By Nadia Shah @desiinlaws & online at: SouthAsianinlaws.com
When Your In-Laws Relationship Isn’t Positive at All, What Can You Do?
Most of the time I advocate putting in as much effort as possible to improve in-law relationships. But at some point, you get exhausted from all the effort you’re putting in, especially when you aren’t getting any positive results. You may be emotionally and physically drained by making numerous attempts to communicate your feelings and advocate for positive change.
After the repeated rejections, you may feel the need to stop and figure out how to cope with your situation. You shouldn’t let yourself off the hook completely from trying to improve the relationship. If an opportunity arises where a positive change can be made, jump on it.
In the meantime, here are some ways to cope with your not-so-nice in-laws:
Accept your in-laws and the situation as best as you can. Of course, if your in-laws reach out to you, it would be beneficial to be open-hearted, but at some point, you need to accept the situation so that you aren’t draining yourself emotionally and physically thinking about how to “fix” it.
Here’s the disclaimer though: If your in-laws are abusive, don’t accept it. Figure out a way to shield yourself and your kids from the abuse. Never accept abuse.
2. DETACH EMOTIONALLY
Detach emotionally as much as possible. Don’t avoid dealing with your feelings about the situation, but eventually accept your feelings, your situation, and the way your in-laws may be, then detach so you aren’t drowning yourself in negative emotions.
In simple terms: don’t let negativity affect how you feel.
3. SET BOUNDARIES
This is important for all relationships. Define the boundaries (try to do this with your spouse first so you’re in agreement), verbalize the boundaries if necessary, and then enforce the boundaries.
Usually, I’d recommend not venting to your spouse about his/her family, but it’s important to have spousal support if your in-laws are especially difficult. Your spouse can hopefully defend you if negative statements are said and act as a protector. But be careful about how much you share. It will definitely help to have a supportive friend or family member you can turn to if you really have the urge to vent and get into all the details.
5. DON’T ALLOW YOURSELF TO BADMOUTH
It’s natural to focus on the negative aspects of a challenging person, but you want to avoid getting stuck in a cycle of negativity. Vent as much as you need to (to a trusted person), but avoid repeating the same things. You’ll only drain yourself. And try to be careful of what you say around your kids. Even if your kids are young, they can easily pick up on your feelings towards your in-laws.
Even if you don’t feel respected, try to remain respectful towards your in-laws. They are your spouse’s family after all. Even if they don’t “deserve” the respect, respect them because you’re a respectful person.
How are you coping with your in-laws? Share your tips with us.
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