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August 25, 2005, 6:53 am CDT

Oh dear - life isn't exactly as you want it!

Quote From: kmlett

My husband and I have been together for 4 years actually almost 5 I guess. Anyway. My inlaws are very fake and I feel so upset about so many things but mostly I am trying to figure out holiday stuff early this year. I will have to talk to my husband about this stuff soon as MY IN LAWS love to start pushing me into this stuff way early. First of all, My family is not in the same state as me. My mother and father have passed away, so sharing holidays with them is not the problem for my in laws. My problem is, I know these people do NOT like me. They have talked behind my back and said very awful things. I do not understand why because They have never even got to know me. They have never taken the time. They are assuming what they think and who I am instead of doing the time to really try and like me.  My husband has two brothers and one sister. She was spoiled while growing up and is very proud of this. She actually brags about being a spoiled Bi*** , her words, NOT MINE. before I came in the picture my husband and his brothers spent a lot of time at their sisters house due to the fact that they were single guys and they had no real reason to stay home alone and cook for themselves when they could go there and eat and hang out. She became use to this and liked being CENTER Of attention. knowing all her brothers business and eliminating women that these men would be dating by saying, yeah, but I wouldn't date her because of this or that. Of course my husband and his brothers do not understand that is what she was doing. Well, now with me and my husband together we have 3 kids, a home and a life of our own, Of course he isn't hanging out with his sister. This is not a problem usually. UNTIL THE HOLIDAYS.For Thanksgiving we will be EXPECTED To be there. my problem with that is I am not talked to while there, the guys sit in the living room watching sports, the mom is cooking with the daughter, I will ask, can I help and I am told no, We got it. I don't watch sports so, no need to to the living room. so I sit there doing nothing usually pretty mad the whole time that I am even there. For christmas Me and my husband talked and decided that we would do Christmas at home. My husband told his family, " look we are just going to stay at home for Christmas because (MY WIFE) is use to having a christmas dinner instead of Christmas Breakfast. Well, So, They all come to my house. So, I am not really enjoying my children then that day either and being with my family because I am cleaning, cooking for 20 some people and making sure everything is ok. Now first of all, when I spoke to my husband about having a FAMILY dinner at home for Christmas I was saying, Him, me and our children. NOT The whole family. He did understand that and yet has not changed this situation. MY BIGGEST problem with all this... I probably sound like a terrible person, what kind of person does not want to be with family at the holidays. Well, Here it is, First off, Growing up it was just me and my mom, I would always dream of having a family of my own and spending everyday and dream A LOT about holidays and traditions that would be set for my husband, me and my children. Now here I am cleaning up , cooking or at a house where people can't stand me and as soon as I leave that house or they leave my they are bad mouthing me... I KNOW that for a fact. My feelings are, I can't call these people during the year when there is a problem, happiness or anything huge happening in my life. I don't get calls to go shopping, or to share the kids together, or time spent with them just for fun. They are never there during anything in my life or my kids but they want to spend the hoidays with us? Why? It's just a show to me.  I use to think well, Maybe they don't think I am good enough for their brother/son/grandson. But... Now the other brother is dating a doctor that is VERY successful, gorgeous and yet they hate her. They hate her because she has family and on holidays they go to her family's house. I just feel if  you are family you are family all year long, NOT just the holidays.. and Yes these same things happen for Easter, birthdays and EVEN halloween. It's crazy! Pleas tell me what you would suggest I do to talk to my husband about this and get it through to him about my feelings on this. I understand it's still his family. HOWEVER, I look at my immediate family as my children and my husband. Brothers and sisters grow up, have a family of their own and move on. OR ONE WOULD THINK!  I have no problem with his parents stopping by and seeing the children or having dinner, But I do not feel I should have to invite the sisters and brothers also..,. I do not feel I should have to their house for Thanksgiving if I want my family at home. Am I over reacting. Also Please keep in mind there is SOOOOOOOOO much more to this story. but it would be way too long. Thanks for listening.  

   

   

Plan nuclear and extended family days.  At the moment you are asking your husband to give up company at home and company outside the home during the holidays.  It's too much given that he doesn't see much of his family during the year. 

  

  

 
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August 25, 2005, 2:24 pm CDT

The choice is ...

