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LaurieFrank105

Bad mouthing among Family

18 posts in this topic

I have a problem that a few people I know have, but they have no suggestions on what to do. Please help, I am beside myself with this situation, and it is destroying our (me & my hubbys) life. My mil and sil have always bad mouthed me to everyone, spreading rumors and lies, and being very vicious about it. Most recently, I found out from a family member that at Thanksgiving dinner, my sil and mil talked about how I keep my husband away from the family. This is true, to a degree. They are drug addicts and alcoholics, and we decided, together (which he told them) that the visits would be limited, and never alone, as we are both in recovery. We were visiting several times a month, and we are always accessible by phone. She cries that she misses him to EVERYONE, and I have to hear this from lots of people on a regular basis. SIL also said to all the relatives that I would clean out my mil's house when she dies, before the body gets cold, and that I am that type of person. There were other things mentioned, but I believe this is enough to mention. I am hurt by this behavior. Sil has previous history of bad mouthing. When my Fil and I had an argument (he is not married to Mil now)over a year ago, we made our apologies and got past it. A few weeks later, my sil attacked me verbally by email (and at my work email at that) about how I am basically kin to Satan, called me names, and told me she wants to go "toe-to-toe" with me. Well, I stopped all communication with her until she apologized. I told her at that point, in front of my mil, that if it ever happened again, there would be no more chances. It just sickens me completely that they continue to do this, and in front of a house full of people. When confronted about what was said they told me it was because we dont go over there a lot! HELP!!!

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LaurieFrank105: Remember when you allow people to “ruin your life” you’ve already given them control over it. Now why would you give control over anything you value to alcoholics and drug addicts? First of all, since you and your hubby are in recovery isn’t it mandatory to keep your distance from those who are still abusing anyway? Second, you do not want these bad influences around your children. As for the badmouthing; consider the source and keep it moving! Just because people share DNA with you or your hubby doesn’t mean that you are obligated to have them in your lives. Some family are just toxic and you have to cut them off to keep your sanity.

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Cut them off completely. They sound toxic---and that way, you won't have to hear from any of them anymore. You don't deserve that.

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i agree with Bradonsmom-- cut them off, complete black hole. if you are both in recovery, that is what you need to focus on. and staying in touch with people who are addicts/alcoholics could derail your recovery. and why would you want to be around people who treat you so badly? people, including you, deserve to be treated better than that. since cut-off didn't sound like an option in your post, i have to advise you create boundaries for yourself that helps protect you. are you familiar with the book Boundaries? it is Biblically based and is so helpful. another book called Safe People, by the same author, is also worth reading. Boundaries are not about punishment they are about being true to yourself. the author describes them as "where you end and another begins" to show how their issues are not your issues unless you let them become your issues. i am a firm believer in "you teach people how to treat you" as i had lots of boundary issues and in the last 6 years i have done this work and it has been worth it. beyond that if you still want to have them in your life, do not engage. do not listen to the "flying monkeys" who deliver venom from others. and don't let them gossip to you about others either. if you set the standard for yourself to not engage in bad talk at all, including listening, it is a good standard to have. good luck to you. as somebody who has been badmouthed by IL's, i know the pain it brings. you will be in my prayers.

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Thank you all sooooo much! I am more than happy to cut them off, I just want to make sure that it is a fair thing to do, because hubby's mom is one who feels the need to see her son constantly, but does not feel that bad mouthing me (and encouraging others to as well) is wrong. Well, she will not see us for a while. At least, not until she starts crying again that she misses her baby boy (38 yrs old). I will look into those books. Maybe if we read them it will give us better comprehension on how to get on with things, yet not let it affect us.

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Sounds to me like the drugs and alcohol are doing the talking and they are projecting their desires onto you trying to break down your weak spots. That is what gives them such joy. We've been there and it is painful. We just stopped having the big family or group events and made it the more intimate, time controlled events that included only a limited number of people that were manageable. Your mental health has to be your primary concern. Don't let them drag you down with them. You will find greater happiness if you let yourself let them have their fun without you there. Eventually they will run out of things to talk about---hopefully. I feel your pain.

