I can't bring myself to like my mother-in-law

By Ngoc Huyen   April 14, 2024 | 02:55 pm PT
My affection for my mother-in-law is non-existent due to our differing daily routines and her biased treatment toward me, making it unfeasible for me to cherish her presence.

I am a 34-year-old female public servant, married with a son. I’m residing in the household of my spouse’s family.

My earnings are adequate for our livelihood, yet we live with little excess. Despite sharing a home with my in-laws, we often dine separately or eat outside, primarily coming back to sleep at night.

My mother-in-law lacks hygiene practices. She places meat or the roots of green onions, soil included, directly onto the dish rack. After using the chopping board for raw meat or fish, she scarcely cleans it and uses it again for slicing garlic or chilies for fish sauce without hesitation. The lids of pots, even when coated in grease, are left unwashed by her. She quickly rinses a bowl used for chicken blood before serving rice to my father-in-law in it.

She also neglects to sweep our home, even as rubbish piles up, yet dedicates her days to spreading gossip throughout the village, delving into others’ affairs. Often, upon my return from work at twilight, I find myself needing to clean any kitchenware I wish to use beforehand, which leads to indirect critiques from my mother-in-law. She suggests that if I find her standards too lax, I should opt for a separate space, despite my never having requested her to undertake any tasks.

Her treatment toward her daughters-in-law varies significantly. During my second pregnancy, she displayed no warmth, resorting to calling me by belittling nicknames instead of my name. Distraught, I spent several nights in tears, eventually resulting in the loss of my child.

On my days off, I attempt to prepare various meals for her, only to face her disapproval, whereas she lauds her youngest daughter-in-law for the occasional meal, boasting about it to our neighbors.

Following a vehicular accident that left me with a sprained ankle, rendering me unable to work, she did not once inquire after my health. Yet, she immediately reached out to her youngest daughter-in-law under similar circumstances, highlighting the preferential treatment despite my unwavering commitment to our household chores after tiresome workdays.

Furthermore, when distributing land among her offspring, my mother-in-law remained silent as others sold their shares for business purposes. However, when my husband and I decided to sell our portion for profit, she berated my mother and criticized our decision for not consulting her, accusing us of mismanaging our ancestral legacy.

At times, after a day at work, I choose not to exchange words with my mother-in-law. My disdain for her grows, and perhaps, should my husband consent to relocating, my bitterness towards her might diminish.

Am I wrong for feeling this way towards my mother-in-law? What should I do now?

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