Han­dling a bi­ased in-law

Deal­ing with in-laws can be very tricky. How­ever, shar­ing a good re­la­tion­ship with your in-laws is im­por­tant; this is be­cause if you live with them, you will be spend­ing a lot of time with them.

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - Eseohe Eb­hota & Ba­mas Vic­to­ria

Ama had just fin­ished her youth ser­vice in the same town her el­der sis­ter Idah lived with her fam­ily. She spent her en­tire ser­vice year in their house. Idah was a banker with one of the new gen­er­a­tion banks while her hus­band Asah was a med­i­cal doc­tor. He pro­vided ev­ery­thing his fam­ily needed and never com­plained through­out Amah’s stay in the house.

Things got out of hand when Idah started keep­ing late nights and her hus­band, who had on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, cau­tioned her against it de­cided to re­act. Af­ter stay­ing awake till 10 pm and his wife had not re­turned, he locked the doors and went to bed. This in­fu­ri­ated Amah who quar­reled with her brother-in-law, call­ing him all sorts of names un­til Idah re­turned. De­mand­ing to know what the prob­lem was, she also took sides with her younger sis­ter who kept in­sist­ing that there was noth­ing wrong with her sis­ter com­ing home late. The hus­band be­came very dis­ap­pointed when he saw his wife’s re­ac­tion to what her sis­ter had just done.

The story above shows that when you are mar­ried, your in-laws (from the man or woman’s side) form a part of your ex­tended fam­ily. In other words, they be­come a part of your re­spon­si­bil­ity un­til when they can ‘find their feet’ but some­times, rel­a­tives tend to take sides with their son or daugh­ter, brother or sis­ter, whether they are at fault or not, as shown in the story above.

This brings a ques­tion to mind: How would you han­dle a bi­ased in-law? Lifex­tra went to town and got in­ter­est­ing re­sponses from the public as peo­ple readily ex­pressed their minds on the mat­ter.

Aleeyhu Is­maeel, a stu­dent, sim­ply said, “To be at peace with all, do what he/she likes. Don’t com­plain; just do it.”

Also speaking to Lifex­tra, He­len Ijeoma Pius, a mother of two, thinks that the best thing to do is “press your IG­NORE but­ton. Just do your God-given best and leave the rest. That kind of in-law will never ap­pre­ci­ate you even if you cut off your head and place it on their plates.”

An­other stu­dent, Tóyìn Shar­ifdeen Awókúnlé, said “It’s sim­ple, just take the in-law as your cross and go with the flow in the best ma­tured be­hav­iour you can wear be­cause Yorùbá peo­ple do say, ààlò kò ràn’kà”.

Zange Isa, who re­sides in Kebbi State, added, “A home with free­dom and with­out law is a home of chaos, but a home with law and no free­dom of liv­ing is a home of both slave and chaos. For me, if you has a bi­ased in-law you are just like a slave. There­fore, the only way to han­dle bi­ased in-laws is through prayers and ded­i­ca­tion to your good work. Change will surely come.”

An ar­ti­cle ti­tled “Trou­ble with the in-laws? Ten tips to keep your cool”, out­lined some ways in which bi­ased in-laws can be han­dles. The au­thor Jac­inta wrote: “Es­tab­lish and main­tain bound­aries be­cause it helps to be very clear in your own mind about what is ac­cept­able to you and what is not (for ex­am­ple what are your ex­pec­ta­tions about the amount of time you spend with the in-laws?). You and your part­ner need to talk about this and ne­go­ti­ate. The cou­ple must then present a united front.”

Other steps she gave in­clude “Pro­tect your Pri­vacy. Prob­lems in your re­la­tion­ship are not up for dis­cus­sion with the in-laws. Again, this is about bound­aries. Speak to a trusted friend or coun­sel­lor about re­la­tion­ship is­sues; fi­nally, be aware of neg­a­tive bias. Try not to see ev­ery com­ment your mother- in-law makes as a crit­i­cism. Some­times we can feel so anx­ious, ir­ri­tated and down­right fu­ri­ous with our mother-in-law that we see ev­ery com­ment as a put down. If ap­pro­pri­ate, ac­tu­ally ask her opin­ion on some­thing. Whether you take her ad­vice is then up to you but you have at least shown your will­ing­ness to con­sider her feel­ings.”

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