Yes, we do. But are my opinions of my husband’s family and friends based on loving acceptance or from the lenses of my own issues and I’m projecting them?
Mind you, there may be behaviors of some family or friends that are toxic – and hopefully your spouse welcomes the opportunity for input on how to navigate challenging situations. This isn’t an opportunity to unleash your frustrations with colorful character assassinations that creates ill-will. This is an opportunity for peaceful, respectful solutions that deepens the connection between you.
Respect for your spouse’s feelings of their family and friends goes a long way.
Separate the Behavior From the Person
Gently and compassionately identifying the behavior of the family member or friend in question is a first step. You’re addressing a behavior – not the person as a whole.
Using “I” statements, to communicate how your spouse’s outdated dance with certain family and friends makes you feel, such as, “I feel really uncomfortable when….” or “I feel like my boundaries are being overstepped when..” is a softer approach, yet still may evoke defensiveness.
Your spouse may be defensive, for reasons you’re probably already aware of but your spouse isn’t willing to acknowledge, or perhaps they acknowledge but don’t want to talk about it. Fair enough.
Focus on Yourself
I only have control over myself. If I’m struggling with a family member or friend of my husband’s – this can be a wonderful life lesson on how to navigate through the struggle. It has been my experience, if I’m struggling with someone – typically I’m being triggered and can look within for a solution.
As best as you can, let your opinions of your spouse’s family and friends be remembered for acceptance and kindness. Underneath every person is a struggle we know nothing about.
Originally published: October 3rd, 2020
About me: Stephanie Wells
I’m a Reiki Master Teacher of Usui Shiki Ryoho – the Usui System of Natural Healing. I was attuned in Levels I, II & IIIA in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. During a 6 week stay in Mararikulam North, Kerala, India I was reattuned in Levels I, II, & IIIA as well as acquiring my Level IIIB Master Teacher attunement.