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Old 01-28-2012, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,529 posts, read 16,075,835 times
Reputation: 39022

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Again, I am so sorry for you & your husband to be in this situation. I can understand how someone would want to keep in contact with their family (shared history, remembering relatives that have passed away, sharing a joint ethnic background, etc) but perhaps it is time for him to "let go" of his immediate family.

You mentioned that his aunts & uncles are very supportive. Maybe he could start to call and/or spend more time with some of them. They could share stories of his grandparents (their parents) and talk about family things as well as other things of interest to both of them. That way he could still have connections with his (extended) family without the hurt. Is there an aunt or uncle who has lost a spouse? Or maybe childless? They may be overjoyed to come to visit and spend time with you.

In my family there is an aunt who never married. Many of the cousins treated her like a second mother their entire lives, calling, visiting, going on trips together and just loving her. She is now 87 and all of her six siblings and their spouses have died. She is an "adopted mother, grandmother & great-grandmother" to so many relatives that she ocassionally has to juggle her schedule to fit everything in. My mother passed away 20 years ago and I know that my life would not be as rich if I didn't have this aunt and other extended relatives to love and be loved by.
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:49 AM
 
2,319 posts, read 3,979,062 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonfly8 View Post
Are his parents aware of how he feels? Or is there an entirely different story from them?

Something that stands out is your husbands choice to put his hurt feelings above concern for his father after his heart attack. Even family members with the most strained relationships come together, even if by phone, when someone has a medical crisis. And yes, it sucks that the close family members didn't immediately contact your husband. Inconsiderate and unacceptable. But then your husband chose not to call his Dad that he has been close. It comes across as uncaring.

My husband calls his Dad weekly or a couple of times a week. He didn't when we first married. And he would complain about his Dad not calling him. Lots of skeletons, crud and unsavory family stories here too. But, there comes a point when you are capable of enjoying the positive connection and shrug off all the other garbage.

Oh, I do have a couple of glasses of wine before his side of the family comes for family gatherings.
For the record, I have asked my husband for years to share his feelings with his parents. He hasn't. That's a valid point.

I understand your point about it appearing that my husband is uncaring. This latest round was not a heart attack. It was apparently over-exhaustion. My husband felt that since no one seemed to think it was a big deal, it wasn't necessary to call. If it had been a heart attack, I think he would have called and probably contemplated a trip down.

If we were just dealing with his parents, I do think this would be a little easier, but my SILs are always present and always involved. It's just another layer of complexity.

I will definitely have to stock up on my liquor before the in-laws come. Thanks for the tip! My MIL drains the life out of me. I don't think she means to, but she's socially clueless and says things that most people would consider appallingly rude.
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:59 AM
 
35,121 posts, read 38,068,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peppermint View Post
I will try to keep this post short. I have posted about my in-laws before so I'll try to keep the history short so I can get to my main question.

My husband is the oldest child of four and the only boy. He and his father have always been very close, but his mom has always favored her daughters. As an adult, his family has rarely remembered his birthday, and their treatment of him when he visits them is appalling. His mom spent an entire visit (3 days) without saying a word to him.

About the parents' relationship with the sisters: they have given his sisters money, paid for their gas, bought them groceries, and done a lot of other things for them. They have never done anything like that for my husband. When he graduated college, he had no credit, and his parents refused to cosign for him to get an apartment. He was forced to build his credit by taking out a loan and paying it off. To get the apartment, he paid cash for six months up front. My whole family was horrified and offered to cosign for him, but he felt that if his family wasn't willing to help him, he'd do it on his own. At this point, all the sisters live together (they're in their 30s) and the parents continue to "help" them.

Last year his dad suffered a heart attack. At the time, we lived about two hours away. When his dad went to the hospital the first time, his sisters, who live in the same town as the parents, waited two hours to call us. We are very annoyed. A couple of days later, his dad suffered from chest pains again and was taken to the hospital again. This time his sisters, who were looking at houses to buy, couldn't pick up their cells during the tour or stop their tour to either call us or go to the hospital to be with their dad. It was four hours before we knew about it. We were very angry. We left immediately and went to the hospital.

