Question: My wife's mother recently moved closer to our place. I was happy to see my wife happy but I have noticed my mom in law gets borderline rude with me and I have been trying to ignore it. She passes comments on my job, on my attitude towards life and it really irks me. I sometimes feel like answering back to her but I refrain because I know that won't go down well with my wife. What should I do?
Answer by Dr. Rachana Awatramani: Relationship between son-in-law and the mother-in-law is usually sensitive and formal in certain situations. You are also looked upon as someone who needs to take the responsibility of their daughter and keep her happy most of the time, which of course is not possible all the time. However, in-laws can have high expectations.
I comprehend that your mother-in-law moved closer to the place you live and you are happy that your wife has a support system around. Nevertheless, you have observed that your wife's mother has been rude to you a couple of times. I can understand that it can be hurtful to be disrespected and hear comments about your job and about your perception towards life. You do feel angry and you might want to respond back to her, however, I get that your wife will not like your behaviour. It might be also as you respect her.
I would recommend that you firstly speak to your mother-in-law alone and answer all her queries. Express on how you are happy in your life and marriage. Second, mention it to your wife about your discomfort. For instance, speak to her and tell her how you felt when your mother-in-law spoke about your job. Give her instances and examples and focus on how you felt. Lastly, make sure you have boundaries created between you and your mother in law. You can surely put across your point of view and you can do that politely and with kindness.
Everyone has their own way of living and you can surely accept feedback from her and respect her however you need to speak up about how you feel and be a little assertive.
Rachana Awatramani is a counselling psychologist Her additional credentials in the field of psychology are "First Aid", Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and "Happiness Life Coach"Transformation Services, INC (Online).
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