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Summary of Question:Fear - - Issues With In-Laws
Date Posted:Thursday, 6/11/2009 12:00 PM MDT

Waheguruji Ka Khalsa, Waheguruji Ki Fateh,

Firstly thanking you for all the support and sewa . I have just moved out from my in-laws house with my husband as suggested by your panel and now being living with my husband at new residence as my in-laws was troubling me to extreme . Our residence is very near to our in-laws residence. The problem now is that since our stay is very near to my in-laws they still trouble me as day-to-day we need to visit them and i need to ring them(as they want me to do so) as a formality if i do not visit them in a day, although i have some relief then before circumstances. I dont have problem to ring them but they always put comments and make fun of me if i ring them. Also when i visit them they always make me feel as unwanted and i have to always make efforts to speak to my in-laws as first intiative. Speaking or meeting them hurts me and i avoid contacting them which in turn bring fear to me. I do my daily Nitnem but still not able to get peace of mind. Kindly suggest me how to deal with my in-laws.


Sat Nam Simran,

I hope that you get really good advise from people on this. Lots and lots of people have issues of this kind. Setting strong boundaries in situations like this is very important. In the end most people find that being respectful of others but living the way they want is the most satisfying way to be. Claiming your right to exist and structure your life they way you would want doing it in a most graceful way is also very important.

You and your husband is kind of a separate unit now and you can create lots of things between the two of you which are very private and do not involve the extended family. We love our families with in-laws and all but we still are the most important people in our lives.

Just because we don't call them or don't go to see them every day does not mean we don't love them. It is OK to be selective in how you show you love, and it is not important to be attached.

We gain respect by being ourselves and not by trying to copy other people. It is certainly not an easy thing to do and may require some strength on our part and figuring out where your boundaries lie but ultimately it is not impossible.

Risking that they will say unpleasant things about you or even be hurt for a while by your inattention to them ... may just be worth it.

Nobody needs the commotion relatives bring into our lives. What we want is mutual respect, love, understanding, support etc. You don’t need to run around doing things they can do themselves. Spending time together is not as important as spending quality time together. Do you see the difference?

Figure out what you can give and what you can get. Don’t spread yourself thin. Do only what you can for them and come to them only when you really need them.
If they can’t provide the kind of support you need from them, then take them off the list of your support group and find friends who will do that for you. Or best, be your own best support in your life. Find activities to do that will satisfy your needs best. Join an interest group or take some interesting classes at a local community college. Find people around you who are like you and who will understand what you are going through. Come to your relatives for other things. Figure out what those things are and let them be know.

I think it is great if you establish a relationship with them in a way where you are the boss. You contact them only when you need an advice, or perhaps someone is sick and you can come and help cook for them. Schedule appointments only once in a while to go to the movies or do shopping. The rest of the time you can do everything by yourself and they can manage without you too. Are you afraid of being alone when you do things? If not, you may just be able to accomplish what you want.

Good Luck


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