30 Signs You Have A Toxic Daughter-In-Law

From manipulating the truth to being controlling, a few signs to watch out for.

Reviewed by Hemali Adhiya, ICF Certified Relationship Coach Hemali Adhiya Hemali AdhiyaICF Certified Relationship Coach facebook_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA (English) Gazala Firdos Ansari Integrated MA (English) Experience: 2 years
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
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Most daughters-in-law are shy and take their time to open up to you. Others go through a transition period due to their upbringing in a household with different values and traditions. But some daughters-in-law display signs of toxic behavior and manipulation that can strain your relationship with family members.

Such a woman continues to demonstrate toxic characteristics no matter how hard you try to create a bond. It can make her come across as selfish and indifferent. Moreover, her actions may cause a strain between you and your son.

If this sounds very familiar to what you are going through, it is important that you learn to recognize the signs of a toxic daughter-in-law and how to deal with one. In this article, we have discussed the 30 major signs of a toxic daughter-in-law you need to watch out for and how you can deal with one. Keep reading.

What Is A Toxic Daughter In Law

A toxic daughter-in-law refers to an individual who exhibits harmful behavior within the family dynamic. This behavior may include manipulation, constant criticism, a lack of empathy, or an inclination toward creating conflicts. A toxic daughter-in-law can strain relationships, fostering negativity and tension in the family. The toxicity may stem from unresolved personal issues or differing expectations. Addressing such challenges requires open communication, empathy, and setting healthy boundaries to promote a harmonious family environment. Understanding the root causes and fostering positive communication can help navigate and mitigate the impact of toxic dynamics within the family unit.

The behavior of a toxic daughter-in-law can be predicted with a few specific signs. Check out the section below to learn about some of these signs.

30 Signs Of A Toxic Daughter-In-Law

1. She Is Overly Controlling In Nature

Daughter-In-Law Is Overly Controlling In Nature
Image: IStock

If your daughter-in-law always needs things to go her way despite the consequences, it is very likely that she is toxic. She only follows her own rules and expects others to behave as she wants. This behavior shows her controlling nature and her need to micromanage every individual’s actions.

2. She Is Extremely Selfish

She rarely considers your needs and puts her wants before the needs of the family. She prioritizes you last and wants you to listen to her but doesn’t take into account your choices or well-being.

3. She Is Not Interested In Bonding With You

She has never expressed an interest in doing anything with you as one family and doesn’t bother striking up a conversation when it is just the two of you. While you may try to include her in family events, she always comes up with countless excuses to avoid them.

4. She Is Incredibly Unpredictable

She constantly switches between being nice and rude to you. She takes your sweet behavior toward her for granted and makes you feel small.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Talk to her to get to the root of her unpredictable behavior. Be as open as possible about your own actions to help her open up to you.

5. She Is Unnecessarily Spiteful

A toxic daughter-in-law will continuously annoy you and make you feel bad by saying hurtful things. She often ignores you and mostly passes sharp and rude comments about your home or traditions.

6. She Often Involves Your Son

Daughter-in-law involves your son in every discussion
Image: Shutterstock

She cannot carry out a mature discussion and often brings your son into trivial matters. She tries to influence your son by garnering his sympathy and taking her side against you.

7. She Blames You For The Conflict

She wants to make you and everyone around you believe that you are the reason you two can’t get along. She constantly tries to prove you wrong before the family. She loves to critique your parenting style and blames you for her misfortunes while playing the victim of emotional abuse herself.

8. She Enjoys Emotional Games

She tries playing emotional games to control your son when she is unable to control you. She questions his love for her and tries to make him choose between the two of you. If that’s not enough, she constantly urges him to take her side in arguments even when he disagrees with her.

9. She Frequently Manipulates The Truth

She will do anything to undermine your mental health and cause you to question your own sanity. She may even trick you into believing that you cannot get along with her when she is the one creating the rift. She may convince everyone that you are the cause for the strained relationship.

10. She Doesn’t Respect You

She often humiliates and shames you in front of the other family members with her blatant disrespect. Her feelings will not change even if you are a good mother-in-law and are constantly rude to you and might even snap at you.

11. She Frequently Talks Behind Your Back

Even though you have been pleasant to her and have helped her settle in with your family, she still says unfavorable things about you behind your back. She gossips about you and goes so far as to make up outright lies.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Act like the gossip doesn’t affect you and treat your daughter-in-law kindly whenever you interact. This might make her reflect on her behavior and make her stop talking about you.

12. She Shows Animosity Towards You

She consistently acts in a rude and antagonistic manner toward you. She always displays an annoyed and furious expression whenever you are near her and even ignores you if you try to speak to her. She also throws objects, yells, or hurts herself when there is a fight at home.

13. She Always Makes Passive-Aggressive Comments

She makes an effort to let you know how much she dislikes you and reminds you of your “position” in the family by acting harshly toward you in front of other members. Your toxic daughter-in-law might also pass offensive remarks about you and then laugh about them. She makes you feel unimportant by making fun of your opinions.

