Saturday, March 24, 2012

Family baggage weighing me down

Family is often a source of conflict in marriages; we all carry with us the baggage of our pasts, and family comprises a great deal of anyone's past. For my husband and I, our natal families can be contentious issues, not just because we disagree so  much as we love each other enough that it hurts to watch each other be mistreated.

My husband's mother this week spent a great deal of time praising her second child, my brother-in-law on his birthday.  Sounds nice, right?  She is so proud of him and how smart he is, how successful he's been.  When compared to the reality of the man, it seems very strange.  He's a liar, a thief, an addict, and homeless.  He has no job.  When his father was dying of lung cancer, he was stealing money from the friends and family who came to say good-bye, along with his father's pain pills.  This is the same guy who SHOT HIMSELF chasing away robbers nobody else saw, heard or ever found any evidence of (and then, without my permission or any warning showed my then six year old son the wound by dropping his pants).

If all that isn't enough, my husband d has been more successful than other member of his family.  He went to school (without the financial assistance given to his brother), got a good job, started a family, keeps out of trouble, is admired my nearly everyone who knows him for being a nice person who accepts people as they are.  When his father was ill; we spent nearly every dime of our savings to be with him (including buying groceries and meals for everyone).  When we showed up each time, my husband spent hours taking care of household tasks that his brother, who lived there rent free, should have done- like chopping wood, repairing things, and rearranging furniture.My husband's other brother, who is a good guy, much like my husband is treated exactly the same way (to the point nobody told us that he was suffering from debilitating depression- his girlfriend was shocked to find out we didn't know and desperate for help in dealing with it).

My mother-in-law raves about her middle son and only daughter, but she ignores the accomplishments, sacrifices, and gifts of other two children.  I makes me incredibly mad and incredibly sad to see these to wonderful men so slighted.  Their mother call them when she wants something.  She only talks about their accomplishments when talking to people she wants to impress.  I am treated like the maid when I come for events, and she doesn't remember her only grandchildren's birthdays.  I'm tired of her manipulating and hurting these two, to the point that I am tempted to un-friend her on Facebook and refuse to let my kids near her again.  The only thing stopping me is the thought that this might cause my husband more pain.

6 comments:

  1. That's horrible that both of them have to go through that. I'm sure each of them at some point has tried to confront her to receive only denial and defensive arguements.

    My hubby does nothave a good relationship with his mother either and she is a difficult woman. Its his sister who was favored though she is a good person. It hit a point last year that we directly asked her to primarily contact me instead of him. If she calls I always pick up and answer too.

    Sometimes things have to be said but if you do anything he has to be behind it. I hope you find some solution.

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    1. Thanks, Velody. After 15 years of dealing with her, my patience has finally run out. I respect her mother, and after she passes away, I may simply stop dealing with my mother-in-law before I go insane(r).

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  2. Whew, tough situation and I can sympathize. I never liked the "blood is thicker than water" idea because well, families can really suck.

    Sounds to me like your MIL is overcompensating. Deep down she must recognize your husband is the good kid and that the brother is a ball of trouble but denial is powerful. Maybe she thinks by praising him he'll shape up. But of course you know that's only enabling his behaviors.

    I agree with the commenter above that both you and your husband have to make a decision together. As for Facebook, could you de-friend and explain you're turning it into an account for professional contacts only? That's how I learned to manage my FB account. I accept business or networking contacts only.

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    1. I think you are very correct about overcompensating, and it hurts me to watch her hurt the other boys with it.

      I've been trying to decide what to do about Facebook. It started out as a nice way to keep up with some distant friends and relatives, but it has become a pain in the behind. Your idea might be the best answer. Thanks!

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  3. Oh my..I am sorry that ur Husband and his brother are being treated and dismissed in this way. I wish I could say something comforting but I am going to be honest...my mother is the same way and NONE of us measure up to her inflated sense of self. She's a thief and a liar..she stole my sister's identity and racked up 10,000 dollars in debt..UGH! Unfortunatly talking and now disowning her has done nothing to improve the distorted vision. The only advice I can say is for him and his brother to sit down and have a heart to heart with her and if nothing changes at least they had their say and they know they did all they could. Good luck honey to you and ur Hubby and brother in law.

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    1. Thanks, Delphi. I knew you'd understand how hard and frustrating this is. Hopefully your mother will get her just desserts in such a fashion she can't blame anyone but herself.

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