Advertisement

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?”

Advertisement

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. 

Advertisement

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

Are You Practicing The Best Parenting Style?
Parenting is on John's mind now that his second child has arrived. John was raised by a father who was harsh and demanding. John often felt as if he could not live up to his father's expectations. Now a father himself, John is aware that his ...

posted 7:00:20am Jun. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Are You Genetically Predisposed to Worry?
Susan feels she can’t stop worrying no matter how hard she tries. She’s beginning to wonder if she is a born worry. She is asking, "Can worry be genetic?" In 2007, Yale researchers found a gene variation associated with chronic worrying ...

posted 7:00:57am Jun. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Does God Hide in Times of Trouble?
When Christians are being beheaded in the middle east, when a man shoots people praying in a church, when young girls are taken and forced into sex slavery, when you are falsely accused or ridiculed for your beliefs, it often feels like God is ...

posted 7:00:35am Jun. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Should You Keep Secrets From Your Partner?
I was in the grocery store and the tabloids were headlining the secret love child of yet another celebrity couple. Secrets are a problem. They don’t usually end well. I am often asked if it is a good idea to reveal secrets to a partner or a ...

posted 7:00:25am Jun. 22, 2015 | read full post »

The Gift Your Father Gave You
Happy Father's Day! I know not everyone has a great relationship with his or her father. However, this Father’s Day, I encourage to think about your father and find one thing he gave you as a gift. Some of you will think of many things, others ...

posted 7:00:16am Jun. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.