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Old 10-13-2013, 07:20 PM
 
483 posts, read 1,123,237 times
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I'm at wits end. My relationship with both of my parents have been rocky since high school. Currently I do not speak to my father at all unless there's a real reason to do so (and if we do it's always fine, but we don't go out of our way to talk to each other and it's been about a year or so since I've spoken with him). I speak to my mother on the phone once every 2 weeks on average, and we'll just talk about life.

There are many reasons out relationship isn't great, but the big one is that I married a woman they did not approve of. My wife is a terrific person that everyone likes, but my parents decided she wasn't right for me because of (1) her race and (2) they feel she's not very good looking! So best case scenario they are just racist and judgmental people. After that I cut off all ties to my parents for over a year before I began speaking with my mother again, and it's been like that for about 5 years.

We basically avoid talking about it, but today on the phone my mom mentioned that she "forgives" me for marrying my wife. It took all the restraint I have to not scream at her and hang up. How dare she have this kind of attitude when she's the one that should be apologizing to both my wife and me?

I can be an adult about this. In fact, I think i've done a good job doing so. If my parents don't want to accept my wife, I can understand that. But that my mother feels like I should actually be SORRY that I didn't agree with their racist and judgmental views on my wife is just insane.

Honestly at this point I do not know how I should deal with this person that happened to have given birth to me.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:56 PM
 
Location: The Greater Houston Metro Area
9,046 posts, read 15,375,471 times
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Don't accept her forgiveness. To do so is accepting that your wife is somehow inferior. I would ask for her apology and avoid her until you get it. I assume that you never subject your wife to these people?

Yes, they are racist and judgmental. You can't do anything about that - but you can do something about their inclusion in your life. My congrats to you in that, somehow, you managed to grow into a decent adult without their tainting the waters.

What happens if you have children? They would be - gasp - bi-racial. Keep them away from the kids.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:18 PM
 
6,678 posts, read 7,014,363 times
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Has your life been better without your parents over the last 5 years? Sometimes you just have to realize that some people are toxic, and are impossible to have a relationship with them.

If you have a void in your life that only they can fill, then try to patch things up. Your parents may never be able to accept your wife and possible children in their hearts, but it's possible they can fake it and be civil.

My granddad was a raging alcoholic with a terrible temper. I saw him occasionally, because it was important for my dad to have contact with him. We did not have a loving relationship, but my parents explained why it was like that. It didn't hurt me, and I treasured my other grandparents.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:33 PM
Status: "Tell your loved ones you love them." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Wonderland
54,474 posts, read 42,636,903 times
Reputation: 75886
Quote:
Originally Posted by countofmc View Post
I'm at wits end. My relationship with both of my parents have been rocky since high school. Currently I do not speak to my father at all unless there's a real reason to do so (and if we do it's always fine, but we don't go out of our way to talk to each other and it's been about a year or so since I've spoken with him). I speak to my mother on the phone once every 2 weeks on average, and we'll just talk about life.

There are many reasons out relationship isn't great, but the big one is that I married a woman they did not approve of. My wife is a terrific person that everyone likes, but my parents decided she wasn't right for me because of (1) her race and (2) they feel she's not very good looking! So best case scenario they are just racist and judgmental people. After that I cut off all ties to my parents for over a year before I began speaking with my mother again, and it's been like that for about 5 years.

We basically avoid talking about it, but today on the phone my mom mentioned that she "forgives" me for marrying my wife. It took all the restraint I have to not scream at her and hang up. How dare she have this kind of attitude when she's the one that should be apologizing to both my wife and me?

I can be an adult about this. In fact, I think i've done a good job doing so. If my parents don't want to accept my wife, I can understand that. But that my mother feels like I should actually be SORRY that I didn't agree with their racist and judgmental views on my wife is just insane.

Honestly at this point I do not know how I should deal with this person that happened to have given birth to me.
Yuck.

