17 Subtle (and Not So Subtle) Signs Your Mother-in-law Hates You

17 Subtle (and Not So Subtle) Signs Your Mother-in-law Hates You

She might have seemed really pleasant when you first met! But if she shows a lot of these signs, you might need to be on your guard!

It might have been a niggling feeling you couldn’t shake. Or maybe she let you know as clear as day.

A strained relationship with your mother-in-law can be the most stressful thing on your marriage. Your spouse might not be able to see it cause she still looks at them with doting eyes.

And while she did a great job raising your spouse (you did marry them, after all!), it doesn’t mean she reflects the same love for you!

No matter what you do, you can’t catch a break without her breathing down your neck telling you how terrible you are and how great her child is.

If you aren’t sure whether your mother-in-law has a disagreement with you over small matters or just flat-out doesn’t like you at all, check out this list to see if your mother-in-law hates you.

17 signs your mother-in-law hates you

1. Takes every opportunity to publicly humiliate you

mother-in-law hates you

She loves to humiliate you in front of others | Image source: iStock

Your spouse might pass off your mother-in-law’s attitude as very direct and say “she’s like that with everyone”. But when you notice she takes time out of her day to scold you or put you down in front of other people, this is a big red flag.

Publicly chastising you is only intended to make you humiliated.

If it keeps happening, bring up specific instances to your partner and ask them to back you up.

2. She snubs your invites

If your mother-in-law finds a way to weasel out of all your invites, chances are that she really doesn’t like you.

Especially if she ends up accepting the same invite when it comes from your spouse!

3. Doesn’t care about your career or personal life

You know your mother-in-law doesn’t like you if her eyes glaze over when (or if) she asks you what your job is.

Or she doesn’t even ask you how you are.

Having an interest in your career is a simple way of showing care for you. If your mother-in-law care for you, she’d take the initiative to see how your day was. 

4. Tears you down to her child

Not only does she make it a point to find something to complain about you, but she does it in front of your partner.

Your mother-in-law has nothing good to say about you and criticises your career, how you look, or even the fact that you’re married to her child!

If your mother keeps doing this in front of your partner, then take time to talk with your spouse to get behind you. As a married couple, you’re a team. That’s basically what you vowed at your wedding!

If this happens in public frequently, ask your partner to be united with you. However, if your spouse has an issue with a behaviour you do or a specific way you speak to their mother, they should speak to you in private.

5. Gives fake apologies

It might take you aback if your mother-in-law apologises for something. However, pay attention if it’s “fake”. 

It can look like “I’m sorry you thought I was talking badly about your hobby.”

She’s not actually apologising, she’s putting the blame on you for misunderstanding.

Sincere apologies are when your mother-in-law identifies the issue and wants to make amends.

6. “Thoughtful” gifts are underhanded digs

mother-in-law hates you

This could be a subtle cue that she thinks you’re always late! | Image source: iStock

For your birthday or to commemorate a special occasion, your mother-in-law might buy you something that seems very specific.

At first glance, it seems thoughtful. But when you speak with her further on why she bought it (or she might just offer her explanation regardless), you’ll find out it’s to fix problems she has issue with.

Skincare products or sets? She means you have horribly oily skin. A voucher for books? Maybe she thinks you’re uneducated.

7. You’re always left out of family activities

mother-in-law hates you

She “forgets” to invite you to family gatherings | Image source: iStock

Whether it’s a family meal or someone’s birthday, you always seem to have been left out of the memo.

If you feel your mother-in-law conveniently “forgets” to mention these events,  chances are she really doesn’t like you.

People show their true colours by how they act. It can be upsetting when you realise it. Mention it to your partner and see if they can mention it to your mother-in-law discreetly.

8. No photos of you and your spouse in her home

It might seem old fashioned, but having photos around the house is a timeless feature.  It’s normal to see countless pictures of your partner and their family, celebrating younger birthdays or graduations.

