Why Does My MIL Like Making Us Miserable?

Question: Dear Luise:  I am married and we have a 6 year old daughter who is in the 1st grade.  My daughter and I live with my mother-in-law and my husband lives an hour away going to school at a university.  My mother-in-law is ALWAYS in our business…all of us.  She likes to give us her “suggestions” but when we don’t follow then she gets mad.  She is and always has treated my husband horribly and because of that my husband treats her horribly.  My daughter has picked up on that and now thinks it is OK to scream and yell at people all the time.  It is the only thing she knows.  Her behavior at school has been horrible and I am sure it is because she has my mother-in-law and me giving different orders to her and my husband tries to give different orders when he is home on the weekends.  We cannot afford to live on our own and living with my mother is just too far away.  There are many other issues as well…like my mother-in-law is a HUGE packrat and slob then tries to go blame it all on us.  I am nothing but stressed out all the time because I can not stand someone trying to raise MY child and who is always trying to run our lives (whether we are living here or not).  If you could maybe give some suggestions on how to make our living situation a little more bearable that would be great.  Thank you so much. L.

Answer: Dear L.: What a mess. Good for you for writing to me. You obviously are beginning to realize that you are the one who must resolve it.

I don’t see a way for you to change anything if you stay there. It’s her house and she is a dysfunctional, bitter and abusive person.

You need to either get a job and join your husband or stay with your mother, no matter how far away she lives. Your present situation is destructive to everyone concerned, especially your daughter. She didn’t make any of the decisions that brought this about but she is the helpless victim of the mistakes the rest of you have made. Such circumstances could bring her serious and permanent damage.

It’s time for you to take action. Blessings, Luise

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