A few months ago, my mother in law accused me of something I didn’t do. She went so far as to threaten me with police and lawyers. When I showed up at her house to pick up my children, she started screaming at me, calling me names and tried to pull me out of the car. I haven’t spoken to her since and I am not allowed at her house. When my husband takes the children over there, I have to stay home. Last night, my husband informed me that on Christmas morning, after presents are opened at our house, he is taking the children over to my in-law’s house to celebrate for a little bit, while I have to stay home, alone, without my children. I even offered to let the in-laws come over to our house to watch the kids open presents and eat breakfast. They declined. While I know she is their grandma and I would never take them away from her. I feel like I am being punished, while she gets what she wants and I am being forced to barely spend Christmas with MY children. I expressed my feelings to my husband and he doesn’t understand, he thinks I am being irrational. I feel like this is complete disrespect towards me. One for allowing his mother to treat his spouse this way and two for allowing himself to treat me this way. What can I do?
This is important enough to take a stand on. Your husband’s lack of understanding and dismissing your response as irrational will create more and more issues. By minimizing and ignoring your needs he will be driving a greater rift in the family. By not understanding and declaring you irrational without seeing his mother’s role in this he will be alienating you — and eventually the children. It is important to deal with this sooner rather than later.
His mother’s unwarranted accusations, physical altercation, and refusal to come to your house when invited must not go unanswered by your husband if there is to be a healing between you and him. The psychological emphasis must be on the two of you to maintain a unified stance, not him making a unilateral decision to appease his mother even though it hurts you. This will not be healthy for the marriage. It isn’t that him going to the in-laws wasn’t a potential solution for the day, but it is the fact the two of you were not in agreement with it that is the issue. If you were both on the same page with him going for a bit that would have been fine. The thing that makes this dangerous is that your husband is dismissing your needs completely by dismissing them as irrational and acting to pacify his mother rather than join with his wife. This has generated your resentment, which will continue to grow if he continues to diminish your feelings.
Finding a couple therapist or family therapist in your area using the Find Help tab at the top of the page would be important. I’d strongly encourage the two of you to talk to a family therapist to get some support and ideas of how best to deal with this situation.
Wishing you patience and peace,