Countless songs, movies and stand-up comedians have honed in on the common problems with in-laws particularly mother-in-laws. But what if you ARE that mother- or father-in-law, and you're having a hard time getting along with your daughter or son's spouse?
“If you do not like your daughter- or son-in-law you have two choices -- you can either resist them and try to change or control them, or you can let go and allow them to be who they are. The reason to let go is that the alternative creates suffering for everyone involved,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates.
Indeed, harboring hostility, whether justified or not, will drive a wedge between you and your son or daughter, or will drive a wedge between his or her marriage. Either way, the outcome is hurt feelings, anxiety and negative emotions where a strong family bond should exist.
You may, in fact, feel that you have a reason to dislike your son-in law or daughter-in-law. Outside of something serious like physical or emotional abuse, though, it’s usually best to let these feelings go. The more you focus on them and mull them over in your mind, the more they will manifest and the more your negative feelings will grow.
Alternatively, if you use The Sedona Method and just let go, you will convey feelings of acceptance and love, which often lead to acceptance and love in return.
“Your wanting to change your son-in-law or daughter-in-law -- or make them fit your ideal image -- is bound to fail and will only alienate them and your son or daughter,” Dwoskin says.
So if you want to be happy and have a healthy relationship with your son or daughter and their spouse, which is what most of us really want deep down, releasing is essential.
What Should You Release, Specifically?
“There are a couple of ways to release on your daughter- or son-in-law,” Dwoskin says. “You can let go of wanting to change or control them while remembering that you do not agree with them or condone certain behaviors. The other way to release on them is to allow yourself to dislike or disapprove of them as much as you do, and then like or even love them as best you can. As you go back and forth between both sides of this holistic release you will find that the dislike dissolves into love and acceptance if you are open and willing.”
It may also help to evaluate what you may be doing to contribute to the relationship difficulty. Disagreements usually have two sides, but are you someone who always needs to be right or prove a point? Do you share your opinions when they're not wanted? Do you parent your son or daughter as if they are still a child?
If any of these things sound familiar, it’s not to place blame, only to help you identify other areas that you can release on.
Studies show, after all, that those who get along with their relatives are less likely to report health problems and physical limitations, and those who don't have greater declines in their health. So if not for your happiness then for your health, start letting go of the disagreements and negative thoughts and begin to let love in instead.
“The more you let go the more likely it will be for you to find points of mutuality with your son- or daughter-in law, and this will make them more open to your point of view.”