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Sending money to mother-in-law

Dear Cary,

I am an officer in the U.S. Army, and my wife is from South America and is a stay-at-home mom. Ever since we have been married, my mother-in-law has regularly pressured my wife about her responsibility for sending a "monthly contribution." This situation is further complicated by the fact that my wife's sister, also married to an American, is employed and does send money every month to her mom. There have been numerous occasions when my mother-in-law has belittled, badgered and berated my wife on the phone when discussing my wife's supposed responsibility for sending some money every month.

My wife has had a conflicted relationship with her mother since childhood, and her sister who sends money monthly has always been her mother's "favorite" and this dynamic is also frequently at work when the subject of financial support comes up between my wife and her mother. My mother-in-law plays my wife's sister's "good deeds" off against her, and this makes my wife feel even more miserable and unhappy about constantly being harassed to financially assist her mother.

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