My Mother-In-Law Hates Me

Dear Courage,

I don’t think my mother-in-law likes me very much. If I call her, she won’t ever answer the phone. I have to ask my husband to call her when we have news to share. She doesn’t talk to me when we visit. And she makes little comments that could be considered hurtful, but not obvious. I just hate to visit her, or have her visit us, because I’m all tied up in knots. What can I do?

Hurting

Dear Hurting,

Whatever you do, do not draw a line in the sand! Do not make an ultimatum and insist that your husband choose sides. No matter how he chooses, he looses. If he sides with you, he will drive a wedge in his family that may never heal. If he chooses his mother, it drives a wedge in your marriage. Avoid that entirely. Instead, try the old “killing her with kindness” routine. Just love her. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Send her little notes and cards in the mail, since she won’t take your calls. Send her pictures of the grandchildren – if any, or of your husband doing things with you, smiling and laughing. Show her how much her son loves you, how happy he is. Develop a thicker hide. Don’t let her snide little comments hurt you. You are in control of your feelings. You have a wonderful husband, a good marriage. She is only hurting herself through her attitude, as she is not allowing herself to love you and have a good relationship with you.

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