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Dealing with Exhaustion: How to Cope with Disagreements Between Your Mother-in-Law and Your Passive Husband?

Modern family life comes with high expenses. Dual-income households often face the pressures of daily expenses, children's education costs, and loan repayments for cars and houses. As a result, many choose to live with their in-laws or leave their children with them to save on significant childcare costs and have mutual support. However, differences in beliefs and ideas often challenge these arrangements over time, especially when confrontations emerge and the husband either avoids the matter or sides with his mother. How should you approach and resolve this with the right mindset?


Before getting into 300 rounds of conflicts with your mother-in-law, it’s helpful to understand and master some guiding principles. By learning these principles, you'll have more space and options for discussion when it’s time to communicate and negotiate. Let's get straight to the four key strategies:


1. Respect Original Families Without Necessarily Agreeing


This typically unfolds as a cycle of rehashing old grievances and pointing out each other's shortcomings, then dragging in the other party's family members, both elders and juniors, and even one's own children to criticize them too... In the end, the main focus becomes blurred, leaving only a stomach full of anger and offending a large group of people who had nothing to do with the original issue. Therefore, respecting each other's original families is the first cornerstone in resolving differences. Respect creates space for dialogue and prevents the focus of the issue from becoming blurred. It also requires some patience to wait for the right moment to communicate. The key is to understand that respect does not necessarily mean agreement; you still retain your own space. This can effectively help us remain calm and composed during the transitional period of brewing changes.



2. Reflect on How We Shape Each Other: Transforming "Me" into "Us"


As the saying goes, "It takes two to tango”. The outcomes in a relationship are created through mutual interaction. For example, in cases of strong wives and weak husbands, through practical consultations, it was found that the husband's passivity is influenced by both his original family and his wife's overbearing nature. Sometimes, we need to take a step back and reflect on how our actions contribute to the current state of our partners. In many cases, the husband wasn't initially as withdrawn as he is now. He tried to do things but was repeatedly rejected or criticized by his partner, leading him to withdraw. Gradually, without realizing it, the partner took on all the responsibilities, and the husband’s role became increasingly dysfunctional. This often leads to a state of 'I don't know, I don't care, it doesn't matter to me.' When issues with the mother-in-law arise, he might even side with his mother, further venting his frustrations. At this point, the wife, feeling like she's bearing all the burdens, is deeply aggrieved and unable to express her suffering. This is when it is truly necessary to have the wisdom to reflect: 'How have we contributed to making our partner this way?'





There is nothing wrong with wanting to make the family better, more organized, and more financially resourceful, but choosing the wrong way to handle it, the wrong way to love it, often results in regrettable outcomes. To correct these mistakes, start by turning 'me' into 'us'. The matters of the household are 'our' matters. The problems in the household are 'our' problems. Issues with the mother-in-law are 'our and mother's' problems. Both spouses are equally important, and both can contribute—no matter how big or small. Gradually, regain mutual respect and let responsibilities fall into their rightful places. You may find that your partner, like a weightlifter, can initially lift just one kilogram, then gradually two kilograms, and then five kilograms… When facing marital issues, what is needed is not just hard work, but rather a skillful approach. The starting point for change begins with turning 'me' into 'us'!



3. Maintain Neutrality and Avoid Becoming a Resentful Savior


Everyone faces challenges at different life stages that would help us learn and grow. In intimate relationships, we often want to shield our partners from any harm, taking on their problems ourselves. However, this is not the best way to show love. If we put too much focus on rescuing our partner or solving their problems, it may lead to our partner becoming dysfunctional and making mistakes again (without learning the ability to handle issues themselves). It also depletes the time and money we should have used to nurture ourselves. Moreover, if the results were satisfactory, it would be acceptable, but sometimes, despite our best efforts, we get mediocre results. This not only results in us feeling unappreciated but can also lead to us becoming the main party in the issue, being criticized from all sides. In the worst case, we may lose the trust and connection between each other, inexplicably transforming from the savior to the victim...





To avoid this situation, when your partner or family members encounter issues or challenges, please try to remain objective and neutral. Assist them by offering support or companionship to help them overcome the obstacles. If you have the capacity, you can also provide relevant resources and perspectives that can help solve the problem, but the final actions should be left to the person involved. Do not take on the responsibility yourself or intervene on their behalf. This not only respects the individual's life journey but also prevents you from becoming entangled in unnecessary relational dynamics. For example, if there are unresolved issues between a husband and his mother, and the wife intervenes, who will she end up offending—the husband or the mother-in-law? Or worse, what if the mother and son unite against her, turning the problem into the wife's fault for causing discord? How should one deal with that situation? By maintaining neutrality and a respectful attitude towards each other, you can save a lot of unnecessary effort and avoid being drawn into the whirlpool of family power struggles. This allows you to focus more on activities that are beneficial to your own physical and mental well-being.



4.Restore Balance in the Family System Through Systemic Constellation


If you’ve tried every method you know to promote family harmony and still face unresolved issues, consider systemic constellation therapy. This approach helps examine family dynamics deeply. In many cases, unresolved ancestral conflicts and hidden events like abortions influence present family dynamics. In reality, the true origins may not have an absolute correlation with the perceived cause and effect, which makes it difficult to address them effectively using conventional methods. Systemic constellation can reveal these underlying issues, enabling you to restore balance in your family system. Once the hidden dynamics are addressed, previously learned family interaction techniques can be more effectively implemented, leading to real improvements in family relationships!




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