Crisis Intervention Services are available 24 hours a day by calling, toll-free 1-800-621-8504
Behavioral Health & IDD Centralized Intake 1-800-669-4166

Skip 
Navigation Link

Family & Relationship Issues

Ask Dr. Schwartz
Ask Dr. Schwartz
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Personality Disorder or Just a Horrible Person

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.

THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION WILL NOT BE DISPLAYED UNTIL YOU HAVE INDICATED YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THE DISCLAIMER PRINTED JUST BELOW. CLICK THE 'I AGREE' BUTTON TO AGREE TO THESE TERMS AND SEE THE RESPONSE.

Disclaimer

  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

Share This

Resources