My In-Law Horror Story

January 25, 2016

Back in May 2015 a family gathering was planned in my apartment, for my boyfriend. He was turning 30 and his family wanted to fly over (from Italy to Belgium) to celebrate. Even though I was anxious about it I was very happy for him and he assured me everything would be fine. I didn't end up celebrating much of that birthday, I had gone completely insane already days before that. The way I was treated by my in-laws, in my own house, was horrific. Every time I think about it my heart rate raises and I become extremely sad and angry, my anxiety levels go trough the roof and I've had enough. Even though this is a very personal story I still want to post it on my blog so I can finally let it go. I divided it in different parts so it's easier for you to read, I didn't think it would end up being so long.

Being gay is a disease

I had only met his family a couple times before and every time, as in most formal situations, I smiled but was shy and introverted. Formal situations make me extremely uncomfortable and his parents are not exactly pleasant to be around (for me personally) as the only subjects they touch on is money, status and education. I was very depressed and sad at that time. I had dropped out of school, had no job and no future plans. I asked my boyfriend repeatedly if he could bring this to his parent's attention, and he said he did. I was very down in the dumps and didn't want to talk about such things. I also asked my boyfriend numerous times if I could not be left alone with them and if I could organize a separate place for his family to stay, right next to our house for free, as our apartment is only 55m2 and not ideal to host so many adults. His brother knew this, because he had stayed with us previously, and we all had a good time. Everyone would have had his privacy and I assume things would have gone way better. My boyfriend's parents are people who barely leave their little village, ever, and are not happily married. His mom has terrible (untreated) OCD, spreads negativity like it's candy and thinks being gay is a disease. You can imagine my excitement to host people like that. I am also the one and only girlfriend my boyfriend ever introduced to his parents and for us both it was the first time living together as a couple and making something for ourselves. This whole way of celebrating a birthday was not only foreign to them, it was foreign for us too. I tried to stay positive about it as much as possible and told myself that since it was their idea to come over they must have an open mind, and maybe keep everything they are usually vocal about, at bay.

Mi casa su casa 

Unfortunately things went south as soon as his parents entered the apartment. It was very awkward for some reason (I still have no idea why) and there wasn't loads of hugging or smiling. As we all sat down my mother in-law started ranting, my boyfriend said she wanted to kill the silence because she was 'uncomfortable' but in my opinion there are no excuses for what she said and there was no sign of her being 'uncomfortable'. She asked where the kitchen was (??), why the apartment was so small and why we didn't have 2 bathrooms. She pointed at furniture, plain out said it was ugly, and continued by checking the upstairs and screamed how disappointed she was about the size of our closet (??). She mentioned how she wasn't gonna leave the apartment and that Belgium was horrible. She continued her tantrum by asking about my studies and while she clearly saw I was very upset, she kept on asking anyway. I just left the room and went to cry my eyes out in my bedroom. This whole entire time neither my boyfriend or father in-law did or said anything. I ended up sleeping at my sisters house that night.

A clean house is a sign of a wasted life 

The next day when I got back home and my boyfriend had gone to work she was cleaning the house like a mad woman. She broke my expensive designer lamp in the process, and pretended nothing had happened the previous day. The laundry machine was going and she was ironing in her pj's, complaining her back hurt from sleeping on our couch. I was very confused as I had cleaned the house and done laundry before they'd all arrived. She bossed me around the entire time and called me out for thinking that ironing was not a priority in my life. That afternoon her brother, my boyfriend's uncle, arrived. He clearly saw things were not going well and asked me about it, when I explained his sister was behaving in a very disrespectful manner he just told me to let it go. I was so upset that no one was addressing anything, that I couldn't join them at the table for dinner that night. Not to mention that my mother in law had taken over the kitchen (oh she found it?) and was not open to trying any Belgian cuisine. I had imagined we would have cooked together, or that me and my boyfriend would have cooked for them but that wasn't in any of her books, I guess. I stayed at home, hid in my bedroom and I cried myself to sleep that night, I didn't even dare to go downstairs to pee. The day after my boyfriend's brother arrived, at this point I was so desperate for an explanation, and an apology, that I had lost all patience. When they left the house to visit the city of Brussels and pretended everything was fine, I completely snapped and trashed my entire apartment. All the tension from the passed couple days had come to the surface.

