How do you deal with difficult family members ?

Have you ever had an issue with a difficult family member? How did you handle it? What recommendations would you give to other moms who are dealing with a difficult relative?

40  Answers

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1. Stop trying to fix it. Some people are difficult because they are deeply troubled and lack the introspection skills to resolve issues with others. If they are difficult with you, they are probably difficult with most people who present the same/similar threats to them. Do not take it personally and stop thinking that you will some day, by some miracle, make them happy.

2. When things are going well, do not blow on the embers. Don't create problems with difficult people in anticipation of them eventually becoming difficult. Most difficult people have very low self esteem or are extremely self absorbed. Both states are due to a lack of emotional growth. They are otherwise "stuck" there and do not know how to cope with life stresses maturely. Maybe they usually cope by becoming very controlling or very unreliable. A good strategy for when things are going well is to not fall into fear and paranoia mode (walking on eggshells, waiting for the "other shoe to drop"), but to remain positive with this person and to speak encouraging words. "I had a really great day. Thanks for joining us. We all had so much fun." Keep it simple.

3. Protect yourself, your children/family. If a difficult person pushes boundaries so much that it negatively affects your family, then remain firm, but loving. "I love you, but as I stated before, bedtime is at 7:30pm in this house and it's one thing that we do not compromise on. I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't just try to drop by when I am bathing my children and getting them ready for bed. We cannot be on "your time" at this hour." Some people are so difficult that they see boundaries as a "challenge" and they continue to try to break them down. Remain firm and the "second level" boundaries can even be unspoken. Just lock the door and don't answer the phone, turn off the cell phone, and do not respond to repeated requests that were previously denied.

4. I also like the idea of praying. Meditation helps too. Difficult people can keep you up at night as you constantly question yourself, "am I doing the right thing? Am I really that bad that this person despises me so much? I can't BELIEVE she did/said that! I'm so hurt!!" All of these thoughts can keep you agonizing for hours. Sometimes this is the goal of a difficult person, to drive you crazy and make YOU into the crazy one...sometimes they have no idea what they are doing and cannot see beyond their own emotional needs, hence their constant inappropriate communication and actions. Because you cannot control what THEY do, it's important at the end of the day to remain centered, feeling healthy and ready to bite your tongue another day: prayer, meditation, and regular exercise!

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you just described my husband and he has come along way but still have many issues to work on I know way he has these problems but only he can deal with them. I love him so much and I have tried to make him happy. Now I have learned the hard way that he is the only one can make himself happy.

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1. Admit they are difficult. One of the hardest things about difficult people is that we either try to make them out to be evil, or we try to avoid the whole thing. Some people are in our life as a great example of how to deal with issues.
2. Know your boundaries, know your limits. Some day, you are going to be the difficult person to your 26 year old daughter/40 year old son/25 year old daughter in law, etc. - would you rather have him/her write you off, or figure out how to deal with you in a forum that will continue relationship while avoiding hurt feelngs? How you treat people now is the foundation for how your kids treat you when they decide you are difficult.
3. Have a plan. For years, we had a difficult family member that I didn't know how to deal with. She and I were more than at odds. She broke boundaries constantly, but also really wanted to be part of our family. In the end, I made my children age 10 and up responsible for time boundaries (like be back by 8pm or call - this turned out to be great training for teen years), and invited her to family occasions that were high energy and didn't require me to be inside her emotional space. In addition, I coached my older daughters when they ran into issues. Today, all of my children have better boundaries and knowledge of themselves because of the time spent with this family member.
4. Pray - I can't handle two difficult family members at the same time, and there was occasion that I just had to pray - every time, someone would leave early and/or come late.

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After responding to this question yesterday, I got to thinking about my youngest who did not spend as many years watching me weave through the tangle of emotions that come from difficult people you can't get rid of. She is low on compassion and high on defensiveness. At almost 12 yo, she still sees everybody's actions as 'annoying'. I gave her an assignment. Every day for the next two weeks, she is to tell me someone's story - why they act the way they do, or what makes their life more difficult than hers. For some reason, praying hasn't worked to teach her compassion - she just prays that God keeps the 'annoying' people away or changes them. Hopefully, this will teach her to look at people differently, and begin to discover what makes them tick so she can have compassion, humility and (may I hope) mercy.

