6 Ways To Distance Yourself From Your In Laws
By: Kratika Tue, 24 Jan 2023 3:59:10
Only if we had the power to choose our in-laws! But sadly, we do not. They’re, by default, a part of the marriage package. If you’re lucky, your in-laws might be the nicest and most friendly people on earth. But you have to be extremely fortunate for that. On the other hand, if you have to deal with manipulative in-laws who make you feel like an outsider, then it’s best if you carefully weigh your interactions with them and work toward keeping distance from in-laws.
Toxic in-laws behave in different ways. In a lot of cases, they tend to be cold because they feel threatened by you and that’s when in-laws exclude you from family discussions, activities, conversations, making you feel like an outsider in your marriage. This is simply because they’re jealous of your presence and the fact that your spouse’s attention has diverted from them to you. Almost sounds like a Mean Girls reboot, we know.
# Enforce set boundaries
It is important to draw the line somewhere. Setting certain boundaries is necessary if you are considering distancing yourself from in-laws. Make sure you discuss those boundaries with your spouse as well. Talk about what’s important and then, communicate the same to your in-laws as well. You all need to be on the same page.
Don’t want your in-laws to show up at your door without notice? Tell them that you prefer to be informed beforehand. If they’re interfering too much with your parenting style, politely but firmly tell them that you appreciate the advice but it’s not their place to intervene and you’d like to handle it your way. If they have a habit of checking your drawers or documents, tell them that it’s your private space and you would want them to respect it.
# Stay away from your meddling sisters in-law
“Is it okay to stay away from meddling sisters-in-law?” “Can I refuse to live with my in-laws?” If questions such as these are on your mind, the answer is yes. You can refuse to stay with your in-laws and you most definitely do not need to be best friends with your sisters-in-law. It is absolutely normal to want to stay away from them.
Staying away from your in-laws does not mean that you don’t like them or don’t want to spend time with them. So, never feel guilty about it, for just wanting your own space. Living away from them means less drama. You don’t have to deal with toxic or controlling behaviors all the time. Plus, you get your own privacy and space.
# Make sure your partner supports you
Your in-laws are two of the most important people in your partner’s life and, by extension, yours too. Be careful with your words when talking to your spouse about their parents. Your spouse should know that you’re having a hard time with their folks but don’t make it sound like you’re insulting or blaming them in any way as that may put your partner on the defensive.
Dealing with extended family requires teamwork, especially if you’re contemplating distancing yourself from in-laws. You have to stand together as a couple, which is why your partner must support you in your decision to distance yourself from his parents/her folks. Be honest about how you feel while dealing with the in-laws. Explain your reasons and, at the same time, listen to what he has to say. There is nothing better than a partner’s support in moments like these.
# Family time? Stick to a schedule
Make sure you stick to a schedule when it comes to spending time with your in-laws. As long as interaction between both parties is pleasant and comfortable, spending time together as a family should not be a problem. Ensure that plans are made beforehand to avoid unannounced visits. Picnics, family dinners, Christmas or Thanksgiving gatherings are fun every once in a while no matter how crazy the in-laws can be.
It is always nice to get together after a long time, so do not cancel on them constantly. But don’t compromise on your plans or schedule to accommodate theirs. For example, if you had planned on spending Christmas at your parents’ house, stick to it if that is something you really want. Don’t let your in-laws get in the way of that plan just because they would love it if you spend the holidays with them.
# Don’t take their jibes personally
One of the most important things to keep in mind if you’re considering distancing yourself from in-laws is to not take anything they say or do personally. For your own peace of mind, ignore the negative comments and jibes hurled at you or your kids or spouse. We understand how hard it can be but it is just necessary to keep the peace.
Adrian, a coffee-shop owner who lives in Wisconsin with his wife, told us about how he thinks his wife’s parents constantly mock him. “They keep calling me a ‘barista’ and while I do not mind it, my father-in-law does it nonstop. My meddling sisters-in-law also keep joking about my work, as if running a coffee shop is a lame thing. I am a business owner and I’m very happy about what I do. So I just ignore my in-laws now. I smile anytime they say such things and just do not respond.”
# Limit your visits and start distancing yourself from in-laws
Another important tip to consider while distancing yourself from in-laws is to limit your visits. If questions like “is it okay if I don’t want to visit my in-laws” or “is it wrong to not visit my in-laws” cross your mind, let us tell you that it is absolutely normal to feel that way. Set aside that guilt because you don’t want to be spending time with people who are toxic to your mental health. And if you’re often wondering, “Do my in-laws gossip about me distancing myself from husband’s family (or wife’s)?”, we recommend you stop overthinking it.
As long as you and your spouse are on the same page, there is no need to give this so much thought. Treat your in-laws as you would treat any other guest who visits your home for a meal or to spend a few days with you. Make sure you let them know of your availability so as to avoid a clash with prior engagements. Set a time limit. For instance, if they want to spend a few days at your home, let them know on which days you’ll be available and for how long.