Question: Dear Luise: I have serious issues with my “mother in law”. She has problems with everyone, so it’s not just me. I think she is very jealous of her sons relationship with me (she is the same way with her other sons wife) and seems to think that my family is too good for her due to having more money then her. (which is not the case at all) She treats my boyfriend terribly whenever she doesn’t get her way about anything and can be so immature over the most ridiculous things. My boyfriend and I have been together 2 and a half years and we have a 3 month old baby girl. He also has a 10 year old daughter from a previous relationship. His daughter and I get along very well. She even calls my parents grammy and grampy. My boyfriends mother insists on talking badly about me to anyone who will listen including his daughter. I really don’t want her around my child because I think that she will do the same around her. I feel as if her behavior is mentally abusive and she tries to manipulate everyone. Is it wrong for me to keep my daughter away from her? A.
Answer: Dear A.: The first thing you and your BF need to do is get on the same page regarding how you are going to deal with his mother. Many relationships have hit the rocks due to the lack of solidarity. If he thinks his mother makes sense or if he tiptoes around her, any boundaries you try to establish will be compromised. And if you don’t take a stand, your daughter is going to be confused by her lack of integrity. There is no way she can see through it at age 10.
Your mother in law is how she is…and she isn’t going to change. That’s how she is and that’s what you have to cope with. You have established a new family unit where you make the rules…just like she did when she started her own family.
I would never stand still for even the remote possibility of anyone attempting to undermine my relationship with my kids. Your daughter is not related to her. If you take her abuse, you would be a very poor role model for your daughter. The way you teach self-respect is to practice it. Blessings, Luise