Question: Dear Luise: I am not sure how to handle my inlaws. My mother in law is rude to meand belittles me on a regular basis. She has said things like “your babies have sh** brown eyes.” She behaves this way when we are alone. In front of others she will embarrass me, and she has turned herdaughters and sisters against me to the point that I will not visit the inlaw family anymore. My husband gets angry, but will not talk to her about it because he says she will never change. He just tiptoes around it. Now our children dont like visiting there either (they are 10 and 11). The inlaws live 1500 miles away and my husband and the kids go to visit without me. We have been married for 12 years, and other than the inlaws we have a good marriage. I say that if the children dont want to go, they dont have to go. Husband does not agree. What to do? M.
Answer: Dear M.: This is an issue that has to be settled between you and your husband. It isn’t anything an outsider can arbitrate. He is right…his mother isn’t going to change. She’s a bully. The next step to get is that he isn’t going to change, either. He knows what she is and he has learned how to survive. If he has listened to you and agrees, but will take no action, that’s something you will probably have to factor into having a good marriage. His mother lives a long way away…count your blessings! He will probably continue to take the children there because he is not able to go without them and explain. Eventually, they will refuse to go. He’s not a coward, as I see it, he’s doing his best. I would suggest you show him the deepest compassion. Blessings, Luise