Originally Posted by pokeyrin
It could've panned out differently had I been resentful and had a chip on my shoulder (which would be an individual personality issue) when I first met his grandparents. But instead I just pretended I had no idea how they felt and acted like myself when I first met them. The result was that they grew to love and adore me and I them and we enjoyed a very close relationship until they both passed away last year and I miss them still.
You have to think carefully before you write off something/someone as just being a difficult person no matter what. If they have relationships like that with many in the family, well you can pretty much figure it out. I have friends who had very difficult relationships with their IL's and what seemed like they were just dealing with an impossible personality. But later it turned out that it was really a result of cultural differences and the lack of truly understanding the cultural difference.
We might often think we're doing what we should and that we're accepting and understanding of someone else's culture. But maybe after some truly careful and honest reflection we find that we really could be doing more and that we're not really being as understanding because it's just so different from what we know. .
I'm glad that in your case your husband's grandparents came to accept you and love you. As you said, they probably are great people. Just curious -- Were they ever rude to you in person in the beginning? Your husbands parents -- how did they accept you? Did they accept you right away, or did it take awhile? How did they react to the engagement?
As I said, for the first half of our marriage, my MIL and SIL were horrible to me. I came to them with an open mind and an open heart. I wanted us to have a great relationship. However, years of insults, criticism, obnoxiousness, and treating me like I'm stupid and have no class, WILL wear a person down. It wore me down, anyway. Actually, it was after I had my first child, and they started to be manipulative with my child and try to get to me thru him that I started fighting back. When my husband and I got married, I didn't come to them with a "chip on my shoulder". They came into the relationship with a chip on their
shoulders, actually. I was looking forward to having another sister and another set of parents when I met them. I opened my heart to them.
They have hurt me so badly and deeply over the years, that I won't risk opening my heart to them now.
You mentioned that sometimes we think we think we understand and accept another person's culture but actually we're not doing enough to understand it. There is a difference between understanding/accepting, and acting like you're Korean
. My in-laws want me to act like a Korean daughter-in-law
would act -- and a traditional one at that. Anything short of that is not enough for them. I undertand and accept their culture, and I think it's beautiful. I try to celebrate it with my children (my husband isn't as interested as one might think he would be in teaching them about Korean culture and Korean American culture -- so I actually try to take on the role of teaching both cultures and appreciating both sides of themselves).
I'm a white daughter-in-law in a Korean family. I think it's hard to understand what that role is like unless you experience it. My MIL and SIL are difficult people
on top of the cultural difference and cultural issues. So that ads another dimension. We haven't "written them off". As I said, we do see them. However, because of their treatment of me and their attitude toward me and the fact that they will, in the drop of a hat, try to rope my children into their games, we don't see them often
. To me, they are lucky we see them at all. I also do encourage my husband to take the children to see them anytime, without me, and stay overnight. He has done this a couple of times, but rarely. I wish he would do it more, so the children could have more of a relationship with them.