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I have actually gone through this situation. My mother-in-law! At first I tried EVERYTHING I could to get along and keep my hopes that "some day" we will get along, but when there is only one side working on it, its very hard to make things work. So Im sorry to say that in my situation, things did not work out for the best. Now days I just stay away and my husband has a relationshipwith them that hes working on but when it comes to me.....I prefer to just stay away and keep my distance. When someone treats you as a non-person, or that your not good enough for them, you tend to not want to be around them. I really am not the best to give advice on this subject. Some people just wont let you get along with them. And when they refuse to see that what they have done is very hurtful, and cannot bring themselves to appologize, but say we will agree to disagree, it just wont work. And its just better to have no contact with them. Its really a shame, because they really are missing out on things. As are we. And thats sad!

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As a Christian the best thing my mentors and God's word tells us is to ask for help to see these people through the eyes of Jesus. I guarantee this person is behaving this way all throughout their life. That saddens me and I also become acutely aware they are operating from a base of insecurity and tough stuff. Those behaviors are from a "tree" that is not healthy. We tend to take it personally yet it's the other person's "stuff" and hurt and lack of ability for whatever reason to address their issues. Some people never will. Loving the unlovable is so difficult. Yet, it is what Jesus demands of us...we get no credit for loving those easy to love. I love the feedback from Kim as well. there is no question the difficult people challenge us in ways noone else will. We either grow and become stronger or keep complaining. Also, I have had to take a hard look at what I take offense to....and as my very wise mentor said to me when I was younger and upset with someone...she said, "consider the source......do you respect that person?" I immediately said NO! And, then realized I was allowing them to set the tone for my moments and I had to start to take responsibility for how I responded. Pray...the Lord will help you ...pray before going into battle to have the heart of Jesus and strength through him...not you.. Our runway for strength a lot of times is short...Jesus' is long!

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I have decided to take the high road with the difficult person in my life. I do my very best to be non-confrontational and to kill them with kindness! Wherever we went together I made sure I was ALWAYS very polite, very proper, and very kind. This was not easy at first but as time went on they became less confrontational and insecure and far less difficult to deal with!
There are also subjects that I will not discuss in public...I will discuss jello recipes, I will discuss the weather and what kind of summer it has been, I will discuss how my tomato plants or lawn have responded to that weather or my new favorite book and I will discuss my children and husband in generalities such as looking forward to school or excited about the start of football season for the hubby!
By focusing on small talk it becomes easier to avoid the pitfalls of somebody feeling snubbed because I "won't talk to them" and I am able to avoid the hot button issues! It is fairly difficult to get into arguements when your discussing tomato plants! Brush over the hot button issues. If you suspect your headed for trouble then after the brush over it may be a good time to check on the kids!

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You go,Tammy!That's the way to think!I believe that positive reinforcement is a must with situations like these.It can be very challenging to be polite,and smile through it,but the longer you can withstand,the more that kindness ebbs away at the tension.Although I am around my stepsister very little,we've never really 'clicked'.She's always been really snide,so I've always returned it,until recent years.It seems the less we talk about the family(my mom,her dad),the less hateful she's been.My mom and I still deal with a lot of drama from her,but not near as much as we use to.It helps knowing she resents the marriage,so we stay away from the subject :D

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Call them out on it. If nothing changes, BE DONE with them! Nothing good comes from continuing a losing battle!

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Yep your right there Sheila!!!

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It depends.
If I am feeling well enough to handle them, I reach out and relate. If I am not doing too well, I tend to distance myself, as a protective measure. If I was always confident, self-assured, and secure in who I am, they would not bother me. If they were not my elders, but my siblings or younger than me, they would not bother me. It is because of my own vulnerabilities that makes it hard to maintain the relationships, because these particular family members have no boundaries, and do not know how to be supportive. Actually, they do the opposite, and proceed to tear me down. So I try to maintain boundaries and continue the relationships in a way that I feel comfortable and can tolerate: for short periods of time and engaging in an activity we both enjoy (rather than mostly one-on-one conversation which would end in disaster)

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Agreed - we can be sorry that the "difficult" people feel insecure etc. but we have to look after our own emotional health first if they are getting us down. This might mean having to cut contact with them temporarily (hopefully) or permanently.

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Yes i have difficult family members mostly my Grandmother and Aunt who have always treated my dad (there son and brother) appallingly, myself and my sister included - they just refuse to speak to my mom even though mom and dad have been married 36 years.
My grandmother on many an occasion has told me that my cousin is her favourite, and she loves him the most. My dad was diagnosed with cancer 7 years ago and in all that time she has NEVER once called to see how he is doing, and my Aunt has not contacted any of us in almost 4 years. The last time i spoke to my Grandmother she told me i was still carrying all my baby weight -my daughter was 4 weeks old.
One Xmas she decided to reveal a 62 year old family secret which devastated my Dad it affected his health and well being he could have happily lived not knowing, why just to be nasty.
These are just a few reasons why i have ABSOULTLY no contact with either of them for the last 4 years but believe me it has taken many years to come terms with my feelings. But i will not put my daughter through the same things as me.
The old saying is true "you can choose your friends but not your family" well yes but you can choose to have anything to do with them.
I do not need prayers or writing them letters or sitting down and having a emotional chat with them, im am a happy person with out either of them in my life - and thats how it will stay

