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Mother-in-Law / Daughter-in-Law Conflicts

It's not easy being a daughter-in-law. Just ask mine. I think she was terrified of me when we met, because we come from different cultures, different countries, and different religions. These days, though, we get along pretty well in spite of all that, a good deal better than I got along with my mother-in-law at first.

And though you would think being a daughter-in-law first would help you succeed as a mother-in-law, it doesn't, because it's different relationship between different people, thrown together with only one thing in common, your love for the guy she married.

Psychotherapist Deanna Brann, Ph.D., has just written a very helpful book for women in both predicaments, Reluctantly Related: Secrets to Getting Along with Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law., and the publisher kindly sent me a review copy.

It's the book she wanted to read when her own relationship with her daughter-in-law got rather unpleasant, despite all her professional training. She did some more research, checked in with a bunch of mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law, and wrote it for everyone else wanting a bit of help.

Her book helps explain where things go wrong. More importantly, it offers tools for getting them back on track: tools for daughters-in-law, tools for mothers-in-law, and advice for both on husbands caught in the middle or overanalyzing problems between their mothers and their wives.

I'll admit I was uncomfortable at first with her having us classify our mother-in-law as like Comfortable Carla, Mothering Margaret, Off-the-Wall Wanda, or Uncertain Sara -- or our daughter-in-law as Confident Connie, Doubting Donna, Weird Wendy, or Transitioned Tracy. In the end, though, I was delighted that it allowed her to tailor the advice and tools for the person we're dealing with and the issues most likely to arise between us.

Read it before your next family get-together!


My mother-in-law is the best mom I have! I'm so lucky to have her :) She's so sweet and has a great personality! She even wrote me a letter before our wedding day giving us her blessing in our marriage!

She sounds great, Mai!

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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