You know, I really should have done this some time ago – learned to stand up for myself. Learned to say something when people make me uncomfortable. Learned to say something when I think people are crossing boundaries they shouldn’t cross.
I’ve always tried to be the “good girl”, the obedient daughter, the quiet and non-troublesome child (ok, haven’t been a child for some time now – but let’s just let that go). I’ve listened to my elders and pretty much trusted their judgement above my own as long as I can remember. Sometimes that’s not a problem; in fact, sometimes, that is an excellent plan. However, I took it to a new level and just tried to avoid confrontations and uncomfortable explanations.
I have finally told my family that I need them to give me some space. I need them to stop asking so many questions about my job situation and just let me enjoy the holiday. They have been badgering me – and not my husband, who lost his job over a year ago – constantly with questions. I know they do it out of love. I know that they are concerned. But they also pepper me with “you should do this, ” “he should do that,” and so on. The advice comes from all directions and is frequently contradictory – that is, what I am hearing from one set of parents is completely the opposite of what I am hearing from another.
So far, the results of my request seem mixed. My parents-in-law are being sensible and respectful; they are doing as I asked, quietly without complaint. (Well, I assume the no-complaint part; I’m hearing a bit of this back from my sister-in-law, so it is indirect.) My father seems to be doing the same, but he had told me earlier to let him know if he crossed boundaries, so I expected that reaction. My mother, on the other hand, seems to have gotten into a snit. She sent me an email that was fairly brusque. I’m trying to give her the benefit of the doubt and look at the thing with a kinder eye, since it is difficult to interpret “tone” properly in an email, but from what I know of my mother, I believe my interpretation of her email is correct and that she’s being snide. Oh well.
I simply cannot live my life by everyone else’s rules, expectations, etc. I cannot expect to make everyone around me happy – and I don’t want to try anymore. And I don’t see the problem in letting people around me know that I’m no longer comfortable. I am surprisingly comfortable with having done this, despite my mother.