Sometimes alienating yourself voluntarily from your in-laws is not a bad thing and this wife on TikTok is encouraging other women to do it too.
Families living apart from one another always reconnect and spend time together during the holidays. Well, that happens only if there isn't a conflict about whose place everyone is gathering at. It's unfortunate that a lot of families deal with this problem around the holidays, which frequently results in heated arguments and relationships getting sour. By "decentering" her in-laws, Nicole Michelle (@nicolemichelleofficial on TikTok) claims that she has restored harmony during her holiday sessions and is encouraging other women like her to follow suit.
In her controversial video, Michelle announces why she doesn't regret her decision. After 18 years of marriage to her husband, Michelle's concept of marriage has dramatically changed. "Decentering my in-laws was the best thing I did for my marriage," she states at the beginning, “We have been taught as women that when we get married, we take on our husband’s family and that two families now become one." She remarks about how women are often not given a choice on whether or not they want to welcome their husbands' side of the family during holidays. “The truth is, we are not related to them,” she quips, “We are not taking or making marital vows to them.” This is where the real struggle with the in-laws comes into play. “If you’re marrying their son and you’re going to be in their family, they expect you to act like one of them,” she continues.
Michelle claims that when two families connect, the family of the in-laws expect women like her to be more like them. She believes that maybe a part of it is due to the effects of patriarchy that still loom in our society and notes that husbands do not face the same kind of situation from their wives' families. Upon realizing this, Michelle slowly began to distance herself from her in-laws and it worked in her favor as the holidays approached.
“If you’re having issues with your in-laws, especially getting into the holiday season and all the back and forth starts happening about whose house you're going to, what time you're coming and how long you're staying before leaving to visit your family, just know that you don’t have to do any of it, especially if they’re in-laws,” Michelle remarks. “In-laws is just an ideology created by patriarchy through marriage.” People were left divided over her opinions about her self-imposed estranged relationship with her in-laws and fellow TikTok users expressed their thoughts on her approach.
@itsadavisthing wrote, "Depending on how your husband feels about his family, if he’s close to them, it is better for you to be nice, especially if it’s important to him." @sahmarletth commented, "My parents took in my husband like a son, respected him and loved him so much and my in-laws treated me as trash. I ghosted them for good." @brittanyadams1982 added, "This all depends on each family too. I’ve seen it on both sides: if one member steps up, one steps back; one wants to be first, one doesn’t want to be around."
Another TikTok mom named Janelle Marie (@millennialmatleave) recently made a video and explained something called "toxic mother-in-law math." “Toxic mother-in-law math is having four, five, six grandchildren, deciding one of them is your favorite and making sure everybody knows loud and clear,” Janelle begins, “Toxic mother-in-law math is knowing that your married, adult child has two or more sets of family gatherings to go to and deciding unilaterally that yours is the most important one." The mom pointed out the many ways toxic mothers-in-law use passive-aggressive methods to assert subtle control and in turn, sabotage their relationships.