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Discussion Starter #1
I apologize for the length of this post but I will try to make it as short and brief as possible but there is background that needs to explained in order to understand were I am coming from.

My mother treats my wife/family and my older brother of 2 years wife far differently than my younger brother of 9 years wife/family and younger sister of 7 years husband/family. She is not accepting or concerned about my wife or my older brothers wife. She has a distant relationship with my 3 children. My older brother doesn't have any kids so there is no problem there. She is very close and caring with my younger sister and brother's families. My Father is decease for a few years now and this has been going on since the the begining of our families.

My family has been on the outside of our family circle since my first child was born and issues arose about how much time my wifes parents spent with my kids and how dominating my wifes side of the family can be. My wifes side of her family is very close nit, very caring, show alot of love and nurturing. I came from a family that was close but not to close. My parents were loving and supportive but I always felt something was missing growing up. I guess that is one of the things that attracted me to my wife and her family to beggin with. My older brother is alot like my Dad and can be kind of distant. Not stand offish just not a "come over here and hug me" kind of guy. My Mother still holds a grudge I think against my wife blaming her for not allowing my parents to have a good relationship with my children. My wife and I have always had an open door policy with both our families as far as spending time with my children and family are concerned. Her parents chose to take advantage of that policy while my parents did not and that is on them not us.

As far as my older brother's wife is concerned, she has been disliked since the begining of their relationship and I could never put a finger on why. Their bone of contention boiled over when my brother's wife had died and my Mother actual had the balls to aske her to change the funeral plans because of prior plans (to go on a secret vacation together that is a hole another story and thread that I already posted about on this site: http://talkaboutmarriage.com/family-parenting-forums/47938-black-sheep-family.html ) that my Mother, Father and 2 younger siblings families had together and ddid not want to tell my older brother or I about it. I finally found out about this secret get away and told my older brother and his wife eventually found out and needless to says she was outraged. My parents and siblings went on their vacation anyway and did not attend my brother's mother-in-laws funeral.

This caused a huge rift in my brother's marriage and eventually led to him having an affair and leaving his wife. Eventually he came to his senses and realized that he loved her and wants to mend their marriage. His wife is very skeptical, understandably so. She has made several demands in order to agree for them to get back together. Most of which he has no problems with. The one demand that is an issue is that my brother convinces my Mother and younger siblings to treat his wife with the same acceptance and include them/her in family events/holidays just as my younger siblings are treated. If she refuses then she wants him to cut all ties and have no further contact with my Mother or other siblings. She, of course has no problems with my wife3 and I since we are her only means of support and love on my brothers side of the family. My Mother and younger siblings have always treated her and my wife like outsiders.

My brother explained his dilema to me and my initial reaction was to volunteer and try and mediate his position and talk with my Mother about her problem with my brother and wife. He never asked me to get involved but I could tell by the drift of his conversation that he was looking for help. He has acted as the peacemaker in the past with my family when I have had problems with my parents/siblings in the past.

After talking with him, I began to have trepidation about confronting my Mother. I thought that this would only lead to her being extremely defensive and cause addtion strain on our already tenious relationship. I talked with my wife about this and she obviously agreed that it was not a good idea. She was even upset and even a little angry that I would consider confronting my Mother about her relationship with my brothers wife when I never would do it about the relationship she had with my wife and family. Looking back at it know, I fully understand why my wife was upset and even angry.

Would you confront your Mother about these issues? Do you have any advise I can give my brother on how he can handle his situation? Am I letting my brother down by not getting involved like he has in the past?
 

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This is not your problem to solve it's your brothers. He needs to stand up for his wife not you.

Back away. Just back away.
 

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Am I letting my brother down by not getting involved like he has in the past?
I agree with Mavash... But I'm curious about this.

It is your brothers concern and he will need to stand up to his mother concerning his wife and family. My mother and family disowned my H and I for a period of time and they did not like my H or my choices. But I chose to try and make my marriage work and decided that if my family didn't like it, too bad, I was doing what I had to do for my kids and my happiness. We went a period of months with no communication from my side of the family... I was going to stand my ground and I did. They reached out to me (and us) eventually and we are all planning a Christmas together this year.