Fast forward to Christmas. We've moved out of state. We went to my in-laws for two nights over the holiday. His mom served Christmas dinner and everyone opened gifts the night before we arrived and gave us leftovers (tiny amount). His mom told him the neighbor was like a son to them and went on and on about this in front of my husband. She said that their kids would probably be her only chance to have kids around again (my husband and I have no kids and obviously the sisters don't). My husband was very hurt. (There is more to this, but it's just background.)

Anyway, why I'm posting. My FIL had chest pains again this week, and my SIL waited seven hours to call. We no longer live two hours away. We live ten hours away. Time is important. I told my SIL that it wasn't acceptable to wait so long to call. My husband's aunt emailed to say that my FIL called her and gave her the updates. My FIL never called my husband. I asked my husband if he wanted to call his dad, but he said that his dad knew that only his sister had communicated with him. He said he was tired of reaching out to people who weren't interested since it was obvious that they had replaced him. I was so sad for him.

I'm posting to ask your opinion and thoughts on this. I'm not completely sure his parents are trying to be evil. I think there is a big element of social ineptitude. How should we deal with them? I know that later this summer they want to visit, but they make me crazy and treat my husband like garbage. What would you do? How would you handle this?

I can give more background. It just goes on and on.
Step away and don't look backand good riddance. At times it is unfortunate that one cannot choose who their family is. I feel for your husband but he really should just move on with his life with you and your family and be done with it.
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Old 01-28-2012, 12:02 PM
 
2,319 posts, read 3,979,062 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
Again, I am so sorry for you & your husband to be in this situation. I can understand how someone would want to keep in contact with their family (shared history, remembering relatives that have passed away, sharing a joint ethnic background, etc) but perhaps it is time for him to "let go" of his immediate family.

You mentioned that his aunts & uncles are very supportive. Maybe he could start to call and/or spend more time with some of them. They could share stories of his grandparents (their parents) and talk about family things as well as other things of interest to both of them. That way he could still have connections with his (extended) family without the hurt. Is there an aunt or uncle who has lost a spouse? Or maybe childless? They may be overjoyed to come to visit and spend time with you.

In my family there is an aunt who never married. Many of the cousins treated her like a second mother their entire lives, calling, visiting, going on trips together and just loving her. She is now 87 and all of her six siblings and their spouses have died. She is an "adopted mother, grandmother & great-grandmother" to so many relatives that she ocassionally has to juggle her schedule to fit everything in. My mother passed away 20 years ago and I know that my life would not be as rich if I didn't have this aunt and other extended relatives to love and be loved by.
Thank you for your post. I do wish my husband would have a conversation about his feelings before he cuts them out. We are in therapy, and this is part of the discussion there.

My husband has visited his aunts and uncles quite a few times in the last few years. They live four to five hours away so it's not too often, but he calls them on their birthdays and the holidays. One big issue, which I can hear some of you say it shouldn't be, is religion. He comes from a very devout, Fundamentalist family that goes back generations. When his cousins found out we were a-religious, they started treating us a little differently, and one aunt is treating us a bit differently - just less affectionate and less understanding. We love all his relatives, but they're heavy on the religion. We're concerned about how it be if the others find out we're not religious, but we'll just cross that bridge when we get there.

So, yes, we try to be involved with the extended family. Facebook helps.
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Old 01-28-2012, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Rockwall
678 posts, read 1,255,597 times
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I'm glad to hear you're in therapy. What does the therapist think about your husband sharing his feelings with his parents? There is a possibility that they will not feel that they have done anything wrong and this can be even more hurtful to your husband. (Speaking from experience) Insult to injury affect.

Different views on matters of faith have been dividing families, society for centuries. I hope you can find some common ground to maintain the family connection.

Best wishes~

~l~
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Old 01-28-2012, 01:35 PM
 
2,260 posts, read 4,332,626 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peppermint View Post
Well, I think he's really torn. I think there is a part of him that would like to cut them out, and there is a part of him that wants to work it out. There are a lot of other issues hiding around corners, like religion and his sisters supposed health problems. They complicate things even further. He's torn, and I don't know how to handle get-togethers. I don't like being around them since they are negative and say this neighbor guy is "so close" to his dad, "like his son". It goes on and on, and I don't like listening to it. I've been hanging on all these years to support my husband, but I think my goodwill was cashed out over the holidays. Just awful.
The problem that he (and you, maybe) need to understand is that in order for anyone to "work things out" with another person, there has to be an acknowledged issue going on that both sides know about. For example, you insulted one of the sisters at Christmas four years ago and the whole family took offense and treats you like dirt. You could call or write to them and ask for a sit down or whatever to air it out and hopefully put it behind you.

