Question: Dear Luise: I am having a terrible problem that involves my husband and mother in law. My in-laws have given us a piece of property to put our home. We decided to move in with them to save money while we were having the property landscaped and our house put there. Everything was fine until about a week ago when my mother in law accused our 15 year-old son of taken her pain medications…(not only once but twice). After speaking with our son, he denies this and we have since found out from other teens that her grandson (not our child) was know in town selling his grandmothers pills. We also had our son drug screened, which came out negative. She continues to believe our son took her medications and refuses to believe her other grandson had anything to do with it. She has no proof that he took her medications. How can I make plans to spend my future living beside the in-laws when they don’t trust our son and hard feelings have now developed? Please help!!! “K”
Answer: Dear “K”: Is a piece of free land worth the price you are actually paying? That’s what you and your husband have to decide. What’s his take on this situation?
We can never get inside the minds of other people and rearrange their perceptions. Nor can we provide them with better logic or greater understanding. What you see is what you get with your mother-in-law. She’s made a serious and damaging mistake and now she’s defending that action with no apparent concern as to what it is costing you or your son.
You haven’t yet built and moved in. Why would you, now, with this new information regarding what you can expect in the future? Rumors are flying and proof isn’t available. So, in her mind, for some reason, your son is guilty. Even if there were proof, she might not budge. Can you see that? What kind of message are you sending your son if you continue to accept her “gift?” Again, I ask…what is this “free” piece of land really costing you?
Your first and most important move is a united front. You and your husband need to agree, 100%, that your little family is more important than anything else…even including renting instead of owning a home. You must create solidarity or your marriage may not survive this woman’s delusions. When you mother-in-law declared war on your son, there is no possible way for it not to be seen as war on all of you.
Cut your losses. Don’t take her on. Again, there is no way to clear up her misperceptions and her attachment to them. Make it clear that you have mutually decided to make other arrangements regarding housing and then “get the heck out of Dodge!”…ASAP! Blessings, Luise