My parents-in-law are critical and unsupportive. For example, they say I am spoilt and don’t know how to make coffee for my husband. At the same time, they have failed to inquire about my dying sister. How do I deal with their remarks, as I seem to have given them too much significance?
You can see that you are giving your in-laws too much power over you and you want to get it back. To do so, you need to be willing to pay the price of reclaiming your power.
Powerful people are “together,” all the parts of them are headed in the same direction. There is no internal conflict. The paradox inherent in the process of claiming power is that to be more powerful you have to give up part of yourself.
You have self-doubts. You wonder if you are good enough for your husband. Deep down, you feel you don’t deserve attention. This self-doubting part of you actually welcomes these negative comments and gives them lodging. In other words, the actions of your parents-in-law strike home.
Concurrently, there is another part of you that vehemently objects to the acceptance of these comments. This is your ego, the keeper of pride. The ego does its job thereby ensuring you feel offended. You then blame the external, your in-laws, rather than the internal, your own self-doubts.
The ego always attempts to deny any underlying feelings of unworthiness. Keeping any inadequacies hidden, by not facing them, maintains pride.
Unfortunately, there is a fundamental problem with the ego’s approach. The pride it protects is false. Denying self-doubts never builds true self-esteem. Do this enough and you will develop a deep fear that, at your core, you are rotten. The truth is, the approach itself is rotten, not you. Like everyone, at your core, you are pure light. Any rottenness is made up of all the negative judgements you have heaped on yourself.
What you need to do is give up your false pride and resolve to stop making judgements. This means to stop judging yourself and stop judging others.
No one has the right to judge anyone as negative or unworthy. We are not in a position to make that call. Our perspective is limited. Much of life is a great mystery. Why is our world filled with so much hate and negativity We don’t really know. What we do know is that judging and criticising others and ourselves is not going to make the world any better.
Say at least twenty times a day, I release the need to judge. Say it whenever you find yourself being critical of anyone including yourself. The more you do this, with sincerity, the more you will find yourself understanding why people put others down.
Before long, you will realise that the critical attitude of your parents-in-law is about them, not you. Critical people are always on the lookout for the negative. Deep down they are afraid. Anyone who is habitually critical is afraid – afraid of missing something that threatens their safety. They are constantly scanning their environment for anything that is out of order, from their perspective of order, of course.
You will never please them. When you see how small, afraid and miserable they are, you might start to find some compassion for them. As you bask in the glow of your own self-acceptance, their petty criticisms will not hit you anymore.