Relationships with in-laws can be difficult to navigate at times. This is why so much has been said about the touchy uncertainty of mother and daughter-in-law relationships.
While much of the conversations tend to center around toxic mothers-in-law, what are you supposed to do when it’s your daughter-in-law that’s creating an unhealthy relationship dynamic?
If your relationship with your daughter-in-law has been filled with strife, then you may be wondering what the issue could be.
Does she feel uncomfortable around you or does she simply not like you? Accepting the woman that your son has chosen to marry is important to maintaining your relationship with them both. That’s why it’s important to know if her distant behavior is stemming from her being a shy person or her not liking you at all.
Pay attention to these signs your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you to help you better navigate the situation.
Why Do Daughters In Law’s Dislike Their Mothers In Law?
Cultivating a healthy relationship with your daughter-in-law is imperative to the health of your relationship with your son and current or future grandkids. However, you may not notice when you’re the one creating an environment that breeds resentment and dislike from her.
Many times, she may not like you because she feels as though you’ve made no real effort to get to know her. If you haven’t been expressing interest in who she is or what she likes then that may create a feeling of animosity.
She may also feel like you criticize her parenting skills or don’t appreciate everything she does for her family. Pay attention to the way you treat her.
Other times, it may not have anything to do with you. Sometimes we’re simply dealing with an unfriendly daughter-in-law who has preconceived ideas about what a relationship with her mother-in-law should look like.
It could be quite possible that all of her friends have terrible relationships with their mothers-in-law and she may assume that this is how every relationship with an in-law will function. Your son may also not help the situation if he doesn’t have the most positive things to say about you.
Mothers-in-law are also often portrayed as manipulative and controlling in many movies and other media sources. While you may not embody any of these traits, she may have come into the relationship with her guard up from the beginning due to these unfair portrayals.
14 Signs Your Daughter-In-Law Doesn’t Like You
Have you noticed some off-putting behavior that makes you feel like your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you?
It can be hard to decipher someone’s actions, especially if the behavior is subtle and passive. That’s why it’s important to know the signs that more or less confirm what their behavior means.
If you’ve been struggling to figure out what’s going on, here are the main signs you have a daughter-in-law that doesn’t like you.
#1 She tends to ignore your text messages or phone calls and you rarely ever hear from her first
What happens when you call your daughter-in-law up? Does she answer your calls for the most part or do you notice that every phone call winds up going to voicemail? She could be busy with work, kids, and keeping the family together but if she’s ignoring every call that’s a bad sign.
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If you’re not the one reaching out, do you ever hear from her first? A daughter-in-law that cares and appreciates your relationship will be willing to put in the work to maintain the relationship.
However, if she’s constantly dodging calls, keeping phone calls brief, and doesn’t ever reach out first then she’s avoiding you. This is a clear-cut sign that she doesn’t want to speak to you and most likely doesn’t like you.
#2 She always finds an excuse to avoid seeing you or hanging out alone with you
As humans, when we don’t like someone we’re going to want to limit the amount of time we have to spend with them.
If she’s always finding excuses as to why she can’t come over to see you then she probably doesn’t like you. If you have to practically beg her to spend time with you or you only ever see her at family events, then she’s making a conscious decision to avoid you.
Ditching plans or refusing to make time for you is a clear sign that she feels some hostility towards the relationship between the two of you.
#3 When she does attend family meetings or events, she goes out of her way to avoid being alone with you
If she doesn’t like you, you’ll begin to notice her alienating you at family events as well.
She’ll be sure to keep her distance and even actively avoid being caught alone with you. Once you do happen to catch her alone, she’ll go quiet or may even begin to look disgruntled.
She may even pretend like she doesn’t know much about the topic of conversation brought up or she may not bother keeping the conversation going. Either way, if she’s displaying these types of actions, then she probably doesn’t like you.
#4 She never reaches out to you when you or the family is going through a loss or a tough time
Does she happen to forget to call and check up on you after the family has suffered a great loss or when you’re sick?
As a member of the family, caring about what happens to you or someone else in the family is important for the relationships to flourish. If she never calls to check-in or to express her condolences, then she is actively avoiding becoming close to you.
Or if she does call, she makes sure the conversations are short. Overall, she makes sure to cut the number of interactions she has to have.
