The Mother-In-Law From Hell

When most of us think of the “other woman” in a relationship, typically we think of a girlfriend. Unfortunately, girlfriends are but one of several “other women” who may have an unpleasant hold on the man you love or a man you’d like to know much better.

We could assume that a mother would want her son to get married and raise a family of his own. But, some mothers just don’t want to let go and they view the girlfriend as a threat to the relationship they have with their son. Some will go to great lengths to keep their sons single and living at home.

Karen describes her ex’s mother as the “mother-in-law from hell.” She said the first time her ex referred to his mother as “mommy” she should have taken the clue that their attachment might be hazardous to any serious dating relationships.

Karen said Joey’s mother encouraged him to go out with other women, even after they were engaged. “It was the girlfriends serving him coffee in bed that I objected to,” she says, “but that stopped when I threatened to give him back his ring and let him stay with his mother. It seemed as though all the sabotage stopped when I showed some backbone.”

“Rather than deal with the complications of blending two families who didn’t care for each other, both his and mine, we eloped. That seemed to suit his mother, even if mine had a fit. About a month after we got married we had our first fight — the kind newlyweds have, I suppose. Joey came unglued and said his mother had been right that the day he married me was the worst day of his life! I was ready to leave him when I heard that.”

“A few hours later he apologized and, never, from that day on did the word ‘divorce’ come up in any argument. I don’t contribute his mother’s attitude to the breakup of our marriage but I do think it added more straws to an already heavy load.”

Karen came to grips with her mother-in-law by being firm and not bowing to the emotional abuse the woman tried to direct toward her. She learned to anticipate the critical remarks and turn a deaf ear or respond with calm answers. During the 20 years of their marriage, she and her mother-in-law stayed at arms’ length and Joey stayed out of the way.