Friday, 13 May 2011

Getting along with the In Laws

From personal experience you don't always get along with the in laws, your feel accepted as part of the family...

my problems is I feel i'm constantly battling for H2B to put me first, and this has nothing to do with my mother in law to be - because it's him who cares more about her feelings than mine sometimes...

Here are a few tips from my favourite source of information Wiki on how to cope with the in laws (to be):

Work through your own feelings about your mother-in-law before all else. Are you able to put yourself in her shoes occasionally and see just where some of her so-called interfering or judgmental behavior comes from? She values the person you're married to, so there must be something good inside her!

    • Keep in mind that whatever your feelings, your mother-in-law remains one of the most important people in your spouse's life. Be sure it's not your own untamed jealousy causing problems.
Act like you like her. Even if she is so difficult or different, you have to show to your spouse like you two can be good friends. That would make him/her feel comfortable and in case she dislikes you, he/she would never think it's cause of sometime you have done or cause you haven't try to have a nice relationship with her.

Stay polite. One of the hardest parts of a negative relationship with your mother-in-law is keeping your mouth shut when she brings out the nitpicking, critical comments. Being polite is not the same as putting up with what is being done; you're still perfectly entitled to stand up for yourself, but it is about not stooping to the same level.
    • Even if she says nasty things about you, don't repeat them.
    • Don't criticize her in front of your spouse. Your spouse will be stuck between a rock and a hard place, and even if he or she starts to see your side of things, it will be hurtful to have to join in any undermining.
    • Always speak well about her to your spouse. If he/she is talking about something she will do or did, you have to have always a nice thing to say about it. Try to compliment her every-time you see her, using phrases such as "You look great today" or " Your hair looks so nice today" doesn't matter if she is a mess or a really ugly mother in law. This way your spouse will feel like you really make an effort to have a nice relationship with her/his mother.
    • Do not let her see you in a bad mood. If you are upset or angry about something, do not ever let her notice it. She might try to use it against you talking about it with other members of the family or even to your partner, trying to make you look bad cause of the things you said in an anger moment . Always try to show a nice smile and speak nicely to her.
    • Equally, never criticize your spouse in front of her; this will simply make her defensive and cause her to see you in a bad light.
Use humor. Deflecting criticism with humor can deflate the barbs intended and put everyone at ease again. When it seems that all she's interested in doing is complaining, try to find witty means for replying.
  • For example, your mother-in-law is complaining about the weather again. Reply with "Well, at least it means we don't have to sit indoors complaining about how cold it is. C'mon, we're all going to the beach now!"
Look for the good she does and praise it. Always do this in her presence and be genuine. Praising the behavior you want from another person is an often successful technique for ensuring that the desired behavior is repeated. Ignore the undermining behavior completely; just focus one what her good points are.
  • Thank her for raising such a wonderful spouse!
  • Flatter her by passing on a compliment about her that someone else you know made about her (for example, "Your mother-in-law is amazing!").
Be kind. Just like you, your mother-in-law has experienced life's problems, joys, and losses. And just like you, she cares about the person you've married. Take some time to ask her questions about her life, to try and get to know her better. Perhaps some of her complaints stem directly from experiences she's had in the past of things that didn't work out for her and she's really worried that the two of you will repeat the wheel. If you understand her fears and concerns better, you'll be in a better position to reassure her. and get to know her
  • Ask her for things that show you respect her knowledge. Ask for the recipe of a cake that she bakes that you love. Ask her how she manages to keep her hair in such great shape. Ask her how she found balancing work and child-raising. Ask her why she loves motorcycling so much. Ask her all sorts of things under the sun that allow her to talk about herself. You will learn a lot and it's a good opportunity to reassure her of the things that she does best.
  • Next time you're at her house, try to spend a few moments with her in the kitchen or sit near her and chat. If the conversation doesn't go that well, you can always get up to use the bathroom and sit back down in another chair!
  • Ask her to do things for you if you don't think she'll take this as an imposition. Ask her to make lunch (if you're brave). Ask her to proofread your report before submitting it. Ask for her professional opinion about something if she's qualified in a particular field. Ask her to prune your roses. Ask for whatever you think she has expertise in and will enjoy helping you with or offering advice about.
Give gifts. Give your mother-in-law a gift from just you for no other reason than to let her know she counts in your life. A gift can show you care provided you've taken the time to put effort into it. Make something by hand, or personally select something in her favorite colors or style. If you have to, get your spouse to choose the present, then say it's from you. Make sure it's something she will enjoy. If she sees that you are thinking about her and know her tastes, it will help win her over.

