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Boyfriend's Family Makes My Depression/Anxiety Worse

Community Member

Hi! 🙂 I've been with my BF for over 2 years. He's my absolute rock & he has supported me through every single bad day I've had.

His dad lives in Aus. & his mum lives overseas (neither of them speak English very well). A year ago, his mum came to Aus. We spoke a lot using Google translate. We did a lot together...she even confided in me about personal problems. She told me I was like a daughter to her & that she was so happy I was with her son because she sees how much I love him.

My BF told me a long time ago he's not close to them because of what they're like. I soon witnessed this. The 2nd day she was here, they started fighting. At one stage I even felt they were trying to cause fights between me & my BF. The fights between his parents carried on the whole time she was here & they would always ask my BF to fix it.

Eventually he was so sick of it, he moved out, which was accelerated because they insulted both of us. They said horrible things about him, like that he hasn't achieved anything (he has 2 degrees & works full time in his field). But then it was my turn...they called me ugly, told him his exes were better than me, said it was weird I don't like going out a lot/don't have many friends, they told him I don't love him, they said they hated me & any other insult you can think of. We bought his mum a Thomas Sabo bracelet to which she later said I control his money & she wanted Adele tickets & I'm the reason he didn't get them (I don't control his money. We have a savings goal we're trying to achieve together & his parents thought that he should be using all his pay on them). She also said she doesn't want grandkids from me.

My BF moved out & we've been happier than ever! 🙂 I was broken for a long time though. The comments they made about the both of us affected me for months & at times I still get depressed & upset about it. He didn't deserve any of it & neither did I.

Anyway she went back home temporarily but she's back. My BF is meeting them because they called/texted him relentlessly saying they need to talk. He told them that he has no intention of being a "family" again & that they showed both him & me no respect & he won't let them treat me that way.

I won't be there when they meet. I'm worried for my BF though & that they'll try to hurt him again, and, I'm worried how stressful/upsetting it'll all be for me again.

24 Replies 24

Community Member

Hi unicornprincess29,

Thanks for sharing this with us.

With your boyfriend on your side you are definitely the winner here 🙂

Not that the conflicts with mother-in-laws are uncommon, in your case it is combined with cultural difference (I'm assuming that your bfs parents lived in a different culture).

It looks like she wanted full control over her son and something did not happen according to her wish. Her commented on your looks could signifies two things - First, she deliberately wants to hurt your feelings, so that she can get successful in her mission. Second, she is insecure about her own relationship with her son and husband.

You are resilient and patient to have been going through all this, now that they are meeting again, you can help your bf prepare beforehand for him to be able to go through her hurtful comments.

The positive side of the situation at any time is to think that you did not do any wrong and that your bf is supportive and loving. 🙂

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Unicornprincess29, I think that Okadoka, has said all the right words here, so I don't need to comment, but your b/friend knows exactly what he is doing, he won't back down because whatever his parents say, it's probably too late to rectify the situation.
He is showing great strength to make sure that nothing will be said to harm you, he must be a terrific b/friend. Geoff.

Hi Okadoka!

Thanks for your reply. 🙂

They come from a South American background so they have a pretty open mindset. A lot of the time it was more like they were trying to be a friend rather than parents. I know you can be a parent and a friend at the same time, but with them it was as if they were the kids and we were the parents. So for example, they both got really intoxicated on NYE, and I had to get them home safely, and my BF was sick at the time too so I was looking after him and them. And they didn't care that he was sick at all.

His mum also had a really bad habit of just walking into his room whenever she wanted, she would never knock. He did tell her multiple times that that wasn't ok because I could be changing or we might have been having a personal conversation (especially because whilst she was here my depression got really bad and I was crying almost every day). So she got angry at both of us because "I'm your mother. I don't need to knock. What are you guys doing in here that's such a secret?" That was another reason he moved out, because of the lack of privacy and the lack of respect she'd show us in regards to having any sort of time alone. She'd constantly was him to be with her.

I definitely feel like a winner, especially because of how much he's stood up for me. And I'll definitely be there to support him when he gets back from seeing them, but I just worry because we both have no idea what to expect with them. They try to guilt trip him a lot & make him feel like he's in the wrong.. they even went so far as to say he should apologise to them (for what, we have no idea). I know that any time he sees them, it puts him in a really bad mood & considering they have barely spoken in 6 months, I get the feeling it'll be a very heated meeting that will most definitely turn into a full blown argument. I'm worried because my BF is in a really good place right now with work, study, us... and I feel like his parents try to ruin him. I know the comments they made about him still stick with him, and I just know their meeting will most definitely be another vicious attack because of how they are. They can't ever accept that they're in the wrong, and as soon as you tell them they are, they just attack you.

Hi Geoff, thanks for the reply 🙂

He is an amazing BF! I'm super lucky to have him. And I definitely trust that he'll have my back no matter what they say.

It's just hard because I feel like this is reopening wounds for both of us. It took him a while to get over the things his parents said, but he had to put up with this for 27 years so I think for him a lot of it was expected. Obviously it was all still very hurtful coming from his parents, but he's a really strong person and I think because he's spent his whole life dealing with them, it's also made him very resilient, especially towards them. Whereas with me, I genuinely believed they liked me, and everything they said, for me, completely came out of nowhere. Even though my BF had warned me about them, I didn't think they would be that abusive. And because I was in a really low place (caused mostly by them) with my depression and anxiety, the comments really affected me a lot, and I just don't know if I'm ready to go through that all again.

