Categories
Blog

My Mother In Law Hates Me for No Reason

My Mother-in-Law Hates Me for No Reason

How to Get Your MIL to Behave and Give You the Kind of Help You Want

Mothers-in-law can be pushy.

Yours may think she knows better than you how to make a cup of tea, burp the baby or get the spot off the carpet, but it’s your beverage, your baby and your carpet, and nobody wants to be told how to do things.

Sometimes it goes even further and you get the impression that she just doesn’t like you. At all. In fact, you get the feeling she’s rooting for you to fail.

It’s like she hates you, and you’ve never done anything to her except marry her son.

It feels terrible. And as much as you’d like to put her in her place, you can’t because your husband insists she means well and you should try to be more understanding around her.

Or maybe you have had your blow-ups with her and now things are tenser than ever.

But you can’t get your mother-in-law (MIL) out of your life. So you’re stuck with what feels like an enemy in the camp. Forever!

Fortunately, you can solve this.

Here are 3 steps to making your MIL behave better. Click To Tweet

1. Find Five Good Qualities about Her

This step is the hardest because once you’re feeling hurt by your MIL it’s hard to see past that hurt to the fragile human who birthed your husband.

But your MIL has good qualities. Everyone does, and even she is part of everyone.

Does she remember birthdays and anniversaries? Has she bought presents for your baby? Does she clean up after herself? Is she a good cook? Does she smell good? Does she let you stay at her home?

If absolutely nothing comes to mind, why not start with this one: She raised a wonderful son. She’s a good mom.

I’m sure you could make a far longer list of her faults, but if you’re anything like me, that would just cause you more pain.

I admit that I don’t know if I could have made a gratitude list about my MIL years ago because I was sure she didn’t like me. She told my future husband not to drink out of the same water glass as me so he wouldn’t get my germs.

Harrumph!

I wanted to tell her that he was getting plenty of germs from me in other ways, but I kept quiet and rolled my eyes internally instead.

I decided she meant that she didn’t want me to touch her son.

I gathered more evidence for this story at my wedding shower when, as I was opening one negligee after another, I got to her gift: a full-length flannel nightie with long sleeves and a high neck.

That was all the evidence I needed to become convinced that she had it out for me.

I nurtured that grudge for two full years after my wedding until something completely unexpected happened.

My mother-in-law died.

I was sad for my husband and, I’m embarrassed to say, relieved for myself, as if my adversary had fallen.

Looking back 25 years later, I’m sad that I never got to know her.

Today I can see that she was probably thinking past the wedding night when she picked that nightie.

She must have wisely realized that negligees are not so comfortable for sleeping and that I would get plenty of those at my bridal shower. I now believe she wanted me to be warm and cozy for the coming winter.

Even as I write this, I get a little choked up thinking about what I missed because I never got to know her or benefit from her wisdom. She lived thousands of miles away, and I was too busy making her wrong in the short time we had together.

Now that I’ve gotten to know her posthumously, I can see she was practical and considerate. She was resourceful, having raised five kids who became wonderful adults, and she loved her family.

When I think about how reliably she sent me a birthday card every year and asked how my parents and siblings were, I realize she also loved me when I joined her family.

I just couldn’t see it at the time.

2. Find a MIL-Fulfilling Prophecy that Serves You

What you focus on increases, and you may be telling yourself something negative about your mother-in-law–that she’s controlling or overbearing or negative–and therefore you’re experiencing the very thing you’re focusing on.

My MIL-fulfilling prophecy was that she didn’t want me to touch her son. I gathered evidence and made a case for it, and then I got to be right. But I didn’t get to be dignified, happy or connected to my new family the way I would like to have been.

Sophia felt the same way. Her mother-in-law’s native tongue was Spanish, and English-speaking Sophia’s mantra was that they couldn’t communicate. So Sophia delivered messages through her bilingual husband instead of telling his mom directly.

Once she started practicing The Six Intimacy Skills™, and had her second baby, Sophia realized that going through her husband to communicate with her MIL was no longer serving her. She decided to change her mantra to: “My mother-in-law and I communicate well.”

Sophia was gushing when she described how wonderful her mother-in-law is now. “I drop off the boys with her for the weekend, and she takes wonderful care of them,” she explained. “When I dropped them off last time, I ended up staying two hours just to talk. I really enjoyed it. So, clearly we communicate well now!”

She got tears in her eyes describing just how much she genuinely loves her husband’s mom.

What will your mantra be about your mother-in-law? That she’s generous? Sensitive? Respectful? So positive?

Once you start gathering evidence for your new MIL-fulfilling prophecy, you might be surprised just how far it takes you.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

3. Find Three Reasons to Thank Her

Here’s the next experiment to try if you want your mother-in-law to shape up: Kill her with kindness.

Now that you’re focused on both her good qualities and having the experience you want, look for three specific reasons to thank her. Refer back to your list of good qualities from step 1 for ideas.

You might appreciate how generous she is or how supportive of your family or what a good cook.

When you express your gratitude, you’re also calling your mother-in-law to be her best self. You’re speaking greatness into her.

Here’s another reason why this step is so powerful: Voicing the gratitude you came up with in Step 1 brings your focus to that gratitude. Since what you focus on increases, you’ll see more reasons to be grateful for her. Really!

Hearing yourself thank her will also help to erase resentment because you can’t be grateful and resentful at the same time.

Feeling resentful is painful. It was not an attractive state for me either.

Feeling grateful, on the other hand, is the best beauty cream that never came in a jar.

Wearing gratitude-colored perspectacles could just transform your mother-in-law into a helpful, sweet, loving woman you actually enjoy spending time with in about two weeks.

What positive qualities can you see in your mother-in-law? What could you thank her for? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

By Laura Doyle

Hi! I'm Laura.

I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

45 replies on “My Mother In Law Hates Me for No Reason”

Hi,
I would just like to say I rarely write comments but was so moved by this that I felt compelled to write a comment.
I am going through a particularly difficult time with my mother in law where I have become very negative and can’t see anything good about her anymore and have lost hope in repairing our relationship. This article really brought out hope in me and made me rethink. Thanks Laura, so much, from the bottom of my heart.
Please write more about M in Law relations because we read your literature and try to implement it, however sometimes things which keep on driving the relationship down are mother in law relations.
Please write more about how we can deal with these and also sometimes women feel left alone where their husband never takes their side when it comes to his mother.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this matter and how to resolve these situations.
Much love for you Laura!
You helped me learn what respect means to a man before i got married, thankfully!! Xxx

You’re welcome! I’m so glad you were moved to hope and love how open you are to reconsidering the possibilities for your relationship with your MIL. Thank you for the idea for further blog posts! I’ll add it to my list. In the meantime, I’d love to give you more tools to strengthen your relationships with her and your husband so you feel he’s on your side. That was Sophia’s experience: she was jealous because her husband would drop everything for his mom, but as she continued to practice the 6 Intimacy Skills he started to take her side until THEY felt like a team. I’ll give you those tools in my free upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for it at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

Wow Laura this post I found the most difficult and the timing of receiving it in my email inbox was a relief as its been 9 years of complete and utter torture 🙁 The only thing I can come up with is she remembers birthdays and raised a good man….but he’s angry that he has to care for her when she is quite capable of looking after herself, her husband died the year before I met,,and it seems that her 43 years of marriage she is wanting her son to be there 24/7 its exhausting for both of us and very sad. So today I am going to put out to the Universe…She is independent and has strength, she is able to go to the hairdressers and supermarket alone and has lots and lots of friends to see and spend time with and has own hobbies/interests 😉 x

Elyse, that sounds so hard on your marriage to have to care for your MIL. I admire you for your willingness to see the positives in her so you can begin to rewrite that torturous story. One client’s MIL was divorced and had always relied on her son to what felt like almost an incestuous degree. They owned property and did business together, and he would often get fed up with her. As the client practiced the Skills with both her husband and MIL, her relationships with them transformed so she no longer felt like a third wheel. I know that your plea to the universe can be manifested and would love to support you in that. I invite you to my free upcoming webinar How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for it here: https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

Thanks for that. While I actually have a super-awesome mother-in-law, I found this useful for a lot of people I know, so I shared it. Hope it helps them. 🙂

Thank you for sharing these tips. I have been resentful of my MIL for a very long time and I want to stop that. I plan to practice these every day!

Thank you for writing this article. I have always had a strained relationship with my mother-in-law, so I found this to be very helpful. However, now that I have married sons, I would like to know what you suggest for improving my relationships with my daughters-in-law. They both have been very unkind to me, berating me and treating me like I’m the problem.

Neither one of them have every asked me to babysit my grandchildren. We have very little in common, which makes it hard to have a relationship with them. We never have time to talk to each other. I took my daughter-in-law out for dessert at a restaurant and it was very strained. Any suggestions?

