IN-LAWS or OUT-LAWS?
“You are a guest in their marriage and a guest in their home. You have to fold into their rules and their lives if you want to be welcome there.”
Dr. Phil advises meddling OUT-LAWS.
When children become adults and take a partner, parents and family members need to step back and let go. For some it is easier said than done.
Dealing with difficult daughter, son, sister, brother, mother and father IN-LAWS is a common issue that arises for many when families merge. Readjustments will need to be made for all concerned to accommodate the changes.
Mothers and fathers need to step back when their children move into a primary relationship with their lover. Regardless of whether the couple gets married, shares a house or a bed, if they are in love a new primary relationship is birthing.
New love needs to be honoured and respected above all else.
In traditional weddings the father gives the bride to the groom and steps back. The mother also needs to do the same (step back from her son or daughter) when her child begins to build a life with their new love. Too often a child can take unknowingly the place of a physically or emotionally absent parent becoming a surrogate husband or wife. When this child chooses a lover, the co-dependent parent can feel betrayed and become jealous and demanding.
Siblings too can become competitive if a brother or sister moves their focus from them on to their new life and lover.
New lovers initiate our primal instinct to create a life and perhaps even a family of our very own making. It is how healthy evolution works.
A new primary relationship will require absolute loyalty from both parties biological relatives to form a solid foundation strong enough to support a completely new tribe.
There can be no divided loyalties.
Sons and daughters must support their new lovers first and foremost. It is never the child’s responsibility to parent their parents or siblings.
This does not mean children abandon helping and loving family members when time permits, but their primary responsibility and emotional energies belong with their new love and life.
An emotionally fit parent and sibling will be thrilled that their son, daughter, brother or sister has found a love they believe in. Even if the parent or sibling disagrees with their choice of lover, we must allow another adult the dignity of their own mistakes.
So here are a few tips for anyone confused with how to navigate the emotional landscape helpfully and healthily when in comes to integrating IN-LAWS so they do not become OUT-LAWS …
In order to build safe and supportive relationships that integrate new IN-LAWS into families I suggest the following boundaries are respected by all parties:
No unsolicited advice is given to or from new lovers or established biological family members
The new primary relationship requires absolute support, so gossiping, ganging up or competitive behavior needs to be avoided as it erodes emotional safety for all parties
If the lover has a problem with an IN-LAW, or the IN-LAWS have issues with the new partner, the biologically related person needs to set clear new boundaries with their family. There can be no divided loyalties, for when we choose a life partner they deserve our primary loyalty at all times.
If relationship problems arise in your new primary relationship, intimate issues need to be resolved within the primary relationship or with a professional counsellor, not with IN-LAWS.
Solid boundaries create solid relationships. Consistency is the key. There will be no go time or situation zones when IN-LAWS are not welcome, so be clear, assertive and consistent to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.
So let’s review our loyalty to our lovers. Our beloved deserve nothing but our full support and unwavering love regardless of what any emotional OUT-LAWS do or don’t think.
May we remember that no loving IN-LAW should come between us and our spouse. They are welcome to come alongside us, but not between us. Those that try to come between us are emotional OUT-LAWS and need to address the emptiness in their own lives.
Let us ensure we create beautiful and nourishing lives for ourselves as we age so we don’t become an OUT-LAW ever to our children.
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™