Censorious Mom

30 Apr

Dear LetterBalm: I’ve been married to a wonderful man for almost 18 years. He’s a great dad to our three kids and a fine brother and son-in-law. My family is crazy about him. But his own mother has never said a kind word to him. She’s never given him moral support, never told him what a good person he is, never boosted his confidence. In her eyes, he’s always been the least accomplished among her children. As far as she’s concerned, he can never do enough and he’s never smart enough. I’ve had to endure her endless criticism for all our married life. It gets to his siblings, too. They tell his mother to stop when she gets on him at family events and holidays. My husband takes it all and never tells her off, but I know it hurts him. He’s gone to therapy about it. What can I do?

–Supportive Wife

The best thing you can do is, indeed, be supportive and encourage your children and your husband’s siblings to be supportive, as well. Unless your husband becomes more assertive in the face of his mother’s abominable actions, there isn’t any reason for her to change. Indeed, her psychological bullying is so ingrained that it’s unlikely she even sees what she’s doing. (But this doesn’t excuse her behavior.) It’s good that your spouse has sought therapy – you might ask him to see if his therapist will schedule some sessions with you and your children because it’s a certainty that their grandmother’s treatment of their dad is having a bad effect. Ms. L.B. believes the therapist might be able to work with all of you to establish some new rules and new statements when the verbal abuse occurs. If you feel strong enough you might take your mother-in-law aside and quietly say this:

Denise, as his wife, I am Mark’s ally always. Everyone has witnessed the hatred you show to your son, who is a wonderful man and doesn’t deserve your cruelty. Don’t deny it, Denise. It breaks my heart that a mother cannot be respectful and loving to her own flesh and blood. I feel sorry for you that you can’t even see what you’re doing to him. I pity you. I’m here to tell you that the family will not be a victim of your verbal abuse anymore. We will stand strong, and we will endure.

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2 Responses to “Censorious Mom”

  1. Bears, Goats, and Strawberries 04/30/2015 at 3:10 am #

    Sounds like my mom; but then again at 15 on a trip to Sweden she tried to sell me into white slavery in a Muslim harem.

  2. Bears, Goats, and Strawberries 04/30/2015 at 3:12 am #

    Reblogged this on bearsgoatsandstrawberries and commented:
    Sounds like my mom. But then again when I was 15 on a trip to Sweden she tried to sell me into white slavery in a Muslim harem. Truth, safer than being with her.

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