Is it normal for my husband’s family to disrespect me?
First and foremost, it’s never ‘normal’ for anyone to insult you. Even though some members in your husband’s family may be older and wiser than you – it still doesn’t justify them treating you like you don’t have any feelings. You feel hurt when they blatantly insult you on your cooking, fashion tastes, or how you bring up the kids.
In the end, if you feel like your in-laws not only despise you but also show you no inch of respect – make up your mind over the fact that this isn’t normal. Besides, their hostility towards you tells one more about their intolerant character than it does about you and your upbringing. If they can’t respect someone their son chose to spend the rest of his life with – it just explains that they don’t respect him or his choices either.
What are the possible reasons why my husband lets his family disrespect me?
Let’s let the cat out of the bag – in your in-laws’ minds, you’re an invader since you ‘stole’ their beloved son (or brother) away from them. Thus, it was silly of you to imagine enjoyable and pleasant family dinners in the first place – I mean we get it, you’re a good person and expected well in return. However, the world simply doesn’t function according to our desires.
Anyways, fitting into a new family can be a difficult position for anyone to be in because you simply want to be on friendly terms with all these new people and you try to impress them, but your clashes with them outweigh your similarities – only because both you, and the other party have someone in common that you both love very much. Thus, according to this explanation, it makes sense as to why you may receive hostility from your in-laws after you become a part of their clan.
What do I do if my husband’s family disrespects me?
1. Explain why it is hurtful
It is always a wise decision to speak about things as they are. The least you can do in a situation where your in-laws are involved (and constantly insult you) is to let them know how you feel and the impact of their words on you and directly and indirectly, and generally on the marriage of their son. You see, one can ignore so many things – but at times being direct is the only way to stop someone from taking you for granted.
2. Limit the number of meetups you have to attend
Sometimes, if you can't see eye to eye with someone, it may be helpful to limit the number of meetups and social gatherings you attend with them. If you can limit the number of times you guys gather around to see each other, it could help towards them coming to terms with the fact that you’re a respectable member of the family and perhaps that’ll stop them from seeing you as an outsider.
3. Avoid topics that cause friction
A good way to ensure that your in-laws don’t insult you is to simply avoid topics that may cause feelings of bitterness or hurt. Be cautious of situations that may flare up arguments between you and your in-laws. These topics can be anything – from you and your husband’s decision to move out, have kids later in life, or shift to another city altogether. The least one can do is to not put up red flags in front of a bull.
4. Stay busy at social gatherings
Contrary to our previous suggestion, if you find yourself forced to attend a social gathering with your in-laws, it’ll be wise to have a plan sorted out beforehand so that you know how you could survive such a volatile environment. A practical way to avoid conflicts would be to simply stay busy and distracted and not give them any excuse to humiliate you publicly. Some of the things you could do to keep yourself busy would be to talk to a relative that you feel comfortable sitting around with or perhaps by keeping yourself busy in the kitchen where help is required.
5. Evaluate your behavior
In addition to talking to your in-laws about how they’ve insulted you, you could also try evaluating your behavior throughout all these times and how you could improve the overall situation by pondering upon your conduct. Ask yourself if you’ve ever done something in the past that aggravated a situation or if there is something different you could have done instead? It is highly likely that you will possibly realize that there were times that you could have done certain things differently – perhaps by tackling things differently could’ve resulted in you not having to feel so insulted by your in-laws.
6. Show a united front together with your husband
The chances of your husband being aware of the tension between you and your in-laws are highly likely. Thus, it’d be wise for the two of you to discuss your role in his family and how his family member doesn’t give you the respect you deserve and ought to receive. In the end, the important for you and your husband is to display a united front when you’re around your in-laws – perhaps them seeing that the two of you are one body could result in them finally opening their eyes and finally coming to terms with the fact that you’re not going anywhere anytime soon – eventually forcing them to accept and appreciate you – whether they like it or not.
7. Set up certain rules and boundaries
Another strategy you could use would be to have a chat with your husband and try to come up with certain rules and boundaries regarding your in-laws’ relationship with you. Some examples of such rules could be that your in-laws must contact you guys before each visit to avoid them intruding into your personal space. Another example could be that everyone should carefully think twice before speaking and then decide whether or not what they’re planning on saying is something appropriate and does not offend the other party in any way. Also, as we discussed before, another important rule should be that everyone should actively avoid topics that could be offensive or otherwise hurtful to either party.
Should a husband defend his wife from his disrespectful family?
During one’s marriage vows, a husband swears to defend their wife against all forms of harm – regardless of the type of harm i.e. physical or mental. Even though your husband’s family members might guilt-trip him or emotionally blackmail him by claiming that he doesn’t care about his family members or is a ‘slave’ to his wife – none of these claims justify your husband not defending yours against any unjustified insult you may receive. Besides, isn’t it the duty of all human beings to ensure that the other person is well-appreciated and living a generally respectable life? Try to talk things out with your husband – would he tolerate if you insulted his mother or if his sister was insulted by her in-laws?
How do I confront my husband about this conflict?
It would be wise to talk to your husband about the root cause of the problem between you and your in-laws. Try to do so in a calm way so that you let him know how your in-laws have offended you without you offending your husband in any way (be the bigger person). Although many of us shy away from talking to people when their behavior has upset us – we can only take on so much. Things will only have a chance to change if you let your husband know what your needs are – he would otherwise most likely be clueless as to how you’re feeling.
Although tensions between in-laws are common, they can prove to be a challenge for whosoever’s unlucky enough to suffer from them, everyone deserves to be appreciated and respected. If you have children, think of the repercussions such tensions within the family could impose on their mental health. Thus, if you decide to take a stand for yourself, know that you’re not only defending yourself, you’re also ensuring your children are raised in a healthy and non-toxic environment.