When Your Mother-In-Law Takes Over

Episode #582

Is your mother-in-law meddling in your marriage because it is falling apart?

Are you allowing your partner to feel seen and heard?

When you consistently show up as an Alpha who is wise, open, loving, and fierce, your partner won’t have to turn to her mother to protect her.

In this episode, we will discuss why your mother-in-law is taking control of your relationship and how to regain your power because nobody can lead your family except yourself.

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Doug Holt: Hey, guys, welcome to another episode of The Powerful Man Show. Tim, how are you doing, brother?

Tim Matthews: I am doing well. You did a great job on this topic as well. So, I think it was a great one.

Doug Holt: Thanks, buddy. Yeah, we chose to use different podcast-releasing software, and last week, it didn’t work for us. So we’ll see if it works this time. We’re switching it back to a different recording platform, and hopefully, all is well.

Tim Matthews: Yeah. I was speaking to my mom on the weekend, and I didn’t realize she listens to every episode.

Doug Holt: Your mom does?

Tim Matthews: Yeah. I didn’t realize.

Doug Holt:  Hi, Mrs. Matthews.

Tim Matthews: Yeah, Mrs. Matthews. Hi, mom. Anyway, my dad’s so needy and insecure. I don’t think he does listen to every episode. If he does, I tease him about this anyways; it’s all good. He caught a glimpse of her scrolling over the podcast. Obviously, you know our kind of topics and headlines, and if you were a little bit insecure within your relationship, I could understand my dad’s reaction. ‘What are you looking at that for?’ And she’s like, ‘what do you mean?’  ‘Why are you listening to that? What are you thinking about?’ She’s like, ‘shut up. Go away.’ But it’s just so funny. It’s just so funny. I thought you might like that.

Doug Holt: That’s great, man. I do know that my brother listens to the podcast. I think maybe my wife, very sparingly. Besides that, I don’t think my family catches too many episodes, so I’ll talk about them freely.

Tim Matthews: Luckily, I’ve had enough conversations with my mom and dad now that I don’t think there’s much that could come up on these podcasts. Just thinking about intimacy, really. That’s the only thing I’d be embarrassed to share around a table with them at Christmas dinner and be like… But yeah, anyway, I know you had a great topic you wanted to dive into.

Doug Holt: It aligns with what we’re talking about now. We often hear from men that call up. So guys, if you’re interested in joining the Activation Method, our methodology where we help men save their marriage without talking about it, you get onto a call with one of our advisors. And the purpose for the first call is to see if it’s a good fit. What’s going on in your life? What’s going on with your marriage? Is this program going to help or not? And are you a good fit, from our perspective, for the program? We hold the community very closely, very tight. Because we have an amazing, amazing community of men that are in there, in the private community.

So when you get on, one of the things that the advisor says is often talked about is, guys will talk about their mother-in-law meddling in their marriage. So things start to go wrong… Or more or less the scene is, Tim, as the marriage starts to fall apart, usually the man doesn’t realize it. The woman does first. It’s very common. Over 70% of divorces are initiated by women. In fact, Divorce Day is coming up. It’s the first Monday in January, after the holiday. So that’s coming up. If you don’t know what Divorce Day is, to throw it in there, go back to a previous podcast and look at it because it’s something I think all guys listening to this should know about.

But, the guys will start complaining and say the mother-in-law is meddling. So, the woman eventually turns to her mother-in-law, the mother-in-law steps in and starts directing the marriage. She starts taking over. She starts telling the woman, or the wife in this case, what to do, how to think, and how to feel. And oftentimes, will butt in and tell the husband the same thing. Now, it doesn’t have to be the mother-in-law. You can substitute this person, and we’ll use the mother-in-law for this podcast, but this could be your father-in-law. This could be your wife’s best friend; this could be her boss – somebody in her life that is stepping in and causing problems in your marriage.

Tim Matthews: We see a lot, through all those variations, whether it’s the mother-in-law because the wife begins to turn to her form essentially, emotional safety and connection. The guy I spoke with yesterday, who spoke about in the last podcast episode, he’d fallen into the trap of going out there and thinking he was doing all the right things by making money, and providing financially. And Amelia said something to me once that I often refer to. She’s like, ‘Look, you guys don’t get it. We’re with you in spite of your business, not because of your business.’ That was a great line. But as guys, we do. We think we’re doing all the right things. We’re going out there, we’re working hard, we’re following our passion and our dream, for the most part, and we think we should just be appreciated, and we should get respect, and desire, and all those things. So when we don’t, and we don’t understand why we’re coming into the door, and we’re not really connecting with our wife, we’re not listening to her. She’s trying to offload, and we don’t understand that hidden motives is even a thing – that’s what we give the guys in the Activation Method – then we don’t collect the berries. The wife still needs to empty her berries, those berries need to be emptied. So who is going to collect them?

