How To Deal With In-Laws Who Don't Like You
Feb 03, 2021
How many of you ladies have been a daughter-in-law? How many of you are a Mother-in-law?
What have you learnt for being in either role?
I was talking to a client today and told her this story about my own mother-in-law and thought you may find it relevant and you may be able to learn something from the lessons I learnt from being a daughter-in-law.
I had a Mother-In-Law who was a great mentor for me... She showed me how to cook and sew, and she also showed me many things that I never wanted to be.
I now have a Daughter-In-Law and I think she's amazing. I see so many beautiful traits in her and the best one is, that she makes my son so happy!
As a Mother-in-law, you'd think that's what everyone would want, wouldn't you? You'd like to think so, but unfortunately (or fortunately) that wasn't the case with my mother-in-law.
My Mother-in-law never loved or accepted me. She wasn't a happy woman, she was a hypochondriac, gossip, quite manipulative and nasty. I tried for years to get her to like me, but I think the real problem was, that she didn't love herself so she wasn't capable of loving me. She saw me as competition, and no matter what I did, I couldn't ever do anything right. She’d put me down at every opportunity and made my life hell. I found it really hard to love her as I didn't know how to handle her, so I eventually stopped trying.
She also used to cause a division between my ex-husband and I. This was frustrating as I wanted my husband to stand up for me, but he never did for the first 7 years. He finally saw the games and I'm sorry to say, we never actually dealt with our differences well, as neither of us knew how to change the situation. We distanced and at least we had peace. However, this came at a cost, and she cut us off and our kids hardly know her.
It's unfortunate that when we don't know how to communicate effectively, we often damage relationships.
Although we had a challenging relationship, I learnt a lot from knowing her. I learnt when I was younger that I was a people pleaser and would sell out on myself to gain her approval. I learnt that I allowed her to control me and affect who I was being because she didn't treat my sister in laws the same way she treated me. I saw that they had firmer boundaries than I did and that I got what I allowed. I also learnt that instead of dealing with my problems directly with her, I created a triangle between her, my husband and myself, and that didn't serve anyone.
I now know that had I loved myself more, I would have had a very different relationship with her than the one we had. I could have changed how I reacted to her and if I had more knowledge and skills back then, we would have had a much better friendship. Had I have been stronger and more confident in myself, I would have been able to set boundaries and enforced them, so although none of that happened, I am aware I was as much to blame as her and I take responsibility for that.
I'm sad that she didn't get to know the beautiful, intelligent, hilarious, phenomenal women I am today.
What I thank her for most is she taught me how to be a good mother-in-law.
I now have a daughter-in-law so it's my turn...
I trust and hope we continue to always have an amazing relationship. I have that as my intention so everything I do and say comes from that place and I am conscious of my actions to ensure I'm not interfering, undermining, controlling or having expectations that will create trouble. I want to support her and the relationship she has with my son. I want to be a grandma to their kids and maintain our beautiful family unit.
If I get it right, I know everything will continue to be wonderful.
But if I make her compete for my son's love, or to be his number one priority, I'll miss out... as any man should always choose his wife over his mother.
So does this mean I have to play small and tippy-toe around her? Certainly not. I want her to be her true self around me and me with her. Does it mean I might stuff up sometimes, absolutely? But when I do, I have to be responsible and make amends.
I know it's up to me to hold the intention and ensure I show up as the best version of myself possible whenever I communicate with her or anyone else.
This is the same as how we should show up in all our relationships. For when we choose to be authentic, accountable, adaptable and considerate, we naturally operate from love, and we get love back.
Let me know your experiences and what you've learnt from being a daughter-in-law and/or a mother-in-law. There's no right or wrong, just lessons!
PS. You may have been feeling like you are wasting your life because even though you've been trying to fix things, read books or been doing therapy, it just isn’t helping you to move forward. You may feel like you have pieces of the puzzle but can't join all the dots and know there are bits you are missing...
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