PB Brides: My Mother-In-Law Who Has No Manners And I Am Ashamed Of Her.


Dear Preston:

My mother-in-law is a bull in a china shop and the rudest person I have ever had to deal with. From interrupting and asking deeply personal questions to yelling and barking orders, she’s intolerable. I have learned to bite my tongue, but now that I am planning a wedding, she’s meeting my family and friends and possible vendors and I am on-edge 90% of the time we are together. I have spoken to my fiance and he always mentions her behavior to her to no avail. He loves his mother, but I hate her behavior. What do I do?

Ms. Manners Please

Dear Manners:

 I feel you on this one. Whether it’s a co-worker making a snarky remark or a grocery store line companion making the cut, dealing with rude behavior is never pleasant, but we are human and it happens. That said, I get that when it’s exhibited by your MIL, it feels like the mother of all problems. While you could gift her a crash course in etiquette, I am guessing that won’t go over well. Instead, I suggest you take a step back from your understandably high emotions and look at her from a more objective viewpoint (yes, that’s possible). This will help you manage how you handle and react to her behavior and may even have an impact on it. Here are a few suggestions.

Don’t take it personally. Kathy mentioned this yesterday and we had a discussion about it in our morning meeting. Personalizing things is a huge no-no. You’ll drive yourself crazy. Unless you have done something to truly offend your MIL, there’s no need to take her rude behavior as an indication that she is deliberately trying to upset you. Rather than personalizing every interruption or comment, take a deep breath and remind yourself that she may have a number of things going on that you are not aware of –or even that she doesn’t realize how she is coming across. It doesn’t make her behavior OK, but it will certainly help keep you in a calmer place.

Maintain your own manners. Snapping at your man’s mother is only going to bring about more of the same. Instead of growling at her or sending a mean-girl non-verbal sign of approval (watch those eye-rolls), draw a gentle-yet-firm boundary. Instead of, “I am speaking!” try something a little softer such as,“I appreciate your having an opinion and I want you to feel free sharing it, but I would like to finish speaking so that the vendor has all of the information I am trying to share.”

Enlist the help of your husband-to-be: I could say, “It’s his mother, let him deal with her,” but that sets a separatist tone. Instead, unite with your fiance and try and come up with ways to speak to/manage his mother’s behavior. If you can’t come up with any, do a little research on the Web or even with a professional to get some ideas.

Protect yourself: In the end, it’s not your job to bow down to bad behavior. If you’ve been polite and clear about your expectations and concerns and nothing seems to work, utilize your right to remove yourself from situations where you will feel disrespected. If this is the case and she’s coming to the wedding, sit her at a table with a few family members who are willing to help manage her through the night so that you and your husband can enjoy your special day.

Lastly, it’s fine to give a polite heads-up to friends and vendors, but do avoid gossiping and venting with added editorial as I have found that never helps mother/daughter-in-law relations.

Readers, how would you deal with this rude mother?



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