“I find dealing with my in-laws (my husband’s parents and sisters) very difficult, because they have to know about everything that’s happening in our lives. They have never really liked me or my family and have gone out of their way to cause trouble between my husband and myself. Trouble is, I feel that my husband never stands up for me…what should I do? If anyone has faced such things please do let me know what I can do… I’m desperate!!” www.desilot.com
This piece is the motivatation behind the creation of this page because the solutions offered did not sound peaceful. They were coming from a place of anger and bitterness. Here we believe bitterness begets bitterness. To claim happiness and joy one has to sow seeds of peace.
- This is a clear case of boundary invasion. Your conjugal kin do not have a concept of boundaries and privacy of a married couple. For them participating in your life is may be in their understanding a gesture of love.
- It is your spouse’s duty to set boundaries with them but he is afraid of offending them. If he tries to set the boundaries his family is likely to accuse him excluding them from his life and disloyalty.
- If your in-laws reject you or dislike you they are likely to be disrespectful towards your family too.
- Their dislike has got nothing to do with you; no matter who he was with they would find some fault in that person.
- If they are waging verbal and emotional attacks at you ideally it is his responsibility to protect you from the attacks of his family because he has a history with them, he knows their whims, fancies and triggers. But the fact is he does not know how to stand for you because if he does he’ll not only be accused of disloyalty but a great drama will follow. He is afraid of facing this drama. For him his best option is to let you struggle with it. And also it is easier to blame you than stand up and confront his parents and siblings.
- It is easy for him to stay out of it by saying “it is between you women.” There are two kinds of dramas:
a) Dramas that happen in his presence, his mother and sisters may complain about you to him. Like you said something nasty to them in his absence.
b) Dramas that happen in his absence, his mother and sister will make snide remarks about you in his absence and act lovingly towards you in his presence or they’ll do nothing all day and when he is around they’ll act as if they have been working all day.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Focus your energy on improving your relationship with your spouse. Tell him you want to know what makes his family unhappy with you. Assert you do not want him to do the talking. You would like to speak to them directly in his presence. Never do this in his absence because it creates many opportunities for back biting and manipulations.
- Never have all his family members for such a conversation at the same place and same time. Deal with each member one at a time. If you have them as a collective they’ll fortify against you and your spouse inspite of his best intentions will not be able to help you, rather will turn against you.
- He’ll be reluctant to arrange such a meeting because he is equally afraid of his family and ensuing drama. Be prepared such a meeting can turn into drama and shouting match because you are asking the dominant party to change the terms of the game and give up some of their territorial control.
- Go with a nonjudgmental attitude and open mindedness. Begin with asking if you have offended them in any way. Basically, you’re asking what their problem is, in a gentle way. When you talk to them ask for three reasons they are not comfortable with you. Two reasons will be excuses and the third will be closer to the truth.
- Open mindedness mentioned in the previous point means do not expect them to change. People do not change unless they want to change. Do not expect one talk session will make them like you. Keep your expectations realistic. If they did not like you in the beginning they’ll not like you now. Aim this session towards small changes like you’ll call them once a week or you will not pick up the phone after 9pm.
- Be polite, but don’t try to win your in-laws by pleasing them or buying them gifts. Do not get sucked into that traditional wisdom “you can win over people by love and service (seva).”
People do not change because you want them to change. They change because they decide to change. Once you start trying to please their demands will becom unending and abusive. You’ll finish one task according to their fancies they’ll be ready with another. It will never be enough. Set limits for yourself. Such as, you will cook but will not stay up to serve each member when they come home. You will go to your room at Xpm. etc.
- Don’t ask your partner to choose between you and his family this will make him more resentful towards you. Rather tell him you deserve respect and you do not want to be somewhere you are not respected. It is your right to protect yourself from emotional attacks. Tell him “When you do not support me/ listen to me I feel as if I do not matter. It hurts my feelings/It makes me angry.” Focus on your feelings. Tell your partner as he respects his parents and family so you do. It hurts your feelings when his family insults your parents/family.
- Are you happy in this relationship? Decide can you live with this kind of resentment for rest of your life? If you are seriously upset or bothered by your-in-laws’ interference and accusations, and if it’s causing conflict in your relationship with your spouse, then you need to decide what you can do about it. Seek professional help.
Suggest your partner to seek couple’s counseling. If he does not want to come with you it is a choice he’ll make. You should go on your own. Before you can regain control over your life you have to heal yourself.
- Remember that you can’t change anyone but yourself. You have already changed you go around you life hurt and wounded, angry and resentful. Ask your self is this how you want to live rest of your life? If no, then don’t ask or expect your spouse and his parents to think differently.
Once you have expressed your feelings about how you are being treated/mistreated and after you have asked what you did to cause his family to treat you this way, you need to let it go. Let them be who they are.
If they are not ready to accept you for who you are for your own peace accept them for who they are even if they are bitter sad people.
Please do not expect DG to spoon feed you like this comment writer who had no patience to even write a proper comment. DG is no mind reader and will not go on a RESCUE mission. Just remember no one can help you unless you want to help yourself. Just ask yourself why should they help you in the first place? Read around browse GGTS read through the comments you’ll find an answer, all tools are on the side bar on to the right in separate pages. Personalized support to identify problem areas, set realistic goals and learn new skills to resolve them is hereafter nominally charged to keep this space safe and free for all find her email id within the comments and write to her if you fail to find answer on GGTS.
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