10 Things You Wish You Could Say to Your Mother-in-Law

Updated on May 23, 2019
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Lana is a freelance writer, blogger, and editor who helps women to regain their power after experiencing toxic relationships.

Is your mother-in-law getting on your last nerve? Do you find yourself having mental arguments with her long after she's gone? Do you constantly think about the things you'd like to say to her?

If that's the case, you are a ticking time bomb about to explode. You've held your tongue for too long. The next time she steps over the line, you might just give her a piece of your mind. But let's face it...you probably won't. Part of you thinks it's your husband's job to lay down the law to his mother. Part of you is afraid of making it worse. Part of you is just struggling to find the right words.

But if you were to find the courage, what exactly would you say? To help you out, here is a list of top 10 things daughters-in-law want to say to their mothers-in-law.


1. This is none of your business

Be it my marital disputes, my clothes, hairstyle, tattoos, financial status, religion or lack thereof - this is none of your business. Discussing it with me, my husband or anyone else is simply out of line. Quit sticking your nose where it doesn't belong!

2. I appreciate the advice but I will make my own decisions

A little advice can be helpful, when it's asked for. But inserting your opinion into everything I do and without any prompting from me is rude and meddlesome. Because guess what? When I hear unsolicited advice from you, I take it as criticism.

3. Please call or text before coming over

Where are your manners?! I wouldn't dream of coming to your house unannounced, yet you have no regard for my time and space.

And another thing...If you think that the best way to visit our family is to barge in unexpectedly when the dishes are piled up in a sink, the kids are running amok and my hair is tied in a greasy bun atop my tired mascara-less face, don't be offended when you're not welcomed with open arms.

4. Stop fussing over my husband

To you he will always be that cute little boy that used to run around naked in your living room, but he is a grown man now. Treating him like a baby may take you back to happier times but it's actually detrimental to his marriage and life in general.

Instead of attending to his every whim as if he was helpless, encourage him to take initiative. He's perfectly capable of washing dishes or doing a load of laundry.

5. It hurt my feelings

I know you don't like me but it doesn't give you the right to talk down to me, belittle me, or otherwise hurt my feelings.

Your passive aggressive remarks are just as hurtful as open insults. And when you say things like that, it's hard for me to be around you.

6. My kid, my choice

You may not agree with how I raise my child. You may think it silly. But it doesn't really matter.

I respect your age and experience but what you did as a mother doesn't concern me. I am the mother now and I will make all parental decisions together with my husband, and no one else.

7. Talk to me, not about me

I know I'm not perfect. I know you wish I did certain things differently. And I know I may have inadvertently offended you from time to time.

Don't just write me off as rude, selfish or ungrateful. If you have an issue with me, talk to me about it. Bring it up (politely) when we're alone and I promise you, I will be open to your feedback. Not only that, I will have so much more respect for you as a person.

8. Don’t rearrange my house

I know you think that you know better where everything should go because you're such a natural housekeeper, but it's my house, even if it doesn't make sense to you. I like it this way, so respect that.

Also, stay out of my fridge. Unless I explicitly ask you to help, don't force your help on me.

9. Accept me for who I am

I’m tired of trying to please you, and still feeling like you'll never accept me for who I am.

I am not the same as you. I grew up in a different time and environment. I have different views, tastes, dreams, aspirations. It doesn't mean that I'm not as good as you or that you have to try to change me into who you want me to be.

10. Stop acting holier than thou

You like to toast to family at dinners. You speak of how important family is, especially when a lot of people are listening. You say that God wants us to be close, to love and support each other, to go to events and religious services together. You talk the talk but you don't walk the walk.

If you were truly a woman of God, you'd show it with your actions. You would not be bashing me to anyone who'd listen. You would not be disrespecting my choices as a wife and mother. You would not be quietly hoping for me to fail so you can say: told you so. We are family; act like it.

Just because you go to church and follow religious ritual doesn't mean that you are morally superior to me.
Just because you go to church and follow religious ritual doesn't mean that you are morally superior to me. | Source

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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Lana Adler


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      • profile image


        5 months ago

        Im not married but engaged. From the beginning, my fiancee's mom was very overbearing and judgemental. She constantly talks bad about me and a lot of other people. She even went so far to tell my fiancee that, i didnt love his children or mine. I overheard her whispering this to him. It hurt me so bad. This was 5 years ago and i still hurt from that statement. She is so fake too. She acts different around people. But thank God, people have told me that they feel her negative energy. I love my fiancee but i cant take this anymore. Im hurt more than happy. How can i walk away. I have no saved income, im living with my fiancee's Mother and Father and they make him feel guilty to leave. Hes like the financial cushion. I feel i need to leave but i dont know where to begin. I stay thinking i won't let her win, but i dont care anymore. She literally makes me sick. Literally. Smh

      • profile image


        19 months ago

        My gosh, I’ve gone through these scenarios in my head so many times!!! My mother in law is the most toxic person I have ever met in my entire 28 years of life

      • Kate Author profile image

        Kate Fulford 

        20 months ago from London

        Great piece, Lana - it's the very topic in my novel, just released!


