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Forums / Staying well / The Significance of being "reasonable"

Topic: The Significance of being "reasonable"

17 posts, 0 answered
  1. white knight
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    27 August 2015

    What is “reasonable”? If you have a mental illness and are actively mingling with other people be it work or socialising, you are likely to often trip up where your behaviour/reactions is seen as extreme.

    For the stable out there we could easily be seen as unreasonable. These people largely don’t have or rarely have the emotion level we have. (I’m speaking broadly). Fragile emotions that are often in the high range has little room for negotiation in a calm relaxed approach. We seem to others as not being able to reason as emotion gets in the way and that's what they focus on. In defense however often the instigator isn’t reasonable in the first place. But does that justify being unreasonable ourselves? Probably not.

    What do we lack? To be able to be reasonable? I’ve thought for some time about this. I have a friend, a reasonable friend meaning she seems to be calm and calculating even under stress. When she converses with others that are heated in their frame of mind, she doesn’t “lose it”. But what she has is something I don’t have- quick wit.

    Having quick wit allows you to think quickly and evaluate the situation to your favour. There was a classic example of this recently. She borrowed a beach umbrella some months ago for the summer. After the hot weather ended she tried to return it and she’d purchased one herself. But her friend had gone on an overseas holiday. She tried a few weeks later, he had returned but went on another holiday. Nearly 9 months went by and I was there when he called in. He immediately accused her of keeping the umbrella for 9 months “way in excess of what I’d lend it to you” he snapped. Her reply was calm and collected. Firstly it is a beach umbrella, I don’t use beach umbrella’s in the winter. Secondly, you have been overseas on the two occasions I dropped by at your home. They both went to her shed and she produced the umbrella “take note of the cobwebs on it, it hasn’t moved for 6 months” she calmly exclaimed. Her friend apologised and left. Had I been her I would have argued and got upset. Her responses were measured and witty, thinking on her feet, not predetermined.

    This form of thinking doesn’t come naturally for some but it is something we can work on. Staying calm, asking for some time to think about the situation, allowing others to get upset and waiting until they are calm….all contribute towards less emotion.

    And that’s a good challenge if you want to be “reasonable” and less emotional.

    Tony WK

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  2. CMF
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    27 August 2015 in reply to white knight

    WK,

    I loved reading your post.  I can relate well as it happened to me just last week where I took my built up stress and anxiety out on someone in a harsh way.  It certainly is a challenge and something we can all work on but I must say when we suffer anxiety and feel like we have some much going on inside our heads it is very hard to control these emotions. I don't think we 'lack' anything but rather we have too much to deal with, there is not much room left for clear thinking and emotional control when everything is racing.

    Thank you for your post it was good timing.

     

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  3. white knight
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    28 August 2015 in reply to CMF

    Hi CMF, nice to hear from you again.

    You have a good point there.

    When my anxiety was at its peak in 1987 my mind and my heart was racing at full speed. Blood pressure sky high. Years later I saw that period like I was wound up like a clock. Any confrontation was et with my aggression from stress. And yes, reason was around in my mind.

    My GP at the time gave me some meds and had me see an occupational therapist weekly. The latter taught me relaxation method and a job change 10 months later. All these factors combined allowed me to recover and be anxious free 25 years later. A long time but it worked. Was I more reasonable once I had no more anxiety- sure. When you are relaxed your brain functions at a slower seemingly wiser state. One has much more tolerance for the imperfect things in life.

    Having quick wit is something some people possess naturally. Some think its a sign of intelligent levels. What I was getting at was that some of us could try to face confrontation in a more witty way. Try to answer people with better communication and try to see things from their viewpoint even if they are in the wrong.

    When we are anxious to an illness level it isn't that easy. This I suppose highlights how unwell we are with anxiety.

