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Topic : 08/31 Son-in-Law vs. Mother-in-Law

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Created on : Friday, May 12, 2006, 10:01:56 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 05/15/06) They’re bound by marriage but at war with each other. Anneka and her husband, Michael, are no longer on speaking terms with Anneka’s mother, Marcia. They say Marcia hates Michael and wants him out of the picture. Marcia says Michael condescends to her, questions her parenting and is brainwashing her daughter. Is it right that Anneka and Michael refuse to let Marcia see her grandchild? Will the couple agree to give Marcia access? Plus, Anneka has a dark secret from her past. Could a terrifying incident be the cause of their current conflict? Will this family agree to find a middle ground for the sake of the baby? Share your thoughts, join the discussion.

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September 2, 2006, 8:25 pm CDT

stay in therapy

Quote From: brishen

  • Parents who stoop to use innocent children as pay back weapons are attempting to further their cause , one called a personal persecution complex. The everyone is picking on me so I will get you back syndrome is running rampant with adult children who never grew up and accepted responsibiilty. It seems one hears the it is all your fault, you made me do it slogan far too often from this 20 something bunch.
  • Today's young parents have continued their adolescence far into their own adulthood . This dysfunction is nothing more than the worn out and ungrateful tyrades we parents put up with for years. Their old song and dance, their mantra,  nauseates me to no end because it smells of  self entitlement at the cost of others.
  • It is quite apparent this mom and dad are causing more harm to their own daughter than her grandma ever could. These parents are not grown ups because they have chosen to remain the bullies by throwing the last punch. Sad as it is, they have used a sweet little girl to knock grandma out of the ring and into submission.
  • Let me ask any of you, are these parents qualified to be this little girl's parents, behaving as they are?
  • Have they set a good example for their daughter by teaching love, compassion and forgiveness to others let alone towards her grandma?
  • Will they continue to negatively influence her developing years,  telling her she too can have all the glory if she follows their footsteps by playing the manipulate and control game, maiming and destroying others for personal gain by using another human to complete their punishment goals?
  • Although I have empathy for any child who is raped, I will never have empathy for a mother who has used her own flesh and blood to send the message if you weren't there for me then, my child will not be there with you now. This young woman is obviously troubled if she has to resort to using her child in such a perverse way.
  • The young mother should have had been in therapy to process what happened to her. Unfortunately it did not happen. Now as an adult she can either choose to comply with professional help or keep livng her never ending vendetta for perceived wrong doings which sadly I could tell,  is fueled by a controlling, dominating and insecure husband. Remove the grandmother out of the picture and then you will have her daughter and granddaughter all to yourself? No one will be around after that to make comments when you are a bad husband to her daughter?
  •  It looked to me like there was a whole lot more going on between the wife and husband, than between the the wife and her mother. Any man that would walk into a labor room and give his wife the riot act over a phone call she chose to make,  should have been kicked out of the room and to the curb. This wife was a mouse to her husband and safely stated in front of him to a million viewers, that he should have been hurt by her choice. Well aren't we a pumped up man now?  She is under this guy's thumb.  I believe the writing is on the wall because this young mother must have had good reason not to call him first. Something is fishy here and I too would have said that is enough as this grandmother did. Sadly, this young woman did not have enough self respect to kick him out before her mother did. How can a mother stand by and see her daughter be verbally attacked while in labor or not? It is this mother's business if the daughter is incapable of seeing she is a victim of her husband's abuse.
  • I have been in therapy for three years to cope with the ravages of a daughter who has bipolar disease. I could relate quite well to this episode. On the eve of this past Mother's Day, my daughter announced my gift was to never be allowed to be near my one year old grandson, ever, and that I was dead to her. She intends on telling this little boy that his grandparents have died.
  • She discovered the atomic payback bomb. She will use this little boy to assure we will become benevolent to her, to continue to walk on eggshells around her while we are to happily condone and support her  decision to stay with a a verbally, emotionally and physically abusive husband. If we do not condone her life's choice we are punished with the absence of our grandchild in our lives, and that of his extended family.
  • My question is this. If this couple or my daughter did not have a child to use as they see fit, what then could they pull out of their little bag of vengenance? They would be helpless as they would not have ammunition to force a loving grandparent into a sick and twisted rule of compliance.
  • PAS stands for Parental Alienation Sydrome. If a parent talks about the other parent in a demeaning way in hopes that said child will abandon the other parent, laws are now in place to punish those who behave this way. This is considered child abuse and can be punishable in a court of law. Isn't this similar to what is sadly taking place with thousands of grandparents today? This episode of Dr. Phil verified this to be true.
  • Good luck grandma and to you two parents, grow up, get treatment and give your child her/his rights and voice, the freedom to love her/his family. You have no right to hold a  child's family hostage. Remember young parents, what goes around comes around.
  • Please search for more information on the internet regarding PAS and grandparent's rights. 
I cant help but get the feeling that you see things in a twisted way. The fact that you could not see how sick this grandmother is speaks volumes about you. I hope youre still in therapy all these months later.  As far as grandparent rights, talk about "self entitlement". Isnt that equvilant to GPs holding their GC "hostage "from their parents?I second the motion as another poster I would go anywhere I had to in order to keep my child from a destructive grandparent such as Annikas'  mother. I feel for your daughter.
September 3, 2006, 7:38 am CDT

