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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Mother-In-Law Got Me Stoned on Her Delicious Brownies and Now I’m Cutting Her Off”

I’ve been with my husband for three years and married to him for a year and a half. It’s been an adventure, let me tell you, and I’m ready to cut off my in-laws. I’m done dealing with them. I’m done fighting with them. I’m done trying to be accepted. I’m just done. Let me explain why.

Reason #1. My husband and I had a small courthouse wedding and invited just his parents, but his mother didn’t come. She said she wasn’t invited, even though we verbally invited her while sitting on her couch, and she said she wasn’t invited because my parents hate her. They don’t hate her – they’ve only met her once! From that point on it’s been hell. Let me tell you: HELL.

Reason #2. My husband’s mother got me high. Oh yes, first time getting high. My husband and I were fostering a 2-year-old child at the time that we all got really attached to. My MIL lives about an hour away from us and there’s a baseball stadium in her town, so I decided to invite my parents and my in-laws for a night out together with the baby. Prior to going to the game we stopped by her house to get the baby changed into some warm clothes. Well, my MIL made these delicious brownies, and I ate close to half the pan because she kept encouraging me to. She served me slice after slice. It hit me hard. So my first time getting high was at a baseball game with hundreds of people, sitting next to my parents, while caring for a 2-year-old! I was stoned for two days. My mom had to watch the baby, and my husband was a trooper taking care of me. I didn’t say anything to my MIL though. It wasn’t worth it. She knew what she did.

Reason #3. UNNECESSARY DRAMA. She will find the smallest things to start drama with me. It could do with my tone of voice, or why didn’t I stay at her place for long, or even just a stupid Facebook meme that has no meaning behind it. I don’t respond to her drama anymore. I used to, I’m guilty of fighting back, but not anymore! I’m tired. I’m done. I’ve been unhappy for the past three years trying to please my in-laws and befriend them, but they simply don’t like me. I want to be happy again, so I’m going to cut them off.

I’ve decided that I won’t answer my MIL’s calls or her texts, nor visit her or the rest of my in-laws. I’ll send hugs and kisses to them with my husband when he goes and visits. When we do have kids – the foster child we had is no longer in our care – I’ll let my husband take them to go see her because, after all, that is their grandma. My mom never kept me away from my dad’s family, and I won’t do that to my kids. Nor will I keep my husband away from his family because at the end of the day that will always be his family. He is ok with me cutting them off, and he understands where I’m coming from, which I’m extremely grateful for. These are just the consequences of marrying into that family. I knew they were snakes from when I was first introduced to them, and I was naive to believe they wouldn’t bite.

Is is wrong of me to cut them off? Or do I just keep putting up with the BS?? — Tired of the BS

I think it’s totally reasonable and healthy to set boundaries, and yours sound fine for now. I think it’s worth discussing this more with your husband though and running through potential scenarios where you should have some agreement ahead of time for how you’ll handle them. For example, what it you are both invited to a family holiday gathering? Is your husband going to go without you? Will you be OK being separated on a holiday? Will you ask him to skip the gathering and stay with you? Will you be willing to go, and if so, what are the occasions and scenarios where you might make an exception to your rule of avoiding your in-laws?

You can always change your mind later or re-evaulate your boundaries, but you should be really clear about what your husband can expect going forward. And since you want to have kids, I’d talk a lot more about what maintaining relationships with your in-laws with look like for your family. Are you NEVER going to be in attendance at family gatherings? Are your in-laws NEVER invited over to your place? Or, can they be invited over but only with forewarning and when you aren’t home? What if your in-laws want to celebrate your kids’ birthdays with them? Will you invite them to a party, or will you let them throw their own party for the kids? If they have a party for your kids, will you skip it, and, if so, what will your explanation to your kids be?

Again, setting boundaries is healthy and, a lot of time, can be necessary. But to avoid future conflicts and misunderstandings with your husband as much as you can, make sure you talk through a variety of scenarios so expectations are understood ahead of time and any disagreements can be discussed before tempers are high and emotions are raw.

PS WTF with the brownies?!

