Mother-in-law driving me to drink

November 20, 2023

Dear Pastor,

I am a 27-year-old man and I am living with my babymother. We used to get along well until her mother came to live with us.

When I was asked if she could come and live with us, I did not object because the man she was living with was not treating her well. One day he threatened to burn her clothes. She became afraid of him because he was always threatening her. So, when my girlfriend asked me to let her come and stay with us, I told my girlfriend that she could come and spend a few weeks. Now the few weeks have turned into two and a half years, and this woman does not seem to want to leave. She has two sons, and they are not in any position to help her.

Whenever my girlfriend and I have any problem, she gets involved. I find myself cursing my girlfriend, and she is saying that I never used to be like that. Sometimes when I leave work, I don't feel like going home because these two women are getting on my nerves. Right now my girlfriend is not working, so all the bills are on me. Her mother is not well, so she has not been working, either.

I don't drink; I only have a beer occasionally. Now I find myself drinking. My co-workers tell me that I am not as calm as I used to be. I lose my temper easily. I know what the problem is: I want my mother-in-law out of my house. I told my girlfriend that her mother has a visa, so she should go and spend some time in America. My girlfriend said that if her mother is leaving, she would have to go with her because she does not want her to travel alone. She also said that if she is going with her mother, she might not come back very soon, because her relatives abroad told her that they can get a little job for her when she goes.

I love my babymother. I don't want her to leave me, because she is special to me. I am trying to control my anger. I respect older folks. How can I deal with my anger?


Dear P.W.,

Your child's mother should learn to appreciate you. You were willing to take her mother into your house with the understanding that she would be there just for a few weeks.

But she has become so comfortable living there as a part of the family that she has forgotten that she should observe certain boundaries. She should not get involved in any dispute between you and your child's mother. You have helped this woman. But she is meddling in your relationship, and you have not dealt with it very well. You became angry, and anger is a very destructive element in a relationship. Because you become angry, you say things that are hurtful. You are causing your child's mother to take sides. She doesn't want to go against you, but she doesn't want to hurt her mother.

What I am trying to say is that in a relationship, there are times when a couple will fuss and even say things that will hurt each other's feelings. In Jamaica, we say 'teeth and tongue must meet'. But a couple should learn how to suppress their anger. Unfortunately, even the people at your workplace have observed that something has gone wrong. You are not as calm as you once were. Therefore, it is time for you to ask your child's mother and her siblings to find another place for their mother to live. You suggested that she should take a break and go to America, but your child's mother does not like that suggestion. She has warned you that if her mother has to go, she may go also. Brother, don't ignore what your child's mother said. She may eventually leave and not return.

So please, exercise self-control. Don't allow anything to irritate you to the extent that you say things that you regret. Don't shout at your mother-in-law or your child's mother; try to work out solutions. I wish you well.


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