Your Dilemmas: My marriage is suffering due to my mother-in-law

In her weekly column, JOAN LONG, a Bishopstown psychologist and psychotherapist, answers readers’ queries
Your Dilemmas: My marriage is suffering due to my mother-in-law
YOUR DILEMMA: "I feel my marriage is suffering due to my mother-in-law."

Dear Joan,

I am in a very sticky situation as I feel my marriage is suffering due to my mother-in-law. She has never taken to me and tried to dominate our wedding, which I more or less allowed, to try and keep her happy.

I thought by having her in the picture and trying to include her, things would get better, but things have only gone downhill in the four years since the wedding.

Obviously, my husband loves her and to a certain extent, I feel he is blind to her harsh treatment of me. She constantly makes snide comments towards me and attempts to start an argument.

I often feel she may be jealous of the time I spend with my husband, as he lived with her right up until we got engaged and she took it very hard when we moved into our new house.

I now feel like the relationship with my mother-in-law is causing a strain in my marriage. I have tried to speak to her about it but it always seems to be of no avail.

I have even thought of leaving my husband and leaving a note, telling her what a bitch she is, as this might give her a wake-up call. I dream about all the things I would tell her in this letter.

My husband wants to start a family but I don’t want to because his mother would try to dominate the child and probably end up taking over the whole thing. I am sick and tired of this situation.

I sometimes imagine if I left the two of them together, they would be happy. He will never take my part in any argument I have with him about her as he always sticks up for mammy, and says I have no respect for her. But I get no respect whatsoever from her. I am at my wits’ end.

Dear Reader,

This is an awful dilemma, you’re really the piggy in the middle, although your husband might feel the same, if we knew what was going on in his head.

Yes, she is his mammy, the only one he can ever have. But you are his wife whom he has committed to for better or worse. So he has a commitment to you too.

As you rightly acknowledge, your mother-in-law must really miss her son. This is a real loss for her and I wonder if she ever really grieved it. She is now trying to control things in your life with him by the sounds of it.

Of course, this kind of interference and control will have very negative impacts on your relationship with your husband. She is his mother, not yours!

You do not mention if you have family of your own. If so, I suggest you link in with them for some support; even the balance a little.

It is quite serious for you to defer having a baby. The level of power your mother-in-law has in your life is very much unreasonable. You and your husband are both adults and it is not OK if this woman has this much control over your lives.

I would agree with you that it is not good timing now to fall pregnant as there is too much stress and tension in your lives. These issues need to be addressed before you take that step.

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