Need help with husband and mil


I am in desperate need of help. I have a mother-in-law that is manipulative and a husband that often believes her or does what she wants as opposed to me. Recently she got caught lying about an interaction her and I had. At first my husband did not believe me but when his grandmother comfirmed my story he had no choice, but refused to apolgize. His mother also refused and wanted to “Start over.” I could not do this. It has gotten so bad that I will not interact with her at all unless my husband is present. We have a three month old child, which was her first grandbaby. He is the only child. My husband refuses to set any boundaries and gives her whatever she wants. Even at the delivery of our child. We fought for months about what my boundaries were with her on that day…but in the end she got what she wanted. My husband believes that is his mother and she has no reason to lie about me and that her intentions are always good. I feel that she knows what she is doing and wants to have all of her son’s attention. He is stressed because he has to fulfil her wishes and give up alot of his free time to visit with his mother when I am at work. Our work schedules are different. We are together about 12 days a month. The other times either I am at work or he is for 24 hours. This problem has put a huge stress on our marriage and I am starting to feel there is no hope. I know I need to change a few things about myself but my husband thinks he does not have to make amy changes. I don’t feel like we have become a family yet. I never had a true family. My dad wasn’t around much because of a divorce and my mom wasn’t around much because of her life choices. So being a family is so important to me. I feel lost and I don’t know how to move on from this.


Perhaps you can choose to love your MIL, to allow her to become real family to you.

Prayers for you!


I will offer you my prayers for sure. Were you married in the Catholic church? Would your husband be willing to go with you to talk to a priest? I think your husband needs some kind of spiritual intervention in order to be willing to change.

I could give you all sorts of advice about what to say to him but in reality he will probably not change no matter what you say since he is firm in his relationship with his mother.

This is easy to say but don’t worry about her for now. There is little you can do about her and I think you know that. Your marriage needs to be a priority.

Pray for him. Remember how much you love him. Build him up. Tell him he is a wonderful husband and you love him and trust him to take care of and protect your family. Your husband probably needs “building up”. Remember he was raised by this woman and the poor man has had his mind manipulated his entire life. Of course he knows she is manipulative, of course he knows she lies and is mean and selfish. Think of the mentality of a young wife who keeps returning to her physically abusive husband…there are thousands of women like that! …People can be so lost that they can’t see the right way out of an unhealthy situation…that is your husband. He probably has not had much experience of TRUE love from a woman. Perhaps out of frustration you have been angry at him? Perhaps telling him he is not a good husband and father and you are frustrated with him? He probably knows he is a disappointment to you as a man and he doesn’t know how to handle it.

Tell him you love him. When he spends time with his mother, give him a kiss and say “I hope you had a nice time” and leave it at that. Don’t ask about her, don’t get into an arguement with him over her. Love him, love him, love him…hug him, kiss him…then after a little bit see if he is willing to go see a priest.

Not sure if that helps much. Your situation is complicated but if nothing else I will be praying for you. God bless you!


The absolute worse place in the universe for a man is to be is placed between his wife and his mother.

If you choose to, you can free him from this miserable trap by not forcing him to chose you over her.

This takes heroic love and understanding but in the long run he will love you for it.


If this woman lies about her and purposely sows dissension, then how exactly is the OP supposed to avoid making him choose? Seems she could keep her head down and do nothing, and the MIL would probably still stir the pot.

Hon, your problem is not with your MIL, it’s with your man. Or should I say male, because he is not acting like a MAN. It is his job to set boundaries and to protect you and his child above anyone else. He should love, honor and respect his mother. But YOU should be the most important woman in his world.

Did you see this before you married him? Was she always manipulative, and lying, and trying to put distance between you and your DH? Or was she on her best behavior before and only let her monster out of the box since you got married? Or did this start after the birth of your child? If you can figure out what triggered this, you might be able to figure out how to minimize it. But if she was always like that, then you probably won’t be able to figure out her trigger. It might be everything. Some people are just like that. (P.S. If she was always like this, and you had brought the issue here before marriage, I would have told you not to marry him until he was able to prove that he could set healthy boundaries and place you, as his future wife, at the center of his life.)

