Toxic comments from your mother-in-law: how to respond?

Toxic comments from your mother-in-law: how to respond?

Few women have good relationships with their mothers-in-law. How to react to his remarks, when they are particularly toxic? Psychologist Amélie Boukhobza gives us her advice.

The relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law can be strained. The reasons are not always the same, but we can imagine that the mother-in-law is not satisfied with the choice of her son's partner, which can push her to throw barbs at him. The situation can also exist in the opposite direction, between a mother-in-law and a son-in-law, but seems less common.

If this is your case and you can no longer stand the mean allusions and toxic remarks from your mother-in-law, here is the advice of our expert, Amélie Boukhobza, psychologist.

Stay objective even if it's difficult

To analyze the reason for these remarks, we must try to remain objective and take a step back. Is this teasing? An attack? Aggressive remarks? Of jealousy? A rivalry possibly? (the question arises in particular in the context of the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship, the expert rightly notes). By analyzing the situation in this way, you will be able to better respond to his comments.

Rethink your priorities

Your family, in the nuclear sense of the term, that is to say your spouse and your children, must be your priority. So evaluate the importance of each remark. “Sometimes ignoring a comment can be much better than engaging in a confrontation” notes the psychologist.

Use humor

This will have a double effect: defuse tense situations and disconcert the person responsible for them.” assures Amélie Boukhobza.

Put water in his wine

Trying to moderate your relationship with your mother-in-law helps you avoid putting your partner in too great a conflict of loyalties and making a choice too difficult to make.” indicates the specialist. So there’s no point playing “it’s her or it’s me” with your partner. Over time, you will have the advantage of putting forward your efforts as an argument to your husband, who will be grateful to you and will surely defend you in the future.

Discuss it frankly with your mother-in-law

If the behavior persists and is too painful, you must create the possibility of a more formal exchange in a neutral setting to discuss the situation with your mother-in-law.“There's nothing like a frank discussion, to ask questions and understand what's wrong.

Inform your spouse

Sometimes, inappropriate remarks always take place in the absence of witnesses and in particular when your husband – or your wife – is not present. “It is essential to discuss with your partner and establish clear boundaries to define what is acceptable or not, too intrusive or inappropriate in your opinion, so that he/she can be your support.” concludes the psychologist.