Confrontation. That is a BIG word but even more so when the one confronting is a mother-in-law. Generally I am not a confronter. I don't like strife and most often I overlook other peoples faults and problems.
Okay, yes, there is a "but" to all of that. As a mother I am also ready to confront when necessary. I do try to do it in a respectful and honest way, but (and there goes that word again) I am not always sure that what I say will be taken in the right way or the spirit it was intended. I also try not to get involved in personal matters. I confront on matters that not only affect my child but the entire family.
So, when I am received incorrectly, how do I back up? I can't. The words are out, the offense has occured. I can only only go forward and assure the offended one that my intentions were pure, and though hurtful, were actually meant to keep our relationship open. Keeping things to ourselves can cause walls to build up and become obstacles in the future.
It is a matter of caring enough to confront the issue that may cause a problem. Again the word "but" comes into play, because we must confront in love and humility knowing that we are not perfect and we cannot judge the other.
Confrontation is complicated but it can also simplify if we do it right!