Dear Matt: My Mother-in-Law Physically Assaulted Me and It’s Tearing The Family Apart

This is intense!

September 25, 2020
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Dear Matt, 

Last year, pre-COVID-19, my mother-in-law got a bit drunk at a holiday celebration and proceeded to grab and slap/punch me a couple of times. I was not injured. But since then, this fight has completely rattled the family.

Most of my husband’s family agrees that my mother-in-law was out of line. And my husband ceased contact with his mother until she half-heartedly apologized. My mother-in-law has never liked me, although this was a new boundary.

Now with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, the family is not sure what to do. Nobody wants a repeat of what happened last time and they aren’t sure if it’s possible to have the mother-in-law and me at the same party. What do you think?

-Family Affair Adrienne



Dear Family Affair Adrienne,

This sounds really rough! I’m curious why your mother-in-law dislikes you. Is there any way to fix that? Or is it some irrational hatred?

I’m a firm believer in cutting toxic branches, and this feels toxic! Do you feel comfortable going? Does it make you happy to go a family function if your mother-in-law is there? Personally, I wouldn’t be able to stomach it. 

While your husband’s family can attest on your behalf, it’s not likely your mother-in-law will seriously listen to them. The only person who carries the most weight is your husband — if anyone is going to stand up to mom about you, it’s him. Have him lay down the law. 

And if that doesn’t work, then you and your husband should enjoy the holidays alone! Who says the holidays have to be miserable with family members who abuse us? Enjoy with people who care and love you, and won’t slap/punch you!