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Suzanne, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience:  LCSW, RN. Mental Health, Relationship & Parenting issues.EMDR, Hypnosis.
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How do I not have expectations? I have been having "issues"

Resolved Question:

How do I not have expectations? I have been having "issues" with my in-laws that cause me to have physical symptoms and emotional distress..
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Suzanne replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for bringing your question to JustAnswer.

-Could you explain your situation a little more? What expectations do you have? What are the major issues that come up?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you Suzanne.

I am an only child that married the oldest of 4. I am the oldest in my family as far as cousins and am treated very well in my family. I am extremely close to my parents who live far away. My husbands family lives close by but we dont see eachother daily. For the most part I am very fortunate to have a pretty good in-law group. We've been married for 10 years but have been together for 13. I feel that I have gone through an emotional growth spurt the past 4 years, really explored some personal issues and have been able to resolve and remove(permantly dealt with) things that have affected me. I feel that I have a clearer picture of how I am and what I want. I am pretty happy with that growth. However, the way I feel about my in laws remains. Perhaps it is the most difficult to deal with. Usually I am up for challenges but I feel that I have done everything to try and see them differently as I do not expect them to change. There have been more than a few instances where I felt disrespected, left out, hurt or ignored. All I wanted growing up was brothers and sisters. I see how my inlaws are with eachother and I really want to be part of it- for the most part. I see them with new eyes now and find that some of there interactions are negative and that is the part I dont want any of. I feel as if its all or nothing with them. Its hard to talk to my husband about how I feel sometimes because I feel he always takes their side. I dont want him to be monkey in the middle but feel that if he doesnt validate how i feel with them then I have no chance at resolution with them.
Expert:  Suzanne replied 5 years ago.

It sounds like you hoped you'd get some siblings-in-law. It makes perfect sense, with you having been an only child, but here's the thing: no one from the outside ever really gets accepted into a sibling group. They may be polite,etc., but you will be left out of certain things that the siblings do or talk about.

I really think this isn't about feelings (or lack of them) that they have toward you. People who grow up as a family are going to have so many "secret handshakes"--certain understandings of what is and isn't discussed, deep knowledge of each other's true natures, etc--that no one who didn't grow up in the group can hope to can ever hope to understand them all.

Because here's the thing...there are certain advantages for you. You get to choose what interactions you will be part of, or not. The siblings are in for in all. And no matter how much fun it looks from the outside, I can almost guarantee you that there are undercurrents between them that are less than pleasant.

As hard as this will be to hear, you will never be a full-fledged member of the sibling group. Part of the problem of interacting with such groups is that they revert, to some extent, to less mature ways of dealing with things when they're all together. This probably is some of what you've felt as rejection and disrespect. Are there spouses of the other siblings you could focus your friendship on? They most likely feel the same exclusion that you do.

Your husband has no idea how it feels to be on the outside of his sibling group, so it's not surprising that he doesn't understand why this is an issue for you. And no matter how siblings actually feel about each other, they will usually defend each other at all costs.

It sounds like you've done a lot of great growth work the past few years. Perhaps you can use those same tools to come to acceptance that your role in the family will never be as a sibling. It wouldn't matter if they were the kindest people in the world--it is just a different kind of relationship. And frankly, the last thing you want is for your husband to see you in that would have a detrimental effect on your intimate relationship.

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