I’ve been married to my husband for 10 years, no thanks to my mother-in-law. It is a sad (but all-too-true) fact that she tried to separate us before we were ever committed to one another.
She came to my husband shortly after we started dating and said to him, “You do realize that Natasha is used to having a lot of money. I just don’t see how she’ll ever be satisfied with your small income.”
Years went by before my husband told me what she said to him. By that time, we were able to have a good laugh about the ridiculousness of what she said. (I had been poor my entire life.)
I was always thankful that he didn’t listen to her that day. Though, that doesn’t mean I was always so lucky.
Mothers and sons can have special relationships. But even when they don’t, and when everything your mother-in-law does drips with hatred for you, you may still experience some relationship strain.
Difficult mothers-in-law might make our relationships harder, but if you decide to tough it out, there are some things you can do to lighten the burden.
1) Give your mother-in-law nothing.
Calm down, friends. You can still buy her the blender for Christmas. I mean give her nothing she can use against you.
Keep your private life to yourself and expose as little as possible. Of course, if she wants to try hard enough, she’ll find something to pick on you about.
But the less information you give her, the less she can turn your “he/she saids” against you. If your spouse or partner overshares, that’s on him, not you.
2) Consider the source.
Is this woman hard on you because it’s you or because of the title you hold?
I assure you, it is likely the latter.
Without getting too deeply into the psychology of pecking orders, you are a threat to her status as the monarch of her family. You have taken her little boy and have him in ways she can’t. (Not that she wants him that way… at least we hope she doesn’t!)
But subconsciously, she recognizes you as a person who can love her son in ways she can’t. Keeping that in mind, understand that it’s not you, it’s her.
And let it roll off.
3) Never make your man choose.
Not that he wouldn’t choose you. He would, even if he says otherwise. (Remember that talk up there about you giving him what she can’t? Uh huh.)
But even if he did choose you, and you gave him the ultimatum, what kind of stress does that place on him? If he stays with you and avoids her, he might blame you for the tension between him and his mother.
This can happen even if he isn’t a doting son. You don’t want that.
Besides, if she’s selfish enough, she might be the one to make him choose. He’ll choose you, she’ll be mad, and he’ll avoid her. You win.
Bide your time.
4) Stay on good terms with the father-in-law.
When all else fails, he might be the only one who can reign her in.
Now, before you get angry and say I’m being misogynistic (if you think that, please peruse this blog a little deeper), what I mean is that this man knows your mother-in-law. He has lived with her longer than anyone and is likely alert to her ways of thinking.
He may be the only one on the inside to see the real you versus the picture of you she paints. If he knows you’re a good person, he may come to your defense from time to time when things get rough.
5) Keep your mouth closed about the cruel things she says to you when no one is listening.
(You didn’t know I knew she made those jibes behind your husband’s back, did you?)
If she is manipulative enough, she may play the victim if you bring up every little incident. This will make you look like the troublemaker even if you are innocent.
Let her comments and snide remarks roll off (yes, this can be hard), and let time and her actions speak for themselves.
Remember, your fella is with you despite the things she has said and done up to this point. Chances are in your favor that he is barely listening to her, if at all.
If you remain focused on building a strong relationship with your husband and the more rational members of his family, you can spend less time being concerned with the things she says that most people are probably ignoring anyway.
Does your mother-in-law make your relationship with your husband difficult to endure? Leave us a comment. You might be surprised to find out you aren’t alone!