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Psychology/father in law and panic


I am married and have had a strained relationship with my in laws though not from the start. My mother in law is very very pushy and doesn't back down from unpleasant dialogue when I sort of feel it should end. People can agree to disagree. I can't say she isn't normal. I think she has poor conflict resolution skills which may not be entirely her fault. My husband says his parents fought viciously his entire life but they are together and committed. My father in law, oddly enough, is more easy for me to speak to in terms of telling stories, he's an interesting guy but he has serious problems. He caused a -huge- family rift by intervening in our lives with our child, with all kinds of paranoid worries and not backing down when we said its our child and our child's fine and we don't want the negativity and that it's our choice what to do. He couldn't handle that. The more annoying thing about it was that he actually has not helped us at all in raising the kids. WE don't live close by. I think sometimes people invite over participation by in laws when they use them for care which we don't. It's very difficult to explain to someone that a person can suffer terribly psychologically but still function. It is entirely clear to everyone in the family that our father in law suffers from paranoia. I advised other people not to indulge it with long dialogues about it. Everyone seems to me to be egging it on instead of being a reality check by keeping it brief and not indulging it. It's difficult to treat because obviously someone has to want to be better.  The underlying stress is what kills us all. My husband has not done what he needs to do for me and I cannot have someone intervening in my life with such negativity all the time they are here with me. There are NO boundaries, he doesn't recognize them. He also has backwards ideas about a man's role in a marriage versus a woman's and doesn't hesitate to share them.  If he had a thriving marriage, I might actually listen! What can I do? My mother in law tells us to turn the other cheek but she never does that, ever (hence the continued fighting in the marriage) I do think my FIL needs medication, something like an SSRI at least to just chill out. The other aspect- I told my husband to stop chasing his dad when he's horrendous to us, to let him leave, but that he NEEDS to leave when he does not recognize our boundaries. It's surreal because he will intervene where almost no one would and then we as parents push back and say to butt out first politely and then not so politely and he freaks out insisting that he has -every right- to do this. What can I do? Where can we go? I've given up on him being a mentor for my kids in any way but family is HUGELY important to me and I'm at a total loss. I love my husband but he's been pretty bad here because frankly, his parents intimidate him terribly. Any advice would be greatly greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Thank you for sending your situation to me here at AllExperts. Before you can even begin to address the interference from you FIL, you need to be on the same page with your husband. A good way to do this when there is difficulty is to attend couple's therapy together, just you and your husband. This will give both of you the opportunity to express your concerns and fears in a safe environment and have a third party give you feedback. Once the two of you are in agreement, then you can begin to build strategies to manage those pesky in-laws.

Best wishes,
Dr. Luna


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Kristina Luna


I specialize in clinical psychology with particular experience in clinical hypnosis, borderline personality disorder, LGBTQ, and aging. I have not worked with children for several years and would not feel comfortable answering child and adolescent based questions. My interests in adult psychology are fairly diverse, so please, sent me a question and lets see if I can help.


I have been working in the field of psychology, to some degree, since 1998. Initially, my work was more behaviorally based, but through my educational and training experiences, I have expanded to a more eclectic viewpoint. I have taught introductory psychology and have worked in college counseling. I have also studied hypnosis for several years, completing my dissertation on basic research in hypnosis. Finally, I completed my internship and residency in a transitional treatment program for young adults (18 - 16) with difficulty transitioning from home.

Doctor of Psychology 2009 Indiana University of Pennsylvania Indiana, Pennsylvania Master of Arts in Psychology 2002 MCP Hahnemann/Drexel University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Bachelor of Arts in Psychology 1997 Keuka College Keuka Park, New York

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