Hi Annie

I just need some advice on how to go on with living with my mother-in-law, as I have done for 10 years.

She is the worst you can ever get. She will try her utmost to make trouble for my husband and I but he will never ever say anything or side with me because he says he doesn’t like people fighting and making trouble.

He is quite content living like this but I’m not sure how much longer I can handle this or put on a front

I think the only reason I’m doing it is because I have a seven-year-old daughter and she loves her father. I also love him and he is a good husband and father.

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Living with my mother-in-law makes us fight about stupid things or makes me moody when I get home from work. We cannot move because the house is intended for my husband to inherit and he says that he can’t leave her there on her own.

Please advise as I don’t want to break my marriage up just because of my mother-in-law.

Dear Shelly

Thank you for your letter. Talking about the woman that he loved before you and that you may still be measured against, is always a touchy subject.

No woman wants to play second fiddle to another woman when it comes to her husband. This becomes complex when the other woman is a family member and even more complex when she is living in your home!

The last time I mentioned that the same letters in mother-in-law also spelled â??woman hitlerâ? I got a mob of angry mothers-in-law writing to me so I am not even going to mention that.

You have lived with your mother-in-law for 10 years already

Patterns of behaviour have been formed by both of you and it will be hard to change them now. Your husband and mother-in-law may wonder why you have tolerated certain things for a decade, but now want to change things.

You could put forward your mother-in-lawâ??s profile for the planned Mars colonisation programme. Failing that she is accepted, it would appear that you are stuck living with her.

If you cannot change your circumstances, or your problem, you can feel disempowered and despair. Along with every girl who has ever kissed a frog, or has been married for ten years, I am sure that you have also learnt that changing people is not in our range of power skills.

You need to put yourself back in a position of empowerment and consider what is in your power to change.

A very inspiring book called Manâ??s search for meaning was written by Victor Frankl. This true story of a psychiatrist, imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, beautifully illustrates how we get to choose our attitude no matter what circumstances we may face. The position of victim is only one of the choices available to us.

To run an app of resentment requires constant battery life from you. Time to delete this app

Clearly you are at a place where you feel unable to bear this any longer

Something has to change. I would like to send your husband a cyber-slap to the head that propels him to stand up for you. On the off chance that he does not get it, a fresh perspective and new position will possibly give you the strength to carry on.

Consider the amount of energy that you spend on your mother-in-law

If she is constantly undermining you, she certainly does not deserve more of your energy, even negative energy. To run an app of resentment requires constant battery life from you. Time to delete this app.

In an attempt to gain a different perspective, put yourself in your mother-in-lawâ??s fuddy-duddy old shoes and consider how life looks from her vantage point. Is she afraid that her position with her son may be completely replaced by you? What will happen to her if she does not hold on hand and claw?

You have been married to her son for 10 years. Clearly you love him and make him happy. Does the thought that she cannot compete with that, make her even more insecure and nasty?

For all her warts and spots she did one thing right â?? she raised the wonderful man that you fell in love with. Perhaps it is time for her to realise that she has not lost her son, but has in fact gained a loving and supportive daughter.

As you settle in the knowledge that you are not competing with your mother-in-law for your husbandâ??s affections that you already won ten years ago, I trust that the grace that you extend will thaw out your monster-in-law to a gentle ally.

You are beautiful!
Love and blessings