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In-Law Issues - Relationship Advice

Updated on August 13, 2010

In-Law Outlaws

I receive the occasional email asking advice on an in-law issue. I've put together a few of them into this one in-law advice Hub. I hope it helps anyone dealing with in-law problems.

Feel free to send me an email through my Hubpages profile with your relationship questions. Thanks!

Dear Veronica,

My mother in law is driving me crazy! I'm so sick of this! I'm writing to you out of desperation. She picks on everything I do. She has a problem with how I dress our kids, my job, how I cook, how I drive, everything! If she isn't picking on me, she's pouting and refusing to talk to me. My husband of 9 years is about to get smacked in the head if he doesn't stand up and handle this. I don't feel like I should be the one to tell her to back off. It's his mother. He doesn't really side with her, he just laughs and leaves. He'll say something like, "Hey you married me, you married my family." I keep telling him if I stand up to her I'm going to rip in with everything I have and we will never be able to repair it. Should I do it? What else can I do?

Glendale Peggy

Dear Glendale Peggy,

Your husband has a point, marrying him means you have to deal with these family members. However, you're right. She's his mother and he should be the one that deals with this.

It is a very good sign though that he's not siding with her. He doesn't sound like a mama's boy, he sounds like a teenager playing a trick on you. Laughing and leaving you to deal with it, while unfair, is actually kinda funny.

The problem here is perpetuation. You said you've been married 9 years. The fact that it's still going on means he thinks it's OK. He thinks you're not going to explode, your threats are rather idle, and that it's just not that big of a deal. By your letting it go on and on all these years, you've proved to him that his thinking is correct.

I think you need to have a very serious heart to heart to with the hubby. You need to not yell, you need to be serious, and you need to tell him you've had it with this. If he doesn't step up and speak to his mother, you will. And you will do some serious damage if you do.

Additionally, if I were you, I'd speak to the MIL also. don't wait for him to handle it. Go ahead and at least let her know there is an issue here that is about to come to a head. Do not wait until she is picking on you and pushing your buttons. Once you've lost your cool your power and articulation is compromised. Go to her house, or go to meet her and tell her you're there to make sure she's aware she's crossed the line and this is over. You will not be spoken to in the disrespectful way she has been. You will not be criticized, and you will not be made to feel inadequate about anything ever again. If she can't behave herself, then she's going to have very very limited and supervised time with her grandchildren and with her son. You're in charge now. Period.

The calmer you are the more affective your words will be. Good luck.

Dear Veronica

My inlaws are religious and when they are around my children they teach them things that go against what my wife and I believe. They tell our kids that horrible things like that my wife and I are going to Hell because we don't go to church and for other things in our lives. My wife is aware of how her parents are, but she is intimidated by them and just ignores the situation. She is great with our kids when they ask questions, but I am upset that my children's minds are being exposed to this. I have told my inlaws to stop this but they just ignore me. Recently my son actually told me all gays were going to hell and god hates them. That was the last straw. I will not raise my children to be hateful and judging the way my inlaws are. Do you have any advice for me?


Dear Anthony,

I applaud you for not allowing that kind of crap into your children's lives. You need to end this now. You have the right to raise your children with the beliefs you feel will make them beautiful human beings. I happen to agree with your ideas. But that's besides the point. 

Your children are not your in-laws children. They can either respect your wishes, or they need to be removed from your children's lives. Not only are they teaching your children things that go against what you believe to be right, they are also teaching your children that they have no regard or respect for you. You can not maintain a place of good authority in your kid's lives if they are being taught to disrespect you, by people who disrespect you.

If your wife can't stand up to them, then you will have to. Tell them from now on you are limiting their contact with the kids to when you have the time to conduct a supervised visit. That's it. 

Dear Veronica,

My husband's father is now 80 years old and can't take care of himself anymore. We have never gotten along. My husband has a strained relationship with him at best. We've been married almost 30 years and have raised 4 children who are now adults and starting their families. My husband and I have worked hard to raise our family, and have looked forward to this time to be together just us. Now, my husband is talking about moving his father in with us. I would be the one that would be forced to be home with this man all day every day, and taking care of him. I don't want to do that. I am not close to him and I don't want to be burdened like this. I don't see what the problem is with putting him in an assisted living home. My husband has brothers and sisters but none of them want him either. I don't know why my husband is taking this on. I don't even think he'd be happy here. He doesn't like me and would still have to give up his home which seems to be a big source of contention. What do I do?

Natalie H G

Dear Natalie H G,

I'm sorry to hear of your situation. I understand the concept of stepping up and being there for family. But really your husband can't ask you to care for his elderly father. 

