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How Mothers-in-Law Ruin Marriages: The Silent Sabotage

How Mothers-in-Law Ruin Marriages: The Silent Sabotage

When we look at marriages, we can easily conclude that they are relationships consisting of two people. But we all know how mothers-in-law ruin marriages.

So, we can say that partners sometimes aren’t the only participants in a marriage. For generations, mothers-in-law have been known to cause tension and conflict in marriages.

Most of the time, mothers-in-law won’t directly go to you and talk about the problem – they will go and talk behind your back. That’s why we often refer to this as silent sabotage.

What does this silent sabotage look like? Let’s find out!

12 Ways How Mothers-in-Law Ruin Marriages

This silent sabotage can have a significant impact on the relationship between the married couple. It can lead to resentment, mistrust, and hurt feelings.

One partner may begin to feel like they’re stuck in the middle, while the other may feel like they are being undermined.

This is usually the case with mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationships, but the wife’s family can also cause problems. So let’s find out how mothers-in-law ruin marriages!

1. Trying to control their child’s life

the woman argues with her son

Many couples face a common issue when the mother-in-law tries to control her son’s life.

When a mother-in-law wants a voice in every part of her son or daughter’s life, it can be pretty annoying and exhausting for their relationship.

She might believe that her child is not making the best choices. This may be done out of love and care for her son or daughter, but it can quickly become overwhelming for the couple if the mother-in-law is overly controlling.

Another reason a mother-in-law can try to exert control over her child’s life is if she thinks her child isn’t living up to her expectations. Usually, this is because of how she was raised.

2. Constant criticism and judgment

It’s no secret that many people struggle with their toxic mother-in-law’s constant criticism and judgment.

Your parenting style, choice of clothing, or the way you do housework…The constant criticism of how you should do your job can be really damaging, especially if your mother-in-law is always somewhere around.

Although these comments may come from a place of love and concert, they also damage your mental health if they are constant or irrational.

3. Showing favoritism towards their own children

Favoritism is a natural tendency for a parent, but it can cause feelings of resentment and hurt in the other family members. It can also lead to a breakdown of trust and communication in the family.

This favoritism is often a source of conflict and tension because the son or daughter-in-law may feel like they’re not important or a valued family member.

It is usually because, like any good mother, your mother-in-law sees her child as a priority and may not be aware of how this impacts you.

4. Emotional manipulation

the woman is talking to her son and the girl is sitting next to her

In some cases, the mother-in-law may use emotional manipulation to control not only her child but also her son-in-law or daughter-in-law.

Making her daughter-in-law feel guilty and ashamed is one such tactic. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, such as by making her feel bad about her choices, frequently comparing her to other family members, or persistently highlighting her weaknesses.

The daughter-in-law’s self-esteem and mental health may be severely damaged as a result of this emotional manipulation through guilt and shame, even eventually leading to a breakup.

5. Rivalry for their child’s affection

Many mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law experience a rivalry for the affection of their child, and it can be difficult to manage.

The conflict between your husband’s mother and you is often rooted in the mother-in-law feeling a sense of loss as her child transitions into a different family.

She needs to protect and control her son but doesn’t realize that he has his own home now.

6. Inability to let go

Parental relationships need to evolve as children grow up and they build new families: it’s the normal cycle of life.

However, sometimes it’s really hard to let go, and this is when mothers-in-law cause problems. For many of them, it can be hard to let go of their son or daughter after they have been a major part of their life for so long.

They can’t accept the fact that their child is now starting their own family, has responsibilities for other people, and isn’t around all the time.

Therefore, they put a lot of pressure on both partners, which causes conflict and can even ruin marriages.

7. Refusal to respect the couple’s boundaries

Many couples struggle with the issue of their mother-in-law not respecting their boundaries. It can be difficult for couples to cope with their mother-in-law’s refusal to respect the boundaries they have set.

A common thing that a mother-in-law does is that she expects to be included in family events that the couple would like to keep private, which can be especially difficult if she doesn’t live close to you.

This way, she constantly tries to intrude on their personal space, and nobody likes that, right? As a result of wanting to control your life, there are often all too frequent phone calls.

This can be especially difficult if you have young children and the mother-in-law is calling to check in on them, which may seem as if she’s intruding on your family time.

8. Passive-aggressive behavior

a sad woman is sitting leaning on the couch

If your mother-in-law exhibits passive-aggressive behavior, it can be challenging to maintain a good relationship.

This toxic behavior is usually what keeps newly married couples from building strong relationships with each other’s parents.

A passive-aggressive mother-in-law may make rude comments about her son’s wife, criticize her decisions and viewpoints, or simply avoid eye contact.

This behavior is often subtle, so it can be difficult to notice and handle.

9. Lack of empathy

You must have empathy and understanding if you want any relationship to be successful, but we all know this isn’t always the case with mothers-in-law.

Often, mothers-in-law are seen as intrusive, demanding, and lacking in understanding of the couple’s needs and wants. Some of them are difficult to get along with when it comes to a couple’s relationship.

She may have unrealistic expectations or no consideration for your feelings, which often may seem as if she doesn’t truly care about you.

10. Pitting the spouse against their child

One of the most damaging effects a mother-in-law can have is pitting her child against their spouse when she bad-mouths you for no valid reason.

This is especially noticeable when she tries to convince her child to take sides after an argument.

Your partner may feel like they are trying to put out two fires, and even though they love you and want to have a good relationship with both of you, under constant pressure, they’ll need to pick a side.

