blog, in-laws, boundaries, overbearing

4 Boundaries For Overbearing In-Laws

You’re engaged or more recently married and struggling with in-laws that don’t respect your boundaries. Maybe you’ve been dealing with it for a long time and are tired of the frustration. Do your in-laws come over whenever they want? Do they want to spend every weekend with you and your significant other. Perhaps you’re in-laws help themselves to whatever they want when they are visiting, go into your personal areas without checking first, rearrange things, maybe even nose around. If this rings a bell, you likely need to read the 4 areas I suggest you focus on for coping with overbearing in-laws.

Differences With In-Laws

Some people are blessed with in-laws that you really get along with. You enjoy spending time with them and rarely, if ever, have a disagreement. There’s a sense of mutual respect. They give you plenty of space and respect your boundaries. Then there’s others that have in-laws that are, let’s just say, a bit more difficult.  Your in-laws may be well-intentioned and truly unaware of how you feel. They may feel their actions are normal.

The friction you feel can cause a lot of strain on your relationship with your significant other. He may not even realize it’s an issue because they are his parents. He may view their actions as normal because that’s all he knows. Whatever the case, here are 4 actions you can take now to help lessen the stress about your in-law’s overbearing behavior.

4 Boundaries You Need Overbearing In-Laws

1. Getting Your Man On The Same Page

First things first. You need to sit down with your significant other and calmly talk to him about what is bothering you. It’s important to be able to tell him specifically what behaviors your in-laws are doing that are upsetting to you. Having your significant other on your side is the first step to setting boundaries, and he may be oblivious to your stress.

2. Having a Plan

Your in-laws want to spend an excessive amount of time together, and you’re not interested in spending that much time together, you may want to consider setting a day and time each week to get together. This is how a boundary becomes established. You’re specific and consistent. If your in-laws are always coming over on the weekend, then be specific as to the day and time you will be home and available for them to visit on the weekend. You can start it out by saying, “it works best for us…” or “we’ll be in and out but will be home at…”.

3. Setting Expectations

When they do come over, start setting some expectations. Do they knock first or just walk in like they own the place? Are they not cleaning up after themselves? Do they rummage through your kitchen like they haven’t eaten in a week? Are they in your personal areas for no good reason? Do they rearrange things? You really need to speak up. It’s not always comfortable, but you can’t expect them to read your mind. Let them know, always calmly and respectfully, what’s creating discomfort for you. You are advocating for yourself and your family when you do this.

4. It’s Not About You

Don’t take it personally. I know it’s hard, but your in-laws may have the best of intentions. Often they don’t realize they are being overbearing. Perhaps, they love you and their son and enjoy your company. Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back, take some deep breaths, and look at the situation from a different perspective before we act. 

The bottom line is that if you keep holding things in and don’t communicate what is bothering you, then you’re going to continue to be stressed and unhappy. These types of things tend to fester and wear on you the most. Speak up for yourself. The way you do things in your home may be different than your in-laws, but that’s okay. Stay true to what feels right and is best for you and your family.

Maria Inoa

Maria Inoa

Maria Inoa is a licensed clinical social worker and the owner of Full Potential Counseling. With over 12 years of experience, she specializes in working with women on building healthier relationships with themselves and others. She strongly believes that women are warriors and that every woman has worth, significance, and purpose. Maria provides in-person sessions at her office in the Ortega area as well as online sessions for the busy woman. For a free phone/online consultation or to schedule a session with Maria, call 904-204-9308 or email her at [email protected]