This is a personal one…for me, point 3, ‘manage your expectations’ was a huge learning with my in-laws. I grew up with basically six people in my family; my mum, dad, sister, nan, and grandad (my mother’s parents), and we were very close. My husband has so many relatives I can’t count them all; he has cousins who are not even related to him! (This is totally foreign to me). My family shows love through touch and words, and his family shows love through acts of service.
Without realising I had expectations of my in-laws, I suddenly realised I had a heap of them when they weren’t met. And they had expectations of me, things that I wasn’t, or couldn’t be or do.
Not being able to meet those expectations was distressing for me for a long time. Looking back, there was probably a good dose of people-pleasing going on that was causing me a considerable amount of inner turmoil, wanting to please them, wanting to please my fiance, and trying to stay aligned to my values in the process. At times, it was a complete nightmare.
In the end, I came to a place in myself where I had to let them all go. I decided if I stick with what feels right for me and aligned with my values, if I lose them all, then so be it. Giving up me and what I stood for was just too great a price, even for the great love I have for my husband.
When I let go and allowed them all to be unhappy with me, when I shifted my expectation for them to accept me as I was, when I said to myself, “I may never be enough, or ‘right’ in this family’s eyes” I set myself free.
We have all tried to focus on what is similar and the values that ARE aligned. We have worked on finding points of connection and on maintaining a comfortable level of intimacy. Whenever two families come together, two family cultures meet. Sometimes that can be massive learning for all involved.
If you are going through this right now, know that I have been there, and it is HARD. My heart is with you. If you need to, please get some support and don’t do it alone.
So much love on your healing journey