If your partner takes your side, your mother-in-law may use the silent treatment as revenge and cause even more tension.

11. She always comes over unannounced

When it comes to marriage, most couples strive to make it a happy and peaceful union.

Unfortunately, this can be difficult to achieve when a mother-in-law constantly comes over unannounced. You may think this is a silly way mothers in law ruin marriages, but trust me, it’s more common than you think.

When she comes over unannounced, it’s like a breach of privacy and trust, and in fact, it’s extremely disrespectful to the couple’s privacy. You aren’t respected and valued even in your own home.

12. She doesn’t value your opinion

mother-in-law and daughter-in-law are arguing

Many mothers-in-law may have a hard time recognizing their son or daughter’s spouse as a valid individual in the family and, most of the time, won’t even value their opinion.

All they believe in is their mother-son relationship and nothing else. This comes from the fact that she desperately wants to take control of your family.

Even if she does not directly express her desire for control, her actions may suggest she does. For example, if your mother-in-law consistently overrules your opinion or treats you like an outsider, it may be a sign that she is trying to maintain control.

5 Ways To Deal With Your Mother In Law

two women are sitting on the couch and talking

It can be difficult to find balance between respecting and honoring your mother-in-law while ensuring your needs are met.

Fortunately, some strategies can help. Here are five ways to deal with your mother-in-law:

1. Communicate openly

Open communication is essential in any relationship, especially when dealing with issues with your mother-in-law.

It can be difficult to approach a tough conversation with someone who holds a special place in your spouse’s heart. Still, open communication and honest dialogue can help you resolve any issues.

Prepare yourself to be as respectful and diplomatic as possible and avoid personal attacks or criticism. Because remember how you’ve been hurt when she says mean things about you. Do you really want to be just like her?

2. Set boundaries

One crucial part of dealing with your mother-in-law is to set healthy boundaries. Try to be clear about your expectations, what you want and don’t want.

Respect each other’s space and privacy and try to convince her that she shouldn’t take certain things personally.

Talk about how you’re two completely different people and have different perspectives on raising children. Let her know that she needs to respect that.

3. Your happiness is also important

A difficult relationship with your mother-in-law can be a major source of stress, especially if you live together.

The first step in preserving your happiness is to have a united front with your partner. This means that you and your partner must agree on how to handle your mother-in-law, and you should never disagree in front of her.

The second step is to maintain healthy boundaries with your mother-in-law, as we’ve already discussed. Set clear boundaries and warn her that you’ll distance yourself from her if she doesn’t respect them.

4. Maintain your own identity

First and foremost, remember that your marriage is only between you and your spouse, no one else. You should never feel pressured to change your identity or give up who you are just to please your mother-in-law.

So try to openly communicate with your partner about your problems with their mother and be clear about what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable from your mother-in-law.

If your spouse takes their mother’s side during every argument, it’s a warning sign that you’re married to a mommy’s boy.

5. Seek support from friends or family

Seeking support from friends and members of the family is important when dealing with problems with a mother-in-law.

Friends and family can provide a safe and non-judgmental environment to discuss the issues at hand. They can help you understand the situation better and provide different perspectives, which can help you to find a solution or make better decisions.

Friends and family can also offer emotional support and help ease any feelings of loneliness!

The Role of In-Laws in Divorce

In-laws can often be a major source of conflict in marriages and can even lead to divorce.

While the in-laws themselves may not intend to cause any harm, their presence and opinions can create tension between couples and become a major source of stress.

In some cases, in-laws may offer unsolicited advice or criticism about the marriage or how one partner behaves. This can lead to feelings of resentment and cause couples to doubt their relationship.

In other cases, in-laws may be overly involved in a couple’s life, causing them to feel like they have no privacy. This can cause serious marital issues, where the only solution is to get a divorce.

The Impact of In-Laws on Marriages: How Many End in Divorce?

There is no empirical evidence to suggest that marriages involving in-laws have a higher divorce rate than those without in-laws.

However, studies have found that couples with higher levels of in-law conflict have a higher risk of divorce than couples with lower levels of in-law conflict.

Additionally, couples who experience more negative interactions with their in-laws are more likely to divorce than those with more positive interactions.

Overall, it’s difficult to say that in-laws alone cause divorce, as this is a complex issue. However, research does suggest that couples with in-law conflict and negative interactions with their in-laws are more likely to divorce than those without such issues.

Can A Marriage Survive Toxic In-Laws?

For many couples, the reality is having to deal with toxic in-laws, which can put a strain on their marriages. But, can a marriage really survive a toxic mother-in-law or wife’s father?

Having to deal with toxic in-laws can be very stressful for a marriage. After all, it can be difficult for a couple to be happy and feel secure in their relationship when they’re constantly dealing with negative and controlling behavior from their in-laws.

This can lead to tension and resentment between the couple, which is also one of the reasons many marriages end in divorce.

However, if you set healthy boundaries or distance yourself from toxic in-laws, and if you truly love each other, nothing can stop you from being happy.

Last But Not Least

In conclusion, the relationship between mothers and their children-in-law can be difficult, and a failure to navigate it properly can have disastrous results.

Now you know how mothers-in-law ruin marriages: lacking empathy, trying to control their child’s life, and not respecting their spouse are the most common ways.

Both sides need to recognize potential areas of tension and strive to maintain an open and respectful dialogue.When you have honest communication and show empathy and understanding, the relationship with your mother-in-law and you can become a source of support and love!

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