Speaking from experience, I can say this situation is the pits. I would get anxiety attacks before hanging out with my ex’s mom, who most definitely hated me. She made me feel like a defensive mess, and this dynamic took its toll on my relationship with her son. And I’m not alone. According to Psychology Today, a nasty mother-in-law situation can not only complicate a romantic relationship, it can destroy it.
But you can also take the high road and try and to show some empathy towards your mother-in-law, even when she hates you. The same Psychology Today article urges you to consider where your mother-inlaw is coming from and to practice calm assertion with even the meanest mothers-in-law. Don’t try and analyze her behavior, though it might help to talk to a professional as I did to learn how to cope without your relationship suffering as a result. Maybe your mother-in-law can’t offer you the relationship of your dreams, but it’s what you’re working with. So, before you try to live with a nasty mother-in-law, see if your mother-in-law displays any of the following signs. If she does, she probably does hate you. Sorry.
1She Gives You The Backhanded Compliment
A sneaky way to insult someone is the backhanded compliment. You might not even pick up on the fact that you’re being insulted. But when you do, it really hurts. Nasty stuff.
2She Pulls An Under-The-Breath Zinger
Everyone else has left the room but you and your mother-in-law, so she takes this opportunity to say something subtly rude or even nasty. Mother-in-laws who do not like you might not insult you in front of the entire family because she might feel like you are taking her child away from her, family psychologist Susan Newman wrote inPsychology Today. If this is the case, she might want to knock you off your game while she puts up a calm and collected front.
3She Shows No Interest In Your Job
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, run an internet start-up or cobble together an income from doing any number of things, your job is a big part of your identity. After all, you spend the majority of your day working. Anyone who cares about you, cares about how you spend your time, and in an ideal world, that should include your mother-in-law.
4She Buys You Gifts To “Fix Your Flaws”
My ex-mother-in-law was constantly buying me skincare products for my oily skin. She would even point out new blemishes. Helpful, not so much. I’m a grown-ass woman, I can manage my skincare regime, thank you.
5She “Forgets” To Include You In Family Activities
Oops, the so-called unintentional exclusion might make you feel like you’re crazy. It’s designed to make you feel unwelcome. Family get-togethers are supposed to be fun, noted Psychology Today, and should not make you feel victimized. Remember, people reveal who they are by how they choose to act.
6She Excludes You From Family Events
More pronounced than the neglected invite, if your mother-in-law excludes you from family events, not only is this a sign she doesn’t like you, it’s downright hurtful and rude. Family Life noted that when your mother-in-law excludes you, it might be because you’re the woman who knows him best now, a title she once held.
7She Doesn’t Have Any Pictures Of You And Your Partner In Her House
Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that in this day and age, everyone has photos of everything. If you’re married, there should definitely be a photograph of you and your spouse in your mother-in-law’s house. You may have even given her one after the wedding. What’s not acceptable? Pictures of your partner’s ex front on the hearth. Uncool.
8She Says Things That Encourage Your Self-Doubt
One of the most hurtful things anyone can do to you is encourage your self-doubt. Huffington Post revealed the nastiest things mother-in-laws said to their daughters-in-law, and this was at the top of the list.
9She Raves About Your Partner’s Exes
Subtle much? I think not. It’s ridiculously rude to rave about your partner’s exes. And also a sign that your mother-in-law has an axe to grind with you. Dr. Daniel Tomasulo at PsychCentral confirmed it’s a sign of disrespect if a mother-in-law won’t let go of your partner’s exes. The best thing you can do is not let it bother you. You could also call her bluff and tell her she’s hurting your feelings, Tomasulo recommended.
10She Undermines You
This is especially painful if you have kids, and your mother-in-law undermines your parenting choices. Parents noted this is a sign your mother-in-law not only has no sense of boundaries (yikes), but also is resentful of you (double yikes).
11She Belittles Your Accomplishments
You know that parent who you can never please? Not so fun when it’s your mother-in-law. When my ex-mother-in-law belittled my accomplishments, I tried to tell myself it was because she felt badly about her own. That’s called projection, according to Psychology Today, and the worst part about projection, is that if you’re vulnerable, you might believe that what your nasty mother-in-law is saying about you is something you can’t even see.
12She Insults Your Ethnic Heritage
According to Time, some mothers-in-law might feel like their heritage might get loston the future generation if you don’t do things exactly how she did them as a wife in her day. Although that’s understandable, it’s no reason for her to insult your heritage. That’s just rude and a cheap shot.
13She Makes No Attempts To Forge Relationships With Your Family
You guys are all family, and as such your mother-in-law should get to know yours. The blending of families is what happens when clans connect. If yours don’t, that’s a sign something’s not so cool between y’all.
14She Tells You Things That Your Spouse Has Said About You
Not only is this a sign your mother-in-law doesn’t like you, but breeching confidence is a sign of weak boundaries, according to Psychology Today.
15She Challenges You At Every Chance
If she admonishes you in public, it’s time for your partner to step in. The Washington Post noted that sometimes, it’s necessary for your partner to align with you to establish the primacy of your family. Public chastisement is intended to take you down and humiliate you. There’s no other way to read that one. So, while you’re a grown-ass woman who can take care of yourself, it’s not weird to want your partner to have your back on this one.