Admittedly, a lot of us have problems getting along with our own families. Just because we’re connected by blood doesn’t guarantee harmony. Along the way, we’ve tried to develop methods of coping with our relatives on the required occasions – Thanksgiving, Christmas and so forth. And this can be tough. (You know that domestic violence increases sharply around these times!) But just think of trying to get along with his family… a family who really liked his ex and still wants her around!
I had a caller who wanted a reading on just when (or if) his family would learn to tolerate her. She said that they weren’t actively hostile, but still made her feel unwelcome in different ways. They talked about the good qualities of his ex (in her presence). Different stories were told about the happy times that they had all had together. To add to the mix, he had two children by his ex, and of course they didn’t like their dad’s new wife, either. When she was in their company, they complained about how she didn’t do things the way their mother did. These were school-aged children who talked constantly to their father about when he was coming home to be with them and their mother. What a miserable situation she was in!
I told her that she had choices, of course. One choice she could make was to be hostile in return to their comments. She could make remarks about the ex: that she could not have been perfect, that nobody had all those wonderful qualities, and that if she were that great, why wasn’t she still in the family? The caller could also tell her husband how she didn’t want to associate with his family or his children, and that they were all impossible to be around.
This is one choice that she had. However, this choice was not a productive one. She might feel better temporarily unloading on all these clueless people – but how would this help build a good relationship in the long run? Tit for tat, usually, is not fruitful in a positive way.
The other choice that she had was to work at building a good relationship with her husband’s family, no matter how painful she might find it in the short-term. She had to learn to smile and accept in silence all the fulsome remarks about the ex. After all, the operative term was “ex.” That woman was no longer a part of the family. The caller would also have to work at learning these people in a sincere way, even though they were not extending her the same courtesy.
We all have choices to make in our lives that will affect our future. Sometimes the choices are not the ones we would like to have. In this woman’s case, it would have been much more pleasant if her husband’s family had been more welcoming, not comparing her to the ex-wife. But we deal with life the way it comes, not the way we would like it to be, sadly. In this case, trying to be pleasant at all times and letting the family learn what a great person she was appeared to be the most rational and productive choice she could take for her future. I wished her luck!