Very often family conflict begins with something small, or a small behavior that persists over time. Even very kind and generous behaviors can be annoying if they are unwanted gestures. In the January 30 edition of “Dear Sugars” (in the New York Times) a reader writes in about her in-laws, who shower love and affection on her and her husband. She feels guilty that their constant demonstrations of love feel suffocating to her.
Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond provide a compassionate response, telling the reader that she can only change the things that are in her control. They encourage her to be honest with her in laws without being hurtful: she can inform her in laws that they will begin cooking their nightly meals, and she will not use them as house sitters when they go out of town. By setting some boundaries with her wonderful in laws, she will set the stage for being genuinely thankful for the things they continue to do in her life without feeling resentment because it is “too much.”
For some helpful tips on how to deal constructively with family conflict, and to read this story in its entirety, go to:
Because Family. Matters.