I was an evil mother-in-law. I had no reason to be but I was the sort of mother-in-law you read about in books or see in movies.
My beautiful daughter was 17 when she had her first boyfriend. I was like any mother would be when their daughter first starts dating – protective, suspicious, and a bit worried.
I loved my only child so much and wanted her to be safe with this fella. I didn’t want to think about the obvious but were they going to have sex? Would she be safe? These were just two of the trillions of things I was thinking. I had banned Natalie from having a boyfriend until she was 16 but I have a feeling she defied that with some casual boys but Gareth was her first real one as far as I know.
I would scold him and give him judgemental looks whenever he would come over, and ask him questions. At the time I didn’t realise how truly embarrassing this would have been for the poor boy, but my rationale was that he was dating my daughter, I had to have a say in it. Well no, no I didn’t.
Gareth never did anything wrong to Natalie but there was something I didn’t like about him. I didn’t think he was all that genuine in his intentions with my darling girl and I used this to have arguments with Natalie when I shouldn’t have. You’d think I would have learnt my lesson but it took me a few more years…
Natalie and Gareth finally broke up when she was 19. I saw it coming but Natalie was devastated. I didn’t see why she was getting so upset – she was pretty and smart and would find someone else. But then she told me why they broke up….it was because of me. ME? Why would I break them up? Was Gareth in love with me? I knew he seemed a bit odd! No, it was because I was so rude and horrible to him that he couldn’t deal with it. I had made his life a misery essentially and yet at the time, I was gobsmacked with this ridiculous excuse. I barely consoled poor Natalie and continued to think I was right.
A few years later, Nat met the man she would eventually marry. Doug had a child from a previous relationship and I used this to base my judgements. I was just inexplicably rude to him. Even on the day they married, I refused to congratulate him or pose next to him in photos. I had no idea how unkind I was being until he pulled me aside one day and said, “Trish, why do you hate me?”. I couldn’t answer him. I was lost for words and I didn’t know why. Why was I such a horrible person to Doug? I looked deep inside and a few days later, I went to their house and sincerely apologised. I explained that when you have only one child and are a single mother, you can find it difficult to trust another man. Subconsciously, I wanted to be the only person Nat had and I didn’t want to lose her.
But then I realised, I had gained a son. I was not going to be alone and once I welcomed Doug into my heart, I was able to connect with him properly, and now his little son Mickey is like a grandchild to me. I implore anyone who is the ‘evil mother-in-law’ to take a look at how they’re speaking to their daughter or son-in-law. You are family and you need to show a bit of compassion.
Have you ever been an ‘evil’ mother or father-in-law? Why? What are you in-law children like? Tell us below.