I recently sat down with a young couple who is going through a very serious struggle in their marriage because of someone outside their marriage. You might assume I’m talking about a mistress or an emotional affair, but this has nothing to do with wrongdoing on the part of either spouse. Their struggle has to do with an overbearing parent.
The husband’s mom (and the wife’s mother-in-law) has bombarded the young couple with pressures, demands, emotional pleas, tantrums, threats, bullying, name-calling and a myriad of other unpleasant tactics to get her way and to manipulate the dynamics within the family’s relationships. She seems to see their marriage as a threat to the relationship and influence she once had with her son. See seems to view her daughter-in-law as competition for her son’s attention rather than a beloved new addition to the family.
This young couple seemed exhausted by their dealings with what seems to be a narcissistic and emotionally unstable person. They want to honor and respect her. They want their young daughter to have a relationship with her grandmother. They want peace and no drama, but they also don’t want to be a doormat to her unhealthy demands. Sadly, their struggle is a very common one.
It’s very common for a couple to face an overbearing parent (or parents) in their marriage, but dealing with overbearing and emotionally unhealthy people can happen in all parts of life (work, school, home, etc.). Not if, but WHEN you find yourself in a relationship with someone who is bullying, manipulative, unstable or unhealthy in any way, for the sake of your family and your sanity, PLEASE implement the following boundaries.
5 Boundaries to save you from unhealthy relationships and manipulative people (in no particular order)...