What are strategies for dealing with difficult in-laws?

Katie - posted on 07/06/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My husband's family make me feel very anxious. They are constantly comparing my baby to her cousins and she always comes up short in their eyes. In all the milestones our baby is average - she is an average sleeper, she is average height & weight, she rolled over, got teeth, crawled, babbled etc. all at normal times. She has a cousin close in age who is, in their eyes, far superior - she is smarter, taller, more beautiful, sleeps through the night, met all her milestones earlier, yadda yadda yadda... The grandparents also favor the cousin - hand knitting sweaters for her, buying her clothes and toys, lavishing attention on her, and pretty much ignoring our baby.



My husband's brother's wife is also far superior to me - she lost all her baby weight sooner, she keeps the house cleaner, she cooks better, she is a better mother, she is going back to work sooner, blah blah blah...



All of this comparing and competition really makes me feel anxious, to the point where I dread seeing them. Does anyone else have his problem? I know they're not going to change so how can I learn to deal with it better? How can I protect my daughter so that she doesn't feel like second best whenever we see that side of the family?

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Katie - posted on 07/06/2012

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Thanks Colleen, what a lovely post you gave me. I meant to say my husband's BROTHER'S wife is far superior, that is, my husband's sister in law is the family favorite. The grandparents favor her (their daughter in law) over their own daughter. At a family gathering my husband's mother gave a speech and called the daughter in law 'the daughter she never had', right in front of the daughter she did have. In the same speech she said that my husband's brother was 'the best son she could ever have hoped for', in front of my husband, her other son who was obviously not the best she could have hoped for. This was not even at their wedding or anything, just at a christmas party at the grandparents' house, and things like that happen all the time. It is very tiring. My husband is supportive and will stand up for me if he's there, but sometimes he's not. He tells me to just shrug it off, which is probably good advice. I think in a way it is easier for him as he is used to being treated like second best, he calls it the family pecking order.

Colleen - posted on 07/06/2012

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They way your feeling is got to be hard and quite honestly it sounds very tiring. My feelings is you shouldn't feel less superior to what sounds like your husbands first wife. He oviously didn't like something about her if he's married to you know. And my husband had always told me no one can make you feel bad about yourself except yourself, and I know that sounds crazy, but he's right. When I stopped carrying about what he's family thought about me and I knew he loved me for me, it didn't matter to me. I wasn't married to his family only him. I also know it gets difficult when kids come into the picture but don't let it. It's your family and you need to protect your daughter, even if it is from her grandparents. They will either change in time or they won't, but I wouldn't cater to them, set your rules and your husband needs to stand up for you and your daughter. You need to let him know how you feel and tell him he needs to let his family know. I know my husband and my mother have never got along. She choose not to come to my wedding, it hurt me, I won't say it didn't, but she's the one that lost out. She missed out on so much of my life with our 4 kids, and she knows it there not very close with her, there close with my husbands mother and you know what I bet thats eating her up inside, and thats something she'll have to live with the rest of her life. But don't change how you feel, rise above it, if it continued I just wouldn't go there, let your husband go and visit by himself if that what he chooses. Don't let them try to make you feel inferior to anyone, I'm sure your baby is wonderful and beautiful. Stay strong and I hope it works out for you and well as it has for me. My husband and I just celebrated 25 years together.

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