Following Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this week, a lot of women lauded Meghan for walking away from her toxic in-laws for her sanity, even though she admitted she was once suicidal.
But it is not every day that a woman walks away from her in-laws and the husband is supportive like Harry. Sometimes as a woman you have to bear the brunt because you love your husband who will not part with his family.
So how do you cope with in-laws who think less of you and feel you don’t deserve to be with their child?
Life coach Fundi Ndaba says when confronted by such a situation, it hurts you as a couple.
“It’s not a lovely feeling being continuously challenged by the toxic energy of your in-laws. It requires a strong bond and understanding spouse to wither such a storm.”
Social worker Nthabiseng Lebina says you shouldn’t stress yourself because for whatever reason they hate you, it has nothing to do with you. She advises that you focus on your partner and what you are both trying to build.
“The clear understanding that you have no control over the perception of other people about you will save you from the pressure of trying too hard to be accepted,” Nthabiseng says.
Fundi agrees and says you must show a solid front with your spouse.
“Never put your spouse in a situation where he or she has to choose between you and a relative. If you do so, you’re putting your spouse in a nearly impossible bind.
“Instead, try to understand the bond your spouse has with his grandparents, parents and siblings. If possible, try to support that relationship, even if your spouse has parents from hell, they are still his parents.”
While it is important for your in laws to love you, Nthabi says it is equally important to accept if they don’t love you. “But do not see that as an indicator of success or failure of your relationship,” she says.
Fundi suggests it is okay to distance yourself from them. “Dealing with in-laws who do not love you requires emotional intelligence and needs you to have a thick skin where you learn not to internalise their criticism and words.”