Hey unicornprincess,

Have you spoken to your BF about your worries about whether you can go through that again?

It sounds like the comments have really rocked you and he may not know or understand the extent to which you're afraid of it happening again.

Given that he's been supportive and you're in this relationship together, it's something worth bringing up. They're his parents so no matter what, they'll always be in the picture somehow, even if they do disappear for years on end.

So I think it will help to be completely upfront with your boyfriend about what that means for you, and to reassure him that you appreciate and love what he's doing and just want to make sure that you feel safe as well.


Hi James,

Thanks for the advice.

I have spoken to him about it a few times (most recently an hour ago). Also initially after it happened, we talked about it a lot, and I really tried to make him understand how hard it was for me.

He also believes that their meeting won't go well at all and I think he would rather not go, but he's worried that if he doesn't, they'll cause a scene at his work, and also that they won't stop calling/texting him. He's told his mum a few times now that he doesn't want to talk to her and blocked her on Facebook, so then she started messaging him from his sister's account. So, I think he just wants to get it over and done with, because he knows it'll go badly, and hopefully they'll stop harrassing him. But he does understand it's hard for me, and he's just trying to be really supoortive and loving. He constantly reassures me that he'll defend me and won't let them treat me badly. And I've told him that I support him no matter what, and that whatever happens, I'll have his back as well. I wouldn't tell him not to go, because I think he needs this to be done with as well so we can get on with our lives, but yeah, I just can't help but worry.

Community Member

Hi everyone! I just wanted to post an update of how it all went & how I'm feeling.

In regards to me, my BF told them I didn't deserve any of what they said/did. He told them I had a good relationship with them until they started asking me to keep secrets from him. He told them I was the only person who looked after him i.e. cooking & cleaning, but also that I was there for him during his highest & lowest moments. He told them how good a person I am & how unacceptable their behaviour was. They apologised & acknowledged that they messed up. They said they never meant any of it & it was in the heat of the moment. My problem is... yes, people say things they don't mean when they're angry, but their fight was with him, it had nothing to do with me but they dragged me into it & the abuse I received was far worse than what my BF received.

Anyway, because his parents are abusive towards each other, my BF told them our future kids won't be allowed to see them without either one of us present because it messed up his childhood & still affects him, so he doesn't want our kids growing up around that. They weren't happy about this, but he told them that's how it's going to be.

His parents said they want to gradually rebuild a relationship with us both. My BF agreed, but he told them whether I want that is up to me & he won't force me. What I said to him was: After all the abuse I received, my mental illnesses got very severe & I've only just started to recover (I still have days when I wake up & remember what they said & those are the days my depression really flares up), so there's no way I'm putting myself in a position to be hurt again (knowing his parents, it will definitely happen again). So I said maybe one day when I'm stronger, but I'm not letting them ruin how hard I've worked to somewhat recover. As I said in my last post, my BF is VERY supportive, so he said "I know how hard it's been for you, and I also know they didn't mean any of it, but if you don't want to have anything to do with them, I 100% understand & support you."

I did also speak to a friend because I questioned whether I was being petty. Her opinion was that suffering from mental illness is enough of a battle & that I should surround myself with support and love, not people who tear me down because they feel like it, so in her opinion, it's not selfish or petty, it's looking out for myself & my relationship with my BF.

Hey unicornprincess,

It's good that your bf has set some of those rules with his parents and is putting you first.

I'm glad to hear that.

If you ever want to have a chat, we're happy to listen to you here as well. You're doing well!


Hi there U.P.

My first time writing to you about this situation … I was going to mention about the meeting, that perhaps it should or could have been done in a social setting, like a coffee shop or something and not their home. So it would be less likely (perhaps) that they’d go off tap and verbally go nuts; but it sounds like it went way better than what you’d both hoped.

To me though, it sounds very similar to the very start of your relationship with them (or especially the mother). Where you spoke via google translate and that the time with her was a really positive one … and then shortly after, they turned. Almost sounds like a mini-series of a mild horror tv show. Where it’s all good and lovely to begin with, then the parents turn and become monsters. And that’s the part you need to remember and it sounds like you are, which is the way to go … that they do appear to be monsters and just horrible people. To say some of the stuff they’ve come up with, really makes you question what sort of mind set they have.

The good thing now though, is the ball is in your court. And your bf is 100% on your side with this, so the number one thing here is your own health and well being. And no way in the world are you being petty or anything like that. Far from it. You were unjustly and wrongfully abused and from this, you’ve been doing all the right things … doing everything you can to get yourself “ok” again and having the full support of your bf. It does sound like you’ve got the most awesome relationship.

Thank you for providing the update and the other thing I was going to ask along the way was whether your bf is their only child, but you mentioned he has a sister, which makes me wonder what kind of relationship “she” has with the parents? But again, that’s pretty much irrelevant here, because your well-being and health is the main concern.

Kind regards