    Tony WK

     

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  4. CMF
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    29 August 2015 in reply to white knight

    Agree with you,

    when I am calm I am quick witted, on the ball, deal with situations and have patience.  when I feel everything getting on top of me I cant.  example- I manage both my kids sports teams, I am only meant to do one but the person in charge of the 2nd one is hopeless and does nothing so everyone comes to me.  today I had to find fill ins for one team, provide a fill in for another, organise transport.  I was on the phone ringing people, others were trying to ring me, others were texting me as they couldn't get through - it was crazy.  my ex husband told me not to put myself in a situation where I get left with everything, however he is the first to ring me when something is wrong. I take on too much, I need to learn to say 'no'.  my kids are with him tonight and they have a bday party tonight, I spotted the present in my daughter room so I rang her. they had forgotten and he had forgotten.  if I had let it go like he tells me to and not got involved he would have blamed me for not saying something so he is  no different to the parents in the sports teams.  I have to be on top of everything, even things that should not involve me so at some point I snap and sometimes at the wrong person. today my little daughter was on a ride in a shopping centre.  as it went around 2 kids about 12 years o age decided to jump/climb on it, my daughter got scared started screaming and trying to get off it whilst it was moving.  I yelled a them to get off, that they were scaring her and told them it was stupid. I would have blasted them more had they not run off.  my patience and quick wit was gone after the morning id had.  my head feels like exploding today.

  5. white knight
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    30 August 2015 in reply to CMF

    Hi CMF,

    I can see your points. They are however different.

    Your last example of "wit" was more like automatic protection of your child, or anyones child really. We are programmed this way, most of us anyway.

    We with some mental difficulties are often the first to volunteer even though it isn't the best for us due to the stress it gives us. I'm more than a good example.

    I've ran car clubs and the like. Thankless tasks.

    In our small town of 200 people they have 3 organisations for landcare, a progress group and a recreation reserve management group. I wont volunteer for any of them. I'll give reasons even though I'm at an ideal age to do so.

    Recently I wanted the recreation club rooms painted and I was willing to paint them myself...quite a large job. There was so much turmoil about colours I pulled out of the job. It seems nowadays everyone fails to see the bigger picture (i.e. that it is being preserved) and just want to force their views on the basis they have "rights" to do so. Maybe social media has changed things somewhat.?

    The problem with those outgoing people like you CMF and myself that have issues of sensitivity and tend to overload ourselves unknowingly...is that we often fall in a heap. So pacing ourselves doesn't come naturally. Just reading your situation whereby you are ringing everyone and others trying to ring you made me squirm, I would run a million miles from that. At 59yo I've carved my own life with all these things. I see clearly the traps I used to fall into and don't go near traps. I protect myself but it isn't easy slowing myself down.

    I don't know why we do these things. Might be that inner feeling of liking that pat on the back (nothing wrong with that) or inner satisfaction, wanting to be a good parent etc. But I'm wary now. Like a few years ago when a local group in a town I lived gathered many people to plant trees on a farmers property. We found out later the farmer was extremely rich and would underpay staff and wanted to save money by getting a group to do the work he should pay for.

    My faith in society might have dropped. It's "flogging the willing horses" and its common.

    You cant "save the world" and think of everything. Others, even our children have to learn their own responsibilities. You cant pick up the threads and block all the holes. If you try then you are worrying and worry isn't a good characteristic for your health and relaxation.

    We have to learn to "chill"

    Tony  WK

     

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  6. Narniakid
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    30 August 2015 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony, thank you for sharing your insight.

    I work in a stressful customer service job where a good deal of my customers are angry and I've actually found that it's helped me to become a calmer person through dealing with all these angry customers, strange as it may seem. Every time someone yells at me I know that it's not me they're yelling at, it is their frustration they are venting. I've learned to not take it personally, and I think it's a really good skill to pick up, particularly in any customer service job.

    Once again thanks for sharing, I enjoy reading your words of wisedom.

    Crystal

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  7. HorrorHead
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    12 September 2015 in reply to white knight

    WK,

    I know exactly how you feel. Watching people deal with these situations with grace and ease leaves me in a state of awe. Knowing that when I'm faced with similar situations I capitulate into a babbling mess.

     You've mentioned throughout your posts that you believe this is something people are 'born' with. However, as with any nature vs nurture debate, there may be a case for learning this capability. 

