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“Are you ready for this?” Sunita asked.
“Oh yes,” Nisha said sarcastically, “I can’t wait to get in the car and drive 9 long hours to see my favorite people in the world.”
“Well maybe they’ll be nicer to you since it’s holiday time,” Sunita offered.
“The only time any of them are nice to me is when they want something from me or they want to show off to Sohail,” Nisha said in a bitter tone. She was correct in her comment as there was very little evidence to show that they genuinely cared about her. However, these past experiences had colored her view of them and left her always assuming the worst.
The drive was long and Nisha was able to enjoy her time with Sohail for most of the trip. When they entered the city where her in-laws lived, she felt her heart sink and her guard go up. Past feelings of unfairness and injustice resurfaced as if the transgressions had occurred just 5 minutes prior.
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Her in-laws greeted them at the door with hugs and her mother-in-law said to Nisha, “You look tired.” Immediately, Nisha could feel her blood pressure rise and her jaw tightened. “Great, and so the nitpicking and criticizing begins,” she thought to herself.
Source: The Wip
She and Sohail knew she was justified for feeling negatively toward his parents. From the first meeting between Nisha and Sohail’s parents, they had been excessively critical of her. They rarely spoke highly of her to her face or to others and their criticism of her eventually became verbal abuse.
Because of this, Sohail and Nisha decided to see them less to limit the chances that the in-laws would have to be disrespectful toward Nisha, Sohail also learned to stand up for Nisha whenever either of his parents would say anything rude to her. Despite these changes, Nisha still felt resentful toward them. It had built over time and now every small action that she could forgive for anyone else just added to the resentment.
The only way she knew how to manage the resentment was to stay quiet around her in-laws. She did not want to say something that she would regret. Her biggest fear was turning into Sohail’s parents hereself so she believed silence was the best option. This led to her being excluded from conversations and activities which made her even more resentful that she had to spend 4 days away from her home, friends and family.
All she wanted from her in-laws was acknowledgment that they had treated her inappropriately. Sohail told her repeatedly that her parents were too proud to apologize to anyone so she should not expect that. Still she could not let that wish go even though she knew it was only fueling her resentment further.
With mutual dislike for each other, Nisha and her in-laws would make passive-aggressive comments to each other throughout every visit. At the end of the trip, both parties would breathe a sigh of relief that the obligatory visit was complete.
What do you think?
In-laws and relationships with them – what are your thoughts? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Article Contributor: MySahana, meaning my “patience” or “fortitude” in Sanskrit, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading awareness about mental health issues as they pertain to the South Asian community.
By providing culturally-sensitive and relevant information, we aim to correct misinformation, remove stigma and begin a dialogue about mental health and healthy living. We believe it is from these dialogues that South Asians will feel more comfortable seeking services and making the necessary changes to live a healthier life.
For more information, please visit our website at http://www.mysahana.org, follow us @MySahana on Twitter and connect with us on Facebook.