#5 She doesn’t call on birthdays, anniversaries, or other big milestones
How does she typically act on important dates? A daughter-in-law that has a healthy relationship with her in-laws will make sure to, at the very least, call on birthdays, holidays, and other important family dates.
While it’s perfectly normal for her to forget a birthday or an anniversary once in a while, if she’s always letting these milestones go by without a call or anything then it shows a complete disregard for you and the family.
#6 She doesn’t come over to visit whenever your son does
This one can be tricky, especially since you aren’t her mother. It would be unreasonable to expect her to visit every time your son does.
After all, she has her own family to visit as well as friends and work and other life obligations. It’s perfectly normal for her to be busy sometimes. However, she should be visiting with your son at least half the time that he comes over.
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If she’s always busy every Sunday at the same time your son comes over then she is avoiding coming over. This is a pretty clear sign that she doesn’t like you.
#7 She’s nicer to other family members and makes the effort to speak with them and nurture the relationship
This is one of the most obvious signs that you’re dealing with a toxic daughter-in-law. How does she treat other family members?
Is she incredibly warm and friendly with them and then suddenly goes cold once you enter the picture? This could be an indicator that she doesn’t like you.
However, be sure to keep the situation in perspective. Does she happen to get along better with these family members because she’s closer in age with them or has more in common?
It’s important to pay close attention to how she reacts when you come along. If she tries her best to include you in the conversations and is genuinely happy to see you then there’s nothing to worry about.
But, if she immediately closes up or tries to put a distance between the two of you, then that’s a bad sign.
#8 She’s suddenly the sweetest person in the world when your son is around but is ice cold when it’s just the two of you
Once again, this one involves considering other factors. If she’s more talkative when your son is around, there could be several reasons for this.
For starters, she may just feel more comfortable and at ease when he’s around. After all, if there are any awkward silent moments she can rely on your son to help pick the conversation back up.
When it’s just the two of you, it may put more pressure on her to keep the conversation going, even if she has nothing to say.
However, if she completely ices you out when it’s the two of you then that’s not a good sign. Examples could include her not bothering to keep the conversation up at all or even actively being rude or purposely being disagreeable with you.
It’s perfectly normal for her to feel uncomfortable being alone with you at first. But if her behavior leans more toward being unpleasant, then chances are she’s not the biggest fan of you.
#9 She makes passive-aggressive remarks towards you or even subtly belittles you
Being passive-aggressive towards you or making snide comments at your expense is one of the most obvious toxic daughter-in-law signs.
Does she make incredibly unkind or even cruel comments at your expense and then try to play it off as a joke? While playful jokes can be done in good taste, it can be easy to disguise unkind comments as a ‘joke.’
Some people’s families make poke fun or are silly towards one another, there’s a clear difference between that and disrespectful remarks. If she’s constantly being mean towards you, then she’s making it clear that she doesn’t like you.
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#10 She quickly gets on the defense with you
This one will depend on how you treat her. If you’re constantly criticizing her or critiquing her as a mother, then it will make sense that she would be quick to be defensive around you.
However, if you’ve reflected on your behavior and know that you don’t engage in this type of nit-picking, then her being on the defensive is probably unwarranted.
If her initial reactions to you are always irritated and annoyed, then this is a clear sign she doesn’t like you.
#11 She and your son spend most of the holidays and weekends with her family
For this one, the situation will really depend on a few factors. Proximity to one another will play the biggest role. If her parents happen to live a short drive away while you live a few states away, then she will of course be seeing her family and bringing the grandkids there more often.
However, you can begin to suspect that she has ulterior motives if you’re all equally as far away from each other.
Balancing the holidays and the weekends can be difficult for any family. But if it’s just as convenient to drop by your house after her parent’s house or vice versa and she doesn’t make the effort, it could be because she doesn’t want to see you.
#12 She never comes to you for any advice and completely brushes off your feedback
As a mother, you are filled with years of wisdom. Maybe she doesn’t feel comfortable being that open and vulnerable around you. Or perhaps she has always followed the advice of her mother or another older, wise person in her life.
There are many reasons why she may not come to you for advice, but if she never even asks for your simple opinion on something then that’s a pretty big red flag.
When we ask someone for their feedback, it’s a way of letting them know that we value what they have to say. If she’s never even asked you for any sort of advice, then chances are that she doesn’t like you or value what you think or have to say.