Great question, Cynthia! I hear that you’re making an effort with your daughters-in-law and am sorry to hear they haven’t been more receptive. It must be painful to be treated so disrespectfully and not to be welcomed to play a bigger role in your grandchildren’s lives. I admire you for having the desire to improve these relationships. One of my coaches was surprised and thrilled when her daughter-in-law came to her seeking help with her own marriage. By practicing the 6 Intimacy Skills and transforming her own life and marriage, this coach became a beacon of hope that her DIL wanted to emulate. Now they have a strong bond and are both coaches! If it can happen for them, I know you can heal your relationships with your DILs and be in your grandchildren’s lives more. I invite you to try out the same tools with them that I offer for your marriage in my free upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for it at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

I also have daughters in law, and I was thinking that I can do these exact same exercises with them in mind. Firstly, looking for 5 good qualities in each one of them. Then showing my gratitude to them, for whatever I notice them doing (and that means I have to make sure to notice it).

Lastly, making a prophecy – such as – my daughter in law really makes my son happy.
My daughter in law does her part in taking care of the house and the children.

I know this will work. It all depends on my attitude.

Sharona, I love your enthusiastic commitment to creating intimacy with your daughters-in-law! I admire your willingness to express gratitude to them and to create those powerful DIL-fulfilling prophecies. I know it will work for you too! For more tools to make your relationship with them more peaceful and connected, check out my free upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for it at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/. I discuss the tools in the context of marriage, but you can use them with your DILs too!

I have A very submissive MIL to her own husband.
She can redirect my conversation with her when I get nosey at times.
I respect her for it.
I am thank we started off on a good start and continue to be close.
I love her like my own mom.

Thank you so much for this amazing advice. My MIL is visiting in six weeks and I was actually planning to move to a motel while she is here! Thank you so much again this gives me hope for a fresh start with my MIL

Oh wow, Alice! Kudos on being open to staying home to take advantage of the opportunity to have a fresh start with her! If you’d like more tools to practice while she’s visiting, I invite you to my free upcoming webinar at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/. I discuss these tools in the context of your marriage, but you can practice them with her too.

Aud, I’m sorry to hear you’re dealing with that situation. It sounds terribly difficult. Have your read my blog “My Husband is a Narcissist: The Unconventional Guide to Being Happily Married to The Self-Absorbed” at http://lauradoyle.org/blog/my-husband-is-a-narcissist/? The same concepts can be applied to the other relationships in your family.

I tend to feel second tanked with my mother inaw who spends a lot of time with a different son and his family. I have come up with the mantra that my m.o.i. is invested in my family. Thanks! !

Thank you so much for this article! I needed it more than you will ever know… I’ve struggled greatly with this over the years and have been trying to get over the grudges I’ve built as a result towards my MIL. I look forward to using these steps and hopefully transforming my relationship w my MIL.

Jennifer, I’m full of admiration for your desire to let go of those grudges and transform your relationship with your MIL! I’m excited to hear how it goes for you!

My MIL and FIL have both passed away, but these techniques look good for any relationship. I think I will try them on husband and teenage daughter. Fulfilling prophecy for DH: he connects well with our kids. For DD: she is capable and helpful.
Both feel somewhat untrue, but here’s to hoping they come true!

Yes, I love that you’re applying these tools to your other family relationships! They have transformed every type of relationship in my life–in my marriage, family, friends, even business–and I’m excited to see how it works with your husband and daughter. For more tools to try with them, check out my free upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

Your advice is incredibly powerful and incredibly practical!! I’m also going to turn the tables and use this wisdom in my relationship with my my DIL!

I love your blog and your positive focus on life. Being an ex-wife of a man who did have a late mom, makes me realize what I could have missed. Going on to being another man’s wife who does have an mom means that I can focus on the positive, Gratitude list, Prophecy and Kill her with kindness are awesome tools!

I love YOUR positivity, Molle! Congratulations on your marriage and kudos on trying out these tools moving forward. Most of my clients don’t discover the 6 Intimacy Skills until their marriages are in crisis. Once they start practicing these Skills and get back to the honeymoon stage, they only wish they could have had them where you are! You are so fortunate to have the opportunity to start your marriage with Skills that most women don’t have. For more tools to create a peaceful, passionate, and lasting marriage, I invite you to my upcoming webinar, “How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life,” at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/. Consider it my wedding gift to you!

This came at exactly the right time, I also have a really strained r’ship with my MIL and SIL, who refer to me as my husbands wife, constantly ask for money and come to stay in our home fro periods of 3 months at a time….please write more on MIL and SIL

Rebecca, it sounds difficult to have such strained relationships with your MIL and SIL, especially when they spend so much time with you. I hear there’s a big need for more on this topic and have it on my list. In the meantime, I’d love to give you more support to transform your relationships with these women. I invite you to my free webinar coming up, “How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life,” at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/. It’s addressed to wives but you can practice these same tools with your MIL and SIL too.

