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  1. #1
    Malini Iyer is offline New ILite
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    Default "How to handle a possessive mother-in-law?"

    Have you recently been married to someone who happens to be the only son of the family? Better still, he happens to be the only child of the family? More often that not, he will be accompanied by a possessive mother, who monitors and judges each and every move of his and has all her brain cells working on how to optimize his actions to the highest degree. This possessive mother in all likely-hood consider every woman incapable of looking after her son’s ‘unique’ needs and even if she has agreed to the marriage, she might have done so reluctantly.

    It is tough to be in such a relationship. There is no denying the fact. But if you really love the man, you need to work out some ways to help everyone live in peace. Here is some helpful advice which might see you through the day. However, we do recommend use of some highly creative ideas which can only come to you if you keep a firm head on your shoulder!

    First of all don’t try to change anyone. Either him or your mother-in-law. This is one thing that will only lead to a bottomless pit of frustration which just might end up screwing up your own relationship. Instead, use the possessiveness to your advantage and include yourself in the equation each and every time your mother-in-law plans something.

    For eg, if she obsesses about food and wants to cook for him, don’t fret. Throw in the towel (and your giant size I-can-also-cook-well ego) and ask her to cook for you as well. Not only do you save yourself the hassle of cooking (God knows that we modern women consider cooking to be the bane of our existence) but also get a well cooked meal as a bonus.

    Become a sycophant. Instead of berating your mother-in-law for berating you, heap her will loads of praises and keep saying that you want to become just like her. This is going to get you in her good books faster than you can imagine and also keep the relationship with you and your husband argument-free. Over a period of time, she will forget about bad mouthing you ever and at the end of the day, both of you might just have a good relationship with each other.

    Don’t forget the fact that she carried him for nine troublesome months in her womb (you can be sure that she will not let you or him forget that) and has lived through all him childhood tantrums and put him through school and college to make him the man you love. Appreciate her in public if you can. Remember, that though it is said that though you can fight fire with fire, it is only cold water which douses the biggest of fires!

    Handling a possessive mother-in-law is going to take a lot of patience, understanding and thought. There are some do-nots which you must follow if you want to become a success in this challenge:
    • Do not bad mouth her in front of your husband
    • Do not rise to the baits which she will throw your way by way of comments on cooking, housekeeping, saying how much weight her son has lost since marriage etc.
    • Do not discuss your personal relationship with your husband with her. You never know when she might use it as information to be used against you.
    Most women who have married men and are still in some way tied to the apron strings of their mothers find it difficult to manage the possessive mother-in-law and feel bewildered around her. That is exactly what the possessive mom wants to do: show her son what a bumbling idiot he has married! If you want to avoid falling in this category, then keep a cool head and follow the advice of the wise that have already been through this drill. Remember, when you can’t beat them, you join them!
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    Last edited by Laxmi; 19th January 2007 at 10:30 PM.

  2. #2
    Sailaja is offline New ILite
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    Default Hello

    Hello,



    This is really a very great article. My hats off to the one who shared this advise, you are really wise. I know many people though very intelligent they fall back due you lack of wisdom.

    I wish every woman read this and practice this for a healthy family.

    -Sailaja




  3. #3
    vapss is offline New ILite
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    Default Re: "How to handle a possessive mother-in-law?"

    Hi All,

    Iam a new member to this group.. Went through some google search to find how to handle such a possessive MIL.. Well.. Its really happening in my case.. Iam not married yet.. but committed to a very nice & lovable guy(only son of the family)..It is going to be a love marriage.. Though my future MIL accepted our love(but not whole hearted), she keeps monitoring our activities & so keen to know whether we meet out or not.. As a result once she called our house to check if am there home when her son is out with me.. these kinda activities started irritating me a lot..

    Also she keeps pulling words out of mouth to see if I really interfere in her relationship with her son.... Today one such incident happened which really resulted in a fight b/w me & my guy. when we were out to get a gift for my parents wedding anniv, she called me up & asked why I called him out to get a gift for "my mom".. All those frustations piled up & I resulting in asking her "whats your problem?".. I know its my mistake & this shouldnt have happened.. But things went out of my hands & this resulted in a fight b/w me & him.. But I pity my guy & understand that he is trying hard to balance b/w me & MIL..

    Let me tell u this as well.. Both my MIL & FIL are really & very affectionate to me.. MIL cooks all my fav food when ever I go to there house & treats me like her daughter & flooded me with love & gift on my b'day.. But the above mentioned(possessiveness) is the only problem I have with her which am finding it very difficult to handle.. My guy adviced me not to repeat this anymore to his mom as she is pretty sensitive & requested me not to lose her confidence(which is important) before we get marriage. And I dont want my guy to support me & speak to her which will result in a worse case of this issue..