    I was speaking with some mates on Friday night about a very similar topic. I won't bore you with the details, but we were talking about how certain people know who to push your buttons. That these type of people are different for everyone and whether there is a way to: 1) recognise it when it's happening; and 2) employ strategies to manage your emotions and deal with the situation in a calm, rational manner that leaves everyone feeling positive after the experience. 

    My mate made a good point. "It depends on the situation". When you are knowledgeable about a topic, go into the situation calm and are generally in a right frame of mind, most of us would possess this 'natural' ability you speak of. However change any of those components and you may react differently leading to less than ideal outcomes. 

    Those of us with anxiety have a much greater challenge in managing our emotions. Particularly enough to be able to deal with confrontation in calm and collected ways. As with any skill, I believe it can be cultivated through dedication and practice. 

    The problem is, I don't know how to go about it just yet. 

    If anyone has tips on successfully cultivating this skill I'd love to hear from you. I'm sure many others would find these tips greatly beneficial. 

    WK, I like reading your posts. You have a very clear and concise way of explaining things. Maybe you do possess the grace and calmness you speak of, except you may not recognise it in yourself. 

    We are all our own worst critics. 

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  8. white knight
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    13 September 2015 in reply to HorrorHead

    Hi HH,

    Interesting reply of yours, thankyou.

    I had to think for a while about that concept, that if all is going ok with one's knowledge of a topic you will come across (and conduct yourself) in a reasonable confident manner. You said " However change any of those components and you may react differently leading to less than ideal outcomes. " Yes, absolutely. It's like a pack of fragile erected cards and one is taken away. Which leads me to think, is our fragility such that one component alone can cause us to be so unstable that we rarely can be reasonable? Does it mean for some of us that in order to process things in a common manner then react reasonably ....all components must be in order? Time for an example-

    A young person say 21yo with severe anxiety makes a radical decision to buy a new car. He knows he cant afford the more luxurious model but he decides to anyway. He arrives home and his mates all are waiting for him, to see his new ride. His mates pat him on the back, get in and out of the car and inspect the engine. He is anxious however. Then they sit and share a drink and one of the 6 friends asks "so how much did it cost". "None of your business he declares...why did you ask". The mood cools and the friends slowly leave. He tries justifying his snappy response to the last of his friends that drive way.

    From the view of the fellow that asked the cost...the owner was unreasonable to respond so harshly. The friends might feel the same. The owner can justify his quick response as (for example) "its a rude question" etc. But in reality its a common question and he was seen to be unreasonable. On this occasion the owner had a missing component- or rather an intrusive component...that the cost of the car or the debt  level to buy it was and would continue to be on his mind and he was anxious about it. He might feel regret not being disciplined to buy the cheaper model or a good secondhand car. None of the 6 friends would know about the owners anxiety and frankly even if they did friends are unlikely to compensate automatically for ones illness all the time. This is why we don't "fit in". And when we do present the cause of our reactions (in this case "it was my anxiety, I shouldn't have snapped like that") it also leave a gaping hole in our inner self. Most uncomfortable.

    I think this is what you are saying HH. Hope I'm on the right track.

    Tony WK

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  9. HorrorHead
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    13 September 2015 in reply to white knight

    Great example WK!

     What struck me oct about your example is not necessarily the protagonist's response to his mate's question about 'how much the car cost?' it was why he decided on the luxury model when he knew he couldn't afford it. His whole dilemma started when he made that critical decision to buy the care he couldn't afford. 

    From my personal experience, anxiety is tied so closely to one's view of their own worth. I guess this is why the comorbidity of anxiety and depression is so prevalent. What intrigues me about the example you provided WK, was why he bought the car in the first place? 

    Anxiety in the natural sense arises in these situations as a warning signal that our decision(s) may not be the best. (obviously anxiety arises in a variety of other situations but sticking to the point of this example I won't go into others). I believe that an individual who doesn't suffer from anxiety would feel it in the situation you provided. However, a 'normal' person probably would have been 'reasonable' or 'rational' enough in the first place to not buy the car and put themselves in such a position. 

