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A Meddlesome Mother-in-Law Issue? Win Your Battle a Smart Way

Val is a life-long student of unexplored human potential and many challenges that self-honesty throws at us on that path.

She either becomes your "second mom", or someone you don't want much around.

She either becomes your "second mom", or someone you don't want much around.

I can't believe she lived this long; God must be avoiding her.

-- Brian Francis

Time to Wake Up, Girl!

When that love of your life said that solemn"Yes, I do", little could you have known that he was also saying it on a behalf of his mother, who didn't waste any time to take an active part in your marriage.

Nothing looked overly suspicious about her eager help in the wedding planning and preparations. Actually you were so grateful for her willingness to take care of every detail. It also seemed alright that she asked if you guys could drop her at her home on your way to the airport for your honeymoon.

And then, how could you see anything strange about your hubby spending some time sitting on the beach and talking on his cell to his mom, who wanted to share his joy of the honeymoon while asking about, well, almost every detail of it.

However, as it's been poetically said, "filling the glass with wine looks alright until the moment it overflows."

Surprise!!! Guess, who has come for dinner!

That moment came for you right after your honeymoon, as you were approaching your home, now both sweetly tired from trip and too much fun.

While you were stepping into your house -- right there she was, with a big smile, open arms, and the table set for the dinner for three.

At that moment you didn't even know how you blurted out: "I didn't know you had the key of our place." Well, she did, and somehow she also "forgot to hand it to you late that night".

Some mothers-in-law just won't accept their boundaries.

Some mothers-in-law just won't accept their boundaries.

I love my husband too much to let some witchy woman ruin the thing we have.

-- Unknown

The Unholy Matrimony Triangle

Now, why is it that some, not all mothers-in-law, have that need to meddle in their son's marriage? My own, bless-her-soul, was nothing of that kind, but I have seen or have heard of quite a few who would belong to that unholy category.

One in particular that I had a chance to witness proudly called her daughter-in-law her "right hand" in the business of her son's marriage and household. I almost blurted out: "Shouldn't it be the other way around?", but I didn't want to lose the long friendship with the guy over it.

Needless to say, little of that friendship went sour at that moment in the department of respect, but that's not the only example when we keep some of those friendships for sake of old times.

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So anyway, the reason that seems prevalent in those cases have a lot to do with their son's marriage being a breath of fresh air in their life which has become one long boring routine. Maybe even reminding them of their own wedding and the rest.

But then, there are those with a little more sinister motivations. The first coming to mind is a notoriously old and strong emotional tie between mother and son, which probably inspired those fathers of psychology for the expression "Oedipus complex".

According to the classic times mythology, king Oedipus allegedly married his own mother—hence the expression. In a much milder form, we could regularly witness it, and it's even accepted as cute and normal to see fathers-and-daughters, and mothers-and-sons as having a little more pronounced emotional bond between them.

So, as the case may be, the old woman is unconsciously fighting to stay the Number One woman in her son's heart.

No wonder those fathers of shrinkology bothered to give it a name.

Something almost unreal, while actually quite common, could be observed in mothers who can't sever that emotional umbilical cord connecting them with their son.

You might even see it as somewhat "sinister", as such a mother doesn't want to share her son with another woman, making sure to spoil their little romance -- which inspired those fathers of psychology to call it "Oedipus complex".

According to the classic era story, king Oedipus married his own mother -- hence the expression. We may recognize the phenomenon of this pronounced emotional tie between mothers-and-sons, and fathers-and-daughters even these days, albeit in much milder form, and never involving church bells, of course.

But jealous mothers certainly belong into an unhealthy version of that innocent phenomenon, and those are the ones we are talking about.

Marrying a "mama's boy" calls for some extra strategies, when that umbilical cord was never really severed at birth.

Marrying a "mama's boy" calls for some extra strategies, when that umbilical cord was never really severed at birth.

"Dear mother-in-law, I don't need you to teach me how to handle my children, I live with one of yours and he needs al lot of improvement."

-- Unknown

Have You Run Out of Names Yet?

However, we are not talking here about that proverbial mama's boy syndrome, but rather about a mama's victim, with a young dude lacking a backbone to tell his overbearing mother to buzz off. Now not that he never tried, but early in his life he gave up after having noticed how miserably his father had failed while trying the same.

It's about a possessive and overprotective mother who just can't emotionally afford to share her son's heart with another woman.

Usually such husbands suffer a great deal, as they are feeling torn between the two women of his life and trying to avoid a confrontation in which his will would be tested.

The situation may evolve into something downright sickening, as the young couple's good heart simply can't put the old woman in place.

Mothers like that may be extremely manipulative, and if they can't secure enough attention as "decision makers", they may play a "constantly sick" card ad nauseam. Actually, they may even get really sick from something of psycho-somatic variety -- that's how strong is their resolve to keep their son's attention on them.

Other than constantly calling and visiting with her health complaints, and lurking for even a smallest opportunity to be "helpful with an advice", or to "offer a good-natured criticism in matters of their running their household, she will also need him for her too frequent checkups, doctor's appointments, and therapeutic treatments.

Unfortunately, over a time, it's not only that she is the only one with those health issues, but her son may also come up with a diagnosis or two, out of enormous pressure of trying to be both, a goods husband and a good son.

You don't win your husband back by going emotional -- but smart.

You don't win your husband back by going emotional -- but smart.

I told my mother-in-law that my house was her house, and she told me: "Get the hell off my property."

-- Joan Rivers

You May Be Younger, but You Could Also Turn Out to Be Smarter

So, what do you do with a husband and a mother-in-law like that, after having said loudly (or in your mind) every version of: "You should have married your mother".

