Does your mother in law give you anxiety? Does her mere presence around you make you feel anxious, worried, or uncomfortable? How do you deal with it?
Anxiety, in general, is used for situations wherein a person feels restless or panicky. But there are different types of anxiety, from generalized to severe and it could be a result of disorder with the individual if he/she faces frequent episodes of panic attacks in a given situation.
In this blog, we will try to understand what we could do in such a situation, but before that let us understand what anxiety is and how it affects us.
Does your mother in law give you anxiety? Let us figure out
It is very disheartening to be treated unequal and being disrespected by your mother in law. Very few are blessed to be around a mother in law who makes a daughter in law comfortable and feel at home. It becomes worse when you have to stay with such a mother in law who demeans you and criticize you for everything you do.
How long will you please and try to fit in, when the other person is adamant about her views and opinion about you? You can only try but you cannot force yourself over others and make them love you or like you. There comes a time when you feel saturated and overwhelmed by whittling yourself. Going out of the way to make others happy is what we have seen our mothers doing for ages and we are expected to do the same but for how long we all want to be the character of the same old mother in law- daughter in law sad story. Why can’t we get along as individuals?
While these questions keep on pondering us and bothering us, we have to understand that all this should not affect our physical and mental state. There is a deep interrelation between your mental health and physical health, both are deeply interconnected.
What is anxiety and why do you feel anxious around your mother in law?
It is quite natural to feel feared, worried, and tensed in the presence of a person who puts you in an awkward position and also leaves no chance to humiliate you, even in family gatherings. How will you save your sanity while staying along with someone like this?
It could be a little less stressful when you don’t stay together and just have to meet her in intervals. You at least get a little breathing space, which is very essential for your mental health. Does your mother in law give you anxiety? Do you feel neglected and left out? Does it make you uncomfortable?
Let us first understand anxiety in general and try to discuss the reasons you feel anxious in the presence of your mother in law.
What is Anxiety?
Does your mother in law give you anxiety? And what is this Anxiety? Let me start by rephrasing the umbrella term, anxiety in the order of its emergency for attention, which will help you understand where do you find yourself when you are around your mother in law:
|1.) Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD
It is your response to things in the form of unrealistic and unnecessary worries, tension, and agitation. You become too anxious about things with little or no reason. Suppose you have to cook a meal for the guests, your arrogant mother in law has invited for the dinner at your place today. Just because it is your mother in law’s guest and you have to cook, you start feeling tensed and worried, you even doubt your own cooking skills and fear of being labeled as a bad cook. All this leads you to overthink overall and you don’t even realize how bad it can affect you in the long run.
|2.) Social Anxiety Disorder
Does your mother in law give you anxiety? Yes, she does, if she makes you uncomfortable in social gatherings as well. Social anxiety disorder is also known as social phobia, wherein a person is presumed to be shy or an introvert, but it is a condition in which you feel overwhelmed, you worry and fear about socializing in your day to day life. You fixate on others judging you or being humiliated by others. The most common fear in any daughter in law’s mind, in order to look perfect and put the best foot forward. If she doesn’t meet the set benchmark, she is labeled and judged which makes her very anxious.
|3.) Panic Disorder
During a panic attack, we feel sweaty, might have chest pain, feel palpitations (irregular heartbeats). One might also feel that he/she is choking or going to have a heart attack. This is a little extreme situation when an underlying issue has been prevailing for long and has not been addressed. It only worsens when you are in the company of a mother in law who causes problems for you.
What causes anxiety and how does it affect you when you are around your mother in law?
As per researchers, it is believed that anxiety stems from a combination of the things, including changes in your neurological area, environmental stress, and it could be even genetically transformed into an individual. Talking about environmental stress, it does include climate, atmosphere, pollution, social conditions, and people we live with. Just in case if we are staying with someone who hates us and dominates us, imagine the level one’s anxiety will elevate to? And who will take responsibility?
Five reasons your mother in law give you anxiety
Does your mother in law give you anxiety? If you feel the answer is yes, then I would also suggest you read this book, You Can Heal Your Life by Lousie Hay, as you turn pages you will discover how external factors affect us deep inside and you will realize how important it is to take charge of our lives. I have heard and seen cases where a daughter in law gives up on the complete idea of being an ideal daughter in law and runs for her life to prevent losing her mind. Here is why:
|1.) She never supported you|
|2.) She never made you feel comfortable|
|3.) She competes with you|
|4.) She sees only bad in you|
|5.) She demeans you|
1.) She never supported you
The day you got married and entered your new house, apart from being loaded and burdened with expectations you were also dreaming of a new life. Your house, your new family, and how you will just win everyone’s heart with your charm. And then the reality hit, at least for 95% of women it does. Part and parcel of living with in-laws.
