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How can I tell my mother in law to back off?

171 Answers
Last Updated: 01/05/2022 at 10:41am
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United States
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Top Rated Answers
February 3rd, 2016 8:57pm
In my personal experience, I've found an email conversation/letter to be the best way to accomplish this. Start off by being compassionate and appreciative. Tell your mother in law all the things you are thankful for and all the times that you have been happy. I can understand that for some people this is hard. Not everyone is universally more positive than negative. But appreciating your mother in law is not to make her feel better (though, yes, it will), it is to get her mind open to accept your point of view. After you've shown that you can appreciate the efforts of your in-law, tell her in "I" sentences not "you" sentences what it is that you want. Don't say "You are too involved in my life" or "You are too controlling". Say "At this moment, I think I need a little more space to figure out my problems and my solutions. I appreciate your input, but I think I just need to figure this out by myself" or "I appreciate your input, however, I think this is one of those things I'm going to have to figure out by myself." Or even, "I really appreciate you being there for me and my family. We just need to spend some time alone to build the bonds you had in your family". It's tough to offer compliments to someone you feel antagonized by, but believe me, it facilitates in opening your mind to the positives in the situation as well as the person you're speaking to. Nothing is black and white. The more we appreciate the greys, the better we are at communicating and coming up with a solution.
April 25th, 2018 9:29pm
Tell her that your marriage is between you and your partner not with her. Her influence is only harming the relationship not helping.
January 22nd, 2016 9:20pm
Just straight up tell her how you feel. Don't be afraid to express your natural emotions. She should understand, and if she doesn't just try your best to make it clear. You'll get the burden off your chest and hopefulky gain some relief.
February 17th, 2016 11:33am
In my experience, I will bring her to a shopping spree, listening to her blabbing all the time and not complaining about it. Then I will express my ideas of how we can get along by talking through our similar interests and how we can respect each other's presence.
January 22nd, 2016 9:56am
Well, if she has done something wrong then I think you should not tell her anything tell someone else to tell her
January 31st, 2016 9:15am
If she acknowledges logical reasoning and you can convince her with your reasons, she will clear path. If that is not possible, let your significant other handle it.
January 27th, 2016 11:07pm
Tell her you thank her for caring and watching out but that you can handle things yourself. If shes always on top of you on things nicely tell her you got it but thanks for the help and reminding.
December 21st, 2017 9:34pm
With respect - Remember she is the mother of your significant other. No matter how you feel, it is important to also remember how your partner feels. Have you spoken to them about the issue, how do they feel about it? Perhaps it is more appropriate for them to speak with the mother rather than you, or you could do it together on mutual grounds.
January 15th, 2016 12:49am
That can definitely be a touchy scenario. To avoid confrontation, you could ask to speak with her privately and sit down with her. Gently let her know that whatever the situation at hand you're dealing with is between you and your wife/child/parent/friend/whomever, and that you'd appreciate it if she'd let you take care of it on your own. Just let her know that if you do in any case need her advice - you'd ask for it! This could give her the nice ego boost she needs after telling her to keep out of your business :)
January 21st, 2016 10:38pm
I'm sure your mother in law has your best interests at heart, parents tend to do things we don't like out of love but we don't always believe that. If you need more independence then all you can do is talk to your mother in law. Tell her how you feel. Be open with her.
February 5th, 2016 1:15pm
There are 2 ways to go about this. 1) Lay it down on her hard, she needs to know how you feel, you are important and your feelings, so just tell the truth and that you just want a bit of space. Or 2) Say it gently so she doesn't feel offended. Both of these in my opinion are good ideas, it could understand how frustrating it is to have someone always in your face!
April 21st, 2016 6:18pm
It really depends on the situation and your age. I would mainly start by saying this is your life and you are old enough to know what you are doing and have been successful so far.
June 16th, 2016 6:59am
Your husband should handle that. You shouldn't be put in that position. He needs to man up and talk to her himself
May 2nd, 2018 10:00am
Respectfully, everyone has feelings and most of us always act out of the best of our intentions. So just tell her how you feel when she acts a certain way and try and show her how if she acted in a different way it would be better for your relationship.
January 27th, 2016 6:32am
Dealing with in laws is hard,especially when they're always butting in . Politely ask her to have a conversation with you Tell her that while you respect and understand her need to be involved with your partner's life,he/she is in a union. Explain that some issues are best discussed between your partner and yourself, and while you may appreciate her input, you would appreciate it if she let you guys discuss stuff by yourselves..Good luck!
