How to Deal With a Difficult Mother in Law

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Have you ever wondered why most marriages end up broken?  Well, there are lot of reasons attached to this.  You will be surprised to knowthat some mother-in-law’s add to broken homes. If your mother-in-law repeatedly hurts you either physically or emotionally, it can permanently damage your marriage.

However there are some ways to deal with her that can protect yourself, your family and your future. First you need to:

Detach yourself emotionally: Think of her as an acquaintance and not your “other mother,” unless the relationship is warm, friendly and family-like. Don’t call her “Mother” or “Mom.” She isn’t your parent; you are on equal terms. Call her by her first name, unless you are living in (or your spouse is from) a country in which it’s considered rude to call your mother-in-law only by name. In that case, follow the custom properly as to how to respectfully address her and establish a name, with your spouse, you feel comfortable calling her..

Understand the common problems: There are often many reasons why a mother-in-law may be difficult towards her child’s new lover. She may feel less important to her child (or still see them as a child rather than someone’s spouse). She may have difficulty standing behind someone else in their child’s life. She simply may be a completely different person from you. Understanding the reasoning behind her behavior instead of taking it personally will make it easier to deal with..

Distance yourself physically: You don’t need to move cross-country, but you also don’t need to show up at every event. It’s acceptable for your spouse to attend some family events without you. This should not be a common occurrence, however. You should not try to drive a wedge between your spouse and his family. It could also be a victory of sorts for that mother of his/hers – she gets to spend time with her child and avoid you completely. Even if it’s easier, this will cause discord in your marriage eventually..

Remember that it’s highly unlikely that she’ll change: If your mother-in-law has criticized you, stabbed you in the back to other family members and has been dismissive of things you’ve said, she could be making a very clear statement about your relationship. If she’s done this, remember to keep your distance even when she’s being nice. Look to other women for mentoring, advice, kindness and role modeling. You may have to write her off as being a positive factor in your life..

Recognize and avoid the triggers: Before coming in contact with the in-law, visualize the scenarios which always manage to get under your skin. What is it that is said or done that makes your blood boil? Once you determine those triggers (which tend to be the same emotionally, manifested in various ways), think about ways in which you can avoid them..

Don’t raise the emotional temperature: If conflict is impossible to avoid, go ahead and respond honestly. Don’t be rude, but be firm and don’t sugar-coat. Remember that despite your efforts to avoid direct conflict, this person has shown little regard for your feelings on whatever the issue is. Don’t let the fear of hurting the feelings of your relative or in-law stop you from responding appropriately–it clearly hasn’t stopped them..

Disarm guilt as a weapon: If the mother-in-law attempts to use guilt as a tool of manipulation, it’s fairly easy to overcome. Whenever you perceive her attempting to manipulate your emotions by making you feel guilty, bring the whole matter to conscious awareness by asking, “You’re not trying to make me feel guilty, are you?” She will probably deny it, but soon the pattern will re-emerge. Keep interrupting the pattern of falling into a state of guilt by bringing attention to her emotionally manipulative tactics. You don’t want to be rude, but put a stop to the use of guilt as a weapon..
If you refuse to enter the emotional state of guilt, it will allow you to be more objective and compassionate in seeing that she is probably using guilt because she feels powerless. If you can address that sense of powerlessness, you have the opportunity to transform the relationship for good. For example, say something in front of the family to flatter her such as, “We usually reserve Friday nights for dinner with Mom and Dad. We need family time with them.” This gives her a sense of importance in front of everyone and helps her feel needed and wanted.

Think about your spouse and child: You don’t want to say or do anything to harm your relationship with them. Do you need to try to break the tension? Bite your tongue? Sometimes you have to suck it up and behave nicely for the sake of someone else’s happiness..

Define your boundaries: You set the boundaries in your relationships, both with your spouse and with your mother-in-law. If those boundaries are crossed and your mother-in-law can’t seem to take the hint, and if your spouse is unwilling to address the situation and stand up for you, then you have to assert yourself to restore balance. Define boundaries which you consider to be bottom lines that may not be crossed and make you feel violated when they are, and make them clearly known..
For example, if you value your privacy and a relative insists on frequent unannounced drop-in visits, that may be a bottom line for you. The first thing to realize is that it’s perfectly OK to satisfy your own needs. A relationship that makes you feel violated isn’t healthy..
If your mother-in-law drops over unannounced just before you and your spouse are headed out for dinner, you can say, “Gee, it’s nice to see you. I just wish you’d called ahead. Josh and I are on our way out to dinner. If we’d known you were coming, we’d have made plans to eat at home.” This will make it clear to your mother-in-law that she needs to call first next time.

Consider another approach if you feel unable to confront your mother-in-law: Write down what she says or does. By doing this, you’re making sure that the situation doesn’t grow bigger in your head after a few days of anger towards her. And after a few times, it’ll give you a clearer view of her actions and make you aware of moments that you were alone and she insulted you or trespassed on your personal space or belongings. You will be prepared for the next time and not feel so scared or victimized anymore.
Use writing to get back at her without speaking. For example, say she goes through your bag. Just put a note in your bag that says; ‘This is not your property. Do not search through my bag unless you’ve been asked to by me.’ Or, put a lock on it. Think of solutions to sabotage her spying/stealing.

Express your feelings to your spouse: Let your husband (or wife) know that the way their mother treats you is hurtful. You are entitled to share these feelings with your spouse. Do not criticize her – remember this is his/her mother – but don’t protect her either. You can say something like, “Honey, your mom may not mean to be hurtful, but she was tonight. In the future, if she says something like (give the example that hurt you), I would appreciate it if you would speak up for me.”.

Make your spouse understand that they must take the lead with their family: If your spouse will not handle his/her family, you will never solve this problem. Your spouse’s mother has already demonstrated that she doesn’t respect or recognize you. Nothing you say or do will change that. Unless your spouse is willing to take charge, outline clear boundaries over which the mother must not step, and be willing to follow up these statements with action and definitive consequences, you will have to face the fact that you will not be able to ever change this relationship. That may be a deal breaker for you and for your marriage. If it is, let your spouse know before it’s too late so that they have time to remedy the situation.

Stay positive guys!!!

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