In this counseling answer:
“Standing firm as a couple will also be useful in helping her to see that you are both serious and let her know that her words and actions will not destroy your marriage. This is something that you will obviously need to speak with your husband about. Assumingly, he is aware of her behavior, but if he is also standing up for you respectfully at this time, she will come to understand that she cannot control your relationship.”
Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuh sister,
It sure sounds like this situation is causing a lot of stress all around, for you, your husband and your in-laws. Unfortunately, your problem is not unique and many people face the same struggles with their in-laws. The thing that makes it especially difficult is that Islamically, it is important to respect them as elders and you want to have good relations with them, but at the same time, this can be incredibly difficult when your mother in law treats you so badly. There are, however, a number of things you can try to bring ease to the situation.
When experiencing seemingly rude and mean behavior from someone else, it can often be helpful to try and see things from their perspective. This does not excuse their behavior, but will help you to feel less insulted and angry about this behavior and also less likely to respond irrationally.
Often difficulties between spouses and in-laws can be a resolve of some kind of jealousy. Keep in mind that as his mother, she only wants what is best for her son. She will perhaps have unattainable expectations for her son and nothing will ever be good enough in her eyes.
Up until he got married he was dependent on her. But once married, she has seen that he can survive without her and now has a different woman in his life instead who can take care of the needs that she once provided for him, such as cooking for example. This can be difficult for mother in laws to let go of.
Unfortunately, her feelings regarding this are being directed toward you, which is not ok. However, if you can understand that this might be why she carries this attitude towards you, then it might make things emotionally easier for you, as well as making it easier for you to implement steps to improve relations.
Firstly, we can take from Islamic wisdom and repel evil with that which is better. This can be as simple as ignoring the behavior and not allowing it to get to you. Fortunately, you don’t live in the same house so this can be easier than if you were in a situation where you lived with them. You could even take it to the next level by responding in kindness. This might seem like unite a strange thing to do when you feel so insulted by someone, but it can work wonders in turning their heart.
Think about it this way; when someone behaves towards you with kindness, naturally you want to respond to them in kindness. So, with this in mind, responding to your mother in law kindly will make it very difficult for her to continue to behave in such a mean manner towards you. It may even soften her heart towards you or least lead her to feel morally obliged to treat you well as you are treating her. Eventually, it might be that taking this approach actually leads to genuine good relations between you. Either way, if she knows that you will always respond kindly to her then she is less likely to look for disputes with you.
Continue to pray for your in-laws that Allah will soften their hearts towards you and that relations will improve between you. Praying for them will also make it easier for you to endure current difficulties until they resolve.
Standing firm as a couple will also be useful in helping her to see that you are both serious and let her know that her words and actions will not destroy your marriage. This is something that you will obviously need to speak with your husband about. Assumingly, he is aware of her behavior, but if he is also standing up for you respectfully at this time, she will come to understand that she cannot control your relationship.
May Allah soften their hearts and bring peace in relations between you, your husband and your in-laws.
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