Is your father in law controlling? Does he try to impose his decisions in your personal matters or interferes a lot in each and every situation?
A father in law is the head of the house, he is not only the karta-dharta (Hindi word for a dependable person of a family) of the family but he is the most respectable person in many families.
In this blog, we will discuss the reasons behind the controlling behavior of a father in law and try to find some ways to deal with it respectfully.
Is your father in law controlling: Five signs
It is observed in many Indian families, specifically when you are staying in a joint family that the control of the decision making lies in the father in law’s hands. You are supposed to seek permission before taking any decision related to finances, investments or even traveling.
Since it includes the suffix “in law” there could be a possibility that sometimes the concern shown by the father in law based on his life experience could be perceived as interference or control. We can still remain stress-free while dealing with our in laws. So let us try to understand is your father in law controlling in nature?
He criticizes your efforts and your decision-making ability. His son is now a husband and things do change after marriage, he does things in his own capacity, the way he understands it but it does not mean that daughter in laws are always responsible for that change. If you are blamed for any of his changed behavior then there is trouble.
You might be held responsible for any action your husband takes even if he plans a mini-vacation for you both without his father’s consent, he will be looked up to as a changed person because of your entrance in his life.
Is your father controlling if he doubts your intentions? I think yes, we at least need the freedom of thinking and freedom of expression as a family member. A daughter in law is hardly allowed to express her views because she is considered less qualified for presenting her views in any family matter.
There are situations and instances where we want to contribute our views but they doubt our intentions and our judgment ability.
There could be thousands of reasons for you to chose something or opt-out of something but a father in law who denies seeing things as it is will try to control your actions and do not consider your limitations. It becomes a real difficult situation when you have to deal with an inconsiderate father in law. Why do in laws cause problems, I wonder.
It will only lead to an unpleasant situation like frustration and irritation when you will have to adjust in every given situation.
The male patriarchy or the alter ego, hard to satisfy. Being the head of the house he will always make sure that each and every decision passes through him. This often results in a tensed situation between a son and a father because he fails to prioritize things.
He has to take care of his wife and also respect his father’s sentiments, which becomes a tough task at times if a father in laws shows a sign of dominance.
Insensitivity in any relationship is a worrisome thing. When you want to control things and people you lose out the love and affection they might hold for you. A little bit of considerate nature and flexibility could help in getting along well with all the family members.
After all, you are a part of his family now and taking care of your needs and sentiments should be one of the concerns like a father figure.
How to deal with a controlling father in law
Dealing with a father in law is a different thing altogether as they don’t gel around so well with their daughter in law, we also have to maintain a respectful boundary and maintain some dignity in our approach when we are talking with our father in law. Hence is your father in law controlling in nature is a question we often ask to find ways to deal with one in a much subtle way.
Ten ways to deal with a controlling father in law
While there could be so many reasons behind the controlling nature of a father in law, I bring about ten effective ways to deal with his nature which could help establish fruitful results in the long run. Nothing changes quickly and there is no way things will change overnight but yes we need to try to maintain a peaceful environment at our house from our end by following below mentioned ways:
|2. Involve your husband|
|3.Support your husband|
|4. Be unbiased|
|5. Don’t take things at heart|
|6. Listen actively|
|7. Stay respectful|
|8. Stay assertive|
|9. Make your point gracefully|
|10. Learn to let go|
When you understand that you are not being welcomed in the discussion or any family-related decisions, keep a distance, do not indulge until and unless you are asked for your opinion. A controlling person will never appreciate any views from someone else even if it is worthy. Maintain a respectful boundary.
2. Involve your husband
Your husband is the main reason you are here in the family, if anything happens in his absence he should be aware of it. You go to keep him in the loop. Yes, generally it is believed that when you tell things to your husband you are blamed for being someone who is provoking him against their family members, but remember you are a part of the family too. A peaceful house is all we demand for.
3.Support your husband
More than you, you will find that due to the controlling behavior of your father in law, your husband is suffering. He gets stuck between his liabilities and his father’s decision. After marriage his family extends with you and your kids, he sometimes fails to prioritize and gets stuck in the important decision-making process. You need to support him and ask him to talk to his father with an open mind and try to get along with him.
