When you become a parent-in-law, you’re excited to welcome a new member to your family.
You look forward to building a strong bond with your son or daughter’s spouse, creating new memories together, and being a part of each other’s lives. But what happens when the relationship doesn’t turn out to be what you expected?
What happens when your daughter-in-law doesn’t seem to share your family’s values and traditions, and instead of making things better, she makes them worse?
It’s a difficult situation to be in, but it’s important to recognize the signs of a toxic daughter-in-law. A toxic daughter-in-law can cause tension and stress within the family, and can even lead to estrangement.
But with the right knowledge and approach, you can navigate the relationship and protect yourself and your family from harm.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the warning signs of a toxic daughter-in-law, and what you can do to address the situation.
1. Disregarding your opinions or decisions
It can be especially challenging if you are trying to maintain a good relationship with your daughter-in-law, but find that she is constantly undermining your authority and disregarding your thoughts and feelings.
There are several ways in which a toxic daughter-in-law can show disrespect for your opinions and decisions. For example, she may dismiss your ideas or contributions in conversations or meetings or actively work against your plans and goals.
She may make negative or dismissive comments about your choices or beliefs, or try to control or manipulate you into doing things her way. She may also disregard your wishes or concerns when it comes to your health and well-being, or treat you as if you are a burden or an inconvenience.
If you feel that your daughter-in-law is showing disregard for your opinions and decisions, it’s important to address the issue and set clear boundaries.
This may mean talking openly with your daughter-in-law about your feelings or seeking the help of a therapist or counselor to help you navigate the situation.
[Also read: 15 Sure Signs of a Toxic Girlfriend]
2. Refusal to compromise or communicate effectively
One major sign of a toxic daughter-in-law is a refusal to compromise. Compromise is a necessary aspect of any relationship, and it is especially important in a family setting.
When a daughter-in-law refuses to compromise, it can create a power struggle and make it difficult for others to feel heard and respected.
For example, at the end of the year in my family, everyone travels to my parent’s house to spend the holiday. This time of the year is very cherished and taken as a family ritual. It’s the only time we get to spend quality time with each other.
I get to see my siblings, their spouses, and their children. My cousins and their parents are not excluded. With this population of people, there are always loads of house chores, but with everyone’s hands on deck, the workload is usually reduced.
Now, if your family tradition is similar to mine and you happen to have a daughter-in-law who usually refuses to compromise on holiday plans or household tasks, this can cause tension and conflict between her and other family members.
Another sign of a toxic daughter-in-law is a lack of effective communication. Good communication is essential for building trust and understanding in any relationship, and it is especially important in a family setting.
When a daughter-in-law is unwilling or unable to communicate effectively, it can create confusion and misunderstandings and can make it difficult for other family members to feel heard and understood.
For example, if she is unwilling to talk about her feelings or express her needs, it can cause tension and conflict between her and other family members.
It’s important to note that these behaviors can be caused by many different factors, such as past traumas or personal insecurities, and it’s not always easy to change them.
3. Disrespect for family traditions and values
One potential sign that your daughter-in-law is toxic is when she disregards or dismisses the family’s long-held traditions and values. For example, if a daughter-in-law refuses to participate in important family rituals or ceremonies, it can create tension and conflict within the family.
Another issue is when a daughter-in-law actively undermines the family’s traditions and values by promoting her own beliefs and practices.
This can be especially problematic if she tries to impose her own beliefs and practices on the family, which can be seen as disrespectful and dismissive of their beliefs.
It’s important to remember that families are made up of individuals with different perspectives and experiences, and conflicts can arise when these perspectives clash.
These behaviors can stem from a lack of understanding or knowledge about the family’s traditions and values, rather than malicious intent.
This can be a good opportunity for both sides to learn and understand each other’s backgrounds and beliefs, and find a way to coexist in a way that is respectful and accommodating to all parties involved.
[Related: 15 Harmful Things Toxic Partners Say]
4. Causing division or tension within the family
A toxic daughter-in-law can cause division and tension within a family in a variety of ways. One common tactic is manipulation and control.
For example, she may try to isolate her husband from his family by convincing him to spend less time with them, or by actively discouraging him from maintaining close relationships with his parents and siblings.
She may also try to control how her husband interacts with his family, dictating who he should spend time with and how he should behave when he is around them.
This can create a hostile and uncomfortable environment for everyone. And it can make it difficult for family members to maintain healthy relationships with one another.
A toxic daughter-in-law can also cause division and tension by creating an atmosphere of competition and comparison.
For example, she may constantly compare her husband to his brothers or sisters or may try to compete with her mother-in-law for her husband’s affection and attention. This can create a rift between family members, as everyone is focused on trying to outdo one another rather than working together as a cohesive unit.
5. Manipulative or deceitful behavior
Manipulation is the act of influencing or controlling someone to do something that they may not want to do. A toxic daughter-in-law may use manipulation tactics to get her way, such as playing the victim, using emotional blackmail, or gaslighting.
For example, she may claim that she is being mistreated or that her feelings are being ignored, when in reality she is trying to control the situation. This can lead to feelings of guilt and confusion in the family, making it difficult to know how to respond.
Deceitful behavior, on the other hand, refers to lying or withholding information. A toxic daughter-in-law may use deceitful tactics to cover up her actions or to gain an advantage.
For instance, she may lie about her intentions or actions to avoid being held accountable or to manipulate a situation to her advantage. She may also keep secrets from the family to maintain control over the information that is shared.
Both manipulative and deceitful behaviors can lead to trust issues, communication breakdowns, and even resentment.
