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Topic : 06/30 Inappropriate In-laws

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Created on : Friday, April 25, 2008, 03:04:05 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 05/01/08) When couples tie the knot, they don't just marry each other; they get hitched to their spouse’s entire family. But what would you do if your in-laws were demanding, condescending and sometimes violent? Bambi hasn’t spoken to her daughter, Kendra, for two years, and she blames her son-in-law, Adam. Bambi says she and Adam got into a heated argument in which she not only slapped him, but also went looking for a gun to shoot him! Kendra says her mother was way out of line for physically assaulting Adam and doesn't know if she can change her controlling ways. Bambi says Kendra is dead to her — and even built a makeshift gravesite in her yard to symbolize her grief. The irascible in-law says she's desperate to reconcile with Kendra -- but not Adam. Will the couple accept her terms?  Join the discussion.

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July 7, 2008, 4:13 pm CDT

THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORDS

Quote From: kivarocks

    She is trying to [CONTROL you with FEAR so you feel vulnerable and insecure.Much like she probably did to you in your childhood ? I can see that you are a very wise person and I know that you will deal with any situation that ___[may___ come up in the future.So trust your intuition and common sense which you have an abundance of.You don't really have to move to have peace.You just have to maintain your boundries and everything will be fine.Our problems went on for nearly 30 years because we did not have CLEAR defined boundries or the doctor Phil show for education, support and empowerment. 
Thank you for your words.  They have done more for me than you can possibly know.  I dont talk to anyone, not even my closest friend about any of this.  It just upsets my father and husband to know that I am thinking of her.  It's easy for them to put her out of mind, but she is my mother.  I dont mention it to anyone else because I am the one people count on, I dont like to burden them with my issues that they cannot possibly ever understand-even a little- so I put it all on a shelf.  Just being able to type these few messages and get a reponse from someone that does understand has done wonders for me.  Yes, she was very physically and most emotionally abusive to my sibbling and myself as children.  She was/is very manipulative and could get anyone to do anything for her.  She makes you feel like you are so important to her until she has what she needs then she's done with you.  There were a lot of drugs and men.  I dont think I will ever be completely out from under her control or fear.  There was a lot of mental slams- i ran as soon as I became legal-as did my sibbling.  That is when I found my husband, who allowed me to grow and heal.  My knight, if you will.  We married after less than a year and just a few months before my 19 birthday.  He is much older than I.  That was close to 20 years ago.  I still wonder after all this time if we will survive her.  Of course there are issues of our own, but we seem to work those out. The only one we cant seem to work out is her....I try to live my life and raise my children completely opposit of what I was shown, but for some reason I will sometimes feel like I am going to be just like her. I guess it's just that "fear" But thank you so much for your resonses, you give me much needed hope for a brighter future beyond the shadows of her.
 
July 7, 2008, 4:46 pm CDT

I am surprised by Dr. Phil

I am surprised by Dr. Phil's lack of understanding concerning Bambi creating a gravesite to represent the loss of her daughter.  I know it may seem extreme but I certainly understand it.  I am in a very similiar situation with my 45 year old daughter.  She married a man who has physically abused her, their two children and their animals.   She confides in me most things that happen.  She is now afraid of her 17 year old son.  Her husband has verbally abused me many times and I try hard not to make the situation worse usually by keeping my mouth shut.  I come from many years of physical, sexual and verbal abuse so I know I am sensitive to the subject of abuse and both my daughters have learned from me but I have no way to break that terrible cycle now.  For about 8 years now my daughter has begun to treat me without any concern for my feelings.  She gets mad at me (even though I don't know why because she will not talk before or after the fact) and then she stays away from me for months at a time.  She will not answer her phone during this time.  I grieve during these times because I do not know where my daughter has gone and I don't know why she is gone.  If her husband or her son outright call her a whore and I get upset by it, she is gone again.  How can she tell me all these terrible things they do to her and expect me not to get upset.  She is not like the daughter I used to know or perhaps I really did not know her!  She lives one mile away and I have seen her twice in 7 months.  I finally let her go and I am grieving just as Bambi.  To me it is as though she has passed.  I have a new great granddaughter and am being pushed away from every direction.  Yes, Dr. Phil, I think you were being insensitive to the feelings of Bambi when you told her she was being extreme.  We all grieve in different ways and this was her way.  I write poetry that expresses the same thoughts as Bambi and the only difference is I have not put up the gravestone but I am still grieving for the daughter, two grandsons and great granddaughter I have lost.  It was a huge choice for me but I refuse to take the abuse.  If it feels like abuse, it is abuse, no matter where we come from in our past.
 
