From a troublesome mother-in-law to an intrusive grandmother
Becoming a couple means having to learn to live with each other’s parents, but when you become parents yourselves, things can sometimes get complicated. Beforehand, we only used to see each other on rare occasions. Parties, birthdays, a few family meals, but now she’s become a grandmother, she’s involved in raising your child. This is normal, it’s just that the slightly annoying and narcissistic mother-in-law has turned into an invasive grandmother, who also has an opinion on everything.
Already during the pregnancy, she examined all of my meals and selected for me what I should eat. She wanted to choose the name or criticized our choices. In the maternity ward, she wouldn’t let go of my son, despite his discomfort or tiredness. I had to breastfeed, pick a home-based nanny, and not run to my son as soon as he cried. Two days after we got back from the maternity ward, she turned up at our house unannounced to see if everything was okay and look after our son. There were also times when she made an appointment for him to see an allergy specialist because he had a bit of eczema.
The calm before the storm
In the beginning, I said nothing or replied a bit half-heartedly. I was actually waiting for my partner to react because she is his mother after all. Except for that one day, she ripped the pacifier out of my son’s mouth because she’s never been able to stand pacifiers. The gesture seemed violent and inappropriate. I just cracked and everything I’d been holding in my heart for months and months all came out. With no filter, with no restraint, and with a lot of shouting and tears. We argued and even broke off all ties for a few weeks… Although with a child, we prefer calmer situations.
>>> You may be interested in this article: Learn to say no and assert yourself
Your mother-in-law is an invasive grandmother: How to respond and deal with her?
1. A bit of calm and a lot of distance
Is your mother-in-law always making comments about how you raise your child? Is she insistent, and can she even be unpleasant? At her age, it’s difficult to get her to change, so there’s no point in being as aggressive as her or even more so. When she calls out to you, turn a deaf ear and take-off (“oh, I need to go to the bathroom!”). Trust yourself, you know how to raise your child and her advice, while good, maybe a bit outdated or simply not suited to you.
2. A fake smile and a little thank you
“You should leave him to cry, you’ll turn him into a spoiled brat”, “He’s chubby, isn’t he? Are you sure you’re not giving him too much to eat”, “You really don’t buy him very nice clothes.” Faced with this type of derogatory remarks, are you ready to come to blows? Stop! Nothing will get better and no good will come of such behavior. Put on your
fakest best smile and simply say something like: “Thanks, that’s a good piece of advice/a good idea, I’ll think about it.” And continue as you were. Your mother-in-law undoubtedly means to do well, even if she’s very insensitive. She wants to be involved and help. So think of the good intention more than the annoying words.
3. Gently but firm
If the impromptu visits are becoming increasingly frequent and long, and if they interfere with your privacy or your child’s well-being, be firm! Kindly refuse everything that annoys you and suggest an alternative that suits you better.
4. Help and support each other
A bad relationship with your mother-in-law can cause problems in your relationship. Talk about your discomfort with your partner. He’ll probably find it difficult to accept that his mother is toxic, but he will be able to help you if you ask him instead of always being critical. Put yourself in his shoes, even if you complain about your own mother, it’s difficult to hear the criticism from your partner’s mouth. Make sure that your partner supports you. You’ll therefore avoid any conflict between you, and you’ll be on the same page when talking to your mother-in-law.
>>> Learn how to recognize toxic relationships
Is it okay not to like your mother-in-law?
Yes, it’s completely normal, so don’t beat yourself up about it! In relationships between women, there are a lot of judgments and comparisons, and between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law things are even more complicated because the mother will try to keep or regain her place with her son. This leads to a kind of rivalry with her daughter-in-law, and jealousy. According to Freud, the mother-son relationship is "based on narcissism that no subsequent rivalry disturbs". But sometimes, the established order is shaken, and it is not to everyone's liking. As long as everything remains cordial, then there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
Editor’s note – But why is she so mean?
How can you explain why your mother-in-law is such an intrusive grandmother? Well, put simply, rivalry! As soon as she sees her son go to another woman, a more or less conscious rivalry sets in. Especially if she’s going through an unstable period in her own relationship or if she’s scared of getting old. She’s simply afraid that you’ll be more successful than her, and that you’ll therefore leave her out. So in response, she gets fully involved with your child to show what a good mother she was. Except that now, everyone has their right place!
🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!
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