‘How could he say such a thing to me? !”
How many times have you said this sentence, or heard someone else say this very sentence?
Many a time!
Even if we have never said these words verbatim, we have on many occasions thought them to ourselves.
Let’s consider an example:
Someone has said something insulting to you, or behaved in a particularly insulting way and you have felt as if you are insulted. You become angry. Then you have angrily raged about your insult to yourself, or have talked about it to your near and dear ones, or even gone back to that person who insulted you and angrily talked back at him.
But was that person really insulting you? Try and remember a few incidents that have happened. Put aside your anger about that person and your rage against the situation for some time. Think quietly. Reassess what has happened. What exactly has that person said to you? At that moment were the expressions on his face insulting or hurtful to you? Did that person forget to do something important- or say something -that was crucial and necessary? Was his behavior really deliberately insulting? If you are not able to decipher this then talking to a Relationship Counselor who is neutral and unbiased can help you to take a holistic approach to your issue. Many a time we form opinions about people very quickly. If we talk of everyday matters, this kind of misunderstanding is common and happens quite regularly with family members and in laws. But if we regularly feel that people are out there to insult us and every second person is trying to pull us down then it is time to take help of counseling to understand your own self esteem and work on it, because trust me people are really not that interested in you, they just go about doing and saying what they believe in.
So no matter what a person from our in-laws’ side of the family says, an unconscious and universal bias about in-laws, does not let us look at any statement from them in without bias or without a prejudice.
Let me give you a simple everyday example - If a young woman’s mother tells her to wipe the kitchen counters clean before going to bed she doesn’t mind . But if she receives the same piece of advice from her mother-in-law, she is sure to take affront. Immediately she will go all defensive and think: “ Why is she always instructing me on how to do a simple job … as if I don’t do it already?”
Similarly with men… if a man’s friend pulls his leg on some issue endlessly, taking it to quite extreme levels , he won’t mind. But if his in-laws comment on any trait or habit even inadvertently, why does he feel terribly insulted or humiliated?
If mom and mom-in law are saying one and the same thing, and if mummy’s words are ‘good advice’ and mother-in-law’s are ‘hurtful criticism’, then does the fault lie with your mother-in-law, or with you?
No one really goes out of the way to hurt or insult people, on a day-to-day basis. All of us behave according to our experience and our understandings. We behave according to our gut instinct as to what is right. But some people do not find our behavior ‘right’ or ‘acceptable’. They do not like what we speak or do. Then if they articulate by sign, gesture or word, we feel insulted. We take an offence. We find that person distasteful as well as negative. We lose out on relationships, beautiful moments, and pleasant experiences, only because of imaginary insults or slights. We keep nurturing anger towards that person needlessly, harming ourselves in the process.
And finally, even if someone does want to insult us, is it really necessary to take upon ourselves that insult? We have options- Walk away, smile, give them benefit of doubt and move on… or to take it in our head, be miserable and believe that life is very unfair to us. The choice is ours.
I chose to empathize with them and Just let it go!