The betrayal 

I was so angry and disappointed. How can you be a guest in someone's house and be so disrespectful? How could this women not simply be proud of what her son had accomplished (and maybe enjoy her vacation?): sharing his life with someone he loved, having a great job and being able to afford an apartment on his own for the first time! How could her husband have let this all happen? I don't understand this behaviour and I still don't understand why my boyfriend did not stand up for me or for what he had accomplished since living in Belgium. I still feel betrayed by him to this day. He threw me under the bus after being together for 3 years and let his family harass me, for what? For a bunch of people who've never supported any decisions he's made in his life.

Apologising is not a sign of weakness it's a sign of strength 

Even though I ended up staying at my parents after trashing my own place, the harassment continued and lies were spread like pesticides. I was also sent hate mail by the wife of the uncle, who was never even present, and my boyfriend was not capable of doing any damage control whatsoever. No apologies were made and nothing was (ever) resolved. I was blamed for everything that went wrong, including for leaving. They all expected me to step up and say I was wrong without thinking about what instigated my behaviour in the first place. Their conclusion: I was a bad person and I didn't love my boyfriend because I had left. I was the one who had ruined the entire trip and I was not to rebel on any level because that is the way his mom is. I hope your french is good because the message below is for sure spicy. I've posted it before and it caused at lot of backlash but I deal with haters on Youtube the exact same way: don't send me things like this if you're not willing to own up to it when it becomes public.

The cultural clash

Till this day his family still doesn't understand that I've done nothing but adapt to their way of living whenever I visit them, which is a bit easier for me since I've lived in Italy for almost 5 years and even speak the language, they have been disrespectful towards me from the very beginning, and have done zero effort. They were ignorant towards my values and morals and were not willing to learn anything about my country or culture. They've crossed boundaries and think it's okay because they are parents. I'm sorry, but being a parent does not give you a free pass. Inviting yourself to your son's house, which he shares with another human being, not from your own country, and expect everything to be just like home, is just not the way traveling works. I'm all about making people feel at home when I host them but not when you treat me like a piece of shit. This whole story almost caused to be hospitalised because I was in such a bad place mentally, which they were aware of and chose to ignore.

The queen has spoken and her will is the law

I later discovered however that pretty much anything is ignored and swept under the carpet by these people. His brother claimed no one knew I was going to be there. I don't understand why I wouldn't be present in my own house, especially when this was said by someone who's stayed with us before and was clearly aware of that. Apparently his mom has never really acknowledged the fact that I'm her son's girlfriend or that we even live together (not because she hates me) simply because it's not what she pictured for him. The rest of the family just seems to go with it. I don't see why my boyfriend would have moved from Italy to Belgium then. To live on his own? I've been at my in-laws house and we've talked and joked about all this. They know we live together. I think his parents, mainly his mother, just don't listen to what their son has to say. She doesn't wish him happiness, she wishes him lots of money and misery.

The end 

Me and my boyfriend ended up being separated for about 3 or 4 months. He was very upset about everything that had happened, apologised and promised it would never happen again. We're back together now but things are still tense at times. Our relationship suffered an enormous amount of pressure and it's not been easy. I've talked about how I'm a person who holds grudges so I feel like I'm betraying myself in a way, by staying. His family would also love me to be out of the picture, a statement made by his brother. I honestly cannot bare the idea of ever having to see them again. I'm also bothered by the fact that my boyfriend has already forgiven his mother, even though she pretty much ruined his entire life in just a couple days. I wonder how it would have been if I hadn't been so depressed at that time, and I wish my mother in-law would take responsibility for her actions and understand that she doesn't have respect for me, her son and even herself. She obviously is in a very bad place and it's clearly affecting other people. Q: What do you think about my in-laws? Have you ever been in a similar situation? Tell me everything in the comments! Congrats if you made it till the end of this post by the way.


