I know my story is long but I would really like advice on this matter.
My husband and I have been married for 2,5 years Alhamdulillah.
From the start we both happily agreed to live with his Mother in his Mothers home as she is a single Mother and he is the youngest child and son. He has 1 elder brother and 3 elder sisters, all married Alhamdulillah. We saw this beautiful vision of living together as one happy family., with love, respect and care. His family was very happy with this marriage and were happy with me as their new daughter/sister-in-law.
However soon after marriage my mother-in-law’s behaviour changed towards both me and her son. His Mum started interfering in every aspect of our lives. We could never live as a husband and wife. She used to comment on everything. From what time we went to sleep, if one of us had a shower, if we went out, if we text, E.g. when my husband gave me permission to go to go shopping alone, she scolded him for not being a man because he let his wife go alone. My mother is recovering from cancer and my Mother-in-law decided that I could only go to visit her (she lives 1 hour away) twice a month. Many times my husband found his mother being unfair to me and used to talk to her about it. My husband and I are both people of calm nature. I have not been raised to answer elders back, so I never did that. But he used to talk to her. We then saw an extreme temper from his Mother scolding him and calling him names. We know she has this temper with whoever makes her angry but now it was directed to us. It did come to arguments between them on a few occasions.
She also used to scold me calling me things like dog, magician, dirt. On a few occasions she called my family as well to say the most horrible things about me. Even in front of her other kids she used to say these thing about me and they used to say to her that they don’t see a fault in me and that she is wrong. She used to say things to my husband and me like ‘Watch your happiness will become unhappiness in sha Allah’ and ‘Allah swt won’t grant you children in sha Allah’ and she told my husband several times to divorce me because I’d never be able to give him children. She told me that there are many 16 to 19 year old girls in Morocco that he could get married to or his rich cousin in Morocco. All these things really made me sad, down and depressed. I’ve never been around such language or treatment. I come from a small and simple but loving family.We were always taught that morals, values and respect are your richness, not money. For me to hear these words from a person who has done Hajj twice and who reads Quran a lot and helps charity a lot was very confusing. Respected Sheikh, if I was bad to her, I would be the first to admit it and accept the consequences because nothing is hidden from Allah swt. I know here and there misunderstandings do occur, especially as we are from different cultures (He is Moroccan, I am Pakistani). But I can honestly say I never spoke back to her and I used to do all the household to my best ability from making breakfast for everyone to household chores. After 1,5 years I was allowed to work and I started working part time and from then on paid bills as well. Still she used to say ‘what has she done for us’. I admit my cooking isnt the best but I did cook daily and tried to keep everyone happy. I graduated as a Clinical Psychologist before marriage and have several years of experience in mental health care. But this situation has brought me down so much.
After a while I started feeling insecure and panic attacks from the moment I woke up because I never knew how she would be in the morning. Many a times she would be on the phone to one of her daughters on the breakfast table talking bad about me while I was sat there and it made me feel very insecure and bad for the rest of the day.
There are many many examples of bad behaviour and scolding but if I wrote all of them my email would be too long an I know your time is very precious.
She used to go to Morocco for a few weeks or months, but even from there out she would always videocall or call and keep check of where we go and what we do and argue on the phone with her son.
After 2,5 years it came to a stage where I really couldn’t take it anymore because she went to Morocco during Ramadan and said to her children that she’s sick all alone there but she’s not coming back because she doesn’t feel at ease in her own house with me there. So my husband and I decided to leave so she could return to her home. I had patience with all the scolding, namecalling and feeling not good enough, I never said to my husband that we should move because I knew his Mother would be alone. But when she said that, I felt like it was best to move out. So we did. But a local Imam advised my husband to go back to live at home with his mother when she comes back and gradually make her used to the idea that he will live with his wife. As she is very attached to him and says she can’t live without him. And she has always favoured him over her other children.
Now the situation is that we are expecting our 1st child Alhamdulillah. But I am living on my own. My husband comes by often, does all the shopping etc but he still sleeps at his Mother’s house because she says if he leaves her she will not survive, or she will harm herself.
