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Old 01-09-2015, 04:45 PM
Location: Southwest Washington State
30,120 posts, read 21,091,173 times
Reputation: 49262


Originally Posted by otterhere View Post
You can't really blame a man for not wanting to be in the doghouse with his wife when she wears the pants in the family. After all, that whole "leave and cleave" business! But if the wife doesn't want his family around - for any reason or for NO reason, and that happens more often than some might think - then that family is "shout of luck." Thanks. I knew I couldn't be the ONLY one out here.
I sympathize with you and your family. It surely feels awful to be rejected by your brother and SIL. And it is also awful that the grandkids have been deprived of knowing their grandparents.

However I have observed that sometimes men marry a certain way to escape their families. I have noticed this in cases where the kid wasn't interested in being part of a religious fellowship any longer. He can always use his wife as an excuse. I wonder if your brother wasn't secretly wanting fewer family ties? Whether this is the case, or not, it is better not to focus on this too much. Dwelling on it is not healthy, and it isn't anything you can change

Did I understand in one of your posts that this brother has helped your mom from time to time?
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Old 01-09-2015, 05:02 PM
587 posts, read 839,289 times
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I'm Facebook friends with some relatives I don't really know, people who were never that friendly when we visited. It's actually been kind of nice, because now we're getting to know each other. They live 500 miles away, so I'm not hurt if I'm not invited to their parties or anything, which may make some difference.

Anyway, I can see deleting your niece and being annoyed that she didn't send a thank you. A lot of kids that age don't. Your SIL could have bought all those presents 'from' your niece to her other aunts. I would not read too much into the behavior of someone that age who was raised by your SIL. Not saying you need to tolerate it, but being Facebook friends with a niece isn't a huge commitment, imo, and may lead to a closer relationship a few years down the road-- but it's also absolutely legitimate to just delete her and be done with that side of the family.
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Old 01-09-2015, 06:20 PM
9,888 posts, read 10,234,916 times
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Have you considered for some reason your brother does not want contact with his family. Your mother as an example may have been against him going with your SIL and told him so. This may have hurt your brothers relationship with your entire family if it happened.

You would know this is not the problem, if you have a close relationship with your brother. If not, this is a very distinct probability.
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Old 01-10-2015, 06:06 AM
13,221 posts, read 11,128,903 times
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Okay, my opinion: Give from the heart. Not because you expect something in return. Thank you notes are sadly underused.

How many times have you invited her anywhere? Have you ever said "I'm in your neighborhood this weekend and want to stop by to drop off some banana bread, etc"

She's younger and you are allowed to take the lead in this. (imo - I doubt that etiquette rule exists)

Quit the childish "unfriending". Celebrate that her life seems happy. Don't let someone else have the power to hurt you.
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Old 01-10-2015, 07:32 AM
Location: Full time in the RV
3,242 posts, read 7,170,796 times
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I think you are reading to much into the Facebook friend request. You hoped it would open a door but it didn't and that caused all the animosity to resurface. Only she knows her motivations behind it-it could be something benign of sinister, you just don't know. I would lead towards benign since there has been no contact.

Hunterseat is right-don't give her that power. You cannot control what people do, you can control how you react to it. Quit the pity party-this has been going on for 20 years.

Anyway-I'll share my dysfunctional family Facebook story.

Years ago-long before FB-my BIL left his wife. He was a huge Ahole with the surrounding circumstances. They did not live close. Despite this we remained friendly with his X. When she remarried they honeymooned near us and stopped by. We had a great time. Time drifted us apart and we lost contact.

About a year ago she finds DW and I on FB and friends us. I thought great we can catch up. It turns out she just wanted to get to BIL through us. She writes him nasty message then unfriends both of us. Never heard another word.
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Old 01-10-2015, 08:37 AM
Location: Oregon
887 posts, read 1,537,578 times
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Originally Posted by boystuition View Post
This is the situation we are in with my brother and his family. They live about 2 and 1/2 hours north of us (parents, 3 sisters, me), so we don't get to see them very often. Her parents live about 1/2 hour south of us, so they have to pass us to get there, but they never stop by or call. (I am describing distance by time since SoCal traffic can make something close seem far).

