I’ve been married for 27 years. My husband's brother and wife both dislike me intensely, and don’t communicate with my husband or my family.
We recently had a family Christmas party which my husband and I have hosted for 23 years.
It’s now held in his aging parents’ hometown in a hall.
When his brother and wife communicate with my husband's sister, and with their niece, they twist everything I say so that it becomes untrue, using harsh words.
Whenever I try to defend myself, the conversation becomes worse. It’s all done through email as they don't speak to me.
It came back to me when my husband’s sister did call me about their parents.
I suggested that maybe she should talk to them about a retirement home.
It then came back from his brother that I’m a grotesque intrusion to the family because I’m trying to stuff them in a nursing home.
His brother then sent my husband an email saying, “we can all agree (your wife) is up to it again.” My husband either writes, No Comment, or doesn’t respond.
I can no longer take this toxic environment. I don’t want to go to any more family gatherings, but his aging parents seem unaware of this issue.
My kids and my husband tell me to be the bigger person and go for his parents’ sake.
Each time we all get together, I feel I’m put under a microscope and anything I say will come back to haunt me. It upsets me for days.
Having my husband talk to his brother won’t achieve anything. He’s now talking against me to most of his side of the family.
I fear they’ll all believe him because he’s considered "the golden child." No decisions within their family circle can be made without talking to him! This includes his parents as well.
My husband is hurting too.
Your husband needs to speak up on behalf of you and your family unit.
He should write a single group email (so it can’t be changed when forwarded), saying he’s fed up with the meanness and divisiveness in the family, which will ultimately hurt their parents, who must already know.
The supposed “golden boy” is an obnoxious adult who somehow rules his family.
It may seem the higher ground and better course for your husband to stay quiet on all this, but it leaves you isolated and insulted.
Also, there’s worse to come when the parents do need more care, decisions must be made, followed by issues regarding their will. You’ll be the scapegoat, still.
Your children (if adults) and your husband need to show more than their presence at the next gathering, which you should also attend.
They need to show support for you.
My brother has a mental illness and is constantly draining my parent’s finances. He’s moving away and they’re funding his accommodation, furnishings, a car, etc.
He’s moved and returned many times over 12 years (he’s 36) and it’s always wasted money. He’s never stayed with a job for more than six months.
How can I convince my parents to stop enabling him?
You can’t. It’s possible that a professional therapist can, but they have to be willing to seek one, then believe and follow the advice.
Encourage them to seek help to best respond to their son’s condition, now and for his future when they’re needing stable finances for themselves.
Then back off… it’s their very difficult dilemma.
Feedback Regarding the man who slept with his colleague’s ex-girlfriend (October 31):
Reader – “Since when are “ex’es” no-go for dating whom they choose following an established breakup eight months prior?
“It also didn’t appear that the writer intentionally went behind his colleague’s back, but simply had a fling with this unattached woman.
“Further, he and his colleague have a professional relationship. It’s doesn’t seem that they’re part of a circle of personal friends.
“However, the writer’s ending of contact with the woman is wise for work purposes since their relationship seemed more about the fling than anything else.
“But the “rule” you talk about seems more a code from high school.
“I’d say if there was anything serious, then inform, as a courtesy, not as a request for permission.”
Ellie – Good points, but for the “unwritten rule” to not date a close friend’s or colleague’s ex: He’d “expressed sadness and anger about the situation to friends.”
Tip of the day:
When someone’s maligned by in-laws, the related partner needs to speak up with support.