The Mother-in-law Daughter-in-law Syndrome occurs when the two ladies of the house do not get along, resulting in tension, affecting the overall atmosphere at home. These issues have always been present, but it has become even more prominent in today's changing times. The phrase‘And they lived happily ever after’ should have come with a clause of ‘the in-laws lived happily ever after’!
New age women are known to be empowered as they earn independently, get higher education and manage their own finances. Many reports have been published about the increasing discord between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, leading to altercations in public and assault, needing law intervention.
The differences generally crop up after the ' honeymoon' phase is over. It is difficult to put a time frame on when the conflicts begin, but it is often in the first few years of marriage. The conflicts primarily stem from the need to adjust to new experiences, new cuisine, and a new way of daily living. Another common cause of conflict is ‘control and contribution to household finances’; if both the women are working, their control over household expenses is higher. Negotiating these issues and accepting all the above requirements can be hard and difficult to process. These issues can arise even if women don't live with the in-laws or are visiting just for a short period of time.
The bottom line is that coping skills should be taught so that women can negotiate better and become assertive rather than becoming aggressive or being meek. Practice tolerance to cope with minor issues, rather than making every issue a big issue!
Inputs by Dr Parul Tank, Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.
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