"My husband is from Romania and his mother came to live with us for a year while waiting for her green card. The plan was she would then spend six months a year with us in America and six months a year in Romania. I knew she was the matriarch of the family, and my husband was her first boy.

But this woman hated me on sight. She said the most awful things to me. I was too young, too pretty to be with her son for anything other than his money (I told her 'if you can say that, then you have no idea what a wonderful man your own son is'). She would do things like go through my purse when I wasn’t looking and throw out my $40 Chanel lipstick. One of the most hurtful things she would do was turn around the pictures I had in the house of my mom, who died at age 34 when I was 12. She pitted my husband against me- she made it out like I was setting her up and lying about it.

The final straw came when I came home from a long, stressful day at work. I sat down at the kitchen table to go through the mail. Over the course of the 10 months she was with us by then, downstairs became 'her domain'. I would retreat immediately upstairs to our bedroom and watch TV or read until my husband came home. She made him dinner every night (which I wasn’t allowed to eat with them). He would sit with her and have dinner and eventually come upstairs to greet me. When she went to bed, we were free to go downstairs and watch TV, etc.

She was most unhappy that I had the nerve to sit at 'her' kitchen table. She picked up my sunglasses from where they were on the table and threw them against the wall; then she started berating me in Romanian. I ignored her and continued going through the mail, which infuriated her. She stood over me and continued yelling.

My dog, a little Yorkipoo who weighs all of eight pounds, was very upset about this. We went through a lot together during my previous marriage and she is still very sensitive to fighting or yelling of any kind. She stood next to my feet and started barking. As I reached down to calm her, my mother-in-law kicked her. Right in the face. My dog yelped and I could hear her teeth crack together.

I stood up so fast I knocked over the chair. I grabbed my dog and my purse and left in my car. I called my husband at work- slightly hysterical, I will admit. I told him 'This is it. I am going to a hotel. Either she goes, or I go.' She flew home to Romania three days later. I can handle a bully but I cannot handle abuse of my dog, and my husband couldn’t either.

When it came time for her to have to return to the US due to her green card, I absolutely refused. Her green card was invalidated because she stayed outside the US for too long. I don’t know if we will try to sponsor her again in the future but it hasn’t come up in discussion lately."