After we told them that we were interested, my MIL said that they would be doing an “owner finance” deal for us. They would pay off the house and have the house sale written up by a real estate lawyer so they were our bank and it would only have my husband’s name on the paperwork and NOT MINE. Even though we were planning a wedding and had a baby together at the time, my MIL still excluded me from everything. When my husband asked her why she was insisting on doing an owner finance deal, she said right in front of me: “That way YOU are protected and WE are protected.” She then told me I had to save a room for them in our house for when they came to visit, and she also tried to control EVERYTHING I did with the house, including all of the updates I made.
Anyway, I have not been able to get over this, and I am struggling with being around them. They come and stay with us ALL the time, and I am polite but I strongly dislike them and it’s getting worse. I thought over time maybe I would get over it, but I can’t. Am I overreacting? — Tired of My Controlling MIL
Honestly, as much as your MIL sounds like a piece of work, the real problem here isn’t with her, it’s with your and your husband’s inability to stand up to her. Why on EARTH would you agree to buy her house when she made so clear how little regard she had for you? Why do you continue to let her come visit as often as she wants to? Why haven’t you made clear to your husband that it’s time for him to defend you and quit letting his mother walk all over you? Get a backbone and tell your husband to do the same!
Here’s a crazy idea: say no sometimes. The next time your in-laws say they’re coming to visit, tell them it isn’t a good time. The next time your MIL makes some comment about what you’ve done with the place, tell her you think it looks a lot better and you’re quite happy with your choice. You may not ever be friendly with your MIL and you may not ever like her, but you sure as hell don’t have to put up with her shit as much as your do.
My guess is that a lot of the negative feeling you have for your MIL isn’t so much disdain as it is resentment. You resent how much control she has over your and your husband’s life. But you need to take some responsibility for the amount of control you’ve allowed her to have. I mean, you’re a grown woman. What are you afraid will happen if you finally stand up for yourself? I can’t imagine the consequences would be any worse than living in a house that you have no legal stake in, with a husband who doesn’t seem to respect you very much, where you’re constantly questioned for every choice you make by a meddling MIL who neither likes you nor respects your boundaries because you haven’t made them clear enough. Make your boundaries clear! And start demanding more respect from your husband.
You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.