4. Be unbiased
Is your father in law controlling if he is being biased towards you, like your biased sister in law or mother in law? Probably yes, but when your intentions are clear and you feel you are being misunderstood and just to prove them wrong, never be biased towards them, have a clear approach. Think rationally and do not let their negativity enter you.
5. Don’t take things at heart
As I said earlier, just because he is your father “in law” things might look different. Maybe it’s his nature or he has been like this forever but when you start taking his things at your heart then the problem starts. You will feel bad and loathe about everything which will ultimately harm your relationships. How much will you hold up and trouble your own self over silly things which might not even matter after a few years? We all learn and grow, right?
6. Listen actively
You need to be a good listener when you want to see things clearly, usually, we hear and want to speak, we interrupt and put our point, this is never a healthy conversation. We should not hear but listen, to prove our points. Be an active listener which might help you to understand the real problem and find real solutions.
7. Stay respectful
A father in law is a very respectable figure in the family, even though he is not your father but he is your husband’s father and the way you choose to deal with him is the way you leave a reflection for your kids. It applies to every family member though. Your kids are watching you and they are watching everyone. Stay respectful, never lose your kindness due to anyone’s bitterness.
8. Stay assertive
When you realize your views are demeaned and not welcomed much you feel anxious and act in impulse. This way you fail to put your point forward, your aggression will miss out on the point. Instead, have a humble yet assertive approach. Stay confident in your voice and put your best foot forward.
9. Make your point gracefully
You can’t win over an argument if you simply want to put the other person down. We are here to remove the problem and not the person with that particular problem. You need to handle things with grace and vigor which will surely help you to sustain your point and make a difference in their opinion in the long run. Remember staying graceful and confident never goes out of fashion for a woman.
10. Learn to let go
I agree that managing relationships and especially while staying with in laws, becomes a very tiring task. But before you start piling this tiredness in your mind, learn to let go, sometimes it is too late to learn this art of letting go which bothers us a lot. We need to let go off things which don’t spark joy in our daily life. We need to learn to let go of things that cost our mental peace.
Prioritize your mental health while dealing with others
It is easy to fall under that dark pit when you are surrounded by difficult people in your life, be it disrespectful in laws or even worse, horrible in laws who hate you but the fact is you have to live with it. You are part of their family and they are part of your life. Even if they find it hard to accept you, which is a bad sign but you need to stay calm and think about sanity. When you will start adopting the above practices in your life, trust me things will change, it will change at least for you if not for them.
Changing others is not in our hands but yes shifting our focus from them is in our hands, reacting or choosing not to react is in our hands. DIfficult people and difficult times will always come to test you but you have to take care of your mental health so that you can fight back, stand up for yourself.
How will you take care of your family, your kids who need you with a frustrated mind? Think about it.
Five ways to take care of your mental health
Yes, your mental health is as important as your physical health and you got to take it in your stride. Giving the remote control of your life to someone else and then crying about how they operate you will not help you.
Only you can help yourself by taking the necessary steps timely. In laws are a very crucial aspect for many daughters in laws and I beg to differ but yes a major source of stress and mental trauma for many women. Apart from drawing healthy boundaries and staying assertive, I would suggest these five things you need to start doing right now for your personal care.
- Stay mindful, see things as it is.
- Live in the moment and stop worrying about the things which you cannot control.
- Build yourself internally.
- Exercise and pay attention to your body.
- Stay positive and don’t forget to wear a smile every day.
Each and every person in our life either give a memory to cherish or a lesson to learn, take the best out of it and forget the rest. Father in law is a part of your life, be supportive to your husband in this case because he will need your support and do not take things at your heart, it will only make things more difficult for you. Take care, stay sane.
Priyanka Nair is the author of 26 Days 26 Ways for a Happier you and Ardhaviram. An NLP practitioner and Founder of Sanity Daily, helping you prioritize your mental health. Let’s build a happy community.