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Help - My mother in law is brainwashing my wife

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Help - My mother in law is brainwashing my wife

Postby RNails » Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:36 am

My mother in law came to stay with use from Europe after our 2nd child was born. My wife wanted her here to help and unfortunately covid stranded her here. She has been here for 8 months now and is constantly pushing her ideas and illogical rules onto our family. The problem is that my wife then agrees with every one of these rules and then pushes them onto me and the kids. A few recent examples:

Don't drink cold drinks or they will make you sick
Don't put cold water on your hair
Don't eat meat or it will make you angry and aggressive (they are now vegetarian)
Don't go out during a lunar eclipse because it is harmful
Don't let a fan blow on a child because it is bad for them
Don't be in the same room as a microwave when it is on
Don't go fishing because it hurts fish (even though I have fished all my life and so has their family)
Don't listen to rap music, even if it's the clean version
Transgenders are crazy (even though we used to be an open minded and accepting family)

These are just a few of the nonsense rules that are constantly being forced in our household. The problem is that whatever her mom says she agrees with and then she starts expecting our family to abide by the same rules. If I break a rule that she and her mom have set I am shamed and told that:

- I don't care about the kids
- I'm not a good husband
- I'm a bad father
- I don't support my family

I try to tell my wife that we should be making decisions as a family and we should have adult discussions about these topics. I also say that our opinions should be backed by research from reputable sources and saying "It's what my mom thinks" is not an acceptable answer to an argument. She claims that her source of information should not matter to me because it is important to her. I say that we should have an intelligent family that can look for answers at reputable sources, case studies, science, and psychology for answers and not our parents.

Am I being unreasonable by asking that? I have had terrible experiences growing up with illogical rules, shaming, and conditional love and I am about to call it quits. It has gotten so bad that I told her that her mom needs to leave so we can focus on our marriage or I'm out. Her response was she wants here mom here to help with the kids in case we get divorced.
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Re: Help - My mother in law is brainwashing my wife

Postby DaturaInnoxia » Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:16 pm

RNails wrote:Am I being unreasonable by asking that? I have had terrible experiences growing up with illogical rules, shaming, and conditional love and I am about to call it quits. It has gotten so bad that I told her that her mom needs to leave so we can focus on our marriage or I'm out. Her response was she wants here mom here to help with the kids in case we get divorced.


No, not unreasonable.

Personally, I can't imagine it improving if you stay.
However, if you do decide to stay, I'd think getting therapy might be helpful so that you have less of a chance of getting sucked into their insanity.

If you leave, you won't be enabling the situation, so there's a chance it could work itself out - but it could also get more entrenched.

As an unsolicited suggestion, I'd recommend that you quietly get legal advice before announcing that you're leaving because situations like this can sometimes work against the man in regards to the fincial aspects of divorce - as well as child custody or visitation rights.

If you see anything that could even slightly impact the children's psychological or physical wellbeing, document that too for leverage (even if it's not necessary a serious concern).
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Re: Help - My mother in law is brainwashing my wife

Postby RNails » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:36 pm

DaturaInnoxia wrote:
RNails wrote:Am I being unreasonable by asking that? I have had terrible experiences growing up with illogical rules, shaming, and conditional love and I am about to call it quits. It has gotten so bad that I told her that her mom needs to leave so we can focus on our marriage or I'm out. Her response was she wants here mom here to help with the kids in case we get divorced.


No, not unreasonable.

Personally, I can't imagine it improving if you stay.
However, if you do decide to stay, I'd think getting therapy might be helpful so that you have less of a chance of getting sucked into their insanity.

If you leave, you won't be enabling the situation, so there's a chance it could work itself out - but it could also get more entrenched.

As an unsolicited suggestion, I'd recommend that you quietly get legal advice before announcing that you're leaving because situations like this can sometimes work against the man in regards to the fincial aspects of divorce - as well as child custody or visitation rights.

If you see anything that could even slightly impact the children's psychological or physical wellbeing, document that too for leverage (even if it's not necessary a serious concern).


Thanks for your advice. I'll definitely keep the legal part in mind. Her mom visited before and the exact same thing happened. I'm hoping when she leaves my wife will return to reality and stop being influenced so heavily. One major problem is that they speak Russian and I don't so it is hard for me to understand exactly what they are telling my toddler. I am learning it rapidly and already trying to find out what they are telling him. But honestly I should never have to worry about that. My fear is that if I go then I will have no control over the situation when he is with her. That scares me as much as staying.
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Re: Help - My mother in law is brainwashing my wife

Postby DaturaInnoxia » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:50 pm

RNails wrote:Thanks for your advice. I'll definitely keep the legal part in mind. Her mom visited before and the exact same thing happened. I'm hoping when she leaves my wife will return to reality and stop being influenced so heavily. One major problem is that they speak Russian and I don't so it is hard for me to understand exactly what they are telling my toddler. I am learning it rapidly and already trying to find out what they are telling him. But honestly I should never have to worry about that. My fear is that if I go then I will have no control over the situation when he is with her. That scares me as much as staying.


I'm wondering if staying (even if you plan to come back and stay in the long run) will prolong it.

Some people talk about how enabling makes things worst for relationships, but I'm not educated/experienced enough in this type of scenario to say how that relates to you staying (or whether it's even the same thing or not).

Being kept in a state of anxiety and the need to anticipate is not something anyone should have to worry about.

It makes sense that you would be afraid of leaving your son alone with someone who could create psychological confusion for him, etc.

At this point, I'm a bit curious of what your dynamic with your wife is when her mother in law is not there.

I'm also wondering if there's anywhere you could talk to a professional (like looking online if there's a domestic abuse hotline for men) especially about your concerns about leaving your son because of your mother in law's influence - or even the language barrier if you stay.
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