Why do mother in laws cause problems? Why do they forget that their disruptive behavior could only result in destruction in the peaceful environment of their own house and cause differences among the family members?
Why do mothers let their son marry in the first place if they cannot get along with a new family member in their house? How did they felt when they were treated unequal or made felt left out or like an outsider in their own house and if they were blessed to be not treated like this then why are they doing so?
In this blog, let us understand the varied approach mother in laws adopts in the different types of marriages. Before we try to throw some light on, why do mother in laws cause problems, let us try to understand the different types of marriages in India in context with underpinning cultural barriers and how it correlates with each other.
Why do mother in laws cause problems?
Just because you get your son married to someone and that someone is somehow an important part of your family you find it hard to accept her as your own. The most disturbing factor of a marriage is the mindset of the mother in law. Her right mindset could set things right from the beginning and teach a lot of things to the daughter in law. But why do they choose the other way wonder? Understanding the main problem here varies from mother in law to mother in law as there exist 9 types of Indian mother in law.
With the reference of the prevailing customary thought process, societal rules and regulations, and different types of marriages which I will be stated below, we can infer that maintaining or nurturing a marriage is not at all an easy walk and have no happy ending on its own, we have to work out ways to make it a happy living while we travel towards the ending. But before that, we need to understand the problems.
Different types of marriage struggles in India
Marriage is not only about choosing the right life partner but also about getting to stay with the right in laws. It is applicable for both men and women; no one knows what kind of in laws they are going to land up with. We are still struggling a lot in choosing the life partner of our choice, especially if a girl is not into an arranged marriage she is considered being too advanced and is also presumed to lack cultural values. This is an entirely different topic to be discussed, which we will surely discuss someday but in this blog where we are trying to figure out why do mother in laws cause problems, let us start with the marriages and the levels of problem it may cause into family and relationships.
The made in heaven concept. The common and the most acceptable way of marriage in India. In this form of marriage parents choose the perfect life partner for their son or daughter and they try to pick up the best one. But if we think from the bride and the groom’s perspective, have we been picked up by the good one? or at least by the ones who are manageable? Who knows?
We will only come to know this once we enter the family. In this type of marriage, the only liberty is that the mother in laws and other family members choose the life partner on their children’s behalf, so no blame game is played here and both the families feel equally responsible for any future situation.
Mother in laws here feels the social pressure to some extent and at least tries to maintain a social image in public gatherings or family outings. Although the problem of getting along with the new daughter in law is persistent in this form of marriage also, on the other hand, the new son in law gets the VIP treatment which creates a scene of inequality in the mind of a daughter in law. For further nudges, you can refer to one of my blogs in which I have provided a complete guide for handling in laws in India.
In love marriage, the girl and the boy are the decision-makers; they choose a life partner for themselves and want to marry each other at any cost. So here the chords of the relationships with the in laws are already detuned because a son would go to any extent to marry the girl of his choice. This immediately causes a sense of jealousy and annoyance in a mother or soon to be a mother in law. Do mother in laws get jealous too? Yes.
The basic factors like financial background, caste, and cultural differences and sometimes religious differences create a lot of havoc and panic before both the parents agree to the marriage, and sometimes they do not agree at all. Just imagine the by-product of such marriages, where-in the in laws were completely against you and over the period just for the sake of their son or daughter they had to give up and agree for the marriage? Will it be a happy ending? The major issue in any love marriage is that the girl or the boy is always judged and criticized over their family background, upbringing, family values, and religious beliefs. Let us further dig and divide love marriages on castes and religious parole.
- Inter caste marriage
I am a North-Indian married to a South-Indian, our marriage is a by-product of one year struggle of convincing and making peace between both the families. My family made peace with this decision of mine long ago and have beautifully accepted my husband as their son in law. But my in laws still find it a bit difficult to see me beyond my culture and traditional values, although which never comes in their ways. It is like a never-ending argument between karma and dharma. We cannot be changed, we can either accept and embrace it or carry on with the feeling of disgust throughout our lives.
- Inter-religion marriage
Now, this is the problem of all the marriages. Where two religions collide, it triggers a lot of rage, anger, and feelings of disrespect towards other religious beliefs. Parents do not even hesitate to opt for heinous acts like honor killing. The whole integrity and family values are put at the question when a girl or a boy decides to step out of their religion and choose a life partner. Just imagine the level of the problem the daughter will be facing when she will turn into a daughter in law in such a household and then you will understand why do mother in laws causes problems in marriages.
Although there have been glorious incidents where things worked fine despite inter-caste and inter-religion marriage arrangement between two families but the ratio is very, very less and the ones who are still struggling need to find their ways out to balance the harmony in a family and relationships.
