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    If she verbally abuses you, then goes “I was abused” and never attempts to change this behaviour, it’s a toxic pattern you both need to step away from.

    She doesn’t user her abuse as a crutch, or even see anything wrong with her behavior. That’s the most irritating thing about the situation.

    Example: over Christmas, we stayed a few days with her family and a few days with mine. Her parents are trying to sell their house and didn’t tell us that anyone would be coming over to look at it (why would anyone do that on Christmas anyway?). She told us she wouldn’t even be going downstairs where we were staying and that we could leave it messy.

    Still, we cleaned the area we were staying in before leaving to be with my family — but it wasn’t “spotless.” So when people decided to come by the house, her mother sent her a ton of texts calling her an asshole, demanding an apology, and saying we weren’t welcome to stay the next night (which had been our plan). My fiance cried for half an hour, and when we returned to gather our things and they acted like nothing happened. It was infuriating and caused me to lose time with family that I hadn’t seen in over a year. But things like that happen with them every time we see them.


    Calmly talk with her, and explain why you need your space. You still love her, but until she starts working towards change, you cannot keep exposing yourselves to the pain.

    I’ve wanted to address it for a while now, but my fiance says she’s tried before. She says “my parents don’t hear what you’re saying, they hear that you’re disagreeing with them and that’s it.” My dad is the same way. Our plan for now is to just distance ourselves more, and my fiance is going to say something from now on when her mother calls her names. She’s also going to stop apologizing for things that aren’t her fault.


    Limiting your interactions with them is wise, going to therapy [your fiance, but also your mother in law] and all of you being open and understanding of each other’s struggles would be ideal.

    That’s the plan for now. I can’t afford therapy myself, but my fiance goes 1x per week and I try to do other things (exercise, mindfulness practice, etc). I do see my (future) mother-in-law improving in many ways — for example, she was once an alcholic and quit drinking shortly before I met her — and she is a great mother in many other ways. She’s even helped pay for some of my fiance’s therapy sessions. I know she wants to be better and I see a future where she has recovered more from her pain and will quit the name-calling / needless anger. In the meantime I guess we’re just taking it slow and trying to determine the best way to navigate it all without cutting ties, because I honestly don’t think that’s the solution in this case. If it were, I think (hope) her therapist would’ve suggested it.


    You don’t owe them anything. Work towards healing, they do seem like lovely people but don’t feel obligated.

    Thank you. I sincerely appreciate your time and advice. Good luck to you and your fiance!


    Hi Anita!

    Wow, you’ve really given me a lot to think about here. I guess I was seeing my (future) mother-in-law’s reaction to our affection as abuse, especially after she called my fiance a wh***. I was worried it would make things worse — make my (future) mother-in-law feel like she can throw a tantrum and get her way with us — by giving in, but you’re right. I’ve been hurting my fiance in ways I didn’t see before.

    I really appreciate you taking such an in-depth look into this, even going back to look at my posts from years ago. In answer to your questions:

    -are you living with your girlfriend, away from her parents and yours? Yes, we have an apartment together that is several hours from either of our parents. We were living with her parents for a month or so (until the wh*** thing happened), then we scrambled to get our own place so we could be together in a better environment. We share a roommate and my fiance is in therapy 1x a week.

    -how often do you and your girlfriend visit her parents’ home, and for about how long is each visit? We usually visit her parents once a month or once every couple of months. It’s never longer than a week. We have a new rule not to stay more than two days because that’s usually when tension occurs for one reason or another.

    -is there a wedding planned or is the engagement open-ended, as in: sometime in the future, a year, a few years from now, we’ll get married? We’re getting married on Halloween this year (we’ll have been together for more than 2 years at that point).

    Do these answers add anything to your thoughts? If so, I would love to hear more from you.

    P.S. I don’t give my fiance hickeys anymore lol, it was just a stupid puppy love thing I did once before I realized how harmful they can be to the body

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