They never come for holidays, birthdays, but always post about these occasions celebrated with her family. My SIL manages their social schedule as my brother is a busy physician, so we always get the "he's on call" "he had an emergency" excuse when we invite them over, which of course we can't verify, but then I see the posts of them somewhere else, usually with her family. There was never any animosity, no big blow up, we have never been told of any reason why.

They moved into a new home last year, about an hour closer, and none of us have ever been invited up, but we got to see pictures of their housewarming party on her Facebook wall, complete with her family. There is no way she could think we don't see these and put two and two together, so it is rubbing salt in the wound, as you say. My brother is not on Facebook so he doesn't see the posts, so maybe he is unaware of this aspect, but he is not blameless - it is his failure in maintaining the relationships

After a while I decided to hide her posts. It very hurtful so I understand how it feels Otterhere.
Do you call them, and invite them (specifically him) ? of course you are up against quite the social schemer, but still, gotta take the initiative i think. He is obviously a managed man, she is the manager.... try to get his direct line, don't go thru her any more. (she sounds like a manipulator, and it's also passive hostility when a spouse tries to "extinguish" close family members of a spouse or child by IGNORING their existence and isolating the spouse or child from them for no actual good reason. This is a trait of abusers btw ). How could she discount the value of his close family members so badly? but people do it.... in her case i wouldn't be surprised if she is worried about keeping her "catch" under close control. I have a master manipulator scheming female in my family too.... i do NOT speak to her. ever. she has ceased to exist.
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Old 01-10-2015, 02:15 PM
Location: California
5,958 posts, read 6,705,749 times
Reputation: 12759
Default Let no one disturb your happiness

Originally Posted by virgode View Post
Expectations of what a "normal family", whatever that may be for you, keep you emotionally unhappy.
SIL hasn't lost any sleep, feeling no loss. Your brother did help during moms last days. After 20 yrs, the why's and how's, unimportant. Emotionally, it looks as though moms death and sudden appearance of nieces FB friending brought this to surface again.

Let it go, easier said than done. No one in my family speaks to each other, at all. Mom passed last year. Though the circumstances are a bit different, I had to stop letting it consume my thoughts.

Peace to you.
Well said.

At this point the little girl did not bond with you as a child so it is unlikely she will now. She is like any other person you might meet in life, either it clicks or not so don't spend your life feeling unhappy about someone who is just passing through. All you can do, if you wish, is to keep your heart open to her but don't let anyone disturb your own happiness.

In my own experience, my DH and I married rather late in life so his family was used to him being single and having control over him. They are mostly PhDs so when I married DH, I was told they have "nothing in common with someone like me", what ever the heck that means. Sadly, my DH really didn't know how to handle it so when they called to invite him, he would go leaving me alone. He never could give me a good answer when I asked why he wouldn't stand up for me, but at some point I decided to totally shut them out of my life with no regrets. For them, status and control are more important than relationships.

After about twelve years I met one brother and then a few yeas on, another one, however, at that point the time to bond with his family had passsed for me and I no longer felt the need to even try to get to know them. Just because someone is family doesn't mean there is anything in common with people who only want status, big bucks, and pretend to be self righteous. At the time, my feelings were hurt, but you know, there is freedom that comes with not having to suffer holidays and other events with shallow people and now it is source of joy.

