The Moneyist: My spouse makes $ 200,000 a yr however offers us $ 700 a month and $ three,000 to her brother and mom "to maintain them within the good life."

I have never reached out to anyone about my personal life but I am undecided.

My wife and I got married in 2008 and I knew that her mother controlled most of her life. What I didn't know is that my mother-in-law also uses emotional guilt to get my wife to work 150 hour weeks to keep her and her son in the good life.

All of the overtime makes her make over $ 200,000 a year. But we have two children and she is never here to be with them. Her brother keeps calling asking for more money, a bigger apartment, a cooler, newer car. If she doesn't give in, her mother calls and does the same.

"The kids and I keep scratching past it while their family lives off their hard work and our poverty."

The other part is that my wife gave her mother authority over all of her finances.

Now I've left work to raise the kids and get my PhD, so I have a part-time job, but it doesn't matter. My wife offers us $ 700 a month to run the house while she gives my brother-in-law $ 3,000 to play with (he's 40 and never worked) and pays his car and rent.

That's all we argue about. None other than her brother, who from time to time, if he doesn't get a quarterly bonus, threatens to kill himself.

The kids and I keep scratching past while their family lives off their hard work and our poverty. What is your recommendation to deal with this? We are approaching the need for divorce because the children are suffering too much.

No more options

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Dear OOO,

That control your mother-in-law has over your wife and the control your wife is willing to give up over her husband and children, who run the risk of losing everything, began long before you met her. It started before she could see it for what it is.

Your wife probably still doesn't know how toxic and dependent these relationships are, believing that she and her brother and mother are an unbreakable triumvirate, unless in this case it is not clear who has all the power. Your mother-in-law, your brother-in-law, or both?

You have already raised these issues with her and arguments have arisen because you are challenging something that is systemic. It takes the intervention of a financial therapist, financial advisor and / or psychologist to break this structure.

Do not think of your family as a mother and brother, but as a "family system," a theory suggested by psychiatrist Dr. Murray Bowen was developed. It is a complex system in which people can obey rules, adopt moral beliefs and, yes, without question, give up their own agency.

Toxic family systems are cultic.

Toxic family systems are cultic. Your wife's mother and brother don't just say, "You owe us." They effectively say: “You belong to us. You are us We are you. ”In such circumstances, threats of suicide are even more inciting.

Susan Forward writes in her book “Toxic Parents”: “Unhealthy families discourage individual expression. Everyone has to adapt to the thoughts and actions of the toxic parents. They promote the merging, the blurring of personal boundaries and the bonding of family members. "

You become a unit bound by rules, both seen and invisible. “On a subconscious level, it is difficult for family members to know where one ends and another begins. In their efforts to be close, they often stifle each other's individuality, ”she adds.

“Children who are not encouraged to try, explore, master, and risk failure often feel helpless and inadequate. These children are overwhelmed by anxious, anxious parents and often become anxious and anxious themselves, ”writes Forward.

"This makes it difficult for them to mature," she adds. “Many never grow beyond the need for constant parental guidance and control. As a result, their parents continue to invade, manipulate, and often dominate their lives. “This seems like where you are.

The questions become: Who needs the most help? Who would like to be helped? And who can be helped? Your wife will either choose you or her family of origin and you will have a difficult choice of either accepting it or choosing you instead.

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