    I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that whilst the source of our anxiety may not be rational, our lack of self-efficacy doesn't do us any favours when we make decisions that exacerbate it.

    When we go into situations where we know we may be challenged (the protagonist seemed to know this before his mates arrived) our lack of self confidence, and the knowledge of the bad decision, make us more sensitive and less able to deal with any challenging comments. Hence our protagonist's reaction. 

    I'm preoccupied with trying to solve my anxiety and am really trying to identify the source. A confident person can appear witty as they do not have the anxiety clouding their thoughts. Maybe, if we could address our issues regarding self confidence, we would be better equipped to deal with multiple variables as we have discussed before?

    Apologies if this seems to be all over the shop. My anxiety is severely impacting my concentration of late. 

    I pursue this however because maybe my stubbornness, or ignorance, gives me faith that it can be solved. Maybe I need to cling to that faith?

  10. white knight
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    13 September 2015 in reply to HorrorHead

    Hi HH,

    Don't worry, all faith is positive even misguided faith.

    Well I'm hoping we continue a little while longer for good reason.

    At 17yo I joined the RAAF. Initially I didn't drink or smoke. 12 months later I did both and my drinking (I didn't like it) was encouraged because when drunk I became the village clown.

    At 18yo I bought my first car on loans, walk into a car yard with a uniform and signed up for the RAAF for 6 years guaranteed income and - sign the bottom line. After 3 years I chose discharge and had had 14 cars all with re-written loan applications. And the sorry story continued right up till around 33yo...70 cars, 5 motorcycles but who's counting. On each and EVERY occasion the adrenalin was rampant and controlled the whole process of making the purchase. The guilt following the purchase came a while later say after a long few hours drive (getting the car out of my system) when I returned home to my parents. Excuses like "that other car's motor was on the way out" or " it cost too much to insure". I was kidding myself that they didn't know I was telling porkies. So by 30yo I didn't have a home and had young kids. What saved me? A defence service home loan from my earlier RAAF days. Then and only then did my equity begin to grow.

    At 32yo I had a workplace incident that caused major anxiety and panic attacks. Of course anxiety was there all the time. But the treatment of therapy, meds and relaxation techniques began. Well documented on these pages but the anxiety totally disappeared after 25 years in 2012.

    Effectively I was a walking anxiety time bomb. My mother likely a chronic BPD sufferer in denial to this day (83yo) likely was mostly responsible for my condition - also well documented here. So likely my anxiety was learned not 'born with'. However the original source in my case of BPD I believe, having known the heritage line of the females in my family, I'd say is handed down. Interesting eh. So I have, to my satisfaction found my source of my anxiety. And I've done it without help. See if you have a parent with my mothers condition that made me jump regularly with the screaming and strong feelings of never being good enough, always wanting to satisfy the queen and avoid the witch...then a calm young man I would never become. Its all clear now.

    I hope this helps. I too might have got off track on things that might not assist at all. You've helped me.

    Any questions please do

    Tony WK

     

     

  11. CMF
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    13 September 2015 in reply to white knight

    WK

    "...strong feelings of never being good enough..."  I totally agree.  My daughters father has had ongoing anxiety for about 2 years now.  I have my theories but he denies them all  he is a perfectionist, when I met him he used constantly yell at his mum because she drove him mad, nagging him about eating, not sleeping enough etc.  He freaked out when I found I was pregnant although he says he always wanted kids etc. he's a planner, has done nothing in his life because it's never the right time.  I think he is scared of failure, comitment  and responsibility. His mum is pretty full on at times, she used to nag him like crazy, he's in his 40's and its like she never let him grow up.  He used to verbally abuse her cos he couldn't take her nagging and yet he still lives at home and is now sick with anxiety  I'm waffling, I know, he drove me insane today.  We went for lunch with his family, he irritated our daughter all through lunch, we all told him to stop aggravating her but he says "no" she cries coz she doesn't get her way.  She is 2&1/2 for crying out loud, he purposely took toys off her cos they annoyed him, even though she was happy playing while she waited for her lunch. We arrived hour and a half late, I don't know why it took him over 2 hours to get ready so she was pretty hungry and everyone else had their food. He tells everyone don't give her bread or sugar then he gave her bread and an iced chocolate then wanted to put honey in her baby chino??? It was very hard to be "reasonable"  he was being ridiculous. I'm so depressed because of how he makes me feel about him.  Everyone is wrong, he is always right, even when he knows nothing about something, everyone is an idiot.

