It felt like heaven. After a long courtship of four years you got married. His parents were very cordial towards you and everything seemed perfect. Well, almost perfect until one day you heard your mother-in-law talking to your husband. She was speaking against you. She voiced her displeasure against your way of dressing, the way you talk and termed you as immature and fussy. You could not believe your own ears but here is your mom-in-law playing the perfect monster-in-law. You felt cheated and lost. She was poisoning the mind of her son and you just cannot take it like that. What would you do?
I know you must be livid with anger and want to deal with her then and there. However, understand that an outburst would not take you anywhere. You need to calm yourself and decide your future course of action.
Don’t put strain on your relationship
Yes, this is the first thing you need to do. No matter whatever your toxic in-laws are doing, don’t make your husband suffer for that. You are a family and you have to deal the situation together. Never put your husband in a situation where he has to take anyone’s side. Always remember that after all, they are his parents.
Decide what you want
Your happiness and wellbeing are important to you. So, decide first what you want. You surely don’t want to be a victim all your life? Think how you want to be treated by your in-laws. Have self-respect and treat them the way you want to be treated.
First let the anger subside. Sit with yourself and look at the situation from an objective point of view. In most cases, the in-laws behave aggressively due to insecurities. The fear of losing out on her son and family makes the mother go wild and become antagonistic. The father may have his own issues. So first try to gauge their backgrounds and find out the reason behind such hostility.
Don’t overlook your role too. I know it sounds harsh, but are your actions or inactions causing them to behave in a particular way? Often, it is love that drives the parents to do or say certain things. Of course, you cannot let them strain the relationship and take you through hell.
Acknowledging the feelings of insecurity of the mother-in-law solves half the problem. You can find ways to make her feel loved. Listen to her suggestions and adopt those that are feasible in your situation. If she gets too interfering, you have to be firm and let her realize that you are not going to let her have her way always.
Stand up as a family
In some cases it has been seen that the in-laws try to break the relationship by spreading rumors and poisoning the mind of their sons. Don’t let that happen to you. Protect your marriage from your toxic in-laws by uniting as a front. Don’t encourage anyone to talk against your husband, not even your parents. Your spouse need not know everything that happens between you and his parents. Only when things get out of control, inform him. Otherwise, have faith that you are capable of dealing with them.
Give priority to your relationship and always be loyal to each other. Enjoy your time together and strengthen the bond.
Be a survivor and not a victim
Don’t get the victim mentality take over you. Consider yourself at par with your in-laws. They may make derogatory comments about the way you eat, dress or talk but don’t let that dampen your spirit or confidence. Remember, no one can hurt you or insult you without your approval. Don’t give them power to hurt you. Smile and take all the insults with a pinch of salt. You are at level with them and knowing this would boost your confidence and force them to change their behavior towards you.
Don’t take criticism personally
There will be criticism and you have to learn to handle it. Set aside your emotions and analyze it objectively. If there is no truth in it, just let it pass. If there is any merit, learn from it.
Set the boundary and follow the rules
Set the boundary for your in-laws. They can always provide you with suggestions but accepting them should be your prerogative. If you find them doing injustice to you, speak out firmly. Don’t keep quiet and hold grudges inside. Moreover, don’t let them interfere when it comes to your relationship with your husband or kids. Often, the difference in parenting styles causes rifts between the daughter-in-law and the husband’s parents.
Toxic in-laws try to manipulate their daughters-in-law to make them feel guilty and bow down under pressure. Don’t let that happen to you. I have even seen in-laws throwing tantrums like two-year olds just to make their daughter-in-law back down. These situations call for your firm attitude. Refuse to give in to their pressure tactic and hold your ground. They will surely back off when they find that you have taken up a tough attitude.
Learn to deal with your anger
At times, in-laws become too unbearable and you may feel like screaming at them. Just hold on to that temper. Remind yourself that they are actually looking for these opportunities to justify their allegations against you. Don’t fly off the handle, at least in front of them. Find someone reliable to pour your heart out. It can be a friend or a relative, but you must have someone to share all the woes and let yourself cool down.
When things get too harsh, just shut yourself up. Don’t be so nice that they start walking all over you. Maintain a safe distance from them and don’t let them bother you.
The best way to handle toxic in-laws is to limit their involvement in your life. Once they find that you are not giving them any space or are least bothered by their negative attitude, they will stop interfering in your life.