Mother-in-law’s outburst stresses marriage
Dear Annie: I’ve been married for 10 years. My husband and I live about 15 minutes from his mother. Things have never been great between my mother-in-law and me, but we’ve always tried to overlook our differences.
When my husband and I were first married and didn’t have kids, we spent a lot of our free time with his mom, but now that we have young children, I have decided to do what makes me happy. My husband visits his mother every Saturday, but I usually stay home. A few months ago, I joined my husband, and there was an incident in which my mother-in-law yelled profanity at me in front of my young son — claiming she was angry that I had “taken him away” from her. She was yelling at my husband and me, not our son, but the stress still impacted him greatly. He asked about it afterward.
I’ve talked about it with her. The first time, she apologized but said I took it the wrong way or overreacted. So we talked again, and I explained that she hadn’t offered a true apology. She couldn’t promise it wouldn’t happen again, so I am just done. I don’t want my child in that position ever again.
Then my mother-in-law approached my parents about it. I feel that she has no boundaries. My husband felt it was fine, saying she was an adult talking to other adults. I couldn’t disagree more.
We talked about counseling for my husband and me, but that was almost four months ago. I am lost, and it affects our relationship. I believe that it’s driving a wedge between us. — Lost and Frustrated
Dear Lost and Frustrated: You are not married to your mother-in-law. Your instinct to go to marriage counseling is a good one, especially because this problem reached a fever pitch four months ago and nothing has been resolved. Your husband has to speak with his mother about her unacceptable behavior. Yelling in front of children is never a good idea, but cursing out a child’s mother or father in front of the child is just plain unacceptable. The issue is her verbal abuse of you, and until she accepts responsibility and stops doing it, she will have to suffer the consequences of not seeing her grandchild. Marriage counseling will give you and your husband suggestions for bringing her back to her grandchild on your terms.
Dear Annie: I am in mourning for the loss of greeting cards in today’s world. I send many cards throughout the year for birthdays, anniversaries, deaths and illnesses. Even when I cannot afford a birthday gift for a friend, I try to pick out a greeting card that conveys my best wishes and matches my friend’s personality. I happily remember going to my mailbox on the days prior to my birthday and receiving cards from friends and relatives. Now it’s just a Facebook post saying, “Happy birthday!” To me, Facebook “happy birthday” posts are for acquaintances, not friends you have known for years or family members you love and respect. Is no one today capable of actually purchasing, addressing and mailing a greeting card? — Discouraged
Dear Discouraged: The decline in sending greeting cards is another unfortunate byproduct of our convenience-driven culture. I totally agree with you. There’s something special, perhaps more so now than ever, about receiving a physical card in the mail from a loved one. Buying and mailing a card only takes a few minutes and a few bucks — or less, if you make a card yourself — yet can mean so much. Here’s hoping we see a comeback.
Dear Annie is written by Annie Lane, a young, married mother of two. Send questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.