Ask Yonca abla: Mother-in-law is making life unbearable

Dear Yonca abla, 

My mother-in-law has moved in with us. She lost her husband a few years back and was feeling vulnerable living on her own. She also has various health problems. My husband has two other siblings: one is married to an English lady and relations are a bit strained there. The other – a sister – is married to a Türkiyeli and living out there. 

In small doses, my mother-in-law is lovely. But now she is here, she wants to interfere with everything: how we bring up the kids, how we cook dinner, the layout of the rooms, how I look…It is driving me round the bend! I have tried tactfully pushing back, but she gets upset and then starts to cry. 

I’ve tried talking to my husband, but he doesn’t see most of what goes on as he is out at work. He thinks I should just “take a chill pill”. I feel like whacking him one too! Your advice is needed urgently! I don’t want to give an ultimatum and force an elderly woman out, but I can’t see how else this can turn out. 



My dearest Emine,

I’m saddened to hear of the chaos going on in your home life. Having anyone stay with you long-term will unsettle the home eventually, let alone a mother-in-law. In small doses, of course any mother or mother-in-law is fine. Sadly, as your mother-in-law has nothing going on in her life, she will happily interfere in yours.

Yonca 2You must stand your ground and bring up your children and run your house as you please. But please do this tactfully because, as you are aware, it is a very delicate subject and it will most certainly come between your husband and you.

I suggest a candle-lit dinner to tell your hubby what’s going on. Gently explain why you feel it’s important you help get her re-housed and continue to support her from her own home. If you do not succeed, tell your husband he is crossing that fine line and you will not tolerate it!

Good luck!

Yonca abla


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