Updated: July 19, 2013 3:26PM
In the last column, we met Melanie, whose mother-in-law holds her responsible for one grandson’s disability, another grandson’s chronic illness and even her husband Brian’s broken ankle!
Melanie says until recently Brian has been neutral about his mother’s behavior and opinions. “His opinion was she was just worried about the kids, and the criticism wasn’t really directed at me. It was about them, and her concern for them. We had fights about it for years.”
During their 30-year marriage, Melanie was and still is the primary caregiver for their disabled son. She also took care of their other sons while working part-time or full-time and keeping the household running while Brian built up his surgery practice.
There was only one thing she wouldn’t do. And that’s live anywhere near his family.
“I didn’t think I could deal with his mother and his nutty sister while I was being a wife and mother, taking care of our disabled son and then later handling our other son’s chronic illness, which was diagnosed his senior year of high school. I got him into college by having him dictate his essays from his sick bed to me. While he will always have to take medication, he should be able to live a good, long life.”
Funny how Brian’s opinion about his mother has changed since his surgery. “He’s none too happy about her opinion about the soda pop, which she made the mistake of sharing with him. And there were witnesses to her behavior toward me at his hospital, where he’s well-respected.
Folks are asking questions.
“Her behavior never reflected on him before, but now it does. I don’t think he ever realized how terribly she behaved toward me — or how it looked — because he just thought I was too sensitive about her. The truth is, she’s mean and has to be the smartest person in the room. She loves to belittle anyone she deems unworthy. My husband now believes she’s a crackpot!
“And she badmouthed our kids to him, as well, a big mistake since the kids have really come to our aid and he knows it. They didn’t have to, and he’s grateful and proud that they’re such fine, responsible, loving young men. And I raised them, not her.
“I’ve tried not to fight with my husband about her no matter what for the last ten years or so. It wasn’t worth us having problems, and I always thought it was just what she wanted — to cause trouble between us. I came to the realization that if I gave her enough rope, she would hang herself. And I think she finally has.
“I have no joy about that because I have tried to be a good person, even though my character, intellect, talent, parents, cooking, housekeeping and parenting skills have been called into question for the last 30 years. And I don’t want my husband and his mother to be estranged.”
Melanie says Brian hasn’t decided whether or not to confront his mother. He’s still in a cast and has physical therapy ahead of him.
“He’s just not feeling great. I don’t think he should do anything right now. He can decide what to do after he feels better.”
Do you think your in-laws are trying to break up your relationship? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants, to