Laura, this is a wonderful post. Thank you so much for your insight, positivity and wisdom. I have struggled with my mother in law for the past 6 years, although since reading The Surrendered Wife 6 months ago things improved with her without me really noticing. Reading this post is such an valuable reminder about finding the good in someone who has such an important role, instead of wasting time and energy bearing a grudge and creating negative expectations. Needless to say there have also been wonderful improvements in my relationship with my soon-to-be husband since I read your book! Thank you!

Laura, thank you for sharing how your surrendering has improved your relationship with your MIL, not to mention your fiancé! I’m so excited for you to have the opportunity to learn the Intimacy Skills from the start of your marriage. I admire your commitment to practicing the Skills early in your relationship and would love to support you as you begin this next chapter. I invite you to my free upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for it at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

Hey Laura, I got a ton of help from your books and saved my failing marriage. I want to help a friend who doesnt speak English, and her husband’s culture is very different from us. He is from a very conservative and traditional family. In their culture, when they marry a woman, now she belongs to his family and she has to help them with housework Just like a maid. So he wants her to go to his parent’s house when he’s at work, and stay there in daytime&help them with housework. He gets angry and insults her if she says no. (He isnt violent though) What kind of advise should i give her? She’s really young, only 20 years old. She doesnt work and her husband gives her allowance, daily. He doesnt give enough money and she cant even spare some for selfcare. She considers divorce. I want to help her but i’m stuck. Personally I would never marry to that kind of man so i cant even emphatize. Thanks in advance !

Bahar, it’s wonderful to hear that my work helped you save your marriage! I have such admiration and respect for you for being that committed. Your friend is lucky to have such a caring, devoted friend as you. It must be difficult to watch her being treated that way without the tools to navigate such challenges. I invite you to read “How to Share the 6 Intimacy Skills with a Friend” to inspire her to become as empowered as you are! http://lauradoyle.org/blog/intimacy-skills/

Hi Laura! I really loved the article!! My problem is a bit complex. Till now, my mother in law has been kind to me, she has looked after me well when I went for a few weeks to her place when I had my hands full looking after my baby. The thing is she hates my mother and has spoken nasty to her on her face. Seeing my mom cry has broken my heart and I feel a certain anger towards my MIL. Inspite, of that I always encourage my husband to gift her things and take care of her. She has also spoken meanly to my mom over the phone in front of me. My mom is not in her best of health. How do I put across to my mil to be kind to my mother? It’s hard to like someone who is rude and harsh to your mother.

Noor, that does sound tough to see your MIL treating your mother that way. I love your commitment to cultivating more peace in the family so respectfully. For me, practicing the 6 Intimacy Skills with other family members, friends and colleagues has changed the culture of those relationships and even becomes contagious. For example, when I express gratitude and SFPs to my in-laws, they start expressing more gratitude too. You can change your family dynamic in a respectful way. Check out my upcoming free webinar at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/. It’s in the context of marriage, but I invite you to use the same tools with your MIL too and let me know how it works!

It is all a questions of boundaries. A MIL has no business inserting herself in a couples parenting unless told otherwise.

Ida, you are right! So what is a mother to do when her MIL does intervene in parenting? My clients share such situations all the time and how they use the 6 Intimacy Skills to navigate them in a respectful way that creates more peace in the home–even transforming the situation so the MIL no longer feels compelled to interfere.

For more on boundaries, whether with a husband or MIL, check out “Healthy Boundaries in Relationships: 5 Bogus Facts about Boundaries that Everyone Thinks Are True.”

This is a huge issue in our marriage, and possibly the issue that we fight about the most! I’m going to pray about this advice, and how to find anything good about my MIL.

