Joining someone’s family because of a serious long-term relationship is not always easy. You choose your partner, not his or her family, but whether you like it or not, you still have contact with his or her family after marriage.
Your spouse will have expectations for the continued involvement of each family member, which will put pressure on your relationship. This alone can cause discomfort for anyone, but if you have borderline personality disorder, it may be more difficult for you to connect with these new friends.
When her partner wants to maintain a close relationship with his family, you may feel frustrated, especially if you find that your spouse has been abused by them in the past. You may think that your partner is making excuses for not really looking at the family.
You may also feel nervous if you feel that your partner’s family rejects or judges you. These feelings of rejection may stem from many things, including thinking they don’t like you, doubting your abilities, or questioning your parenting decisions and abilities.
No matter how hard you hope, your in-laws will not go anywhere.
For your own health and the health of your marriage, it is important to learn some coping skills to better manage your partner’s family.
Dealing with in-laws
When you feel that your in-laws ignore you or are rude, you are likely to struggle with your feelings or lash out when you are hurt. It is important to take a step back and carefully consider the behavior of the other person and your reaction before responding to avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary hurt feelings. Impulsive reactions will only appear in anger, the real problem will not be heard or resolved.
Although it is difficult to take a break in these situations, here are seven techniques for handling emotions and coping:
- Breathing: When you feel the first sign of injury, take a few slow, deep breaths. Focus only on your breathing, consciously try to release some of your emotional reactions, but focus on your breathing.
- Keep your distance: If possible, stay away from the offending person. You can say that you need to run errands, walk or just walk into the bathroom for a few minutes. Staying away from offenders can often help ease the situation and allow you to gain an opinion before lashing out.
- Remember that your in-laws are your partner’s family: paying attention to the relationship between your partner and the person who hurt you will help control your response. Although your spouse’s uncle may be very annoying, remembering that he helped your partner pay for his first car may help you look at him better.
- Write it down: Use your personal diary to write down what happened and how you felt. Use it to express your harm without having to review your thoughts.
- Identify your feelings: Use what you have written to identify some feeling statements or clarify what you are going through and how you need to react.
- Talk to your partner about how you feel
- Your partner is the reason for your relationship with your in-laws, so talking and sharing with your spouse is an important step in dealing with relationships.
- Determine your purpose: Before solving any problem, it is important to understand what your purpose is before you react. What do you hope the end result is? Yelling at the annoying in-laws may be satisfying at the moment, but it may mean that the vacation will be very embarrassing afterwards. By focusing on what you want, such as a quiet holiday dinner, you can better handle your reactions. Sometimes, not responding is the best way to achieve your goals.
In addition to talking with your partner, it is also a good idea to honestly discuss what happened and how you feel during regular meetings with your therapist. A therapist who specializes in BPD can help you determine appropriate and effective ways to communicate with those who are making you distressed. A good therapist can help you master the skills to connect with people who are prone to hurt feelings.