Not all daughters-in-law may show the same conduct and change based on their relationships. Some could be selfish, impolite, and even disrespectful. But what could be toxic daughter-in-law signs? If you have been having a hard time with your daughter-in-law, you might want to know if she is deliberately annoying you or if it is your misconception about her.
Keep reading the post for some common toxic daughter-in-law signs that can clarify your instincts. Once you are sure of her intentions, you will know how to deal with her.
12+ Signs Of A Toxic Daughter-In-Law
1. She is controlling
Does your daughter-in-law want you to go her way and create a conflict every time? Does she keep a tab on you? Maybe she wants to stay superior to you and trouble you in every way possible. She might want to impress the family by showing you down. It is unacceptable behavior that you cannot bear with.
How to deal: As she is new to the family and wants to adjust soon, she could be trying different ways to look the best. Express how you feel when she controls you. But if she doesn’t get you, start saying ‘no’ to things you don’t like. Be firm in your actions, irrespective of how she reacts. For example, if she tries to control your spending, you may begin asserting the boundaries.
2. She is selfish
She thinks only about herself and not about the family. And she keeps you at the bottom of her priority list. She doesn’t care about your well-being and preferences and wants you to listen to her. However, when she needs something from you, she acts sweet. But later, she becomes sour as usual.
How to deal: Try to communicate that her nature is disrupting the family’s mood or see if some adjustment is possible. Maybe she was pampered while growing up, or maybe she is a single child of her parents. Such things can impact one’s personality. But if you find her unchanged even after the open communication, keep a distance from her. Also, don’t keep falling to her demands.
Also, it is important for in-laws to take time to understand their daughter-in-law as they navigate their relationship with her. Amand Kuykendall, a blogger, explains how she’s still trying to get clarity on her equation with her daughter-in-law, even after years of knowing her. She says, “Whether directly or indirectly, my relationship with my daughter-in-law has taught me several things. Often, the subject of jokes or sarcasm, the mother-in-law’s position/role is a tricky one. I am only eight years in, and still trying to figure it out (i).”
3. She is unpredictable
Being unpredictable is not a negative trait. However, it is not easy to deal with if she has mood swings as it could affect your mental well-being. For instance, she is nice to you one day and behaves rudely the next day. This way, you might not understand her intentions.
How to deal: Instead of getting afraid and suppressing yourself in front of her, try to talk with your son to find solutions. You could even invite friends and relatives’ home or visit them to keep yourself distracted, cool, and calm. Maybe giving her time could bring a change in her.
4. She is spiteful
When people dislike you, they tend to be good with everyone but not you. If your daughter-in-law gives you the silent treatment, points the finger at you, and even threatens you, it shows she is ready to spite you. She could even talk harshly to hurt you.
How to deal: You may talk to her to figure out if she has any issues with you. If she is open, you both could try to resolve the tension. But if you find her adamant and arrogant, do not try to change her because she might take everything negatively.
5. She is dominating
She could be following in your footsteps only to impress you so that you fall for her. She might help you with chores, adopt your religious practices, and even learn how to manage a household. But once you get smitten by her, she might try to manipulate you sweetly. Behaving too pleasant and soft than usual could also be a toxic trait often overlooked.
How to deal: Keep observing to know her true colors. Be nice to her when she is, but be firm with your points when she tries to dominate you. You may take things with a grain of salt so it leads to less disappointment later.
6. She brings her husband into trivial matters
If you are not falling for her tricks, standing up to your points, and not being provoked by her tactics, she might bring her husband (your son) between you. She might try manipulation tricks on her husband and play a victim card to get his attention and to keep you away from your son, which is unacceptable.
How to deal: Let her play the tactics, and you keep calm. Do not try to do the same. Her evil intentions would not succeed, and your son will know about her in time.
7. She blames you for everything
A toxic daughter-in-law would want to show you wrong in front of the family. For example, she might blame you for spoiling her children, she could accuse you of not bringing up her child in the right manner, and could even say you disrespect her family (when you don’t). Her actions reflect that she wants to pull you down, so she tries different ways.
How to deal: Don’t allow her words to impact you. You know what you do and what you are, so be yourself. Your loved ones know you, and there is no way that anyone could believe her false stories in the long run.
8. She plays games
When she cannot control you, she might try playing emotional games to control your son. This might also take a form of emotional abuse. She might blackmail him or even cry to be at your side. She might even tell her husband that you love your other children more. She could play around probably to separate you and your son.
How to deal: If you tried talking to her and understood that her intentions are insensitive, then you should give her space. Even if you are already giving her space, it is wise to move a bit more away from her, so she doesn’t harm you or your son mentally.
9. She disrespects you
Does she taunt you in front of the family? Does she put across disapproving remarks on you? Does she compare you with herself? Even though you are a good mother-in-law, you are friendly with her, and you have many admirers, she doesn’t regard anything as she dislikes you. She might snap at you, disagree with you, and even be discourteous—all these show she disrespects you.
How to deal: Respect should not be asked for. Be who you are and do what you wish to do. Do not try to convince and be behind her to get respect. Be yourself.
