Anupama writes a letter to her 18-year old daughter. Read what she has to say.
“How to deal with in laws living with you?” is a question that is important for any individual sharing their home with their spouse’s parents.
It is extremely important to have a grip over things. Else, you will end up messed up forever. Unless you set clearly defined boundaries well within time, you will lose all control – of the house as well as of your own self.
I have been married for a while, and know a thing or two about how to deal with in laws living with you. Being a mental health awareness crusader, I am also on the lookout for any woman who feels neglected because of having negativity around. All thanks to stereotyping of us by society after marriage.
I share a kind of bitter-sweet relationship with my husband’s family. Hence, I’d like to honestly share my learning, acquired after staying with in laws, in a hope to help fellow women. After all, we are all in this together.
So let us hold hands and hear each other out. If you have anything to ask or share, feel free to post your comments at the end of this post.
Life surely changes after marriage – at least for most of us. Not only do we embrace that change but make an effort to accept this change willingly.
We try our level best to be accepted in a new home and stay well behaved at all times. However, issues begun to emerge if you land up in a family where you are expected to stay with your in laws at all times.
Now staying with in laws is not a bad thing if you understand each other well. But if your new family already assumes that you should be subjugated and that your voice means nothing, then surely you are headed for doom.
Either way, you should be intelligent enough to know how to deal with in laws living with you, without disturbing your mental health.
As a woman married from the past many years now, after having lived with in laws and also seeing numerous other women living with theirs, I’ve found very reasonable ways of dealing with in laws. At any given point in time, what is important is to maintain a happy home. You can help maintain if you keep in mind these tips.
One of the biggest mistakes new brides or even experienced daughter in laws commit is to push themselves too hard towards perfection in front of in laws. What needs to be understood is that perfection is a myth. So stop being so hard on yourselves.
Stay the way you are as a person. This way your in laws will learn to accept you in your true being. Else, you will end up being drained and mentally exhausted. Never ever try to be perfect.
Setting boundaries is very important if you are living in the same household. Without setting proper boundaries from day one, you are voluntarily giving unlimited access to you, to anybody sharing the household.
Boundaries help in keeping a healthy distance from one another. Without having them, you will not only have your own peace ruined but will also not respect the peace of mind of any members living with you.
Being assertive is crucial for one’s persona. Assertiveness implies that you are confident of yourself as a person.
Assertiveness does not mean that you bypass everybody else. It simply means to value your own beliefs and value systems as well. Remember that you cannot spend an entire lifetime being meek and silent.
Please do not be in a habit of picking up fights. It is an irksome trait in a person.
Try being the bigger person and talking out things rather than arguing about them. Do not look for faults in others; look out for positives.
It is always better to stay calm, hear everyone out and then offer your stance, rather than not listening to anyone and being impatient. A family that solves issues calmly tends to be happier.
Letting go is a quality that will enable you to keep your peace of mind.
Letting go does not mean that you are weak. On the contrary, it indicates your strength as an individual. The more evolved you are as a person, the more easily you will be able to let go.
Be it situations, or people, or just emerging negativity, learn to let go with ease. Trust me, your life will be way happier and simpler. Losing one’s peace of mind is never a good thing.
Maintaining respect at all times will help you in maintaining a more cordial environment at home. The more respectful you are as a person, the more respect you will earn in return.
Now being respectful does not mean being subjugated. Not at all.
Being respectful means staying polite and valuing others around you. Respectful behaviour leads to happier homes comprising of happier people in return. Happiness is always worth it.
Sacrifice is something that is permanent and irreversible. Adjustment, on the other hand is temporary and helps you in adapting.
Giving up on your innermost desires and on your own ‘self’ as a person will prove detrimental. Therefore, learn to adjust but never to sacrifice. If anybody expects you to sacrifice anything that is dear to you, sit with them and tell them that it is brutal to expect somebody to sacrifice something that is dear to them.
True approval always comes from within. Hence, never seek approval from other people. This includes even your closest people. Respecting your in laws is different from seeking approval, which is a pathetic thing.
Seeking approval implies that you are low on self esteem and that you just don’t have any say or mind of your own. Please do not be in the category of people who keep seeking approval. It will subjugate you as a person.
