My Sister in Law and her family were not able to go to dinner with us on the night of my daughters graduation, so we went to dinner with them on Thursday, the night before. Also in attendance were my Mother in Law and her boyfriend.

Ten people.

Honoring my Daughters accomplishments and High School career, a pre college send off.

Except, did you know that my niece won the English award at her middle school moving up ceremony? And she goes to private school. And there are one hundred kids in her grade. And you know it’s private school….

And did you know that B is going to be in an Honors class next year? At private school?

And J is the BEST athlete in the whole town they live in? he pitched the game.

Now repeat all those statements about a thousand times. In my Mother in Law’s voice. Because it was not my sister or brother in law making these proclamations. Nor was it the kids themselves. It was my Mother in Law.

Ask me how many times she mentioned my daughter’s 98 average over four years of high school, including a 100.32 senior year?

How many times she mentioned my daughter’s three school tennis trophies including MVP this year, highest doubles rating in her division and numerous strong finishes?

The fact that she was allowed to take over the maximum amount of AP classes that her school allows?

It was so bad that my sister in law said to my daughter- “Sorry. I can’t say anything nice to you without my Mother jumping in to tell us how great my kids are.”

That’s how bad it was.

So for 2 hours we heard how great my niece and nephews are, and nothing about my daughter.

Which turns me into a bad person. I really wanted to say something mean about the kids. I wanted to say something mean about how they weren’t really accomplishments. How they didn’t compare to my daughters accomplishments. I was starting to get passive aggressive about the whole thing. It’s not a look I want to wear. I am not proud of myself for these feelings.

I really don’t like the person I become when my Mother in Law is around. I don’t understand why she wants to compare her grandkids. Shouldn’t we all be allowed to embrace their accomplishments without having to continually tout one over the other?

I’m going to do some sort of penance for my bad thoughts. But it will be after tomorrow’s post because I still haven’t talked about graduation yet.

47 thoughts on “When I Don’t Like Myself

  1. Stop blaming yourself. Your MIL is a trouble maker. I think I might say something next time like, “ It’s obvious that ALL your grandchildren are exceptional. However, let’s stay focused on the reason we are are tonight. And that is to honor my daughter for graduating with honors and accolades. This isn’t a contest. It’s a celebration. “
    Personally, I think her children should speak up and say “Mom, we appreciate that you love all your grandchildren, but tonight is for so and so, let’s focus on her. “
    If nobody lets your MIL know what she’s doing she’ll keep doing it. I get that she wants all the grands to feel appreciated. But she’s going overboard. Quite honestly I think you should politely speak up. Or privately say, you may not realize that you are doing this, but …. bla bla bla. I don’t think you should have to endure her bad behavior. This is on her not you.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Ok look. I don’t know if I could follow my own advice but this is something I woukd *want* to do:

    Let her bask in her own bad light.

    If you can sit back and observe silently, no matter how irksome it is, she will literally dig her own grave.

    Later, the group will say things about HER rather than “LA and MIL got into it again as usual”. They won’t be able to say anything about you because you didn’t participate.

    To stay out of the drama when it’s your own kid is really challenging. But to let that person own it all by herself will in the long run make it easier on you. Besides, your daughter knows how you feel.

    No need to get into the defensive pissing contest. (In a perfect world…)



  3. The more I think about it, the more I feel it was the responsibility of your mil’s children to remind her that she’s was forgetting who the celebration was for. And how stupid was her boyfriend to to tell her to shut up?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Seems like you are being oh-so-tough on yourself to say you don’t like yourself when you are around your fractious MIL. Your feelings seem perfectly normal, warranted, and justified to me. How hurtful to hear her banging on about other grandkids w/o mentioning your daughter at the celebration. But she probably won’t change.

    She will persist in comparing her grandkids instead of relishing all their successes and accomplishments equally. Reminds me of a joke my dear friend Vivian, now gone, told me. Vivian was a Jewish mother and basked in the role.

    The first Jewish president was elected. On Inauguration Day, the press corps asked his mother, “How does it feel to be the mother of the first Jewish president?”

    “Oh, it’s good. But have you heard about his brother?”

    Puzzled silence.

