kind and in need of good relationships - so go for it !!

LovelyLady Sun 21-Feb-21 14:25:07

Oh please apologies whilst she is still alive. My MIL died many years ago and I never did say sorry for my lack of appreciation. Don’t delay, particularly in these pandemic days. We never know how much time we have. Say sorry + send flowers and something she can keep, perhaps a good photo frame with you all. So important you do it now.

Harmonypuss Sun 21-Feb-21 13:03:51

No point taking up dead history, is just be conscious of your attitude towards her from hereon out.

Sallyknox Sun 21-Feb-21 13:01:57

I have been on the receiving end being a mil myself - I think it’s great you are able to recognize some past behavior that was not good for yourself or others - if you have boys yourself how you model yourself reflects on them. I think it would be very kind of you to go ahead and tell your mil you love her and apologize. I don’t think you need to go into specifics she will know. But trust me just you acknowledging any wrongs will go a long way . She wants to love you like a daughter and especially because you married her son. I am pretty sure she wants you to be the best person you can be. She will know the person your son married better now and all in all it will only get better.

Jean88 Sun 21-Feb-21 12:43:48

If you have to choose between being right or being kind, always choose KIND!

Nagmad2016 Sun 21-Feb-21 12:34:04

I have been with my DH for 47 years. When we first met, his family were not very nice to me. My MIL was a very nice person to others, but I could not warm to her because of how she was years ago, I didn't feel that she was sincere towards me, and I know she talked about me to other people, because they told me. However, she died last year and I felt that there were things that I should have said, but never did. I can't help feeling some regret about that. I would say act now, as it may be too late to show your appreciation.

StephLP Sun 21-Feb-21 12:30:58

If I were your MiL I would really appreciate an apology. I think a letter is a lovely idea and sometimes it is much easier to write from the heart than to say it face to face. If you send a letter she will be able to take it all in before responding rather than have to react to a conversation. Good luck. xx

Anneishere Sun 21-Feb-21 12:29:35

Your post to me speaks volumes. I believe you are a lovely person and let’s face it we all havé faults. Not a lot of people would admit to their faults & just carry on oblivious. Perhaps send her a lovely card and a little gift as a thank you for all her help & support & understanding. Have a wonderful day 💐💐💐

moggie57 Sun 21-Feb-21 11:56:25

You could send her a card.

BloodyMary Sun 21-Feb-21 11:42:26

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. A good card with a short personal note would be a confrontation-free way of acknowledging the past and at the same time focussing on the future. If she finds these things awkward, then this will be appreciated and you can both move on. Good luck!

kwest Sun 21-Feb-21 11:40:06

Write the letter.

Humbertbear Sun 21-Feb-21 11:21:52

Is love it if my DiL apologised for all the heartache she has caused. She won’t because she is oblivious. Many moons ago I had to stand in front of my DHs family and apologise to everyone. I felt terrible but it cleared the air and we went on to have great relationships.

GoldenAge Sun 21-Feb-21 11:07:55

Mummymoo2015 - please do apologise and do it soon, with a promise to be a great daughter-in-law in the future. As a psychotherapist I know how relationships that seem to chug along for years because one side is treading on eggshells is generally keeping it going, can have devastating effects on the 'victim'. If your apology is warm and heartfelt your mil will sense this and it will be easy for whatever feelings of sadness and hurt she must be hiding to evaporate as she realises she has a genuine dil. So glad that you've reached this level of self-awareness.

Nannan2 Sun 21-Feb-21 11:07:18

Hetty58, yes tell her that!🙂

Nannan2 Sun 21-Feb-21 11:02:56

And send the card& flowers for her on mothers day instead, so she knows you do view her as 'mum'?🙂

Alexa Sun 21-Feb-21 11:02:21

Mummymoo2015 that sounds like my late mother in law:

"My MIL hates confrontation and any awkward conversations"

So keep an apology brief and simple, while washing the dishes together or something like that.

Nannan2 Sun 21-Feb-21 11:00:59

Yes definitely do both.If its too hard, why don't you show her her this post you've put on here??🙂

Madwoman11 Sun 21-Feb-21 10:56:04

Muumymoo it would be lovely to hear what you decided

Polarbear2 Sun 21-Feb-21 10:49:45

Support all the above. Card and flowers. Don’t do a long letter. Just something that says thanks. It’ll mean the world. Good luck x

Applegran Sun 21-Feb-21 10:46:56

I read somewhere that hidden in our subconscioius is this issue: the mother and daughter in law both love the same man. The DIL senses this without quite making it explicit and feels a rivalry and fear of her MIL's relationship with her husband. As soon as she realises she has this fear, she can start the process of remembering that these are very different relatonships and do not have to be in conflict. Of course it is a two way street - the MIL has to see it too, and move on from being the person her son loves and turns to most readily and appropriately. Now, for his happiness he needs to focus on his relationship with his wife - and this is entirely compatible with loving his Mum too!

Matriark Thu 18-Feb-21 12:45:40

I don’t think I’d make too much of it, either. She may not be as aware of it - or as bothered by it - as you think, and apology will set her thinking...!
Just try to be kinder and nicer to her. She’ll be delighted, I’m sure! Good luck!

Yorki Thu 18-Feb-21 12:07:31

Mummymoo2015
Personally I wouldn't make it a too bigger issue, it might embarrass her, especially if she's non confrontational. If I wanted to show I was sorry for past mistakes, I would send flowers, to say " I might not have always shown it, but I want to thank you, for always been there for me" or something very similar. That would be my preference. Good luck and we'll done for being big enough to admit some fault. Not many would. It shows you have a heart.

Huguenot Thu 18-Feb-21 09:42:05

Me too

Huguenot Thu 18-Feb-21 09:40:07

Good morning. What a refreshing change it is to read your message. We will never ever hear anything like this from our daughter-in-law. If it were me, an apology and a different approach would make me/my husband forget all the spite and manipulation.

They say a son is a son till he gets him a wife, which I've always taken to be appropriate in our case, but even that has been used against us as proving that we are at fault. Actually, it can be read both ways, sadly. More ammunition.

We know of at least 7 couples in our close circle of friends and family who have similar problems to ours. The spite and malice are so hard to bear, with many sleepless nights. I have lost count of the number of times we've been hauled over the coals about something we seem to have done and yet we wouldn't dare return the challenge because, afterall, we love our son. Don't like him much though now. We don't want to lose our grandchildren.

Do it. You needn't get down on your knees. A simple apology and a new start would, if your mother-in-law feels anything like we do, immediately lift her spirits. I see a whole new relationship ahead of you.