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In-Laws Always Criticize Me

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Reply Date

Aug 25, 2017

Question

I married my husband a couple of months ago, and I am now pregnant. Since day one, my mother-in-law has been trying to control me according to her wishes. I was not aware of their life style, otherwise, I would have rejected this proposal. My mother told her that I did not know how to cook and she was ok with it at that time, but after a week they started asking me to do kitchen work. They have been criticizing me a lot and my father-in-law started speaking harshly with me. They don't like that I visit my parents, my father-in-law talked badly with my parents on three occasions, but my parents didn't say anything in return. They always accuse me that I don’t take care of their son, I don't know how to cook,…etc. My husband currently works in one of the Gulf countries, and my mother-in-law calls him all the time. I feel pressure all the time as my husband is always on his mother’s side. He doesn’t like that I am not following his mother’s commands. He is not happy with me.

Counselor

Answer


In-Laws Always Criticize Me

In this counseling answer:

“I would suggest that you first try to win the friendship and trust of all parties; your mother-in-law, father-in-law, and husband. When you do this, you would be more believed and supported when you complain to your husband and asks him to support you. Hopefully, in sha’ Allah, when there would be some mutual understanding between you and your mother-in-law, there would be a positive change in the attitude of your father-in-law and your husband, too.”


As-Salamu `Alaikum dear sister, 

May Allah (swt) send His blessings on your marriage and your baby and give you the strength, patience, and wisdom to build a happy and successful Muslim family that is surrounded by love, mercy, and warmth. Amen.

You sound being under so much pressure that you are not able to enjoy your new married life. It is somehow normal to feel some pressure in the beginning of married life. Of course, the pressure could be more if a woman starts her married life in her husband’s family home. Being a new member of a family could be an uneasy experience. In fact, any new experience or change in one’s life is usually challenging in the beginning. However, new experiences could also be sources of excitement and aspiration and an opportunity of learning and growth.

Marriage brings together two people who come from different families with different backgrounds and lifestyles. It is not only a relation between two persons but a total merge of two families with all their differences. Hence, it would require from both sides to exert some effort in getting to really know, understand, and accept each other. However, such efforts are worthwhile and rewarding for all.

…”and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another.” (Quran, 49: 13) 

It seems from your letter that the main challenges you are going through come from your mother-in-law and that her influence has reached your father-in-law and your husband. Let us first think of the reasons that could be behind the actions you dislike from your mother-in-law. Maybe when you know the reasons, you would be able to deal with her actions in a wise way that would make her rethink of her thoughts, feelings, and behavior toward you and change them to the better, in sha’ Allah.

One way that could help you in knowing the reasons behind her actions is to know her better and know her way of thinking. To know someone, you can ask people who are close to her. You can talk to your husband and ask him to tell you more about his mother and what she likes and dislikes. This could even be something that your husband would appreciate and would make him realize that you are not against his mother.

You could also try to get to know your mother-in-law through having conversations with her every now and then. Try to start some friendly conversations about different topics with her. From there you will be able to understand her more and she will understand you more. You could take this opportunity to talk to her about cooking; you can tell her, for example: “I know that I am still not good at cooking, but I want to learn, and I would be happy if you teach me and give me some good advice.”

One of the things that make a mother-in-law treat her daughter-in-law in a somewhat harsh or a controlling way is her fear that her daughter-in-law might take her son from her. She might fear that the daughter-in-law might take control over the house or take her role. In fact, each one of you has an important role and no one can take the role of the other. You are a wife and she is a mother. Your husband needs both roles in his life. Besides, your husband is not a property of anyone; he is a human being who has different relationships.

When you befriend her, you will be sending her a message that you are not a threat to her. You will show her that you will never take her role as a mother or in managing the house. You indicate to her that you could even be like another daughter to her. You will be sending her a message that threatening is not your goal at all. Your goal is to live a happy married life with your husband and among people who love you and you love them.

As for your husband, I know that you are in need of your husband’s support in this situation. Of course, you have the right that your husband supports you when you are being mistreated and tries to solve your problems with his parents. However, at this early stage of your marriage when he still does not know you completely, and he does not live with you all the time, he would be unable to feel the details of the situation in the house. He would be unable to empathize with you if you tell him about what is going on with you. So, it might not be suitable now that you complain to your husband about his mother. He might take the side of his mother more and feel that you are being offensive of his mother.

For all this, I would suggest that you first try to win the friendship and trust of all parties; your mother-in-law, father-in-law, and husband. When you do this, you would be more believed and supported when you complain to your husband and asks him to support you. Hopefully, in sha’ Allah, when there would be some mutual understanding between you and your mother-in-law, there would be a positive change in the attitude of your father-in-law and your husband, too.

I pray Allah (swt) you will find your way in bringing peace and serenity to your new life among your new family, in sha’ Allah.

Please feel free to send us back and tell us how things went with you. We would be glad to help in sha’ Allah.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

I Can’t Bear Living with My Bossy In-Laws!

I’ve Started to Hate My Mother-in-Law

How to Deal with In-Laws Who Don’t Respect You




About Layla Al Qaraqsi

Layla Al Qaraqsi has worked with islamonline.net since 2008. She has been the editor of the counseling section till May, 2013; then a counselor and writer since March, 2015. She has also worked in early childhood psychosocial development;and managed a support group in Egypt. Layla has been studying psychology and counseling since 2011 in the Islamic Online University (IOU) of Dr. Bilal Philips, University of North Dakota, and in several specialized psychological institutions in Egypt including Tawasol Center, one of the offline projects of Islamonline.net. Her studies also included group psychotherapy, psychodrama techniques, mindfulness.  You can contact her via: layla_karaksi@hotmail.com

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