For instance, you marry the man of your dreams, only to realize that his sister is everything you feared. A full-on nightmare of evil actions and words, verbal sparring meant to hurt, passive-aggressive behavior, materialistic values like you’ve never seen before, greed, jealousy, drug use, disrespect... you name it. Toss that in with different lifestyles, values, and parenting and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
It’s so easy to hate. It’s so easy to despise.
But I’ve learned a few life lessons, too. (I had to, what else could I do?). Here’s a few, in no order what-so-ever.
1. Kids are innocent victims. They can’t choose who they are born to. Their upbringing is what they know. You can stoop to their parents level of interaction, OR you can take the high road and set an example of another way of living.
2. You will never, ever get a passive-aggressive personality to see things “your way”. Trying will only wear you down.
3. Being supportive of your spouse, while refusing to let yourself become a doormat can be tricky business. But, it is possible to be supportive and caring without getting personally involved. Of course, that sounds a whole lot easier than it is when that crazy person takes personal shots at you. It’s a struggle, really.
4. No matter what the crazy in-law does or says, no matter how personal they try to make it, it really doesn’t have anything to do with you. Really. Nothing at all. Their issues are deep seated, and go way back before you were ever in the picture. Their issues stem from familial relationships wired wrong. You are just an easy target.
5. No matter how poorly wired familial relationships are, how we react is a choice. Case in point - my husband and his sister had the same upbringing. They are completely different people, making polar opposite choices on how to live their lives and participate in relationships.
Even in sour relationships, we are given gifts. They aren’t always easy to see. And sometimes they are bittersweet.
1. We have two lovely nieces, that we hope to maintain contact with for a lifetime. They are full of potential with the whole world in front of them, just like most children. They are our son’s cousins, and we love that he has them in his life, even if from a distance.
2. Sometimes a sour relationship with an in-law can give you a much deeper understanding of who your spouse is. Where their thoughts and habits come from. You may realize that something that just annoyed you, actually comes from a long used place of mental self-preservation. It sheds a new light and makes you more tolerant.
3. When a ‘crazy’ starts alienating people, often others are driven closer. Relationships deepen. You are often able to experience a special relationship that you might not otherwise have had. Bittersweet, yes, but priceless all the same.
4. A hard one to admit is that you may see in the ‘crazy’, little pieces of yourself. If you can step back and really see it, you can work harder to make changes in your own life, to become a better person, to eliminate bad habits.
5. Seriously? If you make the right choices, it just makes you stronger. If you can weather that storm, you can weather A LOT.
And the moral? You could lose yourself in how awful it is. You could waste precious energy and emotion letting them under your skin. Or you can make the choice to see the bright side. I’m not saying that’s easy. And I’m not saying I don’t