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Are mothers in law hell on earth?

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Are mothers in law hell on earth?


A mother with her daughter in law

A mother with her daughter in law

It is a relic that a woman’s mother in law is meant to be a kill joy, a scarecrow, a nightmare and sadist who never stops haunting and stabbing your marriage. Sometimes a mother in law can choose to pull down your marriage until it develops cracks.  This is the living nightmare that worries young women preparing to get married.  A woman preparing to get married is also cautioned to prepare to fight her mother in law.

This tug-of-war between a mother and daughter-in-law is an age-old phenomenon, the stuff of sitcom jokes and Greek tragedy. Since the time of Chaucer, who catalogued the deadly rivalry between a wife and her husband’s besotted mother in the ‘Man of Law’s Tale,’ writers have found it a rich source of intense drama.

For many millions of women, the wedding ring is barely on their fingers because they are in a deadly competition with their husbands’ mothers.

When your devoted husband claims that he loves you more than any other woman on earth, don’t rush into popping champagne because there is another woman who wants that position and that’s your mother in law.

Mothers in law think that young girls are taking away what rightfully belongs to them and that’s their sons’ love and care.  They unreasonably decide to fight for what they claim belongs to them.

Actually studies have revealed that nearly two-thirds of women complain they have suffered long-term unhappiness and stress because of friction with their husband’s mother.

Sometimes the conflict arises from the assumption that each is criticizing or undermining the other woman. But this mutual unease may have less to do with actual attitudes and far more to do with persistent female stereotypes that few of us manage to shake off completely.

It is possible to deal with difficult mothers in law.  Just remember that your gain can feel like her loss. Try and practice empathy with her. While you are excited about the beginning of this new phase of life with her son or daughter, for her, this new phase can serve as a reminder that her “baby boy” is no longer a baby and all of the complicated feelings that go along with that.

It may stir up resentments, feelings of aging, anxiety about her relevancy in her child’s life, fear of you shutting them out, a feeling of being “replaced”… even if these things are irrational.

Don’t pick fights, but stand up for yourself. You are a grown woman- after all you are grown enough to be married, right? It’s normal and natural to have your own way of doing things.

Just mind your business and when frustrated just rest in gratitude. Never criticize her in front of your partner and take her advice with a pinch of salt.  Remember to keep smiling while setting clear boundaries.  Treasure her where possible and let your partner deal with her whenever a misunderstanding erupts.



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