mother_in_lawThe sweetest day of your life i.e your engagement, the day when you meet your dream boy filled you with happiness. But this happiness soon got disappeared with the jitters you received with the three words: Mother-in-law, sooner the fear takes palace of happiness. Many newly married girls often complains that though the mother-in-law is affectionate, when it comes to their husband, she is unable to deal with the fact that there is now someone else who has an upper hand over her son. A naturally built-in rivalry develops between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law. You may dread their visits as they manage to unleash a special brand of chaos on your household the minute they arrive. You love your spouse, but when you look at his or her family, you just can’t see the connection.

A new research has shown that women find mother-in-laws hardest to deal with, and the friction  often lead to long term friction and stress. The study led by Dr. Terri Apter, a psychologist and senior tutor at Newmham College, Cambridge university involved 49 couples and 156 other people and found that women accused their mother-in-law of showing jealous, maternal love towards their sons. And the coldness was found to be mutual  as mother-in-law complained that they had been isolated and excluded by their son’s wives.

Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law conflict often emerges from an expectation that each is criticizing or undermining the other.

But this mutual unease may have less to do with actual attitudes and far more to deal with persistent female norms that few of us manage to shake off completely. As the struggle to achieve the same position in the family as primary woman, each tires to establish or protect their status, each feels threatened by the other, she said. The research found that feuds often occurred when daughter-in-law and experienced mother-in-law clashes over who knows best about cooking, cleaning and children’s welfare. In many cases,  Apter discovered that the rivalry became more personal and emotionally charged. The study showed that 75 percent of couples have problems with an in-law b just 15 per cent of mother-in-law/son-in-law relationships were difficult. Men are better at avoidance strategies when in-laws are visiting. But women can’t keep a low profile. For all the changes there have been, issues such as cooking, behavior of children and how table is set or a meal presented are thing that affect a woman’s sense of self -worth and she is judged on them, she added.

Relationships develop best through honest communication. Think about what you’re doing and be sure it matches what you’re saying.It is essential that your husband step up to the plate and deal with his mother and father directly. Once he paves the way, you will easily be able to reinforce the boundaries.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • – Be realistic. High expectations are bound to be dashed. Why should you expect a close and fulfilling relationship when you haven’t chosen each other?
  • – Remember she is not your mother, which means she isn’t, necessarily, on your side. Watch who you complain about her to. Sympathetic female friends are probably better than husbands. You don’t want your marriage affected.
  • – Damage limitation may be the wisest option. It could be that a slightly cooler relationship is the best you can do.
  • – Don’t think that children will make you bond with your mother-in-law. They just offer lots more opportunities for conflict.

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