Newly Married and Dealing with my mother


I don’t know if anyone has ever been in this situation so i’m not sure if anyone can give me any advice?
My father left when i was 12. He left me, my two sisters and my mother. I have one sister who is in a wheelchair. I’ve been responsible for everyone for so long. I knew growing up that i would be the one taking care of them as i got older. I knew whoever i married would have to understand the situation. Well i’ve grown up now. Built a house for my family. I got married after that. Since i’ve got married my life has been such a mess. My wife knows that we will be taking care of my mom and disabled sister, she loves my sister in fact. But my mom has not treated her like a daughter. My wife feels unwanted and not even respected at home. She doesn’t feel like its her home. My mom has always been ‘my way or the highway’ and she won’t change. She doesn’t even spend time with my wife or attempt to form a good relationship with her. My wife ends up crying or feeling depressed. My mom always has a complaint and can never be happy that i’m happy. The stress of trying to make this work is hard. I don’t want to leave my family, but my mom and my other sister are making things difficult at home. My wife and I pay all the bills, the only thing my mom pays for is groceries. We pay for everthing, including my youngest sisters cell phone, car insurance etc. even though she has a job. If i take money from her, it will be something that they will use against us and hurt us. My wife has been hurt a lot by mom and sister (she called my wife a *****). I love my mom and want to take care of her and my disabled sister. My wife wants to do this too, but its too hard when people don’t talk to you or care about you. Of course everything is our fault and we never make an effort to make things better. I’ve talked to a couple of priests and they say the most important thing is my marriage and that we should move our for a while. I built this house for my disabled sister. I don’t want to leave but i don’t see any other choice. I know it will hurt my mom so bad if i do go, but yet if i don’t go, i could lose my wife. Does anybody have any advice? Is there something i can tell my mom that she won’t be able to twist into an attack on her? She and my sister have a talent for that and that makes things very difficult. We can’t say how we feel or what we want b/c we feel they will twist and use it against us. They the smallest things and twist it and make it the biggest problems. I know my mom doesn’t care for my wife b/c she doesn’t do things the exact way my mom thinks they should be done. And i know her feelings towards me have changed. How can i tell my mom to get over it, i’m not a child and neither is my wife without hurting her. Is there anything in the bible that someone can point out that may make my mom understand. Sorry for rambling, I hope someone can help


Goodness, you are in such a hard situation! I will be praying for you and your wife. I have never expereinced anything like that so I have no first hand advice. My one suggestion would be to ask your priest to come to dinner, perhaps several times, as a way for him to give your mother counseling. That is assuming that she is also Catholic.

I would also think that you need to get some financial advice as to the best way to handle your combined finances. If your sister is receiving any benefits, those need to be protected. Perhaps your mother’s money is best put into a trust for your disabled sister. And if your other sister has a job, she needs to be contributing to the family pot as well (at least as far as her own car and phone bills). You will want to protect your assets for your own children to be.


Tough love. That’s it. I also have a difficult mother whose attempts to love my wife are “forced,” to put it delicately. You just have to cut through the B.S. and lay it all out there. It’s YOUR home, YOUR family and therefore YOUR rules. If mom doesn’t like it, she can find someplace else to live.

Hopefully you won’t have to make good on the “threat,” but if you convince mom that the situation has changed, you might get results. Just make sure you do everything possible to fix the situation before that ultimatum.


Bless your heart. I think you need to be more assertive and let your mother and sister know that insults are not to be tolerated.
I think you have been more than fair and more than helpful. Just because someone was abandoned by her husband or just because someone is handicapped does not give them the right to be hateful to someone who is trying to help.

I can’t understand that.


Your wife must be feeling attacked on all sides!

Do you as her husband protect her from this?


Is there any good reason why your mom cannot support herself? I can understand your disabled sister may need help (although there are ways for her to become independant), but you should not be responsible for supporting your mom. Especially when she has so little respect for your household.

IMO, you need to give her a timeframe to become self-sufficient and find her own place to live. You made a committment to your wife and your only obligation is to her. Mom’s a big girl now, she’ll be fine. Don’t sabbotage your marriage over this.


