Rule #66 - They will be really friendly with their loved ones

Your MIL will save her loving friendly voice for her own kinder, reserving the moody, subdued voice especially for you. She will phone up her loved ones and ask them how they are, laughing and joking with them, but for you, she will take big deep sighs. Yes it hurts to see these double standards.

Rule #65 - Look after yourself when poorly

When you are feeling, dont expect your MIL to ask you how you are. If you looked completely drained of all colour, dont expect her care or concern. Instead, give yourself the TLC you need yourself. Make sure you are well rested and take all the breaks you need. Look after number one.

Rule #64 - Smiles and Sighs

Be prepared! Your MIL may give you a nice bright smile when she wakes up in the morning if she finds you have done all the cooking already - she may even ask you how you are! (But don't count on it!)

Next, if you ask for her some help in the kitchen, be prepared that she will refuse, blaming it on her aching muscles and bones. From then on, you can expect the big smile to vanish and the deep long sighs to return.

Rule #63 - Tap into your Masculine, Oblivious Side

Women's intuition - the ability to give attention to 'interpersonal domestic politics' is a gift women possess which assists them in creating harmony. However, this intuition, we applied to an in-law dynamic, can promote just as much hostility as it can harmony.

Using this intuition, women are highly sensitive to criticism and rudeness, to which 'the men in the family are oblivious'.

(Quotes by Terri Apter, What do you want from me?)

When it comes to the in-laws, it's better to employ some of this masculine oblivion, and let things roll, like water off a duck's back - when in the battle arena (often the kitchen, but can also be the bathroom, living room, hall way...).

Rule #62 - Smile Ice Breaker

Whenever your MIL walks in to the room, flash her a friendly smile! Not only will it tone your cheek muscles, it will break the ice and bring in positive energy into the room!

Rule #61 Always say Good Morning!

With the exception when you are upset, and mean to show it, of always proclaim a bright and cheery "Good Morning" (Or Saalam) when you see your MIL first thing is the morning. This is regardless of the fact that she may come in and say 'What a messy kitchen, what have you been doing all morning!'.

MIL: 'What a messy kitchen, what have you been doing all morning!'.
You: (smile apologetically) 'I was just about to clean it. Good Morning!'

Once you've greeted her, ask her how she slept. (even if she complains that she didn't sleep a wink due to the heating being on too high/the noisy children/the trains that go by due to a bad location of the home you chose, be sympathetic).

Little Positive Strokes go a long, long way!

Even if they dont admit it, they know how much you are doing.

It is common for elderly parents to deny thery ever needed anything. 'Oh I don't need anything.', and for them to reject the fact that the young family are having to invest in extra time, money and energy to support them.

Quite often this may seem like they don't appreciate what is being done for them, or that they are rejecting what is being done, and may produce a feeling of resentment in the young couple.

The way they are acting is often to protect themselves from the reality that they indeed have become dependant on others, and to accept this would be to accept that they are indeed in a vulnerable position. It's much easier to take the position of being part of the woodwork, not really there, and a figment of the young couple's imagination.

'Why are you making such a big fuss? I am no bother at all!' they may state emphatically.

Instead being overcome by resentfulness, self righteousness, tap into your merciful and compassionate side. Just because they don't admit all the hard work you are putting in, doesn't mean that you are not doing it. You are working really hard, and God knows it.

Rule #60 You have a big part to play in all conflicts

Your memory of what was said and done in a conflict is often biased, and you, too, may be responsible for a lot of what happened. You may not be the one who was to blame initially, but you may well be responsible for the way the conflict was handled.

Are you adding fuel to the fire? Are you encouraging their behaviour by being passive? Are you working for a win-win? Are you searching for positive intentions behind their behaviour, or have you already sentenced them?

"When people describe in-law conflicts, [...] their memories are vivid - but only for the slings and arrows sent by others. It is hard [...] to reproduce what we ourselves have said and done to contribute to the conflict.


Memory often comes to our aid by fashioning past experiences to fit a flattering self image.

Terri Apter, What Do You Want From Me?

The Sandwich Generation

"Mid-life adults are sometimes called the sandwich generation, the generation in the middle pressed by obligations to a younger and an older generation.....

This involves time and money and enegry from all the family, but the actual care is susually provided by the women in the family - the daughter and the daughter in law"

Terri Apter, What Do You Want From me?

Rule #59 - Let them throw their own parties without you

If your in-laws want to do things without you around, the natural instinct is to feel rejected - don't I know it!

Yet instead of wondering why they are doing this, why not brainstorm how these actions of theirs could have another useful purpose? For example - your in-laws don't help out in the house at all, you have to everything. But whenever you go out for the day, they throw a huge party! Could this mean anything else other than they hate you, and they dont want to you to come to the party?

  • They could be doing it so they don't have to trouble you
  • They could be doing it because the want to be more independent
  • They want to be the boss, and call all the shots
  • They want to have control over their own social life
  • They are being responsible for their own needs
  • They want the party to be from THEM, not 'the daughter in-law'

And could their throwing a party when you are out be useful at any other time?

  • Yes, when you didn't want to throw a party
  • Yes, when you don't want to share the workload of other's coming round
  • Yes, elderly people want their own independence
  • Yes, to keep them busy socially, so they don't depend on your for company 24-7 eek!
  • Yes, when they want to be happy long term, feel like they are 'doing something that means something'
  • Yes, when you don't want to be involved with your in laws.
  • Yes, when they want to be less reliant on you
  • Yes, when they don't want to put a workload on you.
Welcome them having a party and doing all the hard work without you, BRING IT ON!! YEAHH!!!!!!