A reader writes: ‘Follow your gut instinct to protect yourself and your family’

Dear Miriam,

I’ve never written to you but I feel so compelled to write in support of the woman in the article of 23 September (“Life with in-laws is taking its toll on my family”).

This downtrodden woman must make a stand and follow her gut instinct to protect herself and family. Her father-in-law will never change and if you don’t protect yourself, you will always regret it. Be firm in telling her boys what they’re learning is wrong, toxic and demeaning. Otherwise you risk a lack of respect towards you and other women.

Her partner needs to grow up. His mother only sides with his father for an easy life, I guess.

As the daughter of a controlling, bullying father, I’ve stood by when mine were young to be mocked and belittled by him. I’m outraged at myself and still feel guilty, but I cowered like a child in his presence. He can only speak badly of everyone and he will never accept his wrongdoings.

My brothers are held to ransom, also with the carrot of land, for all their lives. But to what gain? Despair, depression and no plan in place for the future. Some land has been transferred after 30 years of broken promises and working for peanuts, as my parents have no real concept of the cost of living now with a family.

I beg you to make your emotionally controlled partner see the light and put in place other plans. He must put you first as his dad doesn’t really care about him, only the land.

Best wishes,

Regular Reader

A reader writes: There is room

for us all in this relationship

Hi Miriam,

Thanks for printing a lovely letter recently about a very special mother-in-law (“Telling our mother-in-law how much she’s loved” 26 Aug edition). Unfortunately, in recent times these special ladies have received some “bad press”. Even so, I must acknowledge that a number of daughters-in-law have not had such a positive experience and it is upsetting and sad to say that this is the case for some.

I too would like to pay a special tribute to my recently deceased mother-in-law. If I was lucky enough to win the lottery, the whole value of it would not compensate this dear lady for all she has done for me and my family.

When I married my darling husband, I was working outside of the home. At this time, nothing changed for him in respect of his routine with his mother. They continued to have their meals together during week days, which was wonderful for him and also for her. This was nice for her as she still had company, and nice for him as he also had company and it was a sort of a “quiet” way for him to check that she was up and well and sitting in her chair. It was also nice for me to know that someone else was taking care of my man. There are no limits to what this wonderful woman would do. When my son came home from primary school, it was no trouble for nana to look after him. She doted on him and he equally doted on her.

My husband and mother-in-law continued to have their long “chats”. He kept her informed of all that he was doing on the farm and she really loved to be included in all of this. My husband also received the odd “scolding” and to this day we still enjoy remembering these times.

My husband and I thanked nana for being nana, and for being so kind to us all just before she passed away. I regret that we had not done this sooner when she was in better health. To all of you daughters-in-law who are lucky to have someone so kind in your lives, please thank your mother-in-law and let her know how special she is.

To all you sisters-in-law, be kind to the new daughters-in-law – support them and support your brothers. Remember they are taking on a lot to be part of all your lives. You all will gain so much, so try and make relationships work. Your brother’s new wife is not taking your brother away, your brother has simply moved on to a new chapter in his life. There is room for us all in this relationship.

Munster Reader CL