Mother-in-law abuse – what you can do about it
Mother-in-law abuse – what you can do about it
Maya had the dream life. She had a career she loved. She got married when she was mature enough to choose a partner for the right reasons. She had a partner, a son, a daughter and a lovely puppy. Add the fence and you could say she had it all. On the surface of course…
Beneath the surface, she was struggling with the breakdown of a marriage due to the malicious interactions of a verbally and emotionally abusive mother-in-law who was relentless in the family. This woman had such control over the men in her family that she could say and do whatever she wanted and no one would stop her from vicious behavior. Maya was a victim of emotional and verbal abuse, first by her mother-in-law, then by members of her extended family, and finally by her husband. She was a highly educated woman, so how could something so serious be happening in her life?
The walls came crashing down on Maya when her mother-in-law crossed the line into not only verbally and emotionally abusing her, but repeatedly hurting her young son. The saddest thing about this situation is that her mother-in-law “did not intentionally” verbally and emotionally abuse anyone. Even though she was a former kindergarten manager, she didn’t think that going into a mad rage against Maya in front of her 2-month-old son would end up harming the baby.
When Maya tried to rationalize with her mother-in-law not to yell in front of the baby and even put a limit on her crazy tantrums that were within earshot of her two-month-old son, she erupted into a massive screaming fit of incredible proportions. Maya’s then 2-month-old son was trembling in her arms with fear. Maya had one gift as a mother, in that she had tremendous maternal intuition – and she knew that my mother-in-law’s shouting verbally abusive comments at her had resulted in sheer terror and fear for her son – from his perspective, he had done something , to cause such anger. A baby this age doesn’t have the ability to handle hearing an abusive adult. As adults – parents or grandparents – we owe it to our children not to subject them to such emotional abuse.
Maya’s son suffered from the strongest “colic” at that time. He cried in pain all day and no one else had the patience to sit through hours of him screaming in agony. Maya knew that her son was a very empathic, emotionally gifted child who picked up on his mother-in-law’s emotionally abusive nature and it manifested physically as “colic”. Colic is an interesting term for “we don’t know what’s going on, no physical problems, good luck, we can overmedicate the baby with addictive drugs to make ourselves feel better.”
During this time, Maya’s husband refuses to see the connection between Maya’s mother-in-law’s abusive behavior and the grandson’s illness. Maya had one advantage in that she was highly educated and could read like a demon when she had to. So Maya read all about the baby’s gut-brain axis and the link between exposure to emotional abuse and baby’s physical problems. Fortunately, Maya had the strength to get out of the situation with a two-month-old baby and two puppies and get her life back, even when her family was not protected by her husband.
Interestingly, after Maya’s son was taken out of Maya’s mother-in-law’s house, all of Maya’s son’s extreme physical symptoms disappeared. Yet to this day, even though Maya and Maya’s husband have worked to stay married and communicate through the struggle, having been a victim of child abuse himself, the husband is unwilling to see his mother through the lens of reality. This is a sick situation.
However, it is important for women with an abusive mother-in-law to know that you are not alone. Sometimes you have to be the strong one to protect your family. In Maya’s case, Maya’s mother-in-law had a pattern of abuse by force-feeding babies. She force-fed Maya’s husband like a child with a spoon, holding her hips against his torso as he screamed and cried in protest. This lady actually tried to force feed Maya’s son in her home while Maya was on a business call. Fortunately, Maya was present and was able to intervene. The lady never took responsibility for her abusive behavior towards Maya’s son. And interestingly, Maya’s entire family, father-in-law and husband tried to emotionally and verbally attack Maya in defense of this sick behavior. However, over time I come to understand with compassion a family with a narcissistic and abusive mother without self-awareness who learns to cover up what is really going on. They try to make the person who stands up to the violence crazy.
After experiencing from Maya how bad intimate partner abuse can be, I have dedicated my life’s work to the spiritual healing of abuse survivors so that you can become the mothers, lovers, and professionals you deserve to be. I will be publishing a series of articles called “You’re the First” that will tell the story of how women and men have turned around difficult situations and become extremely successful in their own right. Believe in yourself, you can get anything you dream of…