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An older woman with her hands under her chin | Source: Shutterstock
An older woman with her hands under her chin | Source: Shutterstock

My DIL Secretly Ruined My Place after I Refused to Trade Houses with Her - I Had Nothing Left but to Teach Her a Lesson of Respect

Prenesa Naidoo
May 22, 2024
11:05 A.M.

A few months after her husband, Adam, passed away, Anne's son, Charlie buys her a new home closer to him. Initially hesitant, Anne finally decides to move. But then she has to deal with her jealous daughter-in-law, Angela, who just wants the house. After Angela pulls a stunt that results in the house being fumigated, Anne has no choice but to teach her a lesson.

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After my husband of 53 years passed away six months ago, I felt heartbroken. Everything in the house reminded me of Adam and the memories we had made there.

An old woman sitting down | Source: Pexels

An old woman sitting down | Source: Pexels

Sometimes it was comforting, but at other times, the loneliness felt too suffocating, making me curl into a ball and sleep on Adam's side of the bed for some form of comfort.

My son, Charlie, saw how difficult it was for me, and he wanted me to move closer to him and his wife, Angela.

An elderly woman sitting on a blue couch | Source: Pexels

An elderly woman sitting on a blue couch | Source: Pexels

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"Mom, I've already found a place for you. It's about five minutes away from us, and I've already put in an offer," Charlie said.

"Honey, I can't ask you to do that for me," I said, speaking to him on the phone. "I cannot ask you to buy me a house."

An old woman on a phone | Source: Pexels

An old woman on a phone | Source: Pexels

"You're not asking," he replied, chewing on trail mix on the other end. "I'm offering. Mm... and we can have it ready for you to move in at the end of next week if you'd like."

I was initially hesitant, but I eventually agreed to move. I knew that Charlie and Angela were trying to have a baby, and I thought that the most healing thing for me would be to care for that baby when it arrived.

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A person holding a pregnancy test | Source: Pixabay

A person holding a pregnancy test | Source: Pixabay

So, Charlie helped me pack all my things, and soon, I was ready for a new chapter. Despite missing Adam, I knew that I needed to move on.

I moved into my new home easily, because my son had sorted everything out for me.

A pile of packing boxes | Source: Pixabay

A pile of packing boxes | Source: Pixabay

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"Anything for you, Mom," Charlie said when he came over on the first night in the new house.

He sat at the table and told me about work while I cooked our first meal in the kitchen.

An older woman in the kitchen | Source: Pexels

An older woman in the kitchen | Source: Pexels

"Are you ready for the housewarming this weekend, Mom?" Charlie asked me. "I've invited everyone you said you'd like to see. And I've told Angela to come over early and help you with the food and drinks. Do you need me to do anything else?"

I shook my head. Everything was perfect, and my son had gone out of his way to make sure that everything was going according to plan.

A close-up of a plate of pasta | Source: Pexels

A close-up of a plate of pasta | Source: Pexels

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But then, things took an unexpected turn.

On the day of the party, I was actually excited. For the first time in a long time, I was looking forward to being around people. I was ready to sit in a group and not feel the weight of my grief for one of the first times since Adam had passed on.

I stood in front of the mirror and put on lipstick, something that I hadn't done since I lost Adam.

An older woman applying lipstick | Source: Pexels

An older woman applying lipstick | Source: Pexels

Angela came over early, as Charlie had said. She went around the kitchen, adding final touches to the dishes I had spent hours cooking.

Suddenly, Angela turned to me.

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Platters of food | Source: Pexels

Platters of food | Source: Pexels

"Look, Anne," she said, washing her hands. "You can't live in this house. You just can't do it. It's too big and too modern for you."

"What? No, I think that it's absolutely fine for me," I said. "I've spoken to Charlie about getting a dog, too."

A golden retriever | Source: Unsplash

A golden retriever | Source: Unsplash

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"You're not listening," she said. "I want you to trade homes with us. Charlie earns well, but he didn't want to renovate our house to make it modern. He said that he would rather use his money to sort out your home."

Angela went on for a long time. She spoke about how she understood that Charlie wanted to take care of me, but that he needed to put her first.

A smirking woman | Source: Pexels

A smirking woman | Source: Pexels

I was hurt by her words but I said nothing, not wanting to cause an argument. Of course, I didn't want to trade houses because Charlie and I had put so much effort into moving into the new home. I had also decorated it to my taste, with Adam's belongings all over.

I had planted a garden and set up everything precisely how I wanted.

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A modern living room | Source: Pexels

A modern living room | Source: Pexels

But little did I know, Angela left me with more than just hurtful words.

Two days after the party, I woke up to a horrible smell permeating the entire house. No matter where I looked, I just couldn't find the source.

An older woman reading in bed | Source: Pexels

An older woman reading in bed | Source: Pexels

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"Oh, my goodness, Mom," Charlie said when I called him to come and take a look around the property, in case I missed something.

"This is so bad!" he said, checking the entire kitchen to find the smell.

