Merging two families into one is a challenge. When you marry someone, you embrace a group of people who care about your spouse as well. You hope that the new tribe will respect you and stand by your side, but that is not always the case.
Fickle-Life-9867 knows this from personal experience. A 35-year-old woman took her story to the AITA community after having a hard time getting along with her sister-in-law. Her oldest son bought her a hammock chair for her birthday. While the user was hesitant to accept it at first, the young man convinced her: “You never get anything nice. I wanted you to have it.” And so she did. For less than a week.
After her sister-in-law tried it, the thrill of the gift faded. “I told her to please not sit on it and she said ‘Is there a weight limit?’ So I told her yes,” the user wrote. She ripped the chair apart despite the explicit request. The user was accused of body shaming by her husband and sister. The whole situation caused quite a stir in the AITA community, so be sure to comment on the situation in the comments.
The woman shared how she flipped out after her sister-in-law ruined her hammock chair.
The user asked for perspective after being accused of body shaming.
This woman found comfort in sharing her story online because of the arguments with her spouse and family. We can only imagine how hard it was for the user to be blamed for her feelings after seeing how important something was destroyed in a matter of seconds. The woman’s actions were found to be justified by the people on the internet. They didn’t hold back on their harsh words for her husband.
We reached out to Nicola Williams, a relationship coach and workshop facilitator based in the UK, to learn more about finding a way out of family disputes. No matter how close our partner or other family members are to us, it isn’t necessary to take sides in arguments between two people.
“Taking sides and adding our own judgments to the mix is only going to create complication and further disharmony,” she told. “I think the best a partner can do in a situation like this one is to hear each person involved with compassion for the upset they’re experiencing and not make them, or the other, wrong for it.”
Tension can be created when you are caught between your partner and family. It is important that what we hear stays confidential, according to the relationship coach. We need to not repeat what we have been told to our spouse, family, or anyone else. “This would likely add further complication to the situation, potentially inflame reactions on one or both sides and perhaps even create an argument between you and your spouse and/or your family.”
“It’s not our job as a partner to fix the situation! It’s better to encourage direct communication between them when there’s an openness to reconnecting,” Williams continued. “If we do try to fix it, we’re in danger of stepping deep into the rescuer role in the drama triangle, which is not where we want this to go.”
The fact that our spouse would choose to take their family’s side over ours is not doing us any good, but coach Williams suggested looking at the situation from a different perspective. “It can be very detrimental if our partner takes their family’s side over ours. It can lead to feelings of betrayal and can erode trust and closeness in the relationship,” she said.
“But that doesn’t mean it’s good for our relationship for them to take sides with us! We might feel like we want our partner to take our side, but this is not real support and they can support us without taking sides,” Williams explained. “We’re all interconnected, especially in our families, so disharmony affects everyone in the family to some degree. I believe what we all really want deep down is for everyone to be on the same side, to work through our differences with maturity and as much open-heartedness as possible.”
The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important factor when it comes to navigating our bonds with others, according to coach Williams. “Doing our own personal work to heal our wounds and be lovingly connected with ourselves hugely serves us and those we share our lives with. Seek support from friends, like-minded others, and professionals that can help you to heal all your relationships, which starts with your relationship with you,” she concluded.
The story generated a lot of interest in the community.