I would agree with your assessment however, the main question becomes what are you going to do about it? What you do depends upon what you’re comfortable with. I would also be interested in knowing what your partner thinks about this. Is he concerned about how his mother is behaving? Does it bother him at all? Is he willing to speak to her about her behavior and take action if necessary?
Your options depend upon the answers to the aforementioned questions. Your mother-in-law certainly seems to be overstepping her bounds. Proof of that is your reaction to what she’s doing. She seems to be doing more than she is welcome to do.
Given that this is your partner’s mother, it may be best that he attempts to correct this problem. I don’t know the nature of their relationship and how willing he is to stand up to his mother. The fact that she is so bold in her behavior, might suggest that he has no power over her and she does what she wants. If that’s the case, you might have a bigger problem than you realize. If he cannot stand up to his mother, then you would not only be battling her but him as well. He might take her side and feel that you are being unreasonable. Two against one would make your life more challenging.
You might try speaking with your partner and coming to an agreement about what is acceptable behavior for your mother-in-law. At that point, hopefully the two of you can speak to her together about what’s acceptable and what is not. The more clarity you can bring to the rules, the better the outcome you may have. However, there’s always the chance that your mother-in-law will become upset. You need to plan for that as well.
I would recommend meeting with a therapist because of possible complexity of the situation, especially if you and your partner are not in agreement regarding his mother-in-law. A therapist can analyze the dynamics of the relationships and advise you accordingly. It’s important to approach this with as much understanding of the relationship dynamics as possible, in order to achieve the best outcome. In other words, the more you understand why your mother-in-law might be engaging in this behavior, and why her son might be facilitating it, assuming that he is, the easier it will be to plan your response.
There’s no easy solution to this problem. You stated that she always wanted a daughter and she never had one. She might see this is her opportunity to have the daughter she always wanted. Obviously, that’s not okay because your daughter is not her daughter. She’s yours.
Consulting a therapist would be a wise idea. Hopefully, that will help to remedy this problem. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle