I must admit resentment and anger were building and building inside me towards my husband. Everyday I would think about how he hadn’t apologized for his mother’s behavior, or expressed absolute disgust for her continuous disrespectful actions. I felt completely unprotected, unimportant, and helpless; and I blamed him. I didn’t understand why it seemed so hard for him to hold his mom accountable and quickly “nip the situation in the bud”. In my mind it was “black and white”, so easy, and something I would never have let get so far out of hand had it involved him and anyone in my family.
I was so overwhelmed I sought help and outside professional advice. And the one phrase that stuck with me and truly “saved me from going over the edge”, and down the increasing path of resentment was this.
“Just because he doesn’t respond or react the way you would doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe you, support, and love you.” I was told to not only repeat this phrase over and over any time I started to feel overwhelmed, but to also write it down so I wouldn’t forget it. You see, what I learned was that while I was raised to grow as an independent adult, my husband had not been, and therefore did not know how to express his dissatisfaction with, and to his mom. He had been raised by a mother with an aggressive, overbearing personality, and therefore had “learned” to take on a passive, non-confrontational disposition with absolutely no boundaries where she was concerned. Those in this type of situation simply avoid conflict and upsetting their parents because they still relate to them as passive children, as opposed to independent adults. They say things like “you know how my family is”, and or they develop coping behavior like laughing off or downplaying their family’s actions. But most importantly this reaction or response doesn’t mean that your spouse doesn’t believe you, loves you any less, or that you are less important. In fact, in means the exact opposite. They do believe you, love you, and want to support you, as they know first hand how their parents can be. They just haven’t been given the tools necessary to hold their parents accountable in the way you perhaps would, or they deal with the situation in their own way. This one phrase has given me comfort and understanding on many occasions when I needed it most.
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