Family: The Gift You Can’t Return

Discussion in 'The Hens' Nest' started by Scout, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. CoolWife

    CoolWife Chicken

    Yeah @PerilousPoozer I think the best thing you can do for him is encourage him to talk to them. Offer to go to counseling with him and practice, offer to act as his family so he can practice what he wants to say, offer to be with him when he talks to them. Or - offer to be his family, now, and let them fade into the night. They are causing more pain than any joy they bring. Help him set expectations and make them clear, that's all you can do with shitty people.
  2. PerilousPoozer

    PerilousPoozer Chicken

    I have also emphasized to him that we (me, C, and my family) are his family now, but he says it still hurts that his family doesn't show a fraction of the effort that he has shown them. I'd love to just tell them to go fuck themselves and leave us alone, but that's not my place. I'm also tempted to tell them to get their heads out of their asses and think of someone besides themselves for once, but again, it's not my place. Adulting is hard.
  3. CoolWife

    CoolWife Chicken

    I don't think it's unfair of you to tell him that he either talks to them or stops dumping it on you. This isn't your problem, it's his, but it's affecting your family and that's on him.
    Lh718 and HBC like this.
  4. NerdLady

    NerdLady Chicken

    J is the same now, @PerilousPoozer. It's funny, because he's been telling me for years how his family was all about sitting down and talking things out when they had an issue, but it no longer applies since they're all adults. I can't give you much advice, because J hasn't confronted his dad either about the way he treated him. He got drunk a few days before thanksgiving and talked about how he'd been wanting to sit the man down for years and tell him how messed up things have been, but he won't, because he says it will ruin the relationship he has with his dad. I've asked what kind of relationship he really has with the man, because based on everything J has told me, they've never had much of one ever.

    Things are a little different because J also doesn't really want to talk to me about it. He's struggling with finding out his dad isn't the person he thought he was. It's up to him to speak up and go from there, but I can't force him to. We can set boundaries, but J has to be the one to talk to his dad.

    It's a hard place to be in. I wouldn't have an issue saying something to his dad, but it's not my place to and he wouldn't listen to me anyway because I'm a sensitive lady. It's hard not to say anything when it's having an impact in your life too.
  5. Afishwish

    Afishwish Bramblebutt

    While discussions are worth trying, I get not bothering with a certain kind of person - the sort of people you can have a reasonable conversation with would not let issues reach such a festering point. Some people are just so ingrained in their dysfunctional habits that having an adult reasonable conversation about it just isn't in the cards. Getting upset by their asshole behavior is like getting mad at a monkey for eating a banana - it's just what they do.

    It can be really hard not to take that personally, but if you can learn to do that at least some of the time it helps a lot. Banging your head over "why can't they be kind/sane/reasonable?!" is a lot more frustrating than "they just aren't capable of this shit and that's not my fault".
    NerdLady likes this.
  6. PerilousPoozer

    PerilousPoozer Chicken

    Very true. And he's working on it and lowering his expectations but it's not something that happens overnight. I know he won't ever say anything to them, I guess I'm just venting to express my frustration.
  7. Honey

    Honey Historian Staff Member

    That is frustrating. I'm glad he's working on managing his expectations. I think there's something to be said for adjusting his output, too. Why is he spending so much emotional energy on these people if he really can't afford it? And then if they come to him in the future questioning why he's not doing all of the emotional labor in their relationships anymore, they open the door for him to have a conversation about boundaries and expectations.
  8. Lh718

    Lh718 Chicken

    Oh wow. I had forgotten this thread existed. How convenient!

    Update on my parent situation:
    My parents respected my request for space and to wait for me to contact them for about a month. I received a bunch of texts under the guise of holiday wishes that also included whining about the lack of contact. The mother called and left an Eeyore-sounding message the night before school started when I was catching up on paperwork, and I got mad enough to call.

    I tried to hash it out, and all I got back were more fake apologies, lame ass excuses, and more lies. She tried crying, yelling, and her brand of logic (i.e. they're my parents so any mistakes they make should be automatically overlooked or at least forgiven because they won't be around forever) to get me back in line. I said no then hung up. Nothing since then. We'll see how long this lasts. The upside is that I no longer feel stressed or guilty about the situation. A late but welcome Christmas present to me.
    virgo, megatron, Miss Skunk and 7 others like this.
  9. TaterTot

    TaterTot Rulebitch Staff Member

    Wowzers, LH! Good for you for standing your ground and not capitulating. It must be a weight off.