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I am soooo sorry to hear about your Grandmother & Aunt! How awful to have seen/heard these things! Grandmother's are supposed to be very sweet & spoil the crap out of ya, not put you down & cause turmoil. I too have learned about the kind of Mother-in-law/Grandmother I want to be throughout my experiences in my lifetime. I look at everything as a learning experience & I try to apply it to my life in some way. I do believe that you should try everything, (kindness, respect, prayer) but if it affects your family & especially your children, then removing yourself from the situation is the best thing for ALL involved. I can't help but wonder what kind of a woman, KNOWING her Son has cancer, will NOT call or have any kind of contact with them. I hope & pray that your Father beats this cancer, but if not, he will definitely be in a better place. Maybe not with a loving Mother, but with a loving Father, our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.

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This topic has been a major problem in my life. My husband and I made the HUGE mistake of building our home next to his parents. We have lived here for 7 years. We haven't had much of a relationship with his family for the past 5 years.

My in-laws even lived with us for a few months while their house was getting finished. They moved in a few days after our first baby was born.

I thought the conflict between his family and ours would destroy our marriage. We tried setting boundaries, writing letters, having discussions, and even going to a mediator. Nothing worked. Finally we decided to pull away completely. Even though we live next door, we do not attend family functions. My four year old doesn't even know his grandparents.

It has been difficult. I used to have nightmares of my in-laws attacking me. We have cried a lot and had marital arguments. However, keeping our distance seems to help. No contact brings peace.

A wonderful book I read is called "Toxic In-laws - Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage by Susan Forward Ph.D.

I have learned that I am still a good person even if my in-laws despise me. I am a good wife and mother and I can raise my children in a loving immediate family. My husband and I can focus on strengthening our family unit. We do not need to allow his family in to harm us. We are the parents and we have the right to set the boundaries for our family. Our marriage comes first.

I always tell myself that I have gone through this pain for a reason. I hope it has taught me how to treat my children and their spouses in the future. I often think about the kind of mother-in-law and grandmother I want to be.

Yes I mourn that my children do not have sweet grandparents that plan cute holiday events for them, get excited to attend their preschool graduations, and such. However, I realize my children are shielded from the hurt and manipulation that mostly made up my in-laws personality.

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Thank you for this!! I have read a lot of advice here, agree with the praying and trying to see what it is that is hurting the in-law, but you hit the nail on the head. I have to realize that I am a good person even though my sister-in-law does not think so. She doesn't seem to get along with many people. and unfortunately I am one of them. My kids will probably never really know my two nephews now, and even my nephews (5 and 3) seem to be distancing themselves from me, as we aren't invited to their house anymore, etc., but no matter what, I have to accept that she does not like me, and get over it. I am a good person, and a good mother and wife. and what she thinks of me is completely based on a misunderstanding that she refuses to see. Thanks!

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I'll be honest with you..sometimes the best thing to do is to confront them in a loving way..For years we stayed away from her or just stayed quiet and let her have her way, but it wasen't until we decided to always put her in her place right then and there that we started to see a change in her and was able to now deal with her. Of course we did it in love and didn't in a way that was not rude or provoking just making them aware of their actions and words. Hope this advice is helpful to others.

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Ah the joys of family...reading all these comments makes me feel normal :-)

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I was thinking the same thing....And after reading other replies think that my rude, inappropriate and overbearing mother in law maybe isn't so bad.

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if possible leave them alone. i dont have time for a lot of foolish.

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All of you have made great points.
You can not give anyone control of you unless you allow it. Just pray for them and ignore the small stuff. I tell my children, now 13 & 10, everyone has a reason for acting the way they are. This is a life lesson with everyone we deal with. When someone is hurtful or putting you down, just don't react negatively back. Be polite, short and firm, knowing it's not about you. Then walk away and pray for them. They obviously need all the prayer they can get.

