Archive for June 24th, 2007

June 24, 2007

My wife does not want my family to visit us….

by Rod Smith

“I am an only son with a good network of uncles and aunts. After my marriage my wife has become quite disillusioned with all my relatives. There were instances where she was not treated the way she expected to be treated when we visited them. Now they want to visit us at our home and my wife is creating havoc and does not want to have them visit. I have told her that it is just a question of 2 or 3 weeks and that we will treat them as guests and move on. She fails to understand this and is forcing me to tell them not to come! What do I do?”

Cutting off from either of your extended families will be of little or no benefit to your new marriage. I’d suggest you encourage your wife to talk to your (now also her) relatives about what it is that has upset her and to face her issues with the (her) family herself. Now that you are married it is not “your family” or “her family” but the families you both share. Refuse to play “piggy in the middle.” Get out of her way, let her handle her family issues herself.

June 24, 2007

Feeling second-guessed…

by Rod Smith

“I am so sad. It is so difficult to be second-guessed. My husband tells me not to worry about it yet I can’t help but feel displaced whenever my in-laws decide to take my role (with my children) or want to criticize me. I cannot win under any circumstance. Please help me learn how to be satisfied with myself.”

It is not about “winning” as much as it is clearly defining yourself (to your husband and in-laws). Unless invasive people (people with poor boundaries) hear a clear statement regarding your boundaries, they will invade your life and family, and their invasions will grow progressively stronger.

Your husband, is appears, is unable (unwilling) to assist you. He apparently wants to avoid necessary confrontation required to clearly separate his “new” family (primary responsibility) from what was his family (secondary responsibility).

Being more satisfied with yourself will emerge from within many aspects of your life as you make your voice known to your children, husband and in-laws. These encounters of self-definition need not be negative to be effective. Using playfulness is a good place to start. Thereafter, you might need to be more assertive if you are going to be heard. It takes a life-time to be heard, I’d suggest you start voicing your thoughts and feelings as soon as possible.

June 24, 2007

Clearing the air…

by Rod Smith

Sometimes, for whatever reason, the atmosphere in a family (business, school, church) can become tense, even threatening. When deceit is tolerated, necessary conflicts are avoided, and when people are regarded as possessions, rather than as separate, unique, and valued people, the accompanying stresses can give rise to aggressive and passive-aggressive behaviors of avoidance and sabotage. At best, under such circumstances, life can feel like a tiring game of hide and seek. Alleviate some of the intensity (given there is no infidelity or gross misbehaviors occurring) by:

1. Talking about the matters that are the most difficult to talk about. Let the strongest person, the one who is most aware of the need to clear the air, call attention to the need to talk about the very fact that matters are difficult to discuss.
2. Talking about your own behavior and not about the behavior of others.
3. Taking responsibility for your part in the difficulties.
4. Being willing to live with a degree of helpful compromise.
5. Forgiving others without requiring others to beg for forgiveness.

(posted in Taiwan)