What we’ve gathered from the Reddit Am I The Asshole (AITA) thread over the years is that a lot of people seem to have a strained relationship with their mothers-in-law. And this week one woman took to the forum to see whether people thought she was ‘cruel’ for not letting her husband’s mum visit her baby after she called her a ‘child abuser’ behind her back. Ouch.
‘I’ve been with my husband since his daughter “Lina” was 13,’ she wrote in her post. ‘Being a stepparent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. To put it very simply, Lina was never happy. She didn’t want me to marry her dad but I thought she would come around when she saw that he still loved her… She’s not a bad child, wasn’t acting out, but literally nothing made her happy.’
The original poster (OP) then went on to explain how her mother-in-law (MIL) became demanding and started asking Lina ‘inappropriate’ questions about why she was sad. ‘We had to set boundaries,’ the OP explained. ‘Lina reacted badly to these boundaries and began acting out…I felt like such a failure because no matter what we did she just was not happy.’
Eventually, they did family therapy. Lina moved out when she was 18 and was suddenly much happier. She later admitted ‘it just wasn’t fair that she had to live with her dad’s partner, and she couldn’t relax with a “stranger” in the house’ – which is understandable.
But the saga didn’t end there because, although Lina had found happiness, the OP later found out that her MIL had been calling her a ‘child abuser’ behind her back. ‘She also blatantly tells people she hates me,’ she explained. ‘When confronted, she cried about how hard it was on her to watch Lina like that and she knows we did something.’
Now, the OP has welcomed a baby girl with her husband and is reluctant to let her MIL meet her child after all of the comments she’s been making. ‘I am too worried about having someone who hates me and makes these accusations [around my baby],’ she explained.
‘My husband backed me, but Lina uninvited him to her graduation dinner and said that if I think I can use boundaries to bully people, then he can have fun with her new boundaries and just never see her again. He is now very upset,’ she added. ‘Lina won’t talk to him and is saying what’s the harm in letting MIL see the baby.’
We feel sorry for Lina that she didn’t feel comfortable in her family home and, just when the drama seemed to be over, is now having to choose between her grandmother (who she clearly has a close bond with) and her father.
Yet, isn’t she using her graduation dinner to emotionally blackmail her father in the same way she’s accusing the OP of doing? Ultimately, the OP has the right to refuse to let members of her family access to her baby and child abuse allegations are serious—it’s understandable she feels reluctant to let her MIL back into her life.
As one Reddit user put it: 'You are going to face some pressure about your decision…Whenever someone says "It's too much. Let her see the baby", just say "If MIL apologizes to me about this horrible accusation openly we can try to fix our relationship". [That way] not seeing her grandbaby is going to be on her.’