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How to Alienate Your Daughter-in-law; Guaranteed strategies for being the in laws from Hell

Updated on July 30, 2012

For all of you looking to make sure your daughter-in-law (or son-in-law) finds your phone calls, visits, letters, emails, and any other kind of contact a burden, and her restraint and kindness in dealing with you the ultimate act of love and self-sacrifice for her husband this article is for you. I guarantee that if you put these strategies to work she wont be able to stand you. While most of you are already putting some of these into practice, for the best results your repertoire should involve all these, and you should vary from using some, to all at once.

The biggest thing you can do to make sure your daughter-in-law's blood pressure spikes at the thought of you is stick your big nose in her marriage. Not only do you wrong your daughter-in-law, your son, make a nuisance of yourself, and cause marital strife, based on what the Bible says about the sanctity of marriage I believe you also sin. Making this the single best way to become her least favorite person (or people). If your son calls to talk (i.e. complain) about his wife or their problems, good parents who love their son, respect their daughter-in-law, and want them to have a good marriage would say “Son, I love you but unless there is abuse, this is between you and your wife, we'll pray for you guys.” Since that won't work for alienating her this should not be your response. Instead you should listen to every complaint he has, encourage him to complain, believe the sun shines from his bottom, and tell him everything is her fault. If you want to make sure she's left without any doubt as to your malicious intent make a point of talking to her about whatever you agreed with your son was so horrible about her. Tell her she's being to sensitive, she shouldn't be upset about anything your perfect son does, after all, he can do no wrong and she can do nothing else. Make sure you tell her all the ways she's mistreating him and tell her how she should behave as a good wife. If you do so with false tact and concern it's even more effective. Never admit the possibility that your son, her husband, is anything but a harassed, hen-pecked, neglected, unappreciated husband.

If your son and daughter-in-law have children you've got another very effective avenue for ensuring she'd rather spend an afternoon with the devil than a day with you. Be surprised about every good thing about her children for which her influence would be primarily responsible. My in-laws have given me two particularly stellar examples of how to do this. My husband is in the military and we were stationed in Albuquerque, NM for a few years. New Mexico's public education system is tied for 49th nationwide and even the elementary schools on base have gang problems. The private schools, while better than public, are still pretty bad. Knowing this, I decided to homeschool my son while we were in New Mexico. When we moved to another state where public schools actually did include some education my son, who was in sixth grade, was tested for knowledge and comprehension at enrollment. He had one area where he scored in the 9th grade, in every other area he scored in the 12th grade. My in-laws can't stop telling me how “surprised” they are at his scores, or how “surprised” they are at how much he knows about anything. With my one year old they're always “surprised” at how a stay at home mom like me has ended up with such a sweet tempered baby. They're also “surprised” at how social my baby is. They're “surprised” at how happy he is. They're “surprised” about how outgoing he is. They're “surprised” about anything positive in my children that could be even remotely attributed to my parenting. While simply telling your daughter-in-law that she's doing everything wrong and should do exactly what you say will undoubtedly be accomplish the goal of being awful in-laws, being “surprised” is not only a more effective way of making sure she can't stand the thought of spending time with you, it's also much more insulting than simply telling her nothing she does is good enough. As an added bonus your “surprise” will make her husband less likely to defend her, increasing marital strife, which of course you will tell your son is all her fault. Though to truly be in-laws from hell you should both tell her how to raise, feed, dress, etc, her child and be “surprised” at all the good qualities of her children. If you tell your son what a great job he's doing, make sure it's him, not them, it will be like rubbing salt in a wound.

Undermining her parenting and making sure she knows what you're doing is the last big way to make her want to scream at the thought of you. Remember, it's not just enough to undermine her, make sure she knows you're doing it. A friend of mine, we'll call her Jane, has a mother-in-law that goes out of her way to give a good example of how to do this. Jane has two children, one of whom has developed a bit of a weight problem. Both his parents and pediatrician are concerned about his health so his mom has been setting healthy restrictions on his portion sizes during meals and snacks. Jane's mother-in-law used to watch the kids for her occasionally, during those times Jane would make the kids and her in-laws lunch or dinner and walk it over with the kids. She would tell her mother-in-law that her son was not to have more than two tacos at lunch. When she would pick the kids and her dirty dishes up her mother-in-law would make a point of telling her she gave her son four tacos, and with a bratty attitude to go with. Start your own undermine my daughter-in-law plans in to motion following this wonderful example and you'll have her clenching her jaw at the mention of your name in no time. If she or her husband confronts you, pretend your hurt that they think you would ever do anything to undermine your daughter-in-law. It's not likely she'll be fooled, but your son might buy your lie, which of course will create marital strife, just like you want.

Sometimes you want to be more subtle than the way listed above are or maybe you just want to go all out to make sure you are the worlds worst in-laws. In that case I've included some smaller, but effective methods below to add to your in-laws from Hell repertoire.

