Relationships 101

12 ways to deal with a jealous mother-in-law

When you have competition within the house!
Jealous mother in law

A jealous mother-in-law is like a wounded lioness, she is hurt, but is now even more dangerous than before. There are so many women out there whose married life is affected by the presence of a jealous mothers-in-law. Their jealousy can poison a healthy marriage and lead to its end. But what makes a mother-in-law so jealous? Why does she feel the need to break up a marriage to earn her position?

What makes a mother-in-law jealous?

A mother has invested almost her entire life in her family, especially her son. She is the one who has always been in charge of her son’s life decisions. She has been calling the shots all this time. All of a sudden, when the son marries, she feels herself losing control over her family. She, who was always in the limelight, has now been replaced by a younger and happier version of herself which is something she was not prepared for. All the focus is on the newlywed daughter in law and she feels like an outsider. Some reasons for her jealousy and insecurity could be:

  • The son spends most of his time with his wife. She plays a major role in his decision making
  • The daughter in law is more talented than her and is complimented every now and then
  • The daughter in law is everyone’s favourite
  • It’s as if she doesn’t exist in her son’s life

Signs of a jealous mother-in-law

A jealous mother-in-law is not ready to throw in the towel. She will in every way make sure to show her daughter in law who the actual boss of the house is. A jealous mother-in-law isn’t going to back down until she has marked her territory and made it clear that she is always going to be in control. Watch out for these signs of a jealous mother-in-law:

  1. She will criticize everything you do
  2. She will make a big issue out of everything
  3. She will always interfere in your marriage
  4. She will keep seeking her son’s attention even for small things
  5. She will play victim in front of her son
lady pointing victim
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Related reading: When a husband’s one thoughtless sentence worsened the domestic situation

This is a scenario that is mostly seen in Indian households where the mother-in-law is constantly finding ways to hurt the daughter in law, emotionally or mentally, in order to satisfy her inner insecurity and jealousy. While the mother-in-law might think that it is a tug of war where the son is her prize, it can cause great mental trauma to the daughter in law. How to make it stop before your mother-in-law turns into a monster in law?

12 ways to deal with a jealous mother-in-law

To get some peace in your life, and make it a little easier, we give you 12 tried-and-tested ways to deal with a jealous, envious mother-in-law. Hope these work for you and you are able to smoothen your ties with her. After all, there shouldn’t be competition inside the house.

1. Give her attention

Jealousy arises out of insecurity. The sudden fear of being replaced by someone who has just become a member of the family is something that every mother fears. She fears to become a mere spectator of her son’s life. The daughter in law should understand these insecurities of her mother-in-law and give her attention.

She should ask her to teach her new recipes and build an affectionate bond with her mother-in-law from the start.

2. Understand her feelings

Instead of retaliating or fighting with her, you should first try to understand what is causing such a revolt. All women are emotional beings. Some cry their pain out while others choose to hurt others to teach them a lesson. Try to observe her behaviour and look out for the triggers that provoke her to behave so.

Once you understand those, it will be easier to reach out to her.

3. Keep her involved with the family

She is the most important family member. She has spent her entire life keeping the family together. The man you have married is a result of her good upbringing.

Make her feel special. Keep her involved with the big and small decisions of the family. You can also pretend to be a bit dumb to make her feel better.

4. Strengthen the bond between her and her son

The most important thing for a mother is her child’s love. Once she feels that her son is always going to love her the way he used to, she will start liking you too. Show her that your marriage isn’t going to hamper the mother-son relationship. Her doubts and fears will be gone. She will soon start appreciating your qualities and also give you valuable suggestions.

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5. Extend a friendly hand

If you realize that nothing is working then it’s better to show the white flag and extend a friendly hand. Try to become her best friend, her confidant and gossip buddy. Ask her to teach you new things and tell you stories about her son. She will feel wanted and will reciprocate the affection.

6. Help her with the transition

You are not the only one whose life is changing here. Your mother-in-law is also going through a transition here too. Everything in the family is going to change and she doesn’t know whether she can handle it. As a newlywed, everyone is going to be attentive to you and help you with whatever you need but there is no one to understand that your mother-in-law also needs comfort and security. This particular fact is ignored by most people which makes a perfect mother into a jealous mother-in-law.

You need to help her from the start so that she doesn’t see you as a threat and instead, sees you as her confidant.

7. Give her surprises

Ask your husband or your father in law about the likes and dislikes of your mother-in-law. Give her surprises and make her happy. Her heart will start to conflict with her mind. She will see a side of you that she didn’t expect and will welcome you with open arms.

8. Remember communication is the key

If you can’t understand your mother-in-law’s behaviour, talk it out. Have a deep conversation with her. Be polite so that she doesn’t retaliate with anger. Ask her why she is behaving like this and ask her what’s wrong. You may be surprised by how a short conversation can make things so simple. You may realize that both of you were misunderstanding each other all along!

Related reading: 10 tips to turn jealousy into motivation

9. Avoid conflict

In order to maintain peace in the house, it is better to avoid fights and discussions that could lead to fights. Fights will only make things worse by causing more bitterness in the family. It will make other family members unwantingly choose sides. Your marriage will be the relationship that gets most affected by all this.

10. Talk to your husband

Having a conversation with your husband about your mother-in-law’s behaviour could turn out to be helpful. Don’t complain to him about her. Just tell him some of the things that could be bothering you. Ask him to reach out to his mother and find the root cause in a friendly way. Stay clear of the fact that you are not complaining. The son might be able to get through to his mother better than you and help end the war.

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11. Ignore her behaviour

After a point you may have to accept the fact that your mother-in-law is not going to change. It is best to ignore her behaviour and focus your energy on things that are more important to you, your marriage. Let her know that you are tired of her constant bickering and how futile this actually is. Tell her that you made many efforts but can no more handle it and thus you are going to let it go whenever she picks at you. She too, might realize how unnecessary it actually was.

12. Shift houses or move cities

If your mother-in-law’s jealousy has reached a point where you can no more take it, it is better to shift houses before it poisons the entire family. At times, distance is necessary to maintain family harmony and keep relationships healthy. Visit your in laws with your husband on a weekly or monthly basis. Keep in touch.

Keeping your mother-in-law on your good side is very important. You need to accept the fact that your husband will always be loyal to his mother no matter how badly she treats you. It is therefore important for you to be the sensible and understanding one so that her insecurities do not spoil your perfectly healthy relationship. Remember, you are married to an entire family and gaining every family member’s trust is as important as gaining your husband’s.

Marriage is as easy as watching cartoons.

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