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My Mother-in-law

In one of my previous posts, I told a story where I got verbally destroyed by my mother-in-law while laying down on my couch trying to go to sleep. This is the second half of the post. I wouldn't post something to slander a name. This second half is a post of redemption. And, of course, it's only my side of the experience.

My mother-in-law ended up proving to be the perfect guinea pig for a lot of tools and skills that my therapist was teaching me. We had quite a few interactions, which were followed up by me bringing these interactions up to my therapist, which led to recommendations that I tried out in conversations leading to a reconciliation. I learned to sort my thoughts out before a conversation and write out everything I intended to say so that nothing was forgotten. I learned to ask questions and stay present in the moment. I learned how to listen and respond instead of reacting and getting defensive. I learned how to set and enforce boundaries. I learned how to communicate needs in a healthy manner. I learned how to be confident and stand up for myself. She got comfortable with it and was very respectful of my ideas and this new way of doing things. She even participated herself when she set her own boundary.

As an example, one of the conversations we had was about the specific event that led to all of this. There was a disagreement in a specific way of raising my son (making a step stool available or hiding it unless it was in use). I expressed to her that I am the father, and she is the grandmother/babysitter. I will always listen to her ideas if she has any. And if we have an agreement on something, then that is awesome. But we won't always agree. And when that is the case, then I will make the decision, and she has to deal with it, or she can leave. This was in a very controlled and respectful conversation. I know I may sound heartless or rude. It was anything but. She understood and even agreed.

One way she was able to participate: there was a time when I had a dentist appointment scheduled for my son while my wife and I were supposed to be at work. She ended up letting me know that she's not able to be the primary caretaker during doctor and dentist visits because she doesn't like to see or hear my son when he is in pain and can't be 100% present for supervision. And that was just something I had to deal with. And it was okay. Awesome, even. I thanked her for stating that and we've been working with it ever since.

Since then, our mother/son relationship has flourished and gotten even stronger. She's been a huge support for me. We reach out to each other often. There are no passive aggressive remarks. We each voluntarily help each other out. There is verbal praise of each other. We even each got a kayak a few weeks ago and took them out to a local lake. I never truly give up on anyone. I am always for friendship, love, reconciliation, forgiveness, kindness. I like to believe the other person has the best of intentions and is trying there hardest, and I give them the benefit of the doubt. Life is a lot simpler that way. Holding grudges takes too much energy.

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