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Thursday, 14 September 2000

His Mother's Ruining Our Lives

Written by  Silvet Sufar Shalit, PhD

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QDear WholeFamily,

My husband and I just got married a week ago. We've been together for almost 4 years. We live with his ex-wife, who is also my cousin, and their 3 children. His mother despises me and I don't know why. She called his ex on our wedding night, and told her that she's the ex-wife and I'm the new wife, and that she should hate me. She's always butting in where she doesn't belong. That's why we eloped -- she wanted to take over my wedding. She's always trying to talk my husband into leaving me. And she's always trying to pry in our lives by asking the ex-wife what's going on. How can I get her to back off??? Help!

Sincerely,
The daughter-in-law

ADear Daughter-in-law,

You are at a loss in dealing with an interfering and meddling mother-in-law. Your mother-in-law is constantly occuppied with her son's relationship with you while making it no secret that she totally disapproves of you and of this marriage.

You do not mention in your letter your husband's attitude and reactions towards his mother. Have the two of you worked out a common strategy to deal with her intrusiveness?

You need to be assertive with your mother-in-law in defining your bounderies with respect to her. You can choose what is off-limits for you and make those limits very clear to her. Beyond that, it is not in your control. Discussing your mother-in-law constantly with your husband and his ex-wife is a way of maintaining her influence in your relationship. Therefore, beyond defining with them a common and clear attitude towards her actions, she should not be brought up. The more you concentrate on her, the more she will be a diversion to you from your marital relationship.

If you find that in spite of all efforts she persists in her behavior, I suggest you seek professional help.

I find your situation somewhat complicated by the fact that you and your husband live with his ex-wife, your cousin. While not knowing the reasons or the details of this arrangement, this is itself would need some professional counseling.

Dr Silvet Sufar-Shalit, PsyD

Last modified on Tuesday, 24 January 2012 18:27
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Silvet Sufar Shalit, PhD

Dr. Silvet Sufar Shalit is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. She is a certified clinical psychologist with twenty years experience in psychotherapy.. She works in a psychiatrist outpatient clinic and has a private practice. with twenty years experience in psychotherapy. Silvet studied acting in New York, freelances as a creative writer and is an accomplished photographer. Silvet Sufar Shalit is the mother of Eitan, a 20-year-old autistic young man.

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