A mother-in-law, often referred to as MIL, has a very important role in her son’s family. A mother-in-law is supposed to provide emotional support for the couple.
However, they are usually the ones who expect the soon-to-be parents to live with them or close by. By having this type of expectation and selfish thinking a mother-in-law finds it hard to realise that the world doesn’t revolve around her. She may genuinely not understand that her son and his wife can have other preferences in life; that are driven by their financial capabilities, hobbies and personal choice.
It is not uncommon for a new wife to feel threatened by their husband’s mom or to feel attacked. It is very important though that the two women respect each other and be there for one another when needed.
Can the daughter-in-law be at fault ?
Yes, sometimes the daughter-in-law can be at fault. That’s true. However, this article analyses the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship from a perspective where it is the mother-in-law that starts the feud.
As in most times, that is the case. Any new bride that comes into a new family and marries their son, expects everyone to be kind to her and treat her as a new family member which she literally is. This is why the new bride would have no reason to voluntarily shoot herself in the foot, by competing with her mother-in-law or upset her in any way.
It is the mother-in-law indeed that feels threatened by a younger, beautiful woman that will now take an extremely important place in her son’s heart and life.
Why do mother-in-laws dislike their sons’ wives:
This is a very common problem. It can happen with any type of family background and it’s not unheard of for the mother-in-law to be aggressive with the daughter-in-law.
It may be that the son’s wife is not meeting her expectations or that she feels threatened by her daughter in law, or that she dislikes her. This could be because she feels neglected by the son because he spends all his time with his wife, or it could be because she feels jealous when her son talks about his wife or whenever he does things for her.
Other factors that can lead to a sticky situation or rivalry between the mother-in-law and her son’s wife include the mother not accepting her son’s marriage and constantly competing with his wife for his attention. Or she can even start being possessive or jealous from her son’s wife as time passes.
Another factor is that some cultures believe that women should be submissive to their mothers-in-law which leads to resentment from when the daughter-in-law refuses this backward thinking and impose her identity, her wants and her personality.
A jealous mother-in-law may interfere with the bonding between her son and his wife. She might be passive-aggressive or she may even try to split up her son from his wife, in extreme cases. All of this could only because she feels threatened by her daughter-in-law. Moreover, she may be so blinded by her jealousy that she doesn’t even realise the harm that she’s doing and how bad she’s being to her son too.
How to try and fix it ?
One of the most important elements of life is to love and care for our family members. A mother-in-law that is jealous when her son starts a new life with his wife, could simply be scared to be left out or to not be an important and primary person in her son’s life anymore. She may feel the pressure to “take a backseat” or become secondary and less important for him, because he’s getting ready to start his own little family.
It is important for the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law to have a good relationship. As things can get tense or awkward for the entire family. The first thing to do is schedule quality time.
Steps to take to make your mother-in-law happy:
If you’re a daughter-in-law that is seeking approval, validation and even the affection of your mother-in-law, be it for your own satisfaction or to make your husband happy you can try the following steps. Find a day where everyone will be available and spend it with her and your husband.
She may think that your husband is the reason for this or that he’s the one who planned this out so make sure to mention that it was your idea to get closer to her! Or, you can plan a day just for you and her.
It can be nice if you collaborate with your daughter in law on something she enjoys doing, like cooking or taking care of the kids. Some mothers-in-law find that they can bond with their daughter in law by talking about their children, grandchildren, and other family members.
Another way for you and your mother-in-law to bond is by sharing personal interests such as hobbies or sports that you both enjoy doing together.
In a Chinese culture, there is a saying that you should not marry your mother-in-law. In China for instance, mothers-in-laws often feel like their sons have married to replace them and this feeling may lead to conflict in the family unit.
The jealousy from mothers-in-law can be one of the most frustrating and damaging things for son’s wives and it is difficult for them to deal with. This can lead to low self-confidence or even causing a break up in relationships.
In modern day relationships, there are more complex dynamics in play. And it’s not always just about the mother-in-law. Often times, it’s cultural or generational differences that are at play here as well.