  1. This is seriously a horror story. I can't believe this woman was so terrible to you in your own home and more importantly that your boyfriend allowed it to happen. I know that dealing with in-laws or future in-laws can be a sticky situation and as someone that has a had to deal with grandmother I know she can sometimes cross the line. The thing is while I love my grandma, I am ferociously protective of my boyfriend. Not b/c he's more important than her, but b/c him and I are building a life together. Though we haven't gotten married, it is my expectation that we will always protect each other from anyone trying to hurt us b/c at the end of the day we are a united team. I am so grateful that his parents are both super agreeable and never cause issues. My heart goes out to you b/c I'd leave that situation so fast my boyfriend's head would spin. I also feel bad for him b/c regardless of what happens between the two of you he is stuck with his family forever. Please remember that should you decide to marry him, you're marrying his family too and obviously they will always be around. Good Luck & Stay Strong!


    1. Yes, I think that in this case the parents didn't like being confronted with the fact that they don't have control over their child's life anymore, even though they knew that already (and should know because my bf is 30) but never actually saw it. Not that the word controlling defines a good relationship though. I've noticed that when parents are told off by their own kids, for about anything, they immediately jump to the wrong conclusions. They think they're being told they're a bad parent and that sides are being picked, which is of course not true. It's funny how fast things get it twisted. I would have left this situation in a heartbeat if I would have been employed, I'm not gonna lie, but not having the means made me think twice in the end. Marrying, his family, is certainly not on my list right now, if it was and we wouldn't be arguing I'm sure they'd have it all planned out their way already haha. Thank you for your encouraging message, I really appreciate it :) Xxxx

  2. I am so impressed by this story Jolien! and I cannot believe the message this woman sent you (french one) .. You were courageous and you resisted a lot … Personally, I am not sure how I would have reacted to this… I do not want to judge them cause I do not know them, but these things happen when people is too close minded and live in their bubble… that is so sad..
    Also, it is true if you have long term plans with your boyfriend this is not so easy , as they're his family and he will always be part of them and viceverse… I have no advice to say because it is such a difficult situation and I really hope everything will come together and you will find a way to leave in peace with him without all this negativity and bad things coming from his family … wish you all the best though

    I have not similar experiences, I am married (belgian man) and his family is so so so nice I have seriously being blessed in that way and he feels the same about my family even though I am from Ecuador and people might think 'oh family with mentality of the middle age' .. as latin america in general is very religion-machism minded … and even if my family and me included are Christians we respect people and this story you have share it is seriously for me , like coming from a soap opera, the mean mother of the protagonist that hates the one he loves… … no offence intended …poufff …

    in other topics, love the way you develop your story even if is not a nice one .. I will surely buy your book if you write one, any day in the future !

    Kisses girl and courage !

    1. Haha you're so cute and nice, thank you! I'm happy you're having a happy life with your man and his family. Is your whole family in Belgium or back in Ecuador? My boyfriend told me his parents used to send him to church to learn to be good and forgiving, he doesn't really understand why they're not that way if when they thought it was important for their children :) Thank you for your message! Kisses! Xxxx

    2. Yes that is strange but it is very common (sending him to learn something they do not practice) it is a shame in my opinion, and to asnwer your question I am alone in Belgium all my family is there but we go to spend time with them everytime we can, around between 5 to 7 weeks per year with them (when possible)
      How is it possible they did not want to eat belgian food (just reminded that) oohh belgian fries *-* chocolates, waffles, etc is heaven for me … I still missed my typical food but I do not complain I am very good with the food here !

      I really really hope you will not experienced this again … it is not nice at all! and maybe you should go to live in another continent far far from italy (AUS, NZ, CAN maybe) … I'm kidding hope you both together will figure out a way to not go through these awkard and sad moments with his family!


