Dealing with the Mother-In-Law from Hell!


She is the judge of your life. She passes comments, provides criticisms, evaluates your house keeping skills. She is an instruction manual on your child bearing and rearing.
She accuses you of lethargy and neglect and the merest thought of her can give you a migraine. I’m not talking here of your regular mother in law who’s a bit harsh and a bit strict. The one you seek acceptance from. The one who understands your privacy though still chooses to invade it at times. A bit over possessive of her son and a bit sarcastic to the woman she now sees as a competition.

I’m talking of the heavy duty evil version here. The narcissistic counterpart who manages to find fault in every dish you cook, everything you buy and every small decision you make. The ones that lead their son’s wife to suicidal thoughts and depressed tendencies, talks about dowry and dismisses you like a fly on the wall.

The one that reminds you of the classic Lalita Pawar movie, where the husband is a wimp and the mother-in-law can make a witch look lovable, leaving the wife to fight for her right to love her husband! You realise that the movies with a monster-in-law isn’t just a cliche when you meet this one.

She treats you worse than the maid, amplifies and announces your shortcomings to the world and takes every opportunity to demean and humiliate you.

And you wonder why?!

Aren’t we supposed to be working towards the same goals? No matter what caste creed race or religion you are, no matter how conservative or liberal your beliefs, the old saying is still true – we are ALL humans! We ALL love & want the best for our families. We ALL want good health & prosperity. We ALL want peace. We ALL want the liberty to pursue our dreams & the opportunity to be happy in life.

So if we ALL want the same things, why are we so at odds?

couple-conflictDo understand this for the evil counterparts that there are people at home or work, those some who want the good for themselves yet not for others (how do you think slavery started?)

  • These some are happy in their roles of power. They’d rather have a sick daughter-in-law servicing to her whims and fancies rather than giving her some time time to recuperate.
  • Their personal happiness is so big a priority, even perceived happiness that they do not stop to linger on the cruelty they bestow upon others.
  • Others to them are disposable, a means to an end, an inferior species that they do not respect.
  • These people are filled to the brim with self obsession and superiority. They think only of their ways. If you worship another God, believe in alternative medicine, read different books or savour a different lifestyle, it makes them think of you as in-obedient and non conforming thereby inducing feelings of disdain, anger or inferiority.

In case you are a daughter-in-law you are deemed a threat to their way of living a happy life.

So how does a woman who’s been harbouring the rebellious thoughts of love and equality, looking forward to her new role as a wife and confidante deal with the abusive mother-in-law? Well we can only try! Communication is the key to begin with.

1.Move if possible

And never within the city, in India having a separate house in the same city would cause a plethora of problems for everyone concerned. Making excuses and moving away would be ideal.

2. Appreciate her journey

No she’s not ready to hear you out, she’s been waiting to be in this role since her own MIL departed. Who was a tougher nut to crack and she has probably had to do all of the same half her life. She’s not going to give in to that skirt that almost brushes your knees. BUT if you compliment her on how long a way she’s come and how liberal she is as compared to others, she might soften up to you.

3. Keep her at ease

You love the same man (hopefully) – let her know that she will always occupy the primary spot in her son’s heart. (she will, there’s hardly anything you can do about it anyway) might as well use it to make your life a bit simpler.

4. Lower your expectations

She gives you clothes you don’t like. Her gifts to you are crap.IGNORE. The material world might be huge but its tiny when compared to keeping your sense and sanity.

5. Be polite and discreet

Anger will not resolve anything. If she’s yelling at you, you need to firmly tell her to stop. If she still does not you can lower your volume further. Some things might work and some will not. So here’s the most important thing a woman needs to know:

  • Pick your battles wisely. If you do not want you and your family to be on a shouting match forever, you need to know when to let go. You can’t win every battle and there are so many where winning will come at a price which takes your peace away anyway. Well there are things you can change and those you can’t. She has been the queen since a long time and she’s used to it.
  • Try and understand her reasoning. Spend fun times with her. Let her choose the gifts you give her. She might have a silver lining. Most people by nature are not evil. Praise her on the redeeming qualities that she has.

However there are a still a lot of women who are abused and tortured. If you are one of them these common solutions might not help you at all. There are a lot of NGOs and women centres who can help you deal with agonising situations that you are living in.

Loss of self respect, depression, insomnia, stress and weight related issues may crop which might be a physical manifestation of your weakening internal struggles. A healthy body cannot exist where the mind is bound by clutches. The medicines might not seem to work at all. What might be required is an in-depth study of your situation and the best coping strategy can only be determined by a professional.

Do not hesitate to take the help of family, friends or relatives. Do not let suicidal thoughts creep into your mind. Do not forsake your self respect or pride but have the the desire to seek out solutions and courage the to walk out if and when nothing works out.

In case you need anonymity, online counselling can be a very effective tool in managing and limiting the negative effects on the psyche. Do not hesitate to reach out to us and speak with our marriage counsellors and get help from experts anonymously at

Remember your self worth. At the end of the day being a strong independent woman will always be your best option.

Online Counseling Askmile