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Why can’t my Wife and Parents Get ALong?

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You’ve written an article “Husband torn between Parents and Wife” and that depicts almost the exact situation I’m in. I love my wife alot and see that the situation brings her pain and dispair. When I try to act as a mediator in their conflicts, it doesn’t work well at all because both parties blame each other and challenge all reasons. Especially, in case the conflict has happened during my absence. They reject my proposals to sit all together and discuss the situation and a possible way out. As a result I’m collecting the information and have to decide on my own. In their eyes I should accept one side regarding other party. I understand, being “good for everyone” is the quickest way to make the things even worse. However, I consider myself responsible for my wife and parents and my mission is to make them happy. Recently my mother passed away, but even that didn’t change the situation. Father keeps waving a confrontation flag on his own. Just after another explosion, I feel they make a mockery of it all, just to entertain themselves. At these moments I’d like to disappear. I really need to put an end to this situation, I want to enjoy a normal family life. I desperately need your help. Thanks in advance.

Why can’t my Wife and Parents Get ALong?

Answered by on -

A.

I can’t tell by your letter whether your wife and father are equally involved in vying for your attention. I do know that this is painful for you and that, try as you might, you are not going to be able to make people get along who seem to enjoy being in a fight. It’s time for you to give up being the mediator. Both “sides” seem to see it as a test of your loyalty and love that you side with one against the other. It’s an impossible situation for you. You are spending your time trying to be a judge when you just want to be a loving son and husband. My best suggestion for you is that you tell both your father and your wife that you aren’t interested in figuring out who is right or wrong; that you are only interested in conversations that are neutral or, better yet, loving. Then, when one or the other comes to you with injustices, simply say something like “Oh. I’m sure you’ll find a way to handle it” and immediately change the subject to focus on how much you love the person you are talking to and what you want to do that day. Eventually, they’ll either tire of it or they will become great friends talking together about how they are both angry with you.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Why can’t my Wife and Parents Get ALong?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Why can’t my Wife and Parents Get ALong?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/02/18/why-cant-my-wife-and-parents-get-along/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.