Mother to Mother-in-law

All of the mothers will most probably become mothers-in-law. In turn probably grandmothers. Love, trust and respect will see all through. Children deserve as much love as they can get. Let's try to see that they get it from all.
September 3, 2006, 7:20 pm CDT

08/31 Son-in-Law vs. Mother-in-Law

I watched this show and the mother in law should only be allowed occasional very supervised visits with the grandchild.  The mother in law was refusing to take responsibility for any of her actions that placed the grandchild in danger.  The mother in law was shifting the blame for what she did and said off onto everyone else.  She sat there and gave such blank looks when confronted about her actions, it was like she didn't understand what they were upset about.  That mother in law needs committed to an asylum indefinitelly for some very intensive counselling and mental therapy.  The daughter and son in law are very wise about making a break from her and being their own family of three only.  To allow their child to be around the grandmother without one of them present would be child endangerment.  I thought it kind of curious that the father in law sat there in the audience and did not confirm or deny what his daughter and son in law were saying about his wife.  But he seemed to calmly take the blame his wife laid on him about giving the grandchild a peanut butter sandwich.  If this couple wants a grandmother for their child, go to a nursing home and find one.  There are many aged ladies and men there who are mentally okay and would welcome the opportunity to have a child call them grandma or grandpa and have someone to call them mom or dad.   This would be safer and happier solution than trying to get the mother in law to become mentally normal and have a safe environment for a child or grandchild. 
September 4, 2006, 7:37 am CDT


Anyone who had the misfortune of being raised by a parent who is cruel, vicious, vindictive, calculating, manipulative, a liar or cheat may benefit from reading some of my favorite books which provide a great introduction into the subject of family systems and dysfunctions:     


Understanding the Borderline (Parent) Mother Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable and Volatile Relationship by Christine Ann Lawson  OR  Surviving a Borderline Parent:  How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries and Self-Esteem by Kimberlee Roth and Freda Friedman  


Why is it Always About You?  The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy Hotchkiss  


Emotional Blackmail:  When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You by Susan Forward  


There are families that are so destructive that the only option is for a person to get out.  Get out with the little bit of sanity you may have remaining.  As painful as it may be, make a promise to yourself to leave so that you can begin a life of healing and recovery so you can eventually learn to live a joyful and peaceful life.   


Hope it helps!


September 6, 2006, 10:33 am CDT

08/31 Son-in-Law vs. Mother-in-Law

Quote From: rthrbhappy

This is exactly the same message I was going to post. I am begging you too, do not try to reconcile with her.  I also know from personal experience what incredible damage these people can do, and believe me when I say - they are dangerous. Dr. Phil's advice was completely wrong. You need to be separate from her so you can stop the damage she causes and heal yourself. She needs individual therapy - but there is little chance she will change.

