How to let go of bad family relationships?
January 17, 2013 2:11 PM Subscribe
Asking for advice and book recommendations for letting go of bad family relationships.
posted by yawper to Human Relations (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A close friend has been trying unsuccessfully to build a relationship with her sister-in-law (husband’s older brother’s wife) for 15 years. Her husband’s parents are deceased, so this is the main in-law relationship for her. Husband’s extended family is very large, and this particular SIL is a “queen bee” of sorts. My friend gets along very well with the extended family, but is constantly snubbed by the SIL.
For her entire marriage my friend has longed to be accepted and treated well by this SIL (and BIL, who shares many characteristics with his wife). But the sad truth is that these people are jerks, with many, many of their own problems, and my friend will likely never get what she is hoping for. She is starting to understand this, but it is very difficult for her to accept. She is a peacemaker who hates conflict. She’s also a kind, sensitive person and this rejection hurts her terribly.
Her husband has suggested cutting them off completely, but she has never felt at peace with that idea. Her children are close with their cousins, and she doesn’t want to cause discord amongst the extended family. But she is coming to realize that this relationship is damaging and draining. She is spending too much emotional energy stressing out about it.
She is looking for help on how to:
1 - stop wanting acceptance from these people
2 - stop taking the rejection personally
3 - develop strategies for how to deal with them when she does have to see them at family events (about 6-8 times a year)
She’s come to me for advice and I’m coming to you. Thank you.