Surviving Toxic In-Laws

Updated on January 2, 2018
Dabby Lyric profile image

Dabby Lyric is a Woman of Survival! She is a Mother who values relationships with others. Writing is her passion and gift to share.


Surviving Toxic In-Laws

Has an In-Law ever deemed you: lazy, incompetent, untidy, too sensitive etc?

Sadly, I have and it really hurts! It hurts for the accusations are unfounded and deeply disrespectful!

Let me back up a year or 12. My husband and I couldn't be more different. He's Caucasian and I'm a Woman of Color or Native American. I'm 40ish and he's 30ish. I'm a Christian and he's an Atheist. We've been married for five years and have a beautiful two-year-old daughter.

I relocated from the West Coast to the Midwest for love. We had previously been in a long distance relationship and had grown tired of the frequent costly trips. The state of California is expensive so we decided to give Missouri a try. It was extremely difficult to leave my loving family and well-paying job. Nonetheless, I made peace with it for I'd hoped for a better future with the love of my life.

Regretfully, I have had an abysmal time for the last 7 years. It's disheartening to not have a relationship with my in-laws because they are my husband's family. I don't get to see my own much so it hurts not being a part of his! However, I will not subject my family to anymore cruelty.

In this Hub, I will present four ways to survive toxic in-laws.

Step 1: Don't Take It Personally-At First!

It's my experience that people will eventually show their spots the longer you let them. If your new love’s family/friends don’t care for you, they won't be able to hide it for long. Their true feelings with be itching and crawling to get out. Once you have discovered that they don't fancy you, it's best NOT to take it personally. Their dislike of you is more about them and less about you. Besides, happy people think, say and do happy things. If a person or people don't have anything positive in their lives, they will want company in their misery!

The best way to conquer your plight is to focus on your relationship and let them be. However, if they pry into your personal life so much that it becomes disruptive, you and your honey will need to present a united front and put them in their place-respectfully!

I’ve done exactly this! I found out last year that my mother-in-law had been speaking ill of me with my husband for years. She had been complaining about me for most of our marriage while smiling in my face. Instead of showing us sympathy for our marital problems, she used them to deepen the wound. I knew about some of the issues that she and others had with me and we'd spoken about them before. Obviously, there's nothing that I could've said that would've changed her biased opinions of me.

I invited her to our home to discuss the matter. It was extremely uncomfortable and hurtful to do but I did it. Sadly, her shenanigans haven’t changed! I just had a huge argument with her last week and it was very intense. I intended to speak with her and my sister-in-law after New Year’s but that didn’t work out. My emotions got the best of me and I let her have it! I don’t regret a single thing that I said; i just wish that I had waited as planned.

However, if they pry into your personal life so much that it becomes disruptive, you and your honey will need to present a united front and put them in their place-respectfully!

Step 2: Establish Boundaries

Once you discover that you aren't received well, establish boundaries. The worst thing that you can do at this point is allow the nay-sayers to have a say. Make it clear from the get-go that they are not to discuss your personal life-ever! If they don't like you personally, then they shouldn't want to know your business anyway! Don't allow your spouse to discuss your business either. If your in-laws have something to say/ask you, let them contact you directly! Kindly extend the invitation for a phone conversation, text session or an in-person meeting to air out grievances. Make sure that your spouse is there as well!

If kids are involved, it's very essential that the child is not caught in the middle! Children are human beings-not bargaining chips! If your in-laws can't respect your family enough to not meddle, then they forfeit their right to be a part of it! You can't love on someone's child and hate on them! That's a deal breaker. Titles like: Mother, Father, Sister, Brother are empty if there's NO love inside of them! Those infected with toxins will eventually lose out on being a part of your child's life because their hate for you is more important than their love for your child. That to me is horrible and the only person that it hurts the most is your precious child!

Sadly, this is what's going on with me now! Some of my in-laws have continuously disrespected and disregarded my role my family. I'm judged by how clean I keep the house yet hubby is exempt from chores because he works. LOL Give me a break lady! I was working when we got married and if I tried to shirk my way out of doing chores for that reason, I'd be deemed an unworthy and lazy wife! My husband works nights and that has taken its toll on him; i understand that. It's an on-going issue that's none of their business!