November 19, 2008, 12:31 pm CST

Support to Kendra and Adam from NL

Dear Kendra and Adam,

 

As we do get to see Dr Phil in the Netherlands, I saw the show today with you and your husband Adam. What an amazingly similar situation you are in. And I think your mom is even more evil than mine, as yours is really seeking revenge in an awfull violant way. And now I know I am not alone in having a crazy mother.

 

Please be strong and protect your daugther and husband! Choose for yourself! Your mother is a strong woman and she uses her strength to ruin other peoples lives... Get out. Go live your own live. It will hurt in the beginning and you will be sad over it. Remember and bear in mind that you will be doing your little girl Alanna a favour in the very best way: no emotional blackmail. Bambi has to mend her own life, her own illness, she is responsible for her own grief and the deciscions she makes. Indeed I think she cannot handle a true and unconditional relationship with her own children (so watch your own daugther!).

 

If you would like to read a nice book, please try 'Emotional Blackmail' from Susan Forward. At one point Susan uses the abbriveration FOG as in Fear Guilt and Obligation. Sounds familiar? You are being blackmailed emotional... The only way out of this terrible mental abusive relationship, is to break with her. I do feel sad and abandoned by my own mom.  As I have not spoken to my her in over 3 and a half years. But, I do feel I have to protect my children from this evil person. I feel for her as I think she is mentally ill. I am not the first person my mother has broken with, and I am sure I will not be the last.

 

As Dr Phil read your letter I think you are a terrible wise, forgiving and loving woman. Be proud of yourself and proud of Adam. And that for your age :-) as I am in my late 30ies. Have courage, be proud and give your own family a warm future. And you are not crazy!

 

 

Kind regards from NL

 
December 27, 2008, 10:33 am CST

My problem isn't as bad

Quote From: kivarocks

    She is trying to [CONTROL you with FEAR so you feel vulnerable and insecure.Much like she probably did to you in your childhood ? I can see that you are a very wise person and I know that you will deal with any situation that ___[may___ come up in the future.So trust your intuition and common sense which you have an abundance of.You don't really have to move to have peace.You just have to maintain your boundries and everything will be fine.Our problems went on for nearly 30 years because we did not have CLEAR defined boundries or the doctor Phil show for education, support and empowerment. 

My mother in law is a lot like Bambi, except that she isn't violent like this.  I don't know if she'd ever go to that extreme, as I've never banished her from our family.  I most recently set some clear boundaries:  you need to acknowledge my husband when you come into our house (don't just ignore him, and act like he doesn't exist),  you need to allow us to host at our own house (you are not the host in our house, WE ARE), you need to respect the rules we set for our children (don't feed them cookies right before I'm serving them supper, don't give them toys that I explicitly told you not to give them:  she brought over porcelain dolls for a 4 year old and a 2 year old), do not clean any part of our house unless invited or allowed (she started cleaning out our pantry without asking, and was throwing out things without asking - - things my husband was wanting to keep, it wasn't like she was cleaning out things with weevles in them (we keep our pantry pretty clean to begin with).  She does not like to be confronted.  When I confront her, she starts acting like she's going to cry.  She says that she doesn't like my husband, and that she loves me but doesn't like me.  This is all in response to me setting boundaries in my own house.  She also said "I wished you grew up with your dad and step-mom, then I wouldn't get any of the blame."  It was all in response to me setting boundaries in my home.  It was like she was trying to make me feel rebellious of her by setting rules for her to follow in MY HOME, NOT HER'S.  I'm glad to have seen the responses on this message board.  It reassures me that I'm doing the right thing.  I was feeling so guilty, for the longest time, because I was thinking I was not "honoring" my mother.  There is a huge difference here.  I am an adult.  She is trying to interfere with my family, the family I and my husband created, NOT HER FAMILY.  The abuse she gives me, by making me feel guilty for putting my husband and family before her is going to stop.  If she cannot respect me, my husband and our boundaries, then she is not allowed on our property.  I hate to make it seem so dramatic, but she needs to understand that WE MEAN BUSINESS.  I am doing the right thing by "cleaving to my husband".  She needs to "cut the cord," and if she won't then I WILL.

