I’m totally broken and feel like I can’t trust anyone. My husband asked me to read some long texts his sister sent us and his brother and wife, too. It was regarding his aging father’s financial situation and the possibility that his children would need to help him!
I always thought my relationship with his brother’s wife was great, and trusted her totally.
But she’d responded to this group text in haste. And her response was a scathing attack on me! I’m heartbroken and paranoid as the topic of gossip. This likely isn’t the first time she’s spoken ill about me.
I responded politely that I’d seen it and that the assumptions were absurd. She then came over to apologize and seemed unhinged about possibly having to use her money to support her father-in-law! I agreed that it wasn’t her responsibility. But my husband’s offered zero emotional support, and blamed me!
Our marriage is fragile. He seems to have Asperger’s which wasn’t fully apparent until he retired five years ago. He’s also an alcoholic. We’ve been together for 14 years, married for five.
My sister-in-law’s rant went on about how her husband claims mine is rich (he’s not). There must be jealousy between them.
Now I’m in a deep depression not wanting to live here anymore. That SIL has a huge social circle in our small town. She knows that my ex pays me support that was awarded after a lengthy trial he instigated.
Being called “a joke” hurt the most because I have no shame about anything I’ve done. What I thought would be a happy life has turned into a nightmare that I’m too tired to get away from.
We already lent the kids money that they paid back in full, on time.
Broken and Despairing
This situation is a mess of overreactions and blaming starting from your SIL’s fear of having to help her father-in-law financially. So, she turned on you hoping to make you responsible (exploiting your legal support money).
Add in your current unsupportive husband’s blaming you, and it’s no wonder you feel depression and anxiety combined.
You need to find a framework in which you can calm down and consider the best decisions for yourself, instead of getting further lost and miserable.
Everyone in a gossipy small town may already know the characters... but they don't know that this story was twisted against you and how it's affected you.
But, if you change your perception of all this and restore your own self-confidence, you'll emerge as stronger than the rest of this family.
One jealous relative has acted badly and selfishly. But where are the financially-strained father’s offspring (the two sons and daughter)? And who’s helped this older man get financial advice instead of just leaving him to his fears and blaming others?
Yes, it may be time for you to move on, including living elsewhere. But first focus on building back your self-esteem. Your husband has failed you, whatever his excuses. If remaining with him and his family will surely continue to drag you down, start building yourself up - see a therapist enough times to internalize that none of this was your doing.
(If you decide to stay, then your husband’s Asperger’s Syndrome needs to be better understood and his alcoholism addressed).
Once you believe in your own inner strengths again, you’ll know whether you’re ready to choose another path, or that this shambles of a “family” situation is easier to overcome than you have thought.
FEEDBACK Regarding the mother who thinks her son and daughter-in-law have issues (February 26):
Reader – “When my husband and I had a young child, we were both constantly tired. I was jealous of the attention he gave the baby, and didn’t realize I had post-partum depression (PPD).
“Our relationship wasn’t "strained,” just flat from exhaustion and my PPD.
“When someone wanted to engage with the child, we’d soak in the minutes of relaxation. We had a very active first child who needed constant engagement.
“If the mother doesn’t interfere and helps out, the couple can re-engage a bit. She might give them that gift of time together.
“If my mother had interfered, I would’ve rolled my eyes, felt tense and judged throughout the visit.
“If they’re really strained, call after the visit and mention what you saw. Sometimes it’s best to let the couple work out something.”
Tip of the day:
When others are acting against you, focus on caring for/being for yourself and your most pressing needs.