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Hi "dan in the middle",

I can see why you feel that seem like a very good man and you tried changing your wife; she is clearly wrong in her behavior. I agree with the last reply about what PTSD does to a person. I think your wife is really suffering and doesn't know for sure where her pain and fear comes from. But I want to talk about solutions you can enact, not about whether your wife ever gets 'help'. That is for her to see and decide at the right time, not up to you.

The thing that I see is that you are not really in the middle, it is more like you are on the side line. I think your place [U]is[/U] to be in the middle, standing between your mother and your wife, showing yourself to be at your wife's side. It is not about which one has a more right or wrong attitude. Only your wife is your wife and a man has to [U]leave his mother[/U] to join with his wife. You can still love, value and admire your mother. but your wife has no moral obligation to like or be like your mother. She is a different person, and never will be like your mother. You found your wife to be attractive probably because she is different than your mom. There is no problem with that. It is healthy of you.

You're mother may be sweet as pie to everyone else in the entire world and maybe she is: what I am going to say is not anything against your mother, you or your wife. I don't know any of you. but I do understand human nature and interpersonal dynamics some. It could be that mom is being passive aggressive toward your wife whether she sees or admits it or not. Your wife is very sensitive to that. If your wife feels threatened at all in any way for any reason, she needs to know that her husband stands between her and the threat even if it is your mother. This is not about you having to reject or blame mother. It is about the fact that protection by her husband is a wife's [U]need[/U].

Your wife should not ever have to ask you to keep your mom away from her and her home. There are plenty of other ways to let the kids spend time with grandmother. And grandmother needs to know she [U]has to[/U] respect your wife's place and time.

Although you know the damage that had been done to your wife in past and that she is defensive, you don't stand up to your mom and tell her to please [U]only[/U] go through you and let you do the do nothing to show your wife she is first with you and to stand between her and anyone that she is bothered by...yes that should include your own parents. If you want your wife to respect your parents, you must show respect to your wife. Your mother should only see the children when you choose to drop them off. That is your wife's home. If she doesn't want someone there they have no right to be there.

In my view, this not about whether your wife's behavior is 'right'. It is about who is the head of your own family...your mother or [U]you[/U]. Show respect to your wife and you will find that the angst will die down. After all, your mother is not at all right to stand between you and your wife or act like she is the 'better' person. It appears your mother has, whether meaning to or not, interjected herself between you and your wife.

It really would be galling to me to be furious with someone and tell them to stay out of my business and then have them send food to me. I would not have wanted the food, either. Sending the food was not truly respectful of your mother. She should respect your wife's space and emotions. And, it should have been you that threw the food away, or at least politely refused it. I don't think that is truly the high road of your mother or showed any real understanding or respect of your wife. I think your mother might at least secretly not care if your wife felt she was sticking it to her.

You are the man of the house, and your wife should come first and your mother needs to know this. There would be no need to choose 'sides'. You can tell each your wife and your mother that you will stand between them and the nastiness WILL stop. Then keep your mom out of your wife's face, and vice versa. Tell your mom she is not to incite your wife and she must stay away from her and let you arrange time for grandmother to be with the kids. Then make sure that you do it according to your own timing, and that both your mom and your wife can depend on you to keep your word.

This will teach your children how marriage should work, how to manage themselves and how to manage problems with others, and give the children peace, which should be the first goal. The kids are the real victims so be the father that they need. Step in the middle.

Once you make this happen, and yes, it's up to you to do it, perhaps later on when your wife feels she does indeed have her husband's support and protection she will be able to see her own issues and be willing to try to find solutions for her deep rooted anger and sadness that is causing her to be so defensive.

But fix the situation and do not try to fix your wife [U]or[/U] your mother. Your wife needs to feel valued and know she is first in your life. Your mother needs to know you will always love & appreciate her, but now she comes second.

Let me add I am a mother of two sons. The first time I had to adjust to a son turning away from me to his wife, as happy as I was for him and her, it wrenched my mom, I will always feel that he is 'my baby', you see. But he wants to be a grown man to me now and wants to honor his marriage. He has to put wife first and I had to move over. Which I did, but it was not at all easy for me to let go of him to stand with his wife. Now my other son is getting married. I know I will be in second position as soon as he is married, and believe me it is not easy for moms. But on the other hand, I want my son to have a great marriage and to do that he has to make sure his wife knows she comes first.

My job as mother in law is to honor my sons' wife's position and keep my own emotions out of their marriages. As you know it is enough to deal with your wife's angst than to have to also placate your mom...which you cannot do simply because that is your father's job. Not yours.

Does this make sense?

You have my greatest empathy! :(
I sincerely hope you choose to stand at your wife's side and get your life sorted out.

Divorce is not at all the best answer, and indeed teaches children that imperfect people should be thrown away, and creates fear in them that if they are imperfect they also can expect to be thrown away. Don't give up, step up and get more involved. You can do this.

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