It is a huge and heavy burden for your husband to be trying to place on you, to be caring full time for his elderly father whom you do not get along with. The important thing for you to do here is to have a very open and honest conversation with your husband. You need to find out why after years of a strained relationship with his father, does he suddenly want his father to come live with you. He has to talk to you about what is going through his head. 

Maybe your husband isn't aware of any alternatives. Maybe he has a limited idea of nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Go ahead and find one that is located near you or near one of your husband's siblings. Get a sibling or two involved with this. Get pictures of the place, get as much info as you can so that you can assure your husband it's safe, and that your FIL will be getting good care there, probably better care than you can offer alone in your home.

When given a safe alternative that his siblings are on board with, I think your husband will be more likely to opt for that choice. But don't forget there is an issue going on with him. Maybe misplaced guilt or fears for his own old age. Whatever it is, try to get him to figure it out and talk to you about it. He may really be hurting over this. 


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    7 years ago

    My husband's family is an absolute mess. Every since I came into the picture things have been horrible. He started spending more time with his son (from a prev relationship) and they blamed me (as if that was a bad thing). His mother has ignored me, not hugged me back, caused my husband to miss a dinner with my family, yelled at my husband, cried that we were taking her grandson away from her right in front of the grandson, she hasn't come to see us or our new house in years (we live out of state) and when she was invited she found out that my parents were living with us temporarily and then requested that we only spend 2 out of the 11 days that she was here with them, she judges everything we do and criticizes and husband won't stand up to hsi family.

    Recently his brother came out to stay with us for a weekend and his sister send money with him to hide from me and deceiptfully give to my husband. My husband said nothing when I found out...I had to take it up with the brother myself and yet still my husband couldn't stand up to his brother.

    For years I have felt like an outcast and it has taken such a toll on our marriage that we are now considering divorce and losing our very first home. I don't know what to do. I do know I can't be married to someone that lets his wife get treated this way.

    Any suggestions?

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I have a major issue with my in laws that I think is very unique to this family. I am at my wits end! Both my mother in law and Father in law are very dependent even though they are only middle aged. Although divorced, they both have financial problems. They expect my husband, his brother, and most of the time myself to meet all their needs. They ask us to drive them everywhere, (although they both have vehicles) to pay bills, run errands with them, take them to Dr's appointments, etc. This issue has become increasingly worse with my mother in law who is also bi-polar. The burden usually falls on me as I do not work because of health problems. I feel very manipulated by my in laws for this reason. Instead of receiving any understanding or respect for my poor health, I am constantly the one who is asked to do everything for everyone. Recently, I was asked by my mother in law to drive her around on her errands and I said that I could not as I had my own responsibilities to attend to that day. It blew up in my face as it seems to more and more lately. She threw a fit to say the least and then contacted my brother in law to talk to my husband and I. This of course was in the middle of the night when we were trying to rest. My husband and his brother went back in forth. My husband trying to make him understand that she is an adult and needs to handle her own issues and his brother in turn trying to make us (mostly me) feel guilty and that whatever I have to do needs to be dropped for her as I am the only one who can drive her around. I am really angry at this point to the least. I really feel disrespected and now the family is pouting and probably will not speak to me for months. I should not have to be the one person who has to care for this woman and drop everything I have to take care of. I am tired of everyone thinking that because I do not work I do not have anything important to attend to or that I have no responsibilities! Its Nonsense! I really need advice.

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from NY


    Thanks for your comment! I've moved it to here, where I've answered you in your very own Hub:

    I hope you'll read it. Thanks again Anna!


  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from NY

    Thank you, dallas93444. That means a lot to me!

  • dallas93444 profile image

    Dallas W Thompson 

    8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

    Your sensitivity and "actively listening" skill are serving others needs! Keep up the good work!

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from NY

    Hey Natalie! Thanks for commenting. Best to you in this difficult situation. Namaste.

  • profile image

    Natalie HG 

    8 years ago

    I never thought you'd actually answer my email! This is so nice. Thank you for taking the time. I feel validated that you understand what I'm going through. I am going to start finding an alternative place for my father in law immediately and I am going to get my sister in law involved. This is sound advice. I think you are right about my husband having some issue. I don't know what it is. I don't know if he knows. But I will not drop this. I will work on trying to get him to talk about it. It is important. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from NY

    Thanks Sa'ge!! xoxo

  • Sa`ge profile image


    8 years ago from Barefoot Island

    Girl, again on both issues you are right on target, so much so it is a bulls eye! great work! ~aloha luv~


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