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The real reason we hate our mothers-in-law.

You tell yourself she only wants to help. You tell yourself she is only trying to be kind. You tell yourself that she just wants what is best for her grandkids …..and yet you can’t help yourself.

Her grandkids.

She has a nerve.

How do you get along with your mother-in-law? Are you one of those unusual cases who feel they couldn’t function without her or are you the gritting teeth, holding back, secretly whispering a mantra type.

She’ll go soon. She’ll go soon. She’ll go soon.

About half the women described the mother-in-law-daughter in-law relationship as "hostile" or "difficult" Via IStock.

The daughter-in-law/mother-in-law relationship is one fraught with complications from the start but when you have children these seem to multiply and complicate.

In fact most women seem to have a fairly innocuous relationship with their mother-in-law until they have children.

According to the parenting website Netmums, one in four daughters-in-law actually “despise” their mother-in-law finding her “controlling.” The site found that the daughter-in-law’s resentment stemmed from the mother-in-law thinking that she was the authority on parenting and parenting skills.

In a study by the University of Cambridge two-thirds of daughters-in-law expressed the belief that their partner's mother is guilty of "unreasonably jealous maternal love".

Dr Terri Apter, who conducted the study,  said that about half the women described the mother-in-law-daughter in-law relationship as "hostile" or "difficult" with more than half of older women feeling "tense, uneasy and uncomfortable" with their daughter-in-law.

Two-thirds say they are excluded by her.

But these figures aren‘t anything new, back in 1954, a study showed that even then only one in four women liked her mother-in-law.

One in four. Thats a whole lota hatred.

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We’ve heard the tales, the interfering, the judging, that totally annoying habit she has of treating her son like he is still in primary school. The tendency to take over her grandkids lives and impose "her way".

But in fact, in many cases it is a two way street.

Complaints about daughters-in-law on the popular chat site “Gransnet” rage. From mothers-in-law who feel displaced to mothers-in-law who disapprove of the woman they feel displaced by.

One “Grandnet” user complains about the daughters-in-law who just “sit about on Facebook” while the men (their husbands) do “all the work including changing the sheets and washing and dry[sic] the girls clothes.”

Others feel excluded and like a second tier part of the family:

 “My DL is totally possessive with my son and doesn’t like him to visit us or my other son for more than 45 minutes she has a very insecure nature and sees us as a threat although none of us are. At the same time she spends full days with her family.”

My DL is totally possessive with my son and doesn’t like him to visit us or my other son for more than 45 minutes. Via IStock.

And more are in this vein; blaming the maternal granny “I do feel that at times mothers of daughters can be very insensitive to the needs of the other grandparents.  They could if they wished help their daughters to be more sensitive to their husbands need to have his family included. It is very difficult for husbands to insist on this.”

But complaints from daughters-in-law are just as plentiful. Take a look at this selection from Mothering.com:

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“She is a controlling, manipulative witch that my husband loves and adores” writes one woman

Another: “Just a couple of her latest stunts include...pushing for DD's baptism, don't you know she might just die before being a part of the baptism, also her reason for invading our space when DD was only a day old. Pushing to be a part of our kids lives because she has that RIGHT. Being totally disrespectful of the way I raise my kids and sneaking my DD meat being fully aware that she is being raised a veggie. I could have killed her. If I knew then what I know now, I would not have gotten married. I would have run very fast and very far away!”

And on and on they go “my DH ALWAYS sides with her NO MATTER HOW wrong she is and it DRIVES me CRAZY! When it comes to her he has NEVER been team us and it pisses me off to no end....AND because she knows this she uses it to her advantage like you wouldn't believe.”

“She is a controlling, manipulative witch that my husband loves and adores” Via IStock.

Some had lists that went into finer details:

“Some of the reason I particularly can't stand my MIL:

 -when they found out we were expecting she announced that she was going to be the first one to hold my baby in the delivery room. 

-her and FIL gave us a list of BOY's names that they approved of. We didn't find out what we were having but they wanted a 'grandson'.

-MIL so graciously threw me a baby shower because I didn't know anyone here at the time and she invited all her cranky old bag friends to celebrate 'her' grandbaby. The whole thing was centered around her and they made fun of me and played games guessing how big I was etc.

-she has basically commented in her own way that I am a vessel for her grandbabies.

While others focused on smaller details:

“I'll just mention that I have asked her for YEARS upon YEARS to not drench herself in perfume before visiting us because it gives me a headache.  But of course, she showed up yesterday as stinkily-perfumed as ever.  She obviously doesn't care.  And dh doesn't care, either, because he told me to "suck it up."  I sat as far away from her as possible. "

stripper names
"She has basically commented in her own way that I am a vessel for her grand babies." Via IStock.

But what is really behind this tension?

Sylvia L. Mikucki-Enyart, assistant professor of communication at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, who studied the relationship says at times it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We expect not to like each other.

She found that mothers worry more when sons marry than when daughters marry. In a study reported by The Wall Street Journal she said that when a son married their mothers had more uncertainty and insecurity. Will he visit or call less often? Will he spend holidays with the family?

When a son married their mothers had more uncertainty and insecurity. Via IStock.

Dr Mikucki-Enyart says the key is the son.

"He has to make his wife his priority and let that be known."

But she says daughters-in-law can do their part too by keeping their mother-in-law involved in the family she says pick your battles.

"Don't make it a competition," says Dr. Mikucki-Enyart.

"You both love this man in completely different ways."

And if all else fails remember the mantra "She'll go soon. She'll go soon."

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