My Mother-in-Law Has Become Too Overbearing — I Can’t Take It Anymore

8 months ago

Research discovered that both men and women have more conflicts with their mothers-in-law than with their own mothers. So, maintaining a good bond with your in-laws can be tougher, but it can also be quite wonderful. A reader from Bright Side went through some disagreements with his mother-in-law after she started wanting more, even though they usually get along really well.

After getting this message from Patrick, Bright Side wanted to offer him some guidance. We’re also interested in hearing your approach to a similar situation.

Hello, Patrick! Thanks for reaching out.
We, the folks at Bright Side, put our heads together and came up with this advice for you.

  • Communication is crucial, especially after a disagreement. Ensure your mother-in-law knows that you still value and respect her even if you don’t buy her the same gifts as your wife. Help her realize that your relationship with your wife is unique, so she’ll be treated differently from Samantha.
  • Establish clear and healthy boundaries with your mother-in-law. Having good boundaries is vital if you want a strong relationship with her. Talk to Samantha and let her know that her pushy behavior isn’t something you find acceptable, and she should respect the boundaries in your relationship.
  • Your letter shows you felt disappointed because your mother-in-law didn’t seem grateful for the gift you picked out. You can talk with her and explain that the wooden picture frame had special significance to you and you thought she would appreciate it. While you can’t make her thankful, you can help her see the personal value of the gift to you.

Handling an overbearing parent-in-law can be pretty challenging, but there are some steps you can take to navigate the situation:

  • 1. Have a conversation with Mary. Clarify that your intention wasn’t to upset her mom but to convey why you chose a different gift for her.
  • 2. Stay composed and calm. It’s essential not to get angry and maintain respect in all situations. Your response may have seemed abrupt to Samantha, so she got upset.
  • 3. Invest more time with your mother-in-law. This suggestion might seem contradictory initially, but Samantha’s overbearing behavior might stem from a desire for more of your and your wife’s company. Make an effort to see your in-laws frequently and consider organizing regular get-togethers. This way, Samantha may realize you can maintain a good relationship if she respects your boundaries.

We appreciate you reaching out to us for guidance, Patrick. We hope our suggestions prove valuable in this challenging situation.

Amy is another Bright Side reader who wrote us asking for advice because her mother-in-law expects to be paid for spending time with her grandchild. If you’d like to read her story and find out the advice we gave her, then check this article.

Preview photo credit juanencalada / Unsplash


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