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Families and In-Laws

June 27th, 2012 by judytalks

Robert Frost once said “Home is the place where, when you need to go there, they have to take you in”. Families can be a port in a storm or the last people you’d contact in a pinch. In-laws fit into this picture because they become part of the extended family.
Flying Solo, my Wednesday group that meets to share information and support, spent the last meeting discussing this very topic – families and in-laws. The range of ideas and opinions was large, with some memories that brought tears, and others that evoked anger and resentment.
Have you ever had a serious squabble with a family member or in-law? What were the points of view, and who took sides? How was it resolved, and did anyone win? Arguments can split family members, sometimes for years. This often happens when there’s a death in the family.
Comforting one another following a death is difficult. Everyone is grieving, and energy levels are low. When someone dies, each one grieves the person they lost, and though they may be related by blood or marriage, each loss is personal and individual. We miss who that persn was to us, and so we comfort on that basis. But a surviving spouse has different needs than a child, sibling, best friend, or co-worker.
Why do people do unkind and unjust things to one another? Often, the ego wins out over loyalty, fairness, and devotion. Lifelong hurts, painful memories, and notions of favoritism lie buried beneath the surface, ready to erupt when defenses are down. A death changes the whole family dynamic and threatens the security of “us”. Overlooking past debts, stepping aside for another to move ahead, or offering the last smidgen of dessert to the “baby” of the family no longer seems relevant. “I have to think of myself, my family, and my rights” becomes the mode of operation, and that comfort zone of knowing “they have to take you in” is diminished.
Practicing the concept of letting go can ease a hurtful situation. This approach is advised by both pratical and intuitive persons who have seen and perhaps experienced the ravages of painful resentment. It doesn’t condone and it doesn’t erase debt, but it does allow you to see everyone for who they really are, including yourself. We’re all in debt to someone, we can all give thanks. Try letting it go and breathe a sigh of relief.
Kindest regards,

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