How to Deal With the In-Laws

Getting Through the Holidays With Style

Oh no, here it is again… the time of year where we absolutely must visit family members, or they visit us. I know that many of you cringe at the thought… however, that could be a big part of the problem! These folks may not be the kind of people you normally have around you, and there may be some differences that really give you nightmares, but let’s face it, the more you focus on those differences, the harsher the reality of spending time with them becomes!

We all have people in our lives that for one reason or another irritate us. Now I can’t fix that, neither can you, and yet what we can do will surprise you in the affect it will have on the overall serenity of your holidays!

Start with a review of the logistics of the “visit,” look at the times when it’s easiest for you to be around them, and the times that it is the hardest. Look into ways to direct the energy one way or another; for instance, if they’re staying three days, and two is your patience limit… arrange a day trip for them with their child, your love, to go without you! Or add more people to the mix so that you have some people there that are a delight for you to be around… it adds balance and harmony!

Now, in order to REALLY help you to navigate family, you need to get really honest with yourself. Just to yourself, sharing this with your lover isn’t necessary, but could be a bad idea! WHY don’t you like them? Yup, that’s what I said—what exactly is it that irritates you? Now separate those “quirks” into these three categories:

1. They (fill in quirk) because of the limitations of their lives. Poor social habits, due to no social experience, or, speaking too loudly, due to poor hearing, etc, etc…

2. I am annoyed by (fill in quirk) because of my own limitations. I am a clean freak, so I don’t like messes, or I was raised in a quiet small family and they speak loudly and have many family members, etc, etc…

3. I do not know why they (fill in quirk), or why I am bothered by it. Yet, I do know that it is only for (fill in number) days and I CAN and WILL not be harmed by being accepting of this for that amount of time!

So, I think you see where I’m going with this. Acceptance is a good practice, and if their presence brings happiness to someone in your household, it is an act of love to be a part of that. We as human beings can be very severe in our judgment of others, for your own well being this holiday season, practice being compassionate with those who are more of a challenge, it will have much better results than being irritated and stressed out! I promise… in fact, if it doesn’t work out, all your anger and stress will be fully refunded!

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5 thoughts on “How to Deal With the In-Laws

  1. Missy

    Thx for the article. I will deff remember these tips while I am with them. I agree that the key is to just accept them for who and what they are and not take things personally.

  2. Violet

    I’m with you, Nicole.

    My sister-in-law has banned both me and her younger brother from every family gathering, and constantly announces that she’d be a far better mother to my daughter than I am. My daughter tells her otherwise, but my husband cannot convince his sister to lay off.

    I’ve never done a thing to this woman. She just hates a lot of people. I’m a quintuple Libra. We don’t do feuds. Energy is best spent elsewhere.

  3. Rebecca

    I agree totally Nicole. My husband died while taking a nap in Jan 2010 and his freaky jealous brother and mother have done nothing but cause mizery. Even @ the expense of my innocent daughters. He mostly dreaded going around them before he died and I forced it up due to my losing my own mother at a young age. His mother is the most selfish passive aggressive person alive and they totally ignored him during good times and worst the bad and now act like they cant get over his death. That is what I call Karma changers. Its pretty bad when your own grandchildren who are YOUNG are on to them and want nothing to do with them.


  4. Nicole

    Never would work with my inlaws. They are “far too gone” and have far too many issues. There are control issues and general misery…much related to jealousy and competition.

    You can claim that jealousy/competition are part of every family, but this is beyond…way beyond. MIL would stop at nothing to get her way (they make movies out of situations like this…Tyne Daley played an MIL who had her daughter-in-law killed). OK…it is not that drastic, but indirectly…her own son died from the fracas. There was undue jealousy and rage…always seething under the surface.

    Your advice is flimsy and unrealistic. I pity those who succumb to the inlaws by actually seeing and “trying” to make it right…we simply stay away…and are much better mentally and even physically.


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