Emotional Wellbeing Useful Tips

Toxic Mother-in-Law: 6 Efficient Tips On How to Handle Her

A toxic mother-in-law may be the reason for stress and pain. How can you handle this kind of people?

I have decided to refresh the article written some years ago. Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist in Southern California, says that most problems arise from the immature kind of mother-in-law. They do not behave like adults. Hence, we need to be wiser and behave so to live a harmonious personal and family life.

6 Types Of Toxic Mothers-In-Law And How To Handle Them

Below you will find the six most common types of toxic mothers-in-law. Read them carefully and use the tips on how to handle with each type.

1. The Overly Sensitive Mother-In-Law

You dine or have a vacation with your son and your husband. Suddenly your mother-in-law wants to know when you will be dining or vacationing with them. If you state that the vacation or dinner will be without her, you might face a conflict. Overly sensitive people see their world as a list of losses. Unfortunately, they are also highly competitive with their counterparts. Although there can be five good things to every flaw, they focus on the flaws.

How to handle this type of toxic mother-in-law

Never take personally what she takes personally. Accept that she is not out to deliberately hurt you, but do not rescue them. Acknowledge her feelings by saying, “I love being with both sets of our kids,” instead of, “Okay, when do you want to go out for dinner?”. Dr Freed says: “If you treat them as if they can handle both the perceived flaw and your acknowledgement of it, they will get over it.”.

2. The Over-Sharing Mother-In-Law

This type of mothers-in-law loves to tell you intimate details about your daughter and their son. They also share details about their children’s business, details he or she probably told them in confidence. The information is inappropriate—and often embarrassing to hear. Dr Fred says: “The oversharing mother-in-law has probably never felt sufficiently responded to and learned that by telling too much, she definitely got attention.”

How to Handle this type of toxic mother-in-law

It is important to forget trying to change the behaviour of the oversharer as it is ingrained. Instead, use humour (e.g. “Here we go again!”) or change the subject. However, it is the most important to watch what you say with this kind of in-law. Never share what you don’t want to broadcast everywhere.

3. The No-Boundaries Mother-In-Law

This mother-in-law shows up unannounced at your house, because “the kids really wanted to see you right now.” She might also assume that you will watch the kids before she even asks. In this case, there are no healthy boundaries.
People without good boundaries are so excited about connecting with others that they are not always aware of needs outside their own. There is anxiety to get what they want underneath that enthusiasm. This makes their behaviour incredibly annoying or rude.

How to handle this type of toxic mother-in-law

Acknowledge the good, then ask for what you need. For example, you can say: “We love spending time with you and the grandkids. But please could you call, ask, or inform us beforehand.”  Say it whenever necessary, sometimes more than once will be necessary.

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 favour of 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.

Take Action

Think of your mother, mother-in-law or other person being oversharing, oversensitive or having no boundaries. Prepare for the next encounter by having the right phrase to use when she starts her game.

Victoria Herocten

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