Recovering from Family Conflict: Reconciling With In-laws


By Nadia Shah

South Asian culture is focused on family and community. The term “we” is used more than “I” to demonstrate the collectiveness of our culture. Underneath the facade of a close-knit family, often is conflict. Usually it’s unspoken conflict and relationships continue. However, some In-law conflict can be so severe that relationships are severed, at least temporarily.

Recovering from a severed relationship with in-laws takes effort and time. If you’re in this situation, here are a few points to consider before moving forward: 

  1. Bad in-law relationships can affect the kids relationship with their grandparents or whomever you have a tumultuous relationship with. This may one motivator in reconciling a relationship.

  2. Be honest to yourself. Have you experienced emotional growth since the estrangement? What has changed since that will help you both resolve the conflict and move forward? Are you still angry? Is he or she still angry?

  3. Last question to ask yourself before reconciling is will reconciliation add to your life? Or is it going to affect your life negatively?

Have you explored the points above? Maybe now you are ready to move toward reconciliation.

Here are some focus points: 

  1. Communicate your needs to the person you are reconciling with. Be clear. What needs to be different this time around or what needs to change to have a comfortable and kind relationship?

  2. Set boundaries/ limits if you can. Are there certain behaviors that are breaking points in a relationship for you–communicate those. It’s unusual to use direct communication in an indirect culture, however in this situation clarity is needed. Hopefully the other person also communicates their needs and limits.

  3. Lastly, eventually allow yourself to be vulnerable if you desire closeness in this reconciled relationship. Vulnerability is the courage to be yourself and allow your emotions to be exposed.

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