Dear Annie: How much is one person supposed to take? My mother-in-law has no filter and will say anything she wants at any time, just to insult.
I have been married to “Frank” for more than 30 years, and the whole time my mother-in-law says the most insulting things, and Frank wouldn’t dream of telling her to stop.
Years ago, it was about when we were going to have kids. She started telling everyone in the family not to ask me about it because, according to her story, I didn’t answer in a nice way. Even though my husband heard her say this, he of course said nothing. She posts on Facebook for everyone to see and also tells my children how she wishes she could spend more time with them and always plays the “woe is me” scenario.
My husband recently celebrated a birthday, to which my mother-in-law posted, “I would have given anything to make your day special today, where have the years gone?” Then we went to her place and got his birthday card, and she said in the card, “Too bad I couldn’t have made your day special, but next year it’s my turn to make your day special.”
My husband got mad at me when I said she made your day special because she gave him a few gift cards. He puts his mother on a pedestal, and no matter what, he only gets mad at me -- never her.
She said she thought I had put on some weight; he smiled and laughed and shrugged his shoulders. I should not have to take her rude, insensitive remarks while my husband sits back and feels sorry for her. He has a wife and kids, and his life doesn’t have to revolve around her. I am fed up with her and my husband both and the disregard for my feelings and her rude comments.
-- Enough Is Enough
Dear Enough: While it sounds like your mother-in-law is being very competitive with you, it also sounds like you are being competitive with her. Yes, you are his wife, and of course you should take front and center, but she is his mother, and there should be a level of respect by both parties. As far as her rude comment about your weight, that is completely unacceptable, and it is understandable that you tell her if she continues to speak to you that way, she is not welcome in your home.
Ask yourself if you include her in your husband’s birthday celebrations. You win more bees with honey than vinegar, so try to be patient. Don’t rule out marriage counseling. A good therapist will help your husband see that his adoration of his mother -- at your expense -- is unhealthy.
Dear Annie: Your answer to “Too Much Power” was perfect. Thank you for pointing out that emotional abuse is indeed abuse and a form of domestic violence. As is typical of abusers, he was blaming the victim.
As somebody who experienced childhood abuse and neglect, I can say that I am working on healing and not being so sensitive. But it’s just not as simple as he makes it out to be. It takes time, often years, even decades, to heal.
Abuse is never the victim’s fault. Thank you for your perfect response to his gaslighting.
-- 50-Something “Overly Sensitive” Man in Michigan
Dear 50 Something: Thank you for your letter and kind words.