Quote From: kmlett

Maybe I didn't explain it completely right. I don't take his family out of his life all year long. They do. It's their choice to not be a part of his life during the year. That's what makes me upset. His family talks behind his wifes back,(They have even talked bad about him to his friends trying to get them to slam on HIM) they don't ever do anything to have a relationship with him or me all year long, and then EXPECTS us to be there for the holidays. I could understand if things were normal and they had a relationship all year long. But they don't. So, it's not ME, who takes them out of his life. We have close friends and family that are always there all year long. They are there for my husband, my children and me and we are there for them. So, We all share the stuff through the year, the good the bad, the ugly, then at the holidays when you are suppose to spend time with the people you really care about and love at the holidays and celebrate I am with the people who back stab all year long. This isn't normal. And There  is nothing stopping him from going there. I have told him if he wants to go, why can't he go and then come home when he has had enough time with them. I have tried to compermise with them about getting together with them on Christmas Eve and then spend Christmas with our children on Christmas. They said it wouldn't be the same. Well, It's only the same for them. They are not taking into account that they are ruining my holidays. My children don't get time with their mommy on the holidays that's quality. To me my children and my husband and I should be happy together on those days, NOT just him, and NOT just his family. They are not the only consideration here.  

Believe me if the in-laws are discussing you with friends at 5 years in then you are giving off a very unfriendly vibe.  At 10 years the only person in my family doing this is my sister because she and my brother have a number of friends in common and those friends continually raise the subject of my sister-in-law's manners.   

  

Isn't it just possible the in-laws feel they have to have an excuse to get you to join in with the family and the holidays are the only thing they can think of. 

 
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August 28, 2005, 11:47 am CDT

I know how awful I am!

Quote From: kmlett

Wow that's amazing that you think you know me so well from a message board. LOL Hey you are intilted to you opinion but.. I really don't care what you say because you sound as hateful as them so .... your post matter very little to me.

I'm immature enough to want to hand out the Christmas presents using an old english parlour game my husband's family discovered.  I'm also controlling enough to expect to carry on doing it AFTER my brother married his wife.  THE NERVE!  Civilised adults just don't make a game out of giving presents.  (It's just as bad, if not worse, as liking to watch sports on holiday and being territorial about the cooking.)   

  

Some families are impossible but most can be put up with for at least 5 or 6 days a year so your spouse can have EVERYONE he/she calls family in the same room.   

  

 
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August 28, 2005, 12:26 pm CDT

My two cents ...

Quote From: sockonmars

I've been looking on this website and no one has talked about blended families created without divorce. 

My boyfriend married his late wife when she was sick.  She got pregnant and was told not to have the baby but she refused to have an abortion and had their daughter. It put the mother's health in serious jeopardy and she became psychologically ill.  At one point she had to be committed. She'd go in and out of her sane mind.  My boyfriend was worried and didn't want to have to deal with her (really the stessed she caused) or to really have her around his daughter but kept the marriage together... 

When his daughter was four his wife died of an overdose. It was not suicide, she simply took too much of her medicine and died in her sleep in the livingroom.  It was her daughter that found her.  He came into the room to find his daughter shaking his wife and screaming wake up mommy, daddy why won't mommy wake up? 

He got his daughter therapy and due to medical bills had to declare bankruptcy and move in with his mother and stepfather.  His life is almost in order, he's got a wonderful job, but he's still living there mainly so his daughter has her grandmother in her life. 

His daughter is nine now and I'm his girlfriend. I love him very much and hope that we could get married someday in which case I'd be a stepmother to a girl who has no mother and has not been through divorce-- so a lot of regular stepparent advice doesn't apply or has to be altered. I was wondering what advice people would have a) for the future if we get married and b) for now during the dating process with building a relationship with her. 

Thanks. 

For the future I think you need to accept living a 10/15 minute walk from the in-laws so it's easy for your step daughter to visit her grandmother whenever she wishes once she's mature enough to make the journey alone.  I also think you need will need to take on the current structure and rules of her grandmother's house to a large extent.     

  

For now I'd echo the advice above.  Take things slowly and take a hard look at your relationship every six months or so.  If it still seems heading towards marriage increase the amount of contact you have with your potential step daughter.  If there are problems keep the contact at the current level until the problems are resolved.    

 
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August 30, 2005, 11:11 am CDT

kmlett - Sorry - You caught me at a bad moment

Basically I'd just sat in front of a gift and the wrapping paper and realised that whatever method I used to send it to my 5 year old niece there would be a problem.    