Clarify misunderstandings. Don't allow your relationship with your mother-in-law to be directed by her assumptions about you and your needs. This is at least one area where you can set her straight, even if she doesn't want to listen. Be assertive and use the broken record technique to keep reminding her whenever she gets things mixed up that things are not as she says they are. Do it politely, firmly, and repeatedly. She'll get the message that there are some things which you will continue to insist on regardless of her assumptions.
  • For example, if your mother-in-law keeps comparing her challenging life with your lucky and wealthy one, look her in the eye and tell her straight: "Barbara, I am not sure why you think we have the lifestyle you're depicting but it's the wrong picture. We're paying a mortgage just like you, we're still paying off our college fees, and we're trying hard to save up for a special vacation so that the kids can have a good time. It's not about luck for us; it's about good financial management and we stretch our earnings the best we can to ensure our kids have good experiences." Keep repeating the "It's good management, not luck" message every time she brings up the subject; soon enough, it'll start to bore her.
  • If your mother-in-law criticizes your appearance or weight, or that of your children, don't let this one go. It's too personal and invasive. For example, you might respond: "I appreciate that you're concerned about my weight but I'm within a healthy weight range and I'm eating well. My doctor is happy with my health." Or, "I understand that you worry about Kaila's weight and appearance but I prefer to concentrate on the children's personality and intellectual development rather than making them feel uncomfortable about their physical appearance. Kaila's eating healthily and her doctor's happy with her health."
  • Responding in a direct manner and addressing your mother-in-law's complaints will disarm her to an extent but it also lets her know that you will stand up for yourself and family when you believe that a line has been crossed.
Give her space. Let her spend time alone with her child. Don't always expect to be hovering around your spouse and knowing everything that's happening right then.

Don't compete with her. If she makes the best sponge cake this side of Texas or has the wittiest comebacks you've ever heard, stop trying to outdo her. Rely on letting your own unique strengths that attracted your spouse to you to shine forth instead. There is plenty of room for both of you!

Talk it through with your spouse. Telling your spouse is vital; if your spouse has no idea how you're feeling, he or she may put you in situations you'd rather not be in, like taking care of dear old mom while she's sick. Find an opportune time to sit down together and talk through the issues in a calm and kind way.

Tell your spouse kindly (remember, this is his or her mother) how you feel. State the facts, not your opinions. For example, if your mother-in-law tried to run you over with her SUV, say so. Don't say, "She's horrible and she wants to kill me!" Explain very clearly, without being rude and hurtful: "Ah Bruce, I'm worried your mom might be having sight problems because last week she back the SUV right into me even though it was the middle of the day and I was wearing a bright red dress."
  • Discuss calmly. Ask your spouse how he or she feels about your mother's behavior (present the facts, not your perception). If the both of you are sharing opinions, it may allow you to be more honest.
  • If it's good enough for you, it's good enough for your spouse. Don't freak out if your spouse hates your own mother with a passion! Remember, if you're just finding out now, then obviously they've done a good job at hiding it. So expect them to continue hiding it around your family.
  • Don't be surprised if your spouse refuses to "take sides". He or she loves both of you equally, so taking sides can seem petty and pointless in such a case.
Be inclusive regardless of your personal feelings. Okay, so you know she doesn't like you and you're pretty sure she knows that you don't like her. This doesn't mean you can just stop visiting. This is your spouse's mother, remember, and a mother is very important in life. Don't be rude when your wife or husband wants to visit his or her parents on a Saturday afternoon. You still need to let their child-parent relationship breathe. Visit with your spouse – don't make yourself scarce. Your in-laws will think you're a wuss and this will only make them dislike you more. Remember, the goal is to "get along" with your mother-in-law...
  • Equally, you can set limitations on the visits. Don't put yourself into the situation of out-staying your ability to cope. If you're obliged to stay in the same house, keep it short and sweet.
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