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I'm trapped with my controlling in-laws and a lazy husband

 Photo: Courtesy

Dear Coleen,

I’m a young mum in my early 20s and I have become so bitter and numb towards my husband.

I have a beautiful daughter who I love to bits and she is honestly the only reason I get out of bed in the morning.

We live with his parents and grandfather because he says it’s too expensive to live on our own (our friends with less money manage it somehow).

I think it has a lot to do with not wanting to leave his mum – he is a very spoilt only child.

But he made all these promises to me about getting our own place and our daughter going to private school, but it was all lies.

His parents aren’t fond of me and he’s lazy when it comes to being a dad.

Yet he doesn’t trust me to look after our daughter alone, so his mum hovers over me. I can’t even meet other mums for a coffee without her being there.

Sadly, I have no family of my own for support – my mum is a drunk and my dad assaulted me.

I feel like I hate my husband and I wish I didn’t – I want us to be happy.

I’ve begged him so many times to see it my way, but he just calls me a slapper or childish or thick or ungrateful for what his parents have given us.

But that’s just it – I want him to provide for us, not them.

If I’m not turned on in bed – which is quite often – he says he should have slept with my sister instead because she’d love to be in my shoes.

He keeps going on about what his life would have been like without us and I feel like screaming at him to go off and do it so we can be in peace.

Am I being immature, ungrateful and horrible?

I feel like I married Peter Pan. But I’m scared if I leave him his family will take my daughter away.

He’s threatened it before because I’ve had depression in the past due to my family background.


Coleen says

I’m sorry to say your husband sounds like an emotionally abusive control freak and the reason you feel the way you do is because he’s made you feel like that – worthless.

These threats about taking your daughter away are rubbish – it’s another way of trying to control you by making you too afraid to leave.

He knows you’re unhappy and are probably considering walking out, so that’s probably why his mum accompanies you everywhere, too.

I know it’s not easy when you’ve had your confidence battered, but you need to find the strength to stand up to them.

If you want to meet your friends with your daughter, insist that you’re going without your mother-in-law. And invite friends back to the house, too.

If you don’t have family to support you, you need to involve your friends more in your life – don’t cut them off because it makes your life easier at home.

If you want to leave with your daughter and take steps to end the marriage, you could apply for housing through your local council (you can speak to someone at your local Citizens Advice Bureau, citizensadvice.org.uk, for advice on relationships and housing).

At the very least, you need a proper separation to remove yourself from this stressful situation and think about what kind of future you want – and if you want your husband to be part of it.

While you’re in that stifling, toxic environment, I don’t think anything will change – for you or your marriage.

Just remember: you’ve survived your tough background and you can survive this – you just need to rediscover that belief in yourself.

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