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 as adults. There are at least 6 types of toxic mothers-in-law. Meet the ways how to handle them.
1. The Overly Sensitive Mother-In-Law
You dine or have 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 love 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 behavior of the oversharer as it is ingrained. Instead, use humor (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 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 behavior 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.
Read Part 2 of this article.
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.
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”.