    Can we vent about in-laws here? Because therein lies my beef.
  10. Dorothygale

    Dorothygale Chicken

    Please bring on the in-law stories @TaterTot, maybe if I'm lucky mine will seem normal and not batshit crazy. Not likely, but maybe. I have many vents and rants about them, but my SIL is getting married and pretty sure she has seen the bee so good chance she could lurk here too and I gotta stay somewhat non-descript.
    bookgirl14 likes this.
  11. TaterTot

    TaterTot Rulebitch Staff Member

    I hate complaining about how little my in-laws care about our family compared to my SIL's family (her husband and The Christ Child) because I really and truly do not want them getting more involved . . . but I wish their favoritism weren't so obvious. That part bothers me.

    We have an extended family event on Saturday, and my in-laws just straight up aren't going. Nevermind that their son and two of three grandchildren will be there. They have "other plans that leave them unable to attend." Of course, we find this out with the rest of the family . . . via group email. Real nice. We get no further explanation. Again, I'm not mad they're not going -- we both agree it's more fun when his parents and sister aren't around anyway -- but when you imagine my family in the same scenario . . . under no circumstances would we be at an extended family event without my parents. They would want to see us. At the very least they'd send us a personal text to say "We can't make it because of X, Y, and Z; we'll miss you!"

    It's so fucking strange.

    ETA: It's hard to pinpoint exactly what's wrong with my in-laws because their offenses and transgressions go back decades and are all over the board. My rooster made the comment, "My mom gets no real feedback from anyone in her life." And at that point I was like, you nailed it. I think that's the crux of it. They're perfect, and their choices are perfect, and their family is perfect, and they have each other and their hoity toity friends blowing smoke up their ass 24/7 confirming their perfection. And they think I'm the conceited one.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  12. Canaligator

    Canaligator Barbie Police

    I would be really hurt by that, Tater. If I truly couldn't go I would tell people personally and make it clear how much I wished I could be there.

    My complaint about my MIL is the opposite. I am glad we aren't having kids because I can guarantee she would put up a tent on our doorstep. We tried to make her happy by buying her a ticket to come up here for Christmas but she spent the bulk of the time in tears about the fact that she doesn't live here and would be going home (to the state that she chose to move to). She keeps threatening to move up here. If she does I'm absolutely moving to Ireland.
    DaleBrennan likes this.
  13. TaterTot

    TaterTot Rulebitch Staff Member

    Sometimes a healthy distance is the only thing holding a relationship together!

    Thank you for acknowledging how weird it is. I feel like they resent us/me a little for not making our kids more accessible to them, but they choose their lifestyle. Last night my rooster and I were talking, and I don't think M would be able to pick his parents out of a crowd. They live 20 minutes away.
    Canaligator likes this.
  14. Canaligator

    Canaligator Barbie Police

    Yeah if they want to see more of your kids they could reach out. Or you know, go to big family events...
  15. CoolWife

    CoolWife Chicken

    I love my parents dearly but they also expect us to drive 4 hours to see them as much as they'll come down here, like it's no big thing with a kid. D's parents drive me bonkers but they'll come over here every weekend if we let them and hardly ever ask us to visit.
    TaterTot likes this.
  16. shakespeer

    shakespeer Basic Pirate Lesbian Aesthete

    My parents live an hour and a half away. It's long enough that they have to plan to come up but short enough that they always decide to drive home rather than stay over. It's perfect. We go to a museum or something, they buy us a fancy-ass dinner we couldn't afford, then we say see you next month, they go home before they annoy me too much and I drink wine on my couch without pants on in peace.
    Ms. Chanandler Bong likes this.
  17. My parents enjoy guilt tripping me for not seeing them often enough. It's a 5.5 hour drive and they've never come down here to see me.
  18. Imabug1002

    Imabug1002 Chick pee

    Yeah, I get the same from my mom but it's 2.5 hours. My gripe with my in-laws is they will come down several times a month to see SIL/Nephew, complain they never see us or we never come up and we live 25 mins from SIL/Nephew and they don't even tell us they are coming down. Like, we would drive the 25 minutes if you would think to mention that you came down and stayed FOR A WEEKEND.
  19. Honey

    Honey Historian Staff Member

    Ugh, I've just typed two novellas and deleted them both. I understand what you're feeling, @TaterTot. I feel like this is our fault because we've set our boundaries and are both pretty independent, but that doesn't mean it's ok for his parents to actively burden him and think it's fine because he'll just land on his feet no matter what anyway. It's just so different from how they coddle his brother that it bothers me. Like, just because D is a capable adult means you can take advantage?
    shakespeer likes this.
  20. Dorothygale

    Dorothygale Chicken

    ALL OF THIS. There's so much I could say here, but this sort've just sums everything up.

