Mom's a bully, but I can't stand up to her
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I have been married for two years and we live with my mother. My wife is a sweet, gentle person, and my mother can be a bully. I was aware of this when we got married, but I thought I could control things and make sure my wife would be okay. I was wrong. Since our wedding day, my mother has done nothing but criticize my wife and make things difficult for her. It has been relentless, and my wife has tried her best to cope but can't manage. My mother doesn't listen to me and, since I go to work, my wife is usually left to her mercy without my support. This has made things so bad that my wife is seriously contemplating going back to her parents. I don't want that to happen, but I can't stand up to my mother either. I think I am a coward, which is why things have come to such a stage. How can I resolve this?
You are being too hard on yourself by calling yourself a coward in the face of someone else's bullying. Your mother is the one behaving unreasonably, and you need to recognise that irrespective of the fact that she is your parent, because someone is paying the price for her behaviour. If you can't stand up for your wife, she needs to know that too. Tell her why you can't do it, explain that you understand what she is going through, and try coming up with a solution together. She probably feels as if she is fighting this alone, which needs to change in some way. Is there anyone else you can discuss this situation with? A family member or close friend who may be able to speak to your mother? Also, try sitting down with your mother and wife together if possible, and initiate some sort of dialogue to get them on the same page. They need to understand that your family will be torn apart without a few changes now.
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