12 Sins a Mother-in-Law Should NEVER Commit

Mother In Law
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Dealing with a difficult mother-in-law can put a massive strain on a relationship!

Research shows that if a woman is always in close contact with her in-laws, the divorce risk INCREASES by 20%. Why is that? Unfortunately, we’re not strangers to the whole “Monster-In-Law” concept.

So recognizing toxic behaviors in mothers-in-law is crucial to maintaining healthy family dynamics. Whether you’re a mother-in-law who didn’t know she demonstrated these signs or a daughter-in-law who doesn’t know how to set healthy boundaries, this article is for you.

After all, having someone in your extended family who’s manipulative, controlling, and judgmental can make your life difficult.

Setting boundaries and articulating them clearly can help strengthen your bonds, even if seeking support from a therapist might be beneficial in the long run. So take a look at the 12 telltale signs on our list and see if any of them are about you!

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31 Responses

  1. The mother of my grandson is telling my son that I should pay his rent! and when I ask my grandson,going on 17 years old, what he wants me to bring to him he asked me for help to pay his travel ticket to Greece!
    Mention mother and grandson keep in touch very rarely, 2to 3 times a year !
    Neve” How I’m doing” only when I ask them how are they?
    So what should I do? help “financially”
    How about a never Happy Birthday Granny?or just a phone call ….
    We live a part I in us they and my son in Israel ..I feel the mix like oil and water ,but I didn’t create the mixture, is just what they offer me!

    1. Do they ask you what you want? Do not give them $$$. He can go earn his Greece trip. Sometime you have to step back and see the big picture, are you in it?

    2. It will only continue if you allow it. I feel certain that you know how to establish boundaries and are reasonable. If that doesn’t work for the family, then that’s their problem. It appears to me that they aren’t concerned about your wants and needs. Perhaps it’s time for them to “learn the hard way”.

    1. Manipulation
      Daily unneeded drama
      Pointing out your flaws
      Not working on theirs
      Blame blame and more blame
      Victimization, they’re always one
      Belittling/berating son, or his family
      Telling the son his family does not care and
      Brainwashing son

    2. None. The marriage is not the mother-in-laws business. Perhaps she’s a toxic wife…but that’s her husbands problem. Not his mommy’s.

    3. I’d like to know the answer to this question as well.
      What are the signs of a toxic daughter-in- law or sister-in-law?

    4. My question is the same. My daughter in law has treated me badly since I said I would not babysit my grandson any more because he was such a miserable kid. He was always defiant and mean to the kids he was in lst grade with and once he told me he would like to stab me.

    5. My mother-in-law was like a friend to me. We had good & direct verbal communication and were very respectful to each other. Never had to go though my husband to have her behave well. She was very wise. I called her mom & she addressed me as her dear daughter.
      Now, my younger daughter-in law does not call me anything. Our older one calls me aunty-better than nothing. She is quite & submissive, but our son actions are indicative that she is in complete control to keep us at a distance.

    6. One that wants to control her husband so much to the point that my son had to sneak around to call you. They also have a daughter together and she didn’t want to be a step mommy to his daughter from his previous marriage. She actually wanted him to give up his rights to her and walk away. Needless to say they are no longer married³

    7. I would also like to know this as I am almost certain I have one and a toxic in-law family that the daughter-in-law belonged to!
      Please help!

    8. Well, I’m not too sure. That’s tricky because technically the daughter in law is the one coming into the picture. A new-comer. The intention be is to fit in and be accepted by her mother in law. It’s not usual that an outsider (new daughter in law) is the intending malice, since she is just coming into the family. Mother in laws usually have the power to persuade, their sons, daughters and other family members to make it hard on the new comer (daughter in law). What might be mistaken toxic is to a mother in law, is “boundaries”. If daughter in law senses a toxic behavior from the mother in law, then set boundaries, the mother in law might call it “toxic”. Setting boundaries isn’t toxic. It’s a safe place where no one gets hurt. The marriage doesn’t get hurt, the daughter in law, mother in law and even the child/children, that will eventually get in the middle don’t get hurt.

    9. My thoughts exactly!!! I was reading these traits and thinking “that sounds ds like her more than me…”. And they live with us. 🙂

  2. Nobody on purpose show this sort of “evil” behavior, there are always two parties to a conflict and its never one party’s fault. It appears this article is written by a daughter in law who is not a mother in law yet.

  3. I would have a hard time being financially forthcoming to those who don’t seem to care about me. Have you sent the grandson birthday cards, etc. to try and establish some sort of relationship with him? If you would like to establish a relationship with him, you might want to offer to pay for his trip to Greece and a visit to you as well afterward. If it’s close to his birthday, you can say it’s his birthday gift. If he agrees to come see you afterward and doesn’t (the excuse is irrelevant) you’re off the hook going forward. Also, if you have deep pockets, and you establish a mutually caring relationship with him, you may want to think of how you can help him without removing him of all his responsibilities. Establish limits to your funds up front and be firm. Maybe help pay for his education if his grades are kept up, etc. If his school is in the same place where his parents live, there is no reason he can’t live at home. This reply is full of if’s isn’t it? Sorry, it was unavoidable.

  4. My mother in law lives with me. She yells at her TV, she’s up all night making noise when we have to work the next day, she’s disrespectful. She’s got her days and nights mixed up. My daughter lives with us too and she’s disrespectful to my daughter who is not her bio granddaughter, and I don’t know how to fix it. I take care of her because she is disabled, and I get no respect from her.

  5. This describes an ex-boyfriend’s mother to a T!

    Small wonder that his last 2 ex-wives left because of her.

