Road blocking Mother in Law...


New Member
I sorta feel sorry for my sister in law but at the same time she frustrates me cause of her dependency on her mother. Sis in law has been needing a new couch for awhile hers is old and falling to pieces. Right now her neighbor has been promising she could have his couch when he buys himself a new one. But it seems he keeps putting if off. Or he's not sure if he'll have enough money for a new couch this month. So I saw friend on Facebook posting that he was getting rid of his couch to anyone who wants it. Free! He even posted pictures and the best part...he lives across the street from my house. The couch looked in decent shape and so I quickly contacted sister in law and showed her the pictures. Told her to let me know cause me and the hubby could just walk across the street and snag the couch. As I waited I contact friend and put a dibs on his couch.

About an hour later she contacts me back and declines on the couch. Because she promised the neighbors she would take his. She said mom told her that if he didn't have the money this month then he said he would have it next month. This tells me she contacted her mother to get her approval first and mother either didn't like the couch or didn't want to tell the guy they no longer wanted his couch. Mother in law does NOT live with her daughter. They each have their own apt in the same building across from each other.

My poor sister in law is 40 years old and has been so conditioned by her mother that she can't even get herself her own couch with out discussing it with mommy. Heck! When sis decided she was going to by her daughter (difficult child) a kitten...mother took it upon herself and contacted someone on Craigslist and got a free older cat the spent the first 6 months hiding under the bed.

I guess I just feel frustrated cause I tried to stick my neck out to get Sis something she needed only to be mom-blocked in the whole process.


Well-Known Member
I well understand your frustration. Sometimes dysfunctional family dynamics are even more frustrating when they are not your own, but in-laws. And again, there is usually nothing one can do to it.

I too have a controlling, difficult mother-in-law. Luckily none of her children are too dependant of her, but she can still play a lot of havoc. She tends to outrageously favour some of her children and scapegoat few others. And she has to meddle to everything. I'm married the golden boy, only one she has never put into her blacklist. There is also other favoured sibling (though she has been blacklisted few times) and one who never does anything right. And two more who are in the between. I'm of course the wicked witch of the west, but I guess that having to balance between me and his mom has kept husband from being totally crushed under mother in law's thumb. At least with my in-laws the most unfavoured children let their mother to coerce them the least. And my husband and other favoured child have the hardest time not let their mother to influence too much into their decisions.

I most of the time just try to step back and watch that old merry-go-round to have a few more rounds and limit my involvement to least possible. Works wonders and it can be even entertaining in black comedy kind of the way at times. Unfortunately we live the closest (just few hundred yards) from my in-laws, and they have always been a great practical help to us (and father in law is rather wonderful guy) and my kids are oldest from the grandchildren. So the least possible, is still plenty. And I also happen to be a mom of both the favoured golden grandchild and the most unfavoured scapegoat. And that is something I have felt a need to shelter my sons somewhat. Neither of those positions does favours to character development of the child.

But my advice is to take a step back emotionally, not to get invested and rather observe and maybe try to see the more humorous aspect of it all. Because lets face it, you can't change it and neither can you likely just cut them off.


Well-Known Member really can't do anything about it.

Is your sister in therapy? If not, maybe suggest it. There are free county clinics everywhere. At forty, she should not be tied to her mom anymore, and your mom has no business interfering. The solution is for your sister not to tell mother what she is doing. That she can't do anything without telling her mother is a strong indication of a need for serious therapy.

But, as bad as you feel about Sis, there isn't anything you can do to change her. Meanwhile, maybe don't stick your neck out for her again that way knowing that, in her mind, the final decision is her mothers.

It is sad. It is what we, who have adult children who still act like kids, want to avoid, which is why we detach. Your sister needs to detach from her mother. She is way too old to be doing this dance. However, there is absolutely nothing you can or should do about it.

If she wants a couch badly enough, there will be other free couches. Let her find the couch, get it, or not have one.

It is hard to watch a middle age person still being terrified of a parent, and I understand it because I so badly wanted my mom to love me (although I never did check in with her about what to do or not do). Still, it took a lot of therapy to realize our relationship was garbage...same with others in the family. It's a trip only your sister can take. And she has to be willing to take it. Alone. Without informing Mother who will ask to go with her.

You have a kind heart. But, really, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink, ya know? You can't fix any person on earth except yourself.

Have a good day.


New Member
Yeah I know there isn't much I can do to change them. And therapy was suggested awhile ago for all of them. Family therapy to help them have a more health relationship with each other but the mother scoffed at the idea. They had a counselor for difficult child who was trying to advise them that a lot of the child's issues were because of her home life. Well sis and mom were outraged that how dare that person question their parenting. So they transferred to another councilor, one who wouldn't tell them they were doing anything wrong. That it was a condition the girl had and she needed medications.

It's hard to find humor in it because Mom is not in the best health. What are they going to do when she passes and they don't have anyone telling them how to live their life? I fear for them. I feel sis in law, who is already lonely and has no personal life, is just going to be completely lost.