Counselling

How can I help my mother-in-law?

Old Man Abusing

Question: My father-in-law is a problem creator. He hates my mother-in-law and he does not treat his family as his family. He is totally biased towards his brother and sister, etc. Being an orthodox woman, my mother-in-law does not want to take a divorce. But she is being abused by my father-in-law. How do we resolve this type of problem?

Related reading: Divorce – advice, support and tips on divorce

Answer:

Hi, it is commendable that you are deeply concerned about your MIL and want to help her. Suggesting divorce to a woman of her age and generation is not a very practical solution. What you can do instead is, especially if they live with you, to take a stand for her gently but firmly every time your FIL raises his voice or treats her badly. Stand by her, speak up for her, be her voice. I know it may be difficult for  a while especially because he is your FIL and also your MIL might herself stop you from protesting. But you have to use the utmost tact. Do not raise your voice. Put up your point to your FIL in a level, firm and clear voice and then remove your MIL from the situation for that time.
Usually men who dominate over their wives are not used to women standing up for themselves, and if your mother-in-law is not able to do it for herself, you can do it on her behalf. The effect will be same, eventually he’ll learn to back off. Also, try to instil more confidence in your MIL, teach her some skills, it’s highly likely that with her husband’s control she has lost her self-esteem. Once you can help her feel like she matters, she herself will develop the will to stand up for herself. Take care, all the best!

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