Grow Your Own Spine.


From a friend Carolyn1205 these are her words and a few added others.
OK, I have been in here long enough to learn that there are some very important "lessons" people need to learn in Dealing with both of your families(his and hers). I do not claim to know-it-all but I do find myself often repeating these things to myself and on posts often enough to feel comfortable writing them out.  Please, feel free to add or edit points, expand on those mentioned below, and add lessons of your own to help teach people who want to know how to grow a spine.  
Lesson 1: Move out.  Living with In Laws or Family of Origin (ILs or FOO) makes it practically impossible to grow or have your own spine.  If you are living in their home they will hold it over your head.  Also, they feel it is their home so they are justified to tell you how things are to be done in it.

Lesson 2: You MUST learn that "No" is a complete sentence.  Do not give in to the temptation to JADE (Justify, Argue, Defend, or Explain) your reasoning.  If you try to JADE the other people will more than likely take that as the subject is open for discussion and continue to push for their desired conclusion.

Lesson 3: STOP THE INFO TRAIN!  Period.  Do not give people more information than you want them to have.  If you do not want people to know you are going to the doctor don't tell them because they will pester you for details of the visit or may even show up uninvited.  If you don't want people to know the sex or name of your unborn baby, don't tell them.  People feel entitled to information if you share anything with them and will pursue you or your DH like a dog on a bone to get more details. This includes LABOR!! If you are in labor and do NOT want people there don't call them or anyone until you are ready for visitors or callers.  Just wait until everyone has had rest.


  
    Sub Lesson A: "Turn it off". What ever it is that your family or friends are using to contact you with unwanted questions or advice, Shut It Off! the ringer on your phone, the doorbell, Facebook, E-Mail.  Just because it rings don't mean you have to answer. Just because it is there for you to read does not mean you have to respond at all. BH ~ It means to send it to the BLACK HOLE of your mind where you don't think about it. It does not deserve a response from you or your DH at all.


Lesson 4: Understand that "respecting your elders" does NOT mean being a doormat.  How does laying down and being taken advantage of, manipulated, or just fucked around with show respect?  Do you really think that the person you are allowing to treat you like crap respects you for allowing them to have their way?  Respect is earned and if the person in question doesn't deserve to be respected for any reason other than the fact they are older or are the parent of someone...that person will continue to push at and needle those around them to get their way because no one stands up to them.

     Sub Lesson B: "Keeping the peace".  In keeping the peace one becomes a doormat.  Giving up your right to have a voice in things means you are agreeing that you do not have a say in anything in your own family and that others can do as they want because you won't say or do anything.  

      Sub Lesson C: "Keep it to your self". Do  not complain about your spouse or significant other to your family.  It will only serve to alienate their relationship with him/her and eventually it WILL cause problems.  If you have to vent about DuH, do it privately in an online group , or to friends you don't plan on having around forever. 

Lesson 5: Grandparents are NOT necessary to raise healthy, happy children no matter what people tell you.  Consider all the LO's whose grandparents have passed away.  They can and most often do lead healthy, happy, and productive lives.  Also, consider if the grandparent in question is a healthy addition to the LO's life or if they can potentially do emotional or physical damage through their actions.  Is it worth it to risk your LO's emotional or physical well-being because "it's faaaaaaammilyyyy"?

     Sub Lesson D: "Grandparent Rights" are often a threat desperate people will throw out there when they realize they can no longer manipulate or control the parents to said grandchild.  Read up on your states laws regarding GP rights so you can feel more comfortable as to whether this is an empty threat or they may actually have a valid claim.  Most often, 1 parent has to be gone or the parents have to be divorced and the grandparent has to prove the child suffers from not having their grandparent in their life.  However, like I said, read up on the laws in your state to clarify.

Lesson 6: Learn the signs of a DuH.  If your husband regularly asks you to "keep the peace" or says things like "that's just the way she/he/they is/are", "you took what was said out of context", "but it's family, you have to make exceptions for family", or "you are being too sensitive" you have a DuH.  Also, if your husband talks your IL's when you and he get into arguments, talks to your IL's multiple times a day, or makes multiple trips to your IL's a week, you may have a DuH.  Get counseling immediately!  Your husband is putting other people before you and your feelings and that is not the sign of a supportive husband.

