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It's likely I'm going to be one someday, so have shelved the Mother-In-Law jokes this week as Part two of “What to do about my partner’s strange friends and family?” - in preparation for Mother’s Day next week.
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. Speaking of FREE, keep reading to ensure you get the free unique Mother's Day gift with a difference.
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. (Social distancing also won’t go on forever!) 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 chocolate pudding for your husband his mother used to lovingly make?
Prepare yourself for all the making up for lost time visits and holidays together following the pandemic. 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?
Here's my thoughtful gift idea FREE for you to download. It's a beautiful list of prompts to deepen your knowledge of your Mum - "Legacy of Love Questions for Mother's Day". She can complete them together with you or just send them in her own time. Hey Dads! Roll up the print-out and gift on behalf of small children. If you're a Mother, print and gift them your inner thoughts, desires and history!
Joanne Wilson is a neuropsychotherapist, relationship specialist, workshop facilitator and guest speaker. Tune into radio Salt106.5 each Friday morning for her co-host of the Morning Wakeup. Don’t miss more on these articles in her “Is This Love” Podcast and download your FREE relationship resources at www.relationshiprejuvenator.com
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.
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 utilized. Approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy may be incorporated.
Relationship Specialist for individuals and Couples online around the world and servicing areas for face to face sessions including Caloundra, Noosa, Noosaville, Buderim, Mountain Creek, Gympie.
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