Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dealing with an Abusive Mother-in-Law

I got the following info from here (my mother-in-law is abusive, but so is my father-in-law and a few other in-laws [learned traits, I guess], so it's helpful knowledge all around):


While many people quietly suffer critical mother in laws, abusive mother in laws are totally different. If you have been physically or mentally abused by your mother in law, here is how to cope.


  1. If you have been abused by your mother in law, it is not right, it is wrong. No one deserves verbal or physical abuse.
  2. Look to your spouse. Ask your husband or wife how they are going to deal with this situation as it is his or her mother. He should understand the hurt you have gone through and speak to his mother and tell her that what she has done was wrong.
  3. Ask your spouse to keep you away from her. Understand it will be hard for him as well because he would feel torn between you and his mom.
  4. If you feel your partner is not understanding, you need to think about your relationship as well. If you are not getting his full support you will feel helpless.
  5. Cut off your mother in law entirely. Nobody should be allowed in your life who abuses you. Do not try to make amends for the sake of your spouse.


  • Try not to think it was your fault and it was right for your mother in law to abuse you.
  • Tell your partner how you feel.
  • Avoid your mother in law as much as you can till you are ready to build a relationship with her, that is if you think you can.
  • Tell her if you feel comfortable what you feel about what she has done to you.
  • Keep the kids away from abusive mother in law. She may be abusive to the children.


  • Never feel its your fault.
  • Do not put up with abuse from anyone and think it is ok for that person to do that.
  • Abuse is not just physical but it could also be in mental form.
  • If someone is abusing you, they have problematic issues in their own life.

Things You'll Need

  • Power
  • Self belief
  • Support from your partner
  • Support from your parents
  • Sense of humor


  1. I have been married to a wonderful man for 20 years this year. He did however come with an awful lot of baggage considering the relationship his parents had, his mother has now with him and his sister. As of June I no longer have a relationship with her. For all of these years, she has abused me verbally when my husband was not around. On many different occasions I was the victim of her evil. As an example - when i was 8 months pregnant with her first grandchild, my sister in law got married. I was too big at that point to be in the wedding so they asked me to help video tape in places where the video camera wasn't going. At some point during the evening, I realized that my legs had swollen to twice their size and that I couldn't get my shoes off! So, I went and sat down for a little while. She came to me and berated me for not caring enough about SIL and her to even help out a little tiny bit for one night.
    Another time she asked all of the family who had September birthdays to her house for a celebration lunch. She handed all the others a gift and made a special birthday wish to them. I sat there unfazed thinking she's at it again. When I went outside later with my son, she came up behind and me and hissed "What's the matter...are you mad that I forgot your birthday?"
    Those are just two of the many many examples of what she did say and do to me over the years. I am a very strong, independent person and so I never really thought it was getting to me until I had my daughter and she started in on her too. Even at the hospital, in the middle of the night, she came in and said to me "be careful - all little girls are bitches." What on earth is WRONG here?!
    Over the past 12 years or so she has been up and down crazy. Her husband, the sweetest man on earth, died in 2008. She had berated and abused him terribly for 40 years and when he died all I could think was "Thank God - He finally has some peace." she has since gone into crying frenzy, feeling sorry for herself and asking us, begging us, to spend time with her. There were a couple of occasions where I gave in, feeling sorry for her. Of course, the evenings ended poorly, as usual and I was left feeling very drained and sick.
    The final issue arised this past summer when relatives came to town to spend time with us. I invited her to dinner with us. She brought all kinds of food - staple items that everyone has when planning a cookout - like ketchup, lettuce, cheese etc...she even brought plates. I told her I had it covered. She moved all of my food out of the kitchen and placed her food in there instead while I was cooking. Then, while I was preparing food in the kitchen, she went out and took over the grill and started complaining about my cooking methods. I very gently asked her to leave my kitchen and deck and find something constructive to do with herself. She stomped away. Later, the relatives had brought a late birthday present for my son and since he was going out for the evening, they sang to him and gave it to him on impulse in the kitchen. She stood in the doorway seething and said "I have a gift for you too - will you accept a gift from your old grandmother even if it doesn't come with all the hoopla?" Never mind that his birthday was days before and she lives in town and didn't bring him anything or call or anything! He politely opened a card from her and thanked her but I knew he was off-kilter with it all. He's 14!!!! I was getting very upset at this point and I took a few minutes to calm down. I calmly went back inside and packed her food and all that up and asked her nicely to leave. She was shocked. I just said that I didn't think she was enjoying herself and that she probably should go. and I have not spoken to her since. And I won't and I feel great. Get these toxic people out of your lives and go have some fun and be happy!

  2. WARNING~ LONG STORY So my MIL lives 5 min down the road from us , I have no family here except for my kids and my husband. I am in a fight with her because of some things she has said behind my back to my husband about me and my family, and because I confronted her, she decided to act like a crazy person and for 2 weeks has been trash talking me. We don't like our kids to be around fighting so I told her to give me 2-3 days without messaging me about seeing the kids and I will arrange to talk about some of the things that need to be delt with before she can take my kids alone again. She hasn't stopped and today was the second time she showed up at my house when I told her she wasn't allowed here because she screams outside my house. My husband finally gave in and said she can say hi to the kids quick and that's it. But then cursed at him when she left because he told her that she can't threaten to tell the police things and show up when we tell her not to. I know the next thing will be that she is going to put up a fight she can't have them alone. She has called me a horrible mother, threatened to take us to court and call cps because we are holding our own kids hostage from her, called me horrible names and has bashed me for being a stay at home mom! I'm itching to move! Any advice???

    1. I'm so sorry! I just saw this. I'm so sorry you're dealing with such a heartbreaking situation. No one can decide what's best for you except you. If I could go back in time to when we had anything to do with my in-laws and give myself advice, I would say to talk to my husband about it, but I would let him deal with them. No matter what I said or did, they would always find a way to use anything against me. They still do, and we have had nothing to do with them for 9 years! It's a vicious cycle. We did not have kids when they were in our life, but if we did, I know I would have done whatever it took to protect them. If it's unhealthy for your kids to be around her, then it's up to you and your husband to set the boundaries. She'll lash out, I'm sure, but they are y'alls children; not her's, and she has to respect that. Same with you; you set the boundaries for your own sanity. If she is going to be awful, then she'll be awful. Don't let her get a bad response out of you. It's really really really hard, but I never want someone else's behavior to bring out a bad side of me, so I try my hardest to refrain from acting back. I couldn't imagine living 5 mins away! Sending you virtual hugs!

  3. I'm too drained to share all the examples of my mil. But she's said things to me over the years such as " I wish you weren't my daughter in law ", this is a picture of the girl we had hoped our some would marry, she called my child a little shit in front of her and me, she grabbed my child's arm and pulled her out of the car then got in my face and snapped at me about how I should get over it. She made a scrapbook of my husband life, there wasn't a single picture of me in it. We'd been married for 5yrs at that point. I went to counseling and my counselor pointed out the emotional abuse. My husband and I are going to counseling to figure out how to deal with this. I know Christ calls us to love and forgive, but my kids and I will not be her door mats. My husband called his mom and laid down some boundaries, if she honors them she will see us again, if she crosses them I will pull the plug on the "relationship" it's not our fault, we did nothing to deserve it and peace and prayers to all the people who deal with this. You're not alone!