    That and her unbelievable denial, passive-aggressive behavior when confronted.

  6. What can a mother – in – law do when it is the daughter in law displaying most of these symptoms? She has dominated my son to the point that he feels he can’t have anything to do with his mom or other maternal relatives because she is so volatile and unreasonable. He walks on eggshells and is now isolated. It is heartbreaking. I’ve completely humbled myself, apologized for anything I can think of and I’ve received a cut off and the silent treatment. I just want to be in their lives and I’m willing to accept any boundaries, attend counseling, etc. My heart is broken.

    1. I understand. I have 4 daughters in law and I get along pretty well with 2 and very well with one. The other one is a different story. She absolutely dislikes my husband and me for no reason I can see. We don’t interfere, ever go when not invited, never criticize and usually complement, try to be friendly but rebuffed and given the cold shoulder most of the time. She is really good friends with 2 of the other daughter’s in law and those sons, but does not like my oldest and his wife. I did ask the d I law that I am closest to what did I ever do. She said she blames you for things that are not true, things that if her own mother did them, it would be fine. Sh runs the show in their house. My son is so good to her and their kids. He often does it all. She doesn’t stop him and the kids from seeing us but usually has an excuse for her( don’t mind that really). In the very beginning she was fine, but even before the wedding, she completely shut us out. She barely will talk to me except with one word answers. BTW, we get along with her family just fine. There seems to be nothing I can do. It hurts, because I am NOT toxic. I don’t do any of the things listed. I guess I should just resign myself, but it makes me sad.

  7. All of those represents my mother-in-outlaw! My husband has now passed but she feels that she needs to know what’s going on at my house and she watches who comes and who goes! She talks about me and my daughter bad but eats us up to our face! Thanks for sharing these toxic actions because after 40 years of marriage, she still toxic and her son has been gone for 3 years!

  8. Well I honestly, and seriously read this article. I have one son he is the oldest of my three children. I try not to meddle with his life, or his his wife, but the two grandchildren I’d love to see more often. So I sit and wait and hope for the invite of lunch maybe, or a visit. I live 45 minutes away from him. I get to see the other six grandkids on a regular basis and even babysit them a lot. Just wish I had the same connection with my other two grandkids my son’s two little ones. I was made well aware when my son and his wife got married that I would be notified when I would be invited to join their company, or when to visit. However, every now and then when I’ve been on their side of town I’ll just pop in. I always get a surprise reaction and asked, “what are you doing here?” To which I’ll reply, “oh I was just over here on this side of town so thought I’d stop by and say hi.” But they always act like I’m intruding so I try not to stay long. Just long enough to play with the kids a little bit. I know my son doesn’t mind, but he gets all nervous and awkward acting and will announce, “oh my mom is here.” And I can just tell that I am not to stay long. They’ll start telling me, well they had plans and that they were just going to head out, and glad I stopped by and that they’ll see me later. Okay. I get it. Time to go. Any way. Just wondering about what if it’s the other way around?

    1. My in laws stopped in 2-4 times a weekend for the first 7 years of our marriage. It was awful! We both work full time and spent our weekends doing food shopping, cooking, cleaning, entertaining friends, yard work, laundry, etc when our kids were little. So, to have them stop in while we were in the middle of things and have them expect us to entertain them and feed them put a real strain on our marriage to the point we almost moved and almost divorced. Stopping in is considered very rude to everyone I have talked with, so I don’t know why people do this rude behavior. It shows lack of boundaries and respect for other people’s time. Stopping in and expecting them to drop everything because it’s convenient for you is rude. Instead try offering to babysit the kids so they can have a date night. That would be greatly appreciated vs rude behavior/lack of boundaries.

    2. My personal opinion for you and all who have made comments is that you have to be the strong one and somehow communicate with her, both express your feelings about your relationship and your needs particularly if you’re a grandmother.

  9. I DIL that alienates the grandparents. One that doesn’t respond to calls and/or text. One that has total disregard for the grandparents.

  10. My mother-in-law is wonderful. Last year she bought me a new BMW…and one for my oldest son. We visit every week or so and she has a wonderful dinner made for the family. We offer to clean the kitchen but she insists that she do it after we leave.

    I feel that she is my best friend and am worried that she will be hurt when my husband and I complete our divorce next month. Any recommendations?

  11. My son’s girlfriend is very sweet. HER mother is a problem, as well as my son. They are both putting his gf in the middle of THEIR issues with each other! It’s not fair to this young girl & I have no clue how to help anyone through this. TBH, I’m more worried that she will be the one who gets truly hurt.

  12. I have a toxic daughter-in-law. She lies and manipulates. She talks badly about other family members and has damaged our son’s relationships with his siblings. None of his siblings or their spouses like or trust her. She is extremely competitive. She plays the victim at the drop of a hat anytime it is to her advantage. She is opinionated and arrogant. Status and appearance are significantly important to her and while her family is acceptable our son’s family (we) are not good enough. The list goes on and on. She ignores all the females in the family and flirts with the males. She does not acknowledge me as a person and has frequently sat with her back to me when seated next to me in a public setting and will only talk to me if I ask her questions. She will not make eye contact. Her behavior toward and around us is awful and she has intentionally destroyed our family (telling him he may have to choose between us and her which is something we would never ask him to do). There is no grace nor forgiveness in her relationship with us. She is constantly looking for and accusing us of doing things wrong. She brings tension and drama to everything. It’s terrible. Someone please write about a toxic daughter-in-law or son-in-law! We live in a time where there is a serious problem there as well.

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