Navigating the unfamiliar road to married life and assuming the responsibilities of being a wife is a scary endeavor. But the terrifying part is your mother in law's unannounced visits to your home in Salt Lake City and her overbearing presence in family get-togethers. According to a survey, one out of four daughters-in-law hates their mother-in-law because they are too controlling.
Of course, not all mothers-in-law are like the wicked persona and ruthless antagonist in television programs. But if you are unlucky, you might have a mother-in-law who always gives you catty remarks on how untidy your bathroom vanities are or how messy your kitchen sink is. Or worse, she will tell you how to properly raise your kids and point out the wrongs in your every movement. When mother-in-law meddles, it doesn't only hurt your feelings. It can also destroy your healthy relationship with your spouse. Here's how you can protect your marriage from a toxic mother-in-law:
1. Create emotional or physical distance.
You don't have to attend every family gathering if it makes you exceptionally uncomfortable. You don't have to fake your smile or go the extra mile to please your mother-in-law. You don't need to wait for her thumbs up when you're making a decision. Set boundaries and keep your distance to avoid situations that will create tension.
2. Be open and honest with your spouse.
It is the job of your spouse to handle any problem with your mother-in-law. This will relieve the tension and save you from the terrifying dilemma of having to confront her. Let your spouse know about how you feel and help him to see things from your perspective.
3. Talk it out with your mother-in-law.
If your spouse's effort fails, you have to face your fear and have an open conversation with your mother-in-law. Tell her that you recognize that she's an essential part of your spouse's life and that you understand that your marriage might not be a smooth transition for her. But she must realize that her son needs to live his own life moving forward.
You have to be honest and let her understand the things that you won't compromise. Tell her if you are not comfortable with her surprise visits and her endless housekeeping advice. She might think that her meddling does not bother you because you are silent about it. You don't have to be disrespectful, but you need to be assertive. Show her that you appreciate her good intention but you can handle things on your own.
4. Get the emotional help you need.
Getting your anger and sentiments off your chest will help you manage your emotions. Your spouse might not always be willing to listen to your criticisms against his mother, and your constant complaints might lead to heated arguments. It's vital to have trusted friends or support groups whom you can turn to when you feel you're losing control.
You can't choose your mother-in-law. However, you can choose to create a happy and healthy marriage by knowing how to manage your feelings and setting boundaries.