It either becomes the brother, or the boss, the personal trainer… Whoever it may be, It becomes that person collecting the berries. And whoever is collecting the berries is a person with whom the wife, the woman, typically begins to connect. She feels seen and heard by this person. This person doesn’t do anything but listen, this person is just listening, just listening, just listening. They may not even say a word. But 5-10 minutes later, your wife feels much better after emptying the basket. But guess what? Where does she go next time? Guess what? As you come home again, tired, exhausted, because maybe you don’t have something like the Alpha Decompression Routine, and she goes to talk to you, but she can see that you just clearly shut down, then it’s, ‘you know what? I’m just gonna save it for tomorrow for whoever is holding the basket.’ It’s a very risky position to be in.

Doug Holt:  It really is. It’s really interesting how often this complaint comes up for men. And so, when guys don’t understand it, the analogy I like to use is, imagine there’s a ship out at sea. And it’s a storm. It’s stormy weather. We’ve all seen the movies where the waves are 30, or 40 feet high. They’re cascading over the ship, and it looks like it’s going to topple at any moment. I want you to picture the black skies, and rain pouring down. And inside is the captain. And the captain is looking for safety. They know they need to make it to shore. But it’s a rocky shoreline. Pitch black, they can’t see a thing. In the distance, they see a lighthouse. And so, they head towards that lighthouse for safety, for security, for assurance, to know that they can make it safely to where they need to go and where they can be safe once and for all. And as they make it toward that lighthouse, their hopes and their dreams fade away because the lighthouse turns off. Now they don’t know what to do. They can’t trust the lighthouse. They know there are rocks at the shore. So, they head back to that sea, where there’s almost a certain death. They’re scared. They’re lonely.  That sea is still rocking them; that storm is still rocking them. And so what do they do? As the ship’s captain, you have to keep sailing; you have to find another lighthouse. And what’s happened for most of these marriages, and for most of these men, in this case, the mother-in-law becomes that lighthouse that is always shining.

Maybe it doesn’t shine as bright as your lighthouse, gentleman, but it doesn’t turn off. She knows that she can trust that lighthouse to be on. Maybe it’s a coworker; maybe it’s a boss; maybe it’s an ex-boyfriend that’s showing her that. ‘Hey, I’m going to be consistent. I’m going to show up and be present for you. I’m going to be collecting your berries.’ So, that captain is forced to leave your safe harbor, your lighthouse, because it is inconsistent. Because most of us become nice guys. We’ve gone to the DEER mode, where we defend, excuse, explain, and react. We do any of those four things, defend, excuse, explain or react; that is a version of your lighthouse going dim, going dark. So, she must sail down for safe harbor, and oftentimes she’s going to land with her mother, your mother-in-law, or another man, and this is often how emotional affairs start.

Tim Matthews: Yeah, certainly is, especially with the guy listening to her without anything to prove. Right? He’s not being defensive. He’s not a DEER. So, imagine the contrast. She can share what’s going on for her, whether it’s something that’s going on in her day, whether it’s something she’s worried about, or something she’s excited about. Whatever it may be. And this person can actually be engaged. And we talk about engaging as well, which is kind of similar but different. And this person can stand there like the lighthouse like you’ve said. And then you walk in through the door that evening. The contrast is huge. Especially if you fall into DEER as well, she’s just been around somebody who’s a WOLF, wise, open, loving and fierce. And that could even be their mother-in-law. That could be her mother. But she has been around that WOLF, because women crave that kind of energy. The WOLF becomes the container within which she can really relax, let go, and be free, and play, and smile, and complain and whatever, whatever she feels like doing without being judged, without being told to hurry up, without being told to be quiet, without any of the things. So the contrast that can be experienced when you walk in through the door can be absolutely incredible.

Doug Holt:  It’s so true. When your mother-in-law steps in, it is because your wife is looking for leadership, and you’re not providing it. Or you’re not providing the kind of leadership for the marriage. Otherwise, she wouldn’t go. She chose you to be your partner. So, at one time or another, she believed that you could lead her and your family. Point blank. And that has changed. So, this is the time for you to regain that leadership. And most guys are gonna go, ‘how? How do I do it?’ Well, the trick is, you have to go from being deactivated to activated. I know that sounds very vague. And it is. But that’s the point I was in when I was in San Diego, and I realized, ‘hey, have I done everything I can? Am I the best version of myself?/ When those answers returned no, I went after it ferocity to find that version of me. The

WOLF. But the point here is, you’ve gotta go after it, man. You gotta become activated. You’ve got to reactivate that spark within yourself like you were when you guys first met with your wife. You have to tip the scales back in your favor. And that starts with taking action. Another funny thing that happens, a lot of guys say is, ‘Hey, should I tell my wife I’m taking this program?’ We have hundreds of men go through this program, the Activation Method, and guys ask that question. And it’s a loaded question. It’s a case-by-case one, where we help each guy. But at the same time, your woman wants to see you taking action. Not talking about it, not saying ‘hey, I’m listening to a podcast, I’m listening to yet another audible about relationships and things like that.’ She wants to see you taking action. She wants to see you reclaiming your power. Because look, your wife, at one time or another, made a bet on you. She made a bet on the man that she thinks you are going to become, that she thought you would be, the man that’s deep inside of you. And that man is dormant, quite honestly, for most men, and you need to wake him up. You need to reawaken him and activate him and reclaim your marriage. Reclaim your spot on your throne so that your mother-in-law, or whoever else it is, doesn’t have a seat.

