Foundations falterand the scenario becomes complicated when the family affects the relationship. That's when we learn to deal with situations we may not have been prepared for. So we can think about it: when we choose to share our life with someone, we somehow choose his family as well.
The problem is not new, we know it. However, conflicts, clashes and disagreements persist (on average) quite often in the midst of such situations orchestrated by intra-family dynamics. Several studies, published in particular in the journalPsychology Today, further reveal thatthree couplesout of fourhave significant problems with their in-lawsand 60% of women tend to have differences with the mothers of their spouses.
"All happy families are alike, but each unhappy family has a special reason to feel unhappy."-Leon Tolstoi-
It reminds us in a way that wonderful film by Stanley KramerGuess who's coming for dinner tonight?In this film, the parents of the young woman – who has just become engaged with a man of color – make a reasoning that summarizes the essence of these conflict situations.We think we have perfectly educated our children. We instill in them values and guidelines, but ultimately they choose spouses who do not always meet the expectations of the family.
Parents do not sometimes define their children as free people who can choose their own paths, goals or people to love.They see them more as personal projects on which they project a series of ideals. Thus, the shadow of disappointment, the uncomfortable sound of something that fails and above all, the long shadow that threatens the family project often appear when they start a relationship.
When the family affects the relationship, the fundamentals may waver if the subject is not discussed.Share
Between the hammer and the anvil: the rejection of the spouse by the family
Families are of many types.Moreover, as Oscar Wilde used to say, nothing is as hermetic and mysterious as this house where the curtains are drawn and where nobody can guess what is going on there, what is happening there. Some parents are characterized by the principle of emotional health. They understand that there are limits, they facilitate and fully respect the relationship of their children with their spouses.
The opposite happens sometimes. The affection of the family becomes toxic. Controller. And even authoritarian. NOTosometimes we start a relationship without knowing that the other comes from a family where there are the most toxic rivalries,most negative dynamics. Because even though we are still talking about the classic and antagonistic relationship with step-parents, we overlook the inherited problems, rivalries between brothers, conflicting cousins, critical uncles and sons-in-law, step-parents who meddle with everything …
We can therefore speak of a family as a microcosm charged with multiple meanings and dynamics.We can collide with older parents who are trying to maintain their position of authority. Or with mothers accustomed to passive-aggressive behavior. We can get into trouble about how to raise a child, about religion or politics. It may be that we regularly struggle against the belief that we are not good enough for this family. Everything then starts to wobble when that happens and affects us. We must rise to the challenge of remedying the situation, without harm, when the family influences relationships and crosses the limits of our privacy.
When the family affects the relationship: what can I do?
Some people opt for extreme decisions, putting the spouse between the hammer and the anvil, and forcing him to choose. Others create camps and cause real storms. Others choose silence and let go, going so far as to be the center of all grievances, the puppet who endures everything out of love of the spouse. So that, sooner or later, these situations end up affecting the relationship itself, reaching situations as sad as disappointing.
Although we would often like to be able to clear or disable the presence of those conflicting families who sometimes accompany our spouses, there are better options.Let's see some strategies to think about:
- We will maintain constant communication with our spouse.It is necessary to express to him how certain words, acts or circumstances affect us. We will avoid criticism. It is only a matter of highlighting the realities, without falling into scorn or offense.
- The situation of each family is special. heIt is therefore necessary to distinguish between what is acceptable and what is not. Between what is understandable and what constitutes an abuse.
- We will reach an agreement with our spouse on our limits. About what we will accept and what we will not be willing to accept. The consensus between the two must be very high. Butthe most important thing is to quickly set these boundaries with the family so that they are clear to all parties.
- It is also necessary to always highlight what hurts us. Or what disturbs us of this mother-in-law who criticizes us, of this brother who does not accept us or of this father who wants to know everything and control.We will practice assertiveness so that they understand the impact of their behavior. So that they perceive our limits and understand that there are alternatives to improve the relationship.
To conclude. Although the family sometimes influences the relationship, it does not always do so negatively. Indeed, many political families give way to reflection in times of crisis.If, on the other hand, the influence is negative, it is important to reach an agreement with the spouse on how to act.We will thus obtain his support. The couple will be more likely to emerge stronger from the challenge and the conflict resolved if we do.