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Question
Posted by: Frustrated! | 2009-09-29

Meddling MIL

Hi CS ,
I am at my wits end. My hubby works with his mom and other family members.
I have picked up that she still treats him like a kid and is always telling him what he can do etc in a way that is really patronizing.
If she is looking for him , she will sms me asking where he is or if they have discussed something , i will get an sms - aimed at him.. its like she is trying to manipulate him through me? perhaps i am wrong , but i want her to stop being so overbearing with him. I am losing respect for him , since he reacts passive aggressively to sort this out. He will tell her things just to get a reaction.
Should i intervene and tell her how i perceive the situation or should i leave it up to him ? i am 100% certain he will just tolerate it longer. He says he is just more tolerant than i am , but surely , even extremely tolerant people should have boundaries which should not be crossed? He is in his early thirties and we have been married almost 10 years. Please! i need to sort this out before this truns into bitter resentment...

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Meddling MIL's are not uncommon, of course. But they can be even more troublesome when either spouse, especially the son, works for or with the MIL. A smothering mother ( or "smother" as I sometimes call them ) can stunt a guy's development, and keep him from maturing as he needs to. Where the situation is agreeable to both of them, its unlikely to change. Your best bet would probably be to se a marriage counsellor together, to explore these isues in some details, and work out a joint approach to managing her ( she will be reluctant to change her habits of a life-time ) and work things out between the pair of you. Directly telling HER how you see things, is unlikely to be welcomed by her or to lead to the changes you want.
The way he apparently handles it suits him, and seems to conist largely of ignoring her without letting her notice that he ignores her. But this behaviour on her side affects both of you, and needs a joint solution.

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