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Old 11-07-2012, 12:00 PM
 
201 posts, read 422,613 times
Reputation: 248

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
That was dumb. You basically presented them with an ultimatum. Of course you would get that response.
No, it was genius! Why didn't I think of this before? My wife, the abused daughter and sister, thinks the same. We expected they would reject it out of hand but we accomplished something by our letters and suggestion. We told them we have a serious problem and we told all of them that we won't communicate with them ever again until they agree and show up at the family counselors office and actively participate in the discussions in good faith.

There is more to the story that I did not tell you in my original email. My wife's four sisters are all divorced and the relationship their ex spouses had with their parents and sister in laws had a significant impact on their marriages. The other spouses told me they thought the Hansen Family was crazy and near the end none of them were speaking to anyone.

Professional help is needed. We are paying for all counseling costs.

Last edited by snooper; 11-07-2012 at 12:15 PM..
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:28 PM
 
Location: California
4,556 posts, read 5,480,125 times
Reputation: 9623
It is really time for you and your wife to break the cycle and get a life of your own, but, her family must want to heal which is unlikely. It seems they are hooked on the drama with no regard for the impact it is having on the family.

My husband is so afraid of his family that many years passed before he would even tell them he married. We are both older so their approval isn't necessary. They were used to having him around as an ATM. Also, one of them has asked me why he didn't marry someone else they introducted to him when he was in his twenties! We are happy in our marriage until they start with their financial demands on him which causes huge arguments. I share nothing of my life with them as I really have no interest in their issues and we are happy by ourself.

However, since we are getting on in years now, it is sad that they won't be around if he needs them when his health deteriorates. I have some friends who have their children or sibling to help them but we know we will be on our own. Because of that, I hope that the OP's family will wake up before it is too late as they are the last line of defense against the "dealth panel". Time does go by too fast.

Last edited by Heidi60; 11-07-2012 at 12:37 PM..
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:23 PM
 
676 posts, read 1,055,608 times
Reputation: 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by snooper View Post
We wrote my wife's immediate family, via email, a letter. We insisted we would not show up at their home unless everyone agreed to bring in a professional family therapist in to meet with everyone about how they treat us and each other. (we would pay for it)

Everyone responded and rejected the suggestion out of hand. We wrote back and said we will not attend any more family events until the meeting with the family therapist happens. No reply.

What do you think?
I think this is pretty good. I've decided i'm not reconciling with my mother because she's been given many chances and has done nothing but use those chances to b**** slap me with an olive branch. I would consider a reconciliation with my brother and sister-in-law, but a family therapist/mediator would be a condition of reconciliation.

I would suggest having it in a neutral place such as a therapist's office. And a neutral therapist to mediate.

Having it on their turf would be giving them a psychological advantage. And you really only want one person mediating, though if the people involved/their therapists are on board with it, other therapists can be there.

During our first estrangement, like the previous one, initiated by my mother, she tried to worm her way back in when she was in town. A condition I had was meeting with a family therapist. She dragged her feet and cancelled. I did eventually reconcile with her when she started going to AA in support of her sobriety. But in her case, alcohol abuse was only a symptom, the underlying problem is she has a very nasty personality which she chooses to direct towards me.

if they're not willing to meet with a mediator, that tells you they're not interested in changing and probably afraid of being exposed as the nasty, abusive people they are. If so, better to know now so you can cut your losses.

Also, even if they did agree, don't get your hopes up. A friend and the friend's family did that. The therapist actually came out and said while he rarely said so, he thought the friend's parent owed him an apology. The parent's response was to completely ignore what had just been said and make plans for where to go for a meal.

Last edited by exscapegoat; 11-07-2012 at 01:36 PM..
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Lake Oswego, Manhattan, Aspen
3,237 posts, read 4,216,132 times
Reputation: 11641
Quote:
Originally Posted by snooper View Post
No, it was genius! Why didn't I think of this before? My wife, the abused daughter and sister, thinks the same. We expected they would reject it out of hand but we accomplished something by our letters and suggestion. We told them we have a serious problem and we told all of them that we won't communicate with them ever again until they agree and show up at the family counselors office and actively participate in the discussions in good faith.

There is more to the story that I did not tell you in my original email. My wife's four sisters are all divorced and the relationship their ex spouses had with their parents and sister in laws had a significant impact on their marriages. The other spouses told me they thought the Hansen Family was crazy and near the end none of them were speaking to anyone.

Professional help is needed. We are paying for all counseling costs.
I totally agree. That email IS genius!

And if you can afford to pay for counseling, that means I was totally wrong about the money angle being the reason your Wife continued to try to maintain the relationship with her family. The straight-from-Scandinavia family surname tells me why she was so forgiving: that Scandinavian hard-wiring for Altruism.

Whether or not your in-laws choose to go into counseling with you, the crisis is over! If your Wife never sees those people again, then she never gets reinoculated with the disease those people are spreading. Her self-esteem will have time to recover, and them bloom. Should they choose to go into therapy/counseling, then surely interactions with them will be improved.

That email changed a lose/lose situation into a win/win.

