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`Reluctantly Related: Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law Or Daughter-in-Law' by Deanna Brann, Ph.D., Your In-Law Survival Guide, is all about resolving differences between in-laws.
Why is it that in-law relationships can be so challenging? Well, as Dr Brann reminds readers, in-law relationships are artificial constructs. The central figure in such relationships (the son, in Dr Brann's writing) has become a husband. A new family is established, and the roles of mother, son and daughter-in-law need to take this change into account. But so often, each participant looks at what is happening from their own perspective.

`She makes me feel so inadequate.'

Dr Brann, a licensed clinical psychotherapist, writes of her own experience with her daughter-in-law, providing an example of a disastrous family thanksgiving because both she and her daughter-in-law interpreted events from their own perspectives. Both sides of the story are related here, and this provides a lead-in to the challenges of the mother-in-law (MIL) daughter-in-law (DIL) relationship, including:
* the artificiality of the relationship
* the different stages of life (generally different generations)
* personal history and emotional baggage (we each have both)

In this book, Dr Brann introduces four different personality types of MIL: Comfortable Carla, Mothering Margaret, Off-the-Wall Wanda, and Uncertain Sara; four different personality types of DIL: Confident Connie, Doubting Donna, Weird Wendy, and Transitioned Tracy; and three different personality types for the husband/son: Self-Assured Andy, In-the-Middle Michael, and Struggling Steven. I am wary of stereotypes, but in this case it works as a way of focussing on the particular needs of each character and how a MIL or a DIL can understand where the DIL or the MIL is coming from. And, it's this understanding that is critical to making in-law relationships work effectively. Managing expectations is important, as is respecting boundaries and mutual respect. The effective use of humour can help as well.

The book contains questionnaires (so you can identify personality types), patterns of behaviour and how to deal with them. I found the book provided interesting insights into what can clearly be a challenging relationship. I enjoyed the illustrations, and made some notes. For the future.

Note: I was offered, and accepted, a copy of this book for review purposes. As a newly-minted mother-in-law, I found the topic intriguing.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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on 11 February 2015
Great book! I was in conflict with my MIL for a good few years and wanted to improve our relationship before my little son is born. Most websites I came across were places where either MILs or DILs give out about each other, publish nasty jokes etc. This book was first which help you understand the other side of the conflict and give you tips of how to behave in order to improve (or at least not to make worse) your relationship with MIL/DIL. I know it sounds unbelievable, but 2 months after I read the book the following has happened:
- my MIL apologised for everything she ever said or did to me (I apologised too)
- she is in regular contact with my hubby or myself (either by phone, email or post)
- she sent us a big present for the baby AND for myself(!!!) to cheer me up during the pregnancy
- for the first time since 8 years ago we were able to speak to each other (over the phone, for 1.5 hour!!! about everything, with no pressure or funny feeling to watch what we are saying)
- she is planning to visit us soon (this will be a real test I guess;)
- my husband is very happy, and I see it every day - he is more relaxed now, happy to call his mother from time to time, also in my presence (without hiding in another room - I said before I don't want to hear her voice - I know, nasty!!!)


Anyway, I really, really recommend this book to any MIL or DIL. It is brilliant! :)
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on 20 January 2016
I just ordered this book and started reading it the moment it arrived through our door this afternoon and I am already hooked. I relate to it so much. It is clear and concise. It is also light and easy to read. The book is divided into easy to follow sections that identify what types of a mothers and daughters in law there are and how to deal with each type of personality combination. I found it extremely helpful as it clearly outlines the relationship the daughter in law has or had with her own mother, even if this was non-existent, as this has a ripples effect on how the daughter in law deals with other relationships in her life as she grows up, including the ,other in law. This is an excellent book and the author clearly understands what she is talking about. She even wrote about her own experiences in the book.
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on 21 February 2014
A brilliant book that gives snippets of wisdom, hope and inspiration in what I have found is a massive personal challenge with extended family. A very useful read... One that I think needs reading twice to get the full impact.
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on 14 April 2013
I found this book extremely insightful as all the time I had been focusing on other people's behaviour and not my own. I will definitely put the techniques into practice.
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on 9 February 2015
Amazing. Buy this book.
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on 15 May 2015
Interesting read
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