Dear Abby: I’m losing patience with my mother-in-law and her insults

DEAR ABBY: I have been happily married for 22 years. We have three beautiful children. We laugh and love a lot. For the past 10 years I have tried to keep a brave face when it comes to my mother-in-law. She often jokes about my appearance (and my mother’s), and sits me down in front of my husband. I am ashamed, horrified, angry and sad at the same time. My husband has told me that he is talking to her about this, but nothing has changed. It has reached the point where I no longer want to be around her.

Tonight at dinner she grabbed my stomach and told me how fat I was. I adore my husband, so even though she was cruel to me, I remained kind to her. I recently told him that I was going to talk to her the way she talks to me. Please help. — DIFFICULT TO KEEP KIND IN MARYLAND

BEST HARD: Stop expecting your man to interfere for you. You both should have stood up for yourselves to the old biddy years ago. The next time she criticizes, tell her that you don’t like her rudeness and will no longer tolerate it. The next time she grabs you or puts her hands on you, point out that she’s committing sexual assault.

Your husband should have put an end to this when it started by telling her to leave immediately. He should at least support you now. The longer you put up with her abuse in silence, the longer it will last.

DEAR ABBY: I live with my boyfriend and his father. I moved in two years ago to help them pay the bills so they could continue living in the house my boyfriend grew up in. But the situation has become unbearable.

My boyfriend’s father is rude, racist and self-centered. It doesn’t matter that we struggle; he goes out and spends all his money on guns and fancy dinners for other family members. Then he complains that he is broke and has no money to buy things for the house. He also raised our rent because he is “indebted to the IRS”, which has literally nothing to do with me or my boyfriend.

We can’t talk to him without a big fight breaking out, and I’m at my wits end. It is too expensive to move, so any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. — HAPPY ROOM COMPANION

BEST ROOM COMPANION: I hope you now realize that your friend’s father will not change; his nature is fully formed. This rude, self-centered racist is WHO HE IS. Instead of continuing to buy things for the house, you pay the man his rent and start saving for another place to live. If your friend can contribute to that fund, he can move with you. If he doesn’t want to or can’t, get out and find a roommate with whom he can share the costs. And be grateful, very grateful, you are not married into this family and can escape without entanglements. Move on – the sooner, the better.

Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares over 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Dear Abby’s Favorite Recipes.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, PO Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling charges are included in the price.)

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