constant complaining, or always lying

by Donna Phillips
(Ocala, Fl)

When my son first married her, we found her very rude. Example: while visitng in their home, she removed a glass of tea from my hand, placed first one then a second papaer towel around the glass and told me "don't get my house dirty". Her parents have a bit of money. We have always stuggled financially. Yet my children were taught manners and respect for others feelings.

Recently they had a short stay in my house. Shortly before they left, she "made" the two beds. At 40 years old, the "made" bed looked as though a 6 year old had made it. She remarked to my son that she made it that way because she was angry with me. She has lost more than one job due to her complaining about the life she has with her husband. She complains that other employees won't hold the better parking space for Her!

How do I deal with her?????

Please help,
Mom Donna

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How to Change the Situation ...
by: Ms P Etiquette

Hello Donna

From the tone of your letter I gather you are quite frustrated with the behavior of your daughter-in-law. Her actions toward you range from rudeness to complaining to perhaps lying, if I understand your situation. Your question is "how do I deal with her".

Usually when one asks this question, one really means, "how can I make her behave the way I want her to behave".

The short answer is - you cannot. We are who we are. We change when we want to, if ever. But we rarely make these huge changes in personality and/or behavior because of outside influences. And possibly the least influential family members are the in-laws.

Altering your internal reaction to her behavior will help you cope. Frankly, short of not spending any time with her and your son, I think this is your best option. Lower your expectations since you already know how she interacts with others. Try to minimize your angry reactions by forcing yourself to overlook her manners, which will in turn make you less unhappy. If you practice enough this will be easier each time. You risk alienating your son if you pursue any other response since it seems he is able to live with her. Above all else, do not ask your son to choose between his wife and his family. That has disaster written all over it

If there were any way to force change in others, I would certainly share it with you. My experience reminds me that the only real control I will ever have over others is controlling my own response to their actions.

I do hope you find a path to a form of peace with this situation.

Ms Practical Etiquette

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