The Mother-in-Law syndrome

Yes, it is true; it does exist, The Mother-in Law Syndrome!

This is a never ending war – the one between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law! Such is their popularity that they have been written about in the puranas, books have been dedicated to them, television soaps, movies etc. have been made in the honour of their life-long tiff!

But why do two women who barely know each other turn enemies as soon as the former’s son marries the latter? Why does the mother-in-law view the young daughter-in-law as competition from day one? Psychologist have an interesting term for this situation; they call it the ‘Mother-in-law syndrome’!

Picture used is only for editorial reference. The copyright lies with the artist.

What is the ‘mother-in-law’ syndrome?

A mother’s continuous interference in the marriage of her child – boy or girl, that which includes high stress levels being experienced by the previously happy couple due to their mother-in-law’s disastrous influence or imposed ideas in their lives. Such is its effect that it is now accepted and recognised as a proper condition within the psychiatric circles. The good news is, it is curable! 

But this phenomenon isn't new! It has been in existence during the early stages of civilisation and Vedic times. Let us take a look at the worst mother-in-laws according to mythology!

P.S: The blog was originally published on


  1. Indeed - Kunti's was a master stroke of all mother in law shenanigan. Her asking her sons to share the gift they bought for her. And what misery poor Draupadi must have felt.

    BTW why hasn't the syndrome afflicted fathers in law?

  2. @Anil

    Well, I am glad you agree! I am sure this syndrome has afflicted the fathers-in-laws too but not much is written about men's psyche.

    Needs research :)

  3. Interesting, Nikita. Like I famously say, "All women take to be extremely fond of me except potential mother-in-laws." Not that there are any choices in men, too. All the same. Same ol' story.

  4. OOhh.. this is like a can of worms... A never ending debate! Seriously! However, its always a pleasure to read about the MIL DIL wars elsewhere (read including the puranas.. at least we can decide who's side to take!).. the ones inhouse always suck! ;)

  5. @Sneha,

    Tell me about it! I had never experienced so much negativity and hatred before! I don't know what changes when women turn mom in laws :(

  6. @AshenGlow

    you nailed it! The in-house ones definitely suck!

  7. You know, in hindsight, I always tell everyone - "All women love me, except potential mother in laws." (Notice how I don't even add hyphens there).

  8. @Sneha

    Haha! Good one and I agree wholeheartedly! :)

  9. Lol! This sustains Ekta Kapoor !!:)


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