Family

Mother-In-Law Talking Badly About You? Here's How You Can Handle It

Like we've seen on The Real Housewives of Potomac, when your partner's mom hates you, things can get ugly.

The Real Housewives of Potomac's Monique Samuels has had a horribly strained relationship with her mother-in-law over the years. It got so bad even her husband, Chris Samuels, stopped talking to his mom after she called Monique a “heifer.”

“Chris has not talked to his mom since he found out about what she was calling me behind my back,” Monique shared this season. “But regardless of what name she wants to call me, it's very important for me to see Chris maintain a healthy relationship with his mom because I'm a mom. I can't imagine little Christopher not talking to me.”

Monique gave an update on how things are going with her mother-in-law during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, saying: “We're good. We're cordial. We're OK.”

“We actually had Christmas together. We all went down to Florida and rented a beach house and all of the family was there. My kids got to see everyone, so it was nice,” she said.

The Real Housewives of Orange County castmember Shannon Beador has suffered her own drama with her mother-in-law Donna, who gossiped that she believed Shannon had “pushed” her ex-husband (and Donna's son) David Beador, to have an affair. Shannon made sure throughout the fighting that her kids would still have a good relationship with their grandmother. And Monique is doing the same.

“I always made an effort to make sure that my kids get to see their Grans, especially for the holidays, because we travel a lot. Sometimes, we're so busy, but I'll say to Chris, 'All right, let's go. We've got to go down to Virginia Beach and go see your folks.' I'm the one that's always spearheading that relationship,” Monique has said. “Just the thought of my kids one day hearing what she said about their mother, it does make me uncomfortable, and more so for the fact that they might have a tainted view of who their grandmother is. So that's something that she's going to have to explain to them. But I'm always going to encourage a relationship between my kids and their Grans, because I think that's an important relationship to have.”

Mother-in-laws can be your best friend or your worst enemy, and when it’s the latter, life — and your relationship — can get rough. What can you do when your monster-in-law just seems to hate your guts … and tells everyone exactly how she feels?

“You are in it for the long haul with your mother-in-law so don’t make an issue of everything she says or does that drives you crazy or makes your blood boil,” advises Fran Greene, relationship expert and author of Dating Again with Courage and Confidence: The Five-Step Plan to Revitalize Your Love Life After Heartbreak, Breakup, Or Divorce. “It just isn’t worth it. On the other hand, you can let her know in a matter of fact way that ‘so and so’ told you something she said about you. You have now outed your mother-in-law and hopefully she will cease and desist. If it happens again, you can gently and calmly tell her that you want her to come to you first before she discusses her concerns (not problems) about you with others.”

Should you bring it up the bad blood to your partner?

“Don’t badmouth your mother-in-law to your partner,” says Greene. “As much as you want to complain and bitch about your her to your partner, it could unwittingly put him or her in the middle and choose sides. Instead ask your partner for his or her advice on how to best deal with her since he or she knows her the best and the longest.”

Should your partner end up choosing sides, make no mistake, it should be yours.

“Your partner must support you and your marriage. It’s not about choosing sides, it’s about your partner setting boundaries for your mother-in-law and telling her it’s not okay to badmouth you,” Greene says.

And remember to ignore MIL until you have calmed down. Responding when you are pissed can have repercussions for a long time to come.

“Never respond when you are angry. Anger has a funny way of letting our guard down and your brain doesn’t filter what comes out of your mouth. So, for everyone’s sake, don’t respond or react until you are calm and not foaming at the mouth,” says Greene. “You should discuss this with your partner and it’s recommended that you both are present if you bring it up this with your mother-in-law. Sometimes ignoring gossip is the best thing to do because it does not fuel the fire.”

According to Psychology Today, one in four daughters-in-law despise their mother-in-law. Many claim their MIL is “controlling,” “rude,” “bitchy,” “judgmental,” and that they receive unwanted advice on their parenting skills. Psychology Today suggests a way to get out the anger you feel for your partner’s mom before you explode.

“Before you can take on your parents-in-law, especially your MIL, you need to give yourself a time out (and on more than one occasion) to evaluate the situation and develop a game plan that’s right for you. Find a quiet space, free of distractions, where you can note everything that has taken place to date,” they report. “Allow yourself to process the list, mulling and fuming over it — getting all feelings out — until you can revisit it with a calmer frame of mind. This will enable you to constructively take on the situation, coming from a more rationale versus emotional space, in moving forward. With or without empathy or sympathy, try to see your MIL’s side of the story and how her behavior may be a symptom of larger issues she has with herself and her relationship with her son — and not you. In some cases, his mother’s hostility towards you is an act of frustration over being disconnected from him. If this is the case, this is something that your husband needs to work on with his mother.”

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