Mothers-in-law are interesting creatures – but can be a real pain sometimes, when too intrusive, dominating or offensive. Read on to find out how to deal with difficult mothers-in-law.

Coping With A Difficult Mother-In-Law

It is funny how women end up fighting for the attention of men, all their lives – mothers and daughters-in-law, fighting for the attention of one man, is the classic example that anyone could think of. This relationship becomes strained even before it has started, thanks to the many horror stories about it, that do the rounds, both in gossip sessions as well as on television. The very mention of having troubles with the mother-in-law sends shivers down the spine of every new bride. Since, the problem is so deep rooted, it should be dealt with, before it begins – one should ideally start cultivating one's mother-in-law much before marriage, so that one knows, what to expect later. But if that could not happen, one need not worry. There are ways of dealing with all kinds of difficult mothers-in-law – be they the intrusive ones, the over bearing ones, or the offensive ones. Read on to know more about dealing with a difficult mother-in-law.
How To Deal With A Difficult Mother In Law
Detached Respect
The old saying of ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ could not be truer than now. The closer you are with your mother-in-law, the more she will take advantage of the trust you place in her, and use it to her own advantage. Be detached and do not treat her as mommy-away-from-mommy. She’s clearly not that. That may not make you equals, but you must remember that since, it is impossible for her to treat you as a daughter; it is understandable of you not to treat her as your own mother. Don’t call her by the name you use for your mother.
Grow On Her
Cultivate her interests, talk to her, and get to know what it is that makes her tick. Maybe she loves to listen to ghaz recitals by Ustad Bismillah Khan. Maybe you love his recitals too. If she discovers that both of you have common interests, she may want to talk about that rather than how badly you keep the house. Gift her a CD of his live recitals. She will definitely appreciate it – both the recitals, as well as your gesture.
Try to find out whether a problem lies with you. It may make you want to kill her, when she is offensive or too critical, but if you did put too much salt in the food, you cannot really blame her. Many a times, constructive criticism comes disguised as a volley of offensive words. Filter out the offensive phrases and think with a clear head about what was being said. Try to give her as less material to criticize you on as possible.
Get Spousal Support
If the problem persists even after repeated attempts from your part to try to be accommodating, then you must get support from your spouse. If you are a woman, express your feelings to your husband objectively and in an understanding, straight-forward manner. Be specific about what you would expect your husband to do, and how he should go about it. It is difficult for men to be both a husband and a son, at the same time. Remember, they aren’t as adept as us when it comes to juggling multiple roles. Show that you understand how much she loves him and that you could never cook kadhai paneer like she does, but that is not reason enough to be offensive. Add as an afterthought, that though he can never equal your dad in anything, you wouldn’t let your dad talk rudely to him ever. If you are a man, try telling your wife gently and in an understanding tone. Remember; when you two got married, her parents gave you trust while yours gave her only expectations. 

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