    “His brother?”

    “Yes, he’s a doctor!”

    And Vivian gave her great laugh.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. It’s a bit like tennis..I let those back hand zingers bounce right past me and lodge themselves in the fence. When it comes to the kids, I simply won’t play that game.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. For some, everything will always be a competition.
    You may have felt icky, passive aggressive, unkind towards your niece and nephew, but you did not act upon it! So I say, ‘Brava, you!’
    What makes me sad about this post is that these innocent kids were the pawns in a game only one of you seems to want to play.
    If you feel your feels but don’t act upon them, you may not like the person you are around your MIL, but everyone else will. My suspicion is that she’s the one most folks don’t want to be around.
    All that said, you celebrate the ever loving stuffing out of your girl! And let that woman celebrate those other kids. Clearly they need it more than your girl does. 😉
    You know that line in my theme song, right?
    “I get along just singing my song, people tell me I’m wrong. (beat) F**k ’em.”
    Girl, you keep doing you, and let them do them, and all will be right with the world. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You should NOT beat yourself up for how you feel because your MIL’s behavior was absolute crap. Why do you not like yourself because of your feelings and thoughts around your MIL when the way you feel is a direct result of you needing to stand up for your kid? Don’t ever feel bad about that. That means you care enough about your daughter to want to stick up for her. Yes, this pushes so many buttons for me. These kinds of things, the words said, can be hugely damaging over time to the person that is constantly dismissed. It is favoritism at it’s worst. I agree with what other’s have said about your in-laws needing to speak up and say it is wrong or, at the very least, disrespectful. Behaviors will never change if they aren’t called out. Even then, they don’t always. I spent years keeping my mouth shut about these kinds of behaviors. Never again. Not after I saw how it was hurting my kids.


  8. I understand. Sometimes people when they bring themselves to the table along with their hang ups it can be uncomfortable. Go about your business but they put you in an awkward position.


  9. I totally know how you feel. Your daughter accomplished a lot and you should be very proud. I’m sorry that your mother-in-law sucked all the air out of the room. I get resentful super easy (Like hold grudges for years) so I force myself to pray for the people I’m irritated with and think about all the good things they do. Don’t smack me. It’s the only way that keeps me from getting too pissed off. (Plus I also remember that these people are not as enlightened as me which makes me sound very high hand it but only small minded people talk about people and I lived like that for years so it takes one to know one)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. By enlightened I mean seeking higher thought and less judgement. And I still fail every day especially in Los Angeles traffic and when my son is ticking. When I’m tired I don’t do so well


  11. I hope it didn’t affect your daughter too much! Hopefully she knows what “grandmother” is like and lets it slide off her back. I agree that SIL should have told her to stop, or interrupted her to change the subject. You are not a bad person.


  12. What an awful non-celebration! I’m glad your MIL was not at the proper graduation dinner, because she would have ruined it for everyone. Can she not hear herself? Does she not realize the damage she does? Is she human????


  13. I’m so very sorry.

    You deserve congratulations as well – because your MIL left the restaurant alive 🙂

    Reading the comments above, I do (partly) agree that, in theory, it would be good if MIL’s own children could talk to her, perhaps privately, to say this comparison stuff has to stop, we are here to celebrate LA’s daughter’s graduation, etc. BUT I also recall you saying something about how your hubby, and I presume his sibling(s), prefer not to have those confrontations … and thus this type of behavior is just endured. I’m sure MIL’s kids have their reasons for this also … perhaps (most likely?) she would not listen to them no matter what they said, so trying again to talk sense into her would be pointless. It seems like a super difficult situation to me …

    You are to be highly commended and much admired for not giving in to your perfectly understandable desire to say something mean. I think not doing that, and being outwardly patient with her instead, makes the MIL look like all the more the fool to everyone else. Congrats are in order to you for not allowing her to bait you in to being anything but outwardly gracious.

    If I were in your shoes, I know there would be steam coming out of my ears and I’d be angry. I have felt that way plenty of times in my life. But I have found that harboring resentment and anger in the end only hurts me, and not the other person, and that it is best for me to let go of that anger. I think that is a “thought choice” and not a “feeling”. Oh yeah, and easy to say, and hard to do. Someone else here commented about praying for the person … that was a good reminder to me.

