How to stop arguing with your mother-in-law: The psychology of an over-bearing mother-in-law
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How to stop arguing with your mother-in-law: The psychology of an over-bearing mother-in-law

Post by Dr. Bhavna Barmi & team on Sunday, November 6, 2022

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An overbearing mother-in-law can be very difficult for anyone to handle. Although it may seem absurd, there are psychological reasons behind it.
• Insecurity: The mother-in-law generally becomes controlling and cunning when she feels she is being replaced as the main woman in her son's life. 
• Possessive attitude: In the past, a mother at home could be the center of her son's universe. But after marriage, sharing attention and time can irritate her deeply. 
• Dislike of son's choice of life partner: In some cases mother-in-law may not be satisfied with her son's choice of wife. Dealing with a passive-aggressive mother-in-law is a clear sign that she does not approve of you.
• Resistance to change: A mother-in-law can become controlling when she sees her daughter-in-law changing the way things are done at home. 
But how long can we sit and tolerate this state of affairs? Here we look at a few ways to handle this situation in a healthy way.
1. Talk it over with your mother-in-law
Let her know that you realize that your partner is her child and the transition is not easy for her. Continue by giving clear examples of things you won't compromise on. You might want her to call before she comes.
Say it calmly and briefly. Approach the conversation with clear examples and why the behavior is toxic and unhealthy.
2. Plan an activity for your spouse and their mother
Whether you're on her turf or she's on yours, plan something fun for her and your partner to do without you. Maybe it's lunch at their favorite restaurant or a trip to her favorite store and the movies. Whatever it is, it will be a win for her because she gets to spend time with her child. 
3. Let your spouse set boundaries
You can ask your partner to make some firm decisions about his relationship with both of you. Focus on setting boundaries that meet the needs of both you and your mother-in-law. 
4. Don't take anything she says or does personally
If you can realize that she's like this with more people than just you, it might soften the blow. If you can't take it personally and get on with it, maybe it will stop.
5. Treat criticism as advice and respond gently
If your mother-in-law criticizes your style or beliefs, play her comments off as if she were making a suggestion, not an objective comment. This will undermine your mother-in-law's comments by making them seem like they are purely opinion. It also eases the tension a bit by making it easier to continue the conversation.
We hope this write-up helped you in a constructive way.