4. The Control-Freak Mother-In-Law
The other set of mothers-in-law plans far ahead. By the time you invite the kids for a holiday, they are already booked up. The same is done with birthdays, vacations, and special events. What is even worse, when you try to oppose, the mother-in-law will blame you for lack of gratitude. For control freaks everything is about the need to feel safe and secure in an unstable world. Therefore, anything outside the realm of their control is very threatening. It can be you, your family, their adult child or the rest of the world.
How to handle this type of toxic mother-in-law.Forget trying to out-control a controller. It will make things worse. Talk to your adult kids and say, “We totally understand your wanting to spend time with the other parents, but we would like to spend some holidays with you too.” Try this, if the adult kids waffle”We feel lonely and marginalized when you do every holiday (birthday, etc) with jack’s parents.” Let them figure out how to make it work.
5. The Strings-Attached Mother-In-Law
Your mother-in-law says, “It’s gonna cost you” every time she offers to help you with something around the house. No favour is a favour with this kind of person. Instead, it is a bargaining chip for when she needs something from you. Dr Freed says that “People who attach strings to kind deeds don’t really believe others will love them unless they have to. Somewhere along the line, they learned that bribery might sustain a relationship.”
How to handle this type of toxic mother-in-law. It is imperative to inform her that your connection with her stands outside her offers to help. Tell her, “We always appreciate your help, but when there are conditions, it feels like we’re in a brokerage not a relationship.” Then show your mother-in-law you care about her by making dates to get together one-on-one. Invite her to a ball game, out for burgers, anything that shows her you value her for more than just what she does for you.
6. The Fundamentalist Mother-In-Law
You and your spouse are moderates in everything you do. However, it happens that your moderately raised child marries a person whose parents are politically or religiously fundamental. You feel constantly judged, damned, insulted, or dismissed for any beliefs that are different from the “right one”. Dr Freed says: “Most humans have a core need for beliefs, but for intractable thinkers, those beliefs become an antidote to the terrifying uncertainty and ambiguity of life.” Their beliefs serve these mothers-in-law as crutches to someone who breaks a leg.
How to handle this type of toxic mother-in-law. You will absolutely not change their beliefs. Instead, become a master at steering the conversation to areas of common interest. Remember to be understanding that these fundamental beliefs are a coping mechanism, they are never a slam against you.
Read Part 1 of this article.
Have you ever met a person who is a control freak, a fundamentalist or a string-attached person? Prepare strategies to handle with them.
Author: Victoria Herocten Writer and coach.
Since 2009 she helps women with abuse to start over and how to be happy .
The co-author of the bestseller “Gratitude Book”.