Step 3: Keep Them Closely Vested!

Don’t degrade yourself by forcing them to like you. Chances are, their opinions of you won’t change. If you are invited to family gatherings, go on occasion. Don’t let anyone guilt you into going where you don’t want to go! Don’t dedicate your time and energy on them by going to every function. Keep conversation lite and away from your personal life. If someone is nice to you, don’t mistake it for acceptance. Don’t set yourself up for your heart to get broken. Take everything said and done with a grain of salt and keep it moving.

Unfortunately, I set myself up terribly! I was broke, unemployed and deeply depressed when I found out that I was 6 months pregnant. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. My mother-in-law really stepped up and supported us during the pregnancy and after. I began to love her as a mom because she helped us out so much. My own mother was thousands of miles away so it was easy to see her as a surrogate. Not too soon after our baby was born, she started judging my mothering skills. Instead of being loving and supportive, she was questioning everything that I did and made me feel less than. Of course she didn't show her true colors while my own mother was present!

Don’t degrade yourself by forcing them to like you.


Don’t let anyone guilt you into going where you don’t want to go!

Step 4: Demand Respect for Your Role in the Family!

No matter what your in-laws think or say, you should be respected for your role in your family. It shouldn’t matter if they like your or not. You don’t live for their acceptance. If you have to respect them because of their roles in your spouse’s life, then the same can be said about you! You are an extension of your spouse. If they truly love said spouse, then they will love you. Why? Because your spouse loves YOU!

This is exactly the case with my family. We've only gone back to California once and ironically, it was when I was pregnant. Due to our circumstances, I requested the presence of a few. We were greeted with wide arms, huge smiles and open hearts. They treated my husband like a King because of their love for ME! That is how it should always be!

No matter what your in-laws think or say, you should be respected for your role in your family.

A Message from Me

Do you get along with your in-laws?

See results

© 2018 Dabby Lyric


Submit a Comment

  • Thelma Alberts profile image

    Thelma Alberts 

    8 months ago from Germany

    Sorry to read about your struggles. I have experienced some of what you have mentioned here but gladfully, my husband was on my side struggling the indifference that my mother-in-law had given me. This hub has a good advice. Thanks for sharing your life here.

  • Dabby Lyric profile imageAUTHOR

    Dabby Lyric 

    9 months ago from US

    Hello Jean,

    Thanks for sharing your own struggles with in-laws. I'm sorry your experience was rough too.

    Thanks for your encouraging remarks. Times are hard all around so relocating isn't an option right now but we'll see what the future holds.

  • Jean Bakula profile image

    Jean Bakula 

    9 months ago from New Jersey


    I've been "talking" with you on my astrology hubs and didn't realize you were on HP!

    My husband passed about 4 yrs. ago. But his family was awful, so I can relate. His Mom was one of 9 kids raised during the Depression. She was nice to me, but the family itself was so dysfunctional. I thought I was marrying into a big, close family. I had only one brother.

    It seems the Matriarch of that family was the Grandmother, who raised all 9 of those kids with an alcoholic and lazy man. My husband had no memory of him, except laying around, sick and old. The Grandmother passed a few months before he met me. It seems like none of the women ever matured enough to host a family dinner on holidays, or try to keep the family together.

    I was 24 when I married him and we were married for 34 yrs. They used to come to our house every holiday, our birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day. It never occurred to them we wanted to be alone sometimes.

    They didn't give gifts for any occasion. They encouraged my son to talk baby talk although he was literate and intelligent for his age. The women all lived in the same town and fought all their lives. They were mean to all their daughter in laws, so I guess I was the lucky one. The men all moved to other states.

    They all had such weird habits, and were afraid of anything new, new foods, none of them drove. And since they were so poor, they saved everything, and would bring it to me, like I wanted a bag of shoulder pads they ripped out of old clothes. Or my husband's drawings from kindergarten.

