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In-Law Musings

Updated on December 10, 2011

In-Law Musings

Having at least one in-law who is constantly telling family members how they should live their lives and then expecting those people to express gratitude for that unsolicited advice seems to be as ubiquitous as the air we breathe.

Every conversation begins with all the minutaie and detritus of their conflict ridden lives. There is never a inquiry as to my health, well being,or that of my extended family. Why does every thought this person has, have to erupt into lengthy ad nauseam diatribes that contain not even remote interest for the listener? This is the same person who has alienated people and family members by saying hurtful things and making judgemental statements. People do not need to be harangued about her alternative vision of life, but encouraged and praised for what they are and have accomplished. These are not the things that endear this person to her family members or bode well for any relationship. Success or failure in life are events, not the measure of a man.

All this being said, here is my conflict. How do I reconcile my easy going personality with a person who's nature is aggressive, narcissistic, thrives on unnecessary drama, and seldom expresses a kind or complimentary word? There is no respect for personal boundaries of others or their privacy. I feel that it is encumbant upon me to discover a balanced approach to preserve my self-confidence and my emotional well-being.

Since the person of whom I speak, is of an age not conducive to change or any constructive criticism, my choices are to determine when to let go, when to bear up, and when to limit my exposure to this negative influence. Do I speak up and defend my outlook and boundaries, or do I continue to show respect in a situation where respect to me is not forthcoming. My conflict-averse nature has previously led me to continue keeping the peace. I do however, feel that sooner rather than later, I am in danger of exploding.

Helpful commentary welcomed!







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    • rutley profile image

      rutley 5 years ago from South Jersey

      Well written! Maybe just ask if dementia is dominant in the family genes!

    • rutley profile image

      rutley 5 years ago from South Jersey

      myrtle? Where are you from?

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
      Author

      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      I am from Kokomo, Indiana

    • rutley profile image

      rutley 5 years ago from South Jersey

      Splendid!

    • donotfear profile image

      donotfear 5 years ago from The Boondocks

      If the person has developed these traits over their life time, then they aren't likely to change now. But you have the power to change your reaction; and limit the amount of time you spend around them. I'm for the latter.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I have come to understand that people who are 'negative' have deep hurts and wounds inflicted on them. I agree with donotfear, we can't change people but we can change our responses to them. Blessings... :)

    • dagny roth profile image

      dagny roth 5 years ago from Neverland

      I sooo feel your angst with regard to this hub. My mother in law lives with us. She is old school Italian and I sometimes feel like I'm living an episode of "everybody loves Raymond"....she is negative, judgemental and very critical of our children. It's getting harder for me to keep the peace, although it is my nature as well. I noticed, however, the times I spoke up and shut her down, she backed off and offered more respect. I just hate conflict. Luckily my husband notices and is supportive or it would never work.

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
      Author

      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      I so understand what you are experiencing. I love the reference to "Raymond episodes". Peacemakers by nature are long-suffering and that nature often dictates giving in rather than standing up. It seems though, that you have triumphed a few times, the result being a favorable one for you. Many of the old school mother-in-laws from foreign countries have been taught for generations to overly dote on their sons, fotgetting that those sons now owe their alligiance to their wives. They find it hard to defer to anyone and therein lies the problem. What even makes it more difficult is that she resides in your home, making it impossible to get that much needed break from negative commentary. The saving grace here is that your husband is aware of what you are experiencing and is supportive. Thank him everytime he defends you and tell him how much it means to you. Praise always makes people more apt to continue doing what means so much to a loved one.

      Please keep me posted on your progress, and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

      Regards. Myrtle

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, myrtle, LOVED his in-law hub. Very much. Voted up and away. I love your writing style--very fresh, humorous and honest. The ingredients of a fine hubwriter. Have a Merry Christmas and I invite you to check my hubs if you need a laugh and one of my recent works is "Dealing With Bad In-Laws," you might like that one. And I invite you to follow me. That would be great. Sincerely, Kenneth Avery, from Hamilton, a small northwest Alabama town that makes you think of Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show.

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
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      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      THANKS SO MUCH Kenneth. Your words were kind and inspirational. Like you, I enjoy writing about things in life that either need to be overcome or endured.

