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Family Troubles


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Dear folks,


Please allow me to vent for a few minutes. Oh jeez, here is the story, please bear with me.


My spouse's family are hardcore C, and for the past fifteen years we've put up with their constant interventions. Most of their discussions somehow find their way back to claims about how the world is evil and their church is the light, or how their family life is so rewarding while other family lives are shallow, and of course, the odd comments about how other denominations will spend eternity in a fiery inferno while they'll be chillin on a comfy cloud somewhere ...


As with all families, we learned ways to interact and communicate within this arrangement.


But for the past two years my household has been in crisis mode dealing with a health issue. It is stressful, demanding and hurtful. For reasons we cannot comprehend, my in-laws have dissappeared. In some ways, that's the end of my story. They have simply just stopped calling and visiting us. I have my own opinions what has happened, and I'll tell those below.


Of course, under normal circumstances, I'd be counting my blessings for their dissappearance, but this situation is different - my spouse needs to know her family is there!!


What was that parable about the person looking back on their life as the footprints in the sand? you know the one - where JC says those single footprints during your struggles, that's where I carried you ...


Well, our situation is the opposite. Our life has single footprints during the struggles because everyone dissappeared, and multiple footsteps during the easy times because they walked alongside us sharing small town whispering church gossip, judegmental comments about everyone else, and more BS about religious rules and how everyone is damned because they went to Banana Republic on a Sunday.


Now what is my opinion on how this happened? Simply put - they're small-town hayseeds and this issue is way too heavy for them. They don't want to put their "compassion" toward their family's suffering. they want to put it toward talking about how stupid their neighbours are, or whatever useless gossip about what's going on in their local parish.


Stupid, stupid. and all those thousands of comments over the years abotu family values and compassion. None of that is real. Those are just words ...


thanks for listening

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Has your spouse tried contacting them and telling them that it would mean a lot to him/her if they showed up or called once in awhile?


Families aren't all they're cracked up to be, I hope you have others whom you can rely on.

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yes, we've done that. First I took a shot at it and that turned out to be a train-wreck. Lesson # 1: don't interveve between your spouse and their parents. It's not your place, and you'll make it worse.


Second, wifey had a world-class meltdown with her mother. I'm told the incident was they went shopping together, and my spouse dropped many hints that she wanted to talk, but no response. Then at the mall they accidentally met a family friend who openly expressed her concern while MIL just stood in silence. So, they got home, and then it was explosion time. Apparently MIL argued that it only seems like silence because they're so deep in prayer for us. And who knows? Perhaps that's true ...


I'm not sure what to think. To me, it seems MIL has an advanced ability to take your problems and turn them around so that you suddenly find yourself consoling her. I was proud of wifey over that one. we both fell for it the first time, but the second time wifey stood her ground and just kept repeating, "I believe it's hard for you, but as the ones in the situation, it's harder for us."


As for the Christian aspect of the whole thing, I'm an atheist, but I'm at the point where I seriously hope there is an after-life etc. I'd love to get JC's perspective on this one. I'm imagining him saying "Jeez lady, drop the gossip and help your children!"

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Whitbread, I'm sorry you're facing such big issues without family support. It sounds like you and your wife are strongly united in this situation, though, and that's good.


It may be time to track down that caring family friend from the scene at the mall and make that friend the beginning of a friend-support-system since, with the marked inability of your wife's family to come through, you'll still need broader help and people you can count on.


Good luck to you both.

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I am so sorry to hear that you are going through a health crisis and that you are getting no support from your wife’s family. It seems very odd to me. My experience with church going folks is that they love to help those in need so they can show how the love of god works through them. And even though I don’t always agree with my family on every issue, if I was in crisis mode, they would do whatever I needed to support me. So, I am unable to relate to a family, especially a church going family behaving this way.


I agree with Trike and sincerely hope that you have friends that can be there for you during your time of need. And, I’m certainly hoping that your situation changes for the better. Best wishes!!!

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Yes, it is good to vent. And your vent has not fallen upon deaf ears either.


I am so sorry you and family are going through a difficult health crisis.


You know sometimes people just get weired, whether related or not. I have got more cynical over the years and realise it is just wiser to not have high expectations of anyone and then you won't be disspointed. And the thing with family, you would expect that old cliche of blood being thicker than water, and the stick by each other attitude, but when religion is in the mix, that can all fly out the window.


It's good your wife spoke up and stood her ground.


I hope things get better for you both.

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  • 5 months later...

I cannot believe that it has been six months since I posted this rant.


Time flies. And things don't change. Two lessons I'm learning well.


My wife went for counselling with her parents, and I think that's important. A huge gesture on their part. I oversaw an email that the therapist wrote to my wife, congratulating her on being very clear during the session and saying this approach would probably lead to some clearer, more helpful communications. I don't know the entire story, but I do know my wife was very clear with them, saying the stakes on this one are pretty high - if they don't step up the relationship will be permanently damaged. I know she told them that if they don't know what to say to us, than at least say "I don't know what to say," or start asking some of your church leaders for some advice. I've never belonged to a church, but I always figured that's what the whole thing is there for. anyways, the point is none of this made any difference, because our struggles have continued and the silence has been deafening.


My in-laws came over after church recently, and I was reluctantly civil. They simply don't know how to talk to someone in a crisis. That's the bottom line - it's just not in them. it's also kind of frustrating and stupid that that Sunday noon they continued the conversation they've had going for the 15 years that I've known them - the only one they know how to engage in. It's called "Look at sinful the world is and how we are the light." What an unbelievable bunch of self-serving BS.


My FIL uses the word compassion so frequently it's sickening. it's also sickening because he normally adds an afterthought which is that Jews and Catholics don't have any compassion, which I think is an absolutely disgusting statement, and after listening to it for so many years, I think I'm probably at the point where I'll ask him not to say such things around me anymore.


I may have written this in my original rant, but this experience has destroyed any faith my wife retained. She has always told me that "it may seem weird to you, and admittedly some of it is, but the real important part is that if we ever had a crisis, we would fall into an automatic support network." That's BS - we had a crisis and the supposed support system ran for the hills.


what a bunch of sickening BS.


We used to have a silent prayer before our dinner - I used it as a moment of silence to centre my thoughts and bring my mind into the moment ... I'm not sure what my wife used it for - I always assumed she spoke to JC ... but that's not important - we just agreed that our household would share that moment each individual could use it how ever they need. But I notice she mostly now forgoes that too ... she usually pretends that she was so excited to eat that she forgot, but she didn't forget ... the same people who force-fed her the shit for the first 18 years of her life have now stripped it from her.


Life is funny that way.

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