    Iam totally worried about my future now.. I feel i would never interfere in her relationship with her son or grab her rights for her son at the same time I would never lose mine for my guy.. But I feel my future with such a possessive mom is going to realllllllllllllly tough.. Iam totally confused on this.. Any advice is greatly appreciated.. thankyou in advance..

    Love
    Shanthi


  4. #4
    sunitha's Avatar
    sunitha is offline Gold ILite
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    Default Re: "How to handle a possessive mother-in-law?"

    Dear Shanthi

    One thing is clear from your post....you know what you are getting into....that is a big plus!

    I am also married(love marriage) to the only son of a family(he has a sister).My MIL is also a very possessive mother.She told me right after marriage that she would not tolerate me telling anything against her son to him.Well,I told her quite bluntly that it is not possible and that in a marriage,fights do happen between the husband and wife and that it is not possible for the wife to remain quiet at all times.Infact,my FIL was more difficult to handle and till this day,I find it very difficult.

    These 2 years we have been away from them and it has been very peaceful on both sides.Now I strongly believe in the adage 'Familiarity breeds contempt'.


  5. #5
    vapss is offline New ILite
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    Default Re: "How to handle a possessive mother-in-law?"

    Dear Sunitha,

    Thanks for your advice.. But I guess I wasnt so clear in my first email( at the end).. I dont wanna be away from them.. Infact I never thought of seperating him from his family & I would never do that.. Cuz I cant be without there affection.. They are really lovable & affectionate, but the only issue is my MIL's possessiveness towards my guy keeps rocking my temper.. Any advice ?? :)...

    Regards,
    Shanthi


  6. #6
    sunitha's Avatar
    sunitha is offline Gold ILite
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    Default Re: "How to handle a possessive mother-in-law?"

    Sorry,Shanthi,you got me wrong.I am also not for separating him from his family.In my case,my husband got a transfer to the U.S. and thereby it was an unavoidable separation.But frankly,it has helped.


  7. #7
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    Ammukutty is offline Silver ILite
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    Default Re: "How to handle a possessive mother-in-law?"

    hi,
    I really feel like i could have read all these great tips before marriage...but now its late...i too faced the similar situation & now things are out of my hand....i handled it in a worst manner...eventhough i was lucky to have a wonderful husband i have lost my MILs support...i also would like to stress one important point which malini has noted...never ever say or discuss anything about or against their son with them...they are sure to use it against you in future...Good work Malini & nice thoughts..

    27csweetangel and raj77 like this.

  8. #8
    Pritirach is offline Junior ILite
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    Default Re: "How to handle a possessive mother-in-law?"

    Hi all
    I appreciate ur suggestions.But i want to share my problem with my MIL.I am a cleanliness buff. I want evrything very clean and my inlaws house is a complete mess.Thank god we stay in deiffernet cities.Let me tell you that i never expected or said anything about thier messand uncleanliness.Whevener i used to visit them i used to do whatevr i could on my part,but not as much as i used t do in my house becoz i thought that they may feel that she is here to teach us cleanliness .maybe it was just my thought but i feel it is true.Before my marriage my hubby was also like that but he changed by himself i did not struggle to change him neither i didnot nag him.Now he tells his parents to keep the house clean and organised.Once it so happened tht my inlaws visited us and it was my hubby who pointed out to his father to keep his clothes n the cupboard not hanging on the door.I never told them anything. At tht time my FIL was very angry and refused to keep clothes inside and MIL told me abt tht.
    Believe me whenever they visited us our house was like ajungl e.The bathrooms used to stink<still i used to keep quiet and spent the whole day cleaning the mess very casually so tht they should not feel bad.I felt tht they spent their life tht way so now it is difficult for them to change.but when once i visited them my MIL said to me tht i dont consider their house as my own and dont clean it as i do in my own house.Now tell me Wht can i do in such asituation.
    I was not sure how should i work there.If i do the work in my own way they feel bad an if i work in thier way they say i m not considering it my house.I never cluttered anything and used to keep my things properly as i used to in my house.Also i used to do casual the cleaning stuff that i felt ,like arranging the bed and all (they never do it).Is it worng to keep my house clean?


  9. #9
    Laila is offline New ILite
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    Default Re: "How to handle a possessive mother-in-law?"

    Wow! this is a great thread!
    I agree to everything in this thread! I've been married 6 years now, But the first couple of years were the worst. I don't wish that on anyone.
    For those that are going through the hard part, I really feel for you, but you have to keep yourself together and keep on going. Trust me it will end.


  10. #10
    Ria2006 is offline Silver ILite
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    Default Re: "How to handle a possessive mother-in-law?"

    Very nice and practical advice.

    Malini,

    Can you please post this one in "Relationship with In-laws" forums too. It will be very useful there too.

    Thanks,
    Ria


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