Based on everything brought out in the show, you would benefit from reading the article at: . It explains the basic thinking and motivations of someone who behaves like Marcia. It was written by Dr. Sam Vaknin, known for his in-depth articles on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Anneka, you are so close to seeing the whole truth of who she really is, it is painful, but you are stronger than you know. And you were absolutely right, being in your family is a privilege, not a right. I was exactly where you are, just a few years ago, with my own mother. It gets easier over time. You have the courage to protect your family, and you also have support. Again, I have to agree, run, don't walk, away from her. I wish you all the best.



Our family has not seen my inlaws for about 16 years. Our children are teenagers and missed out on knowing that set of grandparents since they were very small.We only send Christmas cards to them and have received birthday cards for our kids from them as well as a Christmas card yearly.The reason I feel it's better this way is that they are sly and manipulative, especially MIL. I truly believe that had we any relation with them over the past years, they would be a thorn in our side and do all she, especially, could to inflict their beliefs and wants on our children,  so very different from our own, all the while putting on the innocent act about it. My husband is somewhat intimidated by them, yet has told them to basically stay out of our lives (16 yrs. ago).Looking back, he probably should have made more of an effort to  make them stay within our boundaries first. They would have manipulated that tho. Either way, here we are with very secure, well rounded Christian kids, with their heads on straight about life. Do you think that would be the case had we let MIL and FIL influence them? Probably not, since our religious beliefs are totally different and MIL and FIL know that from our talks with them long ago. Now that the kids are both teenagers, would it be wise to go to those grandparents and try to reason with them on their religious beliefs...before they die not knowing the Lord? I can't say our kids are worse off not having had a relationship with them all these years, but it is a void that contributed, in this case to their betterment. Hearing their friends talk of both sets of grandparents on occasion has sometimes been hard though  they are used to it and understand the reason. I have offered a few different times within the last 8 yrs or so to take them to see them if they wanted, and they didn't want to cuz it would be awkward and they're not interested in doing that. MIL and FIL should have worked at being noninterferring and compliant with what we AS PARENTS wished for our kids. They made no effort or mentioned that when my husband told them years ago to not be involved in our lives. What's the best route from here on out? They are 70 - 75 yrs old now, and like I said, MIL can manipulate situations and come out smelling like a rose if you don't see through her.

September 7, 2006, 9:20 pm CDT

Earning the right

I watched the Dr. Phil tonight on this program. The Mother-in-law should do some self evaluations, get some counseling and be patient in proving that she is FIT to visit her granddaughter.


Her daughter and son-in-law need to put their own daughter first and protect her as the Mother-in-law had failed to do for her own daughter. Will she protect her grandchild, or will it be about her pride? The mother-in-law is so busy working at getting her own way, without regard to the welfare of her own granddaughter. Her judgement is highly questionable, as it is all about her.


I don't think that she should have any rights to her granddaughter until she has proven that she is capable of putting the granddaughter first. Protect the innocent, not the guilty. Pride is the last thing to think about. Once she has shown that she has her granddaughter's best interest first, she will need to prove it by being patient, and allowing supervised visits. A little here and a little there. Without complaint. Realizing that if she fails at any point, she will be giving up all future visits.


She also needs to respect the parents wishes. Whether she agrees or not. If she cannot abide by the rules, then, again, no grandchildren. As long as she disrespects the parents, she is teaching her grandchildren to disrespect them. Believe me, I have been there with the mother-in-law being disrespectful to me in order to get her own way. And the greatest cost was teaching my children that grandma is always right, even when she is wrong, because she wins.

September 7, 2006, 9:50 pm CDT

Wow...identical situation happened to me

Not only were the characters physical characteristics similar, (which added to the awe), this almost identicle situation happened to me 8 years ago with one majer  difference.   In my scenario, the girl was not strong enough to stand up to her mother, and did not side with me.  I lost my newborn son to that (witch - mother-in-law), who is now currently raising my son, along with my ex.  My mother in law can not give up the control she has over her daughter.  When I saw the show today and heard the husband say something to the point that he had strong suspician that his mother in law would love to break up his marriage and raise his daughter, I had an overwhelming feeling of grief that he was very right and should suspect such.  This has happened to me and under my circumstances, there isn't/wasn't a thing I can do about it.  To boot, my son is being raised by his mother and grandmother in a different State and he is a bit odd.  He's a nice boy, but well...not at all what I think he would be like, had I had a different more active role in his life. 
September 8, 2006, 7:14 pm CDT

