Question: Dear Luise: HOW MUCH EMOTIONAL & VERBAL ABUSE CAN I TAKE FROM MY MOTHER IN-LAW (SOMETIMES COLLECTIVELY TEAMED UP WITH MY STEP-FATHER-IN-LAW, SISTER-IN-LAW & BROTHER-IN-LAW)? SHOULD I PUT UP WITH MY DAUGHTERS (FROM A PREVIOUS MARRIAGE) BEING TREATED, LITERALLY, LIKE DIRT BY THEM AS WELL? I HAVE A VERY CONTROLLING, MANIPULATIVE, VINDICTIVE MOTHER-IN-LAW. WHENEVER SHE SEES OR HEARS SOMETHING THAT I SAY OR DO THAT SHE DOESN’T LIKE, SHE INFORMS MY HUSBAND’S SIBLINGS. SHE TELLS THEM TO CALL THEIR BROTHER. THEY TELL HIM TO COME OUT FOR “SIBLING” BONDING TIME (WHETHER IT BE ONE-ON-ONES OR WITH ALL SIBLINGS TOGETHER). THEY GO OVER WHAT EVER ISSUE MIL HAS AND GIVES HIM THE GUILT TRIP THAT MIL IS NOT VERY HAPPY WITH HIM OR HIS DIL. MIL USES HIS SIBLINGS TO GANG UP ON HIM AND TURN THINGS INTO FAMILY DRAMA. WHY ARE THEY EVEN INVOLVED? MY DAUGHTERS FROM MY PREVIOUS MARRAIGE EVEN NOTICE AND EXPERIENCE THE STRAIGHT MEAN & NASTY TREATMENT. THEY WILL ASKS ME HERE AND THERE, “WHY DOES GRAND-MIL TREAT US SO MEAN AND IS SO NICE TO OUR BABY SISTER. EVEN AUNTIE IS MEAN TO US AND WE DON’T EVEN DO ANYTHING TO THEM? MY MIL TOLD ME STRAIGHT UP, “I HATE KIDS. BUT, I LOVE MY GRAND-DAUGHTER. NO ONE WILL EVER BREAK UP “THIS” FAMILY. YOU ARE JUST AN IN-LAW, EASILY CAME INTO THE FAMILY AND CAN BE GONE FROM THIS FAMILY.” MY SISTER-IN-LAW AND I ALSO GOT INTO AN ARGUEMENT AT ONE TIME. I ARGUED ABOUT THE ISSUE AT HAND, AND SHE CURSED ME FRONT OF MY CHILDREN. FROM THAT POINT ON, THE LINE WAS CROSSED FOR ME WITH ALL OF THEM. I HAD NO MORE PATIENCE AND RESPECT FOR ANY OF THEM. I ALWAYS SPOKE MY MIND, AND DIDN’T HOLD BACK WHAT I REALLY THOUGHT. OF COURSE, THEY HAVE EXILED ME FROM THE FAMILY. BUT THEN AGAIN, I AND MY “NON-BLOOD” DAUGHTERS, WERE NEVER TRULY ACCEPTED AS FAMILY MEMBERS. SO, NOW I RECENTLY TOOK AWAY THE PRIVILEGE OF HER CARING FOR “HER” GRANDAUGHTER. UNTIL I FEEL THINGS HAVE SETTLED, AND SHE & THE REST OF THE IN-LAWS CAN BE RESPECTFUL OF ME & MY ALL MY DAUGHTERS. MAYBE THEN, WILL SHE GAIN BACK THE PRIVILEGE OF CARING FOR MY DAUGHTER (HER “BLOOD” GRAND-DAUGHTER).I DON’T THINK THIS CAN EVER BE REPAIRED. WHAT DO YOU THINK AND ADVISE? S.
Answer: Dear S.: You need to bring this to my Web-forum so you can get feedback from others, not just me, and so you can have the benefit of a supportive community. www.WiseWomenUnite.com
When you do, please describe the role your husband is playing in your drama. The first thing I have to say after reading your question is that he started a new family unit when he married you and it has to be his first consideration. You need to face this and deal with it together. To do that, he has to take an immediate stand regarding the “bonding” sessions and the “he said/she said tale-telling” and refuse to go unless you are both present and respected. That’s a given.
If that can’t happen, pack up your lovely daughters and hit the road. The deck is stacked against you without his support and his two step-daughters could be permanently damaged by the overt rejection they face and do not understand. You deserve so much better. Blessings, Luise