q-100I can’t stand my mother in law. She is a very rude and insensitive person who is never happy with anything. Before I had a baby I could deal with it because I limited my interaction. But since having a baby I need to be around her more and even worse, my baby needs to be around her more. She constantly fights us on how we  tell her to care for our child. My husbands excuse for her is “that’s the way she is. Just ignore it”.  But it’s becoming harder and harder. I had a heart to heart with her explaining that we needed to communicate to make this work. It went in one ear and out the other. How can I deal with this? I know she has to be in my life because of my husband but I can’t take her negativity and sarcasm anymore. Help!!!




I’m sorry if you asked this question a while ago. It seems we may have had some technical problems.

Oh, it is difficult when you inherit in-laws sometimes. It’s difficult for both you and your husband, AND for your mother-in-law.  You don’t mention a father-in-law. Is he around? If so, what is his role?

One thing is certain: you and your husband must establish, express and maintain strong boundaries about what is OK in your house, your relationship and your family. Your mother-in-law has to be taught about those boundaries, and, if necessary, about the consequences of over-stepping them.

As this is your husband’s mother, you have already taken the first step that was his to take: to have a heart-to-heart with his mother. He is the one who needs to explain that this is your child and you two will create the environment that you want for the child, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. She had her opportunity to have that latitude and now it is your turn.

Has your husband sat down with his mother and explained these things to her?  If he has, did he then take it to the next level and say what the next steps you two would take if she continue to insert her unwanted opinions?  From what you have written, that seems unlikely.

The real issue you have is with your husband. He needs to step up. Ignoring her because “that’s the way she is” will not do any good for anyone. Remember, your mother-in-law is teaching the baby, just as you and your husband are, by what you do and say, and how you do and say it. The baby is picking up all the energies swirling around, including the tensions. That needs to be handled.

Have a heart-to-heart with your husband. Decide what is right for your family: your values, vision for your family, beliefs, traditions, etc.  Then, agree that this is for the two of you to decide as you embark upon creating your own family. Then, tell Mom. Tell her in a loving, matter-of-fact but immovable way: this is how we want our family to be.  Here’s what we need to have it happen.  Here is what we will do if you choose not to honor our wishes. There is no need to be unkind, just honest and firm.  Then, stick to what you said!

And, yes, it will be painful, difficult and complicated. BUT, it is setting the pattern for the rest of your life, and that’s worth doing.

If you have a further question, just submit a new one.  I cannot  respond to personal emails from this question area. I will respond here, though.

I wish you well.
Dr. Shaler

You can book an appointment to talk with me at http://OptimizeCenter.com/join  and we can meet on the phone or through Skype video.

226    Parents / In-Laws, Spouse/Partner  
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