10. She talks behind you
Your friends and relatives must have told you that your daughter-in-law talks bad about you in your absence. Even after being so friendly with her and helping her adjust in your family, if she talks behind your back, it shows she doesn’t have value for you.
How to deal: Do not keep explaining to your friends and relatives how you treat her. Neither confront your daughter-in-law. Anything you do will not stop her from back-biting you, so leave it to her.
11. She is aggressive
Whenever there’s a disagreement at home, you find her throwing things, screaming, or harming herself. It is toxic behavior that could make you and your family feel unsafe.
How to deal: Talk to her when she is calm. Maybe she has her problems and needs help. Shower some love on her by showing affection. It could melt her heart, and she could share her inner thoughts with you instead of creating a drama.
12. She doesn’t let you talk to her children
This could be heart-wrenching. If she is trying to put distance between you and your grandchildren, it is clear that she doesn’t trust you. Instead of explaining the importance of family and grandparents, she teaches wrong lessons to her children.
How to deal: Talk to her when there’s nobody at home and know what’s in her mind. Even after communicating your thoughts, if she is adamant and thinks she is doing right, let it go. If your grandchildren love you, they will come to you sooner or later.
13. She displays signs of jealousy
A toxic daughter-in-law may exhibit jealousy towards her partner’s family and try to create distance between them by discouraging communication. She might also limit them from spending time with the children, making it challenging for others to have quality interactions with them without her involvement.
How to deal:
When facing issues with your daughter-in-law, avoid involving your son immediately. Instead, express your concerns directly with her and try to solve them amicably. When you don’t drag your son in such matters, your daughter-in-law will know you are not trying to create tension between her and her husband. Open communication with her can lead to better understanding and resolution.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are daughter-in-laws toxic?
A daughter-in-law being toxic is not a universal thing. It depends on the person and their bond with the in-laws. Some daughters-in-law blend into the new family very well. However, some who are regarded as toxic may be difficult to deal with due to factors such as:
- She has seen her mother not getting along with her mother-in-law, and she is portraying similar behavior
- She feels overwhelmed with the newfound responsibilities
- She does not get along with or like the husband’s family
2. Why do mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law not get along?
Not getting along does not apply to all mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Some of them bond well and share a lovely bond instead of a toxic relationship. However, some mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law may not get along too well because:
- They may fight over the attention of the son or the husband
- There may be tension due to the division of resources and work in the house
- The mother-in-law may not have approved of the daughter-in-law
- The daughter-in-law may find the mother-in-law too nosy or dominating, or vice-versa
3. How can a toxic daughter-in-law affect the mental health of family members?
A toxic daughter-in-law may engage in manipulative or abusive behaviors, such as constant criticism, belittling, or insults. These actions can cause emotional distress and lead to anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem among family members who are targeted. Toxic behavior often creates a hostile and tense environment within the family. This ongoing stress can take a toll on the mental well-being of family members, leading to heightened levels of stress, frustration, and even anger.
4. Are there any warning signs that a daughter-in-law may become toxic?
Identifying potential warning signs of toxic behavior in a future daughter-in-law can be challenging, as individual personalities and circumstances vary greatly. However, if your daughter-in-law consistently expresses harsh or negative opinions about others or frequently criticizes your family or son, it could indicate toxic behavior early. Pay attention to whether your daughter-in-law respects personal emotional and physical boundaries, and watch for signs of controlling behavior.
5. Are there any strategies that can be used to improve the relationship between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law?
Encourage both mother and daughter-in-law to express their thoughts, concerns, and feelings openly and honestly. Both parties should try understanding each other’s perspectives, experiences, and values. Discover shared interests or activities that the mother and daughter can enjoy together. Encourage each party to appreciate each other’s unique qualities and avoid making comparisons that may lead to unnecessary conflicts.
6. What can family members do if they suspect their daughter-in-law is toxic?
Before jumping to conclusions, it’s important to objectively observe and gather evidence of the daughter-in-law’s behavior. Choose an appropriate time and place to have a calm, non-confrontational conversation with your son. Ask your son to reflect on his relationship and evaluate whether he has noticed any concerning behavior from his spouse. If the situation escalates or you believe there is a risk to your son’s well-being, encourage him and his spouse to seek professional help.
It takes time for a new member to settle in the family after the marriage. Consider giving her time to adjust and try to become her friend. Forgive her for her unintentional mistakes and try to bridge the gap between you. However, even after putting in much effort, if you find toxic daughter-in-law signs in her, such as misbehaving with you or not respecting you, it is better to keep a distance from her for your mental and physical well-being.
Infographic: Signs Of A Toxic Daughter-In-Law And Dealing With Her
There may be a love-hate relationship between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law. But if despite all your efforts, you never seem to get along with your daughter-in-law because she often shuts you off, there may be more hate than love. So here are the signs to help you figure her out and tips for dealing with her if you’re in a similar situation.
Check this video to learn how to navigate the tricky waters of dealing with a difficult daughter-in-law. Get tips on how to maintain a healthy relationship and keep the peace.