Marcia is not a good mom never mind grandmother

     I have to say I agree with many of you, but for a different reason. I am a mother who's daughter was molested. I took the actions necessary for my child , to heal and removed the family member from our lives. (The member was her Dad.) I did what it took for my child to feel safe.  We pressed charges to which he plead guilty. As we went though this time we found he too was molested and his sisters by their Dad. My children are now adults and have not seen their Dad in 18 years. I always left that up to them when they got older. My daughter knows that the right choices were made. Because they (Fathers family) felt it should all be swept away, they will get over it, and continued to be a family. As did Marcia when Anneka was molested. I would never trust her to make good safe choices for MY child. Anneka, you and Michael should as parents trust in your choices not to feel your child will be safe with Marcia
September 9, 2006, 11:01 pm CDT

Grand parents cut off from grandchildren

This is a message for grandparents who have been unfairly cut out of you grandchildrens life. I have started a suppot group for grandparents who want to reconcile or who need support. This is not a site for bashing other grandparents and dau in laws. It is not a gripe session. It is about support and healing. Email me at to be interviewed. We use the 12 step principles and other methods of coping and recovery. I am a licensed Marriage Family Therapist
June 1, 2007, 12:19 am CDT

My Mother In Law Almost DROVE me Away!

I have been married to my wonderful husband for 7 years.  I know it sounds awful that I am his third wife.  This marriage is the longest one he has ever had and we are looking forward for many more years.  His first two marriages lasted  one to two years.  His ex wives and I became friends.  I really did not understand why their marriages were not successful. I discovered that they were really sweet.. I could not figure the reasons out for their divcores.  I asked them why.  They said that his mother drove them away.  II went, "Ahh yeah! "  It did not surprise me at all.   I am amazed at myself  that I was able to put up with my mother n law a little.  There were times I was tempted to leave my husband.  But, I remembered my vows and  I cannot break them. I refused to betray our Heavenly Father.   I tried many times to get my husband to woke up and see what she was trying to do.  We had so many fights.  He slowly began to see her bad ways.  When it was the first time my husband told his mother to stop it.  She was shocked and it was really hard for her to see her son siding with me.  She ran out crying.  Of course, he felt so bad.  I comforted him and told him that was the good thing he did that.  It was ok for her to cry.  She would get over with that.  She needed to understand that she had to back off.  There were the boundries.... Unfortunely, it did not stop her.  


My mother who does not like her but she loves my husband just like he is her own son, advised me that it would be better if we move far away from her.  Then we woud see if my mother n law 's naggings have stopped or reduced.  We did moved an hour away from her.  It did help a little bit,.  We still went visiting her.  I still had to suffer listening to her naggings and had the fights with my husband.  At that time, the weather's heat was killing me. I could not bear with this heat.  I was dreaming of somewhere else cooler. This just gave me an idea about moving out of the state. My husband was afraid of the unfamiliar places. I suggested to visit this state then we would decide what would be the best for our family. We went to that state, he fell in love with the nature, the community, weather, and education.  He said GO FOR IT without me asking him if he would want to move to that state.....  We finally moved to this new beautiful state, my mother n law wrote me many ugly letters.  SHe really hated my guts.  She said that I stole him and her grandchildren away from him.  The letters really upset my husband.  He did not speak to her for two years.  At the same time, our marriage was on the way to the top.  We have became really close.


Well, I refuse to leave his mother n law alone in the black hole.  While my husband refused to speak or visit her, I brought our children to the home state for visiting her   I know that children need their grandparents in their lives..  But. the visits were always very brief like.. one or two days each Summer or Winter.  It was because she kept bringing the problems up.  She began to keep her words to herself and her grandchildren began to stay there longer than two days.  She learned to accept me slowly.  She realized that  I am a good person...I think,,,.  Still, we have not been that close, yet.  My husband finally talks to her once  every one or two months.   Yes she still nags just a bit, it does not bother me that much. 


It has been four years since we moved here,  this Summer will be my husband's first time visiting his homestate.  I am sure that his mother would cry when she sees him. It will touch my heart....:)



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