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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5807
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My daughter in law is obsessed with the idea of destroying

Customer Question

My daughter in law is obsessed with the idea of destroying my son.
She reports regularly to the police that he is dangerous, and victim services provides her with two "body guards".
She has had him arrested 3 times now, but so far we have hired lawyers who managed to keep him from having a police record. I don't know how long it will be until she succeeds in having him put away forever.

She regularly reports to child protective services as well, accusing him of abusing their two children who he sees every second weekend. She has reported he shot the daughter with a gun, stabbed the little boy with a knife, left them out in the cold and they got frostbite, and the best one of all, accused him of molesting the little girl. He has been tested and retested, and has been deemed fit to have the children.

She also has Munchausens by proxy, and has the children medicated for many various ailments, and refuses to let my son see them if he doesn't promise to the judge that he will administer these drugs. We thought if we could get copies of the drs. reports, that we could prove how she's lying, but all the ones we've seen so far show that she has convinced the drs. that they really are sick, and they have the symptoms. We had them with us for two weeks last summer, and they were not sick with asthma, infections, etc. while we had them with us.
She is such a convincing liar, everyone believes what she says. One victim services volunteer said they have never heard of such domestic abuse as she has suffered. It's my son who is suffering the abuse, he has never been abusive to her.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your daughter in law has taken out her issues on your son and does not seem aware that she is the one with the problems. Because she has no insight, there probably is no way to convince her to get help. A person must see that they have a problem before they would be willing to get help. And at this point, your daughter in law seems convinced that the problem lies with your son.

You did not mention having legal counsel for your family. If you do not, that would be the first step. Because your daughter in law is unlikely to get help and recover from her issues, then addressing her behavior will have to happen in other ways. Your son needs to be able to protect himself from his wife's destructive behavior towards him. If he is not able to, he may suffer from the stress of the situation and possibly develop depression, anxiety or even PTSD.

Besides getting legal help, your son may want to try to be proactive in alerting all the agencies involved about his wife's behavior. He can start a file of paperwork and include any correspondence, tests he has gone through, pictures and any other evidence he has regarding the situation. This file can be used so he does not have to explain himself over and over to the professionals involved. It also may help him in court cases.

Your son may also want to talk to the children and youth protection services about being proactive in caring for his children. Taking steps to gain custody, getting evidence of his wife's abuse of the children, etc. As the children's father, your son should have access to the doctor's reports and to the medical care his children are receiving. If your son can be proactive, he may suffer less from the effects of his wife's behavior towards him.

You may also want to consider family counseling for all of you, but particularly your son. Suffering through being harassed by a family member can cause stress for everyone. Support is vital to dealing with what is going on. And a therapist can not only offer support, but can help each member find ways to care for themselves so the impact of your daughter in law's behavior is less.

The most important part of the situation however is the children. It sounds like your daughter in law is abusing them and using them as pawns in the revenge on your son. Encourage your son to seek custody and surround himself with as much support as possible. It is difficult to go against someone who can manipulate to the point that everyone believes them. But if your son has support and can slowly gather the evidence he needs, he may be able to gain control which would help him and the children.

Here are some resources that may help:

I hope this has helped you,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
My son does have legal counsel...the last lawyer withdrew from the situation, it is so very ugly.
the new lawyer we have hired, is trying to take the "high road", but it seems all we do is defend against her many paged affidavits that she keeps bringing to court. so far the judges are believing her.
We have seen some of the drs. reports, and she has them convinced that what she says is the truth as well.
I am involved in the whole mess because my son has no money left, and so I am paying his legal costs, which are over $100,000. at this point, and at least two more days in court are scheduled, this is not going to end soon.
I cannot think what sorts of things you are suggesting he document. We thought the drs. reports would reveal her made up stories, but what we see so far, they are believing her and prescribing drugs for both children.
she put on a big show in front of the judge a couple of weeks ago, saying my son should not have the children for his scheduled weekend because she knew he wouldn't give the children the drugs.
We had been to see one of the many drs. the kids see, and asked if we had to administer the drugs if the child didn't have the symptoms, and she said we didn't have to, and asked if we needed a letter saying that. We said we did, but no letter arrived, and on follow up, she is stating that the drugs are necessary....they mother has been to see her and said they are always worse after a weekend with their dad.
We seem to be fighting a losing battle at this point.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.
At this point, it sounds like you might need a professional such as a psychiatrist to step in. Your daughter in law sounds very good at manipulating and she has other professionals convinced that she is right. However, the judges and other professionals may not be as practiced in mental health disorders such as personality disorders or Münchhausen's. A psychiatrist or psychologist who is knowledgeable about mental health disorders might be able to help. I cannot speak to your legal counsel as that is not my field, but your son may want to suggest his attorney look into this option.

