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Mother In Law causing problems

Community Member

My Mother In Law was someone I really loved. I came from a rough home and when I was kicked out before marrying my husband, she took me in. She tried to make me feel comfortable and loved despite barely knowing me.

However I soon noticed her severe alcoholism and destructive behaviour my husband warned me about. She would drink 3-6 bottles of wine 4-6 nights a week. She would draw on walls and herself before having a screaming match with her female best friend that she's lived with since divorcing her abusive husband 15 years ago.

Honestly I was stupid and excused a lot of behaviour because I was desperate for love and was never taught anything but dysfunction and abuse so I settled into this new cycle. She would have my crying having panic attacks at 2am in the morning when she went on a rampage around the house drunk.

A year after moving in I married her son and not long after fell pregnant. I felt myself relapsing into depression again and when considering professional help she discouraged me saying "you're going to make mistakes anyway, you can't stop it" and claimed my self harm in the past was only superficial. I told her these things in confidence as a mother figure and when it suited she threw them back at me.

Ive now been doing intense weekly psychotherapy for almost a year and long story short I now see why I can't allow to live without boundaries any longer, for the sake of my son (now 1) and family I started to make hose changes.

I asked politely for them not to drink any alcohol when my son sleeps over. The response was that I was being silly and my MIL claimed she would never ask someone she trusts not to drink. This is not an unusual response as I understand she is an alcoholic.

She has always done things I'm uncomfortable with, like posting photos on social media of my son without asking and calling him her baby, flat out lying and never acknowledging disrespecting our parenting, pretending things she said never happened, sending me abusive text messages when she's very drunk and so on.

I used to to live in fear because I needed her approval but now I understand I am safe with my husband and family. Now I'm concerned about setting boundaries but he second I started (kindly and diplomatically), I was thrown into a hurricane of silent treatment, intimidation and abuse.

Im now pregnant again and am seriously considering cutting her off. Hubby has never liked his Mum. I'm so stressed! My kids don't need these values do they?

2 Replies 2

Community Member

Hi Terri,

Thanks for sharing your story.

Having had grown up in a disruptive household as a child can be hard, so I know how you want to live away from toxic people.

It's nice your mother in law helped you when you first moved out of home, but now it seems like she doesn't care about anyone, but the bottle. Your family need to live in a stable environment and free of drama.

Talk to your husband about encouraging your mother in law to go to rehab, otherwise cut ties, it's not fair on your children, husband and yourself. Raising kids is hard enough let alone toxic relatives.

My mother was disruptive in my life, I cut ties, after a year, she got her act together and is ok now despite her mental illness.DONT ALLOW EMOTIONAL BLACK MAIL.TO SUFFOCATE YOUR SANITY.

So if your mother in law won't be helped, see her perhaps once in a blue moon, like once a year and don't let her text you or take pics of your kids.

Hope this helps.

Take Care


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Oh Terri, would I be right in suggesting the relationship between you and your mother in law is toxic? Not only does this sound like a toxic, disturbed relationship but unfortunately, she too has very little boundaries for which make her toxic to be around. You have been very strong to have endured all of this and lived to tell the tale so to speak.

I would be guessing you don't want someone like doing as she is doing to be around your son especially at such an easy-influenced age. What is it abut her has allowed you to believe your son or your future child would be safe in her care (based on the fact he has been babysat by her)? You have done the right thing by trying to tell her to stop posting photos without permission and setting boundaries so that she is sober around your son. These are fair expectations and not unreasonable.

Hubby SHOULD be supportive if you have said he does not get along with her and set firm boundaries and if they are broken, then consequences are put in place. If she has alcohol, then she can't see the kids for instance (although this is a broad example).

Good question about values. They can be brought up on valuing family that value them and that doesn't need to involve 'Nanna' if those provisions are too harsh for her to handle. What if your one year old got out of bed and grabbed a half filled bottle of alcohol? (I know what one year olds are like!) Or had a nightmare but she was too incapacitated to hear him cry? I don't want to scare you but as a mother I understand and how sceptical I get about other people taking care of my children let alone if they drink to that extent.

Your children are important, our self care too. You don't and shouldn't have to live in fear about what hubby might say or what may come up if you approach your mother in law. You need to save yourself for the sake of your mental health and your two babies as well as your marriage.