My In-Laws Abused Me

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I feel mentally tortured by how badly my inlaws have treated me and I don’t know how to deal with what they have done to me.

When i first got married and I moved in with my husband and his family the trouble occurred. I didn’t know that my inlaws had a backward mentality that being me being married to their son/brother meant that i had become their slave. With and without them asking i used to cook for them, clean, take them cinema/shopping etc and serve them ie take food upstairs to their rooms whilst they are in bed watching movies (they are NOT ill). In response i used to get horrible comments “good you’re learning” and “you better learn the way we like things done and do it that way” and “its your job to serve us so shut up and do what we tell you to do.”

I confided in my husband about how disrespectful they were; i didn’t like the way they screamed/spoke to me. He switched at his mum and world war 3 began. No one would talk to me. They spread lies about me. They made me feel unwelcome. They tried to manipulate my husband to make me obey them and take abuse from them. They mentally tortured me. I felt suicidal. My husband told me to make amends with them, cook for them and talk to them. I did. Numerous times. They ignored me.
Me and my husband moved. He decided he couldn’t handle seeing me crying all the time and so sad.
But when we moved they caused so much problems and tried to break up my marriage.

My husband visits them here and there.

I had a difficult pregnancy and was told my baby was going to die. When my baby was born, she was in intensive care for 2 months. My husbands family didn’t even visit my baby. They just caused more problems.

And now they are badmouthing me saying that i should take my daughter to them so they can see her.

My husband misses his family and wants amends to be made. He’s gotten me to make the effort with them so many times but they reject me and ignore me. Now he makes comments like “i want to take my daughter to see my family but you wont let me” and it makes so angry because they didn’t even visit her when she was in intensive care and after she came home… Its been 9 months since her birth and they still haven’t seen her.

I feel so depressed. Im always thinking about how they bullied and oppressed me and are still slandering me. How do i forgot these people? Everyday i think about what they did to me and i feel so angry. What should i do to forget the torture they put me through? Please help.

A: Thank you for writing us. Your husband needs to be much more directly involved with his family concerning how they treat you. This sense of entitlement, mistreatment and alienation is something that you and your husband need to address together. Dynamics like this are designed to split the two of you apart. The most important thing is for you and your husband to be on the same page with how to deal with them.

This does that mean isolating or alienating yourself. Offering them invitations to come to your place and you and your husband having a plan for how to receive them would be important. Going back onto their turf seems like a bad idea. When you were there, the treatment of you was horrific. Why put yourself in their crosshairs again? If they don’t understand that relationships are based on mutual trust and respect, then you don’t have to put yourself at risk, particularly if your husband isn’t supportive.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Mar 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2014). My In-Laws Abused Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/03/08/my-in-laws-abused-me/