14. She Restricts Your Time With Your Grandchildren

Daughter-in-law restricts your time with your grandchildren
Image: Shutterstock

She tries to make you look guilty in front of your grandchildren and constantly limits the amount of time you can spend with them. She will make excuses to keep the kids away from you and ensure her family sees the grandchildren more frequently.

15. She Never Accepts Her Own Faults

She criticizes everything you do and finds flaws in everything you say. However, when the attention is on her, everything is different. She refuses to acknowledge her errors and blames you for making things up.

16. She Tries To Create Rifts Between You and Your Son

She portrays you as a source of constant stress to her spouse and speaks poorly of you. She even exaggerates the things you have said or done to show why she doesn’t want him seeing or talking to you as much.

17. She Portrays You Poorly On Social Media

She never includes you in any family post on her social media. When she does, it is always laced with a snide comment or unflattering depiction of you. She likes making fun of you and shares posts that create rumors about you.


protip_icon Quick Tip
Block your daughter-in-law on every social media platform and avoid unnecessary communication if confronting her about the harsh posts doesn’t change her behavior.

18. You Rarely Hear From Her

She never initiates contact or takes time to return your calls. She prefers communicating with you through your son and is often rude when she does.

19. She Keeps Making Excuses To Not See You

She tries to avoid you and never seems to stop by for a visit even though you live close by. Nothing changes no matter how much time she has been given to arrange a visit. She simply won’t give up any of her time to be with you.

20. She Never Asks For Your Advice

She never confides in you or asks for advice, particularly on suggestions regarding her husband. She has no qualms in asking every other relative for help and support even when she knows nobody can understand your son as well as you can.

21. She Never Uses The Gifts You Get Her

You never see the gifts you have sent when you go to their home. She makes up excuses for not displaying those gifts by stating that they are either broken or misplaced.

22. She Never Remembers Your Big Milestones

She does not remember to wish you on your birthday or anniversary and lets important dates go by completely unnoticed without any remorse. She also forgets your accomplishments and milestones and doesn’t make an effort to remedy the issue.

23. She Behaves Better With You In Front Of Your Son

 She seems to completely shut down when it’s just the two of you and no effort from your side appears to help the situation. She is not comfortable with you and does not want to participate in any activities you may have planned. However, she starts interacting nicely with you and even makes plans with you in the presence of your son.

24. She Refuses Any Help From You

She continues to reject any assistance from you, whether it is financial aid or just babysitting your grandchildren for a few days. She even persuades your son and grandchildren not to approach you with any problems.

25. She Makes Your Son Spend Most Holidays With Her Side Of The Family

She will do everything in her power to drive a wedge between you and your son. She will monopolize his attention and make sure that you hardly get to see your son on important occasions. She will make your son and even your grandchildren spend time with her side of the family just to hurt you.

26. She Is Particularly Defensive

She always doubts you and seems to get easily irritated. If you approach her with good intentions and ask her questions, she becomes defensive and shows little interest in what you have to say. She often gets angry and accuses you of patronizing her even though you may be kind.

27. She Doesn’t Show You Any Compassion

She never demonstrates any sort of empathy or compassion for you, regardless of what you are going through, and rarely comes to assist you. She doesn’t express any true concern for you or your troubles.

28. She Is Only Sweet To You When She Wants Something

She won’t usually return your calls or texts and is rarely available when you need her. However, she suddenly becomes more approachable and charming than ever when she is in need of a favor.

29. She Creates Constant Drama

She stirs up conflict and causes strife within the family. All the household members become quite tense and stressed as a result of her careless and childish actions.

30. Your Son Has To Make Endless Excuses For Her

Your son is always making excuses for her. She creates constant chaos around the house while your son, more often than not, gets caught up in it and has to apologize for her actions.

Now that you are aware of the important signs, take a look at the different ways to handle your daughter-in-law in the next section.

6 Ways To Deal With A Toxic Daughter-In-Law

A mother-in-law upset with her daughter-in-law
Image: IStock

1. Remember To Stay Calm

Toxic people like your daughter-in-law might aim to elicit an emotional response from you. They get a sense of power and control from doing so. You can control the situation if you prevent them from seeing that emotional response. Leave the room to collect your thoughts and evaluate the issue rather than responding to her immediately. If you must respond right away, take a deep breath and count to ten before answering.

2. Be Polite But Firm

You have the right to set personal boundaries even though she is your daughter-in-law. If she is being hostile, you have the right to keep your distance from her until she learns to treat you respectfully. Always inform her firmly but politely that you won’t tolerate being treated disrespectfully.

3. Calmly Express Your Opinions

Make sure you express your opinions calmly when you talk to her. While it can be challenging, clearly and firmly expressing your opinions can help remove any potential triggers that your daughter-in-law could use against you. Avoid raising your voice, changing your tone, or crying.

