Still remember when I happened to meet my mother in law for the first time how I felt uneasy, uncomfortable with an element of being under a scanner. It was not nice, at all. Not that she said anything to me that should have made me feel awkward or dislike her but somehow over the years I realised she just had in her to make me feel so stupidly unwanted, disliked so categorically as though announcing-You are NOT what I wanted, now that you are here, whatever!
To begin with I played really hard to please her, make her like me, somehow convince her that it was OK to be different, considering that our marriage was an intercaste marriage. I was so different from them, couldn’t identify with them on any aspect. It was an eventual finding that none of our tastes matched.
I tried to put up with our differences never paid, back fired instead.
So taking a deep breath, starting afresh I tried convincing myself it was OK! We come from two different background & families we are bound to be different. I tried embracing her difference, tried my best to be what she expected me to be, even put up with her ‘no egg’ days (blah! Why the hell?? Must I have to do this ?) I tried doing all the big n little things to the best of my capacity, things that she expected me to, again I TRIED, but that was not good enough to please her. I was never appreciated for anything. My mistakes and faults were blown out of proportion.
I felt misunderstood, misread which deeply upset me.
Okay so proved it by then I was no good to please her but what was worse was every time I tried to say, suggest or advise on something, it was taken out of context and I felt completely misunderstood & misread. I was confused and very upset. Still remember something happened & I was upset with my husband and she coaxed me into telling her things. I like an idiot trusted her (whoa no love you never overshare, not with your in-laws nah! Not smartest thing to do) You might be able to guess now what would have happened?? Of course she got upset & of course it was all my fault. So I realised what an idiot I was to overshare things. How could I be so naive to think she would understand me like my mom would. Well no! She wouldn’t, she can’t. She is NOT my mom is she? I cried and I cried and I cried and there was no end to my crying.
Silly me! I expected her to welcome me in her heart & life, not treat me like an outsider.
I expected her to be like my mom. Nah! Not mom, she was, hell no! Stupid that Iam, don’t understand things easily. I decided I needed a little heart to heart chat with her. Tried to explain that coz she is my hubby’s mom I would like us to be open and warm to each other and expect the same from her. I expected her to welcome me in her heart & life as a family and not treat me as an outsider. Even as I was holding the conversation I realised it wasn’t being taken the right way, felt her eyes wondering, non interested perhaps? Also her face kept growing red, Wallah! My talks infuriated her? Why? I was only trying to break the ice, weren’t I? In a little while I saw her with my hubby and she looked like she was gonna break down in tears any minute. Really ?? OMG what the hell was I thinking she is NOT mom, is she? Why did I ever try to even break barriers and get into her territory trying, attempting to tell her we could do better. She freaking didn’t want it. Again, my fault!
The harder I tried, the harder I was subtly hinted I wasn’t good enough.
I am not quite sure how this was. Coz apart from being a journalist, a writer and artist that I am, I just love to cook. I am a self taught cook, comes in genes from mums, aren’t I so proud! I can cook half asleep. I could be bad at everything but I CAN’T freaking get my cooking wrong I can vouch on that. I could live in my kitchen. Anything english, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, of course Indian. You name it. LOL! She never liked what I cooked & how sadly she would join in the chorus when others would sing my praise at deserts I lovingly cooked for them. It was plain hilarious. So it wasn’t just one thing. I was bad at everything it seems. Do you know why? Perhaps coz she didn’t like me. She was far too shut down to accept me, own me as a family. Well you see I wasn’t good enough.
Then I got to a point I started enjoying her retarded retorts.
Lol! I knew no matter what I do it would never be liked. THAT was much bearable rather than trying your heart & soul only to fall flat on the face. So much so I could mimic her retarded retorts. She just had a way to demean, belittle things in a funny manner. I was getting so used to all this. It just never mattered to me. I decided I wasn’t gonna do anything about it. It just won’t improve no matter what I do or say. Utmost! Every time something happened I would be like – there you again! Okay! Alright whatever, you are always right & I am always wrong. You stay happy in your world, I stay happy at mine.
Here my lovelies! So if you are these crossroads struggling to strike a balance and dunno how to do inlaws lol! Iam happy to tell how
- Set your expectations right from the very start. Define your territories. You don’t mess with them & they CANT mess with you.
- Please be respectful to them, don’t love if you cant.Love is an instinct, cannot be demanded or given it emerges from within. It takes two. Respect them with all your heart & soul coz they are your spouse’s parents.
- Do NOT in anyway fake the equation that isn’t there in the first place. Play at the same level. Do not disappoint, don’t be disappointed.
- You don’t have to be in the good books, just ensure you are NOT in the bad books.
- Avoid arguments with them. If they are being silly. You don’t have to.
- Establish necessary boundaries. If they must come on a Sunday & that happens to be your family day. Be firm, be assertive yet polite and tell them so. Don’t fear them not liking you lol! In all likeliness they already don’t lol!
- Key tactic is NOT to engage with them. Handle your emotions right, take charge of your emotions. Don’t react. Turn a deaf ear at best. Don’t take anything they say personally, never. Why give them the joy lol! Fair enough? Play it smart!
- Prioritise, its okay if you are termed selfish. Self is very important & if your gym or prayers or walks or friends feel more important over them on phone or at home. So be it. It is healthy. You are NOT ignoring, just prioritising.
- In NO circumstance you are to put up with abusive-toxic in-laws who never have nice things to say. Refuse to take what you don’t want to.
Hopefully this should help you (some) to be able to handle your in laws better.
Remember only you have the right to live the life how you want it to. No one else should be able to make you miserable, only you yourself do. Refuse it! You can do it, ace it!