      • profile image


        20 months ago

        Great! Thanks for sharing the information. That is very helpful for increasing my knowledge in this field. https://www.askmile.com/blog/narcissistic-mother-i...

      • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

        Lana Adler 

        20 months ago from California

        Thank you, Louise. I'm glad you found some things in my article useful. I suppose it can be applied to any toxic person in your life

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        20 months ago from Norfolk, England

        Thankfully I always got on very well with my mother-in-law. There's some useful things in this article though.

      • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

        Lana Adler 

        22 months ago from California

        Hi Keke,

        you are so welcome, and I feel for you sister!

        I too was faced with similar dilemma when I married my husband. I'm very sensitive to people with toxic energy and typically I would distance myself from them because they make me not just uncomfortable but physically ill or extremely drained. But how do you do that if it's someone you can't get rid of? I had to improvise.

        Of course, having children is tricky when you have a grandmother like that. Issues are guaranteed because somehow she'll feel that it's her child too, and that she'll know best what's good for said child. I deal with that constantly. And I noticed that whereas before I was willing to tolerate her heinous behavior for the sake of peace, when my baby is involved I am much less patient or even polite. I speak up a lot more, say no, and in general resist her attempts to control everything. Of course, that doesn't buy me any points with her. Enter silence treatments, complaints to my husband, attempts to go over my head to see the baby etc. That's OK.

        Like you, I'm also not gonna tolerate her disrespecting me but wanting to be in my child's life, very actively so. Not gonna happen. So yes, it is a work in progress )

        Stand in your power, and you'll be fine :)

      • profile image


        22 months ago

        Wow! I needed to read (hear) all of your posts on this topic. Thank you! I thought I was alone. I’ve shared with my husband some time ago that his mother was toxic to me- to the point is causing chest pains everytime her name is mentioned. I recently realized that her issues are not about me, but that I represent everything she lost, including happiness. I’m still processing this, but I’m on the journey to healing. I’m also reflecting on what I’m supposed to learn from all of this.

        I’ve just never had to deal with someone who is so miserable and destructive. I usually disassociate myself with people like her, but I feel/felt like I can’t/couldn’t because she’s my husband’s mother. I’ve even begun to set boundaries (in my head, of course) on when we have children. I want her to have a relationship with her grandchildren, but I refuse to expose my children to this toxicity or allow her to have a relationship with them but disrespect me. The Lord is still working on me with this.

        Anyway, thank you for sharing. It’s been very comforting and therapeutic.

      • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

        Lana Adler 

        23 months ago from California

        Hi it's a mystery,

        it's almost impossible for people with toxic personalities to admit that they've done something wrong. And if you try to call them out or confront them, they'll just turn on you in the most vicious way possible. Make up with her, be cordial, but limit your time with her, and never forget who you're dealing with. Good luck!

      • profile image

        It's a mystery 

        23 months ago

        I have a mother in law that I've always thought highly of.I happily call her mum n if I'm honest thought was pretty Damn perfect as mums go.I realised she had a close relationship with her son and believed it to be sweet a good sign a man who loved n respected his mother that much brilliant father and perfect hubby faults an all.I've soon come to realise this is only the case whilst she is getting her own way.manipulation towards my husband and blatant denial to me are causing issues.I became so upset I didn't tell me husband I printed off and gave him a copy of our conversation in text.he's addressed this she's sworn on our religion it's lies n text me further vowing to destroy our marriage split us up and calling me a bitch n not fit to be a wife of her son.How on earth do I explain I am no threat too her I want her involved in our life in a huge way but this is just not acceptable?

      • kalinin1158 profile imageAUTHOR

        Lana Adler 

        23 months ago from California

        It was. These days I only write what feels good :) And you're right, writing smth like this can be very therapeutic for anyone with an MIL problem.

        That behavior is super annoying. I deal with the same. I wonder if it really comes from confidence and narcissism or is it some deep-seated insecurity?

      • letstalkabouteduc profile image

        McKenna Meyers 

        23 months ago

        I bet it felt good to write that down, Lana. I think all of us daughters-in-law could benefit from writing a similar list. All I've ever wanted from my mother-in-law is to develop a relationship with her grandsons. I've done all I could to facilitate that, but she has no interest. She'd rather stand back and think about how she did everything better than I'm doing. That makes her feel superior and, oh, so good. Maybe, that's just human nature, but it's so annoying.


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