Question: Dear Luise, I am writing to you with a heavy heart. I am married for last 5 years and my bond with my husband is really strong. But now my problem is with my mother-in-law. We made a perfect mother-daughter relation the first 4 years, until she came to us for a visit when our first child is born last year. Our relation was such that anyone who know us would feel jealous about it. Somehow everything changed and she started passing on comments and blames over me. She once told my husband with me standing that, “my son had been suffering you quietly for last 4 years”.. Hearing that i felt that all the love and sincereity i showered on my husband and his family is put on a toss and valued as nothing. Again last month we went for a vaccation to her place for 3 weeks. Things were going fine until the last day. she used to pass comments and tell complaints to my husband that she did that, she is not doing that, and so on… a fight broke out for silly matter, which i had tried to explain to her in a nice way… and then she started abusing me and my family, she told my husband not to trust me and that i had been cheating him and them all this while, and that I am taking my husband to our home to kill him and that my intention is to seperate her son (my husband) from her and make him not to love her, and so on… these are things which are not anywhere far in my mind… the relationship is on a toss now.. I am deeply wounded and sad to loose that relationship…can you please advise what to do? Why is my mother – in – law changed her behavious towards me all of a sudden… infact, i feel, i am seeing these changes since my child is born. What is the reason? What should i do? I am not talking to her now.. What and how should i talk? She wont understand me and she went and told to her daughter and her sister everything by putting on all the blames over me only…Please help. C.
Answer: Dear C. It is impossible to try to figure out why other people do what they do or to try to change them. All you can do is gather up and reaffirm your dignity and self-respect and know that what is going on with your MIL is about her. It has nothing to do with you.
She desperately needs counseling. Something about the birth of your child triggered something in her personality. If I had to guess, it would be that for the last four years she has seen you as one of her children, an extension of her own family. With the birth of your child, she may now see you as the head of your own household, of which she is not an integral part or an authority figure. In the first concept, she may have still felt in charge and still able to maintain, in her own mind, a mother/child relationship with your husband. In the later that is no longer true and her identity may be all tied up with her former role. Whatever it is, it is probably way down deep in her unconscious so that she doesn’t know, herself, what is wrong. Therefore, she unfairly and viciously blames you. As I have said, that is just a guess.
I once read this: “What you think of me is none of my business.” In other words what other people make up about us, is always, basically, about them.
To subject yourself to her abuse wouldn’t fix anything and would take you further into her drama. All you can do that I know of is to keep your distance and hope the other family members see through her lies and observe her pathology. She needs help.
I would also suggest that you bring your situation over to my Web-forum at www.WiseWomenUnite.com where issues involving adult children and extended families are shared and a great deal of healing takes place. You will get multiple perspectives there, not just mine, and you will have a community of women to relate to instead of having to be alone with this painful situation. I hope to see you there. Blessings, Luise