Useful Read: 25 Self-Help Books You Must Read in 2020
Four reasons why mother in laws cause problems in marriages
Why do mother in laws cause problems? When you are into a disturbing situation, reasoning the problems becomes a little difficult but we as a daughter in laws try to understand the mindset of our mother in laws, we can deal with them. You can also refer to my blog wherein I have stated a few handy ways to deal with Indian in laws which will surely help you.
|2. Cultural barriers|
|3. Jealousy and insecurity|
|4. Overpowering nature|
Acceptance comes from within when you decide to see a person as he or she is. Beyond the background that a person represents. It is only when you get to know that individual and learn a few things about him or her, which helps to nurture a relationship. The basic problem here is, if a mother in law does not accept her daughter in law as her own family member, the girl will always suffer in silence. This cause severe mental distress in daughter in laws while staying with such in laws. Mental stress in unseen but it causes several underlying issues in the future. Maybe there would be no fights, not many arguments, but your existence is not there a subject of interest and it will bother you a lot.
When you ponder into thoughts like why do mother in laws cause problems, why is it so hard to deal with her? You start doubting yourself but you get no answers, genuinely mother in laws also has no answers but they fail to accept a girl as their daughter in law and share the house with her equally just because of acceptance issues. It somehow becomes hard for her to see someone else in their son’s life and making a space in her house.
I will begin by saying that all the barriers are mind-made. After all, we all are human beings, some born into different families, different cultures, and religions but still, we have this ability of adaptation and adjustments. If given the right space and opportunity, any human can make efforts to adapt to any situation. But the problem occurs when a mother in law starts labeling, criticizing, and judging a daughter in law on her upbringing, family values, and her maternal lifestyle.
The average age of an Indian girl for a getting married is around 22 -25 years, now imagine when that girl has lived her life in a certain way in her house in her environment, how will she change completely over a night? Many girls either give up or become a rebel in this process because they go entirely clueless on how to approach things and whom to ask, a mother in law who is already defensive of her ways will never help her to adjust and settle down.
Why do mother in laws cause problems? Due to some contradiction in beliefs and cultures. What is good in one’s culture could be presumed bad in another culture but this is the way someone was bought up and taught, you cannot expect someone to unlearn everything but yes you can give her time to learn new things? I am always criticized as I don’t speak Malayalam, allow me to tell that it is one of the most difficult languages to learn. I found German easy than Malayalam.
Even after trying hard and Googling my way out to make fair attempts, I could never match with the exact tone or dialect, and whenever I opened my mouth to say something I was criticized for not speaking in Malayalee. Honestly, I don’t even speak Marwari, which is my native language, but no one questioned me for this before my marriage. How do things change after marriage, and how do such small things take a shape of big problems? Welcome to Cross-Cultural Marriages.
3. Jealousy and insecurity
The most common answer to your question, why do mother in laws cause problems. A lady who is now a mother in law has lived a life in that house as a sole manager, taking care of her family members, and being there for her son. Now when she sees someone else doing exactly the same thing for her people, unknowingly she develops a sense of insecurity within herself. Right from how the food tastes to how have you folded the laundry? Such small issues become a topic of unpleasant conversation in the house; it becomes a daily routine and creates unnecessary stress on the environment.
She starts to believe that the new daughter in law will overtake her and also steal her son from her. It is her possessiveness and jealousy, which leads to a serious series of troubles in the relationships of other family members with the daughter in law. In my last blog titled, seven reasons why mother in law gets jealous, I have elaborated on this aspect of the reasons behind jealousy in mother in laws and how a daughter in law can help to create an understanding environment.
4. Overpowering nature
Now when you have learned about the different types of marriages in India and the problems which each type of marriage could trigger, you would understand that the overpowering nature of the mother in law could just act as a catalyst to all the mentioned problems.
Why do mother in laws cause problems? Maybe it’s her nature. An overpowering nature is the sign of insecurity and domination; it causes trouble not only to the daughter in laws but to the other family members as well. The other family members are bound to support the mother in law in front of the daughter in law who is still an outsider in the house as compared to a mother. But in the long run, they too lose control, especially men of the house, either they stop paying attention to the non-stop bickering and complaints or they take their own stand.
Here the desire to pull someone down is so powerful that the person fails to see the right and wrong in it. She starts comparing and being critical about everything, which weakens this relationship even more. It goes to an extent of beyond repair sometimes, just because of the unnecessary built-up rage against a daughter in law.
How a problematic behavior of a mother in law affects the whole family and relationships?
There are things that are beyond our control and amending a person’s behavior is one of them. Making him see things from our view or simplest view is very difficult at times. Relationships are very complicated, fragile, and vulnerable. Although they do not come with a warning sign saying, ‘handle with care, there are meant to be tackled very carefully.
If you are still wondering why do mother in law causes problems, now think about the ripple effects her problems could cause in a house.
- Stressful environment at the house
- Disturbed conversation among family members
- Bitterness in the relationship of husband and wife
- The son feels trapped between two important women in his life
- Father in laws have to support mother in laws
- If a daughter in law tries to voice out, she is labeled
- It causes mental stress in the long run
- Constant bickering and complaining take away the peace and prosperity of the house.
In the end, I would like to say that no matter what a person chooses to see in another person, but he can surely choose to see something good in that person. There is not even a single problem that cannot be solved over a conversation, but the biggest problem is we don’t want to talk and address the issue, rather we keep on making it worse, which takes away the peace and harmony of the house.
I hope my message reaches someone who can take such steps and set an example for others.
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.