Dar, I’m glad the article resonated with you and acknowledge you for being open to trying a new approach. It sounds painful to be fighting, especially about his mother. I remember how difficult it was when my husband and I were arguing a lot. It’s such a relief to be able to stop arguments before they even begin, now that I have the 6 Intimacy Skills. I know you can create more harmony in your marriage too. I’ll show you how in my upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for free at https://lauradoyle.org/swewtraining/

This is such a helpful article! I’ve read it a couple of times as I sit in my room while my husband and his whole family visit. I’m actually okay with it because I do believe family is important and don’t want to take that away from my husband. And bonus, I can get a little break from her.
I’ve had a difficult time for a number of reasons (yelling at me a day before the our wedding stating I have no boundaries; wanting to move in with us a month after our marriage; picking her up by myself from prison, after she had attacked her second ex-husband; turning her daughter against me; and social belittling like making back handed comments about my ethnicity in front of my husband’s extended family).
This honestly give me hope. There’s a whole other twist in there with recently finding out she’s bipolar (no one thought to relay this information to me 7yrs ago), but she can be great! She’s a great cook, amazing at decorating homes, and I’ve never seen anyone who can save money like her. Thank you for giving me a little hope and helping me change my perspective, even if it doesn’t change her or our relationship! I love your approach and definitely will be reading up on more of your writing! Thanks!

Laura Doyle, Please tell me what to do if widowed MIL and husband living together, and she wants you out and son to herself, sleeping in same bed. She put her nose into private conversation and called everyone and turned them against me. Please help. separated 2 years.
what do I do???

I have been reading Laura Doyle’s books since 3 months and I’m trying to incorporate the advice in my life. My relationship is getting better. But the problem in my life is my in laws live with us( because of Indian background). My husband has 2 other brothers but he’s the most cherished by his parents ‘eye roll’. They rarely go to other sons places. I feel suffocated in the house and just want to separate but for my kids sake. My husband yells at me sometimes in front of his parents. I’m trying the intimacy skills but their all time presence fills me with hate and I feel sad and angry all the time. Please tell me what to do. I’m sick of this family dynamic.

I have a very deceiving monster-in-law.she has been living with my boyfriend and I “until she can find her own place”. She always says she is “being real”when it is very clear she isn’t. We were getting along for the most part until 2 days ago when I left a note on the guest room door saying “please keep the guest room tidy”…along with other notes around the house to help all of us remember to keep the place clean.we all have busy schedules. So I dont see her too much,otherwise I would have discussed it with her.because she has had the guest room a complete disaster for two weeks straight at that point.but my boyfriend and I get up the next morning. She has all the notes shredded and sprinkled all over the floor.she stands up and gets directly in my face screaming and pointing a finger in my face.saying I’m rude and disrespectful and she hates me and that I’m nasty,etc. So I just stand there, arms crossed with a cocked eyebrow. Meanwhile she gives my boyfriend an ultimatum between her and me.then storms off still cussing and throwing stuff around and calling everyone in her contact list about how awful I am,etc. Meanwhile my boyfriend is standing there dumbfounded not knowing what to do. So later on in the day she sends me degrading texts while I’m at work.I NEED HELP.not sure what to do… this situation seems impossible to get through.i need advice.

My parents in law are not fans of me, especially my mom in law. They used to absolutely adore me. I had a good relationship established with them for the first year I dated my now-husband. I thought their love was unconditional at that point, as long as I’m good to their son. Well I was dead wrong. Despite how good things used to be with them.

It breaks my heart that I can’t be good enough even though I work hard at home and am loyal to their son.

Hello Laura….. It’s been a year to my marriage…my mother in law is nice in front of family members but alone .and sometimes in front of everybody she keep on saying bad things almost everything I do , it seems she wants everyone to find fault in me..she doesn’t like anyone compliment me she tries to find fault in everything I do , especially in front of her other son and husband always tries to put me in bad place ……this is to hard I am a sensitive person …always kind to her and whole family….never ever say anything bad to her ..but it really feel tortured……my husband is great but he takes side of his mother in law says she is loving I am thinking negative what to do…..

I say nice things to my mother in law all the time and I buy her gifts and wash her car but she still says mean things to me and made me buy a cup to use in her house when I’m thier so what am I doing wrong where mine doesn’t like me I been looking stuff up like this for days trying to figure out what to do so I wont lose anyone but I feel like I’m fighting a battle I can’t ever win

My mother in law is so two-faced…
I am convinced she has some undiagnosed psychiatric disease..
We started off on a terrible footing…she was bossy, controlling and wanted to re~live her life through ours…all the things she has done for us is just for show, and for her to boast that she has done those things…even looking after my kids is because she wants to have that control…deciding every step of their lives…from small decisions like whAt they are going to wear for special occasions, to big ones like when and which school they going to…
She has ruined my first few years of marriage…years that will never return..I utterly despise her for that
I tried very, very hard to be kind and respectful…but she says the most sarcastic nasty things when we are alone …she is so judgmental, narcissistic and arrogant (and she definitely has no reason for being so) I have stopped trying…I give up…she will be accountable for all she has done when she dies…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.