My MIL has never been as bad as yours. But there were some times when she overstepped lines she shouldn’t have. My then-fiance’s reactions were swift, terrible, and from the POV of a future wife, a thing of beauty. He was never disrespectful, rude, or cruel, but he made it very clear to his mother that if she forced him to choose between us, he would pick me. He has had to do that once or twice since our marriage too. There seems to be a special brand of anger and offense he reserves only for when his mother oversteps her bounds. I have not been privy to whatever he says to her, but it sure does work.

A man who is truly, madly in love with a woman and cannot live without her will not let anything ruin his relationship with her. I think what you need to do is sit your DH down for a serious, gentle, respectful talk. Try not to run down his mother, but do tell him that there have been times when she has not been truthful with him about the way things happened. Give details ONLY if he asks for them. Then tell him that the fact that he will not set boundaries and put you first (esp. the childbirth thing… that is disgraceful) makes you feel like he is not a man in mad, passionate love with his wife. Tell him that you love his mother for raising him, and she must have done something right because you fell in love with him. But also tell him that a man who has married and made a commitment to a wife and family needs to be able to separate some from his mother and make his own family first.

If that doesn’t work, then I don’t know what to tell you. :shrug: Prayers and good luck.


If duskyjewel’s excellent, in-depth profiling and suggestion do not help you, get counseling for yourself, with a Catholic therapist if possible.

It is not that you are crazy. It is that you are in a horrible situation, and you need the skills to deal with your MIL, and your husband. Your husband can come along in time, making it couple’s therapy, or not. But you don’t have a family in the traditional sense, a mom and dad or siblings to bounce ideas off, etc. You need somebody who can not only listen, but give you ideas and suggest scenarios for coping, and help you set boundaries.

As much as all of us can feel your pain, and try to suggest assistance, we can’t squeeze through the Internet and pop out through your printer. You need a live human, and one with the necessary background to be of use.


The OP will decide what is in her best interest and what is in the best interest of her marriage. She has choices and will make the choice that she sees fit.


And your point is…?

She asked for help, and we are trying to give her good suggestions for how to handle her problem.


Huh? You have me confused. :confused:

The woman asked for help. She described a MIL who is controlling and manipulative, a husband who thinks she is the root of the problem no matter what anybody else tells him who has witnessed MIL’s actions, and they are working themselves to exhaustion in the bargain. She has no nuclear family.

So, those of us who are currently online offered her ideas, for which she asked. Why do you have a problem with that?


I totally agree with Dusky Jewel - MILs can be your best friend or your wors nightmare unfortunatley you got the latter but you hubby needs to know that HIS family is you and your baby now his mom needs to but out and leave you be if he cant tell her then these problems are going to get worse!


Absolutely, positively what she said. :clapping:

God bless you; I’ll pray that you can get this right, together.


“Forcing him” to choose his wife over his mother? The way I understand it, he made that decision when he took his marriage vows. Remember “a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife?” He needs to grow up and remember this.


We should also remeber that Jesus criticized those who would not care for their own parents. Matt 15 and Mark 7.

In the society when Jesus walked the earth, when a couple married, they likely would live with the family of the husband. The DIL would take the role of being subservant to her MIL, she would respect and care for her MIL ahead of her own mother.


In the society when Jesus walked the earth, when a couple married, they likely would live with the family of the husband. The DIL would take the role of being subservant to her MIL, she would respect and care for her MIL ahead of her own mother

Fortunatley in this day we women dont need to do that and the poor OP should in NO WAY feel that this is her role - women are not needed to be subservient to their mother in laws heavens above thats enough to put any woman of marriage!!!
The poor woman needs help from a proffessional to make her hubby grow up!!! He has a wife and a child and those alone are his responsibility - what is it with women who only have one son?? Makes me glad Ive got girls!