There is however a line that must not be crossed. When there is physical violence. I grew up with an extremely dysfunctional family. Every time we would get together, there would be some kind of violent act. When I became a step-mother to two daughter's, age 5 & 6, and there was an "outbreak", I pulled away form my family realizing I didn't want them to see it.
I did call them when I found out I was pregnant with my 1st child and left a message on their answering machine. My eldest sister told me they listened while I left the message but didn't pick up and didn't call back either. Called again when I gave birth. Same deal. Wasn't until my daughter was one and we went to my Aunt & Uncle's wedding anniversary party did they get to meet her. I stupidly handed my daughter to my father and said "This is your 12th grandchild". We slowly tried to have a relationship with them only to be the recipients of another "outbreak/attach" in front of my children.
I haven't seen my parents or siblings in 10 years. I pray for them to find love in their hearts and I really hope they do. I just have to protect my family. They shouldn't have to live with the violence that I did. It took me a long time in therapy to understand that my parents did not love me and are not capable of love.

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User Pepe, Thats so sad. Im sorry you had to live with this for so long. But your are right for staying away. Your children DONT DESERVE TO be put through a life of hurtful hatred. Your being the best mom you can and you be proud that you are doing your best to raise healthy/ mentally healthy children. Thanks for breaking the cycle of abuse! I grew up in an alcoholic home and violent abuse was the norm. So I can understand the 10years of silence. You did reach out with no return, thats on them not you. Just know that your not to blame for their actions then or now. We cant control what other people do but we can control what we do. And I think you are doing the right thing. Pat yourself on the back and keep on being the good mother that you are. They are missing out on a very loving daughter and Im sure some wonderful grand children.! My prayers are with you.

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i think when a family member is sometimes grating on you, you have to stop and think "do they always make me feel like this or am i in a different head space today" I think if they always make you feel this way then probably best to have as little contact as possible with them, and if you have to spend time with them, try and have other people around to take the burden from you. If they don't always make you feel this way then maybe its you having a bad day. Recognise this so you dont carry negative feelings about someone through to your next meeting with them, you could lose a really good friend this way.

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Pauline, This is good advice. I do think harboring bad feelings needs to be addressed and how one deals with that either by boundaries, prayer, or other family members helping out matters. I like the fact that you say we could be in a particular head space, or perhaps the other person. I went to a workshop on dealing with negative behaviour. the director had a box of Q tips. she said QTIP stands for Quit Taking It Personally.

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I thought only Asians got difficult relationship with mother in law or their children. i found alot of amazing advices here. Thanks. I have a really difficult sis-in-law. She use to scold me ugly and nasty remarks. She didnt even turn up for my marriage customary tea ceremony culture. Cause I re-married to his brother. She Call me names and seems to look down on divorcee. Well, I ignore and stay at my room. She dont leave with us but use to come around for dinner as Mum in law look after her kids. I even get depression cause of it when pregnant. Luckily now, all is better.. Cause of this my hubby have a big fight with her. My mum in law is an ok person, takes very good care of the family. But she often tell others about how great her daughter and children are, they are richer, they buy good stuffs etc.. All good things are her daughter and all the lousy bad things are us. Even I given birth, i never let her takes care of our son cause i know she cant handle.. She is bias always. The only thing I can do is IGnore, pretend deaf and act ignorance. I've never ever scream or shouted back, the most i'll ignore and show them I'm unhappy..
Its best npt to stay together. Dont meet up often. Stay away. cause the poor one is our husband, to stand up for us, he will be like sandwich between his family and us so just leave if possible. I'm happy cause my house is coming and I'm leaving for my own nest.. Cheers!

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Belle, Never feel like you are any less of a person to them! Because it sounds to me that you are a lot better person then any of them will ever be. As for mum in law saying how wonderful her children are....well the truth is that anyone who knows them, and knows them well, will know the truth. Instead of ignoring and pretending to be deaf to it all, maybe now that you will have your own home you can stand up for yourself and your children. You may have to be respectful to them while your in their homes, but when your in YOUR home, they need to understand its YOUR HOME and you WILL NOT be treated bad in your home. As for your husband feeling like a sandwich between you and his family, I can understand he wants to please them, but he needs to know that you and your children deserve the same from him. And maybe he should let them know it hurts him for them to treat you as they do. Try talking with your husband and let him understand that he has another family that he should be protecting. And that is YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN! Maybe that will help him see that its not right for his mum and brothers and sisters to treat you badly. That he loves you and it hurts HIM to see YOU being hurt. My husband had to finally stand up and tell them that if they cant except me as his wife and my children as his own then he will have to stay away as well. And he did. He stayed away for about 7 years. We all live in the same town, but we didnt run into them much. I thought that after 7 years things would have gotten better but they didnt. And thats sadon their part. But that was their choice, it could have been left in the past. Sometimes you just have to let them go, and realize that nothing will make it better until they deal with whatever it is that they need to deal with. Then things will get better but not until then. At least thats how Ive seen it work. I could be completely wrong. I wish you all the luck! Congrats on your new home coming!

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If a member of the family is difficult, it is best to stay away from them and if you should cross paths, it
would be best to keep away from them and don't pay attention to them. It is a very difficult thing to
deal with someone who has called you bad names and will keep getting in your face. Eventualy they will get the message that you do not wish to confront them.

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Thats right Ruth. Sometimes you just have to get away from them huh.!

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1 accept it. difficult ppl dont' usually change b/c they are stubborn
2 don't try to change it
3 let them know you think they are being a certain way and how it makes you feel
4 that's really all you can do. let them know your opinion about it and hope they will see it your way and if not, set it aside and avoid the stress of the situation by excluding them. why make life harder than it has to be by surrounding yourself by a difficult family member? I just wouldn't do it if they were still being difficult after I mentioned my point of view

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I had to make a concerted effort to keep some of my relatives away from my daughter. I'm not going to put my daughter, who was a baby at the time, in the position of having to defend herself against them. One of the difficult relatives has passed by now, and the other will before too long. Still, I had to move away to keep them apart

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be honest with them. i have one like everyone else its mysister but i just inform her about the things she does that makes it so difficult to deal with her, and they may get mad but trust me they will get over it! and if they dont respect you enough to stop then inform them that you would rather not be around them

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as hard as it is at the time, each of these people are put into our lives to teach us something about ourselves. Be the student & observe. Give them nothing they can attack & the relationship will not have grounds to go into an arguement or bad feelings, just observe & hold out judgement some people can not function from any other level than what they are at. Believe me I have been in dysfunctional family enviroments & relationships that no matter what I did they found fault & nothing I did was good enough but when you quit caring what others think & care about what you & God think then all the other stuff goes to the wayside!

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I just read and studied Kim Martinez and Alli Sherman's posts.
Kims was right up my alley. It soothed my ruffled feathers, and Ruffled they are.
'Admit they are difficult'
Dont think of 'her' as Evil
Wish 'she' wouldn't avoid me.
Could 'she' be in my life to teach me how to deal with issues? No way- I am willing to talk.
Could I be in her life to teach me? How pompus I sound.
Quote- 'someday, you are going to be.....'
Quote-'Would u rather have him/her write you off or deal with you in a forum that will continue yr relationship while avoiding hurt feelings.'
I would rather both of us figured how to deal with each other in a forum. Is this possible?
Quote -'My difficult person broke boundaries constantly but really wanted to be part of our family'
I know I unwittingly break boundaries I don't know about until I break them.
My husband and I often wonder ' Why did our son pick ..... As his wife?'
We do have, Quote-'a tangle of emotions from someone we can't, ( but also dont want to) get rid of.
Our son loves this person. We have seen a lot of good in her, and she is a natural mom.

I have given myself away. I'm a mother in law, trying to cone to terms with
events I didnt dream I had to deal with. I dont know if I'm allowed in this circle, but I came to learn.

Alli's post evoked a different response in me.
Are both my daughter in law and I difficult people?
Do we both have low self esteem and are we both self absorbed?
Are we both stuck due to a lack of emotional growth or maturity?
Do we both often think,"I can't believe she said/did that?"
I'm sure her goal is to drive me crazy, while I've learned, I'm already there.
We both think the other is full of inappropriate communications and actions.
Can i be very truthful and discover how I may come across as terribly inappropriate
to her?
I hope and pray to be the Mother in Love I had hoped to be.
I come from a close family who talk things through and keep loving despite the odds.
I want only to show/feel love to my sons wife, not to be a difficult person who upsets their lives.
I wonder if this is possible? It seems so hopeless.

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My parents created a great deal of baggage for me & my siblings. Some of us have moved on, some have not. My parents still try to treat & control us as they did when we were still at home. Some of my siblings have the same lack of respect, responsibility, & empathy--unfortunately, those ended up living at my house.
What we intended was to be a stepping-stone: you move away from parents, get a job, we charge just a tiny rent & they can eat here, letting them save up a bit & then strike out on their own. What they regarded it as was a free ride & a doormat.
My husband & I have had to set very solid, clear, large boundaries. When a line has been crossed, we've had to immediately tell them & cut the conversation short. That's how far they've pushed it. I hate to do it; I'm a very polite person, who tries to be understanding & all, & family is important to me. But my personal family & my personal sanity are top priority.
Hopefully, they'll catch on. But it's been over 10 years, so...well, I pray.

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I have recently been having difficulties with two members of my family but both over the same thing, the TV! My 5 year old daughter is my only child, number two is on the way and I have been trying to deal with her tv time as I no I have allowed her to watch to much at times and now am faced with tantrums and tears when i say no to it. She attends a school that has a no tv talk policy in the classroom which I think is great and am now doing my best to do other things with our time at home instead of sit and watch the box! The problem then I am being faced with is my partners use of the tv. He is my daughters step father but this is fairly new, and we generally as a couple have been able to discuss most matters concerning parenting quite well and openly. JUST NOT THE TV!! its really hard to be on one hand telling my girl that too much tv is not good for her and then on the other having my partner use it, freely during the day and all weekend, as his 'downtime' from work, He is self employed and is the bread winner and we both moved in to his house but i cant seem to work this out as I find it unfair on his part!! HELP!! any advise would be greatly appreciated xxx

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Who hasn't had to deal with difficult family members? This usually is a worse problem at the holidays. Difficult folks are hard under any circumstances and unfortunately there are no right answers. Each situation is unique. My best advice is just remember your children are learning by your actions or inactions. I generally try to find an explanation for the difficult persons bad behavior like I think they are having it rough financially and so they might be grumpy right here at Christmas, or someone died and it hurt them real bad and thats why they are (I don't say jerk) acting the way they are. I actually told all my children I thought their older sister was having a tough time financially, as I thought she might have overspent for her wedding and thats why shes being so grumpy, cursing me to her brothers and sisters, and that I told her it was okay not to give anyone presents. She was calling her little brothers and sisters asking them to draw names, which is fine but she should have gone through me first and told me she was having problems. She and her husband make well into the six figure range together and noone would have reason to know she couldn't afford to give gifts. She was also telling the little kids that they had to choose between a birthday present and a Christmas present. Also, fine just let me know theres a problem. I told her if she bought anything I'd return it to her, and don't buy anything for anyone as obviously there was a problem here and they would get more than enough for Christmas. I could have actually handled it better with her, but I was exasperated. I'm human. I also told her brothers and sisters that Christmas is not about how much money you spend but about thinking about someone and showing them you care. I told them they could give the gift of themselves, and give folks a coupon they would do something for free, clean house, clean a car, babysit, cook a meal, run an errand, cook someone their favorite dish, do someones chores for them...

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The first few years everything they say you will hold with the highest regard and insult. What you need to do is IGNORE them and live your life and realize you are the mom and you know what is best

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This is the hardest thing in my life. I loved reading all the helpful things here. I have a
family member, a woman, that my husband loves to spend time with. I do not. Partly because she often says
very mean spirited things to me and partly because she has almost no qualities that I like at all. What I have done that works best (and I can never always do this) is 1) never say anything negative about her 2) see her as little as possible and still seem civil - this means my husband sees her 10 or
20 times as much as I do 3) really work my spiritual "tools" around the situation. For example, the
saying, "you are as close to God as the person you love the least" has helped me. For indeed, this
woman is a lonely person who is always seeking friends but never really finds many. My husband resents my feelings towards her. He sometimes is negative to my friends with a certain enthusiasm because of this. He is not a vengeful person but he does seem to keep this resentment alive and admits only rarely that almost noone really likes this woman for very good reasons: she brags, she never listens, she interrupts everyone especially her husband, she talks too too loud and too too much. She took a
Toastmaster's course of all things and it enhanced her tour guide loudspeaker way of talking in a
group. It is really unbearable. She is sad, and a non- learner. My husband defends and boasts about any achievement she has made like it should make me like her. She also has substance abuse issues which enhance her abrasiveness. I like what[ I think ]Henry James said and use it with her. He said,
"Use the three rules: be kind, be kind. be kind." Good luck.

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Willa, All I can say is WOW! How is it that everyone can see what you see about her but HIM? What is it that ties him o her like that? Unless he likes those qualities, I dont get it. It sounds like maybe your hubby really needs to sit down with you and listen to what you have to say. Instead of treating your friends badly jus because you dont like thi woman. Im sorry for your situation.

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We live in a small town, moved here from the city with our baby girl and the only relative nearby is my sister in law. She and my husband have always had a difficult relationship, and now I see why! She's a hypersensitive woman with very strong opinions, inflexible and stubborn - one of these people who HAS to have it her way. She's caused a lot of upset in her ways and tantrums over nothing(in our eyes) It's been a sad adjustment for me since she's a life line out here and my whole family is 9 hours away...I miss them terribly, so I skype to keep sane! So now I do not rely on her friendship as a cure for my loneliness, I have signed my daughter and I up for classes in hopes to meet some mothers - or just ONE mother I connect with. Way to deal with my difficult in-law - stay polite, but I don't go out of my way to see her anymore. I doubt I will go to her without my husband as unfortunately, I feel she's burned some moral bridges with me. Her loss!

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Pray, Seek God. Ask for wisdom. Keep loving. Kindness leads to repentance (2 Timothy 2:25). P.S. Keep your own heart right by forgiving them, and name the action(s) you have to forgive them about. This will clarify the concern(s). Ask a trusted friend to also pray...together you will get a proper answer. Guard your own heart towards the person(s) that concern you. Love your enemies. Ask God to help in everything.

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Learn what "active listening" is, and then do it. Learn how to set boundaries.

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Take a deep breath, count to 10 and think of something funny like whipped cream all over their nose, then dare I say it, then smile and say I think I might take that ten minute time out and walk away, if they try to stop you run. And I am being very serious.;)

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I am not a serious person unless I have to be in the tough times of life-My son has no sense of humor when I am around,if I see him smile its a miracle,no one talks they go make dinner and sit on the couch to eat,never say one word to me when I visit like dinners ready mom.That is not good manners.At my home the table would be set and we would all sit there and enjoy a relaxed dinner and good times.I grew up with no one talks unless its to yell at you,never a fun childhood did I have.My kids had a fun childhood and they just do not appreciate me,they should of grew up like I did.I am very independent always had to be.What I think about is the movie monster in law with Jane Fonda and Jennifer lopez,wish my daughter in law had a sense of humor and could laugh at that movie.Nothing serious and would never harm any of them.MY grandaughter will show more personality from being around me I hope,I always have a good time with her playing dolls or reading to her.

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God uses "Sandpaper people" in our lives to refine us! Thank God for all He is teaching me through this relationship.

Avoid unrealistic expectations: just because I had a wonderful relationship with my mother-in-law doesn't mean I will have the same when it's my turn to be a mother-in-law.

CHOOSE to be joyful! Don't let the way others treat you define who you are OR how you feel about the gift of life.

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be straight forward with the member. Sometimes being honest with someone shocks them into adjusting to the situation that is making them difficult. Most family members are afraid of hurting another member, but being honest, even if you are the only one brave enough, will make all the difference.

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My mother-in-law is very difficult, she is welcoming but then makes me feel very small, I have been brung up to know my options and research and make my own desisions on what is best for me,and now due in october my family, while my partner has been brung up to let his parents make the desicions, which in a way is good as it means we do not argue in some ways as i research present the information to him say what i think we should do and he norm agrees, but in other ways he trusts them more and has to check with them alot of the time and until recently they were incharge of his monay and would tell him what he should/ should not do with his money!

We recently moved into our own place and have just bought a freezer and she basically told us off for buying one, she has also told us off for doing other things. I know its not just me she does it to her daughter and her family, she was "told off" at a family bbq coz she bought a tumble dryer.

She has to be incontrol, but I do not take being controled well, its my family, my home, my money and my life. im 37 weeks pregnant and she stresses me out so much that my partner trys to keep us apart or keep the time together limited , by going over later or saying we have other arrangements appointments so we are not together to long.

Im one of thos people who will take it with a pinch of salt, but it you push me so far, I will snap, when we were moving in our own place and i was trying to organise the nurcery, she was trying to tell me what to do and where to put things and i had to very sternly say " this is our flat and i will do what i want" and my mum luckly diffused the situation as if she had not backed off i would off ended up either breaking something or yelling or walking out!

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Lanakwidzinski , Do not let anyone steal the joy of the precious time you are going through! Perhaps it is time for your partner to gently set boundries with their mother! In a previous relationship I had somebody like that who made my life miserable and my partner said "Oh that is just so and so and you'll get used to it"! I did not want to get used to being verbally abused by a person that could find fault with the creator himself! When I re-married there was once again a difficult person to deal with. My husband let it go for a while to see if the kill them with kindness routine worked but early on he decided she had crossed the boundries one too many times! He sat down with that person, set boundries they would need to abide by if they wished to continue to be part of our lives and even more importantly GENTLY told that person how much their behavior hurts me! He also told them that when I hurt he hurts. They claimed to never have realized how much their behavior hurt me and began to behave themselves. Granted it was never peaches and creme but they never got out of line again.

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Profound advice! For those members with "sticky fingers", they are "politely welcomed" and served outdoors. As we live in a warm climate they tend to not visit often and their stay is short.

