I literally felt like I might lose my mind this past weekend. Oh the battles that wage inside this poor head of mine…
I went to a beach in New Jersey this past weekend with my husband for a day trip. It was supposed to be an overnight stay and just a couple’s weekend- us and my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. I was really, really looking forward to this weekend…
Then my mother-in-law asked to come with us. Ugh! I have not had a great relationship with my mother in law and his side of the family in general. Gloria is a pretty toxic person. Things are better now, but we are not really close or anything. So when she just sort of invited herself, I really felt mad.
Next I find out a nephew and his fiance are also coming. Great! My kids weren’t invited! Now were all going to be crammed in this little beach shack and I don’t even want to go. I want to kill my husband, because this is all his stupid idea in the first place…
I had to battle all these nasty toxic feelings floating around inside me. I was bitter, resentful, just really ugly. The better part of me knew this was not good for me, and to try to make the best of the situation and be kind.
But my old feelings were all there and it was such a challenge. I needed to take some Pure Calm to help calm me down before the drive- I felt like jumping out of my skin.
And still I literally made myself sick- I got a migraine headache on the drive down. Oh and I was anxious too- what a great way to feel on a Saturday morning.
I knew I had to try to make the best of my situation and not give in to my negative thoughts and old toxic memories. I prayed and kept a conversation going in my head with my good Voice of Reason. I also talked to the scared “little Jill” inside of me. It went something like this:
Voice of Reason: Honey its ok. Really. It is.
Scared Jill: But I hate all those people. They’re so mean to me.
Voice of Reason: Tell me more…
Scared Jill: I can’t stand my mother-in-law, she just invited herself and now we have to drive her lazy ass there and back. She ruined everything. My mother would never do that!
Voice of Reason: You know if you stay home it won’t be very nice to your husband. It’s only for a day.
Scared Jill: Yeah I know but I feel so much hatred. It’s seething out of me… She never liked or accepted me. I’m not even in any of her family pictures in her house! Just the girls and Bob…no Jill. Not that the girls were even invited this weekend! But of course my stupid nephew can come!
Goddammit, now I have a migraine!!
Voice of Reason: Ok reign it in, you’re making yourself sick. You have to let it go. Those are all feelings from the past. None of that matters at all. Why are you scared?
Scared Jill: I’m scared of my feelings. I’m scared that all this negativity will put me on a downward spiral and I’ll lose control of myself. I might say something I’ll regret. I hate how this feels!!!
Voice of Reason: Ok so you don’t like how you are feeling. Well we can work on that. You are in control of you- not some 83 year old woman! What can you do right now to feel better? You have 3 hours at least in this car…
Can you try being kind?
Scared Jill: Yeah I guess, but I still hate my mother-in-law. Bitch… she never cared for my girls, her own flesh and blood. I’ll never forgive her.
Voice of Reason: Reign it in! I’m serious. You have to be nice! This will help you!
Jill has pleasant conversation with mother in law and husband…Tries not to be judgmental… Tries to remain composed…
Voice of Reason: Remember you can do anything for a few hours. I promise, stay out of the negative feelings and it will get better. Continue to be kind. And be kind to yourself. You were hurt in the past and those wounds never healed.
How wonderful that you are doing this today. This is real progress!
Scared Jill: Yeah I guess so. It does feel better than feeling disgust and hatred.
Voice of Reason: You don’t really hate your mother in law anyways. You just felt hurt in the past.
And anyways, what a perfect day for the beach! You deserve a nice day!
Guess what? After the ride down and wobbling though uncomfortable feelings for about an hour more, I did relax and eventually enjoy myself. For me, this was a small miracle…
I remembered to be kind. I didn’t isolate myself from everyone like I would have in the past. I stayed and joined in the conversations. It didn’t feel natural- my old pattern is to judge and stay away from these people and resent the hell out of them- instead, I acted mature and pleasant…Boy what a nice change! It felt good!
As I sit here typing, I’m so glad I faced this head on, even though everything in me wanted not to go. In the past I would have flat out refused and then my husband and I would have had a fight.
Those first few hours of the day were quite the challenge. I was bitchy to my husband like I was doing him some huge favor by being there. Once the nice Jill melted the frosty old feelings I was able to apologize to him, and tell him I was trying my best.
It’s all about progress, not perfection, so getting though it was quite the accomplishment for me.
I spent too many years being negative and holding grudges. All it got me was misery, bitterness, anxiety, and distance from my husband and others. I don’t want to be that person anymore…
Do you have in-laws or people in your life that set you off for whatever reason? People you try to avoid but sometimes cannot? My mother-in-law is a toxic person to me. Here is a good article I found on how to spot a toxic relationship.
This article also helped me today- as far as recognizing not to have expectations when dealing with my in-laws:
Put away the stereotypes and adjust your thinking to the reality of the situation. Don’t expect what people can’t deliver.
Good to remember…
Little by little, by the grace of God, I am healing myself.
I wish you peace,