1728 – Toxic Mother in Law
Question: Dear Luise: What can I do about my Mother in law? I’ve spoken to her about needing more personal space for my family (her son and our 3 year old and 3 month old baby). Yet, she tries to invite herself to some of our family plans. She plays the victim role with her sons and ex-husband, as well as friends of my husbands so we can be seen as the victimizers and it’s driving me insane to not be able to speak out bluntly and let her know that while I do respect her as the Mother of my son and grandmother of our children, I do not have to personally like her or have a relationship with her. She is overbearing and toxic. This woman always bath mouths or gossips about everyone, including her ex-husband to me and her own sons. She comes from a long history of abuse which has caused her to fail to see that she has now become the abuser. She does not see she is constantly the “victim” andfor as long as I’ve known her (10 years now), she has always been the same- she’s always gossiped, thinks everyone’s jealous of her- or her friends or co-workers at least-, bad mouths her ex-husband because she’s not getting the attention she wants from him, and is forcing herself into our lives which we find smothering. If we don’t go over she complains to her ex-husband or oldest son (assuming the “victim” role) so they can give my husband a guilt trip, causing distress in our marriage. Please help! A.
Answer: Dear A.: You can be pretty sure that your MIL is not going to change. Being a victim is one way to control others and it’s working for her.
I’d like to invite you to join my Web-forum – www.WiseWomenUnite.com – where you will meet many other women facing the same thing and problem solving together. You matter…your husband and children matter and you are right in calling what you are experiencing “abuse.” Setting boundaries isn’t easy and maintaining them can be even harder…and yet that’s what is needed. Self-respect dictates that you protect your own from what has been going on for a decade and will continue until you eventually experience very real, collateral damage in your relationship.
I started the forum because so many women are in the same situation as you are and I felt that a question and answer venue wasn’t offering enough support…and that community was needed. Much caring and sharing occurs there as well as a great deal of healing. Blessings, Luise