Why do Indian mothers-in-law dislike their daughters-in-law?

First things first: that’s a pretty huge generalisation. I know loads of stories where mothers-in-law adore their daughters-in-law (and vice versa!). More than half the time, it’s just a huge stereotype that people tend to perpetrate. On the other end of the spectrum are men who dislike their mothers-in-law (and vice versa!) just much. But the truth is there’s enough bad faith between MILs and DILs for it to become a stereotype. Especially in India, where every second man is a mummy’s boy.

Second, if two human beings vie for one person’s attention and affection, there is bound to be conflict. Whether that’s a daughter-in-law, two friends, or two people who compete for a boss’s attention. But it’s MILs and DILs who get most demonised, and the (usually silent and possibly spineless son/husband) who is seen as the victim, when it’s actually the other two!

Quora.com had a few interesting answers to this age-old question. One of them stated that TV shows were perpetuating the stereotype. (All you saas-bahu serial-watching ladies, is this true? Does Sasural Simar Ka actually give you ideas?!)

But I am glad to say that one of the most important answers was from a psychologist who lay the reasons down beautifully. Take a look at psychiatrist Hemant Mittal’s answer:

  1. Mothers have excessive possessiveness regarding sons. They see them as their warranty card for old age.. hence extremely fearful to let them go.
  2. Many mothers have been in a failed relationship. All the love has been invested in the son. So giving him away to other woman is fearful.
  3. Fathers with orthodox thinking want their sons to be always in their control. Again they are concerned about “budhape ka sahara”
  4. Husbands don’t take complete stand for their wife, giving others the right to behave bad.
  5. Husbands openly discuss the flaws of their wife, reducing her image to nothing in front of others
  6. Daughter-in-law is considered an outsider so no attachments
  7. Love happens only thru actions and actions take ages to create love.

I love the fact that he states the husbands are equally responsible for the rife as the women involved. All too often, the men and their responsibility is discounted in this situation. How often have you heard a man complain, “Yaar, I am stuck between my wife and my mother. I have no peace.” Well, guy, you might have some peace if you spoke and made it clear to your wife or your mother what you thought was correct, but more importantly, what you wanted. It’s not a question of loyalties, it is a question of doing the right thing by everyone. Just because you choose to spend more time with your wife, it doesn’t mean you love your mother any less. And sometimes, the other way round too. MAKE IT CLEAR!

One particular answer came from a clearly irate DIL who was asked to use Lux. Lol. This was Sona Mat’s answer.  

“It’s because they are bloody uneducated or over educated b**ches who want to make a big show of how forward they are by smilingly inviting their bahu in their houses in front of relatives and make a big deal of how she wants the bahu to take over all the responsibilities of the household and learn to run it exactly as she does in 5 days of marriage what she perfected in 35yrs without letting the bahu do so much as buy the brand of washing powder of her own choice. They want all the power reigns in their own hands right from choosing the toilet paper roll brand to what sabji to cook today to the bahus waking and sleeping timings and what she would eat too. It’s always, omg, if you eat so much our monthly budget will go for a toss! Or omg, you use such an expensive brand of soap? Why not use Lux like we all do? But I must use Dove, you see, because the doctor has recommended it. But you are young and your skin can take Lux so you use Lux.

Mothers-in-law will always make their DILs a bit angry, and it would be fair to say more MILs make DILs unhappy than the other way round. So might it be true that you should be really lucky to find a good mother-in-law?