    Anyway, my point is that I think circumstances during a persons upbringing can cause anxiety later on.  

    Yeah I had a crappy day :-(

     

  12. white knight
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    14 September 2015 in reply to CMF

    Hi CMF,

    Whenever I hear about a somewhat narcissistic personality I run for the hills so to speak. My mother a true Borderline Personality Disorder fit, in its chronic form, was my prime example. But it is also in men, albeit lesser so.

    I don't know if I've advised you to Google this but please do so. "Waif, queen,witch,hermit"  Read up a few articles about what the four characters are all about. It's based on the book "Walking on eggshells" by Dr Christine Lawson.

    See if that fits your hubby. I'd be interested in your findings.

    Tony WK

  13. CMF
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    14 September 2015 in reply to white knight
    Thanks Tony WK, I will look into that. Just to clarify, he isn't my husband, probably a good thing. We had a great relationship which he destroyed- but that's in another post.  I always defend his actions, say he is a great caring person but I have many doubts now. I don't really know who he is.  I saw how he treated his mum and he's done it to me now too.  True colours always come out...
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  14. CMF
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    21 September 2015 in reply to white knight

    Hi WK,

    well I read up on the info you gave me and he does fit with some of them  I just cannot work him out.  He loves deep conversation but he always has to be right, he starts yelling at his mum for no reason and blames her saying "I don't want to argue" but he is the only one arguing- about nothing. It's like He creates situations in his head and responds/reacts to it but it never actually happened.  He is very polite with others (I think we all are to some degree) but then turn to his "loved ones" and treats them like crap all in the same breath.  I am at the point where I am going to start questioning his actions even in front of his family.  I think they all see it but no one has ever said anything, they just let it go. He complained and carried on about the toys in the cafe that my daughter played with saying they were going in his food but he didn't order any food. The points made by yourself a HH really make sense.  ive gone off your topic a bit but it seems the right place to vent these concerns I have.  I saw a physiologist a few times when I was pregnant as my dr wanted to link me with someone over concerns I would have PND due to lack of support and verbal abuse from him but I found I wanted to go totals about his behaviour and why he is like that, what his behaviour means, is it a condition. 

    Anyway, sorry for going off topic but thx for listening.  

  15. white knight
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    21 September 2015 in reply to CMF

    Hi CMF,

    Re: "He is very polite with others".  Could be a case of "familiarity breeds contempt which is in a lot of family's. Classic example was my ex wife's family. As teenagers all 5 of them could enter their home and tell their father about a crane toppling over down the street and he wouldn't believe them. But if the boy next door came in....different matter.  Maybe disrespect? Not all reactions are due to mental illness but his reactions to his family and you seems out of order IMO.

    I'm pointing out the difficulty in us mere mortals separating mental illness symptoms to bad behaviour, odd behaviour, personality traits etc. Because it gets to the point whereby we have to rely on professionals like psychiatrists. When it gets to that stage you have a few challenges like - you have to get him to agree and you can lead a horse to water but cant make him drink, he has to acknowledge that with so many people around him questioning his mental health that there could be something wrong that needs attention and the road down the path to medication/therapy and the like.

    Finally, try to be cautious with in-laws. You depicted a witty person in your last post. Things he did that were not happening how he described them. I'd suggest you stick with this route. eg. if he described toys of things falling in food (and he hadn't ordered any) then a few words like "what were you eating"? Get him to fall into his own claim traps. Then he cant question you because you are only asking a common question. Instead of saying "but you weren't eating any food". That is a statement more like an attack upon him. Answer his claims with a question. It works for me.