  

Could we add to the above that new in-laws need to negotiate?  The SIL in question joined in with no problems at first.  Then one year she marched into my mother's on Christmas Eve and from a standing start - no-one had said anything other than "Hello" and put the children to bed - she started on my immaturity and controlling nature re my husband's family party game.  Basically we all live 100 miles plus from everybody else in the family and I suspect my brother had insisted she came to the family christmas as he hadn't seen anyone for 6 months.  My mother is very good at manipulation and guilt but recognises that times change and has never said anything other than "Oh well.  Have a nice time at X, Y, Z" when told people won't be appearing at a family event.   

  

As for gossip my mother will laugh at the odd flippant joke my brother-in-law makes about the situation but the one time I really sounded off she said "I don't think I should listen to this." and walked out of the room.  Basically it's my other brother, my sister and myself swapping horror stories with our partners.  My sister also gets people she and my brother have known for 15+ years telling her about over the top responses from SIL to things like badly addressed christmas cards. 

  

Mind you this SIL isn't my worst one!  That distinction belongs to my husband's side of the family.  Only a complete idiot would have a joint christening with her best friend and think it could go ahead without the paternal grandparents, great-grandmother and uncle. 

 
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August 31, 2005, 9:18 am CDT

Admitting it!

I've come to the conclusion I'm eating to make myself big and scary - the underlying problem being I had a nervous breakdown 14 years ago and the prejudice I experience from some quarters. 

  

Has anyone any tips for avoiding the procrastination, denial and self sabotage I go in for? 

  

Thank you in advance.   

 
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September 1, 2005, 10:08 am CDT

To Parisienne - re toxic

I wouldn't mind betting the phrase "toxic" originated with the psychologist Susan Forward.  In her book "Toxic Parents" she compares the emotional damage various types of parents do to their children as being like a chemical toxin - something which grows and spreads and causes more and more pain.  ("Toxic In-laws" is actually the better book in my opinion if you want to read something more to get a better idea of what she means.)  

  

If it's any help I've read your story and I agree with one of your earlier posts - Danielle used you as an excuse/reason for something and didn't know how to retract her accusation when her mother started taking action to make sure you didn't continue with the acquaintance. 

 
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September 2, 2005, 2:40 am CDT

Read Susan Forward's book Toxic Inlaws

Quote From: anabanana

Sigh…I’m the type of person that pretty much gets along with everybody and it bothers me if I think someone is thinking badly of me or doesn’t like me.  It all started a few months after I met my now husband on the internet.  We got along great.  After a few months he told his parents about me.  They cautioned him of course, which is understandable it was his first relationship.  However, it bothered me that the main issue they mentioned was the the fact that I was black and hispanic, they thought it would cause issues.  He is white, but grew up in another country mostly because his parents were missionaries.  Anyway, he assured them it wasn’t an issue, that I had grown up here and there really weren’t any big cultural differences.  So that was over…but then he tells her I have college loans.  (We met when we were in college).  She flips out, tries to get him to promise he won’t marry me with debt and wants him to get a masters degree first…yada yada yada…his family is super anti-debt, they paid what he couldn’t get in scholarships and live in  a half built house cause they are paying as they go as opposed to getting a mortgage to finish it.  Which is fine for them.  Anyway, he came to visit me after we spoke on the internet for 7 months and we spend the summer together and at the end of the summer, I flew to meet his family.  I barely know this woman and she is pulling me aside and telling me how awful it will be if we get married as soon as he gets out of college and that he’s not ready and the whole week talked about getting married too soon and debt and money…it was just really stressful.  We dated the next year, that Christmas, he tells his parents we are planning to get married in a year and half and she completely flips out and threatens not to come to the wedding because of my debt.  (Which mind you…I tried hard not to get in the first place and had moved home after college so I can put all my income towards paying them off).  So anyway, he graduates and moves here.  We continue with our wedding plans, trying to pay off the debt as quickly as possible, however due to car problems and the wedding costing more than we hoped, there are still some loans left, but we don’t have credit card debt, car loans…anything else…and I’ve paid them so far in advance I don’t even have to make a payment for years if I wanted.  Anyway, my husband made it clear he didn’t want me to work after we got married, that it is too stressful with two people working.  For a while we worked at the same job and easily worked over 10 hours every day…and besides that I’ve always wanted to be a writer and this was my chance to try it.  Anyway, before the wedding she visits and makes some rude comments that I tried to brush off…about not being ready to be a mother-in-law and that I should make sure I’m not the fattest person at my wedding.  She always asks me about getting a masters degree.  Anyway, we got married and shortly after we got married she calls and starts bothering me about looking for a job and looking to go back to school.  So my husband called and told her that we wanted a one income family.  So she was supposedly fine with that and loved me…whatever.  Anyway, whenever she can’t reach us, she calls my parents.  So my mom calls me and tells me that she was asking her if I was going to get a job.  My husband told her maybe 4 weeks ago that we wanted a one income family.  So I don’t understand why she is doing this…she stresses me out.  She’s always telling me what I should do and is very opinionated.  I feel like we told her what we wanted and it’s really not her business and just when I think we are finally getting along ok, she does or says something to make me feel like she doesn’t like me…while telling my husband she loves me..and I don’t understand.  I”ve never done anything to her.  I just want to get along and not have her try to run our lives.  I feel like we are both out of college and doing fine…it’s not really her business if and when we will get our masters degrees or if and when I will or will not go back to work.  I’m trying to make my husband happy…not her. But I just always feel so hurt when stuff like this comes up.  Am I being oversensitive?--sorry so long...