When you visit your son, and your daughter-in-law looks for ways to make your stay enjoyable, be sure to be uninterested in everything she suggests. For best results don't even rise to the minimums of courtesy when you respond. Have nothing positive to say about anything she suggests. When your son comments on how he thinks you'll really enjoy something your daughter-in-law suggested, suddenly be interested and ask when you'll be doing that. If your daughter-in-law has been both kind enough and foolish enough to plan something on a specific day at a specific time make a point of acknowledging her plans the night before and then come up with something that you need your sons company for the morning of. Make it seem like you'll be back in time for whatever it is your daughter-in-law planned, but then leave late and stay out late. When you finally get back don't mention that you just made a point of screwing up what she was thoughtful enough to plan. If she brings it up, no doubt showing more grace and courtesy than you ever have, pretend ignorance, or better yet, just tell her you didn't think her plans were worth the trouble.

Helping your daughter-in-law with things like cooking and cleaning, if done correctly can also be very insulting. To be most effective quietly eat whatever she's made without complaint or compliment. Shortly after the meal is over insist on “helping” out by going grocery shopping and cooking dinner, as a way to give her a break of course. Then comment on how she doesn't have what you need. When you're serving dinner explain to her how to cook. During dinner make your enjoyment of the meal clear and in sharp contrast to how you acted when you ate her cooking. Follow the same pattern if you help her clean, never forgetting to instruct her on how to do things correctly.

Complimenting her is a great way to add little annoyances to the time she has to put up with you. I'm sure some of you are thinking that complimenting her will have the opposite effect, that's what good in-laws do after all. Yes, but good parents and in-laws don't compliment the way your going to. Let's say your daughter-in-law has lost some weight, make a point of noticing, and then warn her not to get to thin. If she's worked particularly hard on a project for work, her home, or whatever, tell her it's great and you hope it was worth all the time she left her husband and kids to fend for themselves. If you make a point of adding a thinly veiled insult at the end of every compliment she'll dread every time you say anything.

If you follow those simple steps you will become in-laws from hell. I guarantee you will cause marital strife, stress, frustration, and heartache.

Tell me about your experiences, good and bad, with your in-laws. How do they drive you crazy? Make you feel loved? Show you why your husband is the way he is?


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    • profile image

      Karen Shiver and Jon Burek 

      22 months ago

      I asked my fiance to make a choice - I offered to let him stay with me and marry me and he chose to live with his mommy in the hotel room.

    • profile image

      Karen Shiver and Jon Burek 

      22 months ago

      My mother in law came to town unannounced, demanded that her son live in her hotel room for a week with her, demanded that her son tell her every detail of his life with me and all of the complaints he has about me, excluded me from everything and would not even agree to see me while she was in town, took her son out to dinner, slept in the same hotel room as him, bought him a phone (I have no phone) and told him how bad I was all week. My fiance let her do this and did not even come over to see me while she was in town and told me that if we were going to have a relationship, then I needed to stop dictating his relationship with his mother.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      A few of my personal favorites....

      Even better, gossip about your daughter in law to all the relatives and entire town. tell them what an ungrateful person she is. Also refuse to child proof, use old unsafe equipment and transport without a carseat so she feels completely distraught over images of loosing her child in an accident. Then coach that child to tell her she is mean and she wants a new mommy named grandma!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      As a mother in law I try so hard to everything right but my daughter in law just seems to take things the wrong way so I feel like I'm walking on eggshells and because I'm on edge I probably say the wrong thing. We really don't mean to be the devil, but it seems that there is no winning. I feel terribly discouraged.

    • profile image

      LeeAnn Miller 

      4 years ago

      It would take hundreds of pages to go over the hell of loving my husband while having no effective means to shut his mother up or stop her silent poison, either. My only consolation is karma...a person like her cannot be that evil for that long without ensuring some serious strife somewhere in her future.

      One thing you forgot to mention for prospective mothers-in-law from Hell: always make sure you tell everyone how much you love your son's wife and his children (not "their" children) and how sad it makes you that she (never use her name) is so emotionally destitute and paranoid that she cannot believe you love her and that you stoically grieve for the lost time with your son and his family, but you understand, forgive her and pray for her. Guaranteed home run.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Omg! You explained it all so clearly! Perfect!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My boyfriend's father spends the entire year stalking my Facebook page and creating a menu of items that he'd like for me to make for him when they visit from out of state. He also maintains a friendly relationship with the boyfriend's ex and makes a point of bringing her up at least once per visit. I have two kids, one of whom is autistic. He loves to completely disregard the way we've learned to cope with her epic tantrums and spends all of his energy making them worse. I don't mind my boyfriend's mom so much, but OMG his dad.

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Colorado

      She would love my father-in-law.

    • sweethearts2 profile image


      6 years ago from Northwest Indiana

      My mother-in-law would remind me with every get-together what a wonderful daughter -in-law my husband's ex-wife was.


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