Not sure how to cope with my in-laws

My husband died 4 weeks ago, he was only 41 and an only child. We also have 2 young daughters aged 11 and 8.
So not only am I dealing with my own unbearable grief, where most days I’m just managing to put one foot in front of the other. I’m also dealing with our 2 daughters grief.
I feel really selfish as I’m really struggling with my in-laws my husband was in hospital trying ground breaking treatment and at one point they thought his dad may have covid so he said that he didn’t want to see them for a week.
His mum was so horrible calling him cruel, selfish, nasty, and that he never bothered replying to her texts. But he was seriously ill he was having re-modified cells put back into his body and he had no energy. One infection could cause sepsis, which unfortunately he ended up getting anyway.
Although I’ve struggled I haven’t said anything and I’m just trying to let it go.
However, now she is acting like she is the only one that is grieving and she wants me to take on her grief as well and this is why I feel selfish because I Just can’t. I don’t feel strong enough. I feel like I’m in a living hell if it wasn’t for having to get up for my girls I think I would stay in bed all day and shut the world out.

She asks how I am but as I start telling her she turns it back on to her and I can’t cut her out of my life I can’t I promised my husband I would always be there and my girls are her grandchildren. But I don’t get why I find it so hard to be around her.

I have gotten to the point where I dread seeing her, I barely sleep at night and she just keeps telling me how worse I will feel after Christmas. Which I don’t need to hear right now when I’m already struggling to get through the day.

Am I being selfish? Should I take on her grief to?

Dear @Gem2 i am so sorry for the loss of your husband it sounds like it has been a huge shock to you. You have a lot to deal with as you come to terms with everything and looking after your young girls.
Your priority is with yourself and your daughters right now you will not have the surplus energy to deal with the grief of others.
I don’t think you are being selfish in how you feel towards your in-laws and maybe you could politely but firmly say next time you feel put on that you are sorry they have lost their son and you understand their grief but at this moment in time you need their support as they have each other. you have lost your husband and you are counting on them to help you through the coming weeks/months.
Sending a hug and prayers
Jen x


Thank you for your reply.

Unfortunately they are quite set in their ways and become very rude very quickly.

I’ve been with them today and my mother in law was so rude to people while we were out but they don’t know we are grieving so I don’t see any reason to be rude.

Her neighbour across the road passed a few months ago and she is more concerned with their grief than mine and my daughter’s.

Why does it have to be so hard! I just want to grieve for my gorgeous husband in peace.

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I don’t think you can count on your husbands parents support, your mother in laws behaviour could it be the onset of dementia possibly?

I know it’s going to be difficult but I think your just going to have to bite your tongue & try to remember they are grieving there child & grief could be the cause of the odd behaviour?

I think once you realise that the support is going to be one way but you will be honouring your husbands wishes in looking out for them it may become easier to bear?

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Hi Gem, you really do have a similar situation to me with your in laws. I just had to sit at their christmas table and listen to them discuss having to change their wills and powers of attorney. Not once did they mention my wife let alone propose a toast. I’v always struggled with my wifes mother, she always ran my wife down. Always telling her how disappointed she was in her, that she should get a proper job, lose weight. My wife loved her from the bottom of her heart and only ever wanted her approval. The night before we got married my wife had her on the speaker phone and she asked her mum if she thought I was a good choice for a husband. She told her that she didn’t really have much more of a choice. This to her daughter, dying of cancer. We’d been together for 22 years.

Now, as with you she wants me and everyone else to be facing towards her grief. She keeps reminding me that she was her mother and that I cant understand what shes going through. She talks about how my wife wouldn’t allow her to come to the house and didn’t want to see her, my wife was going through chemo and had no immunity. Everytime she talked to my wife in the last months, she made sure that my wife came away feeling guilty. I think that she knows that she cant change the things that she did and said, and now my wifes gone shes looking to me for forgivenes, as she always did with my wife.

I’ve talked about this with my friends and family and all have said to focus on myself. She has her partner, son and grandchildren. She really doesnt need anything from me that I am able to give. As my wife used to say in these situations when someone was being unrealistic ‘Aye, good luck with that’


In-laws hey?

I promised my husband I would be their for them, even last night when I spoke to her on the phone she made a dig at him that he only called her occasionally. I just think she could of called him!

He was an only child and shielded her a lot as she worries. But at the same time his neutrophils were 0 he was so ill, they saw he was ill but she always turns it round onto her and how hard done by she feels

I’m due to go and see her in the morning with my 2 young girls but i’m dreading it, even my girls who are 11 and 8 are getting to the point where they don’t want to visit them.

I feel like all my feelings about how they were towards him when he was so ill will come out if she is negative anymore towards him and once I start I don’t think I will stop!!

I don’t know maybe she does feel guilty and feels like she needs to blame him to make herself feel better.

Like you we’ve always had a strained relationship. But I always bit my lip for my husband. But with how hurt and drowning in grief I am I’m not sure how much more I will be able to!

Maybe I do need to think of myself and take some time away.


I always found with my wifes mother that if I was courteous and pleasant she had no reason to fault me. As you put it bighting ones lip. She’s a snob at heart. I was reading the other day about relationship personality types and came across one described as ’ I hate you: Don’t leave me ', where the person lives in insecurity and pushes relationships to test them, basically they want to be bad to you to test your loyalty. It resonated with me as I’d seen aspects of it in my wifes behaviour (my oh my she had a temper) but it really shines through with her mother. I don’t know your mother in law but it seems like she has similar problems, sometimes understanding is your best defence. She’s being unreasonable, you are not. Hope that makes sense.

It must be difficult with kids, having to balance giving them grandparents but not sure that youre comfortable with what youre exposing them to. You can only do what you can do, people will act as they choose, situations will develop and life will unfold. Its just the normal course of things and we just have to do what feels best at the time. Some people you can reach, others you cant. I always loved ’ never judge a person tilll you’ve walked a mile in their shoes ’


I applaud your honesty

I would say that once you have suffered devastating loss you need to focus on yourself and children above everyone else

I have felt that since sudden death h of my husband - no more doing what others want us to do pressure from family at expense of our well-being x
I myself have distanced myself from family who have been selfish and continue to focus on their own needs !
Haven’t got the energy for them anymore from
Now on me priority !!