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HELP with dealing with inlaws

Community Member

DH and I are happy, and so far everyone seemed to be happy about our relationship. I have always been open and honest about every aspect of my life with the in-laws: had a troubled upbringing, struggled with anxiety and depression for a number of years, and have recently been diagnosed with BPD. Since being diagnosed, my quality of life has improved massively, I have always been very self-aware and despite it all, I have always thrived to live my life the best I can and not let any of it affect me as far as possible, to be kind and loving to myself and others, and to not allow my mental illness to define me.

We have had family dinners weekly with the in-laws since the beginning of my relationship, but I couldn't attend last week, unfortunately, and MIL was questioning DH about my BPD. A couple of days later I had a girls-only day with SIL and MIL, and the subject of my mental illness was brought up and I tried to give reassurance that it does NOT define me, and I have always and will continue to do my best to take care of myself, and they didn't have to worry about it... the conversation didn't go as well as I expected. Among many other comments that made me feel unworthy of DH because of my mental illness, this one really has stuck with me: MIL "I would feel more comfortable if you went to see a psychiatrist because I would hate *DH* to go through what he went through with *his ex*.".

The ex manipulated the whole family and took money from them, she was also very abusive, both emotionally and physically, towards DH.

DH ended up joining us for dinner that night, and MIL said at the dinner table that it would be good for him to spend time "with the boys". I might be reading into it, but the whole thing just felt very insulting to me.

I tried to explain I am medicated and have sessions with my psychologist every second week as advised (psychiatrist discharged me after a few weeks), but MIL continued to make me feel like a ticking time bomb.

I understand their concern after what they went through as a family with DH's past relationship, but I feel ashamed and regretful for opening up so much of my life to them. I am not sure how to go from here, I now feel as though my efforts are invalidated, and they will always see me as my mental illness. They said they want to support me, but it doesn't feel like that.

7 Replies 7

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Outtathisworld, and a warm welcome to the forums and thanks for posting your comment.

Your post has several issues to comment on, firstly I wonder whether your MIL is comparing your BPD somehow in a way to DH's ex and what happened to him, but you were brave to raise this topic but this depends on how well you know your MIL because it's a very personal statement and whether she is entitled to even mention it.

Again saying that DH should spend more time with the boys has nothing to do with her, he needs to make that decision himself and not be directed by his mum.

You are a different person than his ex and can't necessarily be compared, DH would have learned a great from what his ex had done and it doesn't have anything to do with his mum, although parents are always concerned about their children, but can't make decisions on their behalf.

What you have said 'my quality of life has improved massively' is a credit to you and would perhaps be mindful of what you do say to her from now on, especially when she asks questions that are not for her to know about, at this stage.

Just do as you have been doing, be loving and caring and show them how much you are able to do this and if asked any more questions, just answer with a brief comment, one they can't investigate.

Good luck.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi outtathisworld

You sound like such a highly conscious open minded person, who's managing self understanding brilliantly.

It's not always easy to raise others to be more conscious and more open minded, especially if they're constantly referencing their past experiences. it can be kinda like their mind's slammed shut, tightly holding onto their own beliefs, for one reason or another. I imagine it feels like you're fighting to open their mind.

One thing I've discovered about closed minded people, it's sometimes easier to let them hold onto their own beliefs. This way your focus is better channeled into what makes you happy and life is far less exhausting. Gradually, they may become more open minded through their surprise. Example: 'I can't believe how well she coped with that, given the ex was terrible at coping with the same thing'. You gradually begin to open their mind through your amazingness. You lead them to begin doubting their original beliefs.

You know yourself better than anyone else. It is skillful to know yourself so well. I wonder if all the doubters know themselves as well as you know your self.


Community Champion
Community Champion


welcome to the forum. Geoff and the riding have given supportive comments thst I agree with.

Yiu have incredible insight into your behaviour and are doing everything to maintain your health.
I think the in,aws comments are more about protecting your husband than about judging you. They have been hurt and don’t see what a different person you are to the ex.

I have been judged by people because of my diagnosis and often it was because they lacked correct information . I feel in time the will see what a kind person you are and see what your husband sees in you.

Community Member

Thank you so much Geoff, Therising and Quirkywords.

It has been very comforting reading those replies.

It is incredible how powerful words can be, huh?! We really gotta watch ourselves because we never know what someone else might be going through. I have been so out of sorts since it all happened... I started to doubt myself, and these comments have certainly helped me! πŸ™‚

DH is very supportive and understanding of me and my feelings which makes it easier. He, also, didn't feel really good about what happened.