And to be honest I would go as far to say that she is being emotionally abused - in asian families this happens and can lead to terrible living circumstances for the wife, this situation needs to be stopped and the MIL needs to accept that her little boy is all grown up with a family and step out - how many times can she get a ‘do-over’?


Some times people will read one verse and not the following context of the verses. Christ called on us to love and respect our parents, so, with the help of a good counselor, the OP should strive to have family peace for the entire family.


:thumbsup: What duskyjewel said…


I have given what I thought was a fair suggestion and then immediately realized that it had started an argument. I realized that this is not going to be a time and place for me to present a case for her husband.

My sympathy is for her husband. Here is the situation.

In our society as it stands now. Wives and girlfriends, husbands and boyfriends come and go. Mothers are here for a lifetime.

Wives are on very shaky ground if they demand that their husbands shape up.

If a woman wants a marriage she needs to be aware that she may very well be “right” and her mother-in-law may very well be “wrong” but, this is not going to hold much water when the marriage breaks-up. The wife will be the “ex-wife” and his mother is still his mother.

I realized that it doesn’t matter what my not-so-humble opinion is, a woman will do what she is going to do. More often than not, when a man or woman is asking for advice what he or she is really looking for is someone the agree with that decision.


Question for the OP. Was your husband devoted to his mother before marriage? Was his mother as controlling and difficult? Did you spend time around this family, see an understand the dynamic that exists? Unless she lived on another continent and you did not meet her until the day of the wedding, seems you could have know this was coming.

So many women fall into the “things will change when we are married” trap.

If you did know the family well before marriage, then, work on making things better for all of you. Lots of prayer will help!


I appreciate everyones advice. Prior to our marriage we saw my MIL about once a month or every other month. She was very kind. We would talk through email and she helped me plan the wedding. About a week after the wedding it all started. She when she told me I was ruining my marriage by working overtime at work instead of being with my husband. I had many emails like this. Although she would never say anything to me inperson. As time went on I started to back away. She was upset with the relationship and told me she always thought her son’s wife would bring her and her son closer together. Well that did not happen. The relationship between them stayed the same. So then came the lies. Here is an example. My dad came into town and stayed with us over Thanksgiving. She told my husband that she would see us after the baby was born ( I was due the end on January). My husband thinking she was being selfless said ok. Not getting the response she wanted her next email to him was how she bought $800 worth of stuff for the baby and I only like one outfit, which upset her. Well that wasn’t true and I had the emails to prove what I said. I thanked her for everything and love it all. But my husband was upset with me and told her I would come around. The resolution I have come to is that I cannot interact with her without my husband being present. This has worked for me but he is upset because he has to give her all his freetime. For example, he asked her to babysit the other night at 830. She showed up at 1pm. He wasn’t even home the whole time. He left with the baby and she sat at my house for 4 hours by herself. He needs to learn how to set boundaries but until that time I have to do what is best for my family. We are getting counseling but not until May. I still love my MIL and do kind things for her. I just bought her a real nice piece of jewelery for her birthday. But I just refuse to give in to her manipulation. On a side note my dad can be the same way and I don’t put up with it from him either. If you want something ask…don’t manipulate.


I’m so sorry for your situation. How long have you been married? I ask because it’s a possibility that this is a transition for her that she’s not dealing with well and maybe sometime (hopefully soon) she’ll come to deal with it in a better manner.

In the meantime you need coping techniques to be able to be nice to her without giving in to manipulation.

Look up Gregory Popchack (sp?) he has a book entitled something like These People are Driving Me Nuts!! it’s a Catholic approach to dealing with situations where others are sort of pushing you into a corner.

Then I would look up a book about Toxic in-laws. It will give you more techniques and help you identify better what your problems might be.

I would do this now so that you can have a ready handle on this whenever you go into counseling. I would also print out any e-mail that you’ve ever sent her and any e-mail that she has ever sent you. Sometimes it’s really hard for children to realize how their parent’s are treating the people they love. It’s not an easy pill to swallow. It may take him time, but when confronted with hard evidence at the very least he’ll be able to see that you are not the problem when it comes to his mother.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit