The MIL Chronicles
The MIL Chronicles
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Category Archives: Relationships

What Does Forgiveness and Moving Forward Look Like?

Can you have one without the other? That is, moving forward without forgiveness? For me moving forward is a combination of knowing where you stand, accepting a person for who they are, and establishing boundaries “from this day forward” so to speak; never again being caught off guard or expecting someone to behave in a manner other than their true character. But does forgiveness mean you’re supposed to welcome the person back into your life as if nothing ever happened? Wipe the slate clean for instance? And if you’re not able to do this, does that mean you haven’t actually forgiven the person? What does it mean if you simply don’t desire a close relationship with your MIL after years of a tumultuous dynamic at best? Does that make you a horrible person incapable of forgiveness? Should you just take on an “it’s water under the bridge” attitude and be open to becoming “BFFs”? I know of many daughter-in-laws that struggle with this, and begin questioning their ability to forgive. I especially do when my mother-in-law wants to have small talk, for example, like we’re old girlfriends. It’s honestly uncomfortable for me because I don’t want to let her in; which means not having much to say. Blog Poll

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“When Someone Shows You Who They Are, Believe Them”

It’s one of my favorite quotes from the great Maya Angelou, and it’s so very true in every sense of the phrase. Yet many times we naively think, “he or she will change”, and “it will be different this time”. Then we’re surprised when someone does something that is in their true character to do, after turning a blind eye to the realities of the situation. I remember talking to a counselor and telling her about my mother-in-law’s behavior following a recent visit. I was surprised as she seemed so nonchalant about what I was telling her. In contrast, I was livid! My mother-in-law’s horrible behavior had reached new heights! Then she looked at me and said “I’m not surprised, and I don’t know why you are either.” She continued by telling me that my mother-in-law had been consistent, and had shown me who she truly was a long time ago, so why was I surprised by the things she continued to do. I was dumbfounded. All I could do was be silent and reflect on the magnitude of her incredibly simple summary of the situation. I realized I naively thought things would eventually be different; that with time she would change. I had given her the benefit of the doubt time and time again, but at that moment, I realized I hadn’t accepted her for who she truly was. Accepting someone for who they are goes hand in hand with the saying “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” I remember a friend of mine calling me while her mother-in-law was in town for a visit. After a horrible series of events during my friend’s baby shower, it was the first time she was seeing her mother-in-law since everything unfolded. Her MIL had offered … Continue reading

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“It’s Not Your Time”

The scene is set. It’s Olivia’s 4th birthday and Olivia’s mom Renee is very excited about hosting her daughter’s annual birthday party. She’s made all the necessary preparations; the perfect cake, check; the perfect decorations, check; the perfect dress, check; and a special visit from all the Disney Princesses, check. The problem…Olivia’s grandmother has her own ideas for her birthday and has bought a separate cake and a second dress despite her mother’s wishes and expressed disapproval. She feels after all, it’s her right as a grandmother to do for, and buy her granddaughter whatever she wants, whenever she wishes. So each year, Olivia has two birthday cakes and two dresses because of one reason, she has an overbearing grandmother that doesn’t understand the concept of our blog title, “It’s Not Your Time”. In general, I think people have a hard time understanding when it’s not about them, but this really comes to pass during big celebrations like weddings, showers and birthdays. Because the concepts of “It’s Not About You”, and It’s Not Your Time” are lost and overtaken by a sense of entitlement, a need for control, and at times a feeling of jealously. Olivia has two cakes and two dresses at her birthday parties simply because her grandmother doesn’t know her place, and doesn’t realize that it’s not her time. And more importantly, that she had her time with her children. So the question arises, “Does this mean I can’t be a grandmother to my grandchild?” And the answer is “Of course not.” I’m not suggesting that a grandparent can’t or shouldn’t be a part of those special memories and new traditions, and spoil their grandchildren rotten. But it does mean giving the parents the space to embrace their time as parents, and respecting their choices, decisions and … Continue reading

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It Can Go Both Ways – “The Horror That is Mama Joyce”

