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In-laws send my anxiety off the scale!

Community Member

Just wondering if anyone else has problems with their in-laws?

Mine come and stay with us and it send me nutty. I can feel all the signs of my anxiety ramping up and I end up being rude, needing to get away from them and hiding in my room at times. Flight and fight kicks in - high agitation and feeling claustrophobic with them staying with us. This comes across as being inhospitable. My husband and his parents don't understand anxiety and think I'm just a horrible person. I honestly can't control myself when it gets this bad. Any tips on managing this situation? It's causing all sorts of marriage problems.

3 Replies 3

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Ducky,

This topic is one of those subjective ones, so it is opinion only.

You married your husband and not his parents. So, for your husband to respect you he should firstly ask you if you mind them staying. Then the second question is - for how long.

My mother in law is a wonderful lady and recently she needed minding for 2 weeks while she recovered from an operation. she was wonderful the first week, the second week I could have screamed!!. I now know the length of time I can tolerate her.

And so I ask you to think about the length of time your in-laws can stay without you tearing your hair out. Two days and two nights should be a reasonable timeframe. At least then after one day you only have one day to go!!.

And it should be your husband that informs them of the new timeframe. Don't negotiate that or 2 days will become 4 and so on.

Two days should be long enough for them to catch up with everyone.

Tony WK

Community Member

Hi Ducky,

I have struggled with my in-laws staying for over a decade.

Like WK mentioned, time of the stay is important. It became clear to me that I could stand it only 3 days before I felt like snapping.

I clash with my MIL's. I am a quiet person but MIL is chatty. She talks non stop all day to the point where hubby and I would be off to bed and she'd follow us down to our room and would still be talking as the door shut. I like to do things on my own, she likes to be in your face all the time. She has opinions on everything to the point of arrogance. She tells me what my hubby wants, eg "hubby will want to buy a house by the water". Every good thing my kids do or trait they have can be traced back to a member of her side of the family, every fault to mine. She gossips about the others who married in to the family so I am sure she does the same about me and the list goes on.

I used to smile, grin and bear it then rant to hubby after they left which hubby hated. Then I decided to just hide away like you mentioned but was seen to be rude by them and upset hubby. Then one year it all became too much and I completely lost it. I am not proud of it but it was a catalyst to sit down the next day and chat about it. It was an awkward conversation but it went quite amicably. Now we agree that if I need space I just have to tell her (sounds simple hey!). It works, I politely suggest she goes out with the others while I prepare dinner and she knows what that means now. They also retire to bed a lot earlier than they used to which helps when we have to be up early with

I now have a chronic illness, depression and anxiety and said no to them staying for xmas (as they do every year). Even after explaining they were upset. They decided to drop in anyway for a night on their way elsewhere. It was horrific for me. They planned to stop another night on their way back. I felt so sick about it I was sobbing and shaking uncontrollably. I found a hotel to stay in and told hubby. He was angry & said "how do I explain that?" He felt he had no choice but to say no. They did not understand at all and he didn't until he learnt more about my illness.

Your health is more important than their feelings. I hope you or your partner consider an open conversation and educate them about anxiety. Explain why you have been hiding and what needs to change to improve things for you including the timeframe of their stay.

I hope some of this helps

Kind thoughts

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hi Ducky, it must feel like a hurricane with your IL's staying with you, just as it is for having a border stay, but your IL'S seem to want to rule the roost, but it's not their place where any of this should happen, and although it may seem to be inhospitable, it's not.
Your house can't be dominated by them and if that's what is happening then you have to talk to your husband or if you feel confident raise this issue with them by telling them that you want to paint their room, but that's only a temporary solution, so there's a saying 'better bite the bullet' which means that it's an 'unpleasant situation that is unavoidable', because the sooner the better, otherwise it's going to cause a barrier between you and your husband.
You could do this with your husband and say that you don't want them to stay any more, OK it may cause a bit of friction to start with, but if he has any respect for you it's something that needs to done, and then hopefully will settle down.
Remember you're married to your husband and not his parents. Geoff. x