 
December 27, 2008, 10:38 am CST

06/30 Inappropriate In-laws

Quote From: azalea

I am surprised by Dr. Phil's lack of understanding concerning Bambi creating a gravesite to represent the loss of her daughter.  I know it may seem extreme but I certainly understand it.  I am in a very similiar situation with my 45 year old daughter.  She married a man who has physically abused her, their two children and their animals.   She confides in me most things that happen.  She is now afraid of her 17 year old son.  Her husband has verbally abused me many times and I try hard not to make the situation worse usually by keeping my mouth shut.  I come from many years of physical, sexual and verbal abuse so I know I am sensitive to the subject of abuse and both my daughters have learned from me but I have no way to break that terrible cycle now.  For about 8 years now my daughter has begun to treat me without any concern for my feelings.  She gets mad at me (even though I don't know why because she will not talk before or after the fact) and then she stays away from me for months at a time.  She will not answer her phone during this time.  I grieve during these times because I do not know where my daughter has gone and I don't know why she is gone.  If her husband or her son outright call her a whore and I get upset by it, she is gone again.  How can she tell me all these terrible things they do to her and expect me not to get upset.  She is not like the daughter I used to know or perhaps I really did not know her!  She lives one mile away and I have seen her twice in 7 months.  I finally let her go and I am grieving just as Bambi.  To me it is as though she has passed.  I have a new great granddaughter and am being pushed away from every direction.  Yes, Dr. Phil, I think you were being insensitive to the feelings of Bambi when you told her she was being extreme.  We all grieve in different ways and this was her way.  I write poetry that expresses the same thoughts as Bambi and the only difference is I have not put up the gravestone but I am still grieving for the daughter, two grandsons and great granddaughter I have lost.  It was a huge choice for me but I refuse to take the abuse.  If it feels like abuse, it is abuse, no matter where we come from in our past.
I think your situation is far different from what Kendra is experiencing.  I understand the need to intervene in your situation, but not in Kendra's/ Bambi's.  My mother has the potential to be like Bambi, and what she is doing is trying to manipulate Kendra, by making her feel guilty, so that she can continue controlling her daughter.  She has an extemely unhealthy view toward how she should relate to her ADULT child, who doesn't seem to be in an abusive relationship with her husband. 
 
