This is a part of The Complete Guide to Dealing with your Mother-in-law – Chapter Three, Part Three (Read Part One and Two here)
Remember that jealousy is common in a mother-in-law daughter-in-law relationship and that this relationship triangle (Mom-Son-DIL) is a complicated one. Here are some steps on how to deal with a jealous mother-in-law:
Planning revenges is tempting but foolish
‘Dragging her son to your side’ can be a sadistically satisfying, but will only last for a few days. Remember that your husband is primarily her son. He’s emotionally attached and connected to her from the day he’s born. You are not going to have much luck in the long run even if your sadistic pleasures last a couple of days. She’s more experienced than you are and she knows the tricks of the trade better than you do. Don’t risk it; you are going to ruin your marriage.
Love her as a person, even if you hate her actions
Instead, you should learn not to hate her as a person. Her actions can be terrible, but only hate those “actions”, not the person behind the actions. Remember that emotions are common to almost every human. Learn to see the emotions and the person as separate entities. This will provide room for improvement.
Identify the primary cause of her jealousy and provide some comfort
- Is she jealous because she is too insecure of your relationship with her son?Provide the mother and son with some space. Let them spend their time. Give her the assurance that you didn’t ‘steal’ her son. Don’t say it in your words. Show it through your actions.
- Is it because of your wonderful relationship with your husband?Make her feel loved too. Make time for family trips. Take her out to movies, amusement parks, etc. If she’s sick, accompany her to the doctor.
- Is it because she is a single mother and feeling lonely?Make sure she is engaged and busy. Get to know her hobbies or ask her what she wishes to do. If she loves movies, you can buy her some of her favourite movie-DVDs for her to watch at home or have her sign up for some daily class on music if she loves that. This way she can be more engaged and feel less lonely.
Give her the respect she deserves
In fact, more than she deserves. The mother-in-law often feels unwanted and disrespected soon after her son’s wedding. Her insecurity combined with hormonal changes (menopause) makes it the worst phase of her life. Respect her, but without losing yours.
Talk to your husband
If it hurts you too much and it’s draining off your emotional energy, try talking to your husband. Try not to be judgemental or offensive. Simply tell him how you are affected by your MIL’s jealousy. Be careful while you talk and respect the fact that she’s his mom. At the same time, let him know what you are going through. Your husband may need to intervene or your MIL may need counselling. Suggest a solution.
Be careful when you pick fights
Bitterness can lead to personal grudges, which are toxic to the relationship. Speak in a normal tone no matter how much heated the argument is. Be firm with your opinions but also make sure you don’t lose your head.
Try to mind your own business as much as possible. Keep yourself busy and active. That’ll give you a stress-free life and strength to handle situations with ease.