You are here:

Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Mother -Daughter in law relationship


Dr. Keenan,
My question is in regards to trying to understand the basic relationship between mothers and daughter in laws so that I can try to help create a better relationship with my daughter in law. I'm a 50 yr old woman who divorced my first husband when my one and only child,a son, was 8 yrs old. He grew up with me and by the age 16 had no contact with his father via court order. Because my ex was very abusive and I had no blood relatives that lived close by me, my only support and family I had was my son. My son has always been a very good,moral,upstanding young man and he was very obedient. My son and I were and still are very close. Even when he was a teenager,he and I would always spend at least on weekend day together,just me and him hanging out. Then when my son turned 17, he joined the Marines and went off to boot camp.  I was devastated and so lonely. He's not just my son but my friend. My son was always very protective over me and even asked his friends to check in on me while he was in boot camp. He graduated and was stationed at camp Pendleton which is only about a three hr drive from where we lived. He would come home every weekend then head back to base for the week. A few months after being in the Marines,he met a young lady,near our home who asked him out. They did date and got married within a year and a half. Here's where the problem began. From the first day I met her, I got the sense that she was very cold,unfriendly and kind of rude that day. I just had come home from work,on a Saturday and my son had picked her up from her home and came home to spend the weekend with me. I walked in the house and she never even got up out of her seat to come over and shake my hand,she didn't smile and she just came across as rude. Every since then she has continued to be rude,inconsiderate and down right insulting to me. My son isn't aware of the things she says and does to me. I really feel that she constantly puts me and my sons side of the family off and tries to put a wedge between me and my son. She sees to it that they spend most of their time with her side of the family. My daughter in law comes from a family that is basically the opposite of how my son was brought up. I am an educated woman who owned two of my own homes, my son and I had nice home,clothes,cars and our home was always very clean and neat. Brandon,being the only child, got just about everything he wanted. My daughter in law on the other hand was very poor. She was one of seven children,her mother didn't work and they lived with the grandparents. They didn't have a nice,clean home,nor did they have cars ect...and I know she resented me and Brandon because I could afford to buy everything my son wanted,even his new truck that he got for his 16th birthday, and she had made snide comments about how Brandon got anything he wanted,snide remarks about the fact that I kept my home very clean neat and had nice things. She has even gone after me for saying that Brandon was always a good son. She snapped at me and said,Well he's not perfect!...I said to her, I never said he's perfect,I said he's always been a very good son to me. At the time of these remarks,they were married. They've been married now for 8 yrs and have my third grandchild on the way. My son is still in the Marines. One thing to note, she makes my son keep his email and facebook pages open so she can read his mail. I've tried so hard to always be kind and complimentary to her but she has become insufferable. I,too,have since remarried 7 yrs ago. My daughter in law holds my husband on a pedestal and is so rude to me BUT behind the scenes,the truth is my husband can't stand her and I'm always the one trying to defend her! I would never tell her or my son that but if only she knew. My impression of her is that she's emotionally insecure and very immature. In her eyes, I'm just the wicked witch no matter how hard I try to make her feel special. I've held my tongue for years. I don't ever go off on her because I care more about how my son feels. I don't want him to have to deal with that.what is your opinion and I've thought about discussing how I feel about how she treats me with my son and have my husband talk to my daughter in law about her down right rudeness and inconsiderateness she shows towards me. I would tell my son in a manner of just letting him know how it hurts me and it makes me feel like she's keeping me and him apart. But I wouldn't say it in a way that would make him feel I'm attacking his wife. Please share your advice,opinion,assessment on this situation. Sincerely,Lyn

Tell your son that you love him and will always be there for him and now that he is married, he needs to give his wife all the support and caring she needs. She comes first. Being in a family and having in-laws sometimes means being accepting of difficult personalities.

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Daniel Keeran


I am able to answer questions about relationships, parent, child, self-help, marriage, counseling, depression, sexual abuse, rape trauma, bereavement, grief, death of loved one, child abduction, conflict at work, separation, divorce, break-up, fear of remaining single, infertility, childlessness, anger management, verbal abuse, family violence, repeating unhealthy relationships, substance abuse, addiction, childhood abuse, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, loneliness, co-dependency, porn addiction, religious alienation, bi-polar disorder, homelessness, anti-social personality, foster care, borderline personality disorder, psychology, mental health, counseling skills, adoption, bankruptcy, insomnia, agoraphobia, social anxiety FREE PDF DOWNLOAD "Counseling In A Book"


I have been a counselor for over 30 years in private practice and hospital settings. For deeper understanding and healing childhood experiences affecting adult life and relationships with self and others see the reader-friendly source

College of Professional Counseling and Therapy at

author, "Effective Counseling Skills" at and "Loss and Grief Counseling Skills" at

MSW in psychiatric clinical social work

©2016 All rights reserved.