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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Hi. I am in a middle of a HUGE conflict between my husband

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Hi. I am in a middle of a HUGE conflict between my husband and I and my parents as well as my parents and his parents. Basically the whole family is in conflict. It's along story but at this point, my mother clearly believes that all the problems started when I married my husband and that I am slowly pushing them away and never stand up for them like he does for his parents. It might be helpful to note that both parents and in-laws live in the same house which is owned by us. It's a terrible situation which I never thought will be like that. I guess I am stuck between believing my husband and believing my parents. I can clearly now see that they think that my husband is just awful, that I married into the wrong family and that they are being treated like 2nd grade citizens. She feels that I don't know what's going on in the other house and that my husband and his parents are manipulating me all the time. Now they are threatening that they will move out, go back to Poland and that I will not know what is going on with them. They constantly say that they are disappointed in me that I will not take their side. But how can I do that? I have my husband too!
I feel so torn and awful. I love my husband and my parents very much and this is taking a huge toll on me emotionally. I wish we could just move away from all the family and be happy.
Where do you think my loyalties should lie? When I side with my parents, my husband is upset and we have baby twins together and a good life. I do have to say that he is a bit too attached to his parents (especially his father) but his parents have always treated me with great respect and I have nothing against them. When I side with my husband, my parents get so upset that they have no backing in me and that my husband and his entire family are "evil" and I will one day see that but it will be too late.
So sad and confusing!
Hello, I'd like to help you with your problem.

It sounds like everyone in the situation is upset and they are putting you and your husband in the middle. The conflict is never going to end until someone is willing to stop arguing or at least stop putting you in the middle of the situation.

Since that is unlikely to happen, it may have to be you and your husband who resolve this issue. There are two steps you can take to deal with this problem:

One, you and your husband need to stop getting pulled into the arguments between your parents. They are adults and need to stop treating you both like parents. Sit down with your husband and agree to the boundaries you both are comfortable with. For example, both of you agree to not respond when one or more of the parents tries to get you to pick a side. So instead of agreeing or disagreeing with a parent or parents, tell the parents that it is up to them to resolve their issues with each other. It may take several times of trying, but eventually they should back down. Also you and your husband stick together. Whatever you say to the parents needs to be agreed on by both of you. That way, the parents cannot divide you and cause conflict between you both.

Two, from what you describe it sounds like everyone is living too close together. If they live in the same home owned by you and your husband, that only adds fuel to the fire that is already there. They have no way to go to their own space and cool down to rethink their situation. They are always faced with seeing the other couple which only keeps the arguments going.

If possible, try to find another place for your parents or your husband's parents. If your parents are willing to move back to their own country, then maybe they might be willing to move to another place, just for the peace. If not, try your husband's parents.

Most of all, try to see this situation as two couples who refuse to get along. And as long as they can pit you and your husband against each other and against the other set of parents, the "war" will go on. By changing how you and your husband react to it, you can alter the situation. Be kind to each set of parents as if there is no arguing or conflicts. Refuse to respond to their attempts to pull you in by saying "I'm sorry you feel that way" and change the topic. If they insist, suggest you see each other at another time. Both sets of parents need to find their own solution to this issue. If they do not, you may end up going around and around until the relationships are permanently damaged.

I hope this has helped you,

May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
You may also want to consider counseling if you feel both sets of parents might be open to it. Talk to your doctor about a referral. If your parents are willing to resolve the situation by seeing a therapist, then there is a good chance the conflict will end.


I hope my answer has been helpful to you. Please don't forget to rate my service as OK or higher so I am credited for my answer. Thanks so much!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, I received your reply about the counseling but I also replied to you with another question. Did you receive that please?

I am sorry, your response did not come through. That happens on JA sometimes. Would be be ok to try again? I am sorry for the inconvinence.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It's OK. Your answer was really helpful and we have sort of been trying this approach with the parents. The problem is the the conflict is now between myself and my parents as they, especially my mother, keep saying that my husband is awful and I married into the wrong family. They are expecting me to take their side on everything and are trying to make me "realize" that my husband is evil. How do I deal with this problem? I love my husband very much but sometimes I do not know whom to believe. Also, my husband was called names by my father (my father already apologized) and till this day my husband can't live it down, making it hard to go to my parents' house for any sort of celebration. My parents basically make me feel like a terrible person for not taking their side and siding with the evil, i.e. my husband and his family. This is beginning to take a toll on our marriage because I don't know whom to believe.

Thank you for reposting and again, I am sorry for the inconvenience.

When you married, your obligation stopped being with your parents and is now with your husband and children. And unless you feel you are being harmed by your husband, it is perfectly fine to ignore what your parents are saying. It sounds like they are trying to gain your loyalty away from your husband and split you both. That would essentially end your marriage. You and your husband are first with each other before any other relationship. And you should put each other first no matter what. So if your parents try to split you by trying to make you feel guilty for not taking sides with them, then respond by saying "I am sorry you feel as you do about my husband but I do not agree" then ignore whatever else they are doing. Keep repeating yourself as necessary until they stop.

Your husband will need to decide if he feels your father's apology was genuine. If he does not, then he needs to talk to him directly and not put you in the middle of it. You can support your husband, but the more they can work this out between them the better.

TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you very much for the positive rating and bonus. I appreciate it!

My best to you and your family,


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