A clean kitchen | Source: Pexels

A clean kitchen | Source: Pexels

"I know!" I exclaimed. "And I've searched everywhere I can think of."

It was driving me crazy because no matter how much I looked, I just couldn't find the source of the stink.

After a week of enduring the horrible smell, Charlie suggested bringing in a professional to locate the source.

A man blocking his nose | Source: Midjourney

A man blocking his nose | Source: Midjourney

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"You cannot live like this anymore, Mom," Charlie said. "I'm going to hire someone. You can stay with us or I'll rent out a hotel room for you."

It turned out that the expert discovered a rotten egg hidden in the vent in the living room. It had been deliberately placed there to ensure the stench would spread throughout the house.

A rotten egg in an air vent | Source: Midjourney

A rotten egg in an air vent | Source: Midjourney

As the house was cleaned out, and fumigated because Charlie thought that it was necessary, I was devastated to have caused my son more hard work.

But I knew, deep down, that it was Angela. She was behind it all.

A person fumigating a house | Source: Pexels

A person fumigating a house | Source: Pexels

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I was determined to teach Angela a lesson. So, I devised a plan. I invited her and Charlie over for dinner and played the gracious host. When they arrived, I warmly welcomed them, acting as if nothing was wrong.

If Angela suspected anything, she didn't show it. Instead, she smirked from the moment she came through the door.

"At least it doesn't smell in here anymore, Anne," she said, helping herself to the pile of freshly baked cookies that I had made for Charlie to take home.

A close-up of cookies | Source: Unsplash

A close-up of cookies | Source: Unsplash

We sat down for dinner, Charlie talking animatedly about his day at the office. Angela barely ate her dinner, just nibbling in between her smirks.

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"Angela, I've always believed in treating others with kindness and respect, especially when it comes to family. Do you agree?" I asked her, looking her in the eye.

A person holding a fork | Source: Unsplash

A person holding a fork | Source: Unsplash

She nodded.

"Good," I continued. "Because respect is a two-way street. It's about understanding and valuing each other's feelings and spaces."

My daughter-in-law's discomfort grew, and I knew that my words were hitting home. On one hand, I did feel bad for Angela. But on the other hand, I wanted to make it known that I wasn't going to be pushed into a corner.

An older woman sitting at a table | Source: Pexels

An older woman sitting at a table | Source: Pexels

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I wasn't going to be taken advantage of, just because she wanted a house that she couldn't have.

"Darling," I told her. "You seem to have a knack for gardening. Would you mind helping me with a little project tomorrow?"

I knew that she wouldn't refuse without appearing rude, so she agreed and turned away.

A side profile of a woman | Source: Pexels

A side profile of a woman | Source: Pexels

The next day, Angela arrived at my house, expecting a simple gardening task. Instead, I handed her a pair of gloves and a shovel.

"I need help digging up the old compost pile," I said with a smile. "It's been neglected by the previous owners, and it's time to start fresh."

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A compost pile | Source: Midjourney

A compost pile | Source: Midjourney

Angela's face paled as she realized the task ahead. The compost pile was massive and the stench was worse than the single rotten egg. But still, she had no choice but to help, considering the previous night's polite agreement.

After hours of hard work, we finally finished the task. Angela was exhausted and covered in filth.

"Come, let's clean up and have a drink," I told her.

Glasses of lemonade | Source: Unsplash

Glasses of lemonade | Source: Unsplash

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But I had another surprise waiting.

I took her to the study, where I had kept most of the photos of Adam and myself, among other mementos of his. But more than that, I also had gifts from Charlie and Angela displayed.

"These are the things that remind me of the people I care about," I said softly. "Respecting each other's space and memories is so important."

A vintage globe in a study | Source: Pexels

A vintage globe in a study | Source: Pexels

"Some of these things are from me," she mumbled, her expression morphing her into a new person altogether.

"It was me," she confessed. "I left the rotten egg in the vent. When I was doing the egg wash on the pastries for the party, I came across the egg. I'm so sorry. Please don't tell Charlie, he would hate me."

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A woman with tears in her eyes | Source: Pexels

A woman with tears in her eyes | Source: Pexels

She apologized for her sudden wave of jealousy about my new home. But the twist wasn't over. A few days later, Angela came to my house with a gift. It was a beautifully crafted wooden box. Inside were seed packs to many different types of plants and flowers.

And a note saying: Thank you for teaching me about respect. I hope we can plant new memories together.

From that day on, our relationship changed completely and Angela became more like a daughter.

A beautiful wooden box | Source: Pexels

A beautiful wooden box | Source: Pexels

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What would you have done?

If you enjoyed this story, here's another one for you:

As Jo returns from a business trip, she walks into a messy and chaotic house. Her husband, Brandon, greets her with a comment that gives her no choice but to run to her parents' house for refuge. When she returns, things seem to be better. But will Brandon learn his lesson and play his part in their marriage?

Read the full story here.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided “as is,” and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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