Mouths of Medusa: Help with the In-Laws

Dear Medusa

I have a difficult relationship with my mother-in-law and father-in-law. They’re very critical of how I do things, and sometimes just ignore me entirely. Christmas is always tough, and I end up exhausted and sad. It may be a cultural difference, but I’m not sure how I can improve things? 

Medusa: We all of us are creatures of roots and branches, forged by the heavens. Our branches bear the weight of our own sorrows, dreams, ancestral whispers, and towering rages. The battles waged within are often projected onto those who stir our spirit, awakening dormant demons.

Given this, perhaps the sorrows lashing your in-laws’ hearts have merit, borne of a thousand cuts. Acknowledge their blades may be sharpened by uncertainty, fear, pride, or regret. Their unspoken stories, dusted with unsung triumphs and forgotten olive branches.

But also know this is not for you to fix. This is their mess and filth to clean, just as we have our own messes and filth to manage. So know your own boundaries. Protect your lair, and those within it. An in-law implies a partner – their grown child, now your consort. Your teammate, yes? Where are they in this? What courage are they taking?

So yes, you can perhaps allow time’s gentle hand to weave understanding of this other family, as compassion blossoms, and bridges are forged, linking worlds once distant.

But protect your lair, and those within it. Talk to your teammate, and demand their aid. Because messes and filth are vast and varied, and you have a life of fire and sky to get on with.