We only live life once, so decide how to spend your time; with people who do want you in their life or on those who play a mean spirited games.
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:13 AM
13,211 posts, read 7,365,457 times
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I'm truly amazed at the number of posters determined to "blame the victim" here or at least blame my brother. It's true, ultimately he's responsible but -- as I've said several times -- he has his own pathology (in his case, he's terrified of conflict and anger), so -- although he's shown his affection for us by helping out in our hour of need -- he's never going to stand up to her. As for her, I'm equally amazed that no one's familiar with the spouse that wants nothing to do with the in-laws (have you never heard a mother-in-law joke)? In a relationship with equally shared power, yes, they would work it out, but it should be clear that the wife holds all the cards in this marriage (and, no, I don't believe she loves him; she wanted to quit working and have kids and time was running out for her). I can only assure you that neither my mother -- ever -- nor I, at first, did anything to contribute. I, not being as saintly as my mother, had a few "words" with her from time to time throughout the years, calling her on her behavior, but the writing was already on the wall by that time (and it made me feel better; hee). Although I wish I'd known that it was possible to block without unfriending, no great loss. I am not pining for relationships with these particular people, although having no "family" is certainly painful, especially now. At any rate, I was merely curious what people thought. Ostracism is an interesting phenomenon; it almost always results in outsiders concluding that the ostracized somehow deserves it, and I just saw that theory proven here. It's rather disheartening!

Thanks for all of the responses.
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:39 PM
7,758 posts, read 14,807,668 times
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Otterhere, I find it more interesting that you keep making excuses for your brother and completely letting him off the hook while directing all your anger at her. It doesn't sound like you know her motivation and your brother's role in that (other than him being a total "victim"). If she was as awful as you say, you do have to be amazed that she willingly allowed her husband/your brother to come in and deal with your mother. I mean that's several hours every day... a true sacrifice on her part. A terrible wench wouldn't allowed it. At all.

It's not because I'm unaware of those kind of wives. I am very aware, there are several of them in my family. My uncle for example is no simpering wimp like your brother, but he does have a particular view of his mother ("mom's a nag and so annoying") that my aunt uses in her manipulations and she treated my grandmother so badly its enough to make you cry. My aunt used to beat me, my grandmother once told my mother that she wished she was in the position to tell my uncle as he would've had none of that if he truly knew what was going on and that it was one of her biggest regret in life. My BIL (husband's brother) is another example. Got pregnant right out of high school. And she wasn't going going to marry into the family... and frankly if one knew the family, who would want to? My husband is one of the sane members, not a drama instigator, and he doesn't get involved in all that family jazz. SIL still went ahead and created such a convoluted (and quited frankly retarded) incident that turned my BIL against my husband and they've had no relationship for almost 15 years. The others weren't as extreme, some came around, and the rest continued on in their own world. No great loss in that either. However, it did affect our relationships with those men and changed our views of them.

No one has said you deserve it and I don't see how the theory was "proven" here. You did shot yourself in the foot with your niece, but it doesn't really sound like you really care about that. Anyone can clearly see that you fully despise your SIL and want to fully blame her for all the wrongs. Your brother helped create this reality that you and your mother faced and there's not a scathing word for him. Something is off here.
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Old 01-12-2015, 08:28 AM
13,211 posts, read 7,365,457 times
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You guys are wearing me out here.

MY SIL is never home; not that she works, but she's constantly either shopping -- compulsively (is also a hoarder) -- or hanging out with her two daughters (helicopter parent, as I mentioned), so I doubt if she missed my brother much for a few hours a day (he's home the rest of the time, as he barely works either; the other MIL has financially supported them throughout their marriage). She has never objected to him associating with us, and if I WERE out to create some fiction as to how terrible she is, I'd certainly have thrown "isolating him from his family" in for good measure. She simply just wants nothing to do with us herself and wants her children to know and love only one side of the family -- hers. As for my brother, he suffers from depression and anxiety, for which he has actually been hospitalized, which is why I give him a pass; he can't help having a mental illness that renders him unable to tolerate conflict and contention.

Next? Fending off skepticism is becoming tedious. Do you automatically assume that "something is off" with every poster on this forum, defaulting to the assumption that the person is falsifying information presented?

At any rate, thanks to you few in the minority who sympathized and even empathized. I appreciated that.
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