    I'm more concerned with the verbal abuse given to you. Blood family has a natural tie so they know to back off and keep him in their lives. They don't want to lose him.

    I think you might need to consider a boundary. Your boundary. This is the line you draw in the sand where you will not endure his verbal tirades. I have mine. My lovely wife has always raised her voice when we disagree. Over time it rises so high it is no longer a disagreement - its an argument. So I've told her some time ago that its something I cant tolerate and cant see why adults cant disagree without yelling. She eventually saw my point and gradually its worked. Its bliss now. This yelling came from her ex that did the same. She only knows what she was taught so she is forgiven.

    Take care.  Tony WK

     

     

     

  16. CMF
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    21 September 2015 in reply to white knight

    WK thank you for your wise words and advice.  Just reading it gives me anxiety because of how right you are.  Disrespect for the family - yes. "Watch the In laws" - yes.  When I was pregnant and he turned his back on me his mother asked ME why I didn't want HIM around. When he told me I wasn't cut out for relationships and shouldn't hang out together and I stopped going around she said I wanted it kick him out.  Everything was my fault, they knew nothing of how he was treating me, Im Sure he wouldn't dare tell them as he is ashamed. When I did have a go at him at lunch (his dad also did for the same reasons) his mum just looked at me, his sister nodded in agreement with me but neither spoke up, just his dad did. He tells me they all consider me part of the family but I know Id never be part of the "inner circle"  I know they discuss me and my private business and my finances etc yet they don't tell me their personal business.  Also I can't tolerate his carry on with his family, I don't want to be a part of that anymore as I can no longer be "reasonable"  I've had enough so better not to put my self in that situation.  Just today he carried on about something stupid and when I questioned him he said I like to start arguments - if you don't agree with him you're starting an argument. 

    back to your original topic, when I feel ready to burst at the seams at the slightest thing I now try to be conscious of how Im feeling and be aware that I could easily pounce for no reason.  When things get to me I try to let them go, not dwell on them, after all in a week, a month or six months they are going to be of no significance in most cases.  

    Thanks again

    cmf

  17. white knight
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    21 September 2015 in reply to CMF

    Hi CMF

    Yes, "reasonable" can include lots of actions and inactions. Inactions can include allowing time to "let the waves settle"....then as you elude, its all forgotten about.

    One strategy I've always use to defend myself over people overstepping their "place" is to reverse the situation. A mother in law asks a question about how much money you've save to buy a house? clearly making you feel uncomfortable and placing the action of saving totally upon you. You say "I'll tell you how much I've save for a house when you tell me whats in your will". Or- "I'll tell you how much I've save for a house when you tell me how much money you have saved over the last 5 years". And so on. If they get upset and argumentive don't be worried, simply say "well its fair, you have as much right to my personal information as I do to yours.".

    This takes some practice. In-laws often clearly over step the mark.

    I have a mother in law. I know what is in her will. I know it is an unfair will toward my wife- her caring daughter that is nursing her at the moment post a brain operation. Yet it is clearly not my place to discuss it.

    You've acknowledged that your in laws don't have you in their inner circle and you've tried hard to be in there. I think it is important to say here now that you have a lot of emphasis on his family. Yet, you didn't marry them, you married your husband only. Perhaps a drift from them is in order. You know you'll never be totally accepted. And if asked why they haven't seen you very much your answer could be "well, I love your son/brother very much, and he is your blood family. I'll see you guys from time to time". See how that answer is said? It is saying you will continue to see them so they cant object. You also leave the door open to get closer if they began to see what you are putting up with.

    As said before, we often don't know what words/actions/reactions are played out due to mental illness or anger etc. But I have learned that either way there is a limit of toleration one can put up with in any relationship. Having mental illness issues/narcissism/bad attitudes/in-law pressures etc there comes a point when you will know you are in a relationship that wont work out without serious change.

    There is a saying that applies to your in-laws -"I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations". Concentrate on your marriage not his family. Remain friends with them but at arms length.

    Tony WK

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