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Calling a Truce: Your Mother-In-Law

Calling a Truce: Your Mother-In-Law

Most spouses do get along with their mother-in-law, but a considerable number of people do not. By the stroke of some unfortunate mishaps, you may be the unlucky one that adopted the mother-in-law from hell when you said “I do”.

However, let’s face it. This woman has a lot of power.

A mother-in-law is a very important person, and therefore extra care has to be taken in how you deal with her —  even if you have your differences.

If your mother-in-law is rude, loves to criticise, gives advice that is intrusive, insulting, puts you down and is plainly difficult to get along with, how should you react?

You could decide to yell, be angry or ask her to leave. But that is your husband’s mother and even if she is in the wrong, explaining this to your husband won’t be a walk in the park. So how about a different, more adult-like approach?

We all know, that if you use aggression to respond to aggression, it will only make matters worse.

You have to let your mother-in-law see that you are different. Usually, when a person acts this way, it may have to do with something more personal, and may not have anything to do with you. She may be disagreeable because of something that has happened in the past. You may be in the path of that disagreement and so you become the target of her wrath. Of course, this is not fair to you, but you will have to deal with it in the most mature way. If you don’t, it will cause friction in your marriage.

Some spouses will complain to their husbands, only to find that he doesn’t want to take sides. Expect this from your partner, if it’s their mother you have issues with.


Resolving the conflict

It is best that you sit down with your mother-in-law and express your feelings. Talk about the things that you do have in common, which includes your husband (or wife), who is her son (or her daughter). Discuss the idea of calling a truce so that her child doesn’t have to feel torn between the two of you. Explain to her that you both do not have to agree on everything, but at least, try to be civil to each other for the sake of the family, especially if children are involved.

You should both acknowledge your differences and explore ways to come to a common ground and accept those differences. Inform your mother-in-law that when you do need advice from her, you will ask her, but tell her so in a respectful manner.

Here is a conversation that you may have with your mother-in-law to clear the air:

-You know, I really would love to have a good relationship with you. Your son (or daughter) loves you and it matters a lot to me that he (or she) is happy. Can we sit down and talk about what we both need to do to make our relationship better for the sake of the entire family?

Do not wait until things get out of hand before having this conversation because it will be difficult to do so when you are angry, upset or frustrated with your mother-in-law. Also, remember that your mother-in-law may have the impression that she is losing her son or daughter to you. This is not realistic, but this may be a feeling that you should validate. Your mother-in-law is human and her feelings may be contributing to her behavior toward you.

You can both reach a consensus if you try to understand each other’s feelings; talk about them and learn how to work though those feelings.


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