What to Do When Your in-Laws Are Driving You Crazy

Whether you’re dealing with a father-in-law who’s a know-it-all or you’re dealing with a mother-in-law who won’t butt out of your business, difficult in-laws can take a toll on your marriage, your mental health and your everyday life in Havre, MT. How do you get along with difficult or even toxic in-laws? Here are five helpful tips for managing this stressful and unpleasant situation.

Know where your primary loyalties lie

When dealing with in-laws in Havre, MT, it’s important to remember that your primary loyalty must be to your spouse and your kids, if you have them. No matter what situations arise with difficult in-laws, you need to stand by your own immediately family at all times.

Set healthy boundaries

Work as a team with your spouse to establish values for your family. These can be as simple as no snacks before mealtime for kids to more touchy subjects like no drop-in company. Never be passive aggressive about your expectations, and never assume the other party can read your mind and automatically know what you want. Tell your in-laws in plain language what you need from them—be firm, but choose your words carefully and always be respectful. You’re more likely to get the results you want if you talk clearly but kindly.

Enforce boundaries

If there’s no weight behind your words, difficult in-laws won’t respect the boundaries you’ve established. For example, if you’ve agreed that no unannounced “dropping in” is allowed, stick to it, even if your in-laws are at the door with a tasty treat or “just happen to be in the neighborhood.” Remember that patterns are always helpful in family dynamics, so once you’ve set boundaries, stick to them as much as possible.

Give them time with your kids

If you have children, it’s important to give your in-laws sufficient bonding time with your in-laws, if they’re up to it. Grandparents enjoy feeling needed, and giving them regular, structured time alone with your kids helps create special moments that your kids will always cherish. It also gives you extra time for yourself, which is especially important if spending time with your in-laws always feels like a chore.

Remember that you could be an in-law one day

Empathy is a huge part of the equation when dealing with in-laws or anyone else in your life. If you have children, it’s highly likely that you could be an in-law one day. While setting boundaries is important, be flexible whenever the situation calls for it.

Dealing with in-laws can be stressful in even the best of situations, but setting boundaries and sticking to them can help you live a better life. Many people find that it’s helpful to seek the advice of a professional family counselor in Havre, MT to work through the complex feelings that can accompany the difficult process of establishing and nurturing a relationship with in-laws. Contact Ellen Savage LCPC to learn more about dealing with difficult in-laws the right way—with empathy, kindness and mutual respect.