I’m 61, and I’ve been married for 33 years. My husband, three kids and myself lived back home with his parents. I was grateful to them for time and help to study and work.
We immigrated to Canada where I excelled in my field. My husband’s brother and wife were initially welcoming. But jealousy led to enormous emotional abuse from my sister-in-law.
My mother-in-law was brainwashed by her, and I was alienated. I still suffer severe trauma hearing their voices or receiving text messages. I’m scared to confront my sister-in-law because she behaves like nothing has happened.
My hubby couldn’t take sides. My mother-in-law is elderly and I don’t want to make her life painful.
I cannot totally avoid interacting with any of them due to my husband's close feelings for his family. I spend my free time reliving the pain they caused. What should I do? I’m otherwise in a happy relationship with my husband and kids.
Jealousy led to Emotional Abuse
You’re stronger than you realize. Your primary relationships with your husband and children are truly happy. You also have strong character – you respect that your aging mother-in-law is not being intentionally unkind.
Yet you persist in reliving emotional pain, when you have much more to offer. You excelled in your field, and could be a guide or mentor to other women like yourself who have immigrated to Canada and need encouragement and support.
Reach out to a women’s group, perhaps through your own field of excellence, or through a community of immigrants from your home country experiencing similar difficulties.
Meanwhile, I urge you to talk to a psychotherapist to help you move forward. You have so much ahead to enjoy yourself while helping others. But staying home “reliving pain” caused by another’s jealousy, is a waste of the good in your life.
I’m a male retiree in my early 60s, who sometimes works as a film extra. The pay is minimal; sometimes the hours are gruelling, and the work is erratic but they feed us well.
I meet interesting people from all walks of life who are there for their own reasons. I met two young men on set who are like polar opposites, yet both of similar cultural background.
The 23-year-old is in law school. He moved here when he was 10 years old. His English isn’t very good. Perhaps I’m lucky, but as a first-generation immigrant myself (in my late teens), English has become my primary language.
He seems to have no purpose in life, and he’s not even sure if he wants to finish his law degree. All he seems to think about are girls and sex.
Another 21-year-old is in Engineering. He was born here, speaks good English, but also speaks his parents’ language. In between scenes, he’d either do school work or read a book about business.
He said he didn’t want to waste time getting bored. He’s so driven. I can see him getting somewhere someday.
What is it that makes some people so driven and others not?
Is it upbringing, genetics, or something else that makes the difference?
Curious Film Extra
It’s all of the above. As different as parents may be from their own upbringing, so, too, genetic factors passed on from previous generations differ.
But current events such as war, inflation, and personality factors of drive vs. ennui all impact how we appear or whether we change for better or worse.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding two best friends, together every day, until one was shunned:
“Daily contact can cause boundaries to fade and resentment grows. My friend and I were so enmeshed in each other’s lives that we felt too deeply.
“After three years, she called to say she was dying. We’re now successfully continuing our friendship, respecting boundaries regarding advice and judgement.
“Good news: Our friendship lifted her fighting spirit to beat her disease and I got my sis-friend back.”
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the guy whose brother and girlfriend don't get on (April 1):
“It's unfair to call the girlfriend immature since her grievances are understandable. She wants her partner's brother to behave like an adult because they live together and his behaviour affects her.
“He resents her wanting him to grow up. I don't think it's competition. I'm on the girlfriend's side!
“He should tell his brother to grow up or move out.”
Tip of the day:
When you have love and self-achievement, pass it on.