      Happy Holidays to you as well, and I look forward to reading all your hubs as soon as I can. I didn't see "Dealing with bad in-laws in your lineup. Perhaps you could direct me to that hub.Hearing your kind words made me want to continue hubbing. All the best, and thanks again. Myrtle

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Not a fun situation. I'm blessed with good in laws, but my dad was constantly harangued by his well to do inlaws because he was an artist who chose to follow his passions and still managed to provide for his family. I think my dad's in laws are part f the reason that my parents eventually split up.

      The person you are describing, though, could very well be my mother. She is very narcissistic and negative and loves to air dirty laundry. She's not going to change so I just choose my battles. I call her out when needed and go with the flow at other times. I suppose that's my advice to you!

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
      Author

      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for the wonderful advice. I too, choose my battles because a peaceful home is my ultimate goal, one which I do not wish to compromise on. I hope your Mother will come around someday, so that you will not always have to worry what she might say in a group setting that is inappropriate.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, myrtle, you are most-welcome for the truth I gave you--you are a great writer. I enjoy your style. And Dealing With Bad In-Laws is surely there now. Just click on my photo and follow the links...sorry for the confusion. Merry Christmas, my friend. And thank you.

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
      Author

      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      Hi Kenneth

      Love the hub dealing with in-laws. It was spot-on, and so well written. I wondered if those were the actual pictures of said in-laws.

      I am still learning my way around hubbing, following, commenting, and what to click on and when. Bear with me please. If it were not for my sister "Rutley" I wouldn't know as much as I do. You are following her as well. Isn't she hilarious. I hope to get my dinner cooked and then sit back and read more of your hubs. Thanks, Myrtle

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      LOL, thank YOU, Myrtle! That is so sweet of you. LOL, that artwork is NOT of my in-laws, and that remark is hilarious. I will be patient as I can be for Im new to hubbing too. Yes, Rutley is funny and she's following me as well. I want YOU to FOLLOW me so we can all be within a click and be closer to comment on each others hubs. And you have a Safe night. Sincerely, Kenneth

    • rutley profile image

      rutley 5 years ago from South Jersey

      Isn't Kenneth Awesome! Myrtle, my sister, I'm longing for a place called Kokomo......Will you have a cocktail with an umbrella waiting for me please?

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
      Author

      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      Absolutely! I applaud Kenneth also. Very funny and good writer. See you in Kokomo.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      THANKS TO BOTH CLASSY GIRLS, RUTLEY AND MYRTLE, for being so very sweet. I appreciate super-nice people such as yourselves. Do keep in touch and have a safe and wonderful Christmas and a peaceful 2012.

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
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      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      Thanks so much Kenneth. We both appreciate your kind and sweet words. It is very encouraging, and will inspire us to keep on writing. Myrtle

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Myrtle, you are welcome. Its the truth. You two are truly talented girls and need to write more delightful hubs to share with HubPages. And I want you to go to my profile page and hit the FOLLOW button. I would really love that. Have a Great and Safe New Year.

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
      Author

      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      Hi Kenneth,

      I thought I had already hit your follow button. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I don't want to miss anything you write. You are excellent.

      I have two more hubs coming as soon as I can have some computer time. I have a retired husband that I share the computer with. He spends alot of time on EBAY.

      In fact coping with a retired husband is the subject of my next hub, along with another one of my pet peeves. I hope you will be able to see them soon. Happy New Year!

      Myrtle

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Myrtle, that idea sounds GREAT for a hub...dealing, or coping with a retired spouse. I dont have that problem...my misses works, but she will be with me this Thursday, Friday, the weekend and through next Tuesday....she doesnt like the computer, although Ive begged her to let me teach her. She is just that way. Once her mind is made up, not even Billy Graham could change it. I will check your hubs when they come out. Happy New Year to you also, Myrtle.

