I have a mother-in-law crisis.
I have an eight-months-old baby and am living with my spouse and his mother because financially it’s not possible for us to live apart.
Things have gotten increasingly worse between my mother-in-law and me, and my spouse won’t stand up for me. She’s a bully, is critical and condescending, and never stops giving “advice.” Her opinions and criticism are constant and I dislike stepping on anyone’s toes or creating conflict.
I’m afraid for my relationship with my spouse and our son if things don’t get better.
What do I do?
- Attacked in Calgary
Living together with in-laws can be hard on everyone involved, so start by talking this over with your husband - realistically and without blaming him or his mom.
Instead of just reacting to her bad behaviour, make a plan for when you can move out, and let her know - nicely – that though you appreciate the financial help, you and he are working toward independence. This may reassure her that the arrangement isn’t long-term, which may be one of the reasons she’s irritable.
Then, look at how you affect her household – e.g. is she doing all the cooking, are you and hubby pitching in to any chores? Show that you’re not taking total advantage of her, even if she invited you there.
Then, discuss with your spouse how you’ll both handle and set limits for her unwanted criticism and bullying. He needs to know that it’s his place to pass on to his Mom the message that you and he are adults, welcome advice when her experience is sought, but won’t be pushed around. This is crucial if you two are going to make it together through this period.
Opinionated Mama can also be told by him, that if you two are driven apart by her, she’s likely to lose her son and grandson as well as you.
I’m just getting divorced after 14 years’ separation and several false criminal allegations against me, including one charge of sexually abusing our child, for which I was acquitted.
My kids have been turned against me by their mother. I had extreme depression from this, and was suicidal for a while.
I get the feeling that her vindictiveness and anger is a love, which hasn’t resolved itself. The only emotion I feel is fear of her and her lawyer and their lies. All I want to do is get away and start my life over again.
Still, I feel this has left me as damaged goods, and that I wouldn’t be able to trust anyone and have a good relationship.
- Unable to Trust
Do NOT close off your life - nor a future relationship with your children – by wallowing in bitterness and fear. You’ve been legally acquitted, so put the pain behind you by choosing your right to happiness.
As the children get older, make a gentle outreach (with no criticism of their mother) through birthday and Christmas cards and emails.
As for dating, proceed slowly, be upfront about your past but don’t dwell on the details and your hurts during the get-to-know period. Look for new friendships, and get professional counselling if you find it too hard to stay positive.
You’ve had a hard time but you now have the opportunity to change your perspective and eventually seek a new, satisfying relationship. Seize it.
I’m married for 20 years with two teenage sons and a very good husband. But I don’t love him. I married him because of his citizenship and the pressure of my parents who both wanted to live here. How can I learn to love my husband?
The barrier to loving him is fixed in your mind, partly from guilt over how you “used” him, and from resentment of your parents’ pressure. However, he undoubtedly knew long ago that you needed him for immigration purposes, yet he still wanted you for his wife, and stayed loyal and good to you.
Your parents thought they were doing the best for the family; it’s time to forgive them and yourself, and accept your responsibility in withholding “love” as some kind of misguided punishment… to him, to them, and to yourself.
Give your husband and you a real chance for happiness together, starting now.
Tip of the day:
In-law problems can destroy all the relationships in a family. For my personal help with tough in-law situations, see my reality TV show, “Outlaw In-laws” on Slice TV.