“What does she mean by that?”
Do you ever feel slighted by your MIL/DIL? Chances are, the answer to that question is a resounding “YES!” Well, that might be more your problem than hers. Read on and ask yourself if you can see two sides to each of the following complaints:
“She didn’t text, email, Facebook, Tweet or call on my birthday. Again.”
“She never eats much when she comes over for dinner.”
“She always calls at the most inconvenient times.”
“My DIL never picks up the phone when I call. It always goes through to voice mail.”
“My MIL just stopped by to visit yesterday and she didn’t call first.”
You know what I’m talking about. A slight is “an insult caused by a failure to show someone proper respect or attention”. They can be real as in “Wow! You’ve really put on weight!” And they can be “suspected” as in “She’s always offering to help. Is that a thinly disguised vote of “No confidence”?
Was disrespect intentional or simply a matter of bad timing, faulty assumptions, forgetfulness, or generational differences? How do you know? Does it matter? Would your response be any different? Should it?
Interesting questions to ask oneself as a MIL or DIL.
Sometimes our perceptions of slights are more a consequence of our own mood at that moment. Sort of like humor. Funny – not funny. Annoying – endearing. Stupid – silly. Appreciated – not so much. So, a valuable practice would be to ask ourselves whether we are feeling hungry, tired, worried or “under the weather”.
Slights can happen a LOT between a MIL and a DIL when communication is lacking or a healthy, foundational understanding hasn’t yet been established. Think about it – if your good friend looks at your hair and says “Do you want to take a little more off the top to give that “do” more height?”, would you be offended? Or would you think “Hey, she’s interested in helping me find a good hairstyle that flatters my face.” When another friend offers to share with you a favorite recipe, are you worried that she thinks you aren’t a good cook? Or would you see it as strengthening a bond of commonality?
That’s when it makes a big difference whether or not you are spending the time and energy to build a MIL/DIL relationship that is open, honest, encouraging and loving. That’s when it pays off to care enough to really see who your MIL/DIL is as a person instead of putting her in a box with an “in-law” label.
Here’s a link to an interesting article by Rick Hanson, PhD entitled “Why You Shouldn’t Take Slights Personally” – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-wise-brain/201104/why-you-shouldnt-take-slights-personally
Slights. Is the best response to confront? Retaliate? Are they like those pesky little black flies – best dealt with before they can really get to us and cause bites that swell and hurt for days? Would we be better off all-around if we gave them the kind of consideration that the word implies – very little?
None of us wants to be thought of, or to see ourselves, as little or small. But, isn’t that, in fact, how we act when we give too much consideration to slights?
And if you think that perhaps I am lecturing on this issue, well, can you imagine why I am entertaining this topic on my blog? 🙂
Got a story to share on this topic? Let’s hear it. And tell us how it can help MILs and DILs become “friends and allies”.