Are you a daughter in law (DIL)? Do you have a difficult relationship with your mother in law (MIL)?
It’s weird. This animosity between women. For some reason MILs hate their DILs. There are exceptions. But I find the animosity common. Worse if you’re marrying/married to an only child.
I have some hypotheses to explain this strained relationship.
- The son has been the MIL’s pride and joy. The DIL, she feels, is here to steal her son away. Hatred is explained away by MIL being territorial. And insecure.
- MIL finds that the DIL is everything that she isn’t. She wasn’t the pretty bride. She didn’t have the nice marriage. She didn’t love her husband. Her son is married to the DIL who now has all these things. MIL being jealous.
- MIL disciplines her son. Maybe she still calls him everyday. Love has been expressed by way of control. MIL not able to let go. DIL will either endure this over-the-top controlling behaviour, and become part of the controlled. Accept that MIL will continue to hover over husband, herself as well. Or rebel, and severe ties forever, imprisoning her husband between two women at odds.
Whatever the reason, it’s human nature and an observable phenomenon that MILs and DILs dislike each other. It’s nature. Almost as intuitive as a lion hunting a deer. Those that honestly get along are very lucky, or they work extremely hard at building a meaningful relationship. Tell me – what’s your secret?
I don’t like my MIL. I try to love her. It was good at the beginning. But the more we spend time with each other the tougher it gets. She’s into gossip. I’m not. She’s superstitious. I’m not. She’s bitter. I hope I don’t go there. She’s controlling. I’m a freebird. We have this in common – we love her son.
She tightens her grip on him but doesn’t mean she controls me. She’s fearful of the future. Of her son abandoning her in old age. He won’t. He’s a good person. She manipulates him. Tells him that she bore him. Bled for him. Fed him. Sacrificed her whole life for him. He owes her. He owes her respect. Lifelong support. Love. His life is hers. Because she gave it to him.
Yes, we should love, respect and take care of our parents. But that ain’t love – having to blackmail your child into taking care of you because you bore him. Desperation, yes. Self-serving, perhaps. Not love.
I hope one day, when I have children, I will prepare them for a fulfilling life. One where they make their own destinies. I pray I won’t have to guilt-trip them into loving me and caring for me. I pray I will be self-sufficient till the end. And that I will have given them life because I want them to experience this world. No strings attached.
Not to serve as my retirement plan.
What’s your MIL relationship like? Any tips on building a good relationship? Are you an MIL reading this and finding it unrepesentative?