Hi Rene! Thank you kindly for reading this.
I’m having some conflict with my mother-in-law. She’s sweet and very giving. She’s also overbearing and controlling. But the truly strange part is she treats my son better than her other grandkids. You see, my husband is the youngest of her 8 children and she only married his father; her other children are from previous boyfriends. Her logic is that my husband is her only legitimate child (since she married his father) so the love she has for him and our son is different than the rest of her kids and grandkids. She treats my husband different than his siblings and my son different than his cousins.
Needless to say, it’s causing a bit of a wedge between the family and I feel awful. She tries her hardest to rationalize it when I respectfully tell her this is not okay. She actually told me one day that my husband’s father is her husband so our family is “real”; her other kids are just fake love. Fake love for her own kids!? I don’t understand having a favorite grandchild because of the father.
I’m trying not to judge her but I don’t understand, Rene. I don’t know how to talk to her, and when I hear how it hurts some of my husband’s siblings I feel like I’m involved. This is my husband and our son. What can I say to her? Should I just leave this alone? Should I keep my family distant? I don’t want to, I know if she didn’t see my son often it would hurt her. I’m really quite baffled about this.
Getting More Than Our Share Of The Love
Dear: Getting More Than Our Share Of The Love:
WHOA! This woman needs to get to a therapist before she drags a whole lot of innocent people down that deep, dark hole of dysfunction with her. As I have stated many times before, I am not a psychologist so my opinion is based on just what I see, but this story reminds me very much of a scene from the movie Boyz n the Hood (warning: language alert!).
Even though it’s been years since I saw that movie, that scene has such a profound on me. The mother loved her son Ricky so much because she loved his father; she had nothing but ill will for the father of Dough Boy and projected all those feelings onto him. Each child lived up to the expectation she placed upon him, right up until the tragic end.
That’s the truly dangerous thing about what your mother-in-law is doing. She is placing expectations, both good and bad on people based on her own issues and that’s just not fair. Her other kids didn’t ask to be born into relationships that were not legitimized (in her mind) by marriage and they shouldn’t be forced to have to pay for her choices.
The question is what do to about it?