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Dear Wendy

I Feel Like I'm Fighting An Uphill Battle

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  • #852731 Reply

    I’m not really sure where to start.

    Both my husband and I are the respective black sheep of our families. I was disowned on my 30th birthday (I’m 41 now) because I refused to not have a life and just exist to wait on my father hand and foot. Long story and the details aren’t really important to the grand scheme of things.

    No, my issue is my husband’s family. They’re so saccharine and sweet to my face, but I know (and have heard) his mom talking behind our backs. We’re wastes, worthless, etc. You know how it goes. We ran into some hard times and needed help to get back on our feet and she was the one he turned to.

    For his birthday this year, she and both of his sisters went to Disney (as they did last year, at the same time). He wasn’t invited. They invited me, knowing money was tight and that we wouldn’t have it in time, thus I wouldn’t be able to go and they’d be relieved of the guilt of having not invited me. The fact that I started a new job months later was a bit of a relief for me, as I could shove the feeling of being cast aside under the excitement of finally working.

    They didn’t bother to let us know they’d gotten home until today (pretty sure they’ve been home a week or more now) and my husband needed some help. Again, that’s usually how it goes. He offered to pay, and she refused, so now she has that to lord over us. But she brought a couple gifts (we didn’t require ANY, and I’d have been just as happy seeing their pictures). Hub got a nice picture of his name and its meaning for his bday, son got a hat and toy.

    And I got a used cup.

    It’s cute, don’t get me wrong. It’s a nice, Disney mug. But it still has the remnants of whatever they were drinking inside of it. They didn’t even rinse it out. Honestly, I’m not sure if it was left in by accident (which I’d gladly return) and they just didn’t get me anything, or … that’s all I mean? Honestly, I am trying desperately not to overthink it, but this is ongoing with them.

    Am I overthinking? Am I being paranoid? I get that we’re not the most exciting or interesting. And we’re not wealthy like his middle sister who can afford several trips wherever they want to go. Envious? Yes, I am. But I know they worked hard to get it. Hub went through a bunch of rough patches and I’m pretty much at wit’s end with that, too. I just feel overwhelmed and like I don’t really have anyone to talk to.

    #852768 Reply

    I would just stop caring what they do. So they brought you back a dirty mug. That’s really weird and instead of being mad, laugh at it. How bizarre!

    Focus less on what they do/don’t do and more on your own life. I think your past with your family is affecting the way you feel about yourself. Is there anyone you can talk to?

    #852769 Reply

    It sounds like you didn’t know they were home until your husband reached out to his mother for help. It’s likely she feels used if she’s the person you guys are constantly turning to for help. If your husband wants the dynamic to change he should be reaching to his family for more than just assistance with his rough patches.

    None of the above explains the weird used mug though. I agree with Anonymousse to just laugh it off and don’t let your in laws take up space in your head.

    #852772 Reply

    I’ll respond to both answers above in one post (just easier for my brain). Mostly? I do laugh it off and don’t bother with things. We’ve been good about just calling her to join us for dinner, hang out at her place, that sort of thing. And, we’ve been quick to pay back any sort of assistance whenever we’ve needed it, this is just how we’re both treated.

    It’s why we don’t go out of our way to socialize (and why, I suspect, they do the same). We’re not as exciting as the rich sister who is able to do the things they want, because we live paycheck to paycheck. It’s life.

    No, I don’t have anyone I can talk to. I have no family here, and what friends I have, have their own lives and just tell me to ‘leave him and his family’ whenever I mention anything. It’s not really an option at this point. Neither can I afford it, nor do I have a place where I can go. So, I’m a bit stuck with this. And it’s been ongoing. His mom favors the other kids to our son (blatantly, sometimes) and will very quickly reprimand him for the smallest things and over-parent me, as though I’m incompetent. I have tried really hard to just get along for the sake of things, but with my son getting older, I am now planning my own future once he’s in college or military, or whatever it is he wants to do once he graduates.

    As for the mug, I would honestly have not been bothered had they not gotten me anything. And I plan to wash the mug and ask her if she wanted it returned (because maybe she accidentally put it in the bag? I don’t know. I kind of hope that’s the case and that they didn’t just get me a used cup that they didn’t bother to rinse out, because it just seems… odd.)

    #852783 Reply

    I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I remember being lower than middle-class at a certain point in my life with a partner who also went through rough patches.

    Personally, I think it’s really hard to be friends with someone who is not in the same financial class as you if you don’t have some kind of outside venue to interact with them. Adding in the family element just makes it more awkward.

    For example, if you and a friend who is richer or poorer than you interact at a club or a bar that you both go to, there is more protocol in place to avoid awkard patches. I try to do this with some of my wealthier family when I see them. But it is hard to go out and do anything fun when you’re living paycheck to paycheck.

    The only thing I’d recommend is asking your husband to rely less on his parents for help, and trying to seek out healthier relationships.

    #852848 Reply

    Do you guys qualify for benefits? You might. There’s no harm in seeing if you do.

    Why do you have a plan to leave your husband after your son graduates? How old is he? If you’re unhappy being married to him, you should bump that up. If your friends have continued to tell you to leave every time you bring this subject up, to me that sounds like maybe you’ve been complaining about it for a long time and they might be tired of hearing it and not seeing any action. Your son will be fine if you split up with your husband.

    I’m not sure what “rough patches” means. Like does your husband make poor financial decisions that leave you guys lacking? Why do you need continued financial help from your in laws? If you need their help, I’d be as pleasant and kind as possible. Be thankful for what they do give you, even if it’s as odd as a cup with a drink left in it. They don’t have to give you guys anything, and the way you phrased it, it seems it was in a gift bag with no label with the other stuff. I don’t know. I know you don’t like them, but if you’re dependent upon them, you don’t have too many options other than playing nice because you actually do need their help.

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