Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

6 Ways to Respond to a Mother-In-Law Who Doesn’t Like You?

upsetWhen Robert came home from work, he found his wife sitting in a chair crying. She was hurt by something that happened on the phone talking to her mother-in-law about holiday plans. Robert’s mother insisted they come to her house for the big dinner. “I think it would be better for everyone if I hosted the dinner.” Renee hung up the phone frustrated. No matter what she said or did, her mother-in-law managed to put her down or criticize her. “Your mother doesn’t like me, and I don’t know why?”

In my work with families, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law conflict comes up often. The bringing together of two women forced to like each other doesn’t always go well.

 If you want to deal with this issue, you have to confront it.

1) Begin by telling the in-law you are trying your best and would like a relationship with her. 

2) Control your emotions, be respectful, honest. Don’t get defensive, give the silent treatment or try to avoid.  

3) Prepare for a number of responses. She could apologize and tell you she had no idea; she could say she will try to work on the relationship and talk about whatever the issues involved might be; she could criticize, show contempt or avoid you. So be prepared. Think ahead how you will handle her response. 

4) If she does acknowledge room for change, then be specific about what will help. Stick to behavior and stay positive. Avoid blame.

5) Use humor to break tension. If you can laugh at yourself and little things that happen, tension is less likely to build. I’ve seen this over and over in families that manage to all get along. Laughter is good medicine. It boosts endorphins and keeps stress hormones at bay. Conflict triggers a stress reaction in the body and humor diffuses it. It changes the mood, minimizes emotional tension and reestablishes a positive tone.

6) Appreciate your differences. Families approach life differently based on their beliefs, values, customs, and history. The more you know about the family, the more you understand why they behave the way they do. Understanding is a first step in tolerance. When you marry, you become part of another family with its own set of values and differences. Recognize,  respect and talk about differences unless they are abusive or damaging.  This is usually the heart of the problem–differences in expectations.

Previous Posts

A Therapeutic Way to Deal With Heartache or Tragedy
He sat in my office and told me his father died suddenly of a heart attack. There was no warning and he and his mom were heartbroken.  She was crying as she talked about her 20 year marriage coming to an end. Her husband words, "I don't love you and want out," hit hard.  He never saw it comi

posted 6:00:05am Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Take the Quiz: Do You Love Money Too Much?
Money, money, money...The OJays sang about it, reminding us us what people will do for the love of money-steal from their mother, rob from their brother, lie, cheat and don't care who they hurt or beat, etc. In Matthew, Jesus tells us that you can't love money and God. He chided the religious le

posted 6:00:17am Feb. 25, 2015 | read full post »

A School Success Measure More Important Than Intelligence
These days, parents seemed consumed with their children getting high test scores. The belief is that high test scores predicts academic success. But a new study suggests that parents should put their efforts elsewhere--in developing the personalities of their children. With more concern about wh

posted 6:00:29am Feb. 23, 2015 | read full post »

One Way to Facilitate the Feeling of Love
Rosie is a little anxious about her first date with Sean. We all know how important first impressions are when it comes to finding love. After a few outings at a local coffee shop, her feelings of attraction were obvious. The setting was intimate, soft  music played in the background and th

posted 6:00:15am Feb. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Want to Stay Young? Engage in the Arts!
Music, dance, drawing, reading, listening to poetry--all ways we can engage the arts. But is there a connection between staying young and engaging these activities? Yes, engaging in the arts helps you stay young. 1) Take up dancing. Dancing is not only aerobic but it challenges the brain. So t

posted 6:00:45am Feb. 18, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.