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Anger, hurt and other revelations

May 24, 2011

I’m ashamed to realize it’s been almost exactly one month since I last posted. But in my defense, it’s been a busy month. I started my new job, which I absolutely love (waking up without a pit in your stomach already: priceless), continued training for my first 5k on June 4 and have resumed wedding planning, forging into the travel coordination (shout-out to JetBlue here for incredible rates on direct flights), invitation and wedding favor arenas.

And did I mention dealing with an ongoing family issue? Here’s the deal: my brother’s wife is not the easiest to get along with. She’s seemingly always unhappy and discontented, quiet but opinionated and has a sense of humor few understand. As a result, she comes off as unfriendly, disrespectful, judgmental and controlling of my brother to many who first meet her – and, quite frankly, to some of us who have known her for years.

Various family members have tried having discussions with her, explaining why they are put off by things she says or her actions. Her stance – “Take me or leave me” – is difficult, particularly when she’s now a family member. And she has no interest in changing. On top of that, now that she knows she’s offended some of us, she’s resigned herself to the fact that we “hate” her and so she may as well not even try to make conversation or be pleasant when around us. Like I said, difficult.

Last week, my brother and mom had an argument about his plans to stay at a location away from my wedding venue, where everyone else is staying. After months of built-up frustrations, my mother finally exploded, and my brother got very hurt. And I had had enough of the ongoing turmoil. My family trying to talk to my brother about his wife, he feeling stuck in the middle, and her not having to deal with anything at all.

So I suggested we all get together, like mature adults, put it all out on the table and try to come to some sort of mutual understanding or comfort level where we can all be more open about our feelings moving forward (my family members are experts in avoiding conflict). My brother was concerned his wife wouldn’t go for it. I explained that as a part of our family, I would think she’d want to address this. That she wouldn’t want this tension to continue. That at the very least, she’d want to be there for my brother. I suggested he take a few days to discuss the idea further with her and get back to me.

I’ve heard nothing. I’m both angry and sad. I feel like I’m losing my brother, and I’m hurt that they don’t think this is important enough to at least warrant a response. And I’m angry, because I feel as though their failure to respond means they’d rather things continue as they have been.

Realizing they aren’t going to change, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to change the way I react to situations, as well as my perceptions, if I’m going to stay sane. I need to set my own boundaries as to which behaviors and comments I will and will not accept, and I need to resolve to defend myself and assert my anger or hurt feelings as I experience them.

This is a huge revelation for me, and one I’m very proud of. The ability to do these things – and the realization that I have that ability – makes me feel more like an adult than ever before.

And, let’s get real. Life is too short for this nonsense, and I have a wedding to plan!

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