4. Find The Solution Together With Your Son

If you find it very difficult to be around your toxic daughter-in-law, sit down with your son and try to find a solution. Ask him for suggestions on how to tackle the issues after expressing your worries. This shows that you are open to finding a solution while also respecting his ability to make his own decisions.

5. Don’t Stoop To Her Level

Don’t behave the same way your daughter-in-law does. It won’t work and you might end up alienating your own son in the process. He will begin to view you negatively without understanding that you are merely attempting to counter her actions. Sinking to her level won’t fix the issue, but will make it more unpleasant and volatile.

6. Be A Patient And Willing Listener

If your son approaches you to talk about your toxic daughter-in-law’s behavior, pay attention to him. Also, listening to your daughter-in-law with an open mind will help you understand why she behaves the way she does. It will also help alleviate the stress in such a complicated situation.

It may take your daughter-in-law some time to acclimatize to her new life. Overlook her accidental errors and work towards reducing the distance between you. However, this should not come at the expense of your own mental well-being. If she keeps disrespecting your boundaries and thwarts your attempts to fix the relationship, avoid her altogether. While it may not be a long-term solution, it will give you ample time to seek counseling, work towards a better alternative and create a strong relationship with her.

Infographic: 7 Signs Of A Toxic Daughter-In-Law

If your daughter-in-law keeps you at an arm’s length, is overly controlling, and unpredictable, chances are she doesn’t like you and might even be toxic. We have rounded up in the infographic below the 7 signs of a toxic daughter-in-law you should look out for. Take a look.

7 signs of a toxic daughter in law (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law not get along?

Most mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law do get along and share healthy relationships. However, few don’t get along due to miscommunication, societal norms, religious customs, and a severe need to dominate the other individual.

What to do when your daughter-in-law turns your son against you?

Facilitate open communication. Talk to your son and daughter-in-law together and let them know your intentions for every action to ensure there is no room left for misinterpretation.

How do you tell if your daughter-in-law is jealous of you?

The behaviors of a jealous daughter-in-law include causing strife at home, rejecting family customs, displaying animosity towards the family, and attempting to turn your son against you. You must take action before it’s too late because she has the potential to break into your home.

What is the “daughter-in-law syndrome”?

The mother-in-law’s daughter-in-law syndrome happens when there is tension in the home because the two women live there and do not get along. Although these problems have always existed, they are now even more obvious given the current state of affairs.

How do I deal with my gaslighting daughter-in-law?

You can think back on how you handled her. Make an effort to entice her to spend time with you. Make sure to find out what worries she has about you. Keep her separate from your other daughters and daughters-in-law. Lastly, become aware of her deceptive strategies.

What do you do when you have a narcissistic daughter-in-law?

Recognize that you are speaking to a narcissist first. then comprehend the behaviors they employ to influence or subdue you. Keep in mind to establish boundaries for yourself. Always state those limits up front. Make it a point to communicate when your boundaries have been violated. Don’t be embarrassed to speak openly in front of others.

How do I have a difficult conversation with my daughter-in-law?

Make them feel at ease and as though she is your own daughter by having an honest conversation with them. Make an effort to comprehend the issue and calmly address it to avoid offending her.

How can I seek professional help or counseling to address the issue of a toxic daughter-in-law?

Discuss your family problems and the upsetting time you had with your daughter-in-law with your therapist. Your therapist will explain the situation to you and offer suggestions for how to handle it. For better comprehension, you can take your daughter-in-law along when you see a family therapist.

How do I ensure that my relationship with my son remains strong and healthy despite conflicts with his wife?

Talk to your son if you find that you are constantly at odds with your daughter-in-law. Inform him of your issues in a composed manner. If you and your daughter-in-law ever disagree, call your son and let him know what transpired before his wife does so. By doing this, he will know that his mother is willing to talk to him about these matters, which will make him trust you.

Key Takeaways

    • Most daughters-in-law are just nervous and take their time to adjust to the new family. However, some daughters-in-law are quite toxic from the beginning and only become worse as time passes.
    • They enjoy taunting you and spreading rumors about you. They can easily manipulate your son and family into turning against you.
    • Calmly talk to your son and let him explain the severity of her actions to her. Ultimately, it is his decision to make
Toxic Daughter-In-Law Signs

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Learn how to build a strong relationship with your daughter-in-law in this video. Get tips on how to get along and create a positive bond.

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Hemali Adhiya

Hemali AdhiyaICF Certified Relationship Coach

Hemali is an ICF-Certified ACC Level Life Coach with 3 years of experience in relationship, marriage, and grief coaching. Her sessions aim to bring about transformation in her clients’ lives, perspectives, and relationships. She works with her clients to help them evolve in their problem areas and find new meaning in their lives, thus finding the best versions of themselves.read full bio

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