I often hear of wives who are on the edge of their wits with their mother-in-law. If you’ve never been in this situation, it can be difficult to understand how one additional person in a marriage can ruin the whole thing. We’re often not talking about a little meddling here and there or a few annoyances that you hear once or twice a year and then completely forget about.
No, these women tell me that the mother-in-law insists on seeing her son and grandchildren every day. However, he gets into the wife’s life and creates all kinds of conflicts. Or it puts your son in a situation where he has to choose between wife or mother-in-law. This, in turn, contributes to the wife viewing her husband in a very undesirable way, and this constant conflict (with very little resolution) can often put great stress on the marriage. It’s not uncommon for me to hear women say that their mother-in-law is the only reason their marriage is falling apart or failing. In the next article, I will offer tips on how to deal with this situation.
Understand that you and your mother-in-law really want the same things (and that is why your husband is caught in the middle): When I say this to women, they are often frustrated or even angry. But, if you can step back even for a second and try to see the situation as a third party would, it is possible to understand that the two of you want similar things. You both want to feel loved, valued, prioritized, understood, and appreciated by your husband. Often, however, the mother-in-law has a hard time letting go once her “baby” is married.
Of course you deserve a caring and loving child, but now you have to share. And there is often the problem. She hopes things don’t have to change so much. And when conflicts arise, sometimes you expect your husband to give you the upper hand, since she raised him and has known him for much longer than you have. After all, she is a family. But what he sometimes doesn’t understand is that you are his family too.
This comes into play even more when there are cultural differences or lifestyle expectations. Sure, you may not be who she would have chosen for her child. But at some point, you will have to get over that. Because think about your husband for a second. It is completely caught in the middle and it is pulled from both ends. I have heard from many husbands on this subject and this also hurts and frustrates them quite a bit.
The truth is, he loves them both and seeing them both mad at him in the center hurts him too. He feels like he is going to lose and disappoint a woman he loves no matter what he does. He often wishes that the two of you could figure it out. He is often embarrassed and embarrassed by the way his mother acts, but he doesn’t know how to say this to his own mother. (And he knows this makes him look weak and indecisive in your eyes.)
Putting your mother-in-law in “her place”: I often have women asking me how to beat the final laws at their own game. The truth is that, to do this, you must define what you really want. And often, that’s not to “catch” her or piss her off. What you really want is to be happy with your own husband and your own family from time to time without them interfering and causing conflict.
And you know what? The more you relate to her, the further you move away from this goal. The truth is, she is probably feeding off this process as much as you think. When it can make you frustrated, or angry at your husband, or on edge, then you are very happy that you have done what you set out to do. In a sense, he has won, at least temporarily. And when you are upset and angry, your husband views you in a negative light, which is exactly what your mother-in-law expected.
Instead, make sure you don’t play directly into his hand. Understand and remember that you win when you and your husband are happy and you don’t let her invade. If you look at it this way, “putting her in her place” is not really allowing her to invade and affect your happiness and your marriage. Just brush it or laugh at it. Make a lighthearted joke. Let her know that the smile your child put on her face will NOT go away or be affected simply because her place in your child’s life makes her uncomfortable. That is their problem, not yours.
If you do this well enough and for long enough, this will often take it apart. She will eventually learn that all her name calling and interference is a waste of time and will only make her look bad to her own child. Every time you get over his pettiness and put a smile on your face, you’ve won. And then your husband realizes that the problem is her and not you.
Once your position strengthens and hers continues to weaken, you will often learn that if you want to appear positive with your child, you better start playing well. Here you are smiling and making him happy. So if there is a problem, it is with her.