TheConfidante In the Media
Being that I’m likely going to be one someday, I’ve shelved the Mother-In-Law jokes this week as Part two of “What to do about my partner’s strange friends and family?”.
Last week I touched on the myriad of ways these “free gift with purchase” people with your spouse can infiltrate your love nest causing bitterness and resentment.
Firstly, let’s assume that anyone unlike yourself is just well, weird. Those people who may stray from your ideals, values and behaviours are aliens. Your in-laws will often fall into this category. Your partner’s nuances and behaviours are super cute at the start. When a few of those start to grind on you, there’s that shocking revelation! With utter dismay, you realise there’s a couple on a planet where they learnt them from who are frighteningly way too similar. You exclaimed, “You’re just like your mother (or father)!” How did that go down? I know. Not so well.
Many find they’ve built themselves a quiet place inside their imaginary cave as a last resort to coping. Others are still feisty and will attack any outsiders who may compromise the new family culture they’re trying to create. Thankfully, you now have my tips using an acronym from the word RESPECT:
Respect: Everyone deserves it and so do you. You’re likely different from your in-laws and it’s important to respect the parents of the spouse you’ve chosen to love who made them. How much is healthy to be involved is another thing.
Establish boundaries that support your new family culture. You are your partner can decide what are the best and worst parts of your respective up-bringing you’d like to bring to your own new family culture.
Set the benchmark for those aspects of your life you’re unable to compromise on. This allows you to be more patient and flexible to accept the differences in other areas. What a beautiful gift to your partner to integrate their traditions or funny quirks into your lives for comfort and familiarity. Can you try and replicate that lasagne for your husband his mother lovingly made?
Prepare yourself for visits and holidays. Evaluate your self-talk to ensure it is loving and kind. If you’re already ruminating over their negative behaviours, past hurts and plotting revenge, it won’t take much for you react less than favourably. Hurling your glass of red wine at your wife’s best friend at their wedding will be something you’ll regret.
Enjoy them! Again, you’ve bought into this relationship and will invest favourably for long term return if you make it your business to find something to like about them. What fascinating differences can you learn more about and appreciate?
Champion admirable behaviour and skip the constant judgement. It’s exhausting and taxing on your mental health. Your spouse’s friends and family may not have table manners, the courtesy to call before they drop-in, know when to stop drinking and the list goes on. Instead of cutting them out of your life, can you consistently mentor your values and teach your children? Maybe it’ll catch on?
Take steps to forgive! Unforgiveness of their wrongs holds you in a vice-like grip of toxic stress due to consistent high levels of cortisol in your body – even if you don’t realise it. Who wants to die young because of their Mother in Law?
Listen in for some cheer each Friday for my weekly co-host with Kristian on Salt106.5 between 6am-9am when we take a preview on these articles and much more.
Joanne Wilson is the weekly columnist for the Sunshine Coast Daily Weekend magazine, weekly radio guest, professional relationship counsellor and certified clinical neuropsychotherapy practitioner of TheConfidante Counselling. She is based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland - Australia. You can contact her at: www.theconfidantecounselling.com or email HERE.
Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilised.
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Relationship Specialist for Individuals and Couples servicing areas including Caloundra, Noosa, Noosaville, Buderim, Mountain Creek, Gympie.