#13 She never uses any of the gifts you give her and doesn’t display anything you get her
When you go over to their house, do you ever see any of the gifts that you’ve given them? Maybe you got her a sweater that your son told you that she really wanted and you never see her wearing it.
Or maybe you gifted them a gorgeous China set and she has never used it or placed it on display for guests to see. When you happen to ask her about the gifts she always has an excuse as to why they’re not being used.
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Perhaps the sweater just so happened to have ripped in the dryer or pieces to the China set broke. It can be hurtful to see the gifts you’ve taken the time out to purchase be overlooked and underappreciated. If you’re noticing this kind of behavior then it’s definitely not a good sign.
#14 She refuses to accept any help from you
Maybe you know that she and your son are running into a financial hiccup and you want to help out by gifting them some money to get them by.
Or maybe you’re willing to help babysit over the weekend so that the two of them could go away for a romantic getaway.
If you offer to help time and time again and she consistently refuses, she may have a problem accepting help, or she may not want to accept your help in particular. When she does accept your help, she does so reluctantly.
3 Reasons Why Your Daughter-In-Law Doesn’t Like You
Healthy relationships are a two-way street. There are several reasons why a daughter-in-law may not like or get along with her mother-in-law.
While some factors may include how you treat her, there are others that are completely out of your control. Here are the main reasons why your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you.
#1 She has misconceptions about what a daughter-in-law and mother-in-law relationship should look like
As mentioned previously, the media tends to portray mothers-in-law in a bad light. Quite often in television shows and movies, they are made to look like manipulative and controlling women who go out of their way to hold onto their sons in any way that they can.
There are tons of jokes made online about how toxic mothers-in-law can be and so many women often vent with their girlfriends about their terrible relationships with their husband’s mother.
As her mother-in-law, you may have to come to an understanding that she may be keeping her distance from you out of fear.
She may assume that you have ill intentions towards her and she may even think that you want to stand in the way of her marriage. It can be hard to accept how vilified this role is in the media, but coming to this understanding can help you better relate to her.
If she dislikes you and you know for a fact that you do not portray yourself as the nosy, overbearing in-law, then it may come down to a simple misunderstanding.
Maybe she has trust issues with regard to getting close to you. It may all boil down to her misconceptions about what your relationship together is supposed to look like.
#2 She feels like you are always criticizing her parenting style and interjecting when not asked
Parenting criticism from a mother-in-law is quite often unwarranted and uncalled for. In fact, many of the disagreements that happen between parents and grandparents are about parenting choices.
As a grandparent, it is perfectly normal to want the best for your grandchildren. After all, you raised your own kids and you’re pretty proud of how they turned out. However, this is her turn to parent and by interjecting with your own thoughts and opinions, you may quickly alienate her and begin to destroy your relationship.
Making comments about how you disapprove of what’s being served for dinner, how they discipline their children and more will only lead to constant fights and resentment.
Another big issue that causes unnecessary strife is when your daughter-in-law attempts to set a boundary and you take it personally. If you begin to avoid your grandchildren out of spite this will, in turn, cause a chain reaction of frustration on everyone’s end.
She may begin to see you as a manipulative person, willing to neglect the grandchildren in order to get what you want. If this all sounds familiar, then this may be one of the biggest reasons why she doesn’t like or get along with you.
#3 The two of you have differing views on what makes a “good wife” or a “good mother”
Gender roles have changed so much over the past few decades, especially since you first got married and started having kids.
These days, women are getting married much later, starting families later, and are focused on furthering their careers before settling down. Many men have begun to help out in the house with daily chores, cooking, and even being more hands-on with the children.
Such huge differences can definitely create some tension between you and your daughter-in-law if you happen to have a set idea of what the best wife and mother looks like for your son and grandkids.
Perhaps you believe that a woman should be at home with the kids and cooking every night for her husband. Or maybe you believe that a woman should be contributing half of her paycheck to the mortgage payment and not fully depending on a man.
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Either way, disagreements about gender roles can begin to play a huge role in many fights with your daughter-in-law. If she doesn’t like you, it could be because you place unrealistic expectations on her about her role in the household.
She may feel like you’re overly critical of her and how she chooses to contribute to her own household.
5 Toxic Daughter-In-Law Signs
In the same way that parents, grandparents, and even friends can be toxic to our relationships, so can our in-laws.
