Family Feud

Meeting Her Parents

Meeting your girlfriend’s parents is nerve-racking. What if they don’t like what I look like or who I am. Who should I pretend to be? These were questions I would often contemplate when meeting the parents of women I would date. I had this idea that my girlfriend’s parents liked me. It didn’t come from nowhere. I bonded with my girlfriend’s parents. Mostly the fathers. I thought because I had a bond with the fathers and the mothers, and I had a good relationship that I would have their support in having a healthy, long-lasting relationship. I didn’t think that I could lose their support if my girlfriend and I argued. I expected that they would see the issues we both had and provide advice to help keep us together. Of course, there would be exceptions to that rule, but I learned that if your girlfriend allows her parents or anyone in her family to disrespect you, then that girl herself doesn’t respect you. 

Disrespect From In-Laws/Parents

I let the disrespect happen more than I should have, but everyone has their breaking point. I had my experience of disrespect moved from being in private to being in public. That was enough for me. It’s one thing to be disrespected in secret, and then it’s another for it to happen in front of an audience. At the time, the woman I was with said that her excuse was that she was high when it happened, but she never addressed it to her parent because she was afraid of hurting their feelings. What about my feelings? Is what I thought. 

Disclaimer

I’ve had enough of my voice, emotions and thoughts being suppressed from all previous walks of life. I’m in a place where I will speak my truth and will stand behind the consequences. I will not be a slave to other people’s feelings or allow other people’s reactions get in the way of me expressing myself. I will consider the shame that those individuals might face after reading or hearing about this article, which is why I have chosen to leave out names, dates, and specific details. I’m hoping that my readers get the lesson out of this article and see things from a different perspective where they provide compassion.

My Feelings Are Valid

 If I wasn’t allowed to confront my abuser, and my lady wasn’t going to advocate for me, I would just take myself out of the possibility of receiving further abuse. If it results in her parent/s not seeing their grandkids during my time, grandma should have known better. Obviously, this was coming from a hurtful place. But that doesn’t excuse their actions. I shouldn’t have to go through that abuse, and I shouldn’t be put in a position where I cannot defend myself because of other people’s feelings. Yet I did what I thought was honourable. I bit my tongue and communicated it to the woman I was with at the time and walked away. She still has issues talking to her mother. I realized that she was probably trying to protect her too. 

That experience taught me to lower my expectations because you don’t know the whole story. I didn’t want to keep my kids from their grandmother, but at the same time, I didn’t wish to the disrespect to continue. I noticed a trend between my girlfriend and me. For some reason, we would omit things from the people we love to avoid seeing their reactions. I don’t particularly appreciate seeing women cry. It breaks my heart. When I see a woman cry, it’s hard for me not to give in to whatever their demands are. It’s something that I am actively working on. 

My Fault In This

Getting down to the route of it probably starts with my childhood. It probably begins with how I saw my stepfather treat my mother and not knowing how to comfort mom; I would do whatever she wanted or said to make her happy. As I got older, I noticed I got more ambitious with the way I comforted women. 

Consequences

The effects of not standing up for yourself or you not standing up too, your partner become an uphill battle for establishing boundaries. Not just with them but with everyone they care about as well. You don’t just appease your girlfriend, but you begin to appease everyone in their life that influences her. When you are trying to control people’s reactions, it becomes an exhausting political game. At times I felt like a lobbyist. Happy Wife, Happy Life, they say. Having people cross boundaries isn’t a healthy version of making your wife or girlfriend happy. Providing your girlfriend with security, affection, and open communication in a relationship does provide a healthy, happy wife but only if it is reciprocal is what I am beginning to learn. 

Solution

I would be lying if I told you that there weren’t people in my family that have disrespected my girlfriends in the past. However, when that disrespect came, I ensured that I would check whoever made the statement or act. I would sternly but politely call them out and tell them how wrong they were to avoid it from happening again. If they took offence and couldn’t see their faults, I would decide whether it was necessary to have someone like that in my life and cut ties if necessary. 

Beware of Gossip

That was my way of establishing boundaries, but it took a couple of relationships to understands that. Although it’s nice to have someone in your life to vent too, I also learned that person could seize your frustrations and use it as family gossip. Imagine talking to a cousin or a friend in confidence about a rough time you’re having with your girlfriend and that same cousin or friend using your hurt and frustrations for family gossip. 

Sounds pretty awful the way I put it, but I’m sure it’s happening in your family or amongst your friends right now. If you’re not contributing to the gossip, you are the gossip as long as they know what they think they know, which isn’t usually much. Usually, when someone is venting, they are venting from a hurtful place. You can’t think about other people’s emotions while you are still trying to process yours.

For all I know, you being the reader, might be the person in your family gossiping this season. It is, after all, a pandemic. People have more time on their hands than they have ever had before, and there is a saying about idle hands being the devil’s workshop. My understanding is the devil uses our idle hands as tools to create mischief in other people’s lives and sometimes in our own lives by saying too much to the wrong person.  At least that is what I tell myself to find compassion during my time of disappointment. 

 

For some reason, people feel that whatever they say in private will stay in secret, but it’s not like you had a priest during the confession/conversation. Then again, it wasn’t your sins or your problems that you were confessing either. I wonder what would happen if people focused more on why they are unhappy and why they won’t want to work towards their happiness. But as I think of it, it’s a lot easier to mess up someone else’s life than to improve their own.

Warning

You have to be wary when getting advice from hurt people. If their relationships have failed and they haven’t figured out what they did to contribute to it, that might not be the person you should be getting advice from. However, if you’re out of resources and can’t seek a therapist or don’t have many people in your life with healthy relationships, I suggest taking that toxic advice with a grain of salt. There is a lot of hurt under that advice.

Explanation To The Warning 

That hurt often blinds people’s perspectives and enables them to only see others’ flaws that release their previous discomfort or pain. That’s not the best place to receive advice. Everyone has been through pain, hurt and has not had their expectations met. One way or another, a person can not fully grow without understanding all sides of the story. They should be able to give you advice without any form of resentment.

Easier said than done, I know, but real pain requires real healing. Real healing puts you in an unbiased place when offering advice. A healed person can speak on deeper issues because they have a deeper understanding. A healed person treats others the way they want to be treated. If your mentor, employer, or anyone you looked up heard some of the things you said about other people in private, you would probably think twice about speaking such hurtful things. 

 

How much disrespect would you put up with from your in-laws or your partner’s parents?

 

Leave me a comment below. I’d love to know that I’m not the only one who has or is currently going through this.

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