(Closed) Spin-off: How do you deal with your difficult in-laws?

posted 5 years ago in Family
Post # 3
Member
3302 posts
Sugar bee

Good question- my drama has seemed to just intensified as my wedding is getting closer…. not sure how to deal but I hope all of this stops soon.

Post # 4
Member
1652 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I could use help in this area too! 🙁

Post # 5
Member
1403 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

Kill them with kindness?  That’s what I’ve been doing with SO’s dad.  He’s not too difficult, but he thinks his son should follow in his footsteps career- and love-wise.  

Post # 6
Member
2065 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

It may be childish, but we ignore them. :p My FIL is useless (drugs, drinking, refuses to work, doesn’t eat) and we supported him for years and he’s totally ungrateful, yet the rest of his family thinks WE’RE the awful ones. Yeah, it’s weird. So we basically ignore his family (before anyone says anything, this was 100% my husband’s decision by the way). A few are on our side, so we definitely keep in touch with them.

Post # 8
Member
3302 posts
Sugar bee

Me too- I have ignored my FSIL and everyone else and the drama just intensifies from that side.

Post # 9
Member
11753 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

all these stories on WB make me so lucky I have the most amazing in laws ever! No drama there whatsover – they only want whatever makes FI and I happy! I wouldn’t even know where to begin dealing with in law drama!

Post # 10
Member
1928 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I ignore then to the best of my abilities. It is very childish and mean but if I see they are calling, I let it go to voicemail so I can attempt to weed out the stupid calls from the the important calls (seriously FMIL called me the other day freaking out asking if we want a table to put the bridal party gifts on at the rehearsal dinner). I have gotten to the point when we do have to see them in person I am very quiet and reserved, which is not me at all. Also whenever they stress me out, I call my Mom and vent to her, it helps me out a lot. 

Post # 12
Member
3773 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 1999

I have learned to keep some on a need to know basis. Share things as facts (we are doing xyz), or keep thing vague (we are still working out the details), statements like “That’s interesting” or “that’s a thought” seemed to help with wedding planning. It helped 100% that DH and I are on the same page and most of the things on his sided were directed to him and his respose usually was “mrsmenow already has a plan for that”.

My MIL has done some really hurtful things to DH (refusing to speak to him for 6 months because she wasn’t ready to be a Grandma). She is point blank the most selfish person I have ever met. I use to think I would be able to change the way she acts, but after 6.5 years I know that isn’t going to happen. But what did happen is that DH quit giving in to her ridiculouness. And I learned how to surround us with people who really do care. When we are around her, I have learned to keep myself busy with our kids or visiting with others-wine also helps too.

Post # 13
Member
2106 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Rules for Handling Tricky In-Laws

  • Always approach everything in a united front. If your partner’s parents try to pin a decision they don’t like on you, your partner must always say, “This is coming from BOTH of us. It is our opinion.” 
  • Establish boundaries with clingy or mean in laws. This means for visits (as in- let’s see them once a month tops) and relationship boundaries, such as MIL is not allowed to come to either of you to complain about FIL because then you have to pick sides. 
  • Do not share negative stories about your spouse with your parents. Never ever. 
  • Call out mean, manipulative, or negative behavior from the in-laws when it happens. Use “I” or “We” statements and avoid emotionally charged words, don’t exaggerate, and don’t yell or swear. So, the wrong way: “Mom! You’re so g– d–n manipulative! You’re a witch!” vs, “My feelings are hurt” or “We feel used” etc
  • Meet in public to avoid screaming matches. 

Post # 14
Member
1172 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

Im having the same problems with my In laws and it started with my FI’s niece. She lived with him as a nanny for a year while FI and I dated. She would intrude on our dates, invite herself along, make inappropriate comments about his relationship with me. Her father had committed suicide and she had become really attached in a very unhealthy way to FI. She was married and wouldnt even go live with her husband because she didnt want to leave my FI. Finally he put his foot down and told her that she needed to go live with her husband. After that she hated me. She told my FI’s family that I was trash and that I was a gold digger except I make more money than FI.

Finally I meet FI’s parents and they have heard all these horrible things about me. They are really conservative christian and the really love FI’s former wife, even though she abandoned FI and their children and doesnt even see them and told FI she hated her own kids. FMIL hates me and told FSIL that she wasnt planning for the wedding because she was hoping I would drop dead.

Now I just ignore them. I dont tell FI because he has enough stress in his life being a soldier without hearing about problems with his mother. So I ignore them and when I cant I kill them with kindness. 

Post # 15
Member
866 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

@OneOfTheseDaysAlice:  I’m right there with you. The frustrating part is as you said — “insensitive” and “annoying” things — that might not be too horrible individually, but cumulatively it makes dealing with them almost unbearable. 

I agree with @MrsBroccoli and her points, in particular the first. A united front means that if they’re going to be upset, they’ll have to deal with BOTH of you, not just you (i.e. avoiding Bad Guy Syndrome). It isn’t always 100% effective, I admit, because sometimes my in-laws just blame me anyway and say to my husband, “you don’t really think that! It’s coming from HER, I know it!” But… it’s still a good tactic. You should be a united voice anyway, as you’re now a team.

Handling other issues is very situational, and sometimes depends on how willing your husband is to admit when his parents are totally out of line. The more obvious maltreatments like name-calling, deliberately leaving you out of the loop, and turning others against you can be dealt with under the general No BS Tolerance Policy, i.e. your DH gets to say “cut it out mom/dad, we see what you’re doing, and it’s insane. Stop.”

The more subtle, insidious things like back-stabbing, blackmail, undermining authority, and manipulation are more difficult. I don’t have any good advice, because this is typically where you’ll never really see eye-to-eye about anything. Maintain deep breathing, take each situation as a unique issue, and keep your eyes firmly planted on your priority: You Marriage Comes First. 😀

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