He never tells his family that he is with his wife and when we go out together he tells me to hide or duck down in the car if we see one of his relatives. He always said he would in time come to live with me but hasn’t till today and now after waiting 5 months he asked me to move back in with his Mother. I feel very bad living like this, like I have done something wrong. I have to hide and live, more like a secret girlfriend instead of a wife. During our living with his Mother, she used to scold us, and in my living separate she still sent audios with namecalling. Matters got worse when he told her we are expecting a child she reacted to that saying that we went behind her back and had a child. After that news she kept forcing him to get a divorce. She used her health that if he didn’t listen to her she would harm herself or something will happen to her. She cried and screamed and layed on the flour pulling out her hair. She went to the divorce office herself to make an appointment and forced him to go with me and file for divorce. He argued a lot with her but was scared for her health. We eventually did go but didnt sign any papers. Then that same day she called my Mother and told her that her son is staying with her ( I didn’t tell my family this as I thought it was temporary and didn’t want them to be angry with my husband or leaving me by myself) and he only goes to visit me occasionally because I am chasing him like a dog but that he wants a divorce. And that he only comes to me for a bit of fun and then goes back home.I feel ashamed using these words but this is the reality of what she said. This happened one month ago when I was 8 weeks into pregnancy. My parents didn’t take this well but they know how she is and have been distant from her since the first time she called to insult.
Now because my husband told her that he will not divorce his wife and leave his child, she is saying to him that we should move back in with her and that she won’t interfere anymore.
My husband is now expecting me to do this. My husband and I have a loving and respectfull relationship Alhamdulillah. We are both pleased with each other, appreciate one another and have always been happy. We don’t really have problems between us 2. Even the situation with his Mother we didn’t let it come inbetween us. We don’t want to and have never wanted to divorce.
But now this is the first time that we disagree.
He says we should move back in because he can’t leave his Mother alone. She is mashaAllah 64 and still perfectly capable of looking after herself and her daughters come by regularly.
I said to my husband that I can’t take the stress and I can’t live back there. I told him that I feel very hurt and it really affected me mentally and psychologically and that I can’t go through that again especially now that I’ll have a baby to look after. And that her personality of 64 years cannot change. Just a month ago she was namecalling me to me, my parents and forcing us to divorce. I believe it’s not about me, she just wants her son and grandchild close now.
I told my husband that he could go and stay with her 3 nights and that the other 4 siblings could cover the other 4 nights by turns. But she says she only wants him as shes not as close to the others. I aso said that I am willing to go over daily in the morning and have breakfast together, or cook from home and bring it to her or keep her company, but that I need to be able to come to my own home and piece of mind at the end of the day. Sheikh, I would help my husband in caring for his Mother the best way I can. If ever she was in the state that she had to wear diapers, I would caringly change them for her even. I am not an uncaring person, I have a single Mother too, just as I’d feel for her, I feel for his Mother, but I can’t handle the emotional and psychological abuse and the control that she wants over everyones lives. And I find it naive to believe that the person who just a month ago gave me so much panic and stress, is now willing to accept me.
Can my husband force me to go back to live with her? He says as he is the man I should follow his decision and that he will tell his Mother what is and isn’t acceptable. I know in the past we tried this and matters just got worse. Also it’s not right that we live in her house and then tell her what she can and can’t do. I believe that our relationships with time can get better again, I would want that myself as she is his Mother, but that won’t happen if we all live under one roof. It’s better to live separate and have tight relationships than being under one roof and be burning on the inside. My husband has always tried to be fair and stuck by me when his Mother was in the wrong. But I feel that what he is asking from me now is unfair. I am a forgiving person, but I cannot see myself living there anymore. Just thinking about it gives me stress and panic. My husband doesn’t understad this. I do understand his concern for his Mother, and I told him I will do my best to help him look after her to my best ability, regardless of the past. But I just can’t live there. Please advise me.