In the contemporary times, most of us tend to be born and brought up in nuclear families. The usual members are 4 to 5 and the family comprises of parents and children only. However, even in the changing times, in several parts of the world there are people who live in joint families.
Now living in a joint family isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can have many advantages as well. So please do not enter a new home or a family with a stereotyped mindset. See things first, observe the functioning of a family and only then decide whether they way live is good or bad for you.
One way or the other, give all of it a little time to be a part of your new home. Also, the other members will take some time to be a part of your life. So take your time to settle. Things don’t always turn out bad. It is us who assume the worse in change and end up being miserable.
Remember, the only thing constant in life is change.
Women around the world have a lot of questions and concerns as to how to deal with in laws living in you ? These concerns can arise before marriage as well as long after marriage. Let me address a few such concerns for you in an attempt to simplify life with in laws –
How to deal with in laws living with you if they come from a different culture?
Sit down and discuss each other’s cultures. Think of ways to learn together, accepting the positives of each other’s cultures. A multi cultural household is a better household. So prioritize acceptance.
Should I take my husband into confidence or tackle things on my own?
See, you are part of new family because of your husband. So it is extremely important for him to know whatever happens inside you and in the household. Discuss things with him exactly the way they are without misrepresenting the facts.
How to deal with in laws living with you if they are jealous?
Your in laws shouldn’t be jealous of you. If you feel they are, look for signs especially in your mother in law. They will have to let go of this mean mindset. Your husband will have to intervene here and support your stance.
How to deal with in laws living with you if you are working?
Being independent is your right. Hence, your in laws should be in absolute coherence with your thoughts. You working is a good things because you are supplementing the household’s overall income. So nobody should have any issues with it.
Is it ok for me to hate in laws?
No, because hate will consume you and burn you out. Even if you have in laws that are terrible, you should not stop being kind. Do not allow anybody to suppress you but also don’t be mean. You have your peace and perhaps they will learn too.
How to deal with in laws living with you if they prefer their own daughter to you?
Discrimination is the worst trait held by a person. Hence, your in laws will have to learn to accept and respect you with the same amount of grace just like they accept and respect their own daughter.
Do my in laws really love me?
Building love and forging bonds takes years. Hence, it is not at all necessary that your in laws will love you, just like it is not mandatory for you to love them. However, there has got to be mutual respect at all times. That is key and love will follow over the years.
How to deal with in laws living with you if you need your privacy?
Everybody is entitled to a decent amount of privacy. Also, personal space. Hence, make it a point to own your private time and space. In fact, ask your in laws to do the same for themselves.
Should I learn to cool off faster?
Yes please do. However your in laws should learn the same as well. Once calmness prevails in your house, everybody will be at peace.
How to deal with in laws living with you if your husband supports them more?
Husbands should not take sides. So if at all, your husband supports his parents more than you, he will have to learn the subtle art of balancing. After all, you are his life partner and so there cannot be two sides.
How do I resolve on-going conflicts with in laws?
Always talk them out and communicate well. The better you are at the art of communication, the more seriously you will be taken. Arguing, debating, and arguments won’t help you. Talking reasonably will.
If I have issues with in laws over specific things, should I confront them?
Yes, talk to them. Always confront them directly and not go beating around the bush. Also, do not pick up a fight. Rather, communicate well and speak your heart out.
How to deal with in laws living with you if their eating habits are different from yours?
It is common to have unique eating habits and hence don’t drain your peace over them. Eat what you like to eat and let your in laws eat what they want to eat. Why fight over food!
How to deal with in laws living with you if you have religious differences with them?
Evolved are the people who are truly religious and spiritual. Hence, learn to accept, respect and celebrate religious differences. Embrace diversity.
Come what way, having to live with in laws should not cause you stress. If you are feeling stressed out that is because of your silence. It is important that you stay assertive and speak up. Else, nobody will even know you are under stress.
Do not take excessive workload over you. Do not sacrifice over and over again. Most importantly, do not ignore your own needs – physical, mental and emotional. That is the key to lead a stress free life.
Families are meant to stay together forever and be bonded with love. Therefore, it is always good to breathe in a loving home rather than a conflicted one. However, if you are doing your level best to maintain that love and still are being pinned down, then its most certainly the time to take charge and see things for real.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: a still from the movie Family Katta
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