Home » Ask the Therapist » Parenting » What’s Wrong with My Mother-in-Law (and Wife)?

What’s Wrong with My Mother-in-Law (and Wife)?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

1. She arbitrarily ‘chooses’ people, distrusts them and thinks of them as liars, amoral, inferior, etc. People arbitrarily chosen are the ones close to me.
2. Thinks her family, her morals and beliefs are ‘superior’ to mine but bends her ‘superior morals’ whenever needed to suit her convenience.
3. My wife has a similar personality. She will make a fuss out of something, call her mother and trigger her off (Eg; During my wedding reception, my parents got carried away greeting guests. My wife blamed my parents for ‘not offering her water on purpose’ – she did not even ask for it. She triggered her mother. Her mother asked me to ‘offer water to a thirsty woman even if I am not willing to feed my wife’. Both women soon got enraged.)
4. Shows dual behavior – first she is this soft ‘parent-of-an-abused-girl-god-believer’, transforms into a raging verbally abusive woman derogating me and my family, cursing death/dismemberment/etc. to my parents. Later, she absolutely denies all she said in her anger and swears on gods that she never lies – I am the liar.
4. Every time we try to speak about these issues, she ‘faints’. My wife says there is ‘no oxygen flowing to her brain’ and asks her father to violently shake her head while blaming me for what happened to her mother. She ‘regains consciousness’ after a few minutes. Opportunity to address problems lost.
5. Recently, she began exhibiting literal split personality. She went into a trance – some ‘god’ had entered her. She said my birth was flawed and that god has come here to save me, threatened my parents with curses and death and asked me to treat my wife well. She physically hits my wife when angry.
6. My wife is very similar – dual behavior – shows affection, romance, we live normally for a few days and then finds a random fault with a sudden mood swing and goes into a rage-crying-despair cycle. In her rage mode she is absolutely uncontrollable. She hits me physically, abuses me verbally, weeps and threatens to call the cops and book me for ‘dowry harassment’, degrades me in front of her mother, plays the victim and so on.
7. My in-laws seem to act mostly on impulse without thoughts about consequences. My wife and FIL both rigidly obey my MIL.

What’s Wrong with My Mother-in-Law (and Wife)?

Answered by on -


The behavior of both your mother-in-law and your wife is unusual. Without being able to interview them in person, a diagnosis is not possible. However, based on what you described, it would seem that they are emotionally unstable and perhaps dangerous. The physical abuse and rage is concerning.

If you can help it, limit your contact with your mother-in-law. Interact with her as little as possible. You also should strongly encourage your wife to seek treatment with mental health professionals. If she’s unwilling to seek help, then you should consult a mental health professional. He or she can assess your situation and provide guidance for how you should respond. These issues are significant and cannot be ignored. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

What’s Wrong with My Mother-in-Law (and Wife)?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). What’s Wrong with My Mother-in-Law (and Wife)?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 27 Nov 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.