Understanding the Dynamics of a Difficult Mother-In-Law

Dealing with a difficult mother-in-law can be challenging, but it is not impossible. A mother-in-law who is pushy, critical, or overbearing can cause a great deal of stress for a newlywed couple. The good news is that there are ways to manage and care for a bitchy mother-in-law.

It is essential to understand that the issue is not with you. Your mother-in-law’s behavior is a result of her past experiences and personality. She may not have the power to change her personality, but you can change the way you interact with her.

Be Empathetic

We all want to be seen and heard. And so does your mother-in-law. Before you get defensive or react to her complaints, put yourself in her shoes. Be empathetic to her feelings and reasons for her behavior. You don’t have to agree with her, but you should respect her opinions.

Also, try to see things from her perspective. Maybe she is trying to help you, but her way of expressing her concern comes off as harsh. Or perhaps she is jealous of your relationship with her son. If you can see the underlying reasons for her behavior, you can better handle her criticism.

Set Boundaries

If your mother-in-law’s behavior is getting out of control, you need to set boundaries. Be clear and concise about your expectations and what you will and will not tolerate. Communicate your boundaries respectfully, but firmly.

Make sure you involve your spouse in setting boundaries. He or she may have a different perspective and can help you come up with a plan that is reasonable and effective. If your mother-in-law refuses to respect your boundaries, be prepared to enforce them. This may mean limiting time spent with her or cutting off contact altogether.

Don’t Take It Personally

It’s easy to get defensive when someone is criticizing you. But remember, your mother-in-law’s comments are not a reflection of your worth. Try not to take her comments personally.

Instead, take the opportunity to learn from her feedback. Ask her what she thinks you can improve on and be open to her suggestions. If your mother-in-law feels that you are trying to fix your behavior, she may be more inclined to be supportive.

Find Common Ground

One way to ease tensions between you and your mother-in-law is to find common ground. Look for things you have in common and use them as a starting point for conversation. Find activities you can enjoy together, such as cooking, gardening, or going on walks.

If you can find common ground, interactions with your mother-in-law can become more enjoyable. You may even find that you have more in common than you thought.


Taking care of a bitchy mother-in-law can be challenging, but with empathy, boundary-setting, and finding common ground, it is possible to manage and improve the relationship. Remember, the way your mother-in-law behaves is not a reflection of your worth. Stay positive, communicate effectively, and don’t be afraid to seek outside support when needed.


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