1. Don’t take anything personal.
A lot of times, the problem that in laws have isn’t with you its with your spouse. There may be something that your spouse used to do for them that they don’t do anymore because you came into the picture. They may believe that you have taken something from them. Most families are very protective when it comes to their children. Sometimes this protection turns into an obsession. It means that nobody will ever be good enough. They often times will direct this anguish at you. Recognize this and don’t take it personal.
2. Don’t blame your spouse for their behavior.
Your spouse cannot be held responsible for the behavior of another adult. When your in laws behave in a less than desirable ways towards you, don’t blame your spouse. It is not their fault, they can’t do anything about it. Blaming and ultimatums only lead to arguments and resentment. Don’t do it.
3. Keep the lines of communication open with your spouse.
Tell them how you are feeling. Let them know when something bothers you. Encourage them to express how they feel. A lot of times your spouse may not be aware that you have been offended or feel disrespected. Instead of grinning and bearing it, release it, so that it can be calmly discussed.
4. Don’t buy into it.
If your in laws are really hateful and dislike you, then they are going to love knowing that they have provided drama for you. Things like calling you by the ex’s name or excluding you are all childishly purposeful behaviors. They feed off of your negative reaction. Don’t buy into it. It will only add kindle to their fire and encourage them.
5. Pick your battles.
Of course there are going to be some situations that you will not be able to quietly walk away from. However, you must not make every situation into a major one. Don’t make a fuss about every little thing. Choose the lines that you have that won’t be crossed and choose very carefully. Set the boundaries, and as long as they mind those lines everything else should be brushed off.
6. Keep a united front.
Your happiness with your spouse is your victory! Your successful marriage is your sword. They cannot bring it to you if you have created a united front that they know they cannot penetrate. You don’t have to be fake about it. Just be real and be happy. Your solidarity is in your love for one another. Remember that a weak front can be easily penetrated by the enemy.
7. Don’t hold grudges.
A lot of times your in laws may need you to grow on them. If they caused drama for you in the beginning of your marriage, but appear to be cool with you now. Let it go and go with it. Do not carry that initial experience with you. Get over it, move forward. Forgive and try your best to forget.
8. Don’t ever use your children as pawns.
Whether they care for you or not, don’t keep your kids away from them (unless there are safety issues). Your kids are their blood and deserve to know their people. Don’t let the kids suffer because of ignorant behavior. And don’t bad mouth them in front of your children either.
9. Always be cordial and respectful.
Dignity goes a long way. Hold your head high and represent your family. Don’t stoop to levels that are lower than you. Be cordial & respectful because thats the right way to be. Ignore snide remarks and comments. Don’t allow yourself to be goaded into an argument.
10. Don’t be afraid to pack your things and leave.
In some situations there may be no way to resolve or diffuse a conflict that has started. Instead of staying and participating, leave. Pack your kids, your mate and leave. You should not be required to stay anywhere that you are not wanted. Even if you are attempting to be cordial and respectful, people cross the line sometimes. There is no harm in walking away from a confrontation.
Doing all of these things might be hard. You might be saying to yourself, “I am not doing any of it!” or you may have already given up. It’s never too late. If you think about these actions before REacting you will avoid so much unnecessary stress, negativity and drama…which is what they want! Ultimately in the end, you will win and your mate will respect your ability to stay in control. The view of the troublemakers in their family will change once they see who the aggressors really are.
You will be showing your children how to carry themselves as respectful adults by not arguing and being involved in negative interactions. I read something one time that went something like, “Never argue with a fool, because a stranger may walk by and not be able to tell who is who.” Well it’s true, so don’t do it! Life is too short to live your life with regrets. Understand your position with your mates family and handle it accordingly. Don’t let anything come between your love and commitment to your spouse. If their family does not accept you, then so be it. It does not have to destroy your marriage. And if all else fails, you can just drink a lot of wine whenever you are around them! Then you won’t care!