You call your mother in law “MOM” just because she is your husband’s mother but does she gives you love and support as she does for her daughter? Isn’t this her duty to support you in the new environment?
2.) She never made you feel comfortable
As I mentioned in reason number one, it is her duty initially to make you feel comfortable with the new environment, make you understand the likes and dislikes of the other family members, that is how you get to know each other, right? Before handing over the kitchen and household to you, she needs to tell you things or two about the taste and preferences of the family members.
She assumes that you have come trained by your mother and that’s when the problem begins when expectations start clashing and crashing.
3.) She competes with you
Yes, she does, she dislikes it when you get appreciated or complimented. She hates it when someone puts you over her and talks about you in front of her. It makes her very uncomfortable. She competes with you being possessive about losing her authority and status in the family and social groups.
She dislikes being secondary to you, although you have not harmed her directly she harms you directly by labeling you and passing snide comments on you.
4.) She sees only bad in you
No matter how hard you try to fit in, she sees you as a competition and gets jealous of you. She prefers to say ignorant towards you in such a manner that she also tries to manipulate or gaslight your husband about you. Which ultimately starts affecting your relationship with your husband too.
Does your mother in law give you anxiety? Why not when all she does is trouble your life and disturb your mental state?
5.) She demeans you
Things really get worse when she humiliates and demeans you in front of other family members, guests, or relatives. A narcissistic mother in law is someone who will never think twice before putting down her own daughter in law in front of others to overpower her and show the world that she runs the house.
Five ways to deal with a mother in law who cause you anxiety
It is a silent cry for many daughters in law to go through such a situation in her daily life. But is there something we can do to stay sane while dealing with our toxic mothers-in-law who pulls our anxiety triggers every now and then?
|1.) Stay away from triggers|
|2.) Work in silence|
|3.) Detach emotionally|
|4.) Do not expect|
|5.) Do not react|
1.) Stay away from triggers
Now when you are married and living in the same house with your mother in law for a while, you must have identified your triggers, even if you are newly married you know what turns you off and puts you in a restless and panicky mode. I know situations demand different reactions but you have to practice self-control to save yourself some sanity.
2.) Work in silence
You need to adopt this practice right now, stay at peace with yourself. You don’t have to prove things to anyone, overpower anyone. The more you will try to fit in and adjust yourself the more you will worry over things that are beyond your control. Why do you want to stay stressed over things which will never turn out fruitful?
3.) Detach emotionally
I know it sounds like a bit of too practical advice but that’s what your nasty mother in law is all about if she would have been even a little bit of emotionally attached to you, she would have surely cared about you like 5- 10 % of mothers in law do. But since we are not blessed to have such a mother in law around us, we need to maintain a healthy emotional distance, stay respectful, do not lose your kindness and generosity but not at the cost of your mental peace.
4.) Do not expect
This is one practical suggestion which works for every relationship. Your mother in law is a part of your life and not your life, but if we expect a lot of things from our mother in law then we precisely are being unreasonable. We need to find our own positive space away from all the negativity and that is when you gain the strength to overcome such hardships of daily life.
5.) Do not react
The best revenge is no revenge, hence the best reaction is no reaction. The more you will react the more your anxiety level will increase. For now, maybe you are facing generalized anxiety with a given situation, if this problem persists for months it might make you panicky and lead to a terrible mental state. Let her say whatever she wants to, you don’t have to put your energy into reacting to irrelevant things.
What could be the general symptoms of anxiety?
- Not being able to stay calm and still/ restlessness
- Sleep problems
- Panic, fear about everything
- Heart palpitations
- Tense Muscles
- Low energy
- Excessive worrying
Dear ladies, in the end, all I would say is please take charge fo your mental health, no one else will do this for you. We have to take care of yourself daily and maintain a healthy boundary from anything and everything which causes drama and negativity in our life. Stay safe, take care of your mental health, and take care of your family, your kids need you the most and to nurture them you need to nurture your mind with positive thoughts.
Priyanka Nair is the author of 26 Days 26 Ways for a Happier you and Ardhaviram. An NLP practitioner and Founder of Sanity Daily, helping you prioritize your mental health. Let’s build a happy community.