Praying for you. The priest is right, your first obligation is your marriage…however since you have also obligated yourself to help take care of your mother and sister, that is not something you can just abandon either.

I am not a financial advisor, but look closely at your situation and see if you can move out. A small apartment? It would be better than the environment now. I think you can help make sure your mom and sister have food and a roof over their head…however why are you paying for cell phones and car insurance?

You will need to draw the line…this is a simple fact. Your mother and sister will also twist things and be upset…this is also a simple fact. You must change things for the sake of your marriage, but you must also realize your family will be upset at the changes but that is just the way it has to be. Hang in there, hope this helps.


Look at your situation as if you were an outsider. First thing: pull the plug on your sister’s cell phone payment.

Second: remember when you married you “left” your father and mother to cleave to your wife. Your mother has to deal with that and without creating an either-or situation, your wife needs you to be the man, the spiritual leader, and her defender.

Tlhe day my marriage started improving was the day my husband told my mother to butt out of our personal business and that he would tolerate no further intrusions (she was REALLY bad!). That minute, he became my hero, and is still my hero.


This really is a difficult situation but it will just get worse if you don’t do something to put a stop to it now. Sometimes wives can’t do anything to please mothers-in-law. My parents got married in 1936. My Dad’s mother disliked everyone except white, American Catholics. Since my Mom’s Mom came from Ireland my Dad’s Mom never forgave my Mom for marrying my Dad. My Mom did everything in her power to help her mother-in-law but nothing helped. My Mom passed away in 1969. My Dad’s parents were still living but neither of them went to her funeral. Both of my grandparents had excuses for not going to my Mom’s funeral. My grandmother had to stay home since the gas man was coming that day. My grandfather had a doctor’s appointment. Both events were more important than attending their daughter-in-law’s funeral.
I hope you let your wife know that she is the most important person in your life. Don’t let your mother mistreat your wife in any way.


Some thoughts.

It gives our parents no honor (as we are commanded to do) for us as children to accept or enable their manipulative behavior or cruel words, toward us or toward our spouses. To allow such behavior to continue, in my opinion, brings them shame.

Being someone’s child is not a chosen Vocation, Sacramentally professed. Being someone’s husband or wife, however, is. You have freely chosen your Vocation as a husband; that is where your obligation & duty lies.

A mother’s vocation to motherhood comes part & parcel with the fact that her child will one day grow up, become a man, and (in all likelihood) choose a wife.

You ask, “Is there anything in the Bible that would help my mother understand?” The short answer is, “No.” It does not appear, from what you’ve written, that she wants to understand nor be understanding. She wants her way & she wants it above everything else, even Christian charity, which begins in the home.


Your mother and sisters have been manipulating you way too long. They are experts at it. You are an expert at being a doormat. And, you have helped contribute to a dependence on you that is unnecessary and unhealthy.

This needs to change now.

(1) Your sibling in the wheelchair should be encouraged to be independent and get a job. Unless she is mentally handicapped as well as physically handicapped there is no reason in the world that she cannt be gainfully employed.

(2) Your sibling who has a job should not receive one penny from you. Cut her off now, and make her start paying you rent if she continues to live with you. Otherwise, she needs to move out on her own. She is not your responsibility to support-- and she will let you keep paying her way as long as you will do it. Cut her off.

(3) Your mother is an ungrateful manipulator. At 12, you should NOT have had any burden of support put on you. She can go out, get a job, and support herself. I’d tell her to stop the bad behavior or it will be HER moving out. Don’t you dare move out of your own house!

(4) Yes, the bible does have something to say about this: Matthew 19:5 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Tell your mother it stops now or she has 30 days to find somewhere else to live.

And, I second the idea of visiting a financial planner to sit down, lay out all the finances, and plan a future where they can be independent of you.

Of course, you clearly love your family and want to care for them. And, should they ever really need your care, I know you will be there. But, nothing you have said indicates that they actually need your full time care and financial support. They need to stand on their own two feet.

Stand up for your wife, or you will lose her.