    Finally, one day I told my husband I couldn't stand them anymore, they were so passive aggressive. I would tell them to come at 4PM and they would arrive at 10AM, and ask to sleep over. He said I was the one who kept inviting them, and he had no interest in seeing them beyond a few times a year.

    Anyway, let your husband go see them himself and take the kids for short periods. Don't take their nonsense. See them as little as you must. And it's so conservative in the midwest, is there any way you can move closer to your side of the family? Good luck, I know how hard it is. I could rave for ages.....

  • Dabby Lyric profile imageAUTHOR

    Dabby Lyric 

    9 months ago from US

    Thanks for sharing and that's exactly what I've done.

    I told mom-in-law that I needed time to heal-away from social gatherings. She told me that she understood. That was around March of last year.

    Sadly, she kept up her madness with being nosey and overbearing. Then throwing the same stones at me that she had once apologized for a little over a year before. Her apology means nothing!

  • manatita44 profile image


    9 months ago from london

    My Love to your daughter and your husband. I came into the world when mom was not quite seventeen. She had some struggles. We all do, all beings or humans. Anyway, dad married someone else.

    I stayed with him in 1978 and had a green card. Life was hard for me with his wife and children. I spent six to eight months in New York and returned to the UK. In 1982, I read The Path: Autobiography of a Western Yogi and I had some very powerful spiritual experiences. My life was transformed.

    I went to America every year at least twice for 20 years before I had a break. During this time I became very friendly with dad's wife and children. My mind set had changed.

    This world is like a mirror. It can only reflect what you are. Always believe that humanity needs your Love. You won't be thanked for it, but love anyway. God bless you all.

  • Dabby Lyric profile imageAUTHOR

    Dabby Lyric 

    9 months ago from US

    Oh wow, thank you! I really appreciate your kindness. Let me tell you, if it weren't for my Faith in God, I would've lost my mind decades ago and I would've shown the same disrespect that I have received. But enough is enough already!

    I'm beginning to sense the Spiritual battle going on. It's deeper than just in-laws troubles. These demons are trying to destroy me and mine and it won't happen because I AM GOD'S Child!

    Thanks for dedicating a Hub to me! Very sweet of you. I will go check it out

    And yes, WE need your prayers!

  • manatita44 profile image


    9 months ago from london

    Thank you. I am a servant and that was, I felt, a worthy response. Frankly, I sense your pain and much more. Hence my initial response. Amidst all that, your humility shines. Not all would favour my response.

    Be brave, do what you can. We cannot move faster than Grace and God is Love. I have dedicated a Hub to you. Not related, but I wish you well. If you should need prayers, then ask. Continue to remember your own beauty and let it shine. Om Shanti!!

  • Dabby Lyric profile imageAUTHOR

    Dabby Lyric 

    9 months ago from US

    Thank you so much for reading this very personal Hub.

    Yes, I spoke of Husband shortly in the video. We are all hurting and he feels stuck in the middle. He's a good man and doesn't want to hurt anyone so he's struggling to cut the toxins out of our lives. I can understand that for I have my own issues with some family members. I found the courage to let remove self from uncomfortable situations.

    Thanks for the advice and encouragements.

  • manatita44 profile image


    9 months ago from london

    A tough one Dabby. It reads like you are still hurting. How does your Heart feel?

    I am a spiritual seeker. So I will say serve, pray, change your mindset. Do you feel weak? If so, do what makes you strong. Follow the inner voice.

    You have not mentioned the husband. Crucial when giving advice to others as you appear to do.

    If you are walking towards the Sun which burns, then turn; walk towards the moon which gives Light.

    I have my own story and mothers - in- law have theirs. Each journey is so personal!

    Love, service, gratitude, fortitude ... these are some useful tools. Yet to use them effectively, Grace is needed. Pray for this.

    We can only be an example to our selves. Continue to send out loving kindness. The Divine will deal with all in-laws in Its own way. This is my way to Love ... Peace ... Blessedness. Om Shanti!


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