James Branch Cabell writes, “And from our blood-kin we grow apart inevitably. Their lives and their interests are no longer the same as ours, and when we meet it is with conscious reservations and much manufactured talk. Besides, they know things about us which we resent…. And with the rest of my fellows, I find that convention orders all our dealings, even with children, and we do and say what seems more or less expected. And I know that we distrust one another all the while, and instinctively conceal or misrepresent our actual thoughts and emotions when there is no very apparent need…”
Mr. Cabell may have been writing about his immediate family, but I have experienced some fairly unreasonable behavior with in-laws as well.
I had a sweet friend years ago that told me her in-laws thought she was a waste of space. They even yelled at her when she was visiting with them during a holiday. This woman was beautiful, intelligent, skilled in organization, and put together a volunteer team that produced a snazzy magazine. She had lovely children, and loved her husband, but her in-laws could not see her attributes. She did not measure up to their standards for their son. The husband did not see the pain that his parents were causing his spouse ( maybe he did not want to see it–seeing demands confrontation). These “family” situations are frustrating and hurtful.
I like the idea that we all agree to get along from a distance. Trying to convince in-laws that you are worth their adult child’s love is dangerous to your mental health, and quite frankly, just not worth the energy spent. Your in-laws may never value you. Your immediate family may never fully appreciate you. Don’t fret over it–move on! Spend your life around those who confer value on you. They are the people that will add enjoyment to your journey.