Updated: Jul 11, 2022
There were various reasons we left Italy.
A primary one was because of my mother-in-law.
Intrusive. Overbearing. Opinionated. Victim. Blaming. Judgemental.
Both my husband and I found her behaviour really difficult to manage. I struggled to communicate with her in a way that was polite but firm. My husband was very ‘vague’ in his boundaries with her which would get us into trouble when he wasn’t clear.
I really disliked her.
I judged her behaviour.
I felt a victim to her behaviour.
I blamed her for creating problems between me and my husband.
There was a part of me that was seeing a pattern.
I noticed. That if I wasn’t careful. I was going to become her.
I remember once her brother in law, (my husband’s uncle), once saying to me how like her I was. I had just given my intrusive opinion on something that was none of my business and telling them how it should be done.
What he really said terrified me. I could think of nothing worse.
I held so much resentment for her.
The bitterness was poisonous and not good for my well-being.
During my trip to Morocco I learnt to forgive her.
My feelings towards her softened.
I saw her behaviour from a childhood trauma perspective.
When speaking with her I learnt to put boundaries in place.
With others, I learnt to bite my tongue and see their wounds for what they are.
I learnt not to judge others - I cannot know the path they walk.
I learnt that not everyone who shares a problem wants an opinion, that sometimes they just want to be witnessed.
I learnt to step back and listen more and talk less.
I learnt to be more responsible for myself and my behaviours.
As I gradually took steps away from the person I was, I found it easier to soften my heart to my mother-in-law. To connect.
Those parts of her that had been my triggers?
They were parts of me that I had denied for so long. The shame for those parts had kept them hidden.
She had served as a mirror to the person I was inside.
It was ugly and I had rejected it.
When I learnt to soften to those qualities that she displayed and recognise them as trauma responses they had less charge.
Less fear attached to them.
I had brought my shadow into the light and by doing so completely changed my relationship with my mother-in-law.
We wait patiently now to be able to invite my parents-in-law to the UK.
To join us on holiday.
To be with their grandchildren.
To be with us.
To be with me.
What is your shadow teaching you?
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.