I’ve mostly focused my posts on the relationship between the mother-in law and daughter-in-law. But the on screen drama that has played out on both The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and on the Bravo TV special, “Kandi’s Wedding”, between Mama Joyce, Kandi, and her fiancé Todd, proves that the dysfunctional relationship, the inability to leave and cleave, and the Single Mother-in-Law Syndrome can definitely go both ways. The amount, and level of disrespect not only to Todd and his family, but also to Kandi and her childhood friend Carmen is truly heartbreaking and so difficult to watch. And even more cringe-worthy is watching Kandi’s consistent inability to hold her mom accountable on so many occasions. She epitomizes the concept of still relating to her mom as a child, despite her financial independence, and not understanding that she will never have a healthy relationship long term until she understands what it means to “Leave and Cleave.” Among Mama Joyce’s many deplorable moments, one that stood out was when she referred to Todd’s mother and deceased father (who passed when Todd was three) as a pimp and a prostitute to Kandi; claiming that he “learned the game” from his parents. You see, Mama Joyce questions Todd’s motives, and is convinced that Todd and his mother are after Kandi’s/”her” money. Yet, the only reason I would actually question Todd’s intentions would be because he is knowingly committing to having Mama Joyce as an in-law. Instead of telling her mom that what she said is wrong and disrespectful to both Todd and his mom, and that she wouldn’t stand around to hear it, it seems Kandi’s way of coping is to laugh off her mother’s inappropriate and disrespectful actions. However, as I discuss in the blog titled, “Therefore Shall a Man Leave His Father … Continue reading

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Thicker Than Blood……In God’s Eyes

To the naked eye, and in literal terms, blood is thicker than water. And in most situations, I would agree with the phrase. But when referring to two married adults, is this the case? We’ve all been told at some point in our lives that blood IS thicker than water. That is, your family, your blood, should always come first. You never turn your back on your family. Yet at times family can hurt you more deeply than friends, leaving you to wonder who needs enemies with family members like mine. And sometimes your friends are there for you, and more supportive of you than your own family. Even Oprah has said that Gail, her well-known best friend, is the mother she never had and the sister she always wanted. On the flip side, there’s nothing like having a sister or brother, or another member of your family that knows you and allows you to be yourself. The fellowship and unconditional love and trust is like no other. But when your family doesn’t accept who you’ve chosen as your spouse, and simply refuses to trust your decision, and/or respect your relationship, what do you do? How do you move forward? I remember seeing an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey and hearing Teresa Guidice yell to her brother, “Be a man and stick with your blood!” She wanted him to protect and defend her, his sister, and not his own wife. He was somehow weak and ultimately wrong for “choosing” to stand by his wife’s side. It makes me wonder, when put in the situation of having to choose between your spouse and your family, what’s the right choice? It’s an understandably difficult situation since choosing your spouse can mean losing more than one member of your family. … Continue reading

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Therefore Shall a Man Leave His Father and His Mother…

In the animal kingdom, though it varies by species, a mother releases her young into the wild as soon as they’re done nursing, learning how to hunt, and have been given the necessary tools to survive. The mother trusts that she’s done her job in preparing her young, and seems to inherently know that she must let go and is easily able to do so. The young grow to procreate and form their own families. So why in the human species does there seem to be such difficulty giving in to this rite of passage? Do animals in their most natural environment have it wrong? “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis chapter two verse twenty-four describes the biblical interpretation of a man’s rite of passage as he enters into marriage. Interestingly, the biblical command to leave is given to men. However, veteran marriage counselors and authors of “Restoring the Christian Family”, John & Paula Sanford, explain that far more often they find men rather than women unable to do so. It makes me wonder why this is the case, and what is it about the relationship between a mother and son that creates this inability to “cut the cord”? According to Bill Lawrence, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries, and Adjunct Professor of Doctor of Ministry Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, marriage demands a commitment of the deepest nature because it requires a total identification between husband and wife. And before this identification can take place, there must be a separation from other relationships that have been given identification in the past. To leave means that both people must change the way they relate to their parents. It doesn’t mean that we cease … Continue reading

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