Lesson 7: Have your husband "handle" his family and you "handle" yours.  If there is an issue between your DH and your FOO it is appropriate to show your solidarity with your husband and defend him from attacks.  It is equally important that your DH do the same for you.  If your MIL attacks you verbally, your DH needs to defend you or at the very least gather you and your LO's together and leave the area immediately.  If he doesn't show your IL's that YOU are his family now and he CHOSE YOU he is allowing them to hurt you and is not showing that he values you or your marriage.  GET COUNSELING!!!  No matter HOW yours or DH's family treats the other, they don't get a pass because they are family. They should be MORE respectful...not less. Abuse in any form is NOT to be tolerated from anyone. You have the RIGHT and RESPONSIBILITY to stop it by stopping contact. No guilt is on you for protecting yourself from harm. **If your DUH or DuW won't handle his or her family, stand up for yourself. If your DUH won't stand up to Mommy.  Be a woman...handle it yourself.**

Lesson 8: If you and DH have made a parenting decision and advised IL's or FOO of it and they begin to argue or try to "bend the rules" or use that horrible statement "what happens @____'s stays @ _____'s" you and your DH need to be united in confronting the offending party.  These decisions are made for the safety of the LO (food or environmental allergies, giving babies water, or smoking around the LO) and are not open for discussion.  If someone breaks a rule, they should NOT be allowed unsupervised time with LO again until they have proven they understand what they did was wrong and will respect the parents decisions for LO from then on.

     Sub Lesson E: Parenting decisions are non-negotiable.  If you and your DH do not agree on something that is to be addressed away from others and you must always present a united front.  If people who break safety rules sense any dissension amongst you, they will continue to do as they please because someone is not committed to the rules. REMEMBER :: Your kid, your rules.  Nobody else gets a vote. Not your parents.  Not your spouse's parents.  Not your sister, cousin, coworker, best friend, or anybody else.  You are not co-parenting with anybody.

    Sub Lesson F:  NEVER engage any of the family in sit down talks, discussions, pow-wows, or come to Jesus talks on their terms ... ie. we need to talk about how much us IL or FOO hates you and what you do. You are grown adults who do not need your "extended families" telling you how to live your life. They DO NOT get to decide or make decisions for you.

Lesson 9: Learn what a TRUE apology consists of and accept nothing less.  If someone tries to say "Sorry" they are not accepting ownership for their part in the situation and if they say "it wasn't meant that way" or "I am sorry you took it that way" it is not sincere and you do not need to accept it.  An apology consists of the apology, describing the issue they are apologizing for, and telling you what they will do to prevent it from happening again.  If someone calls you a bitch because you told them they couldn't do something with your LO their apology should sound similar to: "I am sorry I called you a bitch when you told me I could not do that with LO.  I was wrong to allow my anger or frustration to get the best of me and I will do my best not allow that to happen again."  It would be nice to have "I hope you can forgive me" added but is not necessary as it may sound too desperate or even sarcastic.

Lesson 10: You must learn that you cannot tell others what to do in their own home.  If they smoke in their home and you do not want your LO around smoke, you have the right to not go over there.  If they are very dirty and have animal urine and feces all over the place, you do not need to bring your LO there.  You also do not need to JADE.  If they question why you will not go there tell them that because you respect their decision to smoke/have animals you would not dream of asking them to stop.  However, you have made the decision to not expose your LO to those conditions out of concern for their safety and you would expect to be respected in return.  (Comments like this make them look like completely narcissistic asses to the world if they argue for expecting you to put your LO's safety behind their habit.)  Offer to meet them somewhere neutral or invite them to your home if you are comfortable doing so to help appease their desire to see your family.  Lather, rinse, and repeat as the person may attempt to change your mind multiple times and may send FM's after you as well.
    Sub Lesson G: "Your Home is YOUR SAFE PLACE". No one should ever be able to just walk in. Start by locking the doors. If your doors are not locked that invites not only "Extended Family" to just walk in but also STRANGERS.  If they have a key to your home then change the locks.  If your DuH objects to the lock changing tell him to give you an example of an emergency dire enough to need that key.
Lesson 11: Know the difference between  "core" and "extended" family. Your "CORE" family changed the minute you got married or had a child. Your "CORE" family is now your DH and children. That is it. Your parents, brothers, sisters, and all other family is now "EXTENDED".

OK, so what do you all think?  Is this helpful info to anyone else?  Is there more that needs to be said?


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