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How do I tackle a toxic in-law?

Updated on: 29 November,2023 02:08 AM IST  |  Mumbai
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This is something your girlfriend should have no problem managing once she understands the issue better

How do I tackle a toxic in-law?

Illustration/Uday Mohite

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How do I tackle a toxic in-law?

I have been married for six months and the only thing causing serious issues in my married life is the presence of a very toxic in-law. She is constantly undermining my efforts no matter what I do, and although my husband is aware of this, he chooses to avoid confrontation because he says this is just who she is. He wants me to ignore it and find a way of coping, but I can’t let it go because if I do nothing, it will just set the tone for our future. I want to tell her to avoid causing trouble in our home, and I know this may only make things worse, but I don’t have any option. What can I do?
You should have a conversation even if it is difficult because you’re right about wanting to manage expectations early. This doesn’t have to turn into an argument, although that may not be in your hands. The thing to keep in mind is that there are always underlying reasons for why an in-law or family member chooses to interfere in the married lives of a relative. If you can identity those reasons, or come to terms with them, you may be able to develop coping mechanisms that diminish your in-law’s ability to cause trouble. Your husband cannot choose to sit this out though, because you have both signed up for a partnership, and working together is critical for the success of your marriage and future together. I suggest you tell him this too and ask him to work with you on this instead of asking you to develop a thick skin.

How do I tell my girlfriend’s sister that she isn’t welcome on some of our dates? She’s always around and it’s a problem.
Have you discussed this with your girlfriend? A misunderstanding is always possible, so it’s important that you make your expectations. This is something your girlfriend should have no problem managing once she understands the issue better. 

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