It sounds like these people are the way they are and keeping a relationship with them or spending time with them is always going to be this way. They don't think there is a rift that needs settling. They are flakes or have some inward jealousy towards the son or some other thing. It's impossible to know what is wrong with someone when they do not open up.

If I was personally in this situation, I would have nothing to do with these people. That would hold true if they were in laws or my own parents. I would lose no sleep disconnecting from toxic people that I knew I did nothing to deserve that kind of treatment.
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:45 PM
 
5,210 posts, read 8,840,907 times
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Your FIL has had chest pains several times and you're upset that it has taken family members hours to get around to telling you about it. That is totally understandable. Your FIL's life could have been on the line during these chest pain episodes. Of course you would expect family members to call you right away - this is your husband's dad, after all.

But for whatever reason, these folks have been slow to pass the news along to you. And it doesn't sound like that's going to change.

FWIW, I think they are wrong to treat you this way. But maybe your FIL doesn't want a bunch of people showing up at the hospital when he's having one of these episodes. Maybe he wants things to be under control before other relatives are called and he doesn't want there to be any debate or confusion if any tough medical "decisions have to be made." At the same time, MIL wants church/neighbors to know about the situation because if something does happen she'll need lots of support, sympathy, casseroles, etc. Plus she knows that friends/neighbors aren't likely to show up at the hospital and question her decisions.

At any rate, I can understand you and your husband feeling angry and cut out of the loop. Marginalized. But your FIL's health sounds pretty fragile right now. Any more drama probably wouldn't help matters very much.

Just think how awful you would feel if you had it out with the in-laws today and your FIL had a fatal heart attack tomorrow.

Last edited by springfieldva; 01-28-2012 at 04:10 PM..
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:53 PM
 
Location: here
24,484 posts, read 28,875,378 times
Reputation: 31077
I feel like your husband and his family either need to have it out and see how it ends, or just keep going as you have and try to minimize the interaction. In a way, I almost hope that each visit with my in-laws will end with a big blow up so we can finally put it all out there. It almost happened once, kind of like Christmas was for you.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:09 PM
 
2,319 posts, read 3,979,062 times
Reputation: 2057
Quote:
Originally Posted by cleasach View Post
The problem that he (and you, maybe) need to understand is that in order for anyone to "work things out" with another person, there has to be an acknowledged issue going on that both sides know about. For example, you insulted one of the sisters at Christmas four years ago and the whole family took offense and treats you like dirt. You could call or write to them and ask for a sit down or whatever to air it out and hopefully put it behind you.

It sounds like these people are the way they are and keeping a relationship with them or spending time with them is always going to be this way. They don't think there is a rift that needs settling. They are flakes or have some inward jealousy towards the son or some other thing. It's impossible to know what is wrong with someone when they do not open up.

If I was personally in this situation, I would have nothing to do with these people. That would hold true if they were in laws or my own parents. I would lose no sleep disconnecting from toxic people that I knew I did nothing to deserve that kind of treatment.
Yes, I know that a conversation needs to be had. I don't feel it's my place to start it, however. I agree with the rest of the post though. Thanks for sharing your opinion.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:15 PM
 
2,260 posts, read 4,332,626 times
Reputation: 3740
Quote:
Originally Posted by peppermint View Post
Yes, I know that a conversation needs to be had. I don't feel it's my place to start it, however. I agree with the rest of the post though. Thanks for sharing your opinion.
Oh definitely it's not your place to say. I'm sure it's excruciating to your husband to wants to get along and not have this drama. It's a terrible situation for both of you because he has to deal with it and you have to watch him be very hurt. That can't be a pleasant thing. Sorry to hear you are dealing with this. I hope things can improve somehow.

Last edited by cleasach; 01-28-2012 at 06:24 PM.. Reason: fixed a typo
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