    Every single one of my relatives, even the slightly quirky one, are all currently wearing angel’s wings 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. LA, I’m late to this conversation today because of work, but I think that I have expressed my opinion regarding the in-laws before so doing penance on your part for the faults of the MIL in question is, to be blunt-ridiculous! Please stop taking on the responsibility and the need to atone for feelings that are completely a logical reaction to these situations. Think what you want, I certainly am and neither of us should feel guilty about it! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My mom has only my kids as grandkids. Now she has early dementia so she won’t change. My mom had a hard time being “in the moment” of celebrations in her own way that used to really bother me. She would start talking about what the neighbors had done to bother her etc. Years ago my sister used to be the golden child who could do no wrong and she would talk about her a lot.

    If my mom was at a celebration that was also attended by my in laws, that could end up being a hotbed for problems later on.

    Sorry your MIL couldn’t be in the moment for your daughter’s celebration. So frustrating. I would not feel bad for how you feel.

    My in laws are no longer living. For the most part they would be okay at events like that, but sometimes my mother in law would make little jabs. My dad passed away when my daughter was fairly young, unfortunately, mom used to censor what she said in public more when he was still living.

    Everything you have said makes it sounds like you have an awesome daughter. Don’t let your MIL ruin your vibe.


  16. I’m sure that was very hard to listen to and keep any level of civility. MIL sounds like a gem. Her bad manners don’t diminish your daughter’s accomplishments. Everyone at the table is aware of this. We all fall into the trap of comparing ourselves and our children to others. it’s not the fault of your sister’s children so I hope you don’t hold any resentment towards them. MIL was hurtful and insensitive. But, she is not the final word. See here for who she is and don’t let it get under your skin.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m going through a similar situation – being confronted with a difficult person and learning, or re-visiting stuff about myself that I didn’t really want to hear. But at least, there’s blogging.


  18. Reading this makes me so grateful that both of my former MILs have moved on to another plane of existence. Although I did mostly like the first one. At times. Usually when we were in separate homes, cities, states.


  19. Sorry. I feel for you. But she sounds very passive aggressive, and won’t stop because she’s clueless and enjoys getting under your skin. I’m afraid I’m going to say take the high road. It’s the only way.


  20. That is terrible. Hope you both can put the negative behind you and enjoy this transition. It’s just as amazing to watch the baby birds try out their wings as are those first wobbly steps.


  21. Not a fun evening for sure. But you should cut yourself some slack for feeling the way you do. It’s ok to have feelings like that, it’s how you act on them that really matters. You showed great restraint!


  22. Unfortunately, too many people are like your MIL. I remember when my daughter was a chubby little girl, thin kids were in. When she was expressive, she was too mature. When she was considerate, she was behaving like an adult. And of course her cousin was the ultimate, the paragon. After a few occasions when I literally saw a red haze in anger I realised that it is totally impossible to make such people have any consideration for others. If possible, cut relations. If not, ignore. For our own sanity.


  23. First off don’t be so hard on yourself. You wanted to celebrate your daughters marvelous achievements and rightly so, your mother in law was being a selfish, jealous monster. There I have said it.

    Change mother in law to sister in law and that’s what I have to deal with too.


  24. it’s not your fault, LA – you have an awkward mother in law (that’s an understatement) who has it in for you. I hope your daughter can see what is happening. No one says anything because they are just so used to her carrying on that way. Seriously, have as little to do with her as possible. I know that isn’t an easy solution.


  25. I am glad I am not alone with these problems and feelings. My MIL does it to me all the time and it doesn’t help that she continually sings the praises of one of my kids cousins who is not all that and spoiled to boot. I find myself getting defensive and about to exaggerate my own kids accomplishments which is so stupid because they can stand on their own. It gets to the point that I do not bring them up at all.


  26. Sorry for long response. You have touched a nerve!

    After all the stuff that happened with my MIL at my mother’s 80th birthday party — remember? I now am of the opinion that when people like this are rude, you have to make a tactful correction or objection. Because what I’m thinking is that it doesn’t going away until they get a slapdown. Or the person dies. Which with some people takes an unbelievably long time.

