Updated: Jul 21, 2021
My family and I just came back from a weeklong visit with my in-laws in Massachusetts and it seems to me that every time we visit, we come across some sort of conflict. I always assumed conflict is to be expected with two grandparents, four siblings and their spouses, 13 grandkids and lots of baggage in one house. But where does conflict come from really?
When my husband and I got married I was young, scared and confused. I left a home I didn’t like to create a new life, a new possibility. What I know now that I didn’t know back then was that whatever I was experiencing back home, I brought with me to this new place, to this new life I was creating. I was still living a life full of adversity, even in a different continent. When I first met my husband’s side of the family, they were nothing but kind to me. They were genuinely curious and interested in my culture and the place I grew up. They showed gratitude for what they viewed a sacrifice; leaving the country where I was born and raised, leaving the people I love the most, and beginning a new life in the United States with their son. Our first few years of marriage were rocky, especially my integration with his family that was now mine. For many years I didn’t consider them my family. I made it very clear that my family consisted of my husband and our daughter and that his family were just background guests. I was determined to protect the family unit I had created and wanted no outside interference; after all I did leave what I felt was a broken family to create a new one and had no interest in the intrusion of someone else’s family drama and conflict. I was acting just like that little kid whose father is now in a new relationship and was screaming at the top of her lungs – – you are not my mother!