    I have the opposite problem where they would do anything to see us every. single. day. if we would let them, and are constantly guilting rooster about how little they think he's involved with them (they literally call him every day) but basically all of the choices they make otherwise comes down to what you said above.
    TaterTot likes this.
  21. TaterTot

    TaterTot Rulebitch Staff Member

    Um, exactly, @Honey. Like, sorry your daughter is a codependent child who now literally relies on you to help her raise their granddaughter (but can afford shopping at lululemon and Whole Foods). Sorry that after your favorite daughter's spawn, the next-most-important thing in your life is going to the casino with your own mother, playing tennis with your own friends, and running your own hobby business. Glad we allow you just enough access to your first two grandkids to make it look on Facebook like you're a super involved grandma, since how it looks is the most important thing anyway.

    I wish I'd taken a picture of the touchy-feely oddball introspective BS my MIL put on their Christmas card this year (which featured us, but wasn't sent to us).

    Did I ever mention how at their annual holiday dinner party, my MIL orchestrated a bizarre seating game that put my rooster and me in separate rooms for a four-course, three-hour dinner? D says we never have to go again. I love him so much. I was just like no, I did not hire a babysitter and drag my ass to your lame party in -25 degree weather to spend four hours not on a date with my husband. NO.

    I guess I'm thankful they don't guilt us into spending more time together, @Dorothygale, because that would be worse . . . and I don't enjoy it . . . but for whatever reason the disparity still niggles at me.
    Canucklehead likes this.
  22. scotchbutter

    scotchbutter Chicken

    WTAF @ that dinner, Tater. Also: They did a Christmas card with your kids on it (and maybe you?) and didn't mail you one? Baffling.
    shakespeer likes this.
  23. TaterTot

    TaterTot Rulebitch Staff Member

    @scotchbutter Yes, that's exactly what happened.

    I mean, these stories don't even touch on the past drama of my rooster trying to talk to his parents honestly about how their favoritism of his sister (emotionally and financially) has impeded his ability/willingness to get close with them, and their response was to offer him money to make it fair. I mean, how tacky and tone-deaf can you be? We'd sooner die than be indebted to them.

    And speaking of tone-deaf. When we showed up at their house for immediate family gift exchange on the 26th, we were fresh off my smashing D's DSLR the night before. Still feeling pretty shitty about it, we had to explain why we didn't bring it to get shots of the kids. In an effort to be supportive (I think?), my MIL was just like "OMG how scary you're so lucky it didn't hit one of the kids." Like, what?! LOL. The kids were asleep. I never would've spilled the bong water and sent it trickling toward the unzipped camera bag I then picked up to save from said bong water and ended up flinging the camera onto the floor if the kids had been awake in the first place! It's on par with "Bummer, I burned the bacon." . . . "OMG I'm so glad M wasn't on the stove when you wrecked breakfast!"
  24. Dorothygale

    Dorothygale Chicken

    We have this issue too. It's hard to explain, because like I said they want to see us allll the time, but it's almost as if my MIL doesn't actually want it out of a love aspect (FIL does), but because she feels you should just be begging to see her anyways. Rooster made a comment the other day that he feels his mom buys E things not because she genuinely thinks they'll be good for her or wants her to enjoy them (they are junky and age-inappropriate), but just so she can SAY she buys her stuff. It's all appearances and nowhere actually from the heart.

    Also, the fuck at that dinner? Did she put you at the kids table too?
  25. TaterTot

    TaterTot Rulebitch Staff Member

    Allllllllll about appearances.

    And no kids table, but she did orchestrate an ornament exchange game. And then she won it. Like, LOL bitch, these are your friends. Of course you could correctly pair the person with the ornament the best out of anyone. Also, who wins their own game at their own party?!

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