February 14th, 2016 12:23am
Trying to tell your mother in law to back off might seem scary but I know you can do it!! I would let her know that you would like to talk to her, one on one and let her know how much she means to you. Tell her that you need a little space during this time in your life, that it has nothing to do with her but someday's you need your space.
January 27th, 2016 9:46pm
Just let her know that you do not feel comfortable being there and try to get away. Ask a parent or a friend to assist you.
February 3rd, 2016 5:44am
Its always good if you can talk to your spouse about the situation first and make sure that your spouse understands how it makes you feel. If possible bring your spouse along when you are going to talk bout it with you mother in law and make sure your spouse understands how important this is to you.
February 10th, 2016 4:24am
The best way to effectively communicate with someone is to calmly express how their actions directly affect you and how they make you feel. Sharing emotions joins the gap between the situation and the anger or stress in the relationship.
February 17th, 2016 1:57pm
I understand that you have the best intentions and you love us very much. But please understand and respect that we want to live our lives as we want to. We love you very much.
February 17th, 2016 6:17pm
I'm afraid you can't. Not in any polite way that is. Just try to be respectful and tell her you need boundaries
March 3rd, 2016 5:23pm
What emotions would you like to communicate behind your message to her? What relationship would you like to have at the end, and what other goals do you have in mind with this conversation? These are important to think of before such a complex discussion with this important person. When telling her to back off, we must remember that there are many people's emotions and futures involved, but that you must put your own needs and self care first. Your needs are the end goal, but the needs of the rest of the family can be considered along the path to get there.
January 22nd, 2020 4:42pm
You Can sit down with her and try and have a Productive conversation where you explain that you would prefer if she not "helicopter" and try and do it in a respectful manner. You may feel like you can't talk to her, but expressing your thoughts are an essential part to you building your relationship with her. You have to approach her at an apprpriate time, where you both are in a relaxed setting and are not stressed or in a high-string mood. Afterwards, if you are able to approach her where she isn't in a stressed mood, try and explain to her your feelings and preferences. The key is to not get defensive and to remain calm.
September 19th, 2021 5:43pm
There are two ways to do this. The first is to talk with your husband and see if he agrees with you and can talk with his mother. The second is to talk with your mother-in-law yourself. In both cases, it is better to start the conversation when nothing has just happened so you have the lead and are not just reacting to some instant problem. Start with your feelings: "I am overwhelmed when [this] happens / I have a problem dealing with [that] because it sounds as if you (or she) thought that [...] and I wonder how you feel about this. You might do well to write down what you need (or do NOT need) and rehearse so the words are already in your head when you get to that conversation. It could well be that your mother-in-law is just too kind and absolutely wants to be helpful, but I understand that it might be too much in the long run. Make sure you leave her some slack so you can get along. Another way, if you have a father-in-law or siblings-in-law, is to talk with them too along the same lines. As long as you do not talk in anger and keep things neutral, you'll be able to get your message across.
February 10th, 2016 2:15pm
If my intentions are clear, I don't have to be scared to ask her to back off. After all she's my mother-in-law,a mother,she has to know what I feel
February 17th, 2016 4:46pm
Just speak to her privately and talk to her in a calm manner; don't speak to her in an abusive way and don't get physical.
February 17th, 2016 5:16pm
You can request her politely. Fighting with grandmother violently will make the relation tough. Always try to maintain relation.
February 18th, 2016 8:26pm
This is about setting boundaries. We can tell mother-in-law that we are ok doing what we are doing and nicely request that she don't get involve in it. Sometimes, it'll take being firm and reinstating what you needed from your mother-in-law. It could start out as "I would like to..." or "I can handle it".
February 19th, 2016 10:21pm
Simply, say it. But remember to respect her authority as an elderly and human being. Someday, she might be thankful to you for considering that.
February 21st, 2016 2:09am
You may need to talk to your mother-in-law with your significant other present and explain to your mother-in-law that while sometimes you value her opinion and life experiences the two of you have formed a relationship and the two of you need to make your decisions regarding your life and life choices. Be gentle but firm and explain that you would be glad to take her advice when you ask for it and at any other time she should ask before stepping in.