Tim Matthews: Let’s give the guys a few things they could do now. So typically, if you’re in this position, and this resonates, then the likelihood is that you have made many broken promises. Maybe you’ve said that you’re going to fix the door. Maybe you’ve said that you will buy the cover for the outside furniture because it’s coming into winter. Whatever it may be, there’ll be a list of things over the previous few weeks or months that you’ve said you would get done, and you just haven’t gotten around to them. For one reason or another, you haven’t done them. You may have forgotten about them; you might think they’re not a big deal. Yet, this is a sign to her that you don’t follow through, and therefore she can’t rely on you and cannot trust you. She can’t count on your light turning on and off. So, one of the things you could do is, if there are open loops, make a list of them, and commit to knocking them out, either all in one day or over a weekend or over a couple of weekends, whatever it may be. Don’t announce it. Don’t say anything about it. Don’t tell her that you’ve done it, don’t do anything. Just knock them out. And if she makes a big deal of it, treat it like it is. It’s nothing. You’ve just done what you said you were gonna do. You’re just taking care of things like you need to and like you should, and then carry on. And see what effects that has on the relationship. Does she then start coming to you with a few other things? Does she then start to open up to you again?

Doug Holt: Man, there are so many things. So if we’re only gonna give a couple here, find a way to allow your wife to be seen, heard, and desired. All women want to be seen, heard, and desired. We teach in the Activation Method a specific way for men to do this easily. We don’t have time to do it here on the podcast or the show. But find a way, immediately, as in today, to allow your wife to be seen, heard, and desired.

Tim Matthews: Can you give an example of being seen, being heard, and being desired?

Doug Holt: Absolutely. So well, just last night, having a conversation with my wife about it. So, when my wife was telling me that she was upset about something hurting her, it was very easy to go, ‘yeah, yeah, I got it. I understand it.’ But that doesn’t make her feel seen, heard, or desired. So, what I could do in that situation is then validate what she’s saying. So she’s talking to me about something very personal to her. I put myself in her shoes and say, ‘I’d imagine that would be really disturbing.’ I’m trying to be vague because I don’t want to say what it is because it’s her thing, and I want to respect that. But I could say,’ hey, I’d imagine that’d be really tough, to be in that predicament, and going through that issue you’re going through. I think that would really drain me and make it hard to manage the house and the family, especially when I’m going on trips and traveling all over the world.’

So. What I’m doing is validating her viewpoint on the situation. Now she feels seen and heard. She knows I heard what she said, but she also recognizes that I see her as a human, as the woman that she is, as what she’s going through in this life, and this partnership we have together. And desired – I pulled her in, grabbed the small of her back, pulled her in close to me, and gave her a kiss and a hug. And then I put my hand on her ass. But that’s what I do. But she knew that I wanted her. And she knew that she was seen and heard. And for most women, being seen and heard trumps desire. They still want to be desired, but you gotta make them feel seen and heard. And that’s why the most common thing that we hear from the women that we talk to, essentially, is that they don’t feel that there’s a connection in the marriage anymore; they don’t feel connected. And that’s really what they’re talking about. They don’t feel seen and heard.

Tim Matthews: Great point. I don’t want to give any more. I think those two are more than enough. If the guys do those two things, leaving in this podcast- because the likelihood is there is a list of open loops. There is a list of things they have committed to that they haven’t done. So I think if they just started to knock those out, the mystery that can create, the surprise element, all those things along with the validation piece… Start there, and see if your wife returns to you for a little bit more, a little bit more, and a little more. Most guys won’t do these two. These two things are very easy to do and very easy not to do. There’s gonna be a few of you listening to this that are different. There’s going to be a few of you listening to this that are going to take this. You can already be making the list now of the open loops. You’re already thinking about the ones you’re going to be knocking out and when you’re going to knock them out. I respect guys like that. I love it, because I love to know that you are just taking action. Because, like we said on the last podcast, you gotta admit when things aren’t working. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

Doug Holt: It’s true. I’ll give you guys the third one because I care so much. Just take massive action. Just take massive action. If you haven’t been on a call with one of our advisors, or you’re sitting on the fence, get off the fence. Either say no, I’m not doing the Activation Method – cool, no problem with that. But find something else. Or, if you’re thinking about it, do it. Just do it, get the results, take massive action, and stop sitting on the fence. Having one foot on the dock and one foot on the boat, it’s not a very comfortable feeling when that boat starts to take off. Because if you guys are like me, we’re not quite as flexible as we used to be, and I will end up in the water. So jump on the boat, or jump on the dock, two feet in.


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