Dear Dr. Schwartz,
I have been married for 15 years and for 13 of those my mother-in-law had keys to our house. I loved & trusted her as she helped me a lot when my children were young. However, I realised she was stealing my things. Over the years she has taken kitchen knives, expensive linen, my grandmothers crochet tablecloth, bath towels, coasters, alcohol, platters and other household goods.I used to see things at her home and think she just used to go out and buy the same items, e.g. a white platter, for example, until I noticed that my white linen tablecloth was on her dining table. She has also given my grandmothers crochet tablecloth to her daughter as a wedding gift.
I have confronted her with this and there is always some explanation e.g. that her employer brought back the white linen tablecloth from Hong Kong for her as a gift. Also, after I confronted her about it, she started putting all my things that she had taken over the years, on show, e.g. my knives on her kitchen bench, my drink coasters on her coffee table.
She is also a compulsive liar. She does have money and can afford to buy these things for herself, but does not like to spend money. She lives like a miser. She attends Church every Sunday and appears to be an upstanding citizen. She does not have any long term friendships. I thought I was the luckiest person on earth to have such a great & helpful motherinlaw until I discovered she was stealing from our house. Now I don't want to even be in the same room as her. Is there some sort of explanation for her behaviour? I thought if I can work out why she has done this it will help me deal with it.
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