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Corbis Images

Corbis Images

When I had my first disagreement with one of my soon-to-be in-laws, I felt completely blindsided because, for some strange reason, I believed that it would never happen to me. Despite witnessing my mother endure her share of in-law drama, I assumed that certain members of my dad’s side of the family were anomalies and told myself that most normal people don’t pick fights and keep them going over silly, petty nonsense. As I stated in a previous post, I also assumed that my nice-girl attitude and peacemaker mentality would spare me from conflict. And then, I woke up.

The fight caught me off guard. I could have never imagined that I could fall out with someone over something so trivial. And prior to the dispute, me and said loved one had been as thick as thieves. But all of that quickly went out of the window. She said what she had to say and I counted to ten as many times as I could to keep from flipping out. The conflict had the potential to get quite ugly and I didn’t want the drama. So I bit my tongue and I played nice. But deep down inside, I was done. Rarely will I engage in screaming matches with folks, but I will cut you off with the quickness and be long gone before you even notice. And even though I was making nice and essentially smoothing things over outwardly, internally, I had already drawn a line in the sand. I was done. I had plans to be cordial and polite. But all of that friendship stuff was dead. “Hi, girl,” and “Bye, girl,” was all I had for her.

To my amazement, moments after our fall-out, she tried to continue our usual girl talk as if nothing had happened. I kept things polite, but brief. In the weeks and months that followed, she continued to carry on as if nothing had ever happened between us. “I’m not giving her another opportunity to burn me,” I would tell myself over and over, especially during those days I felt tempted to forgive, forget and move on. “I’m good.” But I eventually realized that it was taking more effort to be standoffish than it took to actually be my normal self. I found myself cringing when her name was mentioned and dreading those moments that I had to be in her presence.

“I don’t want to keep living like this,” I eventually concluded. I’m generally a positive person, and this silly nonsense was weighing on me heavily. I started to ask myself if I would be doing all of this if she were a blood relative who offended me. And while I was slow to admit it, the answer was probably not. So I decided that I would get over happened. I decided to stop stewing over what I perceived to be her out-of-the-way comments. I chose to stop replaying the incident in my mind. I vowed to stop rereading the text messages and said that I would stop nursing the hurt that I felt as a result of them. And honestly, it felt good. As pissed as I was when things hit the fan, I can admit that I was happy to finally release all of that anger and just be cool again.

I’m a newbie to the whole in-law thing, but so far, I’m learning that a short memory goes a long way. I refuse to be a doormat, but I’m seeing that it’s probably wise to make amends when possible.

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