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Suzanne, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience:  LCSW, RN. Mental Health, Relationship & Parenting issues.EMDR, Hypnosis.
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My wife and I have been married for 3 years with a 2 year

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My wife and I have been married for 3 years with a 2 year old daughter. Whenever we have one of our "few" major arguments, she immediately packs up our daughter and goes to her mother's house who is 15 minutes away, for an extended amount of days. Her mother divorced my wife's alcoholic father many years ago and continually takes "girls only" trips with my wife and daughter. I tell her it is unhealthy that she had the convenience of running home to mother anytime she pleases. Am I over reacting? I'm afraid that her mother is not the expert in dealing with men. She doesn't date and is constantly alone. In the past, she has even verbally attacked me as if I was her husband and kicked me out of a family beach house while we were all on vacation together. Please help me........thank you.

Thanks for bringing your question to JustAnswer.

This is a tough situation! You're right...being able to pack up and run to mom's house when you two fight just avoids the problem and solves nothing.

However, since her mother has taken a dislike to you , if you try to make your wife stop running to her it will probably make things worse.

Here are some options:

Learn how to solve your differences as they come up, in a respectful way, so that things don't escalate . There is a saying in recovery groups that might help you:

"Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?"

This means to think twice about whether an issue is worth fighting about at all. If you find yourself just trying to prove a point...let it go.

You may be amazed at how your wife reacts if she says something that would normally start a fight, and you just answer "You may be right."

It might be helpful if the marriage counselor was the one to explain to your wife that she's corroding the relationship by walking away so often. This also can't be good for your little girl hear her parents fight, and mom dragging her away every time. How is she supposed to feel she lives in a stable home?

I hope I've given you some ideas to help you cope with this situation. Please click ACCEPT if I have. If you need more information, just ask!


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Well this time she says she wants to split up that she doesn't feel that she will ever be able to change me. I do admit to anger issues, but I have worked at it with anger management and I have never laid a hand on her or my daughter. I seriously think her mother pushes her into this situation.

A major argument developed on fathers day. I went golfing with my dad and brother in the morning and was on our way back when she called me from her mothers and said our baby was napping and didn't want to wake her and bring her home for my fathers day. She said I was being "selfish" by wanting her to bring the baby home. Our daughter never has a problem napping if she needs one.

To give you another example, a few weeks ago, her mother wanted her to bring the baby and drive to California in a small SUV with her grandmother, aunt, mother and our baby. They only had one week to do this. When I said it would be unfair to keep the baby trapped in a car for 7 solid days and a few thousand miles of driving, they ended up with a girls week at a beach here in Florida.

Your thoughts and advice are appreciated

I'm sorry things have gotten to the point that your wife wants to give up.

It sounds like your wife is more invested in her relationship with her mother than in her relationship with you at this point.

It may be that the anger issues really scare her if she grew up in a home with an alcoholic father...she may have bad memories of him yelling that make it hard for her to tolerate it from you.

I strongly suggest you two go to a professional marriage counselor. If your church's counselor is credentialed and licensed that would be fine. If it is more of a peer counseling arrangement, find a professional in your area.

No matter if she stays or leaves, I think it would also be good for you to get individual counseling to address the issues that fuel your anger problems. If it comes to a divorce, and she cites your anger, it will be good to prove you are working on it again. If you stay together, it may help you avoid the issues that keep driving you two apart.

I hope this helps a bit. This is a tough situation, and you'll need help getting through it, so find a counselor you like and trust.

Best wishes,


Please click ACCEPT if this has been helpful to you.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

One last thing...............could you please respond to your professional opinion of her mother's actions?

Thank you

A mother will almost always take her daughter's side in any arguement. Your mother in law did not have a happy marriage experience, so she will use that experience to judge against you, most likely.

While it's nice that your wife and her mom have a good relationship, your mother in law should know that encouraging your wife to leave you for days at a time will do nothing to help your marriage.

I would not presume to make any kind of a diagnosis on someone I've never met. But she has probably heard only the bad parts of your relationship from her daughter, and mothers can be ferocious in defending their young.

If you try to seperate the two of them, you will likely lose. If you think she would be receptive, ask her if the two of you can sit down and talk about how much you want the relationship to work and how much you love her daughter. Ask her advice. Show her that you respect how well she knows her daughter, and ask her how to make your wife happier.

It's worth a try...things sound like they are at a point where you have nothing more to lose by trying.

Good luck working things out with your wife!


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