Mother Or Monster In Law? You Decide.

4 min read

Pratigya Dhali
Wanderlust. Bibliophile. Foodie. Writing is a way of escaping the mundane for me!

Mother Or Monster In Law? You Decide!

It is common knowledge that you don’t marry just your spouse but you marry his entire family. It is more applicable to women. For centuries, as per custom, a woman moves into her husband’s home and literally embraces his family as her own.

The strife between the daughter in law and the mother in law is legendary. Both these women are extremely important for a guy, one has given birth to you and raised you and the other has pledged to spend the rest of her life with you. Often the man lands up in a pitiable state being torn between the two!

The mother in law loathes relinquishing her position as THE most important person in her son’s life. The wife is never as good as he “deserves”. You have spent a good many years being subordinate to your parents, so once you marry, you rightly deserve to be the boss of the house.

Some women out there are lucky who have chilled MILs but for most, it is a case of Monster-In-Law. A concerned and helping mother in law is much appreciated but what happens when she becomes interfering and annoying.

Toxicity is personified as MIL

·       She knows the best – it will always remain her household, and she is always right. You or your logic can take a backseat. Your husband constantly depends on his mom for her decision. Even when it comes to your kids, the grandma knows the best.

·     Takes part in your household chores – a MIL helping in your chores is quite welcome, but when she constantly criticizes your work or pokes in your lingerie drawer, it becomes quite unwelcome.

·      Wants to be part of your holidays – spending time with family is good, but in our hectic schedule, couples need to get away for some time to reconnect. When she decides to tag along on your holiday trips, it can make relaxation into an ordeal. this especially true for single mothers.

·       She plays the emotional card– MIL has a tendency of making you feel guilty, even when the fault isn’t yours. You have taken away her precious son, you are responsible for every calamity that befalls her.

·       You are always the outsider– you are always kept at arms left. When the family meets, she will bring up anecdotes and inside jokes that you aren’t privy too and make you feel left out. She doesn’t match care about your achievement and would rather praise the neighbor’s cat. She is civil but not warm. When others praise you, she would make her disdain evident or take credit for it. Such behavior is termed by relationship councilor as being passive-aggressive. 

The oedipal syndrome is real

Mumma’s boy is cute till he is 5, not when he is married to you. Having a strong bond with his family might have endeared you when you were dating but when that cuteness turns into immaturity and an unhealthy attachment with the mother it can turn the relationship sour.

Look out for signs like constant contact with his mother which might be eat in your personal time, her wish is his command, he has financial ties with her, he can’t make a decision without consulting her, and he would prefer staying with her than making a home with you.

Such behavior might infuriate you, but don’t blurt something to your MIL and your husband in anger. Tension and jealousy among MIL and the wife are common but try to avoid holding resentment and make your husband realize and ultimately he has to make the choice.

Staying together

Often you share the same roof with your parents in law, as per customs or convenience. It can be an extremely wonderful experience but when two generations stay together, a clash of opinion is extremely common. So follow some basic rules and make the experience as smooth as possible:

·        Find a private space: privacy is extremely important especially if you are newly married. Make the bedroom off-limits to other family members. You should not feel guilty if you spend some time behind closed doors.

·      Have some rules: your MIL will impose her rules on you, but that doesn’t mean you are her subordinate. Your younger views can give a fresher outlook to her archaic rules. Divide the work amongst yourself.

·      Don’t be part of a family argument: every battle fought in the house, isn’t your personal war. Stay away when you see a discussion gets heated, or try to divert the topic. Blood is thicker than water, so they might patch up and hold the angst against you. but when things come to you, make your points clear and stand up for your rights.

Ways to deal with your toxic MIL

·         Be detached and don’t lose your cool

·         Don’t try to justify yourself

·         Avoid triggers and minor issues

·         Stand for yourself

·         Don’t let her get into your head

·         Maintain a certain physical distance

·         Accept she isn’t going to change anytime soon

·         Have certain boundaries

·         Show gratitude

·         Avoid negative talk with others

·         Don’t make it all about her, but get a life of your own

She will always be your MIL and not mother

The candour and the love that you would get from your mother, you can’t expect from your MIL. Keep your expectations low and remember that you would be forever judged and every small mistake would be remembered.

If you are her son’s choice as in love marriage then the task of appeasing her becomes even a more uphill task. Try and spend some quality time with her, if possible in a one-on-one neutral setting, where you both can speak your heart out!

Remember that you should not alienate your husband or your children from your mother in law, even if you both don’t see eye to eye. She has been the only woman in his life until you made an entry. Women can be extremely territorial when it concerns their loved ones, and a mother loves her son more than anyone else. You love the same man and have his best interest in heart, don’t make it difficult for him.

If you are the lucky one, who got a fabulous MIL, cherish her! But it’s you who decides if she is your Mother or Monster. If you will love her, respect her then she will be all with you.