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

12 comments… add one
  • Btise May 22, 2023, 12:02 pm

    Your MIL seems sociopathic and your husband looks like a big passive mass in between. Why hasn’t he taken charge of his parents’ relationship with you? It should be his job. Anyway, yes, keep them at arm ‘ s length. Just block them. Consider them nuts and act accordingly. But I would’nt have children with a man who is unable to deal efficiently with his parents to protect his family and can’t set boundaries himself

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  • Brise May 22, 2023, 12:06 pm

    Your MIL seems sociopathic and your husband looks like a big passive mass in between. Why hasn’t he taken charge of his parents’ relationship with you? It should be his job. Anyway, yes, keep them at arm ‘ s length. Just block them. Consider them nuts and act accordingly. But I would’nt have children with a man who is unable to deal efficiently with his parents to protect his family and can’t set boundaries himself

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  • ron May 22, 2023, 12:25 pm

    Yes, stay away from her. A surprise incapacitation is assault. Depending on the law in your particular state, it could have landed both of you in jail. Actually, hard to believe her actions aren’t criminal in all states. Had you failed to quickly spot your incapacity, your MIL could have caused serious injury to you or to foster child.

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  • Daisy May 22, 2023, 2:56 pm

    Unnecessary drama is one thing, but drugging someone without their knowledge and consent is assault. That’s incredibly dangerous — she had no idea how you might react to the drugs. I once (voluntarily) took one gummy more than I should have and I almost ended up in the emergency room. My heart rate and blood pressure skyrocketed dangerously high.

    While I agree it’s not your place to dictate your husband’s relationship with his family, I would not be willing to leave any children alone with his parents. This would probably be a good discussion to have before you have any kids.

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  • Kate May 22, 2023, 6:22 pm

    What she did to you is sick and malicious, and I wouldn’t want someone with that kind of judgment to care for my kids. I’m really curious to know your husband’s assessment of that situation.

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  • CattyGoLightly May 23, 2023, 3:24 am

    I am also really curious about how your husband is handling this. It seems to me like he should be the one dealing with his parents, and standing up for you as well, but I’m not really seeing that in this letter.

    If he won’t stand up for you, how will he stand up for your children in regards to MIL? I wouldn’t trust him to do so if he hasn’t done it yet for you, and I wouldn’t trust MIL with my children.

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    • LisforLeslie May 23, 2023, 5:16 am

      I am also very curious how your husband handled this. Or did he just tell you to leave it alone. Ron is right – it was assault. Does your husband acknowledge her behavior is absolutely egregious and what is he doing to protect you?

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  • Chill May 23, 2023, 6:53 am

    My husband’s mother was toxic. He did not like her. She was snarky and rude to me. So, I disengaged. The only time I saw her was on Christmas Day. Occasionally, I saw her for family gatherings (her 90th birthday). I used my family as an excuse. We just split up holidays. Guess what? She preferred having her son to herself. I didn’t have to see her. It worked out well.

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  • Oracle May 23, 2023, 7:41 am

    So your MIL drugged you without your consent. Husband also was drugged but not to the extent you were. She knew you were going out. Were you the one who was driving? A two year old was in your care. I am glad no one was injured. To say this could have ended badly……. Your MIL NEVER belongs around any grandchildren. And really both your husband and you should have nothing to do with this woman.

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  • Anonymousse May 23, 2023, 8:22 am

    Your husband is the issue here. Your MIL will never change, but instead of protecting you or making any boundaries, he’s doing nothing. Is he shrugging it all off? Is he talking to them? Telling them how sick and wrong it was to dose you without your consent? What has he done to stand up for you? You could have had a much worse time than being stoned for two days, which honestly sounds pretty terrifying to begin with.

    You married a large, extra absorbent doormat in a family of “snakes,” as you called them, why? Why would you trust any future children to be in their presence, when they drugged you while you were parenting a two year old? I mean, no. No one should be seeing granny. It’s a safety matter. It’s life or death, really when babies and kids are drugs are concerned. Seriously, she’s drugging people! Who’s to say she wouldn’t drug your husband when he takes the kids up?

    I would honestly look real long and hard at this relationship and think about what you want your life to be life. Your husband is the issue.

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    • Kate May 23, 2023, 7:04 pm

      My MIL is a snake, whom I have met once in 11 years although she lives 2 hours away. My husband has no contact with her except occasional brief phone calls to make sure she’s alive. He had her change her will to leave her house to a young-ish woman who’s no relation but willing to live with her and provide whatever care she needs. So I mean, he’s basically cut her off. I’m not saying everyone has to cut their mother off, but they also don’t need to spend holidays with her or let her spend unsupervised time with the kids.

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      • Kate May 23, 2023, 7:05 pm

        I will say, she was nice to me the one time I did visit her.

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