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I had a huge problem with my MIL and SIL bad-mouthing me to various family members. They never had the courage to do this in front of my husband so he always thought I was just being petty. This lasted from 1969 to 2007 when my MIL died. These two women made a great tag team, and they hid behind their involvement in their church through it all. I have no respect for hypocrisy. It was not until after my MIL's death that I finally developed a friendship with her youngest son's wife and found that she had endured the same miserable treatment. My husband's sister continued the march with her DIL to the extent that her son no longer speaks to her-----but she doesn't understand how HE "can be so mean to me". At least her son saw through her behavior and supported his wife which is something my husband never did for me. He always thought his mother and sister were angels. My sister-in-law and both of her daughters have had cancer over the past few years. Is it any wonder life isn't being kind to them after all of the heartache they've caused.

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Girl run and run fast, do not look back. Who cares what a bunch of druggies think! If anyone tries to tell you what they have said, tell them you don't want to hear it. If you husband wants to see him, so be it, but tell him not to worry with their goings on. If you have any kids don't let them go over there. Just pretend they don't exist......like the government does to the poor....lol

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Since your Sil & Dil have drug & alchohol problems that is the key to their viciousness - They are trying to take the attention away from their bad habits and trying to give the family someone else (unfortunately you!) to look at instead of them ! Their pain and anger is being directed at you. I would bring this to the attention of my family members if I were you....

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Please draw your line in the sand ASAP on this. You must set the boundaries for your own health and your marriage. This same thing happened to me for years... I was the family scapegoat and continued to host lovely parties and bdays for them and they excremented all over it. All the while badmouthing me to anyone who would listen. Then I grew up and got a spine and realized I was allowing them to do this to me. No matter what I did to please them they could always find an instance where I did not. I essentially divorced the in laws that were constantly badmouthing me and kept my beloved husband. Much easier and better than leaving an otherwise good man because of his toxic family. I told him what was happening, my reasons, examples etc but never tried to tell him if he could see them or not. Well after having to deal with them himself and put up with the complete nastiness about me he finally drew his boundaries as well. They are only allowed shorter supervised visits with our children by him. He does not allow them to drag me through the mud. I rarely see them but when I do I am cordial. Now we seldom see them but when we do they have to be on their best behavior because he simply won't spend a second in their presence when they are nasty. Surely they are still as nasty as ever when we are not around but hey if they want to live in a toxic soup that is their choice. As for the rest of the family, if they really can't figure it out... who needs them. I hate to say it but if people just pile on to nastiness are those people you'd try to count on anyway? Because those are the type of people that would never truly help you. The smart ones will eventually figure it out and attempt an independent relationship with you. If they want to cast their lot with pitvipers... well they can have them. You go girl, set your boundaries!

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how they act says far more about them, than you. they are not loving people. they are selfish. they do not care who they hurt as long as they feel good. some people are like that. your mil and sil are like that. as long as you interact with them, they will be like that. when you stop interacting with them, they may still badmouth you, but you won't be as hurt by it. the "because you dont come around more often" is blameshifting. as if its "your fault" they are malicious gossips. that way, they are then not responsible for their own poor behavior. or for changing it. its also "emotional blackmail" as a threat that as long as you don't do what they want, they will punish you. boy oh boy, how can you resist not spending /more/ time with such lovely people. they are immature and unhappy, and like a 4 year old throwing a temper tantrum when he can't wear a bathing suit in a snowstorm, their goal is to make everyone around them as irritated and unhappy as they are. so ... don't go around them.