    3. Aah that's nice! When I lived in Italy I was on my own too and I went to my home country twice a year for two weeks, of course I didn't have to travel as far as you, now :)

      I was not so surprised actually that they were not interested in belgian food, when I ask my boyfriend which food he likes best he's always going to say Itlian food haha, even though he loves Belgian food as well. I think they are so proud of their country and food culture that it makes them close minded, maybe also afraid and not open to try anything that is out of their habits. I wouldn't be surprised if it just didn't cross my mother in-laws mind to cook belgian or eat belgian food at her sons house. She wanted all control and do what she thinks is taking care of her son, which is cleaning, washing and cooking, and being ignorant of course, I think that's her favorite hobby #lol XD Thank you! Bisous!

  3. what you described is my absolute worst nightmare come to life...i feel so bad for you....all i can say is - hang in there!!! <3

  4. I totally understand you, I have been in your place. I've been with my husband for 18 years. He is Italian, I'm from Argentina, but we all live in Switzerland. I came here when I was 24. And at that time I surely could not see the situation clearly. Just like you, I would cry for hours and hope someone would notice things were not right!!
    But if you d take a humble advice now, please I don't mean to offend you, but for sure in the future you will see you probably overreacted. Not that it wasn't horrible all this woman said and did, but because it was so obviously doing so to make you react, and honestly you totally "tomber dans le panneau " as we say. Now you gave them an excuse to dislike you.
    It is terrible, but with an Italian mom in law you need the velvet touch. Obviously you need to play a role to gain respect, and love. Then and only then you can be yourself.
    I have seen so many situations like this. And not even once there's a bit of rationality in there, no sir. Imagine me: my husband is an only child, and I was "stealing him from his mothers lap". (Note my husband is 6 years older than me and I was only 18 when we met).
    If you and your boyfriend are meant to be together, you wil work it out. Don't ever make him choose between you and his family because you'll lose. It is like that for Italian people. You have to enter the family as one of them or you'll feel terrible for the rest of your life.
    Just try to think about them as what they are: they are not mean, they are just simple people. Too simple. Do not expect politeness, nor empathy or consideration, they act according their most primitive instincts and they are trying to mark their territory. Lots of species do that. You need to play their game, that's all.

    1. True, totally understand where you're coming from, it's not easy to put things into perspective now at all, I'm gonna need time and lots of it :)

  5. I'm terribly sorry to hear about this Jolien, and what you said about your mental health situation and how you almost ended up in the hospital really hits home. Your in-laws behaviour was unacceptable and so was the message of the woman on Facebook. Honestly though, your boyfriend should have known much better than to expose you to such a behaviour especially given your mental state.
    I hope I'm not crossing a line here, but you need to figure out whether he is good for you, and whether you want to stay with someone who ignores your needs and exposes you to hostility and toxicity. His family is not going to do you any good, and he is clearly refusing to stand up to them. He left you alone facing their harassment and hatred. Where will it go now? Do you deserve someone like this? Do you want to take the risk to feel even worse because of that? Give it some thought...
    Lots of love!

    1. I understand, and my thought process has been the same, I'll see how everything goes from here on out. You live and you learn :)

  6. Hi Jolien. Thank you for being so honest about the situation. I haven't dated anyone yet, but this is definitely something I will keep in mind for the future. My paternal family is not quite as bad as your boyfriend's family, but there are some things that could be better. I hope my future partner does not need to feel the pressure to fit in with them, because if they are not accepting, I won't care. I don't care if my partner's family is crap - we don't choose what family we are born to - but if he cannot stand on my side, or at least make his family understand the problem, then he is not worth it. I am worth better, and I think that comes from having an - at least - neglectful father.

    1. Hey hey! You're welcome, my family is not perfect either but at least they know the boundaries when it comes to boyfriends. Invading someones personal space is just not the way to go :) I'm currently in therapy and I've been told that his family behaves like that because my boyfriend doesn't play by 'their rules' so to speak. It still hurts me what happened though. I wish you best of luck and an amazing boyfriend ;) Xxxx