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
      Author

      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      One good thing about someone not liking the computer is that you don't have to wait for your turn. I am stubborn too, especially when it comes to changing the way I like to do things. That will also be one of my next subjects. Until then, if only I could have my turn!!! While I am being patient, I wish to thank you once again for your encouragement and compliments. It means so much for someone just starting the writing process. I hope to be as well written as you some day. Myrtle

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Myrtle,

      I agree with your sentiments. I dont have to wait a turn while Im here alone. Iv tried, well, begged, my wife to let me teach her the simplicity of the PC, but she doesnt show any interest. Hey, I MEANT every word of my encouragement and compliments! I do not waste time or words. Thats what my parents taught me. And you are very welcome. And me? Well-written? Myrtle, that is so sweet of you to say, but I think that there is nothing wrong with your writing the way it is. Honest. You have a fun weekend. Be careful. Kenneth

    • profile image

      myrtle mckinley 5 years ago

      Hi Kenneth,

      Thanks for the compliments and encouragement. It is so greatly appreciated. I hope to have something written before Sunday. Myrtle

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, I hated my mother in law! Oh and all the family! lol! they were so full of themselves, so in the end I just stayed away, I did accidently slam the door in their faces once, but it was purely an accident! the wind caught the door, just as I walked out! there was so much trouble over it, and they never believed me! ha ha! still it kept them away!

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
      Author

      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      Hi Nell

      That was sure a bit of luck that a gust of wind caught that door. Love that story, but sad for you that things were never reconciled. So nice to hear that you are from England. I am a great fan of all the British comedies and mysteries. Far superior to US programming. I am always so tickled when a problem presents itself in a British household, the first thing said before resolving the issue is " Well, I must go put the kettle on" Tea is certainly the elixer of life there. Thank you so much for commenting on my hubs. It is just the encouragement I need to continue writing, and meeting such nice people as you. Regards, Myrtle

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Myrtle, from reading your hub I can tell that the best thing for you to do is to speak out before it really gets out of hand. You did not mention in your hub if you are married. If you are, the support of your spouse would be very beneficial and ease your stress a lot. One can firmly get the message across without causing an all out family fued. My best come back now is, "Don't go there, ok?"

      When I was a young married woman, my mother-in-law controlled my husband a lot and tried to control me also -- it caused a lot of stress in my life. I never defended myself or spoke up, but one day, when my husband defended me and the way I did things, the way I cooked, etc., she backed up really fast and became a lot more aware of the fact that it was my home and her "little boy" was my husband.

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
      Author

      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      Hi Phyllis,

      Thanks for your wonderful comments and advice.

      I am so glad your husband came to your rescue.

      I hope your life is now stress free in the in-law dept.

      Myrtle

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hello Myrtle, You are so right, from listening to friends, there is one in every family. Leaving the room is always an option, although it won't be feasible all the time. Also ignoring and pretending not to hear may work. :-) Unfortunately. I'm more of the peacemaking, make few waves type. I realize I don't have to take what is said personally and I can choose to respond or not. Good hub! Welcome to the "block."

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 5 years ago from Southern California

      Hello there Myrtle, I really like this hub,and from reading the advice given, I have nothing more to add, except that I completely know what you're going through, that's all I'll say about that, LOL!

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
      Author

      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      Hi Fastfreta

      What little you could say speaks volumes. I know just what you mean and thanks for the encouraging words.

      Myrtle

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 5 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      enjoyed reading the hub. "Success or failure in life are events, not the measure of a man." well said. The nature of the beast I suppose. Personally, I moved away.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      HI, LOl! I am drinking tea right now!

    • myrtle McKinley profile image
      Author

      myrtle McKinley 5 years ago

      Hi Nell Rose,

      So glad you are enjoying your tea. Let me guess, PG Tips, right. We can't seem to get that in the states, but we do have Mcvities biscuits. Thanks for the follow and I am still trying to find the time to read all the hubs, especially yours, of the people kind enough to follow me. Regards, Myrtle

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 4 years ago from Philippines

      What happened to you 9 months ago? You write so well that I crave for more of your honest and down-to-earth reactions to situations that are challenging to your calm and composure. I guess you are doing fine and the least I could think of by your opening up here is- explode, lol! Keep writing!

    • profile image

      myrtle mckinley 4 years ago

      Thank you Lita. I so appreciate the compliments. I will try to get back to hubpages with more down-to-earth reactions soon.

      Myrtle Mckinley

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