I was recently away on vacation when my husband called to say my pet goat got mauled to death by our German shepherd dog, due to improper locking of the livestock fence.
I was devastated. We briefly talked of another goat and I said I couldn't think of it yet, but he could look for one since we’ll need a goat to keep company for my mini horse.
Only 12 hours since my goat died, my father-in-law called, stating he’d be getting a goat today.
I said no. But he went ahead and bought two goats! My husband now refuses to let go of them, though I’m only prepared to take care of one.
They all say I'm overreacting and I should appreciate this kind gesture… this was 48 hours since my goat died, with me still away.
I just got home to greet my horse and two strange scared goats in his pen. I'm fighting with my husband, and his father thinks I don’t appreciate all he does for our family.
I resent him for over-stepping boundaries and making a family decision behind my back. My husband says I've put him between his family and me. I feel they’re all against me in a family battle.
You’re reacting strongly because you’ve barely been able to grieve the sudden, violent death of a beloved pet, before others took over.
You needed comforting on the phone, not instant, unseen replacements.
But the reactions on all sides reveal existing family-wide resentments. You’ve obviously felt before this event, that your FIL intrudes and crosses boundaries.
Your husband then defends him, and the larger family gets hurt by your not being delighted with the generosity.
Get close again – this time to two goats, as you’re a devoted animal-lover, and they’re already there.
Talk to your husband. Rather than unwittingly dividing him from his father, you both need to strengthen your bond as a primary couple, like his parents once were.
Check with each other before accepting each parental involvement that’s offered, so it doesn’t divide you two.
Maybe taking a vacation together would be a good start.
I’m happily married to my wife for quite a few years. I tend to struggle with some depression. Lately, I’ve been struggling with episodes of insomnia for no apparent reason.
I cannot stand myself when some emotional reaction happens and it doesn’t rigidly make sense.
Last night, I had trouble going to sleep for some reason. In the morning, my wife tried to ask me about it but I feel ashamed when depression or insomnia happens, and want to avoid talking as if I did something terrible.
When I open up I feel like I’ve undressed. What do you think this is?
You’re blaming yourself for health matters you can’t control, and can’t fix by being embarrassed. Though some changes in mood or sleep patterns over years are common, IF they continue, it’s wise and normal to see a doctor and discuss it.
Looking after your health doesn’t mean you’re imperfect or have done something terrible that must be hidden. These thoughts are likely from childhood misconceptions, but can be harmful if you avoid looking after yourself.
Changes in mood and sleep can come from natural male hormone changes, stress, or health problems that must be checked and CAN be treated.
Doing nothing, avoiding even talking about it, are self-harming. Your wife’s trying to help you get smart about taking care of yourself.
See your doctor.
FEEDBACK Regarding the young woman who’s "Freaking Out" about her sister-in-law’s pregnancy (Sept. 27):
Reader – “Yes, the letter-writer’s contributing to the negative dynamic by insisting she doesn't like kids.
“But the SIL is only three months pregnant and won't let her boyfriend leave her side! Or, the letter-writer can't touch certain items or they won't be sterile!
“The girlfriend’s likely using the baby to create drama and force her boyfriend into choosing her over his less-than-enthusiastic sister.
“Especially if she’s now preventing them from having a relationship separate from her. The girlfriend’s behavior is more childish in this situation.
“Being enthusiastic about the baby isn't going to improve this dynamic.”
Ellie – Agreed, the newly pregnant SIL’s behaviour is neurotic and controlling. I focused on the letter-writer, 20, who’s living at home and alienating all her family. She doesn’t have to like or ever have babies, just back off all her outspoken opposition.
I opted for family harmony.
Tip of the day:
Too much parental generosity can divide a couple, instead of helping them.