Birthday Cards

DWQA QuestionsCategory: QuestionsBirthday Cards
meganb433 asked 3 months ago
My in-laws have said I am not supportive of their family. I feel supportive, but I can see that I do things differently than them. Last winter, I thought a lot about who I wanted to be and how I wanted to show up. I made a list of a few things I was going to do no matter to be the person I felt good about. One of these was an idea I had to make birthday cards and send them to all the nieces and nephews on their birthdays. My birthday is in January and comes before anyone else in our extended family. So, my husband and I made birthday cards on my birthday. We wrote the addresses and got everything ready for the whole year. We also made custom stickers for the kids' water bottles with things that interest each child. It's now May and we've sent several cards. When my brother's kids receive a card, he sends me a Marco Polo and/or a text to say thanks and show me his children with the cards. When my husband's family receives a card, no one has said anything. No one has texted. No one has said anything in person. I'm realizing now that me choosing to send the cards hasn't actually worked like a magic pill like I hoped. Clearly, I think "people should acknowledge when they receive something in the mail from you." I feel hurt that no one in his family ever texts, calls, or asks about me when they talk to my husband on the phone. I feel hurt that when I mail them a card, they don't connect. They don't answer the phone when I call and they don't respond to my texts. I was hoping that sending the birthday cards could be a way to connect, but now I'm thinking it's not. I am frustrated that I can't change them - even though I know that's not the point here. After feeling all this, I get so angry that I start seeing them through a very negative lense every time I think about them, see them, or hear my husband talk about them. How can I return my focus to being who I want to be and not caring how they respond?
1 Answers
2leann answered 3 months ago

Thank you for sharing the details of your situation.
A couple things to think about…

Lots of love and compassion for you and your willingness to strengthen your emotional and mental muscles.

It makes sense that you feel frustrated and angry.  Whenever we think someone “should” do something or that we can change them, it’s an opportunity to remember we have the choice in what we do and how we show up, but we don’t get to control anyone else, even though we’d like to.

Letting yourself feel the frustration and anger when it comes up can be helpful, and then recognizing the thoughts that are creating those emotions for you.

We can feel connected to anyone we choose, whether they feel that way or not.  Notice when you’re thinking “they don’t connect”, it brings up frustration and anger.  Then think about your actions – maybe you’re withdrawing a little, not reaching out to them, possibly some judgment for them and for you.  Which results in you not connecting with yourself and how you want to show up.

This is so normal, and we all do this in different ways.  Continue the awareness you have, and add in some acceptance of where you’re at right now.  Love and appreciate what you are doing and the efforts you are making.  As thoughts come into your mind, observe and start to tweak them if you’d like.

For example, when you’re thinking “they don’t connect”.  Question that thought.  Are there any times they do connect?  Maybe they don’t connect yet?  Any other ways you could wiggle that thought?

You may still care how they respond, but remember they get to be them, and you get to be you.  The beauty of being a human.  And it’s okay when we don’t agree with or like what others do.

Ask yourself how you can have love and compassion for you in whatever situation comes up.

Let me know of more questions and concerns anytime.

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