My husband of 25 years and I are in our 50’s. We’re respectful, thoughtful and share interests.
However, his family and his inability to set boundaries have caused irreparable damage.
One sister and one brother are trouble-makers - verbally abusive with name-calling, body-shaming, and ignorant, unprovoked attacks.
They humiliate and hurt people (particularly me) and are manipulative.
Being in their presence puts my anxiety on high alert. I can’t smile and pretend anymore.
I was young, inexperienced, and lacked self-esteem to realize what I was up against with this family from the start.
Their in-laws don’t count, unless they need us for something.
There’s no reciprocation from them, no integrity. Dishonesty is common-place.
Now, an event’s approaching which I know my sister-in-law wants to hold at our place as she lacks the space.
After years of my doing favours unappreciated, and being treated disrespectfully in-between her wanting something, she’s sucking up to me.
I told my husband I’m done doing for them.
While he appears to agree, I don’t trust him when it comes to his family.
He was taught that, if there’s an issue with your sibling versus your partner, never take your partner’s side nor stand up for them.
I resent this greatly.
He’s not had my back when they’ve treated me disrespectfully. He wrongly thinks they’re better now.
He feels nothing when they denigrate me in front of him, and that says everything I need to know about his loyalty.
I know he loves me, but this makes me so resentful that I’m often angry. He refuses therapy and gets very mad when I raise it.
Am I overreacting? Am I wasting my life with this man?
Beyond Fed Up
You’re not overreacting! You’ve unfortunately “wasted” your energy on anxiety over bullies who won’t ever change.
Now that you’re older and wiser besides fed up, it’s your husband you need to inform of where you stand.
No, you will not host an event or do any other favours for people who malign you.
He either accepts it, or he can host it himself at some venue he needs to pay for, not at the home you own jointly.
Tell your sister-in-law it’s not possible.
If she persists, say that she’s never been nice to you and you’re finished with allowing that.
Then go to counselling on your own to consider your future with or without him.
Report what you learn from the counsellor and invite him to go, too, if he wants to save the marriage.
If not, see a lawyer, soon.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who wrote that she worries about what her husband will do to their son if she asks for a separation (July 17):
Reader – “I was heartbroken to read the article as I work for a non-profit organization called the Vancouver Eastside Educational Enrichment Society that has a program called newSTART Bridging that works with women who have dealt with Violence and Abuse.
“I too have a son (now grown) and was moved by her dilemma.
“I hope that the letter-writer can connect with an agency similar to newSTART in their area, for support and a “safety plan.”
“Just a phone call to the staff there can provide confidential assistance for free.”
Ellie – Thanks for reminding any readers of all genders living with abuse to seek such resources as you mention, and a safe plan for leaving, in their own area rather than stay at risk.
I’ve supported and loved my cousin even though she pushes people away and makes terrible choices.
She’s now pregnant with the baby’s father already bailing.
My wedding’s in the fall and she’s mentioned bringing a "friend."
She added that she’d probably not come at all because she’d be too pregnant. I said if she does attend, I’d need the friend’s name three weeks beforehand, for the place card.
She ranted about how she couldn't do that and wouldn’t discuss it anymore. She blocked me on social media.
I don't think I was being rude or unreasonable. I'm hurt by her reaction and selfishness. Do I have a reason to apologize?
I’d figured she wouldn't be able to come. Should I reach out and repair this relationship?
Yes, reach out and apologize. She’s on her own, about to become a single mom. A blank place card can be written on at the last minute.
Tip of the day:
When undefended against in-law bullying, stand up for yourself, talk to a counsellor, and carefully consider your future.