Point being, you cannot force acceptance, but you can demand respect and tolerance or choose to not be a part of that. I think your brother should let his mother know that he loves her and wishes her the best, but that he needs to do what he needs to do to mend his marriage and respect his wife, since he is choosing to work on the marriage.

Just my thoughts on it
 

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When we marry to take on our spouses family and relatives to some degree for better or for worse.
Not all families are close or want to be but still love and care about each other one hopes.
When a man marries his wife should always come first and visa versa.
If your siblings have problems with your mother it is for them to sort out not you, this will seem like ganging up on your mother, so keep out of it.
If your mother or anyone else is disrespectful to your other half or your family then it is up to you to sort that out and not your siblings.
Families should not be involved in each others problems this can creates gangs and bullying tactics.
Unless your mother/sibling asked for your advice don't give it, it will not be appreciated.
If you mother has favourites there is nothing you can do about it, if she doesn't see you children it is her loss.
I have a similar problem in my marriage, my mother-in-law has always favoured my husbands sister and her children and over the years as been and said some nasty things. When my daughter was seven she asked me one day why her grandmother never had her to stay for the weekend like her friends grandmothers did, I could have cried for her.
My M-I-L is now very old and alone and as no grandchildren visiting her not even the favoured ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I understand completely the advice to stay out of my brothers business with me mother and I feel the same way fior the most part. My wife strongly feels that way also, ecspecially since I never stepped uo to the plate so to speak and defended my wife in regards to the way my mother treats her. I guess I kind of feel like this could be an opertunity to kill 2 birds with one stone. If I talked with my mother about my brothers problem with his wife I could also make the comparison with how she treats my wife and maybe she could see the light.

That is probubly very wishful thinking though. Just knowing my mother and how defensive she can be and how she always turns things around by immediately taking the position that this is not her problem. She is a grown woman and raised her family and took care of my Father for the many years that he was ill before he died. She is great and putting herself on a soap box and shouting "poor me" as she describes what a rough road/life she has lived.

I also feel a little obligated to step in and try and help my brother out because he has done the same for me in the past. As I have stated before, I was black balled and ostrisized by my parents and younger siblings for a period of time and I believe my older brother played a major role in bridging that divide.

My initial reaction when my brother told me about his situation was to jump in and get involed regardless of the consequences that may arise from the confrontation that I would create. Now, I still want to do something to help, but my gut insticts are telling me to back off and stay away. I just can't fight this guilt I have about not helping my brother when he has stepped in on a number of occasions in the past to mediate family issues involving my wife, myself and kids and my parents.

With a mother like this, do you really think it's worth the battle of trying to maintain a relationship with her? I don't ask this just in my brothers case but in mine too. Don't get me wrong, I love my mother, if for no other reason thatn because she is my mother. If my brother and his wife decide to break off ties from her and my other siblings should I just sit back and watch or should I make a statement and distance myself from my mother and younger siblings also? Do I total break off communication with them or do I maintain some communication with a cold shoulder? Or do I keep the staus quo? I don't know which path to take, but 1 thing I am pretty sure of is that my mother will not bend in her postion and will continue with her same additude and opinions and continue to treat my sister-in-law and my wife in the same fashion that she has for years. Which ultimately will lead to my brother and his wife ending any ties they will have with my mother and other siblings families. What do I do then?:scratchhead: Just makes me real sad to think that our family is like this and I feel helpless.:(
 

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If it was me I would let the problem go, put it behind you and rise above it.
Your mother is your mother whatever her faults and irritations and you should keep in touch even if your wife and future children don't, if you cut off all communications with her you will feel guilty and possibly regret it in the future.
Keep things as light as possible in conversations and don't get involved in your siblings problems.
If your mother continues to be disrespectful to you or your wife, just say you don't want to hear it and if she continues you'll make the visit short and leave saying you'll see her later.
You and your wife are just young people you should be having a lovely time together before your children come along if they do and this is a precious time that will not come around again so make the most of it.
Try and go out and do interesting things together and stop thinking about all these family problems.:)
 
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