What you need to know:
- My mother-in-law is always angry and critical of me. She tells me what to do like I am a child.
- I respect her so I don’t talk back, but I have asked my husband to talk to her and he hasn’t.
My husband and I have been married for five years. In our third year of marriage, my mother-in-law came to stay with us because she was ill and was seeking treatment in Nairobi, and wanted to be close to people who could take care of her.
My problem is that she gets on my nerves. She is always angry and critical of me. She tells me what to do like I am a child. I hate it. I respect her so I don’t talk back, but I have asked my husband to talk to her and he hasn’t. I hate coming home these days because of her. How do I make my husband understand that if he doesn’t handle this, we may just break up?
We all know that your mother-in-law should respect your home. Having been patient with her for the time she has been in your house shows you indeed respect her. Therefore, you need to talk to your husband again and remind him how uncomfortable you are in your own house because of your mother-in-law. He might be reluctant to favour your request but you have to stand firm and explain everything to him. In case he does not show any interest in resolving the issue, then consider involving your mother-in-law. This is your marriage and home; therefore, you have all the reasons to save it.
Juma Felix, via email.
A nagging mother in law could be the beginning of many marital fights and even lead to separation. Her purpose however to come to your house was justifiable as she sought medical attention. Based on your anger, it seems things may turn ugly. Look for an elderly person whom you respect as a family member, and request him/her to talk to your hubby and also your mother-in-law. Let him/her tell them that her conduct is really affecting you. Let him/her assure your in-law that you do not have any personal issues with her.
Calvin Queens, blogger.
Your mother-in-law does not give you peace, and your honest husband does not take sides. I can feel how angry you are and you have the right to feel this way. Please, do not break up with your husband because this situation is not permanent. One of the reasons people become angry, irritable and critical like your mother-in-law, is because they are experiencing some difficult situation, such as sickness, feelings of rejection, jealousies and other negative feelings. Such a person needs your understanding and your love. There is nothing that love cannot change. Remain in your marriage my sister and fight on to the very end, for nothing good comes so easily.
Achieng Goretti Dara, via email.
Maurice Matheka, a relationship counsellor answers:
I have witnessed such scenarios damage a relationship. It is important that beyond respect for one’s elders – or in-laws as in your case – that a couple maintain a strong partnership. I recommend you readdress your partner and candidly tell him that you no longer feel like coming back to your own home.
If he proceeds to ignore your distress then you can hint about moving out to your mother’s, a relative or friend’s place so that your actions can highlight your discomfort in your own home. For anyone to gain respect from their parent they should be willing to defend their partner; in that regard your husband has failed and it’s up to you to show him that you are truly not happy with current conditions.