If you notice there isn’t a single photo of you and your spouse to be found anywhere, it’s a likely sign your mother-in-law really doesn’t like you!

Getting married is a huge milestone for anyone to meet. So it’s bizarre to not find any pics of you and your partner hanging up on the wall or on the shelves.

9. She ignores you

mother-in-law hates you

If your mother-in-law is more interested in reading than talking to you, that’s a sure sign she doesn’t like you! | Image source: iStock

You thought ignoring people you don’t like was behaviour from secondary school. But if your mother-in-law gives you the cold shoulder every time she sees you, she probably hates you.

It can be a bit tough to know if someone is outright ignoring you or didn’t hear the first time.

If she’s too busy playing on her phone or just doesn’t respond to you while you’re talking to her, then you’ve got your answer!

10. Undermines your parenting decisions

Your mother-in-law might think she’s the expert. However, she can also be very controlling and constantly tell you how to be a parent to your kids.

Anything you do isn’t good enough and she will insist her way is the only way to raise children.

Speak with your partner to set clear boundaries if this keeps happening. 

Your mother-in-law’s experience is definitely valuable, but not at the risk of overruling your role as the primary caregiver.

11. Keeps you close enough to pick at you

A subtle sign your mother-in-law hates you is when she doesn’t openly criticise you. 

Instead, she might drop a passive-aggressive comment in the middle of talking, and quickly move on.

It’ll be so underhanded that you won’t notice it if you weren’t paying attention.

12. Backhanded compliments 

Just like a fake apology, backhanded compliments are another tool your mother-in-law might use if she truly hates you.

“I didn’t expect you to get the job! Congratulations!”

13. Insults you when you’re alone

On the other hand, if your mother-in-law doesn’t like you then she will take the opportunity to tell you exactly what she thinks of you when you’re left alone.

She may not do this in front of everyone else to save face for her child. But it’s when you’re talking to her one-to-one when it’s least expected.

14. Always brings up your spouse’s exes

mother-in-law hates you

Get the feeling she talks more about your spouse’s exes than about you? | Image source: iStock

How do you know your mother-in-law doesn’t think much of you? When she takes the opportunity to talk about your spouse’s exes. Over and over again.

If your mother-in-law doesn’t like you, she’ll constantly draw comparisons to her child’s previous partners and boast about how great they were. Whether she’s doing this intentionally or not is a different matter. However, if it makes you uncomfortable, speak with your spouse to see how you can tackle the issue together.

15. Dismisses your accomplishments

mother-in-law hates you

She loves to undermine your achievements | Image source: iStock

No matter what you do, it’s still not enough in the eyes of someone who doesn’t like you.

Whether you won an award at work, achieved the best employee performance, or noted a milestone breakthrough in your business’s finances, your mother-in-law just refuses to be impressed.

In fact, she’ll go one step further and do everything within her power to dismiss your feats and hard work.

16. Makes no attempt to have any relationships with your side of the family

When you marry into the family, your spouse’s family became your own, and vice versa.

If your mother-in-law spurs any chance to meet your parents or nurture a friendly relationship with your family, it’s a big sign that she isn’t so keen on you.

17. Reveals the bad things your spouse has said about you

mother-in-law hates you

If your mother-in-law shares confidential things to you, ask your spouse to speak to her | Image source: iStock

Children often confide in their parents no matter how old kids are. 

However, if your mother-in-law shares your spouse’s worries, concerns, or disappointments about you to your face, you can be sure she hates you.

This is a huge breach of confidentiality. But more so, she intentionally chose to relay information to sow seeds of doubt in your mind.

Speak with your spouse if this happens to you, as it’s there’s a breach of trust, as well as some seriously dodgy business going on to damage your marriage.

While you might hope you have a pleasant relationship with your in-laws, not everyone is able to maintain the peace (as much as they hope to). We hope that these pointers can help you better navigate the waters and hopefully, work out a plan on how to get along (or keep away) from your MIL to avoid further disagreements.

Think we’ve missed anything out? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by

Vinnie Wong

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