Dealing with difficult people is a lesson in both control and acceptance — you control what you can, and accept what you can’t. So, what can you control? You. That’s it. You can’t control others. (So give up any notions of teaching your outlaws a lesson in respect.)
But the “you” under your control cuts a wide swathe. “You” incorporates your turf, your boundaries, your time, your agenda — and most importantly, your beliefs.
So, how do you deal with in-laws you hate? Well, you could move to another continent. Or, if that’s not a viable option, you could try these strategies….Photo: iStockphoto
When do you get together? And more importantly, for how long?
Including your partner’s parents in your life is not negotiable, but the timing and duration of visits is. If Sunday evenings are sacred, outlaw the in-laws. Choose times that are optimal for you — times when you are at your best (right after yoga?) and that are time-limited (“Oops, we’ve got to go — we’ve got soccer practice!”). And, if your partner wants to spend more time with the folks, that’s his business. Your duty is done.
Read more: 6 signs you need couples therapy>
Does your father-in-law insist on blaring the football game during Sunday dinner — to the detriment of polite conversation? Then consider hosting at your own home (your house, your rules). Does your mother-in-law take over your kitchen, reorganizing your spice drawer to make it “better”? Then maybe a visit to grandma’s is a better bet. Choose the turf that is the least painful for you. In fact, you may find that neutral territory (a restaurant, a distant cousin’s home) may provide the best chance for a conflict-free communion.
Read more: How to approach grandparent nannies>
You have a right to self-respecting boundaries. Create no-fly zones. If your father-in-law loves to bait you about your left-leaning beliefs, for example, refrain from engaging. If your mother-in-law insists on questioning your parenting practices, politely decline participation. “I’d rather not discuss this,” is all you need to say. Or, “I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.”Photo: iStockphoto
Pick your battles — strategically. If you feud with your father-in-law over family dinners, don’t do them. Instead, invite him to join you and the kids at the skating rink. If your mother-in-law’s mania over math homework makes you want to scream, simply don’t have her over on school nights. Take her to a movie instead. Minimize opportunities for conflict by de-selecting hot-button activities.Photo: iStockphoto
You can’t change the situation, but you can change your attitude about the situation. What most people don’t realize is that we can control our thoughts.
Here’s how that works: Instead of thinking the worst about a person or situation, will yourself to think the best. Put your beliefs through something I like to call the “positive spin cycle." Translation: You can choose to believe that your in-laws’ sole purpose in life is to torment you, or you can choose to believe that they want the best for their family and are expressing that wish in the best way they know how. That doesn’t make them angels, but it may make them more tolerable.
How to deal with grandparents>
Too much candy? Playing favourites? Around too much? Not enough? Here are tips for dealing with grandparents. Plus, why we love them so.
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