Family Ties

Dear Sugar
In a nutshell, my mother in law is crazy. There are too many stories to share that illustrate her evil ways. My husband and I have been married for two years but have been together for five. My husband was always the man of the house and took care of his mother and his two younger brothers.

When we started dating, she was instantly threatened by me and has since gone off the deep end. Then, when we got engaged, she was livid and would leave me horrible messages on my voice mail. She also banned me from her home, and attempted to file a restraining order against me.

I felt that if his mother hated me so much that perhaps we should not get married and I even begged my husband not to follow through with the engagement. We of course got married, but on our wedding day, she had to maker her mark and so she hung a huge photo of her deceased mother in the front of the church and it looked like a shrine.

Currently we have a one year old daughter and when we told her we were thinking about moving, my mother in law threatened Grandparents Rights on us. I could go on forever with examples like this. DearSugar, I need a coping method.

My husband lived with his crazy mother his whole life and has learned to accept her ways. I am a peace maker and can't take this way of life any longer. I take her awful treatment and don't say a word because I hate confrontation. However, now that I have a daughter who is getting older, I don't want to subject her to all this fighting. I need advice, what can I do? Tormented Tammy


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Dear Tormented Tammy
Having an overwhelming mother in law is no walk in the park. It sounds as though this woman really has it out for you. Is your husband aware of how this treatment is affecting you? Has he ever stood up to his mother about this outrageous behavior? Has he given you any suggestions to try to make things better between you?

You are doing the right thing by not feeding into her confrontational behavior although I am sure it infuriates her that you do not fight back. I am honestly surprised she still acts this way considering you have been in her life for so many years. Hasn't she figured out you aren't going anywhere?

I think you hit the nail right on the head; your mother in law is jealous that she now has to compete with another woman for the attention and love of her son. Unfortunately she has already made up her mind about you so don't worry about trying to please her.

Hopefully there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you can put your focus on creating a better relationship moving forward. Perhaps knowing of your desire to move away will make her realize that her animosity towards you will only do more damage in the long run.

Although you might want to shake some sense into her, I suggest continuing to be kind and non-confrontational with her. Rising above her petty behavior will be punishment alone for her because you aren't giving her any fuel or reason to dislike you. Hopefully one day she will learn to accept you as part of her family and see all the great things your husband sees.

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