Annie Lane: Abusive daughter- in-law causes concerns

Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Dear Annie: I’m a very concerned mother of a 30-year-old son, “Jesse,” who’s in an abusive relationship with his girlfriend “Adriana.” They share a newborn child together. Adriana is divorced. Not long ago, her ex-brother-in-law physically attacked Jesse, because Jesse exposed the secret affair that Adriana and her former brother-in-law had been having. I’m convinced that she is a narcissist. She has caused so much unnecessary grief, having Jesse arrested under false pretenses, manipulating the law to fit her sick, twisted selfishness and greed.

Jesse is a hardworking good man, and unfortunately, these are his decisions. However, I’ve chosen not to participate in any of their family gatherings, due to Adriana’s disrespectfulness toward me. She uses manipulative antics to divide my family.

I love my son; it upsets me to watch him suffer in silence. I appreciate any suggestions you might be able to offer. 

Email newsletter signup

— Mom in Turmoil

Dear Mom in Turmoil: Stay outside the fray. Report the assault of your son to the police, if you haven’t already, and call them if you believe violence is imminent. Aside from that, don’t involve yourself in the dysfunction. Detach as much as possible — not only by sitting out those family gatherings but also by putting Adriana out of mind. Your son is mired in a toxic situation, but you can’t pull him out of it until he’s ready to take your hand.

Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for more guidance on helping a friend or family member who you believe is in an abusive relationship.

• • •

Dear Annie: I am writing regarding the letter from “Sickened,” regarding a man that is being sued for a supposedly delinquent student loan from 30 years ago. This sounds like a scam to me, much like the ones that say your car warranty is about to expire or the IRS is calling you. If they have not, they should directly contact the company that originally gave the loan and see if there is any outstanding debt. 

— Wanda in Pleasant Plains, IL

Dear Wanda: I’d initially discounted the idea of its being a scam, since the couple in question has a lawyer (who, I should hope, would have looked into that possibility). However, I received so many responses from readers insisting that this is indeed a common scam, I felt compelled to print your letter to account for the possibility. Read on for yet another perspective.

“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to