This is the type of person who no matter how well you treat them, always finds a way to bring their negative energy into the space. Dealing with a toxic daughter-in-law can be especially difficult as she is responsible for raising your grandchildren and being a caring spouse to your son.
For many of us dealing with this kind of situation, it can be emotionally exhausting trying to figure out how to handle the situation.
If you feel like you may be dealing with this kind of situation, keep these toxic daughter-in-law signs in mind to see if your hunches are true.
#1 She limits the amount of contact you can have with your son
This one is an incredibly obvious sign of many controlling daughters-in-law. One way that she is able to impact your life negatively is by creating a barrier between you and your relationship with your son.
A strong relationship with your son is a huge part of how much you’ll be involved in his life and his family’s life. If your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you and is a toxic person, then she will go out of her way to destroy this relationship in whatever ways she can.
She may talk badly about you to her husband and paint you out to be a villain. She may even over-exaggerate things that you’ve said or done in order to justify why she doesn’t want him talking to or seeing you as much. Her goal is to sever your relationship to maintain her power and keep you away.
#2 She doesn’t try to hide the fact that she doesn’t like you
She always goes out of her way to make sure that you know that she can’t stand you. This can play out passive-aggressively or she may even bluntly let you know.
She may get annoyed with every little thing you do or say. Or she may put you down in front of other family members and make you sound like you’re the toxic one.
She may even rudely respond to you in front of other family members and try to remind you of your “place” in the family dynamic. Her ultimate objective is to put you down to make herself feel better and more powerful.
#3 She displays incredibly selfish and narcissistic behaviors
One of the other clear signs of a bad daughter-in-law is a woman who is constantly displaying incredibly selfish behavior. What does she act like when you’re around?
How does she treat other people? She may just be the kind of person who only cares about herself and her own wants and needs.
When dealing with a narcissistic person, you’ll begin to notice that she’s only nice to you when she needs something.
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However, once she gets what she wants she’ll go right on back to treating you terribly or as if you don’t even exist. It’s all about getting what she wants and once you’re no longer useful she will discard you.
#4 She restricts how often you can see your grandkids to an absolute minimum and tries to vilify you to them
If your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you or is an overall toxic person, then she’s going to go out of her way to limit how often you can see your grandchildren.
Even the kindest and most supportive daughter-in-law will be protective of her children. After all, they’re her pride and joy and it’s completely understandable that she will want to be the main influence in their lives.
However, if she is a toxic person then this protectiveness will actually translate into overprotectiveness and possession over the children.
She’ll make sure that her family sees the grandchildren more often and she’ll find excuses to keep the children away from you. She may even begin to talk badly about you to the children.
#5 She talks badly about you to other family members and anyone who will listen
When she begins to feel like her power is being threatened or is feeling particularly vengeful, she will begin to bad mouth you to anyone that will listen.
She’ll go out of her way to try and ruin your reputation in the family and vilify you to everyone. She may even air her drama to her friends and her own family members.
It doesn’t even matter if the things she’s saying are all lies. She’s not above making situations and remarks up to make you look bad.
If you happen to confront her and attempt to set a boundary then she may even lie about talking about you to other people and deny the entire situation.
How to Deal With A Daughter-In-Law Who Doesn’t Like You?
It can be hard to know what to do when your daughter-in-law hates you. Working to improve the situation with her will involve building a lot of trust and mutual understanding. It will also involve the two of you being honest about what triggered the resentful energy between the two of you.
Perhaps you overstepped your boundaries without realizing it and she’s been holding a grudge ever since. It is also important to remember to welcome her into the family without having any reservations.
Your goal as the mother-in-law is to initiate the relationship and create an environment where she feels welcomed and safe. She may have been raised in a very different way than you as well.
It’s easy to misunderstand people’s behaviors and misinterpret the things that they’re doing. You may have misunderstood her behavior as being withdrawn or rude when she was simply feeling shy or uncomfortable.
Finally, if you’re dealing with an incredibly toxic and difficult daughter-in-law, then you’re going to at the very least need to create a respectful relationship.
Since she is married to your son she’s going to be a part of your family now. You’re going to be in contact, whether you both like it or not. You may not have the warm relationship you always dreamed of, but you can still be kind and respectful to one another.
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