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Old 11-05-2012, 01:43 PM
 
15,254 posts, read 16,837,192 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snooper View Post
It is a long drive to my wife's family house through snow and cold and I hate driving at night.
If it was an easy three hours with local family and then we could leave then it would be easy, but everyone insists that we spend at least two nights there and no one sleeps and there is not enough beds so many of us have to sleep on the floor and only get a few hours of rest which makes it even more challenging.
You only get one life and it's too short to spend your time off with people who aren't nice to you, sleeping on the floor, no less. Sounds like you and your wife both need to develop stiffer backbones and learn to say "no." I get that your wife wants to spend time with them, but it's your holiday too. I'd tell her flat out that you don't want to go, but if you do go you're staying in a motel and leaving the minute people start to get ugly. If that's simply not feasible, I'd encourage her to lay down some ground rules with the family (i.e. the first mean thing anybody says, we're outta here) and stick to it.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Corona the I.E.
10,077 posts, read 14,028,344 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snooper View Post
For some reason my wife feels that it is obligation as a daughter and a sister to attend at least a few family events because THEY ARE FAMILY for better or worse. She does not seem to be bothered by the abuse as much as I am because she grew up with it and is numb how bad everyone treats each other. She wants me to come and if I didn't go with her it would be extra tough for her to take the abuse.

It's me that just hates seeing her be treated that way and I have come close many times to exploding and telling them off. So, no making up some type of passive aggressive blue flu or busy excuse is not going to happen and we are going.
As much as I try and stay out of my wife's family dysfunction and her's out of mine, when I see clear emotional abuse and my wife is crying there have been a couple of occasions were I rained fire down on my FIL. He wasn't used to someone standing up to him especially being of the age bracket you must always respect your elders mindset. I don't care how old you are you threaten me or my loved ones and you best come strong because I will. He was enraged when I stood up to him on my wife's behalf after watching this go one for about 10 minutes. He charged me full speed and I cocked my fist and let him know he best back off. Guess what.....2 days later he was apologizing for his bad behavior. I never hit him but let him know damn well you will not dictate/threaten/or attempt to control my wife and I in our house


Give it some serious thought over the next weeks. Talk to your wife about it. Can you tolerate this for another 10 years or are you ready to got to the mattresses, I ain't joking. Because if you chose the latter as I did make peace that may well be the last time you wife sees her relatives, and frankly she will be better for it. Now we all get along for the most part, but I suspect my actions, which I don't regret at all, have made it so he doesn't want to come visit us at all, because he is a control freak.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:24 PM
 
Location: zone 5
7,330 posts, read 13,243,787 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marlow View Post
You only get one life and it's too short to spend your time off with people who aren't nice to you, sleeping on the floor, no less. Sounds like you and your wife both need to develop stiffer backbones and learn to say "no." I get that your wife wants to spend time with them, but it's your holiday too. I'd tell her flat out that you don't want to go, but if you do go you're staying in a motel and leaving the minute people start to get ugly. If that's simply not feasible, I'd encourage her to lay down some ground rules with the family (i.e. the first mean thing anybody says, we're outta here) and stick to it.
This. If they object to the motel, you can tell them one of you has been having back problems and needs to sleep in a real bed. A motel would at least give you some privacy and down time.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:33 PM
 
Location: USA
1,899 posts, read 4,153,953 times
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Quote:
For some reason my wife feels that it is obligation as a daughter and a sister to attend at least a few family events because THEY ARE FAMILY for better or worse. She does not seem to be bothered by the abuse as much as I am because she grew up with it and is numb how bad everyone treats each other. She wants me to come and if I didn't go with her it would be extra tough for her to take the abuse.
Generally speaking, a man should defend his wife.
However, this is clearly a different situation here.

You need to tell your wife that you love her & cannot tolerate people blatantly mistreating her, and that you aren't going. If she wants to go, that's her choice - she's an adult - but you should not go.

If you would take a stand and stay home, she would likely stay at home with you, after a time or two of going it alone.

There is no way I would be part of this, and you shouldn't, either. OTOH, your wife is an adult and she is choosing to be mistreated, and I would stay out of her family-of-origin dysfunction.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:52 PM
 
676 posts, read 1,054,001 times
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Well, this is complicated. Sounds like your wife is used to being scapegoated by her family and doesn't realize how abusive it is. Scapegoats grow up believing we deserve it because that's what we've been taught. But from talking to friends and various self-help groups, I've also come to sympathize with the spouses of scapegoats (I'm not married myself). You love her and it's painful to see someone you love treated badly.

One of my friends dealt with a lot of tension in her marriage because her husband got so angry on her behalf. If your wife absolutely insists on going, there are some compromises.

1) You stay in a hotel or motel or with sane friends/family in the same city. I can empathize with your wife feeling she has to obey her parents and stay for 2 nights. It took me until I was 43 to realize I didn't have to stay with my mother during visits to her. You are compromising by spending the holiday with such horrid people, she needs to compromise too. An estrangement followed shortly after the family event where I insisted on my own hotel room. But I think it was bound to happen anyway. You're both grown adults and if you can pay for your own room in a hotel, they have no say. Plus it's an escape hatch.

Insisting you stay with them isn't hospitality for toxic parents, it's a chance to exert control over the adult child who managed to escape. But your wife has control. She just needs to realize she does, which is easier said than done. At the age of 39, I actually found myself eating my dinner on a patio with dog poop on it because I was so obedient/appeasing of my mother. That was the start of my transformation as in "holy crap, I eating near dog poop and I'm pushing 40."

