Question: Dear Luise: This might be a long question. Please forgive me. I dated my husband for ten years before we married. My husbands mother practically raised me. We were always good friends and have always gotten along great. Which was wonderful because I have been through a lot of hurt within my own family, especially with my mother and father. I needed her and I needed his familys love and acceptence. However now that we are married many things have changed. I feel that my mother in law has turned into the much dreaded monster in law. She lives with my husbands sister three houses down from us ever since her divorce (with her three younger children). She does not help with rent or any bills and holds on to sentimental things that cost a lot of money. I feel that she is using the kindness of my sister in law and our kidness without so much as a thank you. Her daughter has explained that her living with them for the better part of three years is ruining her marriage. She states that hes no good anyways. Also she is very rude towards her son in law that provides for her and her three younger children. She compares him and treats him much as she did her ex husband. It is hard to respect her, she has changed so much. She hurts my feelings, and uses us and doesent even care. We have all been caring for her paying all of her bills, watching her children. She will probably never move into her own home again. I have to watch as my sister inlaws marrige falls apat, and bitterness consumes us all. The pain that this is causing the entire family and the stress that it is putting on my husband and I is getting to be too much. Her younger children do not have the same mother that my husband and her other children had. This makes us very sad. My husband has always warned me about the way his family is and I am what keeps us close to them. However now I have to ask myself is it worth the drama and pain. Should I cut them out of my life. I struggle because it makes me bitter to think that she could be so selfish especially as a Christian. On the other hand can I as a Christian really withdraw myself from the situation. As of right now my mother in law will not talk to me, I can not honestly tell her how I feel becasue my husband advised me that the truth would make her hate me even more. What can I do as a Christian. I don’t want to have children and expose them to this unhealthy living condition. N.
Answer: Dear N.: I can’t say anything about your religious beliefs because that isn’t my place. I do have the opinion that it’s not what we say about our beliefs but how they show up in our lives that shows the truth about us. I can say that your MIL is an adult and has no reason to expect a free ride. She is abusive to her family and expects respect in return. What’s wrong with that picture?
You and your husband need to decide together what your course of action is going to be. My vote would be to move away and hold her able to face the world as an adult or face the consequences. The course she is on is aimed at destroying you all with her self-absorbed dependency.
The truth is she can’t hurt anyone who isn’t willing to be hurt. If you cast yourself in the role of victim, that’s how it’s going to turn out. What goes on with your SIL and BIL is there issue to solve. Let it go. It’s not yours.
If you need to, go to counseling. It would be really sad if you chose abuse instead of a normal life. And you’re right, no child should be taught that such behavior makes sense and the dignity of a human being doesn’t matter. You deserve so much better. Give it to yourselves. Blessings, Luise