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I went through the same thing. My MIL races to talk about religion, her deep involvement in her church and church leadership, all the grand things she does for other people and their kids. But she'll smear me in a heartbeat to anyone who will listen. This has been going on for years and she has done some tremendous damage with her mouth. Two of her sisters, who I didn't even know, called me to tell me that they could not believe all the wicked things MIL said about me to them and their entire family and wanted me to know. She told my own stepchildren that I was the devil, so guess what, they grew up believing it. She has kept my DH connected to her for years through fear, obligation and guilt (FOG, common with families dealing with addiction). MIL was raised by an alcoholic father and an abusive mother. Control is all she knows. I posed a threat to her need to be needed by her family members. So by alienating, demeaning and slandering me, she got to feel as though she was the angel, their savior and the leader in the war against me. I know exactly how you feel. Whether people from these types of families actually drink or do drugs, everyone in it is effected. It's very difficult to understand if you didn't grow up in a family of addiction yourself. But the level of manipulation these folks are capable of is off the chart. And if you don't have experience dealing with this level of dysfunction, you wind up questioning yourself often. How come a woman of faith, someone who claims to fear God, considers you evil? How come she's a leader in her church? Don't these other people see what she's capable of? These folks are capable of stringing a wide ring of deception. They operate in the shadows, whispering gossip under the guise of "prayer requests". They share what "God has revealed" to them (like me being the devil, that was a true revelation). Their intentions are to fill a void in their lives that was created from growing up with no self-esteem. They have to dominate, control and WIN to feel good about themselves. They have an insatiable desire to be needed. They'll make others dependent on them as long as they can, with money, ill advice, intrusive lines of questioning, no boundaries, and power any way they can get it (often using their religious involvement to gain some sort of credibility and putting yours down). My husband used to say his mother was a "God-fearing woman". Ha. My response has been, "Your mother fears NOONE." And it's very true. She's twisted, so much so that I don't think she believes a word out of the bible. She's never once quoted any scripture about her behavior. Never once mentioned what the bible says about humility, His love, grace, pride, deception, manipulation and what God thinks about those who try to win their way to heaven through works. But she's quoted plenty of scripture aimed at proving her points and gaining her what she wants. She's toxic. Our counselor readily says it. He said the summary of family roles we have described is VERY common in families who deal with the fallout of addiction. And these folks operate with no boundaries whatsoever. Hence, it's the role of our husband to put boundaries in place. And if they won't, then we must. And we lose respect for our husbands when they don't step up. And that's true. We don't see my MIL nearly as often as we used to. And I stopped going to her house altogether. She occasionally whines to DH that she can't see our kids. She is welcome to come here to visit anytime. But she would prefer our kids visit her in HER house, under HER control. Not happening. She also wants our kids to spend time with her alone. Not happening in my lifetime either. When/if she ever figures out how to mind her own business, live HER life and not try so hard to live her life through others, can stop all the deception/maligning/gossiping, then perhaps we can lift the boundaries. But she shows no signs of change. She's caused me too much hell for me to care what her requests are. I have no pity for her. Thanks to her I have 3 grown stepdaughters who despise me. They were her trained warriors who used to sabotage our visits under her watchful eye every time we were in MIL's house at the same time. MIL declared a war with me the day I married HER son. Now, all these years later, she thinks she can make demands on me. Making demands will get her nowhere in this lifetime. The only thing you can do is protect yourself and your family. That is your responsibility. No, his family won't like it. Big deal. My Dh's family doesn't like it either. What are they going to do? Slander me when I'm not around? Like that's anything new? I'm over it. Hope you are too. You're doing the right thing.

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That sounds just like MIL with the FOG concept! The only difference is that she is not a church goer. You should have heard her when we eloped (due to fear of her control over OUR day). I ruined her life. That was her only son. Blah, blah, blah. Then she showed me a baby blanket she was making. I asked her who it was for and she said she has to wait and give it to someone else, because of me her son won't be having any children now (my tubes are tied and I have 3 grown children and two grandbabies). I am fed up with all the games she plays, and just last night my hubby started about "do I expect him to never talk to his mom again". I was so angry. I knew his loyalty to me would not last long. I told him I would appreciate his not speaking with her until she makes things right with me, and his sister is cut off FOREVER. He wasn't happy, but he will have to get over it. What do people gain by acting so controlling and putting people down like this? These two could be very productive if they put all this energy into something positive.