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I just wanted people to know, my father and i have to stand up to him. He is such a miserable person always taking people up quick, i noticed how deeply narrcistict he is with women, its quite worrying. He does the strangest things, he watches tv in the dark, the tv is always on loud, he will not see a doctor he just says aaahhh what do they know, and he has alwasy for weeks on end just gone into no talking currently at 19 weeks my mother is now seperating from him, as she sleeps in the kitchen, he never asks if she is ok with that, he never ever speaks, to me it only makes me think he is hiding some thing or he did some thing bad, he always looks uncomfortable, do you know what i mean people, human instinct you would problerly say that guy don,t look all there or he looks nervous for some reason like the brain is racing at constant high speed always, for example i said dad why don,t you talk this has happend time and time again year on year, he gets very very very nasty and the last time he just threw the tv remote across the living room and smashed it against the wall, and just ignored me fully, this rime its been 19 weeks, before that 7 weeks before that 24 weeks and so fourth and so fourth, he lives in front living room, my mum has removed all object from there as she has packed up to leave, its a very very miserable existents to live with. This time round im seeing that seperation is the only way and ive excepted it fully, and for once i see some peace, as no person should live like this, life is for living not being miserable, no matter what i do he never speaks and you can see the anger just building some thing some where is a miss that is for sure, mum lives in kitchen he lives in the front room, try that for a year no contact no speaking and you no if you do speak it just starts another argument yet again, im sick of it. just want to be happy.

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I am the mother of an adult son and recently moved in with him, his wife and 2 children and made a huge investment in their house (1/2 purchase price) so he wouldn't have a mortgage. I did this as I was forced into early retirement and wanted to be closer to my grandchildren. Well, as in any new living arrangement, there were early bumps which have now turned into huge mountains! I am basically spending my life in my room while I am here as they are using the living room for their bedroom and kids playroom too so I have no contact with my grandchildren. Also, all the furnishings in the house belong to me and they are using my car as they don't have a vehicle. Heaven only knows what she said to them! For economic reasons I can't change this living situation right now, but I can make sure I get enough out time and enjoy myself in this new community. I think my daughter in law hasn't finished growing up. I am at a loss, but like Alli, realize I can't fix it or her and will enjoy myself in the last 10 years of my life or however many I have left. Keep everything light and breezy and let her have the control she so desperately seems to need. Her children will grow up eventually and hopefully won't be to scarred by marginal parenting skills.

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i have the most evilist person (hate saying that about my mom) shes 85yrs old so im just venting shes able to act like shes senile at her convinience ill give her one thing shes a genius at waiting untill she can do the most damge without breaking any laws

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What if its your son you haven't been able to visit due to many things .I left his emotionaly abusive father years ago and long story short my son feels like I didnt try hard enough to see him when thats all ive done 10 years now is try and now I finally got to the city he lives in and one min he is all ready to visit the next telling my in tears never to call him again and step mommy steps in and takes the phone to protect him from me making him cry I dont know what to do now im lost and broken all over again .

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In some cases, talk to them. Unfortunately that isn't possible for the most cases. One can try compromise. When it is a parent. That is a huge problem because their negativity flows through your siblings and onward. Many times, without realizing it they are the Morrison that causes family's to be torn apart ; siblings and grandchildren hold this person in to high standards and believe what they hear because that is their parent or grandparent. The parent has learned to manipulate and how to have almost everyone on their side. They can say a few words shed a few teas and before long no one in the family likes you and berates you. You should understand be wise the same mind game bass been played on you for years. The tears really get you. The judgement from your siblings makes you feel extreme rejection, thus it brings mistrust and depression. There are no easy answer to this problem. You really love your parent. They say that you bring them unhappiness; this kind of person does not see that they have brought you the misery that they have.no one else cares, this type of parent wants one thing when it comes down to it and that is to be number one in everyone's eyes. So to you the parent talks negatively about the rest of the clan. You can't dare tell what your parent said because it would hurt the victim. Plus. You do not want to do this to your parent. You try to do the right thing but no matter what you are the one that is berated. My answer is this pray often. Stay away from this negative person.remind yourself often as too why you are staying away. You know who you are stop allowing others define who that you are. The only thing that you can do kid better yourself. For yourself, no one else. If you go through life allowing others to define who you are Your depression will increase. Be kind to others, but stop taking their verbal abuse. If they shun you, that's ok Mamie plans to get as fast away from this dysfunctional family and go live your lif; we only get an

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When one becomes bitter, you will start sinking quickly. Don't let this continue. God made you and God understands our pain. Give it to God-plan your exit- this might not be the a wer that you expected , but it is common sense -01. I know so many people, andc

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I have trouble with my husbands family. I feel very much like a outcast.I feel im not the person the would have liked him to marry sense I was divorced with four kids.I am tired of trying

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honestly, life is too short to have to deal with anyone who is just plain difficult

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