I just had a nice heart-to-heart with one of my mother-in-laws (I have two). She wanted to talk about how I feel about fitting into their family dynamics. It was my intention in the previous blog to point out some of the extreme differences between my family dynamics and Jake’s (and since he has 2 families, there’s a lot of dynamics!).
As a counselor, I’m fortunate to have had many people share their family’s dirty laundry (ie anything you don’t readily share with others). So, I know that it is a very common trait for families to anger, abstain, forgive, forget. My point is that this is different for me and I feel awkward with it. Jake doesn’t worry about censoring himself because he is ok with the ebb and flow of his family dynamics. If I were to anger one of his relatives, it would be/is devastating to me!
Another example: As I mentioned, Jake is LIVING with my parents! Recently I had a conversation with some of my cousins about how they were always terrified of my father. This surprised me, but is very understandable once they explained. See, any friend or relative that spent time at my house in their youth was, without exception, snapped at by my father and very likely given chores. My cousins have horror stories about coming to visit and being forced to trim Christmas trees ! It was QUITE an adjustment for Jake to figure out how to remain respectful of my father while also standing up for himself when getting snapped at. My sister and I can roll our eyes, move the screw driver over the ¼ inch to precisely where we found it, and move on. Jake has slowly gained that comfort level with my father, though his eye rolls are not as obvious.
So I admire my husband’s willingness to take on my family dynamics and I am glad that my in-laws have been gentle with their misfit of a daughter-in-law.
One final attempt to be honest, but smooth things over: My dad is not a mean guy. In fact, he’s extremely popular and well-known for his awesome sense of humor.