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Ask Julie: My In-Law Hate Me (& the feeling is mutual)

Q: My in-laws hate me and the feeling is mutual.

How do I handle the situation without alienating my husband or making him feel torn? We’ve been dealing with it for a couple years & it’s HARD. Any advice?

A: In-law relationships are particularly tricky because you’re competing for the same man’s attention — your husband/their son.

I wish I had a bit more information about your relationship history with them like: When did the relationship become so negative? Did you have a time where you did get along? How do you handle your emotions about this? Are they intentionally mean to you? If you’d like to write back with more details I’d be happy to respond again.

If the 3 most important people in his life don’t like each other he will feel torn about it.

So here’s what you can do:

1) Go to counseling to work through your own emotions about your in-laws, explore why you are so stuck in the negative emotions, find ways to become more emotionally neutral about this relationship, and work on what you can do to improve the relationship.

2) Limit the complaints that you share with your husband about his parents. This will help him have some relief from feeling “in the middle”. Chronic complaining about his parents will likely wear on your hubby and end up negatively impact your marriage.

3) Come up with a cue word with your husband so you can gently signal him when you really need him to step in and take a stand for you to his parents.

4) Decide what kind of daughter-in-law you want to be and then become her no matter how they are behaving. Taking charge of your own behavior feels better than reacting based on their behavior.

Remember that you chose your husband and by doing so you chose his family. Do your best to let the little annoyances slide, pick your battles, and do your best.

Take good care of you and yours!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

Send me your love & relationship questions here!

About Dr. Julie Hanks, LCSW:
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to TV Shows and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available. Dr. Hanks is currently accepting coaching clients.




My husband and I been with each other for 4 years. His mom always gave me a hard time and everytime she got into with him, she would say mean stuff about me. Which left me uncomfortable around her. When I was pregnant with my first child she thought I trapped him. When my daughter was 2 weeks old she came to visit for a month( his dad and her moved to Texas during my pregnancy) I wasn’t comfortable around her so I suggested her to stay half with us and half with his sister.( I’ve also have bad anxiety issues and get nervous in uncomfortable situations) she left and went over his sisters the rest of her visit. I felt bad and said sorry plenty of times but after that situation, his family haven’t accepted me. Fast forward to now…we moved to Texas to have better opportunities and is staying with them until we get our own. Since being here I have had bad anxiety as this have been a hard transition. Got married in July, moved in sept and had out second baby in November and living with in Laws I’m not close to. Due to this anxiety I haven’t been functioning right. Forgetting to wipe the table and not washing dishes properly. His dad asked my husband if I was slow! Anyway his mother overbearing and his parents are too involved on our life. I’ve been depressed since living with them. They aren’t really welcoming like I’m use to with my family. His parents have been very irritated with me leaving things undone and have yelled and cussed at us about it. We are 25 years old. I don’t like this aggression but I keep my mouth closed. His mom would make smart comments and I would just ignore it. One day I walk through the door they start yelling about my husband not bringing his company car back right away then his dad tells me he moved our car and the music was blasting to turn the music down I told him it isn’t loud he kept saying it was, I got annoyed and said you don’t know my ears I can hear which made him more mad.. He got louder and started cussing more that’s when I said I’m not your kid nor am I a kid you don’t need to yell and cuss at me. He then kicked me out and was walking up on me then his mother said this his house he can talk however he want too. They both were walking up on me really aggressively but my husband was in between and was on my side regarding it. After everything cooled down they said to send me and the kids back to Michigan until my husband saves enough for us to move. He didn’t want that so they decided we have until March to move. Ever since then it have been very awkward and I don’t know where to go from here. Any suggestions regarding this situation? Should I just be done with them once we move or try again on my end to make things better?

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