The mother in law is sometimes jokingly referred to as “Monster in law”. Jokes apart, some mothers-in-law can be really difficult to deal with and can put a lot of strain on your relationship and well-being. Here are a few tips on how you can deal with the difficult Mother in law:
1) First of all, reflect on the situation with a calm and open mind
Whenever you need to solve a problem, you need to first get into a calm and relaxed state of mind so that you can approach the problem with a rational frame of mind instead of panic and stressful state of mind.
For this to happen, it helps to go to a calm space and reflect on the situation with an open mind.
List down what all has happened, what is bothering you, what is in your hands and what is out of your control. List down all the pros and cons of the situation in detail, the problem statement and all possible alternative solutions, it will help you to objectively understand the problem and find the best possible solution.
2) Empathize and understand where she is coming from
The most important factor that can help us in any relationship problem is Empathy. It is only through Empathy that we can understand the other person’s point of view, their dreams, their hopes, their fears, and their joy. It helps us to understand where someone is coming from and why they do what they do.
Most of the times what people do is because of their own triggers and fears and it has nothing to do with you.
Sometimes the mother in law’s hostility comes because she feels disconnected from her son after marriage and fears that here place in the family will be overtaken by her daughter in law.
Honestly try to evaluate the situation objectively and if she has valid or genuine concerns, try to help her to resolve them amicably.
3) Contemplate on your role in the situation
It is very important to contemplate on the situation from a third person’s perspective. Reflect on the situation objectively and see if you have any role to play in instigating your mother in law’s hostile behaviour.
Do you knowingly or unknowingly do things that instigate her to be rude to you? If so, can you change your behavior and find better and amicable ways to relate to your mother in law?
4) Let go of your expectations
The Buddha’s teaching that expectation leads to suffering has a grain of truth to it. Let go of all expectations that you have of how your relationship with your mother in law should be.
Instead of trying to convert your relationship into some imaginary picture of the perfect and flawless relationship, accept how things are and do your best within the constraint of the reality of how the situation is.
5) Don’t seek her validation or approval
You can drive yourself crazy trying to get everyone’s validation and approval. Everyone has a different way of thinking and no matter how much you try; you cannot get people to like everything that you do.
Let go of your need to get validation or approval from anyone and just do your own thing. This can be the most freeing and empowering attitude that you can imbibe.
6) Trust your gut feelings
Our instincts and gut feelings are there for a reason. Try to make use of their wisdom.
If your instincts are telling you that your mother in law isn’t as warm or loving as she pretends to be, you need to pay heed to your gut feelings and act accordingly.
7) Be polite and yet assertive
Sometimes we tend to forget to establish the necessary boundaries in our relationships because we don’t want to appear as rude or pushy.
But it is very important to put your needs cross.
You can be polite and yet assertive and draw essential boundaries with people.
8) Don’t try to fake a relationship
Be polite and on good terms with your in-laws but don’t try to fake a relationship that isn’t necessarily there.
If despite all your efforts, there is no warmth or intimacy in your relationship, then you just need to keep your relationship functional instead of trying to fake a lovey-dovey relationship that isn’t there.
9) Don’t stoop down to her level
It is tempting to give someone the taste of their own medicine. But don’t stoop down to anyone’s level. Avoid taking digs at your mother in law or calling her names. Avoid getting personal in your arguments. Just be level-headed and present the facts and avoid unnecessary drama or negativity.
Use meditation and mindfulness and take the higher road and don’t let anything she does take away your peace of mind.
10) Don’t take anything personally
It is never a good idea to take criticism personally. Just listen to it objectively, if there is any merit in it, then take those points and improve your behavior, otherwise just let it go.
11) Find a constructive outlet for your anger
Find out creative outlets for your anger. Go for walks, exercise, hikes or take up some creative activity like dancing, martial arts or singing.
Anything physical or creative will help you to channelize your anger creatively and help you to work through negative emotions easily.
12) Have a support group
It is not a good idea to go to your spouse all the time for problems with your mother in law. Find your support group; be it trusted friends or family members who can be there for you when you need to vent out your frustration and who can be good counsellors to provide you with constructive ways to deal with your difficult mother in law.
13) Learn to create boundaries
You cannot pour from an empty cup. Learn to take care of yourself and excuse yourself from stressful situations.. Even if it means avoiding family gatherings or not taking calls from your mother in law.
Learn to take some time off or yourself and communicate your boundaries to people around you so that they know when to give yourself some time off.
14) Practice healthy selfishness
You need to learn to practice healthy selfishness. If you are being disrespected or treated unfairly by your in-laws, you have every right to draw healthy boundaries to protect yourself, have every right to cut down on the time spent with your in-laws.
These are 14 smart ways to deal with a difficult mother in law.
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