Archive for February 16th, 2007

February 16, 2007

My mother-in-law pulls my wife into her grief – even two years after her husband’s death…

by Rod Smith

Reader: My mother-in-law is still depressed after her husband’s death almost two years ago. They were married for over 50 years. I understand she lost the most important person in her life. The problem is that she pulls my wife into her grief which dampens so much joy in our family. My mother-in-law lives with us and I thought her sadness would subside. What can I do to help my wife from being almost immobilized with her mother’s grief? (Reconstructed with permission)

Rod Responds: I’d suggest you read the book A Group I Never Wanted to Join, a most helpful study in loss and grief by a grief and recovery expert Marty McNunn.

Then, in the kindest manner possible, tell your wife what you perceive is occurring.

Certainly grief can seem to have taken a relentless hold over your mother-in-law, and your wife may well be grieving in tandem with her. Emerging from her own grief may feel uncaring to your wife, or she might covertly feel she is abandoning her mother if she does not remain present with her in her deep struggle.

Apart from grief taking its toll in both women, you are most certainly aware that each woman has her own individual grief work to complete, quite independently of each other.

February 16, 2007

Wife makes a clear stand and defines herself … I will not be a victim……

by Rod Smith

“My husband told me two weeks ago he likes a new woman at work. Since then his emotional affair has gotten worse. I caught her text messaging with inappropriate statements. Despite all of the shock I will give him an ultimatum tonight. Either he completely cuts off this relationship and commits fully to our marriage or he can leave the house until he is ready to make that commitment.

“Although I have not known about the affair for very long, I refuse to be nice and understanding. Doing that is not true to who I am or what I deserve. I am petrified. I am young (26) and am finishing a graduate degree. My biggest fear is that he is not going to be the husband I deserve. That would hurt the most.

“I never saw this situation coming. However, I have finally accepted that I need to take care of myself. I have the right to demand my husband gives me a clear indication of where his commitment lies. It is not fair for me to be in limbo and give him power and control. I am going to shift the power back to me so that I can move on while he figures out his role in the marriage. I no longer willing to be a victim.”

(Edited to 200 words)