There are a lot of relationship blogs out there offering tons of free online relationship and marriage advice. The trouble is they don’t always let you know how to deal with ancillary problems that can affect a marriage and make it crumble. Sometimes it’s not your spouse that’s driving you nuts, it’s their friends or even their family. It can be so difficult for instance when dealing with a judgmental in-law. A marriage may seem to them like an invitation to start butting into your life. Your spouse may be used to it but that doesn’t mean you are. You don’t have to be either. But when a nosy, judgmental sister or mom starts butting into your business and your spouse feels put in the middle or that they shouldn’t have to choose sides, what do you do? First, realize that judgmental people are everywhere. Sooner or later you will have to deal with them. If you walked down the aisle and said, “I do” chances are your spouse is the one you want to be with. Marriage isn’t always easy. But you can deal with this problem, teach your in-law boundaries and make your life a whole lot brighter. First, realize who this person is. Don’t take it personally. The way they get power over you is to be judgmental and to get a reaction and to control the flow of that conversation. Realize that this person probably criticizes everything, and every person in their life. They are just as hard on themselves too as everyone else. They may walk around with a chip on their shoulder but that’s only to cover up the fear, insecurity and anxiety that they feel inside. Realize then that it’s not about you at all, it’s about them and their issues.
Next, come to the conclusion to be compassionate. Judgmental people and their negativity can really sting us to the core. They can make us doubt ourselves and fear for how we look in front of others. But if you stop giving them validity and realize that the problem is with them and not you, and you begin to clear all of those negative emotions away, you will start to feel sorry for them. Who made them like this? Do they even get a moment’s peace or is that negativity constantly droning in their head? When you put yourself in their shoes you will start to get a better understanding of who they are and why they are acting this way. Understand that this is a learning experience for you, being able to deal with difficult and judgmental people is a skill that can be used, unfortunately, in a lot of places and situations in life. Now it’s time to learn how to deal with them, once you’ve gotten the proper mindset. Don’t sink to their level. Do not start criticizing them back. Though this is usually our first instinct it is the wrong one. Start to figure out what negative behavior they are exhibiting that is hurting your relationship. Make a list and how this person should properly behave. Let’s say your mother in-law is dropping in unannounced and often refuses to call first. Sit her down and discuss it with your spouse. Then both of you should sit down with the mother in-law and tell her that it’s a transgression against your privacy that cannot be tolerated. Don’t let her interrupt or go off track. Let her know that the doors will be locked from now on. If she doesn’t call first she won’t be welcome. Lock her out one time when she tries to break this rule and stick to your guns. Once the boundary is set she will not try and cross it again. Remember to ignore negative comments. Speak slowly and without any anger. Treat them as though they are children if you have trouble holding your tongue. Explain why your policy is what it is and stick to your guns. If your spouse refuses to sit in on the conversation you will have to convince them that your united front as a married couple should trump there’s to the in-law. You should face this together. For more, pick up a copy of Toxic People: 10 Ways Of Dealing With People Who Make Your Life Miserable by Lillian Glass.