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advise for mother in law causing my partner to be more depressed

Community Member

Hi I have been with my partner for 13 years now and for the past 8 years he has been through some pretty low points but I have always been there helping and caring as much as I can but there is an area that is causing him more grief and depression and I'm looking for help on how to fix it.

his mother is a heavy smoker and she also wastes her money buying crap from the $2 shop or gambling it on the pokies and she is also on the dole so every fortnight she calls my partner and asked for money for smokes and as soon as he gets off the phone I can tell what she wants because my partner gets very sad, angry, upset and can't concentrate on anything he is trying to do. She always pays him back but she seems to not care about how it makes him feel and also what it does to our relationship as we can't afford to give her money for smokes either but his mum will call after a while and say how she wants to kill herself if she can't smoke so to stop her from doing my partners head in he gives her the money and this causes tensions between us at home. We both work and have a 7 month old baby to look after, we don't smoke, drink and don't go and treat ourselves to much as we know how hard it is to earn money in the first place. We have tried talking to her and told her we can't afford to do this and she needs to buy her smokes as soon as she gets paid before she waste money on other crap but she never listens and every fortnight my partner dreeds his phone ringing and seeing her number flash up. So any advise we can use to get it through to her would be great

5 Replies 5

Community Member
Hi heyhey, i'm sorry to hear about this. Personally i've never been through it, and i apologise if i can't help or it seems i'm babbling or too blunt but this isn't just you and yours problems but hers too. Mostly hers. She may have some underlying problems that has been triggered into this behaviour. Considering the monetary problems, professionals would be hard to afford. Has she at all in her life gone to see a GP or psych? has she ever had a history of mental health problems, drug abuse?  

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

dear Heyhey, welcome to the forum, and what is happening is that your partner is only feeding his agony, as his mother pleads for money to purchase smokes or to gamble away, and she knows that she has him right where she wants him, literally under her thumb, and I'm sorry but it's a big mistake.

My wife (ex) and I lent her brother various amounts of money, which I never wanted to do, and this was over a few years amounting to an amount in the high double figures $k to stop him going bankrupt, never got a thank you and of course haven't seen a cent.

I was stupid but was enticed into doing it, it's an expensive lesson to learn, one which I would never allow myself to do.

With your partners mum and her threatening to end her life, can I ask how many times she has said that to him, more than once or twice, and just because she is a gambler and needs smokes to get on with life, I doubt that this would ever happen.

She has to be told on how to manage her money, so much for smokes and so much for the pokies, and when it runs out she will have to wait until her next centrelink payment.

This is where your partner has to come into the equation, and tell her no more, you have too many bills that have to be paid, or you could change your phone number, I know that your partner wouldn't want to do this, but sanity should be first priority.

He shouldn't talk to her on the phone for too long if he still decides to do this, because he's being baited, as she knows what will be his weak points so that he will succumb, maybe you could take the phone off him, and there maybe an argument, so it's now becoming a contentious point.

Your partner I don't think is going to feel at ease either talking to her or not talking to her, so it's a catch-22 situation

 L Geoff. x

Community Member

Hi raven666, trust me any advise is great as I really don't know what to do about this anymore. It causes so many problems between my partner and myself and I hate it. 

From what I know about her she has never talked to anyone or tried to get help but she also wouldn't know how to. I know this sounds weird but she is let's say, a very very simple women who doesn't get how things work. She doesn't know how to read or write and doesn't get life in general. Everything that she sees on TV shows like a current affair she believes, she also stresses very badly about dumb things, eg she now doesn't eat chicken as she seen on TV that chicken gets bleached in white king?? She is a very hard women to listen to and I know it is very embarrassing for my partner. 

Community Member

Hi geoff

thank you so much for taking the time to share you're experience, it really is helpful talking to others as most of my friends try to help but what they say isn't very helpful.

i only know of one time that she threatened to kill herself but I wouldn't be surprised if there was more from the way my partner acts as soon as she calls, he gets very nervous and uneasy. And I hate the fact that she tries to get him to cover it up from me when I work hard, just like my partner does to earn money and do the right things in life and it sucks we have her dragging us down. I really wish she would move back to the mainland and live with her sister and I know that sounds mean but after years of this I'm over it and it puts a huge strain on my relationship with my partner as we don't keep anything from each other

my partner has tried to help her and worked out how many smokes she would have to buy when she gets paid but she has only ever done this once and I know it would of been because that would of left her without money to waste on pokies/buying crap.  She isn't very educated and can hardly read or write and she is always talking about the dumbest things about crap that she has seen and believes on TV. 

At the moment she is sick with the flu and because she doesn't get things she hasn't been drinking or looking after herself and has become dehydrated and they had to put her into hospital as she can't swallow the pill she needs to get herself better. Oh and she didn't eat for 5 days then when she tried to she had milk and a whole mixture of random food and wonders why she vomited when we told her she needs to have dry biscuits and toast but mostly drink and keep the fluids up. She is such hard work it makes me so angry.

i like you're idea of taking the phone off him when she calls and I'm thinking about while they are talking on the phone I'm going to sing out that I need help with our 8 month old baby, and if that doesn't work I will pull the phone off the wall lol.

im desperate to try anything so my partner and I can enjoy having our first baby and just be happy without the burden of his mum calling and setting his depression into over drive.

and lastly I'm sorry to hear what you had to go through with you're brother in law, it's a shame when people don't respect there loved ones and try and scam what they can


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Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

dear HeyHey, thank you for your reply and see that the Moderators have been in contact with you, which is really good.

I would love for you to keep in touch with us and what's going on, because unfortunately this road is going to a difficult one for you and your partner and appears that you are both hitting a brick wall, but you need a release so please keep talking to us.

His mother is facing fire with fire and will increase the detriment of only herself. L Geoff. x