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"I told him I would appreciate his not speaking with her until she makes things right with me, and his sister is cut off FOREVER. He wasn't happy, but he will have to get over it." i would only go with this for a short while unless he is in recovery with you and perhaps get his sponsor involved if that is necessary. this is a very sensitive case, since addiction is involved on multiple sides. for me, i think it was better to let my DH continue the relationship with his parents while i stayed cutoff and the children. after awhile, my DH realized that he was using me as a buffer and without me around he didn't want to spend time with his parents because then he was in the hot seat. when i was around they were nasty to me and nice to him... when its him by himself they have nobody else to be nasty to so it is him. i have heard this from others as well and read it countless times on another DIL board.

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Bad mouthing does happen. Sometimes the mouther is sick and can't be changed. Sometimes he or she is sick and could get well sometime in the future. I think it's good to keep a watchful open mind about it, just in case. Putting a person out of your life is a big choice to make. One problem is that if the person is family, there will be family events where all of you will be invited. If you want to go to see other people there, will you keep yourself from that happiness in order to avoid the toxic person? Will you be cutting yourself out in your need to cut them out? I have a family member who feels the need to talk about other family members, and tell me all their evil deeds (even if there aren't any). She tells them things about me too. I've found what works best for me, rather than trying to avoid her, if others are present, is to not engage in her conversation, if it's with me. And, if people tell me things she says about me, I don't respond. I just hold my head high and act as I've always acted...and they can draw their own conclusions...or not! If someone was being hateful to me in front of others, I'd say something like, "I can't believe you're saying such things," and I'd walk away (maybe throw something later!!).

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We really dont go to family affairs because of the drinking at ALL of them. We have two weddings to go to this summer, and I intend to go, and not say anything to, or even acknowledge, their existance. Hubby is in recovery as well. If I allow him to go there without me, they will no doubt have him drinking and using. This has happened before. I really feel they are angry at me because we are successful in life without their help, and they have no control of him when he is with me. Whatever their problem is, I fully intend to be happy, and get past this recurring mouth problem they continue too have. IF it happens again, I just might play by their rules, and give EVERYONE a heads up as to what the two of them have said about everyone else! Especially since my SIL has slept with some of the family's ex's!

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"If I allow him to go there without me, they will no doubt have him drinking and using. This has happened before. I really feel they are angry at me because we are successful in life without their help, and they have no control of him when he is with me." okay, that is NOT COOL and i don't blame you for not wanting him to cut them off then. how long have you 2 been in recovery? at some point he needs to be strong enough to say no. temptation will always be there but strength comes with time. but being around people who push others to drink and use drugs is never, ever a good situation.

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I agree. Your DH has to want his own sobriety enough that he'll keep it regardless of where he is or who he is around. I think you can and will get the response he's giving you, when you put demands on his involvement with his mother. If he wants to drink, he'll just switch to blaming you for him falling off the wagon because you put unrealistic demands on him. My DH can go see his mother whenever he wants. I don't go and neither do our kids. He's okay with that. Obviously MIL isn't, too bad. She had her turn for us all to play by her rules. But I agree with the other poster about me being the buffer. Now that I don't go, he doesn't go that often either. And it's often because without ME there for them to treat like dog crap, HE gets to see their behavior in all its glory. And the last few times he went there to visit, they kicked his ***. He came home regretting being there and being treated like such a boob. They have no respect for him at all. So this approach is working for me. If he's not fully on board with not speaking to his mother, he'll do it behind your back and resent you for it. Best not to help grow resentments in those around us with addictions.

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