The issue here is proving that your daughter in law has a mental health disorder, which is why she is doing all of these things to your son. To do that, a mental health profession needs to get involved. And your son can use any proactive steps he takes as documentation in his favor.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
We asked the lawyer if we could request a psychological evaluation of this individual, and it is possible to do, but the cost is $15,000. And my son would also be asked to have one as well. we know she will not agree to paying that much for an assessment...she doesn't believe she has a problem.
He has requested custody of the children, who we know are being used as pawns, but the judge looks at all her accusations, and deems my son to not be fit to parent them. They have both asked at different times, to be able to stay with their father. They love him dearly, he is their oasis.
He tried working with them through the school, but she has had the school evacuated twice now, saying there is a madman coming with guns. When he goes there, everyone is terrified.
It's really hard to know just what we could document specifically. we have talked with the child psychologist, who seems aware of what's going on, but she must not think there is a danger, or she would have reported to child protective services herself.
Her abuse is so devious, there is nothing visible to report.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.
It sounds like you and your son have tried all you can to deal with the situation. At this point, you might want to encourage your son to talk to other psychologists/psychiatrists on his own to see if he can find one to help with a lower fee. It may cost more money but if it helps your son gain custody or at least alter the situation, it might change things for the better.

And also try to get the family therapy. All of you have been through a horrific situation that sounds like it is on going. You all could benefit from support and the assistance of a professional who can help you find ways to cope.


May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I would be interested in hearing more specifics that would be included in the file you suggested creating.
My son has requested to see the reports from child protective services, we have not yet received those.
I asked him if he might consider the idea of just letting the custody issue rest for now, and go at it again when he's feeling stronger. I believe he is suffering PTSD since his second arrest. He is reluctant to try that idea, he is so worried about his kids welfare.
She has had child maintenance people remove his driver's license and passport, saying he is not supporting them. We are working on his application for a disability pension, which would reduce the amount of money she could expect from him. He was previously employed as manager of a large company, earning a large wage, but right now he's not functioning at all.
Without a driver's license, he cannot get to appointments easily.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.
It was a suggestion as a way to help him feel more in control and to help him avoid having to explain himself over and over again, adding stress to his already overwhelming situation.

As to what he might add is up to him. Whatever he feels would help his case and whatever information that the people involved continue to ask him for again and again.

I do need to sign off to attend to an appointment. I hope this answered your questions. You are dealing with a very difficult situation and it sounds like you are doing all you can to address it.

My best to you and your son,


Please don't forget to rate my service as OK or higher so I am credited for my answer. Thanks so much!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am debating whether to spend the $15,000. to do the psychological assessments. My question to you is: Is this lady foxy enough to fool a psychological test? And if it showed up some of her illness, would it be enough to show that she is being dangerous to her kids, and the tester recommending they be removed from her custody?

Also, my son would have to take the same tests. Would they show up his depression to be enough that he should not have custody?

Potentially, it could put an end to all this nonsense, but I just wonder about a few things.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.
She could be, it is hard to tell without seeing her in person. But since she has proven to be manipulative, then it is certainly possible. If you are allowed to present your side of things at all, it might help to express your concern that she is this manipulative and that it might alter to test. Hopefully, the psychologist will catch on if she is evaluated.

Your son's depression should not affect his ability to parent. It is only when the children's well being or lives are at stake would they consider him not a fit parent.


If you feel your original question and related follow ups have been answered, I'd appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided so far. Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I was looking at some of the responses from other professionals who answered peoples' questions, and noticed that some of them are warning about psychopaths being dangerous. Perhaps I didn't provide enough information to draw the conclusion that my daughter-in-law could be diagnosed as a psychopath, but I believe there is enough evidence showing she has no conscience, to warn our family of just how dangerous this woman could be.

You seem to be a warm and caring counsellor, but our family needs more specific details on how to deal with what could potentially happen at the hands of this individual.

Thank you for your suggestions.





Personally, I think this individual is dangerous to my son and the two children, but how can we prove that she is harming them? She is a very convincing liar.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.
It does not seem my previous answers have been helpful so I have opted out to allow other experts to help you.

Take care,


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