“My mother-in-law is a thorn in my flesh. Since I got married to my husband six years ago, it has been from one problem to the other.

The first thing she complained about when my husband introduced me to her was that women from my place don’t know how to cook good food for their husbands.

I laughed over it thinking she was just giving me attitude. But I didn’t know she would make my life with her son hell on earth. I didn’t know she was exhibiting signs of a meddling mother-in-law.

After we got married, she visited us and kept antagonizing me in my own home. She would go and cook after I have cooked for my husband. She would tell my husband not to eat my watery soup so that he won’t have stomach upset. She once told him to my hearing to stop eating my food since she can cook better than me. I was livid with anger.

I was not at peace in my marriage. I tried talking to my husband about her attitude after she came for my first child’s naming ceremony. She refused to help me do anything at home. She just sits down and expects me to go to the market, come back, cook and serve her food as a new mom. It was heartbreaking and frustrating for me dealing with her indifference.”

Do you have a similar story like the one above? You are dealing with a meddling mother-in-law and one who doesn’t respect boundaries. But here are 10 ways to deal with a mother-in-law who hates you as you uncover manipulative mother-in-law signs.

Set firm boundaries and stick to them Be kind and loving to your mother-in-law but don’t allow her trample all over you. You are not her slave. Don’t allow any one rob you of peace in your own home.

Let your spouse handle her Your spouse may believe she’s an innocent party but if she’s not speaking up, she’s not helping the situation, either. After all, he knows her a lot better than you do and he knows how to handle her.

Avoid confrontations No matter how your spouse’s mother annoys, don’t confront them and start exchanging words with her. That’s classless. Make your points known to her and act accordingly. Your actions should speak louder than your words.

Don’t make your spouse feel like the bad guy It’s smart to ask your spouse to talk to his mother, but remember, you are not entirely off the hook. Work on developing your relationship with her built on positive interactions and respect.

When she offers unwanted advice, say thanks but do what’s best for you Your mother-in-law thinks she’s being super helpful with her housekeeping and parenting advice that drives you crazy. It can be especially difficult to interject when she overdoes it with parenting advice. Let her know you appreciate her advice but state that you have to do things your way.

Change the subject when it’s becoming toxic When she starts to overwhelm you, do yourself a favour and excuse yourself from the conversation. Your spouse is more than capable of handling the conversation on his own. When a conversation is becoming toxic, get up, get a glass of water and come back to ask about something else.

Don’t take it personally Issues can stem from your mother-in-law’s difficulties letting go of her son. It can be hard for some mothers to make the transition from parenting their son to having an equal relationship with them as an adult. This is where you need wisdom to deal with her meddling.

Recognize progress in your relationship Your mother-in-law isn’t is human with faults. She is a parent struggling to bond with her adult child and her new daughter-in-law. In those times when connecting seems downright impossible, try to be sympathetic toward her. And be on the lookout for positive changes in behaviour.

If your spouse continues to be silent, address issues with your mother-in-law politelyIf your spouse remains silent on the issue, at some point, you may need to voice your concern as tactfully as possible. Be direct with her and express your concerns about her behaviour towards you.

Learn to play her games If after trying to make your spouse’s mother reason with you and she is bent on treating you badly, ignore her and play her games too. You are someone else’s child too and you deserve to be treated with respect.

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