Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Nervous Response Lands LW in Hot Water

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I have a history of nervous laughter that goes back to when I was at least in high school, if not earlier. My mom doesn’t remember exactly when it started, but she had me checked out by the family doctor, who sent me for therapy when it started happening more often by the time I was a sophomore in high school.

Last month I got to meet my fiancé’s family for the first time, and even though I used all my usual coping techniques, I still had a couple of bursts of what I am sure came off as inappropriate laughter. I got “the look” from his mother and her sister.

I got along with everyone for the most part, buy my fiancé did take me aside and told me that there was some talk about whether or not I’m a “little off”. Even though he stood up for me and explained about my issue, they still treated me differently after the two incidents.

What do I do to convince my future in-laws that I’m not “out there”? --- SOMETIMES I CAN’T HELP IT

DEAR SOMETIMES I CAN’T HELP IT: I think a lot of us at one time or another experience a case of nerves that touches off an unusual reaction, so you’re far from alone in that.

While it’s good your fiancé did his best to explain the situation, it might be even better for you to reach out directly to at least your future mother-in-law to provide your side of the story, including cluing her in on some of the strategies you use to control your nervous laughter.

It sounds like you’ve worked hard to manage your condition, and educating your future in-laws about both your challenges and what they can do to help support your efforts might go a long way once you’re part of their family.

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