Bullied by my in-laws

My in-laws’ behavior is so hurtful that I’m considering divorce.

Our elder says: it’s time your husband had a word with them.

Dear EWC

I have been with my husband about four years, married for one. Over the last year my father in law’s behavior has been getting worse towards me. He ridicules my husband in front of me and constantly teases me like he’s trying to wind me up and push my buttons. My mother in law is also very passive aggressive, saying hurtful things aimed at me. I have only ever been nice and have tried ignoring them. It’s getting me down now and I don’t know what to do. I have suggested I don’t see them. My husband doesn’t speak up for me. I’m finding this hard and I have thought about divorcing him.

Danray replies

I’m sorry to hear that your in-laws are bullying you and to some extent your husband. This must be very difficult for the both of you and I can understand how hurtful this can be. I’m not sure (maybe you don’t know either) why over the past year their behavior is getting worse towards you. I appreciate the fact that you have tried to be nice and have tried ignoring them.

Bullying is wrong and clearly causes a relationship that is uncomfortable. Much has been written about the harmful effects of bullying and I agree that you and your husband should not put up with this abuse.  It looks as if you have talked to your husband about this issue and to this point he hasn’t spoken up. I would speak to him again and let him know that their behavior is wrong and he needs to support you. Part of a healthy marriage partnership is supporting one another even if that means him confronting his parents. He needs to make it clear to his parents that if they expect both of you to visit them, then their bullying needs to stop. They should know that they are hurting you and your husband needs to make this clear. If they will not stop for any reason then unfortunately both of you will not be seeing them.  

I would suggest that he visit his parents one-on-one to have this discussion. Tell them in clear terms that this is unacceptable and it must stop. If he’s unwilling to have this discussion for whatever reason then he needs to understand why you cannot accept his lack of support. He needs to support you and now the two of you need to discuss what a healthy marriage reflects, including open conversation, honesty/trust, support, patience/forgiveness, etc.   

Hopefully your husband will understand the need to approach his parents and have this discussion. It may be difficult for him but it needs to be done. If he doesn’t want to act, you have the right to let him know that he’s not supporting you and this is an issue that the two of you need to address. At that point you may want to engage marriage counseling or other professional help to address your marriage issues. 

Hope this helps and I wish you the best going forward.  

Letter #: 433515
Category: Marriage

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