The MIL Chronicles
The MIL Chronicles
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Tag Archives: Mother-in-Law Issues

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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The Top 7 Issues Mother-in-Laws Have With Their Daughter-in-Laws, and a DIL’s Response

  1. You’re now most important in his life. To this I say, “Shouldn’t I be”? If the most important relationship and union is that between a husband and wife, how strong and successful can the foundation and future growth of this relationship be if someone other than the spouse is put first? How would you feel if your husband put another woman before you? No one can ever take the place of you as a mother, and I don’t know any married woman that wishes to assume the role of “mother” to her husband. However, part of growing and moving through the stages of parenthood is understanding and accepting your change in role once your child enters into adulthood and eventually gets married. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t important, but rather that your role in his life must change if you want your son to have a successful marriage. 2. You’re creating your own traditions that sometimes don’t involve me. Mother-in-Laws I beg you to read my blog post titled “It’s Not Your Time”. Give us the space to embrace our time as parents. We need, and have every right to create our own traditions that we too will have to adjust once our time has passed and it becomes our child’s time to have the same opportunities with their children. Show that you respect the fact that it’s not about you, that it is not your time, and that we are the parents. And while you may not always be able to be part of every single tradition, you will be welcomed to experience the majority of them. It’s important that our dreams of our own traditions are able to be realized, as I’m sure you wanted yours to be.   3. I’m still his Mother. This … Continue reading

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“When You Marry Him, You Marry All of Us”…

Has anyone with a strained in-law relationship ever thought to them self, “This is not what I signed up for?” I know there have been many times that I’ve not only thought this, but I’ve even uttered the words! However, it’s a phrase everyone has heard at least once in their life regarding marriage; “When you marry him, you marry ALL OF US!” But is this really what you sign up for when you say “I do”? To be committed till death do us part to an entire family? While I think most people understand that marrying one person, means having to interact with the other person’s extended family with some level of frequency each year, but are you pledging the same vows to your spouse’s family as you are to your actual spouse? For the purposes of this blog, this question really comes into play when there is a strained relationship between a wife and mother-in-law. When there is continuous disrespect on all accords with no hope in sight, as in the case of Melissa and Betty, should you continue to forgive time after time and work on continuing a relationship because it’s your spouse’s family? Or is there ever a point in which you say, “I married you not your mother/ family and I’m done?” According to Dr. Phil, one quarter of divorced couples report that in-laws were “somewhat” responsible for their marriages ending. That’s 25% of divorced couples! It’s amazing to me that people outside of a marriage can have that much influence on what goes on between two people within a marriage. Maybe as our expert, Kimberly Gist Miller explained as it relates to the field of psychology, there are not only 2 people in a marriage, but at least six and maybe more! To some … Continue reading

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“Enmeshment” – How This Concept Can Hinder the Ability to Cleave

It has been said that when we marry, we must “leave” our family of origin and “cleave” to our spouse. Additionally, when two people marry there is an idea of the couple joining to become “one”. Two people join together, bringing all of their life experience, beliefs, and hopes to create a hybrid sense of “oneness”. Ideally, that sounds so sweet and blissful. Yet practically, it can be a challenge. And for many newly wed and not so newly wed couples, it is a huge undertaking. Sometimes, it’s a disaster. I suspect the reason this blissful joining is so challenging for some is because of the relationship with their family of origin. I would like to propose that one of the biggest challenges of “two” becoming “one” is that “two” really isn’t “two”. “Two” in actuality tends to be “six”. In the early stages of my clinical training, a very wise clinical supervisor said to me, “Kim, when you are in a room working with a couple there is at least six people in that room”. In my very green and inexperienced way, I looked at him and said, “huh?” “He then responded, “When you do couples therapy, you have the couple and two sets of parents in that room with you”. In my 20 years of experience, I have found that to be quite true. When we marry and become “one”, we tend to bring our family of origin with us. This is often unspoken and subconscious and is primarily conveyed in our beliefs, values and expectations. In some marriages, one or both partners are still very bonded with the family of origin. In my world, this is called being “enmeshed”. This bonding shows up in the partner’s inability to “leave” and hesitancy to “cleave”. This can play out … Continue reading

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