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Thursday, 14 September 2000

My Lying Mother-In-Law

Written by  Toby Klein Greenwald

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My Lying Mother-In-Law

QDear WholeMom,

What shall I do with a mother-in-law who lies and turns everything around to make herself look good and me bad in front of the rest of her children?

Had Enough

ADear Had Enough,

Conflicts between in-laws are as old as the state of marriage! Adam and Eve were probably the only couple who never had trouble with in-laws. (Hey, who was God going to get in conflicts with - himself?) It is a rare mother-in-law who can watch her daughter/son create a new family cell with another person without experiencing a sense of loss. Before all you mothers-in-law out there jump at that statement, remember, I said "rare," so you might be one of the rare ones.

But your situation sounds extreme, even in the milieu of classical in-lawing. You don't give details about how long you've been married, if she was happy with your marriage to begin with, if you come from different backgrounds or religions or social status... or if it's just a personality conflict. There are many factors that can exacerbate a situation waiting to happen. Or maybe she just has her own problems in life and she's using you for a scapegoat because she doesn't want to alienate her own family or friends.

In any case, you're wondering, having said all that, where do you go from here?

I suggest you don't try to defend yourself and give up trying to make your mother-in-law or the rest of her children like you. The only child of hers you should be concerned with is your spouse. To your mother-in-law and your brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law I say: Be polite. Don't be apologetic. Don't complain and don't explain. Your life is with your spouse, not with them, and you don't want to alienate your husband/wife by being rude to his/her family. Therefore you have to maintain good relations but don't kill yourself trying to get them to think you're right or you're a good person or you're a loving child-in-law. They will ultimately respect you for it, even if they don't like you. If she's their mother also, deep down inside, they know what she's like, even though they won't admit it to you, the outsider.

So send her flowers on her birthday, be pleasant, remind yourself that you're a bigger person than she is and get on with your life with your (hopefully) loving spouse.


Last modified on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 17:12
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Toby Klein Greenwald

Toby Klein Greenwald

Toby Klein Greenwald, Executive V.P. Creative Development, is a founding partner and the editor-in-chief of WholeFamily. Toby is an educator, journalist, photographer, scriptwriter, poet, playwright, lyricist, and theater director, including for populations that have experienced trauma or are at risk. She is a Playback Theater conductor and is the recipient of Israel's Ministry of Education's Egerest Award for Culture, for her work in educational and community theater. She has more than 30 years of teaching experience and has served on numerous educational think tanks. Her specialties include the creation of innovative educational programs, and teaching Creative Writing and Film to AD(H)D and LD high school students, and to senior citizens. Toby is married to Yaakov and they have six children, most of whom have made her a proud mother-in-law and grandmother.

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