Let your mother-in-law know that you're perfectly capable of cutting the celery yourself.

How to Deal With Rude, Obnoxious In-Laws

by Maggie McCormick

You married your partner because you love him. However, it's not always easy to love the people who come along with him. Whether you've got a mother-in-law who discusses the details of her trip to the gynecologist or a brother-in-law who makes lewd comments about every woman on TV, you have to stand your ground. It's your life and you shouldn't have to put up with poor treatment and people who set bad examples for your children -- at least, not all of the time.

Recruit your partner. It's his family, so he needs to be on your side -- at least a little bit. If it's only you confronting you're in-laws, you'll quickly get dubbed the "witch" their darling little boy married. Talk to him about your feelings and get him to back you up.

Limit exposure when possible. Are you rude in-laws regularly trying to weasel their way into your life? You don't have to have an open-door policy. Let your mother-in-law know that you're "happy to see her" -- but not every day and not unannounced. Instead, tell her that you'd prefer to set up a regular meeting time so that everyone knows what to expect.

Create your own mantra. You can't always avoid hanging out with the in-laws, so it's smart to come up with your own little sayings to help you feel better. It might be as simple as repeating, "I'm not stupid," to yourself as your sister-in-law ignores everything you say, or it could be something like, "Only 56 minutes to go," to get you through an occasion.

Confront the behavior head on. Certain behaviors are just unacceptable -- especially if they're sending the wrong message to your children. For example, you might say, "Well, I think that girls can grow up to be anything they want to be," if your father-in-law makes sexist comments.

Cut off the ties when an individual is toxic. Occasionally, the rude behavior might just go too far. If your mother-in-law is constantly coming to you for money, or your brother-in-law has set up camp in your basement for the last six months, it's really time to start pushing them away. Yes, they're family, but your life shouldn't suffer because of them.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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