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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Mother-in-law is easily offended and aggressive - abnormal?

 ana - Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:27 am

My family is in a very tough situation. We are trying to seek help for my in-laws. They have always been very controlling parents, if not emotionally abusive to their son and daughter. But this is not the main issue though.

My mother-in-law especially has been behaving very abnormally ever since my twins were born. She got extremely jealous of my own mom being here to help (which led to my mom going away). She constantly gets extremely offended when her son gives her feedback on babysitting. She goes through our closets: she took back some 6-9M clothes because at 5 months I hadn’t washed them yet for her grandkids to wear. She keeps worrying that our kids are unhealthy even though their pediatricians is very happy with our babies’ development. She keeps saying how her grandkids look at her as if she’s “strange”. She’s very easily offended. Nobody’s appreciative enough of her or up to her standards. She doesn’t care that she insults and hurts everybody else.

She got much worse when her son told her we wanted to move 15 minutes further than we live now. She took it out on everybody: she was extremely rude to my mom at Xmas - for no reason. She started yelling at me and CHASING me outside when her son confronted her about being so rude. Not to mention she had returned the grandkids’ gifts and she run away from home for about 6 hours – even though her own family was very concerned for her safety, she didn’t care about them.

To make matters worse, her husband is by her side. They both make ridiculous accusations. I can’t get a haircut at 1pm if I’m invited to their house over for dinner. I can’t dress my kids in whatever clothes I want, etc.. We can't live without insulting her somehow. They are quite delusional.

My mother-in-law’s relatives are very concerned too. They told me that she has never been able to maintain healthy relationships with her friends. She has pushed her husband away from his family and friends. She has refused to talk tom her own sister for 5 years after a similar conflict..

We just don’t think she’s normal but we don’t know how to get her to seek help, especially since her husband is not accepting the reality, but supporting her madness. They are in their mid 50’s. Her dad suffers from Parkinsons.

Please help us. I am afraid to get anywhere close to her after her latest unprovoked outburst and I am also afraid she could take it out on her grandkids next.
 Dr. K. Eisele - Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:03 am

User avatar Ana:

Chasing you? That's pretty abnormal. What did your husband and hers do/say about that? Even if your father-in-law agrees that she was justified in being offended, if he is at all rational he will realize that chasing you is, well, over the top.

As their parents, you and your husband, alone, are responsible for their health and welfare, AND, therefore the two of you, alone, have the right to care for them the way you see fit. In other words, you and hubby say what, and WHO, goes.

Let me qualify my next statement with: if I were in your situation, I would put the brakes on grandma RIGHT NOW. I would also let her know that she could spend time with the children when and only when she gets psychiatric care, and when and only when you and your husband are convinced that she has come to her senses.

It's hard to say what demons she grapples with, but neither you, your husband, nor your children have to fight her fighting her demons. The best way to get her help, which I believe she desperately needs, is for her husband to see how irrational her behavior is, and firmly take her by the hand to see the psychiatrist.

Depending on your husband's feelings, this is a very ticklish situation. Ultimately, you must do what you know is best for your children.

Good luck, and please come back with any other questions you have, and to let us know how things work out.

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