Why is my Daughter-in-law so Competitive

Question: Dear Luise: What makes a daughter-in-law think she needs to compete with the love between mother and son. She is always trying to find something wrong with me to cause trouble. L.

Answer: Dear L.: We can go nuts trying to figure out why other people do what they do and why they’re thinking what they’re thinking. The truth is, we make sense to ourselves and they make sense to themselves. We can also go round and round in our heads trying to figure out why one person picks another person.

The mother-son thing can be pretty powerful. Questions regularly come into my site about what to do about it when it goes wrong between a mother and her adult son…and when it’s too tight, things can get pretty messy as well. In the middle someplace is what many people think has the potential to be the world’s best relationship. Yet, when that does occur, there are those who resent it…feel shut out and even try to destroy it.

You are stuck with the dynamics that your daughter-in-law has set in motion and since it’s her stuff, there’s really nothing you can do about it. Your son can’t fix it, either. You have to become a super-diplomat, which is totally unfair. However, what you’re up again isn’t supposed to be fair…you’re the “bad guy!” Logic also has no place in the whole setup.

Every time you get a chance, see your son on a one-to-one basis. That works. The rest of the time, do the best you can to stay out of your daughter-in-law’s way thus giving her as little ammunition as possible for future trouble making. And wish them well. He picked her. There must be a reason. Blessings, Luise

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