This thread made me remember I can only be responsible for myself, and someone else's attitude towards me says a lot more about themselves. Thank you so much everyone!

Hi outtathisworld

You seriously have to give yourself an enormous amount of credit. I bet no one around you has researched themself and how they tick as much as you have.

Are the people around you as conscious as you are when it comes to certain triggers? I imagine not. I bet it would be easy for you to trigger them but you choose not to. For example, you could say to your MIL 'Why are you so thoughtless and unfeeling in regard to what you say to me? Why do you lack thought (a filter) and why can you not feel how I feel, in regards to what you say to me?' Could you see this triggering her? Usually when people are triggered, they're either triggered to defense mode or triggered to higher consciousness or even triggered to automatically switch off and not give it a thought (mental and emotional detachment).

I imagine you've got a good idea of what/who swings you up into a high and what/who swings you down into a low. Myself, I've got what I would regard as some serious 'pendulum people' in my life. If I'm not conscious of their behaviour, they can have me swinging back and forth kinda out of control. I manage my relationship with them. I can even be my own pendulum person at times. I try to be conscious of this, as my way of managing not returning to depression. If my energy input is super low, I'll feel it. A lack of good food, good hydration, balanced activity, restorative sleep, energising inspiration etc, can lead me to that terrible internal dialogue 'I'm so lazy, my life if so hopeless, I'm pathetic and unmotivated' and the list goes on. Truth is if I lack energy input I'm not feeling energy or energetic. If I can't feel my own energy, I feel numb. Numbness can be depressing. I'm a highly sensitive gal who thrives on feeling. 'Wonder' super energises me. If you picture a dog with a tennis ball and that ball represents wonder, throw me wonder and watch me chase it like a super hyperactive maniac πŸ™‚ Whether it's my 15yo old son triggering me to wonder how I'd survive a zombie apocalypse or something triggering me to wonder whether a $900 treadmill will make a difference to me, BAMM, I buy into both. Yes, I have a treadmill in my lounge room. Sometimes I do exceed my 'wonder budget'. A great imagination can prove a costly thing at times πŸ™‚

I can't help but wonder whether you're a naturally wonderful person with a brilliant imagination.


Hi Therising,

Firstly, thank you so much for your kind words! Yes, it has been a long journey but I am finally in the position to say I do know my triggers very well, and in the last few months I have given myself the power to consciously admit to it and make the decision to whether those triggers are worth staying in my life or not.

Everyone is fighting a battle, I get it, and I believe people that hurt us most likely didn't intend to in the first place, as we are all here doing the best we can at the given time, but it is up to us to make that decision and I have learnt not to feel guilty about the decisions I make that are to improve my life and wellbeing. It has been such a conflicting situation because, after all, they are the in-laws...

But, moving on from that, you seem to also be very self-aware, and that is fantastic! I am sensitive, too, and live to feel all my feels, accepting them as they come and letting them go!

I constantly find myself wondering, love conversations that might seem like absolute non-sense to everyone else, haha. I hope your treadmill is keeping your energy input high!!! πŸ™‚

Hi outtathisworld

It's liberating to be mastering not feeling guilt. It sounds like you've made incredible progress. Guilt's definitely a tough feeling to master. I've learned to say to myself 'What is guilt asking me (in this situation)?'. The answer: 'Who do I want to be?' So, you can be trying to constantly please someone who's somewhat degrading towards you when you begin the think 'I gotta cut this person off, they're really bringing me down'. Enter guilt. 'I feel bad if I cut them off because they really need me but who do I want to be, in this case? Someone who is not brought down or depressed by a person who flat out refuses to change their degrading ways, after I've asked them to'. Bamm, emotional detachment. Dude, you can keep your narcissistic ways, I'm outta here. it's definitely hard to go from an all 'round people pleaser to someone who pleases yourself when you really need to.

It's amazing how many wonderful people (folk who wonder a lot) aren't good with small talk. Personally, I'm a shocker. Such people will say how uncomfortable it feels and how much they actually thrive on deep conversations or conversations about utter nonsense. Nonsense can be so amusing at times. I'm actually sitting here staring at the cat at the back door wondering if cats wore pants (like trousers), would they come up to just above their back legs or all the way up to just under their front legs. Of course, they couldn't wear braces to hold their pants up because they have no shoulders. If I've managed to trigger your imagination, I imagine you're smiling right now. I absolutely love nonsense so much, especially in a world that can occasionally come across as so seriously depressing. I believe nonsense is good for managing our mental health.