[Interesting: 6 Small Things That Say A Lot About Someone’s Character]
6. Showing a lack of empathy or consideration for the parents-in-law’s feelings
She can exhibit a variety of negative behaviors, but one of the most damaging is a lack of empathy or consideration for the feelings of others.
When a daughter-in-law consistently disregards the emotions of her family members, it can create a hostile and emotionally draining environment for people to thrive.
Empathy is an essential component of healthy relationships, as it allows individuals to connect on a deeper level and build trust and understanding. A toxic daughter-in-law, however, may not possess this ability, or may choose to ignore it.
This can lead to hurtful and insensitive behavior, such as belittling or ignoring the feelings of her spouse’s family members, or refusing to take responsibility for her actions and their impact on others.
The lack of empathy or consideration can also manifest in other ways. For example, a toxic daughter-in-law may be unwilling to compromise or make compromises with her in-laws or show a lack of interest in their needs or wants.
This can lead to ongoing conflicts and resentment, and can make it difficult for family members to have healthy relationships with her.
A lack of empathy may not always be a sign of toxicity, but a symptom of a deeper issue. It could be a sign of a personality disorder, past traumas, or simply a lack of emotional intelligence.
7. Making unreasonable demands or expecting special treatment
One of the most common ways that a toxic daughter-in-law may make unreasonable demands is by expecting her husband’s parents or other family members to constantly cater to her needs and wants.
This may include expecting them to constantly do her laundry, cook her meals, or even run errands for her. She may also expect them to give her money or gifts, or to constantly put her needs and wants above their own.
Another way that a toxic daughter-in-law may make unreasonable demands is by expecting special treatment.
This may include expecting to be treated differently than other family members, or expecting to be given preferential treatment in terms of decision-making or other important matters.
She may also expect to be constantly praised and complimented, or to be given special privileges that other family members do not have. This type of behavior can be incredibly damaging to relationships, as it can make family members feel resentful and taken advantage of.
It can also create a toxic and unhealthy dynamic within the household, which can lead to feelings of anger, frustration, and even depression.
[Also read: 8 Signs Someone Has a Good Character]
8. Criticizing and undermining your parenting and grandparenting abilities
This is one of the key characteristics of a toxic daughter-in-law. They often feel the need to control and manipulate the family dynamics by criticizing and undermining the parenting and grandparenting choices of the in-laws.
This type of behavior can be especially hurtful because it can make the in-laws question their abilities and feel as if they are not good enough. Another aspect of toxic behavior is that it can be very subtle.
The daughter-in-law may not come right out and say that they disagree with the choices made by the in-laws, but instead, they may use passive-aggressive comments or manipulation tactics to express their dissatisfaction.
This can make it difficult for the in-laws to understand what is happening and why the daughter-in-law is behaving in such a way. Some people may be unaware of how their actions affect others, and may not even realize that they are being toxic.
9. Taking your kindness for granted
It can be easy for someone who is always on the receiving end of kindness and generosity to start taking it for granted and not fully appreciate the effort that goes into being kind. This shows a lack of gratitude and an entitlement mentality.
She may expect kindness and generosity without ever showing appreciation or reciprocating the behavior. She may also make demands and have unrealistic expectations of others, without ever considering the impact her actions have on those around her.
One of the most damaging aspects of taking kindness for granted is that it can erode relationships over time. When you’re constantly giving and not receiving anything in return, this may make you start feeling resentful and unappreciated.
This can lead to a breakdown in communication, trust, and mutual respect. In the case of a toxic daughter-in-law, this can cause serious problems within the family and can even
10. Invading privacy
Invading another person’s privacy is a way of saying you disregard the other person’s right to control their information and personal space.
This can manifest in various ways, such as snooping through someone’s personal belongings, reading their private messages, or sharing personal information about them without their consent.
In the context of a daughter-in-law, invading privacy can be especially toxic because it can damage the relationship between her and her spouse’s family.
For example, if a daughter-in-law were to read private messages between her spouse and his parents, she could potentially cause a rift between them.
Similarly, if she were to share personal information about her spouse’s family without their consent, it could lead to a breakdown in trust and respect. These behaviors can be caused by many different factors, such as past traumas or personal insecurities, and it’s not always easy to change them.
[Related: 7 Signs of a Negative Person]
How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Daughter In Law
Now that you’re aware of these signs, the next thing is to look for possible ways to improve your relationship. Here are a few things to do:
1. Build trust
Actively work on building trust by having open communication with your daughter-in-law. Encourage her to share her thoughts, feelings, and concerns with you, and make sure to listen actively and without judgment.
2. Get to know each other
Show genuine interest in your daughter-in-law’s life, hobbies and interests. Ask her questions and take the time to get to know her better. Make plans to hang out together and make her know you care and are available anytime she needs support with the kids.
3. Identify and respect her role
Respect your daughter-in-law’s role as a mother and partner to your son. Avoid giving unsolicited advice or trying to control their parenting decisions. Let her freely make decisions for her home as you would for your own home.
4. Practice empathy
Practice active empathy by putting yourself in her shoes, and understanding and validating her feelings and perspective. This may sound like a cliché. She’s the one who has a bad attitude and not you. Why should you be the one to practice empathy?
Why should you even be the one to be doing any of the following? The truth is if you want peace, sometimes you just have to be the bigger person in the situation.
5. Understand and accept your differences
Work to understand and appreciate any cultural or family of origin differences, and try to bridge any gaps by learning more about each other’s backgrounds. Show gratitude and appreciation for the things your daughter-in-law does for the family.
[Also read: 10 Signs of Negative Energy In a Person]