    

  

 

   

    

I'm rereading it at the moment and I think it would help you.  MIL sounds like a textbook controller to me.  My personal experience is that losing the social aspects of work can be a problem in the long term but if that happens a part-time job is the obvious answer. 
 
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September 22, 2005, 2:22 am CDT

Make an absent fuss of BIL

Quote From: guffordj02

Hi: I have a small problem that I know I will work through but some helpful advice would be appreciated.  This Sat is my brother in laws 40th surprise party.  It is also my sons doubleheader baseball tournament (my husband is a coach as well)  We can't do both as a family.  I have been a very supportive parent and have discussed the possibility of going to the surprise party by myself with my husband and son who support my decision.  I explained to my sister in law that there may be a conflict upon immediately finding out about the party.  I told her that this was a hard decision because we care about both of them.  She asked me if I felt her husbands party was  a priority and I told her it was but, so is my son's game.  I told her today that we were going to miss the party and I was very sorry.  She said she was dissapointed and her husband as well as everyone else coming would be as well.  She also said it was going to take her some time to get over this.  I was very hurt by her words because she is a parent of three and I am certain that she would place her kids before a party.  Any advice?  Thank you

Go out of your way to personally give a present to your BIL on the way to the tournament if this is possible.  If it isn't possible make sure something nice is delivered to his door on Saturday. 

  

SIL might well put her kids above a party but the fact is she hasn't been put in that dilemma so far. Consequently she is focussed on her disappointment that everyone won't be there celebrating BIL's big four 0 in the way she imagined. 

  

  

 
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September 28, 2005, 10:58 am CDT

Toxic Family Relationships

Quote From: milwaukee4

  I grew up in a dairy farming family consisting of a dad, mom, two brothers, and one sister.  My sister is my mothers favorite child and can do no wrong.  She married a guy who makes a lot of money and is viewed as smart and successful.  They had three kids who are all disrespectful and think they can have whatever they want.  I married a school teacher and have three kids of my own.  Things were going fairly well with my family until my sister decided to start bashing my wife and saying how we are terrible parents and are way "too strict" with our kids.  She refers to us as "the idiots" when we aren't there.  Needless to say, we don't go to my parents house much anymore for family gatherings because it has become a bash on us fest when we leave.  The reason I know this is because my younger brother tells me what is said when I'm gone.  Many of the things are lies or manipulations of the truth to make us look bad.  I recently confronted my family about the lies and I want them to stop or we won't come over anymore.  My family (with the exception of my younger brother) says I'm way over reacting and jealous of my sister and her family because they have a "better life" than I do.  Somehow, my wife got blamed for driving the family apart and it being a part of her "master plan".  She is now refered to as the "stupid bitch" that ruined the family.  I haven't had any contact with anyone in my family (except younger brother) in 6 months.  My kids (age 6.5, 5, and 3) want to know if we are ever going to my parents again and if they are going to see their cousins anymore?  What do I do???

Are you sure your younger brother isn't stirring things for some reason?  The recent reaction of your family - that you are jealous - suggests to me that things aren't entirely the way he describes them.   

  

I'd speak to your parents, your brother and your sister individually.  Each of them needs to be told that your wife is not responsible for the arguments between you.  Say as far as you are concerned the root cause of the situation is that you and your sister have not respected each other's choice of parenting styles.  (You are not the biggest fan of her children are you?)   Then say you'd like to improve things and start working towards normality again.  Therefore parenting is off the agenda for future discussions as far as you are concerned.  Finish up with an invitation to some sort of family activity that everyone can join in with and that can be the focus of discussion eg bowling,  

  

Hopefully you will get somewhere and if you don't you've got the moral high ground.  

 

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