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Family meddling is often portrayed by Hollywood as a funny thing but it's not actually humorous when it actually happens to you. If you have a meddling in-law, their behavior can actually invade your marriage, leading to some very un-funny complications that weaken or even break-up an otherwise happy union.
Symptoms of Potentially Toxic Meddlers
A lot of family (and friends) may meddle with good intentions, either offering advice from their own experiences or simply trying to help; however, when it turns into interference or makes you and/or your spouse feel bad about yourselves, each other, or how you're living your lives, that can invade a marriage in a negative way. If you find yourselves arguing or questioning various aspects of your marriage after being around a toxic family member, the meddling has gone too far. Once the meddling crosses your boundaries, you know you have to act.
How They Can Adversely Affect Your Marriage
If in-laws aren't approving of either you or your spouse or your actions, that's a division that can be hard for any couple to absorb. What they say is hurtful, but it can also be divisive. You and your spouse may feel self-conscious, begin dreading any family event, and boom, you could have a major stressor in your lives that can lead to a number of marital issues.
What a Counselor Can Do for You and Your Spouse
Marriage is a lot of work even when you don't have anyone meddling in it. Seeing a marriage counselor isn't some admission that there's something wrong with the marriage you work hard at; rather, it shows that you both want to work harder at having a solid, happy union. Take turns telling a counselor what's going on with the meddlers and they'll help you:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), for example, focuses on the emotional response to certain stressful situations, such as having to cope with meddling family members. It can help couples realize (become cognitive of) your behavior and open the door for a counselor to suggest alternative responses to these painfully negative encounters. Once you and your spouse adapt your behavior, you can repel rather than absorb the negativity or toxicity. You can work on building yourselves up as a team.
While you may remember a lot of laughs at the movies or in your own living room while watching Hollywood's interpretation of family humor, if you have a meddling family member, you know it's anything but funny. Work together with your spouse on these issues that would otherwise threaten your marriage and ask a marriage counselor to step in, too. Contact local marriage counseling services to learn more.