Having a toxic mother-in-law can be exhausting and it could have a negative impact on your marriage. However, if you are not a hundred percent sure whether or not your mother-in-law is just having a bad day or she truly is toxic, here are 15 signs to help you reach a conclusion:
1. Boundaries Don’t Exist When It Comes to Her
Does she constantly pop over unannounced? Does she interfere in personal matters between you and your husband? Or maybe she makes decisions regarding your kids without consulting with you. If any of these are true, chances are boundaries are not her thing.
2. She Wants to Know Everything
Similar to the previous point in a way, but slightly less obvious — a toxic mother-in-law will try to eavesdrop on conversations. She might use the information learned to act behind your back, or even give her (unrequired) opinion on various matters that don’t concern her.
3. Her Opinion Is Always Correct
The unspoken rule of monster MILs (mothers-in-law) says that they believe they are always correct — even if they’re wrong! This can be particularly difficult. Therefore, a toxic mother in law often doesn’t respect your choices. Furthermore, she can even try to force her own opinion upon yourself.
The problem about this usually escalates when you take your kids over. The mother-in-law might undermine your decisions as the kids’ mother and that could be really hard to deal with without causing a scene.
4. Criticism Comes First — Judgment, Second
Is your MIL constantly criticizing you, no matter how hard you try? Does it seem like no matter what you do, she is watching you with judgmental eyes? A toxic mother-in-law knows exactly how to get under your skin. She basically tries to elevate herself by kicking others down.
5. She Acts Like You’re Invisible
An obvious sign that you have a toxic mother in law who dislikes you is that she often behaves as if you’re not there. She could have a conversation with your spouse about matters that concern the both of you, but ignore your input completely. The only time she sees you is when you can be useful for her.
6. Manipulation Is Her Main Weapon
A manipulative mother-in-law is more difficult to deal with than you might believe. She guilt trips you (and possibly your husband) into playing by her rules and, if you refuse to, she plays the victim. This could potentially have a negative impact on the entire family, so it’s a very delicate situation.
7. She Remembers EVERYTHING!
If you did something in the past that happened to annoy your MIL, she will bring it up time and time again. No matter if you apologize a million times, sing her songs of forgiveness, or buy gifts to appease to her, she never forgets. In addition, she will make sure that you don’t forget either.
8. Your Mother-in-Law Envies You
Despite her showing that she doesn’t care about anything that you do or accomplish, she actually does — a lot. But not in a good way. She’s jealous of you for having a relationship with her son, and for overthrowing her.
9. You Don’t Matter to Her
Does your MIL not give a dime about you or your life? No matter what thoughts or values you have, she simply acts like you don’t exist. In that case, chances are she’s probably made up her mind about you, and her egotistical self can’t bother to get to know you better.
10. “His Ex Was the Best”
Sometimes a toxic mother-in-law might pull out the “Ex” card. In that case, she might start complimenting your husband’s ex, despite not liking her at the time of their relationship. This is another way she is trying to get under your skin or make you feel uncomfortable.
11. Your Family Is Not Important to Her
She might consider her part of the family superior to yours and gives you clear signs of that. One such sign might be the way she talks towards them — your mother-in-law could be condescending or even passive-aggressive.
12. She Is Trying to Sabotage Your Marriage
If your mother-in-law is trying to sabotage your marriage behind your back, that’s a big red flag. She could try to talk smack about you to your husband, and give him various examples of how you are “not good enough for him.”
Furthermore, if she actively tries to do things which you don’t agree with only to spark conflict, it could be a problem. This behavior of hers could easily damage the marriage, so it’s important for both partners to be aware of it.
13. Compliments From Your MIL Are Almost Insulting
Whenever you get complimented by her, it feels more like an insult than a positive reinforcement. She could give you the “You look great for your age,” or “The color of your eyes draws attention away from your crooked teeth,” which is very hard to miss.
14. Your Mother-in-Law is a Hypocrite
Your MIL might seem like the most innocent and kind-hearted woman, but in fact, she is the devil’s spawn. While outside, in public, she could hide behind a benevolent persona, her intentions are never pure.
15. She Tries to Change and Control You
No matter what you do, you could do it differently according to her. “Micromanaging” everything that goes around her house might work for her family, but it becomes problematic when she tries to apply it to your family.
If your mother-in-law constantly gives you instructions about how to cook and how to take care of your kids the right way, it’s a clear as day sign she is trying to control you.
Conclusion — How to Deal With the Toxic Mother-in-Law?
There is not much you can do other than try to stay away from her and keep a cool head when she’s around. Just keep in mind that you are in control of yourself, not her. In addition, you could try to talk to your husband and explain the situation.
However, don’t expect a miracle change — after all, he is her son. Furthermore, chances are that if he talks to her about it, your toxic mother-in-law will dislike you even more!