December 27, 2008, 10:46 am CST

06/30 Inappropriate In-laws

Quote From: dr_lindac

Totally agree.  Bambi has either a serious mental health issue or a drug problem of some sort.  No amount of talking or common sense is going to help her see that she's the problem.  Sad.
I would like to know Bambi's diagnosis.  Though my mother hasn't been this bad, she is horrible in how she relates to our boundaries.  I want to know if she's been diagnosed with an illness, as I think my mother may have a milder form of it.  I'm not joking.  This is not laughing matter.  My mother has driven me litterally insane.  I had a really bad form of Bronchitis shortly after my second child was born.  My mother came over to take care of the kids (because my husband was working overseas).  She took that time to confront me about her poor relationship with my husband (which has a lot to do with her wanting her way, no matter what, and being rude toward him).  She had to have known what she was doing.  She likes to "kick me when I'm down".  I was so exhausted.  I had just had a baby, and was up about every two hours  feeding her.  I had bronchitis on top of this, and she takes this opportunity to confront me about something that she needs to directly confront my husband about.  I was so exhausted that I accidentally took pain killers instead of the Levaquin I was prescibed for my Bronchitis.  I ened up in a mental ward for a week, even though I was reacting to taking the wrong drugs.  I had hallucinations from taking too many pain killers (what I thought was the Levaquin).  The Psychiatrists kept me in the hospital for a week, in case it wasn't just a drug overdose/interaction.  I think they thought I might be abusing pain killers (which was not the case), and that they also wanted to make sure I wasn't going to be another Andrea Yeates.  This all started from my mom coming over to watch the kids for me, and kicking me when I was down.  She wasn't there to help, she made things far worse.  SHE IS THE ONE WHO NEEDS TO BE IN THE MENTAL WARD.  Kendra was right to cut ties with Bambi.  I hope she never had to go through what I did, ending up breaking down so badly.  I am really curious as to if Bambi ever got treated for what is so obviously a TRUE mental health issue.
 
December 27, 2008, 10:56 am CST

06/30 Inappropriate In-laws

Quote From: debibehnke

My daughter was having trouble with her husband because of his cocaine and steroid use. we both tried talking to him and he got mad. i even offered to pay for rehab. since that conversation my daughter has stopped talking to me and refuses to let me see my grand-daughter. i am so extremely hurt, because i stood by her for years while we went through court when her father sexually abused her and her sister. she will not tell me what is going on and i had to hire security at my wedding because her husband (who is a ex-policeman and a professional bodybuilder) said he was going to show up and ruin our wedding.
How can you identify with Bambi?  You don't seem to be like Bambi.  Kendra does not have a husband who is on drugs,  she has a mother who is literally insane. 
 
December 27, 2008, 10:59 am CST

06/30 Inappropriate In-laws

Quote From: jclewis04

My mother in law is a lot like Bambi, except that she isn't violent like this.  I don't know if she'd ever go to that extreme, as I've never banished her from our family.  I most recently set some clear boundaries:  you need to acknowledge my husband when you come into our house (don't just ignore him, and act like he doesn't exist),  you need to allow us to host at our own house (you are not the host in our house, WE ARE), you need to respect the rules we set for our children (don't feed them cookies right before I'm serving them supper, don't give them toys that I explicitly told you not to give them:  she brought over porcelain dolls for a 4 year old and a 2 year old), do not clean any part of our house unless invited or allowed (she started cleaning out our pantry without asking, and was throwing out things without asking - - things my husband was wanting to keep, it wasn't like she was cleaning out things with weevles in them (we keep our pantry pretty clean to begin with).  She does not like to be confronted.  When I confront her, she starts acting like she's going to cry.  She says that she doesn't like my husband, and that she loves me but doesn't like me.  This is all in response to me setting boundaries in my own house.  She also said "I wished you grew up with your dad and step-mom, then I wouldn't get any of the blame."  It was all in response to me setting boundaries in my home.  It was like she was trying to make me feel rebellious of her by setting rules for her to follow in MY HOME, NOT HER'S.  I'm glad to have seen the responses on this message board.  It reassures me that I'm doing the right thing.  I was feeling so guilty, for the longest time, because I was thinking I was not "honoring" my mother.  There is a huge difference here.  I am an adult.  She is trying to interfere with my family, the family I and my husband created, NOT HER FAMILY.  The abuse she gives me, by making me feel guilty for putting my husband and family before her is going to stop.  If she cannot respect me, my husband and our boundaries, then she is not allowed on our property.  I hate to make it seem so dramatic, but she needs to understand that WE MEAN BUSINESS.  I am doing the right thing by "cleaving to my husband".  She needs to "cut the cord," and if she won't then I WILL.

Sorry about that.  I meant to say My MOTHER, not my mother in law.  My mother in law and I get along very well.  I feel like she is the mother I never had, and I love here dealy.
 
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