    I had a similar event with a colleague whose daughter is a distinguished musician and college student. I was complaining about having to send Joline money for college (for the record, I only send her 1/8 of what she needs, she gets the rest from scholarships, loans, work and her grandmother) and this woman said, “Oh, I don’t have to do that, my daughter has a full ride.”
    And I said, “Oh, well, Tiara had a full ride too.”
    And she said “My daughter is a genius.”
    And I said “my daughter is a genius too, you know. She got over half of the cash value of scholarships awarded to her class the year she graduated.”
    She said “My daughter is going to be a professional orchestra musician and just won an (highly distinguished) award with a cash value of (can’t remember) and had her own concert at the school.
    And I said My daughter’s a pediatrician and her husband’s an anesthesiologist.”
    And that was the end of the discussion. She hasn’t bothered me about her genius daughter since.

    I don’t usually mention Tiara’s many accomplishments socially because I think it may make me look arrogant and I don’t think it’s right to compare people this way, but some people force you, and if they do, you should not back down, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I have heard there are people who are blessed with large, extended families who are wonderfully supportive and loving. But I have actually met very, very few of them. It’s okay to resent your mother-in-law and her constant bragging on your nieces and nephew. In fact, I think it would be impossible not to!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I am new here, but I can so relate to this and I feel your pain. My in laws have never been so deliberate in praising a kid during the other kid’s celebration. But they left town to convert a loft in my brother in law’s house (which could have been done a few days later), and missed my daughter’s grad party that they had already RSVP’d to. Sorry – not trying to make this about me.

    I SOOOO wanted my husband to explain how hurtful that was. That will never happen. So, I agree with your other readers that her children should correct her bad behavior.

    Congrats to your daughter on her many acco.plishments! Sounds like she has a bright future ahead.


  29. Hey, the way I see the 12 steps, if I were your 12 step sponsor, here’s what I would say to you about your penance:
    * my first question would be “what part did you play in this situation?” Because we always play a part, even if it’s as simple as marrying someone we love who happens to have an impossible parent, or inviting that impossible parent to dinner
    * did you say anything about the niece and nephew that you need to make amends to those kids for? If so make the amends.
    * did you tell your mother in law to eat shit and live? If so, did you mean it? If so, carry on, because that’s the spiritual principle of honesty in action right there.
    * if you told her to eat shit and live yet didn’t mean it, then yes you owe an amends and your amends are to tell her what you really meant because you must be rigorously honest.
    * if you didn’t tell her to eat shit and live, then you owe yourself and your daughter some amends.
    * my last question would be “what part did you play in this situation, and what can you do to avoid such a situation in the future?”

    Lastly, and most importantly, woohoo and yay and hurrah because your daughter has a seriously impressive GPA and deserves a do-over on her celebration dinner, a do-over that truly celebrates her accomplishments (which are major, and at such a YOUNG age) so give your kid a high five from me✋


    1. * if you didn’t tell her to eat shit and live, then you owe yourself and your daughter some amends.

      That’s what I was trying to say above — people who are out of line must receive pushback, otherwise they think it’s okay.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I’m one of the very few commenting on this post who actually gets on well with my MIL and has very little to criticise about! But Yes, definitely a lesson in what not to do as I get older and will eventually likely BE a MIL. I feel like my faith in humanity in general is on a set of precariously balanced scales, with people like your MIL and worse on one side, and those like your SIL on the other!!
    You definitely took the high ground by not saying anything herself, although other commenters are right; the responsibility to talk to her lies with, and will be better received, by her own kids. Well done on holding your tongue, and her behaviour is not a cause to reflect on how it makes you into a not nice person – you may have felt like doing those things in response, but hey! You didn’t. That’s cause for celebration! So Kudos to you for your remarkable self awareness and restraint!


  31. I was out deep sea fishing once and pulled up this horrible looking, covered with poison spines, fish. They used a gaff to pull it in and carefully threw it back – apparently really poisonous. I asked what kind of fish it was and the crewman told me “That’s a Mother-in-Law fish. LOL


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