Sunday, January 11, 2009

Use Your EQ When You're the Mother-in-Law

b Susan Dunn

Kelly and I have a great relationship, I'm grateful to say, but I'm still the mother-in-law. If you are one, or have one, you'll probably agree it's a relationship that requires finesse. "Finesse" is another word for "emotional intelligence."

All those mother-in-law jokes are out there for a reason. I'd say it's hardest to be the mother of the son, but you might disagree! Anyway, Kelly is married to my only son, and the mother of my only grandchildren. There are times when I feel very vulnerable in that situation, having to ask permission and all.

My granddaughter's now old enough to come for visits. When I call to invite her, it's been hard to come up with just the right way to do it. After all, Meg is "hers" and not "mine."

Recently I read an article about something called "anodyne therapy." You know how when they're getting ready to stick a needle in your thumb they say, "This is going to sting a little bit"? Well, in anodyne therapy, they say, "Notice how quickly your thumb becomes numb."

"Anodyne" means "serving to assuage pain, or not likely to offend or arouse tensions."

When I received an email from my daughter-in-law talking about all the "projects" she had going on, I figured out a better way to ask her. Kelly's always got something going on - painting, wallpapering, gardening - and of course they're harder to do with the little ones underfoot.

Lately I call and say, "Want to have some time to do that wallpapering? How about if I take Meg for a couple of days?"

This takes the focus off what's being given up, and places it on something Kelly really wants - more time to do her projects.

Anodyne - not likely to offend or arouse tensions.

That's EQ!

Susan Dunn is the EQ Coach and can qualify you to be one, too. Contact Susan at

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