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Kristin, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 454
Experience:  Licensed Mental Health Counselor. 11+ years specialist in mental health. Expertise and insight!
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Hello, I need help w/my in-laws. They are cold, selfish snobs

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Hello, I need help w/my in-laws. They are cold, selfish snobs who put themselves ahead of their grandchildren. They fustrate me no end. I have been married for 23yrs. & I've always tried to be civil & courteous, but I'm about at the end of my rope w/them. My husband just stays silent. I think maybe if I could just hear him say "yeah ok I get it" then perhaps I could tolerate them more, but hubby just won't do it. I'd appreciate your thoughts. Thank you

Hello and thank you for your question.


I can really hear how frustrated you are with them, and also how much you wish your husband could simply validate your feelings and experience of them. Can you give me an example of what kinds of things they do or say to you that causes you to feel this way? It would allow me to best help you....thanks

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Sorry I got called away, being a mom never stops! :) Ok one example would be one time I went over to my father-in-law's house for the super bowl party (& I hate football). I went just to see them because it had been awhile. So while I was there I commented that it felt like I hadn't seen them for awhile. My father-in-law chided me not very nicely & implied that it was my fault. I really wanted to let loose on him, but instead shrugged it off w/humor & laughingly just said "oh you wouldn't want to see me when I'm sick. My husband's mom gew up in an emotionally cold & distant family. Their attitude is if we don't acknowledge it, then we won't have to deal w/it. I am on meds, plus I receive Electroconvulsive therapy once every 3 weeks. I have never made a scene or been rude at anytime w/them. Twice my mom-in-law turned down having her grandchildren over for the night, because it gave her 2nd husband a headache. They have a very large house & he could have gone into another room or something. But she chose him over our kids & of course after 20yrs. of marriage he left her. My mom who sadly has passed away was a great grandma. She took the kids whenever we asked & sometimes when we didn't. I just can't get over the fact that my mom-in-law would put anyone above her grandkids. I know I certainly wouldn't.

Okay thank you for the additional information. I can understand why you feel hurt by some of their actions and attitudes. They are the kind of people, like you said who aren't comfortable or used to talking openly about feelings or issues and resolving them. This could be why your husband also takes that same approach of just not validating you and your feelings about this.


Honestly, while I know they bother you and have been offensive to you, I think that the bigger issue is that your husband won't be a team with you about this.

Meaning, I think that what would help the most is to have his support rather than his silence. That way, you two are united and can even make light of it, laugh about some of their behaviors, and understand one another. This validation actually can in itself make you feel so much better and that you are understood and supported.


Even if he doesn't agree with everything you might feel about them, he really needs to realize that some of it does really bother you and tell you that he gets that.

You also, need to set a boundary with them and stick to it. Meaning you and your husband agree together what amount of time etc you can be around them, and also if you do get upset, how you will respond (as a united front).


Let him know that his validation would really change things for you and ask him if he would be willing to see a counselor with you about this. You can't change his family, but you and your husband can work together on how to be more of a team, with this and with anything else that may come up.


In fact, ask him to pretend that the issue is about something else rather than his own family, and then see if maybe he could imagine being more open to seeing your point of view or atleast acknowledging how some of their behaviors could bother you. He may need to set some boundaries with them as well, and he needs to understand that you come first, before his family.


That is where the bulk of this issue is, and where the work needs to be done. With his support, I think you would feel less edgy around them and be able to reign in some of the emotions that are triggered when with them.


If he refuses to do anything towards resolution, than you can let him know that you are not comfortable being around them for now, until he can come forward a bit and show you in actions that your feelings are important to him. That you really need his support in order to set some boundaries and new ways of being with them, that will only benefit everyone in the long run. This is his issue too to resolve, not just yours!!


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