If you’ve ever wondered why conflict with in-laws is almost always associated with women, well, this lady might just give you the answer.
The holiday season has begun, which means sharing some special moments with family and friends over dinners, trips, or just Christmas gift exchanges. When it comes to family, there can be some particular relationships that we all dread and don’t look forward to. However, the other side of it is the fact that they're ultimately your family and so you must because life is short, family is everything and ‘tis the season of joy and giving. However, the one relationship that universally bothers most married women is that of their in-laws. There hasn’t been one particular answer to this question, but one woman has sparked the debate and quenched many curiosities about this topic on TikTok about why women often find themselves at loggerheads with their in-laws.
Nicole Michelle—who goes by @nicolemichelleofficial on TikTok—a wellness coach posted a video captioned, “If you’re struggling with issues with your in-laws, one overarching component is access. Boils down to women, daughters-in-law and sisters-in-law making an active choice do not participate and everything and enmesh with them.” She explains this stance further when she begins the video by saying, “I'm beginning to think that the reason why women have so many issues with their in-laws, more so than men do, is because our society's idea about women is that we are accessible.” She further adds that women’s “mental, emotional and physical labor is just free and accessible” and so if a woman gets married and decides not to accept or “go along” with certain ideas, “there is pushback,” precisely because they're "not allowing access."
Michelle's points made a great revelation that most women probably aren’t even aware of. She then goes on to say, “So, let’s look at this on a broader scale. Look at what’s happening in the United States with women’s rights. Look what happened June 24th of 2022,” referring to the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and made abortion illegal in twenty-one states, per The New York Times’ latest data.
She went on to add that society, policies and culture play a vital role in making women believe that they can be “controlled” and "accessed." She also said, “When we make choices for ourselves, such as setting boundaries with family members, we are told we are ‘wrong, bad, evil, mean’ or ‘just wait until you have kids, it’s going to happen to you too’ because we have made a choice for certain people to not have access to us because women are taught to be accommodating, be nice, just go along.”
Making some accurate and eye-opening points, she further elaborated and said that after getting married, if women choose to express themselves and say ‘no’ to coming over for the holidays “or can’t do X, Y, Z” due to any reason such as “prior commitments as a couple or for ourselves,” women are always the ones to be “scapegoated” or considered “the bad guy.” She concludes the video by coming back to a full circle and asking, “What does it all boil down to? Choice. Women making an active choice to be autonomous even though they're married to a man." She also added the most important takeaway of her video: “De-centering in-laws means de-centering men. And how do we de-center? We make active choices, authentic to ourselves based on our core values while focusing or shifting our energy to what matters most to us. Boundaries.”
Michelle’s words echoed like the anthem for boundaries for women and the comments section roared in agreement. Women came together to share their similar experiences. @kelseyshields14 said, “I’ve told my husband. It’s not expected of him to be in contact with my mom constantly but it’s expected of me to always be in contact with yours.” @ccbmurphy pointed out an interesting alternative perspective to this, “It’s honestly jealousy, that this generation is saying no to things that were just expectations in previous generations.”