Did your mom say that she "forgives you for marrying your wife" or that she "forgives you for hurting them with your decision to marry your wife?" There IS a difference.

I think what I would do is call her back and try to CALMLY explain to her why this is so offensive. I mean, it sounds like she was trying to reconcile with you, and I'd hate for both of you to miss this opportunity to understand each other better and perhaps reach a better place in your relationship. Your mother needs to THINK about the difference between the two scenarios.

You can tell her that you would like to forgive HER for her attitude, but you're having to work through it in your mind, just like she seems to have to have done. That might make her think things through a bit more too.

Here's what I think about forgiveness. I don't think we're under any obligation to "accept" forgiveness we didn't ask for. I think you should point this out to your mother - tell her that you didn't ASK for her to forgive you, so you're under no obligation to accept this from her. That will also make her think about what she's really saying. All she's really saying is that you're still wrong and she's self righteous, though she is kidding herself into thinking that she's actually being spiritually generous or something.

Try to be calm, no matter how tense this makes you feel. You can't demand respect if you don't keep your cool.

One more thing - I am not a big proponent of throwing people out of our lives, especially our parents and immediate family. I think it's much more preferable to TRY to work things through. You talk with her several times a month. This tells me that the relationship is important to both of you. You're not a perfect person either - don't you want those who love you to give you some grace as well? If so, give your mom some grace. It sounds like you have been - so keep doing it.

If you have kids, you don't want your parents to be estranged - especially when the child can be the very thing that brings your family full circle. Kids have a way of bringing healing to some of these situations.

I have four biracial kids and seven multiracial grandkids. I know what I'm talking about.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:19 PM
 
3,965 posts, read 4,869,838 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
If you have kids, you don't want your parents to be estranged - especially when the child can be the very thing that brings your family full circle. Kids have a way of bringing healing to some of these situations.

I have four biracial kids and seven multiracial grandkids. I know what I'm talking about.
If only that always worked.

OP, this doesn't always work. She might have mixed children but I am mixed race. I've been vilified and hated by members on both sides because of it. I've lived it. I call BS on the idea that it always works. If you do breed then keep your kids away from them. They sound like arseholes.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:28 PM
 
Location: Northern Illinois
2,187 posts, read 3,900,844 times
Reputation: 6370
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Yuck.

Did your mom say that she "forgives you for marrying your wife" or that she "forgives you for hurting them with your decision to marry your wife?" There IS a difference.

I think what I would do is call her back and try to CALMLY explain to her why this is so offensive. I mean, it sounds like she was trying to reconcile with you, and I'd hate for both of you to miss this opportunity to understand each other better and perhaps reach a better place in your relationship. Your mother needs to THINK about the difference between the two scenarios.

You can tell her that you would like to forgive HER for her attitude, but you're having to work through it in your mind, just like she seems to have to have done. That might make her think things through a bit more too.

Here's what I think about forgiveness. I don't think we're under any obligation to "accept" forgiveness we didn't ask for. I think you should point this out to your mother - tell her that you didn't ASK for her to forgive you, so you're under no obligation to accept this from her. That will also make her think about what she's really saying. All she's really saying is that you're still wrong and she's self righteous, though she is kidding herself into thinking that she's actually being spiritually generous or something.

Try to be calm, no matter how tense this makes you feel. You can't demand respect if you don't keep your cool.

One more thing - I am not a big proponent of throwing people out of our lives, especially our parents and immediate family. I think it's much more preferable to TRY to work things through. You talk with her several times a month. This tells me that the relationship is important to both of you. You're not a perfect person either - don't you want those who love you to give you some grace as well? If so, give your mom some grace. It sounds like you have been - so keep doing it.

If you have kids, you don't want your parents to be estranged - especially when the child can be the very thing that brings your family full circle. Kids have a way of bringing healing to some of these situations.

I have four biracial kids and seven multiracial grandkids. I know what I'm talking about.

