Grandma’s, aunts, in-laws, cousins, kids,… and you have to find your place among these many people who live under one roof. Joint families are heaven for many, and a living hell for many. What makes it a heaven or hell?
The obvious answer is people and relations! Having one nagging sister-in-law or an interfering mother-in-law can make the joint family very difficult… Yet it is possible to lead a peaceful life in every joint family.
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1. How do I retain my individuality, when I am expected to play the role of the perfect daughter-in-law?
2. How do I continue my hobbies / work / career when I am cooking and doing household chores all day?
3. How can I plan / delay having kids without answering questions?
4. Is it possible to retain my personal space and privacy ?
5. Can I protect the personal life between my spouse and me?
Causes to these problems:
Not one.. but many 🙂
The most common reasons for these problems are immature people in the family, very delicate relationships, etc…
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Yet, there are ways to deal with these problems:
1. Take heart; you are not the only person facing problems. There are so many others in other families and in your own family too, who face problems. Many have found ways to deal with their problems and lead a peaceful life. So can you, if you have the patience and strength.
2. Watch, understand and accept people around you…. If you have an interfering aunt or mother-in-law, accept the fact that she has been an interfering person even before you entered the family. Interfering in other’s life is her Nature and character. Protect yourself from her interfering character.
3. Keep away from people whom you have problems with. If you have to stay in the same joint family, then try avoiding having frequent conversations or personal discussions with people whom you have problems with.
4. If you are asked questions about your personal life / personal finances / career etc.., keep your answers short and simple. Giving lengthy answers and trying to defend your self will lead to unnecessary discussions / arguments. You do not have to justify your personal matters to anyone else!
5. Keep yourself occupied with your hobbies / career / social activities. Focusing on your family will wipe out your talents and self -esteem.
6. Keep doing what you are good at… It is the biggest boost to your self-esteem. For example, if you are good at something (business / administration / teaching / sewing / cooking etc..), do not give it up for any reason.
7. Protect your personal life with your spouse. Have personal intimate discussions with your spouse on matters that concern you. Of course, this requires co-operation from your spouse as well.
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There is a Tao saying:
Rather than make the first move
it is better to wait and see.
Rather than advance an inch
it is better to retreat a yard
The bottom line:
It is quite natural to have likes and dis-likes. We can like members of our family, we can also dis-like them. But considering someone as our enemy will make our life difficult. It is better to retreat or keep away from people we dis-like. Why waste precious time in fighting or arguing… why involve in mind games?
The secret to a peaceful life is to ignore silly minded people. Focus on more important things. Keep doing what you are good at. Become financially independent. Do not lose your self-esteem or peace of mind at any cost!
— These observations are based on my own experience and from other’s close to me. Your additions to this list are most welcome.