I recently discovered that my mother in law has very strong feelings against me. That sounds like a normal situation for many families, except I had no idea. She has always been so kind to me, very nice person and always laughing and giving out compliments. I thought she was great and tried to get to know her more and spend time with her. But she never seemed to be interested with coming over, calling or being involved in my or her son’s life. About 6 months ago I discovered an email she wrote that was completely bashing me and my character. It completely shocked me and broke my heart. I wrote her a letter telling her I had no idea why she feels this way about me because I feel I have always been very kind and loving towards her. But since I cause her problems, I will keep my distance, but am always willing to talk.
Its been 6 months and she has not said one word to me. She even removed all my pictures from her home, as if since the secret is out, no need to pretend anymore. She is now open with telling all her friends how disrespectful Ive been for the last 4 years. Her relationship with her son (my husband) is obviously not good now since he doesn’t know why she feels this way. I feel sad for him that his mom is not willing to work this out and talk to me. Is there anything we can do to get her to see that I am not a bad person and be open to talking? Thanks

A: What a shame that your mother-in-law is so limited in her readiness to try to deal with this. What I know about these conditions is that there’s little that you can do when the other person is this way. The message to them is that you are ready to talk, but that you have no plans to turn yourself inside out for them. Explain that without her willingness to talk about it, there is nothing you or her son can do to make it better. In the meantime start planning your lives without her, but keep your offer of willingness to talk on the table.

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