Why should you take relationship advice from someone who is, at this moment, unofficially disowned by her suegra? – Because my mother-in-law lived with me, under the same roof for a decade, and so when it comes to experience, I received more than my own fair share.

The fact that I’m disowned and my suegra chose to move out of our house, at least in my case, is an indication of success rather than failure. I’m not trying to be humorous or take a cheap shot, but the truth is, some types of people shouldn’t be part of your life; my mother-in-law happens to be one of those individuals.

Suegras can be a point of contention in a marriage / Photo: Shutterstock

Before you decide if your meddlesome suegra is a lost cause, you need to see what you’ve been doing wrong. (Yes, you!) … It’s tempting to drop all the blame on her lap, but you may have unwittingly been enabling her bad behavior all along. Here is what you need to make sure you’re doing before pointing a finger in accusation:

Set boundaries

What kind of behavior crosses the line? Only you know where that line is for you, because it is different for everyone. Do you quietly take criticism without defending yourself? Do you avoid speaking up when she changes the thermostat in your house or redecorates your living room without asking? Do you give in to her every demand just to keep the peace?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these, you haven’t established boundaries with your mother-in-law and it isn’t fair to expect her to change behaviors that you haven’t openly told her offend you or make you uncomfortable.

Communicate clearly

If your mother-in-law has a strong personality, you can’t be wishy-washy here. Be very clear about your expectations and make sure that your body language backs you up. If you mumble, “Please let me discipline my kids,” while looking at the floor, do you think she’ll take you seriously or continue to steam roll you?

You know the answer. Stand tall, speak up and maintain eye contact while saying, “I appreciate that you want to help with the children, but disciplining them is my job. Next time, I’ll take care of it.”

Will it feel awkward and cause tension? Yes. Will your mother-in-law potentially get her feelings hurt or become angry?

Absolutely.

No one said this was easy.

Be consistent

If your mother-in-law is an understanding individual who is willing to make compromises to get along, you shouldn’t even be reading this article. If your mother-in-law is a stubborn person who refuses to see things any way but her own – you know that only a ‘no mercy’ approach will work.

You’ve heard the saying, “Give some people an inch and they take a mile” – does it remind you of her? – Then once you establish boundaries, be consistent. Any backsliding on your behalf will invite her to start up the same bad habits you’ve just put in check.

I know that difficult mother-in-law situations don’t come without complications. If your husband isn’t on board, putting these tactics into action may destroy your marriage.

Only you know the intricacies of your circumstances and only you can decide if this advice will work for you. Just promise me one thing – don’t ignore this advice simply because you don’t want to ruffle feathers. Love yourself enough to teach others how to treat you right.

In the end, your suegra may just decide that she can’t get along with a “difficult daughter-in-law” who doesn’t allow her to manipulate and control the situation to her benefit. If that’s the case, and she wants nothing to do with you, you may just be better off. Say ‘goodbye’ and let her know she’s welcome back when she decides to play by the rules.

What´s your suegra story?

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