Family problems... in-laws mostly


Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m not a very social person. I find certain people irritating, superficial and selfish. So I usually just choose to avoid situations where I have to be around certain people with whom I either get the feeling they really don’t want me around, or who I don’t feel good around.

Is this wrong? Where do we draw the line between not wanting to insult someone and being made miserable because we want to play nice?

If I want to do something, I should be able to do it without worrying about whose feelings are hurt, because those people don’t really care about me anyway. “I have to be nice” is such a … well, you know what.

Morally obligated. To what? Where does it end? I’m tired of being the person who goes out of there way to engage someone who never returns the favor, and then being made to feel guilty when I don’t include them in my life’s events, minor or major.

If you don’t want to call me, visit me, have anything to do with me in normal everyday life, please someone explain to me why I should feel guilty about not including them in the major events of my life which mean so much to me, but so little to them? I don’t care how closely related you are, by blood or marriage. This is just ridiculous.

Family to me, what my family has been about is not what family is to other people. I find this so difficult to comprehend. Family are the people who are with you all the time, who call your bluff, who stay even when you tell them to go away because they know that you need them. They call just to say I was thinking about you. They take an interest in what you’re going through. They don’t just go through the motions because they are “obligated”. I don’t want that kind of “Family”.

Backstabbing, he said/she said, instigating trouble, drugs, theft, blatant disregard for the personhood and property of others… Granted, I’m human, I sin like everyone else, but I don’t want those people whose character day-in and day-out shows that these things are what they are all about.

I don’t know. I’ve gone through times where that was my life. I can’t seem to reconcile who I am in Christ now with that. I don’t live like that anymore. But in the eyes of those others who have seen me at my lowest points, who I am to point the finger? But then, when I want to keep those things out of my life now, I’m the bad person. But if they keep me out because of that, I’m still the bad person.

Does any of this make sense? I know we are called to love our enemies. I understand… But how can I do that when I know in my heart that the person I am looking at reallly wishes I wasn’t there? That eats at me. How can I be around someone who is completely two-faced like that and be okay with it?


I know that all of us have specific people, places and things in mind when we start deciding what we will and will not put up with in our lives. I cannot tell you what is right or wrong with your particular situation. I can only share with you my experience, strength and hope.

My family is fractured. For many years I insisted on ‘being me’, setting boundaries, deciding who deserved to be in my life and exactly how much I was willing to do to expose myself to ‘their toxic behavior’. I was lousy at it. I really tried. I worked my steps around it, got counseling and therapy, spiritual direction … I just was really REALLY lousy at running my own life in the area of relationships.

For the past seven years all my efforts have gone into conforming myself to the best of my own ability to God’s Will. That means not being so darned concerned with what makes ME happy, whether or not I do well in social situations, or where I should go or what I should do and how I make ME healthy, happy and wise.

Now, if only I was better at it than I am! The point is, however, I am trying…I’m trying to go into every situation with the attitude of ‘how can I serve?’ and ‘how can I make this ok for the others around me?’. Sometimes I am pretty good at it…other times I am mentally gritting my teeth to keep from smacking someone on the forehead with a wooden spoon…

So, here is what is happening…the number of times I have to put my foot down and demand respect, or object outright to specific behavior, or tell someone to knock it off have diminished. God seems to be taking really good care of me in that regard. And when I do have to set a boundary or assert a right I seem to be able to do it from an attitude of love rather than anger or resentment.

I am hardly perfect…but turning my will and my life over the care of a God of mercy has really opened up my life in ways I never imagined.


Do what you need to do and stop worrying about what people say about you. We all worry too much about upsetting other people, or what their opinion is of us. You know what you need around you, and what you don’t. By keeping bad influences away, you are not judging those people, but protecting your own progress.

Just don’t allow the destructive people in, and if you ever explain why, only once to each person. Then if they bug you about it again, say, “I already explained that.”

You said these are in-laws…what does your husband think? Does he protect and defend you from the destructive people in his family, or does he just let them walk all over both of you?


“What Would Jesus Do” is more than a bracelet. We are supposed to have the word know that we are followers of Christ by how much we love each other. Ask Mary to pray for you, actively love your in-laws by praying that you will grow to love them more.

Nobody said being Catholic was easy :slight_smile:


We all struggle with family at times - but they are family. Be polite and make sure you are treating them as you would want to be treated. Make sure your agenda of feelings is not guiding your behavior but your love for your spouse and family members. Love is not a contest to be won or counted with points. Be yourself, be kind, and go out of your way to be a good family member. Your reward will be how you feel about yourself - and that’s the best reward. Good luck and God Bless.


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