8 signs your in-laws secretly dislike you, according to psychology

Navigating the waters of in-law relationships can be tricky. You may often find yourself questioning whether they genuinely like you or are just putting on a show.

The human mind is complex, and deciphering its signals isn’t always straightforward. But don’t worry, psychology has got your back.

According to psychology, there are eight tell-tale signs that your in-laws might secretly dislike you. And let me tell you, recognizing these signs could save you from a lot of future heartache.

So, let’s delve into these eight signs and understand what to watch out for, shall we?

1) Unnecessary criticism

One of the key signs that your in-laws may not be your biggest fans is if they engage in constant, unnecessary criticism.

Psychology suggests that criticism, especially when it’s nit-picky or constant, is often a manifestation of underlying dislike or resentment.

Sure, some in-laws might just have a more critical nature. But when the criticism is consistently directed at you over trivial matters, there’s a good chance it’s more than just their personality at play.

This critique could revolve around your lifestyle, career choices, or even how you raise your children. If it’s starting to feel like every interaction involves some form of unjustified critique, you may have your first sign.

2) They don’t make an effort to know you

Now, this one hits close to home for me.

When I first started dating my partner, I was excited to get to know his parents. But despite my best efforts, they never seemed to reciprocate. They’d ask about my job or hobbies, but their eyes would glaze over as I answered their questions.

At first, I chalked it up to them being introverted or perhaps just needing time to warm up to me. But as months turned into years, it became apparent that they simply weren’t interested in getting to know me as a person.

If your in-laws don’t show genuine interest in getting to know you, it could be a sign they harbor some form of dislike. They might ask superficial questions just for the sake of conversation, but they won’t engage or remember details about topics that matter to you.

This lack of interest isn’t just about not knowing your favorite color or food. It’s about them not understanding or showing interest in your values, your passions, and what makes you tick.

Take it from me, if your in-laws continually fail to make an effort to truly know you, it could be a red flag.

3) Body language speaks volumes

Ever heard of the phrase, “actions speak louder than words?” Well, in the realm of psychology, this couldn’t be more accurate.

Body language is a powerful communicator of feelings and attitudes. And sometimes, it can reveal more than words ever could.

For instance, if your in-laws maintain limited eye contact, give weak handshakes, or tend to turn their bodies away from you during conversations, these could be subconscious indicators of their underlying feelings towards you.

Even seemingly small actions like crossed arms or lack of smiles can signal discomfort or disinterest.

It’s worth noting that research suggests that up to 90% of all communication is nonverbal. This means the way someone behaves physically can be more telling than what they actually say.

So, next time you’re with your in-laws, pay attention to their body language. It might just reveal the truth about how they feel about you.

4) Lack of empathy

When we care about someone, we naturally empathize with them. We feel their joys, their sorrows, and want to be there for them in their time of need.

If your in-laws seem indifferent to your struggles or achievements, it might be a sign that they harbour ill feelings towards you. For instance, if you’ve had a bad day at work or are dealing with a personal issue, and they don’t seem to care or show any form of emotional support, this could be a significant red flag.

On the flip side, if they don’t share their joys or concerns with you, it could also signal a lack of emotional connection.

Remember, empathy is what binds us as humans. A lack of it in any relationship, especially one as intimate as family, can be a sign of underlying issues.

5) They exclude you from family events

Family gatherings, holidays, birthdays – these are the times when families come together to celebrate and create memories. Being excluded from such events can be incredibly hurtful.

If you find out about family gatherings after they’ve happened, or notice that your invitation always seems to get “lost,” it could be a sign that your in-laws are intentionally leaving you out.

This feeling of being sidelined, of not being considered part of the family, can be heartbreaking. It’s not just about missing a party; it’s about feeling excluded from something you should naturally be a part of.

Psychology tells us that exclusion is one of the most potent forms of psychological punishment. It’s a way to express dislike without using words.

So, if this exclusion becomes a pattern rather than an occasional oversight, it might be a sign that your in-laws secretly dislike you.

6) They’re overly possessive of your partner

I’ve noticed this in my own life, and it was one of the hardest things to deal with.

When I first married my husband, his parents would often make plans with him and not include me. It was as if they were trying to keep their son all to themselves, not willing to share him with me, his spouse.

This kind of possessiveness may manifest in many ways. Perhaps they insist on spending time alone with your partner, or they always seem to need their help with something. Maybe they constantly reminisce about the “good old days” before you came into the picture.

This type of behavior can make you feel like an outsider in your own relationship. It’s important to remember that it’s not about you, but about their inability to let go and accept the new family dynamic.

7) They don’t respect your boundaries

Respect is a fundamental pillar in any relationship, and this includes respecting personal boundaries.

If your in-laws frequently overstep your boundaries, whether it’s showing up unannounced at your home, interfering with your parenting, or discussing topics you’ve made clear are off-limits, it could be a sign of their underlying disdain.

These infringements might seem small and insignificant at first, but over time they can build up and create tension. It’s not just about the lack of respect; it’s about feeling that your feelings and preferences are being intentionally ignored.

Remember, maintaining healthy boundaries is essential for any relationship to thrive. A disregard for these boundaries might indicate more than just an oversight on their part.

8) They never seem happy for your successes

The most important thing to remember is this: If your in-laws never seem genuinely happy for your successes or achievements, it may be a telltale sign of their hidden dislike towards you.

Whether it’s a promotion at work, a personal goal achieved, or even the simple joys of life, if they can’t share in your happiness or downplay your accomplishments, it’s a clear indication of their feelings.

True family celebrates each other’s wins, no matter how big or small. A lack of enthusiasm or outright dismissal of your victories is not only hurtful but a sign that something isn’t quite right.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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