There is a place in my heart where all the good emotions and bad emotions go, perhaps you feel it too. When I am affected by a positive emotion towards something or someone, I literally feel the warmth of it in my heart. Unfortunately it works both ways and negative feelings creep into my heart like ink in water. I felt that this evening. On two occasions I had visited my sister in law, niece and nephew and thoroughly enjoyed their company. I took pleasure in admiring what a pretty and spirited little girl my niece is and enjoyed cuddles with my baby nephew. Rather than being the eldest sibling tyrant sucking parental attention away from my husband and his other sister to keep it all for herself, she transformed in my eyes to become a Mum like all of us, enjoying children but on occasions struggling with motherhood too.
All this positivity was lost in one interaction with my mother-in-law. As she mentioned my nephew and how he had enjoyed dancing to tunes on grandpa’s computer within seconds of seeing my son who she hadn’t seen for a while, I felt the black ink of jealousy and negativity creep into the place where warm positive feelings had been stored. I try desperately hard not to feel this way but I can’t help it. The fact cannot be changed that lack of phone calls, invites and time spent with us builds resentment when we are aware that my sister in law and her family are invited round frequently. It is the thorn in my side. My husband is resigned to it because he grew up with. He was packed off to boarding school while his sisters were at day school and enjoyed returning home every evening (well the eldest sister enjoyed it) the other didn’t speak to her parents for 10 years – maybe in her childish way she was trying to communicate to her parents that she felt out in the cold. I couldn’t help put two and two together when my mother in law was flicking through an old family photo album and felt compelled to explain why one summer she went away on a beach break with just the eldest sibling ‘I had a bit of a wobble, so (middle daughter) stayed with a friend’. That’s just not right. They have been living under the shadow of the eldest sibling, my sister in law, ever since. So my best way of overcoming negative feelings is not to care in the first place. It is horrid to be defensive but all I can do is pity her for missing out on the rest of her wonderful family.
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