~ Borat on Mother-in-law“Really? My father-in-law won't even make sexytime with my mother-in-law.”
~ Random Married Guy on the previous quote
The infamous mother-in-law is dreaded by many innocently married men and women in modern civilizations, but with a much greater degree of fear than a typical monster from childhood (you know, the one that hid under your bed or in your closet, and even occasionally stole your tooth fairy money according to a brother or sister). The undeniable feelings of hostility and resentment are, unfortunately, commonplace, and very few marriages are free of the ill effects of this problem.
Many divorces are credited to the interference and stress introduced into a marriage by a mother-in-law, when in reality it's the fault of one or both of the spouses for being too weak and not taking a stand against the bullying tactics employed by the seemingly dictatorial mother-in-law.
A wide range of problems are attributed to the nasty effects of a nit-picking mother-in-law, which are even documented in cartoons, notably both The Jetsons and The Flintstones which include a good number of episodes that demonstrate the complicated dynamics without exaggeration.
The continual interference with the marriage of one of her offspring, which includes the long term stress endured by the previously happy couple effected by their mother-in-law's destructive nit-picking, has been accepted in alternative psychiatric circles as a curable mental illness (the details of which are beyond the scope of this article). This mental illness, in fact, stems from a serious inferiority complex in the mother-in-law that has quietly filled the vacuum of emptiness left behind by the son or daughter moving out.
The most common reaction by couples is unwilling accommodation with the mother-in-law's demands, or partial or complete avoidance (e.g., by relocating to a different continent).
Some of the side-effects that occur for the previously happy couples of this syndrome include:
- Heart disease triggered or caused by extremely high stress levels
- Severely reduced sexual drive because nit-picking doesn't turn anyone on
- Cold atmospheres at family gatherings due to resultingly worsened family politics
- Divorce after only a few months of a complete and utter lack of happiness
- Temporary brain damage evidenced by a demonstrative loss of ability to think logically
- Sleeping disorders which often involve nightmares about the mother-in-law
- Hair loss because everyone feels older
- Uncontrollable hiccuping by one or both partners
Dysfunctional family dynamics are the inevitable result of this serious, and highly destructive syndrome, which often also has unintended ill effects on the mother-in-law's grand children who are often unwittingly used as pawns in a destructive plethora of complicated, and sometimes-subtle, manipulation-oriented mind games that just wind up pissing everyone off in the end.
Be particularly careful about the hidden agendas of a mother-in-law who insists that the solution to every problem is therapy. This is nothing more than a ploy to control, and the abundance of bad therapists on the market make this scheme an ideal vehicle for a mother-in-law to gain insight into a couple's private lives, which will later be used to manipulate as a means to take over.
A really good therapist like Dr. Laura would probably just tell the mother-in-law to get stuffed (which is what the husband should have done a long time ago), but a typical mother-in-law will find reasons to justify choosing someone else who can, in some way, serve at least some of her hidden agendas.
A typical reaction of your mother is to provide an ultimatum, and the correct response to that is not to dictate what the choice will be, but to ask your mother "What do you think my choice will be if I'm really being forced to take sides?" If the answer is "me (mother)" then this is clear evidence of mental illness, and psychiatric help should be seriously considered immediately (which usually starts with a visit from the men in white coats).
The mother needs to understand that her child is no longer dependent on her, and is ready to live and take risks in the dangerous world for which she has been providing protection and (hopefully) education for the past two (or more) decades.