Just Seeing My Overbearing In-Laws Stresses Me Out

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m an unemployed woman in my 40s and have been living for the past six years in a house my husband and I built on my in-laws’ property.

It pains me every time I see my in-laws. They frequently bring over unsanitary food, and no matter how many times I refuse their food, they persistently tap on the windows, ring the doorbell or call me on the phone.

Last year, when I was making dinner, my in-laws told my children to feed the carp. When I told my in-laws they should have waited until my husband got home, they proceeded to yell at me for 40 minutes saying I was arrogant and wasn’t raised right. I couldn’t stop crying and felt like I wanted to die. It stressed me out to the point that I needed to leave, so I took my children and went to my parents’ home.

I was able to return home after going on medication. I told my husband many times that I no longer want anything to do with his parents, but we cannot move partly because of the mortgage on our house. I didn’t know what to do, so I’m receiving counseling. My mother told me there was an advice column in the paper, so I’m asking for your help.

— E, Hyogo Prefecture

Dear Ms. E:

Your in-laws not only insulted you but your parents as well. Their comments and actions have gone beyond nuisance and have reached the level of emotional abuse.

You have toughed it out with the help of counseling, but you are probably at your limit. If you keep going like this, you will end up having a breakdown, which will also affect your children.

If things are not improving after having spoken to your husband multiple times about the situation, it means your in-laws do not take your issues seriously. You need to make your husband understand that you have even contemplated suicide as a result of the way his parents treat you. You need to make him take a strong stance against his parents.

You and your children can stay with your parents, right? You should put some distance between you and your husband to show him what you’re prepared to do. Receive counseling and get a diagnosis from a psychiatrist. How will your husband react when he sees the diagnosis?

You say you have a mortgage, but your life is important. Don’t get your priorities mixed up. To your mother, who told you about this column, please do everything in your power to protect your daughter.

— Hazuki Saisho, writer