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My Mother-in-Law Manipulates My Husband And She Refuses To Acknowledge Me

The problem…

“Although I’ve been married for 15 years, my mother-in-law still hasn’t accepted me. I think I could cope better if she was rude or argumentative, but she simply ignores me completely. It’s literally like I’m not there and she can’t see me!

“I get no support from my husband, who doesn’t seem to see it and sticks up for her every time. I know she’s getting older and that I should have learnt to cope with it by now, but it’s getting me crosser and crosser.

“So much so that I feel like refusing to visit her, and refusing to let the children see her either. Am I being petty?”

Fiona says…

“I don’t think you’re being petty by considering refusing to see her yourself, but I think it would be a mistake to involve your children. Aside from the fact that they wouldn’t understand, and that it would cause even further resentment, they really shouldn’t be used as pawns in this game. The one person who I think you should be taking more of an issue with is your husband.

“The next time you visit, ask her open-ended questions, in front of him, to see if she responds – make it hard, if not impossible, for her to ignore you. He should be on your side, and so if he cannot or will not stand up to his mother, you have every justification at being angry with him too.

“Make sure he sees just how upset you are and point out that he is putting his mother’s feelings before yours. I can see why he wouldn’t want to cause a family rift, but that doesn’t mean he can’t give you more support and speak up for you when his mother is being rude.

“He needs to know just how angry you are, and if he doesn’t want you to finally blow your top, he must find a way of getting his mother to accept that you are now part of the family.”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.