My sister married down.
There’s an obviously huge gap in maturity, class, intellectual capacity and education.
Her husband’s dysfunctional family has a history of mental illness and criminal activity.
He’s very jealous of my family’s closeness and success.
To counter his insecurities, I got him a job for which he was grossly under-qualified, which tripled his income.
He’s been included in all family functions.
He now behaves like a know-it-all and is disrespectful toward my sister and my family.
However, she defends his behaviour. When I mention his disrespect, she snaps at me. When we’re on the phone, he starts talking to her.
I don't bother calling her anymore.
When I request a meeting with him about his behaviour, he won’t respond to my calls or emails.
My family and I feel he manipulates her by filling her head with toxic thoughts. She believes him despite seeing the drama he causes.
We haven’t talked to him or his family for eight months after he’d purposefully created a fight, was incredibly disrespectful to my parents, and said he doesn’t need to apologize.
I’m unsure how or if I should continue to talk to my sister, as we can’t discuss everyday topics without her getting short and defensive with me.
Should I avoid her altogether and just wish her the best?
Concerned and Disappointed Brother
So she married “a loser” by your standards. Yet she stands by him.
Maybe there’s some aspect to your successful family that motivated her choice. Or maybe she just loves him and hopes it’ll all work out.
I do understand that you want to save her from someone who disrespects her. But it may never happen.
OR, his disrespect is related to feeling disapproval from you and her parents. Perhaps if that modifies, so might his behaviour….
Meanwhile, your having given him a job for which he was “under-qualified” has made him over-compensate to becoming opinionated plus suspicious of your family’s sincerity with him.
Don’t abandon your sister, but do back off on criticism and judgment.
Let her see her husband with her eyes wide open, by not putting her on the defensive with your need to “discuss” him and his flaws.
Otherwise, your family may lose her. That won’t accomplish anything better than trying to accept the guy.
Your sister still needs you ready to be supportive.
NOTE: If you believe he’s truly abusing your sister physically, mentally and/or emotionally, intervene directly – insist that he get counselling or risk facing abuse charges.
My boyfriend of 18 months and I live together. He only sees his parents, who live an hour away, every couple of months when he doesn't have to work.
But in the past six months they haven't visited their only son.
When he told them he’d visit for a whole weekend – the last one before Christmas - they announced they were hosting a party and he could only visit for an afternoon.
I wish he’d told them how he felt, but he isn’t the greatest at that.
Would it be out of line for me to tell his mom privately behind his back, how much their actions hurt him?
A Girlfriend’s Role?
Yes, you’d be “out of line.”
He’d feel ashamed and treated as a boy, and they’d be embarrassed and hurt.
It’s up to him to say that he’d like them to sometimes visit where you live, as his work makes their get-togethers too infrequent and he misses them.
Few parents would resist that sentiment.
My mother, 86, told my youngest brother she hoped she’d die this year.
My brothers consoled each other but ignored my mentioning she’d been saying that to me for years.
I feel used.
I’ve been her power of attorney, and my spouse and son did 90 per cent of cleaning and selling her condominium.
Since age 12, I’ve taken care of her: Making meals, doing dishes, minding siblings while she was out drinking.
It annoys me when people think she’s a saint. My father was no saint but respected me.
Yours was a sad history. Yet you admirably fulfilled responsibility for your mother’s needs for years.
Your brothers choose to see her differently, partly because they had security and ease from your care when growing up.
Now, with your husband and son, your life is your own to manage. Rise above past hardships and focus on enjoying a brighter future.
Tip of the day:
Judgement and criticism will drive relatives away, not closer.