Lack of Love: My Mother-in-Law


I am married to a person who was a Jehovah’s Witness. She left when she was in her twenties but has many family members still in the organization. My main experience has been with her mother who is required by the organization to shun her daughter. There have been a few occasions when her mother has broken the rules and I have experienced going with my wife to visit her mother. So, what I wanted to share is that experience. Having enjoyed the love of my own mother the contrast between visiting my mother versus my wife’s mother is immeasurable. I always felt when visiting my mother-in-law that the moment we arrived it was already time to leave. She was very uncomfortable having us there. I guess she was always very worried that one of her friends would arrive and discover her sin of having broken the rules and spoken to her daughter. Whilst she always tried to be hospitable, there was no warmth and love between mother and daughter.

It greatly saddened me to know how much my wife was missing, not having a mother who was allowed to show her love. Was she even capable of such an emotion? I do believe it was hidden somewhere deep, but not allowed to surface. I did try to understand my mother-in-law and initially did try to talk to her about her beliefs. But I soon learned that what came out of her mouth was not her words, but the words of her high-control organization, learned by rote. She was incapable of speaking for herself. How sad.

So, to me the crime is the fact that the act of mandatory shunning can cause the suppression and ultimate destruction of what most normal people would believe is the natural love between mother and daughter. 

I can live without a mother-in-law, but to ask my wife to be denied a mother even when she is in the same room is a tragedy.