^^^^^ Absolutely excellent advice!!
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:30 PM
Status: "Tell your loved ones you love them." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Wonderland
54,474 posts, read 42,636,903 times
Reputation: 75886
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yellow Jacket View Post
If only that always worked.

OP, this doesn't always work. She might have mixed children but I am mixed race. I've been vilified and hated by members on both sides because of it. I've lived it. I call BS on the idea that it always works. If you do breed then keep your kids away from them. They sound like arseholes.
I know it doesn't ALWAYS work. That's why I said it SOMETIMES works in SOME situations.

The OP and his mother still have an ongoing relationship and are still talking regularly. I didn't recommend that they all move in together - just that he doesn't carpet bomb what's left of the relationship. There may be something there to build on still and often a baby makes a positive difference.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:36 PM
 
3,965 posts, read 4,869,838 times
Reputation: 3665
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
I know it doesn't ALWAYS work. That's why I said it SOMETIMES works in SOME situations.

The OP and his mother still have an ongoing relationship and are still talking regularly. I didn't recommend that they all move in together - just that he doesn't carpet bomb what's left of the relationship. There may be something there to build on still and often a baby makes a positive difference.
She is a witch (and I don't mean that particular term). Carpet bomb it because her condescending attitude towards the wife on a continuous basis can cause strain on their marriage. The wife doesn't deserve to have such a Moderator cut: snip in her life. Will she also forgive the kid as well?

Last edited by 7G9C4J2; 10-14-2013 at 12:08 PM.. Reason: inappropriate language
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:40 PM
Status: "Tell your loved ones you love them." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Wonderland
54,474 posts, read 42,636,903 times
Reputation: 75886
If I had taken the hardline with my inlaws, then I would have lost out on a lot of joy and closeness.

I married my husband when I already had four (grown) biracial kids from my first marriage. My very elderly inlaws were VERY opposed - they are just old school, elderly, pre-civil rights era, country folks...frankly, they're not very intellectual or sophisticated and the very idea of a passle of colored kids in their son's life alarmed the heck out of them.

I knew that even though my future husband was solidly in my court and wasn't going to listen to them about this, I also knew that the day would come when he would wish he still had a close relationship with his folks, and he might look at me as part of the cause for this break.

So I gave them grace. I set boundaries but I also respected THEIR boundaries (their house, their rules, for instance).

I told them that I understood that this situation surprised them, and that they of course could call the shots in their house. I also told them that they were always welcome in OUR house - but when they were there, they would have to respect my kids, be polite, friendly, etc. I also told them that they could keep whatever opinion they had, but that they could not ever insult my family to my face. My husband backed me 100 percent.

I also told them that my prediction was that within 2 years they would love me...and my kids.

Guess what - my prediction came true. Now we have everyone in our lives. We wouldn't if we'd played too rough with them.

And they LOVE my grandkids, who love them back. In fact, you should have seen their faces when my little grandkids recently sent them some get well letters with their little drawings all over them. My grandkids were able to bring some joy and warmth into their lives during a time of pain and fear.

People have deeply held convictions and prejudices - all of us do, whether we realize it or not. I draw the line not at people's attitudes but at how they express them. I welcome the opportunity to prove people's prejudices to be wrong.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:42 PM
Status: "Tell your loved ones you love them." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Wonderland
54,474 posts, read 42,636,903 times
Reputation: 75886
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yellow Jacket View Post
She is a witch (and I don't mean that particular term). Carpet bomb it because her condescending attitude towards the wife on a continuous basis can cause strain on their marriage. The wife doesn't deserve to have such a Moderator cut: snip in her life. Will she also forgive the kid as well?
My inlaws were very much against me. Now a few years later they're not and we have a close relationship. We all won. It can happen.

And my husband is VERY grateful to me for being generous toward his parents. He would have taken a very firm stand, but I had the opportunity to ease that burden on him by being gracious toward his parents. He is very appreciative and that's good for our marriage.

Last edited by 7G9C4J2; 10-14-2013 at 12:09 PM.. Reason: edited quoted post for language
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