In-laws are most often a source of joy, and a way to get even closer to your partner through becoming close with the important people in their family. In an ideal world, we get along with our in-laws just as well as with our parents. Yet, that perfect world is an ideal for a reason—often, our in-laws can bring us unnecessary stress, too much of which can even degrade our mental health if it’s sufficiently toxic. Here’s how to identify whether you have toxic in-laws that you might need to protect your mental health from.
Lack of Boundaries: It’s vital in any relationship to respect people’s healthy boundaries. Whether you’re talking to a cashier, at home with your partner, or traveling with friends, every situation and every relationship has unique boundaries. It’s essential to know your boundaries concerning your in-laws, so you’ll know if the toll on your mental health is coming from having your boundaries transgressed. If your important values often come second to the urgent desires of your in-laws, you’ve got yourself a situation with toxic in-laws. Be sure to hold firm to your boundaries to prevent emotional and mental exhaustion.
Constant Criticism: No one likes to be criticized, but sometimes constructive criticism from an outside source that knows you well can be highly beneficial. That criticism, however, should more often occur on your terms and be delivered lovingly. If the criticism you receive from your in-laws is constant, happens at inappropriate times, and makes you feel beaten down or judged, this is a significant sign of having toxic in-laws.
Controlling Behavior: While it’s one thing for your in-laws to want to offer help and guidance, it’s another thing entirely for your in-laws to pressure you into making certain decisions and guilting you when they disagree. This type of controlling behavior goes hand in hand with disrespecting boundaries. A lot of parents still feel that they must offer parenting to their kids no matter how old those kids are, but this behavior will quickly affect your mental health when you feel that your decisions are no longer your own.
Toxic in-laws constitute a significant problem and can wreak havoc on your mental health and emotional wellbeing as well as damage your relationship with your partner. Identify the problem by considering these major signs and then take steps to address it.