The holidays are a time for family, friends, and lots of good food. But if you don't get along with your in-laws, the holiday season can be more stressful than joyful. Here are some tips on how to survive holiday visits with in-laws you can't stand. The first step to avoiding conflict is understanding why it happens in the first place.
Common Reasons Why People Fail to Have Loving Relationships with Their In-Laws
Different family values. If your in-laws grew up in a household with different values than you did, it can be difficult to find common ground. For example, if you believe in spending quality time together as a family and they believe in giving each other space, you may butt heads from the start.
Jealousy. It's not uncommon for in-laws to feel jealous of the relationship between their child and their spouse's new partner. This can lead to conflict if they feel like they're being shut out or mistreated.
Resentment. If your partner has a close relationship with their parents, it's possible that your in-laws may resent you for "taking their baby away." This resentment can manifest itself as passive-aggressive behavior or outright hostility.
Competitiveness. Some parents may see their child's spouse as a rival, leading to feelings of competition and one-upmanship. This can be especially difficult if your partner's parents are wealthy or well-connected, and you feel like you're constantly being compared to them.
Control issues. In some cases, parents may have difficulty letting go of control over their children's lives. This can manifest itself as overbearing or critical behavior towards your partner's spouse.
Practical Tips for How Someone Can Avoid Conflict When Visiting In-Laws over the Holidays
If you're dreading a holiday visit with your in-laws, there are some things you can do to try and avoid conflict:
Communicate with your partner before the visit and devise a plan to deal with any potential problems that might arise.
Try to find common ground with your in-laws by discussing shared interests or hobbies before the visit.
Be respectful of your in-laws' wishes and boundaries during the visit, even if you disagree with them.
Avoid talking about controversial topics such as religion or politics during the visit.
If an argument does break out, try to stay calm and resolve it peacefully if possible.
If all else fails, remember that you can always leave early if necessary— sometimes, it's better to cut your losses and take a raincheck on Christmas dinner than risk having a blowout fight with the in-laws!
While the holidays are typically seen as a time for family togetherness, sometimes spending time with family members you don't get along with can put a damper on things. If you dread a holiday visit from your less-than-favorite in-laws, remember that communication and respect are key to avoiding conflict. And if worst comes to worst, sometimes it's okay to cut your losses and make a strategic exit!