Ask Rene:
My Mother In Law Is A Monster!

Dear Rene,

I got married a few months ago. My husband was very romantic, funny, loving and caring before we got married. He used to work abroad but after we got engaged, he had some problems with his job so he quit. His mom was pretty nice to me after we got married but within a few months he’s totally changed. Now he argues with me all the time, yells at me and calls me names. At first I thought it was the stress of being unemployed, but we didn’t have financial problems since he has quite a few investments.

My mom-in-law and sister-in-law live with us. I cook and clean yet my husband says I can’t do anything right, that I’m good for nothing and he regrets marrying me. Then slowly, my mom-in-law started complaining too, over very petty matters, which lead to further arguments between my husband and me. To add insult to injury, I found out my mom-in-law was talking behind my back to my husband, which was further pissing him off.

On my birthday, my husband gave me a watch, but my mother-in-law took it and gave that watch to my sister-in-law. When her relatives come over to our place, I have to cook all the time. They never help me and I am left exhausted from working all day. My mom-in-law is very controlling and my husband is very mean to me. He just got a new job in a new city. I thought he would get back to normal, but I guess this is normal for him. His mom still controls him and tries to control me too. I’m so worried!

What should I do, Rene?


Married and Miserable

Dear M&M,

Every night when I was a kid, I gently placed the needle of my blue record player onto vinyl and drifted off to sleep listening to fairy tales. One of my favorites was Cinderella, a tale I’m sure you’re familiar with because, YOU’RE LIVING IT!

Girl, you asked for my advice so here it is; you need to get the hell out of there and I mean like yesterday! Run far, run fast and don’t stop until you’re at the border. Here’s why:


Young couple in conflict

Your story unfolds like the layers of an onion; the deeper you get the more you want to cry. Purely from a layperson’s point of view, it looks like this family puts the fun in dysfunction. When your husband was out from beneath his overbearing mother, he was able to act like a grown man, live his life, date, and have a successful courtship that resulted in matrimony. Then he lost his job, moves back home and has gone from being a fully emancipated male to a toddler again. I have a theory along those lines, that no matter how old we get or how successful we are, we go right back to being children when we’re with our parents. But this goes beyond that. This feels oddly territorial; like the Electra complex on steroids. Your husband has no room for another woman in his life because he’s already got his mother occupying the throne as queen, the sister-in-law as the princess, which leaves you scrubbing pots and wondering how you got there. No.

Read more: Ask Rene: Living Together Versus Love Everlasting…. What Should I Do?


Portrait of a retired mother and her son

I don’t care how good you are, how hard you work, how perfect your skin, hair and nails are, your mother-in-law is not going to like you. You know why? Because you took her baby from her (hello, I said dysfunctional). You might almost be able to live with that except of one little problem; SHE’S IN YOUR SPACE! There’s no getting away from her and furthermore, she has co-opted the position you’re supposed to be, that of woman of the house. So there you are, relegated to a supporting role, even though you’re the one married to the king. Add the sister-in-law to the mix and you have a recipe for a situation that’s as messy as a soup sandwich. No again.

Read more: Ask Rene: Is My Mother Being Unreasonable.. Or My Wife?



I said it before I’ll say it again. Run far, run fast. Do not look back, do not pass go, do not think it will get better with prayer and the support of a loving wife. It won’t. Look what’s happened already and that was in relatively short order. What is likely to happen is that you will become accustomed to being treated poorly and fall into a pattern of learned helplessness. You’ll lose your fight, the spark and spunk that made you so special. Because that type of criticism is soul stealing and the fact is you deserve better. This family sounds like its got enough issues to qualify for a group rate on therapy. I wish them well and you can too, from a good and safe distance. Don’t think of leaving this situation as one you failed at; instead remind yourself you succeeded in saving you.


You can do this!

Good luck!

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