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Counseling/Problem with Mother in Law


The person I am married to for 5 years and had been in relationship for 8 years now doesn't care about me enough.
It has become an intense battle between mother in law, me and my husband.
We have a 9 month old son and we stay in a foreign country (UK, Ipswich) for last two years, my in laws are visiting and staying with us for last 4 months, we are originally from India.
My problem is that my husband is extremely dominated by his mother and cannot maintain an independent relationship with me.
His mother is extremely jealous of me and misbehaves with me to a great extent.
I tried to ignore, overlook and think logically many many times, but I cannot take it any more and stopped talking to her in fact she stopped even before I did.
My husband thinks that I am at fault, insulted me, spoke abusive language, showed me where I am wrong but never did the same to his mother. He doesn't even care and thinks that whatever treatment I am getting is appropriate. He had never ever stood up for me to his parents, there have been instances where I was forced to seek apology.
My mother in law is very clever and act like two different persons one in front of my husband and one behind him.My husband only knows to please his mother, goes beyond his way to do so, doesn't matter whether she is right or wrong. He is emotionally blackmailed in a way beyond imagination, continuously but subtly. He is pampered by his mother like a kid even physically, which they shy off in front of me.
This emotional tug of war has reached a peak, the midnight after his birthday, when he kept chatting and drinking with his parents till very late and I was doing all the household chores and taking care of my son alone. I could not accept it any more and here I am asking for some advice about my dilemma. On one side I love my husband a lot and cannot live without him, I don't want my son to suffer because of us, but on the other hand this continuous insult and ignorance specially from my husband is killing me and becoming unbearable. Day after day I am suffering mentally, emotionally and physically and want my pain to end.
I tried to summarize the situation as much as possible, can give more details if needed. Please help and advise.

Hi Rebecca - from your description, I suspect you have at least three major simultaneous problems:

1] your husband has inherited psychological wounds from his ancestors. Possibly, you have too:

Two symptoms of this are his mother's "two personalities" and his putting her ahead of you. Apparently he has not "left home" [chosen to let go of his mother] and she promotes that;

2] you're not asserting your needs, rights, and boundaries clearly and firmly with him or his mother:

Try asking him "Who's needs are most important to you - hers [Mom's] or mine?"

3] Every day your husband and his parents continue to discount [disrespect] you, your son is inheriting a version of the psychological wounds causing your family-relationship problems. For all your sakes, I urge you parents to study and discuss this free online "lesson"

You have a marital problem, not a "mother-in-law" problem, Rebecca

If you have questions about any of these, please ask!

- Pete


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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