Your friends ran out of advice long ago, while you may even have noticed some poorly covered signs of their getting tired of your story's every new chapter added—while possibly having more than enough of their own soap opera at home.

Is there a way to get your husband back from the emotional stranglehold of his mother? Is there a wire cutter sharp enough to cut that steal umbilical cord never severed properly at his birth? Of course, after so many temptations, putting a few drops of arsenic into her coffee is out of question, and so is strangling your hubby at his sleep on one of those sleepless nights.

And how could you convince your kids that grandma is just bribing them against you with all those hidden chocolates that you are not allowing.-- for more health reasons than saving on dentistry bills.

Is there a way out of it, other than those few violent ideas that you just can't help getting while trying in vain to fall asleep at night?

Yes, never give up!

Well, you may try a couple of sneaky strategies to get your husband back. So far you know that a direct confrontation doesn't work, as every time you just came out as "unappreciative, mean", and what not.

Sometimes not quite sure whether your husband has joined him mom at secretly badmouthing you.

An ideal outcome would be if the change came within him -- even her, right? -- with your strategies not looking suspicious, right?

Let's see what could turn out to be effective, maybe even "magically effective".


And no matter what it would be, you should never lose it from your sight that you are not there for a "revenge", but for helping your beloved husband to grow out of that emotional slavery to his overbearing mother.

Friends can play a role in making him wonder if "he is enough".

Friends can play a role in making him wonder if "he is enough".

God said: "I cannot be everywhere, so I created mother". -- Devil replied: "Even I cannot be everywhere, so I created mother-on-law."

-- Unknown

An "Affair" With Female Friends

Like it's been announced—there are couple of very promising things that you could do.

The very first that comes to mind would be a strategy that we might call "making your husband wonder."

Nope, I am not suggesting that you make him jealous—at least not in that classical way—but to make more dynamic your interacting with your female friends.

The rule number one is that through the whole thing you absolutely stop all usual complaints, and even display a new satisfaction with your life—while you are spending some more time on that cell yapping and laughing, and even going out for coffee with them.

What bothers every young husband the most—other than cold feet—is a worm of doubt that he may not be enough of man, in any meaning of expression. By seeing you suddenly happier than before—because of your friends—will make him wonder if you are missing something that he hasn't got and what only friends could provide.

He may also become suspicious that you are confiding to them, and his mama's boy status may come up with some laughs. Well, as long as you don't overdo it, he can't have a legit excuse to confront you about it.

It goes without saying: no matter what you do, bite your tongue before you would say anything resembling to: "I have to have someone to understand me".

Or even worse: "My friends are more fun than your mother"

A BIG no-no!

Again, remember, you are not doing any of it out of a spitefulness or for a revenge, but with a future vision of having a happy and healthy marriage.

Use your female intuition to play it in moderation, but still obvious enough to make him wonder. You can even start telling him about the news in lives of your friends, or some funny moments of your spending time with them.

The whole idea is that he suddenly sees you more satisfied in your life—without him contributing to it.

Initially he may probably go somewhat confused, while not knowing whether to like that change or not. For one thing, it will surely be a great relief since his mother is not on a constant repertoire of your talks at the dinner table.

But then it will start creeping into his mind that that you are giving up on him and stopped fighting for his exclusive love.

Somewhere around that time, the big question may start obsessing his heart: how much you mean to him and how to give you that something what your friends are giving you. It may be the time for that heart to start maturing for marriage, while making a clear distinction between love for a woman and love for a mother.

It may end up as a life long honeymoon, that victory making it even more precious.

It may end up as a life long honeymoon, that victory making it even more precious.

Adam and Eve must have been the happiest couple because neither of them had a mother-in-law."

-- Unknown

For a Happy Ending

Another word of warning:

No matter how tempted, DON"T reveal your little game to your friends. Trust me on that one. So much gets watered down in your resolve, beside losing its genuine, solemn, and private meaning of salvaging your love and your marriage.

So, if you are not telling your friends about your bedroom experiences, treat this one with the same respect.

Now, at the same time while you are performing this little routine of making your hubby wonder, start being extra nice to your tormentor-in-law. Yes, you read it right. As a matter of fact, do your best to get on her nerves with that niceness.

Call her about that pain in her arm, or neck, or that sciatic pain, or anything from her complaining repertoire. And don't forget to say a few times anything that sounds like: "You poor thing, it must feel terrible".

Then beat her with her own weapon, by constantly worrying if she is eating right, and telling her what she should change in her diet. Then play on her conscience by asking her at the first chance if she has done anything about it.

Well, maybe she should skip that third coffee, maybe her mattress is uncomfortable, or is it her pillow that needs to be changed. Maybe she should lose a few pounds; maybe at her age she should force herself to drink more water, since older folks don't get a clear signal from their body that they are thirsty. How about supplements that she should take for that lack of energy.

Keep nagging "for her own good". You see, no one can blame you for being extra nice to your dear "second mom".

Niceness in excess can be just as annoying as animosity -- so make your niceness really excessive. Overdoing it is the key, because less than that may only backfire by making it feel as "appeasing".

Be nice, nice, and nicer than that.

Then maybe sooner than you expect it, she may stop visiting so much, now almost scared that you may answer the phone instead of her son. Drive her nuts with your niceness. Manipulative mothers-in-law want control, not to be pitied, not to be advised, not to be almost patronized with constant "care".

She is bound to feel disarmed by facing her own weapons boomeranging back at her. And then, the process will not be unnoticed by your husband, who will gain a new courage to join you in your little racket, while seeing his mother's manipulative strategies collapse.

Without any resistance on your part, you will get your hubby back

And then the two of you may start living happily ever after.

A Short Video About Boundaries of Mothers-in-Law

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Val Karas

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