Dilemma: Nothing Cheers Her Up!

DIL Dilemmas, Answered by the Experts

Q: Well, what if you live with her, she has nothing but criticism or moodiness for you, and nothing you do can cheer her up? What does the MIL Manager say to that? Just do my best, smile and be on my merry way?

DIL Dilemma answered by:

Sally Shields

A: "Well, even beyond just smiling and ignoring.. consider bringing her a flower or a hot cup of tea or a little soap or lotion that doesn't cost much, but the trick is to NOT expect anything in return. The trick is to do these little random acts of kindness because it makes YOU feel better about yourself and of course, she will feel worse and worse about her treatment of you if you continue to do little kind things.

Of course that is a side benefit and we shouldn't expect it, but you will see the magic starting to happen. Just a thought. It takes time...Here is a little story that is going to go into the next, illustrated edition of the DIL Rules, to illustrate that point:

Story of a Daughter-in-law, Li Li

A long time ago in China, a girl named Li-Li got married & went to live with her husband and mother-in-law. Their personalities were very different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her constant criticisms. Finally, Li-Li could not stand her mother-in-law's dictatorship any longer, so she went to see an herbalist and asked if he would give her some poison. Mr. Huang said, "Li-Li, every other day prepare some delicious meal and sprinkle some on her plate. And when she is dying, be careful to obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen.”

In a few months’ time, the mother-in-law's attitude towards Li-Li changed drastically, and they were now treating each other like a real mother and daughter. And Li-Li's husband was very happy to see the two most important women in his life finally getting along.

One day, Li-Li went to see the herbalist. “Dear Mr. Huang, please provide an antidote to keep the poison from killing my mother-in-law, as she's changed into such a nice woman, and I love her as if she were my very own mother.” Mr. Huang smiled and nodded his head. "Li-Li, you have nothing to worry about, as the herbs I provided were vitamins to improve her health. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude, but that has been all washed away by all the love and respect which you gave her.”


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