Hopefully, you have a large and loving family of your own, who will warmly welcome your Wife as one of them.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Houston
7 posts, read 20,886 times
Reputation: 18
Stay out of it. Your wife's family will always resent you if you voice your strong opinion. Your wife will have to learn to stand up for herself someday. Personally, I wouldn't go. It sounds stressful.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:44 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
13,826 posts, read 18,824,106 times
Reputation: 24521
I dont think you should go either it sounds horrendous and they sound like they thrive off of drama and I would tell them to go to he** and we wont be there for thanksgiving , xmas or any holiday for that matter and leave it at that . Make your own holidays and leave that bunch to stew .
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Old Town Alexandria
14,505 posts, read 23,795,163 times
Reputation: 8838
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
That was dumb. You basically presented them with an ultimatum. Of course you would get that response.

projection and trolling is at an all time high for this OP poster.
i think the OP is a female, banned before.

deja Vu.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:50 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
8,927 posts, read 13,689,809 times
Reputation: 11616
If my husband were merely having an argument with his family, I would stay out of it apart from giving him sympathy and support in private. But yes, if someone I cared about (anyone, whether it be my spouse, parents, brother, friends, etc) was being bullied and picked on and that person was too submissive to stand up for themselves, I would absolutely do it for them. When people take advantage of someone vulnerable it's kind of my pet peeve, it REALLY angers me so I would not be able to stop myself from trying to protect the ones I love from that kind of abuse.

Your wife is exhibiting all signs of an abuse victim - feeling obligated to spend time with her abusers, not standing up for herself, accustomed to the abuse, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snooper View Post
We wrote my wife's immediate family, via email, a letter. We insisted we would not show up at their home unless everyone agreed to bring in a professional family therapist in to meet with everyone about how they treat us and each other. (we would pay for it)

Everyone responded and rejected the suggestion out of hand. We wrote back and said we will not attend any more family events until the meeting with the family therapist happens. No reply.

What do you think?
I think I'm not surprised - if they agreed to the meeting, they would be admitting their guilt and they are not prepared to do that. Your wife is, as others have pointed out, the family scapegoat and by definition, that means in their minds they never do anything wrong and everything is always your wife's fault. They will view your wife's belief that she is being abused and bullied as her just being dramatic and a wuss. Or they will view you as the instigator to this - you talked her into believing her family are treating her badly because you're trying to take her away from them. You're unlikely to get through to people like this.

However, I hope that you stick to your threat and not attend any more family events. I think you should probably abandon any hope that you can emotionally blackmail them into therapy since their emotions are so cold-hearted. I think the offer of family therapy should always stand open BUT the condition of rejoining them for family events should be that their treatment of your wife improves, not that they attend one therapy session and then go straight back to their old ways. This kind of behavior can not be changed with one family meeting and it can only be changed if the abusers genuinely want to change their ways - but it's unlikely they ever will.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:14 AM
 
201 posts, read 422,613 times
Reputation: 248
UPDATE: We agreed to get together with them on Thanksgiving after they promised to treat my wife better. So we went. They treated her and her sisters better for about 30 minutes and went back to their old ways quickly. The long weekend was miserable. My wife and I told them at the end of the weekend that the offer for family counseling still stands but they just got angry and rejected it out of hand. We told them that without the counseling they will not see us again. Silence and a quick departure was the final contact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
If my husband were merely having an argument with his family, I would stay out of it apart from giving him sympathy and support in private. But yes, if someone I cared about (anyone, whether it be my spouse, parents, brother, friends, etc) was being bullied and picked on and that person was too submissive to stand up for themselves, I would absolutely do it for them. When people take advantage of someone vulnerable it's kind of my pet peeve, it REALLY angers me so I would not be able to stop myself from trying to protect the ones I love from that kind of abuse.

Your wife is exhibiting all signs of an abuse victim - feeling obligated to spend time with her abusers, not standing up for herself, accustomed to the abuse, etc.



I think I'm not surprised - if they agreed to the meeting, they would be admitting their guilt and they are not prepared to do that. Your wife is, as others have pointed out, the family scapegoat and by definition, that means in their minds they never do anything wrong and everything is always your wife's fault. They will view your wife's belief that she is being abused and bullied as her just being dramatic and a wuss. Or they will view you as the instigator to this - you talked her into believing her family are treating her badly because you're trying to take her away from them. You're unlikely to get through to people like this.

However, I hope that you stick to your threat and not attend any more family events. I think you should probably abandon any hope that you can emotionally blackmail them into therapy since their emotions are so cold-hearted. I think the offer of family therapy should always stand open BUT the condition of rejoining them for family events should be that their treatment of your wife improves, not that they attend one therapy session and then go straight back to their old ways. This kind of behavior can not be changed with one family meeting and it can only be changed if the abusers genuinely want to change their ways - but it's unlikely they ever will.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
8,927 posts, read 13,689,809 times
Reputation: 11616
Quote:
Originally Posted by snooper View Post
UPDATE: We agreed to get together with them on Thanksgiving after they promised to treat my wife better. So we went. They treated her and her sisters better for about 30 minutes and went back to their old ways quickly. The long weekend was miserable. My wife and I told them at the end of the weekend that the offer for family counseling still stands but they just got angry and rejected it out of hand. We told them that without the counseling they will not see us again. Silence and a quick departure was the final contact.
Why did you wait until the end of the weekend? I would have been out of there within the first few hours they started treating me badly again. I just hope you stick to your word and don't give them anymore chances, unless it's under the guidance of a therapist. You told them you wouldn't spend any family events with them unless they went to a family therapy session but then you backed down and agreed to go as long as they treated her better. That was NOT the original deal - you backed down and they took advantage of it. Your wife needs to stop letting these people walk all over her - she needs to stand her ground and stand it firm, no more backing down.
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