2) You may want to make it just an overnight visit. Again, she's a grown woman, you and she get to make this decision together, not with her parents

3) You may get stuck having the Thanksgiving dinner at Dysfunction Junction. But for other events, insist on public places. And be ready to clear out of Dysfunction Junction if it gets bad. Get out as soon as you can after dessert and if they act up before then, just leave. Perhaps you can work out a signal which means time to leave? Scapegoats often don't realize once we're adults, we're free to leave a situation and don't have to take anyone's garbage. We get so used to trying to appease the irrational parent and obey them because our survival depended upon it when we were younger.

Has your wife had any therapy for her family issues? Do you think it might be helpful to have a therapist sit down with both of you?
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:04 PM
 
12,540 posts, read 12,531,731 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snooper View Post
For some reason my wife feels that it is obligation as a daughter and a sister to attend at least a few family events because THEY ARE FAMILY for better or worse. She does not seem to be bothered by the abuse as much as I am because she grew up with it and is numb how bad everyone treats each other. She wants me to come and if I didn't go with her it would be extra tough for her to take the abuse.

It's me that just hates seeing her be treated that way and I have come close many times to exploding and telling them off. So, no making up some type of passive aggressive blue flu or busy excuse is not going to happen and we are going.

I would tell her that you will go with her only if she promises to open her mouth in her own defense. Tell her you will back her up and support her in whatever she says, because you've had it up to your ears with their crap, too. Add that this is her big chance, because if she doesn't speak up, then next year she's on her own because you are not going to go, never mind sit there and watch her be a martyr.

Because that's what she's doing. She's not a little girl. She's not a teenager. She's a grown woman. She has a functioning mouth. If she doesn't choose to use it, that is her problem, but you galloping in like the cavalry is only going to turn you into a codependent faux savior.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
3,160 posts, read 6,944,721 times
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For the OP: you're an adult and under no obligation to attend ANY holiday dinner with abusive or nutty in-laws. I never attended one single holiday meal with my in-laws because both were horrible people with abusive mouths. Why does anyone "endure" Thanksigiving with people they don't want to be around? I would rather eat dog biscuits alone that be around jerks, whether they're your family or not.

I just wouldn't attend a meal with Bozos I dislike or who create any drama. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a fun time with people you care about.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:16 PM
 
2,890 posts, read 5,393,162 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundance View Post
Generally speaking, a man should defend his wife.
However, this is clearly a different situation here.

You need to tell your wife that you love her & cannot tolerate people blatantly mistreating her, and that you aren't going. If she wants to go, that's her choice - she's an adult - but you should not go.

If you would take a stand and stay home, she would likely stay at home with you, after a time or two of going it alone.

There is no way I would be part of this, and you shouldn't, either. OTOH, your wife is an adult and she is choosing to be mistreated, and I would stay out of her family-of-origin dysfunction.
Of all of the answers, I agree most with this one. You can counsel your wife, but it is ultimately her decision to go. You need to reiterate why her family's behavior is unacceptable and why you refuse to be part of it.

You might also suggest that, if she really wants to maintain ties to her family, she should spend time with her family one on one and avoid family gatherings. For some reason, group events tend to be more stressful and bullies gang up.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:57 PM
 
28,905 posts, read 46,745,065 times
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Nobody seems to get the middle path in a situation like this.

You'd think there were only two possible situations here: 1) Sit there and quietly take it and 2) stand up in a rage and fling the turkey at your father-in-law.

Here's an alternative. If your in-laws are such bullies, then simply rebut everything they say. Not in an argumentative tone, but rather breezily, "Oh, that's not fair. Susie is freaking brilliant to me." And then tell them why. If one of them says, "Why, Suzy, you've gained weight," reply with an offhand, "Oh, now that's mean and not true. Suzy takes really good care of herself." And so on and so on. Bullies being bullies, they look for easy targets. If you don't present them with one, then they'll move on to grousing about whatever they just saw on FoxNews.

Of course, if these people are really the horror show you make them out to be, then why go at all?
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:34 PM
 
Location: I live wherever I am.
1,935 posts, read 3,742,846 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snooper View Post
Thanksgiving is coming in three weeks and I am dreading it. We have to make the long drive to my wife's family and spend the long weekend there. It will be terrible if history is any indicator.

My wife's parents are cold and cruel to her and her sisters pick on her. My wife is too unsure of herself to fight back and just takes it. Her lack of confidence is one of the reasons she is picked on, she has a sign on her that says HIT ME!

I have discussed it with my wife and she is angry about how her parents and sisters treat her but says she is intimidated by them and is afraid to stand up for herself. I just go nuts sitting there watching her be abused and don't want to go to her family but we still go.

If you were in my shoes would you give her parents and sisters a piece of your mind or just sit and watch the abuse happen?
My wife gets abused by her parents but it's nowhere near as overt as what you suggest. They're plenty willing and able to abuse me too, because they've done it before. I have yet to call them out on being abusive, but I have taken my stand somewhat silently by refusing to be around them.

Recently I've come to realize that she has been abused for her entire life, emotionally, and in a very covert fashion... so covert that she didn't even recognize it until I shoved it in her face multiple times. Only thing now is... when we go up for Christmas... do I let her see them, knowing full well that they will continue to abuse her and badmouth me to her... or do I say no freaking way, for her own ultimate good even though she and they would complain in the immediate aftermath?

Decisions, decisions...
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