Sad to say in a modernised economy like Singapore, we are still very much part of the "Asian-Mother-In-law" syndrome, where culture depicts that a large percentage of mothers-in-law tend to treat their daughters-in-law like "slaves"....okokok let me choose a nicer word -- 'minions'.
No really, I am not kidding! (If you haven't notice that the character for slave, 奴, includes the character for woman, 女 inside!)
Everytime, I talk to my married friends, I hear their remarks about their mothers-in-law : "It's so frustrating!" or "I am tired of her snide comments, horrid attitude, crazy mood swings, self-pitying and negative behavior." It seems to be the norm when girlfriends gathher to always make fun of the 野蠻 mother-in-law, who is usually portrayed as a human mastiff -- abusive, vile, aggressive vicious and controlling.
I am always doted on by everyone, and therefore have never experienced such "drama" but, I would usually listen to my peers sharing with each other advices on how to handle difficult mothers-in-law. So here are some of the examples I consolidated.
She spends so much time watching tv that she thinks that the same situation or scene from the drama shows would occur to her and she acts out on it. She is absolutely paranoid, and loves to put everyone down. She says things like "You are a loser, you are unfillial, I truly regret giving birth to you! You are a waste of life!" This is what we would call a true maniac and the perfect candidate for the IMH!!!
In fact, most of such mothers-in-law is suffering from THE-I-HAVE-NOTHING-TO-DO syndrome!!!!!!
Or even better yet, give her something to do -- a baby to take care of. *coughcough*
p/s: Just go home and punch your pillow when your mother-in-law is doing one of her stage acts.... hahahahah...
THE SUAKU Mother-in-law aka the old school mother-in-law
This mother-in-law has little appreciation for the "fashion" and trends of the modern society. She is super traditional, conservative and usually such mothers-in-law has spent their entire life as a housewife. She disapproves of what you wear, hates the way you are so open-minded, regularly puts you down and detests everything you do. It seems impossible to ever be in her good books, no matter how hard you try.
This is the mother-in-law might actually be from a rural village from a third world country.
Well, because she is the mother of your husband, at the very least you should do is to show respect for her values -- no matter how ridiculous it may be. At least when you are around her, try to understand that everyone has different ways of doing things and different concepts because of the way we are brought up. All these values are cultivated from young. SO... if the issue is clothing, as daughters-in-law, we can compromise and dress more 老土 aka conservative just to please the elderly.
Try not to discuss opinions so that she is not able to criticise you on being so open-minded. Try to shut her out when she puts you down. Try to ask her for instructions before you do anything for her so as not to be criticised and blamed for things that are not done correctly. And if something goes wrong, you are not to be blamed, after all, all you did was to follow her instructions. Learn to accept that you may never get her approval, and just do your best.
When you are alone with your husband, try to explain to him how you feel. It is important for husbands and wives to have open communications so that your relationship can grow. It is important for husbands to understand that their wives are also humans and are affected by words coming from their mums.
I myself do not enjoy being around negative people, so whenever I hear criticisms that are deemed not constructive, I would start pretending that there is a song in my head and continuously sing my "happy song" silently in my heart and in my head. I would try to do what I can and try to accept that I can't please everyone; as long as my hubby understands and loves me, that is all that matters.
Hahahahaha.... *cheeky smile*
THE KPKB Mother-in-law aka the catty & naggy mother-in-law
In short, she is suffering from BIPOLAR disorder + OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOUR + irrational feelings of "losing out to others".
This mother-in-law wants to be worshipped and bowed down to. It is a constant power struggle with such a person. To her, everyone is always a competition. Well, in order to make everyone happy, it is important to react in a manner that lightens the tension rather than add oil to fire. One good way is to make a joke out of the situation. By laughing it off, sometimes, it distracts her from her constant self-pitying woes.
Try not to take everything to heart. Remember that humans has a pattern of relating to one another, and the only way to break a pattern is when one person changes their reaction.
That said, as husband and wife, both of you should understand that "BEING OLD" is not an excuse for behaving badly and hurting others with your words. Both of you should recognise that your mother-in-law's attitude could cause strife between the two of you, and that both of you should learn from her example and never do the same for your FUTURE daughter-in-law. And such mother-in-laws need to understand that by consistently nagging and being so negative, is simply pushing people away from her.
For me, I would try my best to satisfy my mother-in-law should she fall under this category. I would also try not to make her feel left out and suggest a system where we would meet once a week for a family get-together. However, if it is beyond my means, I would understand that she herself is not perfect and her seeking perfection from everyone else simply shows how irresolute she really is. If she is able to do everything perfect, she would not need to be critical, she can simply take over the chore/ job herself and do a better job -- or so she thinks. Sometimes, such people needs to understand that,"Things are always easier to said than done."
So far so good, everything is awesome with my in-laws. And as usual I am very doted upon by the hubby, despite me being quite naughty
Super grateful that I am blessed with my hubby who thinks that my antics are cute... lol.. =p
What about you peeps?!??!?! Do you have any funny, exasperating mother-in-law stories to tell? If you do, email to me at : firstname.lastname@example.org
I am sure we can all have a good laugh about it!!!!
P/s: Don't worry I wouldn't share your personal stories on my blog.... unless you give me permission to, of course! ;)