You can’t change your mom; you can only transform yourself. What do you need to work on? —KCT


My heart goes out to you b/c I know you are just trying to do what’s right and I can tell you are good-hearted, but it sounds like to me you are getting taken advantage of. You need to stand up for yourself and your wife. Also, why are you paying other people’s cell phone bills? :confused: I can see you wanting to support your handicapped sister, but the other one doesn’t need your financial help. Also, she should pay rent, IMHO. Your mom’s behavior needs to change NOW or she’s looking for another place to live, simple as that. Your marriage comes FIRST, don’t lose your wife over this.

Also, if someone needs to move out, it should be your mom…NOT YOU! You built it for crying out loud…it is YOURS…not hers.

I’ll keep you in my prayers. :gopray:


Thanks for the kind words. Just to clarify, my sister in a wheelchair is also developmentally challenged so she can’t support herself, my mom is 63 and about to retire. The one in the wheelchair acutally loves my wife and makes her feel at home.

My mom sacrificed everything to put me through college and dental school, all she asked for in return was to take care of my sisters. That’s something i want to do w/o sacrificing my wife. I have stood up for her to my mom.

I think moving out will be the only option, but i know one day they will be moving back in which is fine as long as they respect my wife.
Thanks again, and thanks for your prayers


I think Mom and sister need to be told that a minimum expectation of living under your roof is to respect your wife, and contribute to the household as appropriate to their ability. Obviously a young, able-bodied woman should not need any assistance, while an aging mother may or may not need concessions if her retirement package is insufficient.

I second 1ke’s entire post, especially the part about not moving out of your own home. You are already fulfilling your promise to her to care for your sisters. “Caring for” them is much too loose a promise, imo. Look out for them (mom and sis I mean), be a good brother and friend, but don’t let them use you as a financial crutch. Sounds like she paid for your school only in order to manipulate you. Having lost her husband, she likely has developed an inappropriate neediness of you, her son, as the male in her life.

Cut the apron stings. Expose Mom for the manipulator she is. Do whatever it takes to protect your wife from her abusive behavior.


Well, God bless you… you are a wonderful son and brother. And, you clearly want to be a wonderful husband as well.

I would definitely lay down the law to the younger sister-- she’s a moocher. Don’t pay all her bills for her.

Your mother needs to understand how it will be-- no excuses.


Heck! I’m older than Philip’s mother, and I would whomp her upside the knot!


Yeh, I’m not, but I still would. But that’s just me.

Your sisters and mother are blessed to have you, Philip.

Your mother might have worked and helped put you through dental school, but that does not give her the right to treat you as her personal wage slave. I’d tell Mom she had to go, or obey the house rules. And a good chunk of the mentally challenged sister’s care would fall on Mom, not my wife, even if the sister is sweet as pie.

As for the Cell Phone Queen- No more. She would not have a phone, and she would have 30 days to move out.


You said you built the house. It it in your name?

If the answer to the above question is “yes”, then the answer to what to tell your mom is one word as well: “LEAVE!”

The only other way I can possibly see to possibly salvage this is to document all the abuse your mom has heaped on your wife, but also the good things your wife has done to help the sister, and then confront your mom with this in an “intervention” in which basically some people you trust (like a few priests) “corner” her and don’t let her make any excuses.

Oh, and if she tries to “bill” you for putting you through school, tell her that her right to collect anything ceased when your wife was called whatever name it was that she was called. Or, better yet, “bill” her for building the house!


I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone here advise family counseling. It may be an uncomfortable solution, and maybe not the fastest solution, but in the long run may be the only solution if you want to have healthy relationships with your family in the future.

I would consider finding a good Catholic counselor who specializes in family counseling, and then I would insist that everyone who wants to remain living in that home must go, period. And they must continue to go until things are worked out to your and your wife’s satisfaction.

People will get angry, know that will be a sure thing. But you need to stand your ground. It may even help to go to counseling yourself first and maybe then include your wife and then bring the others in. This will prepare you for the confrontation and give you the courage you need to see it through.

I know this is extremely stressful for you, and you are probably a non-confrontational person, but you are going to have to bite the bullet if you want to save your marriage and the future you have with your wife, and if you want to try to salvage and heal family relationships that sound very disfunctional, it’s time for everyone to take the journey to emotional health, hopefully together.:thumbsup:

God Bless.

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