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Thread: Wife won't talk to my family

  1. #21
    Platinum Member Snny's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Shawn5
    Thank you so much for your response. It is amazing. I've quoted the two parts that hit really close to home for me. You are absolutely right. The volatile family relationship has indeed cost her a sense of trust and safety around them. That will take time to heal and will require improvements on their side, though, I'm not holding my breath the latter will happen. She is right that she doesn't need any toxicity in her life right now. What I wonder is, if my family is now reaching out with a new positivity, shouldn't there be at least a little communication to help things move in the right direction?

    It would not be the right time at this moment with her being pregnant. If they truly respect her, they need to give her some space and come to you while she focuses on her pregnancy. You do not want to overwhelm or stress out a pregnant woman. Constant contacting her is nagging and harassing.

    The damage is already done. Her anxiety will heal overtime if you consistently reinforce marriage boundaries and your family drops the whole argumentative behavior. If you and your wife are visiting and they act up, it's time for you and your wife to leave... and limit visiting. Like another poster said.... she now feels she is in the position to put up a wall so she won't overly stress herself out AND send them a message about their controlling once the baby is out. And this is because she has been mistreated by your family. Actions have consequences.
    Last edited by Snny; 08-20-2017 at 11:39 PM.

  2. #22
    Platinum Member Snny's Avatar
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    I just don't know when or how my parents will change. Every time I ask them to change their ways, and insist that they do so from a loving place - they tend to get immediately defensive and argumentative. It is as if they cannot ever admit fault.
    I hope this makes sense...

    You cannot change their behavior. And a child (you, even as an adult) telling a parent or any adult how to behave will backfire. I've done something similar too and got in one hell of a nasty fight with my folks. I basically opened the tiger cage with that conversation.
    Be damned if their child tried telling parent what to do, even if they are in the wrong.

    Don't give them a lecture. Don't just tell them to change. People have to WANT and ADMIT to needing it before they start changing. Also, permanently changing behavior is difficult to do whether you are a child or an adult. So Let consequences speak for your family. Their volatile behavior means that you and your wife see or contact them less. Hopefully when the baby comes out, they will really start change their tune because they will want to see their grandchild. And yelling/arguing around a baby will cause psychological damage to the baby (even teaching your child that arguing and yelling is acceptable communication to do in your home). Once that baby come, it's time to strictly enforce your boundaries when they start to act out of line. They mistreat your wife OR you while visiting, your whole family will leave and start limiting contact. They will get the message.

    Right now they are still testing your marriage boundaries by constantly contacting your wife to the point she is feeling harassed. They should be contacting you instead. I'd shut that down fast.

    I'm sure they are loving people and raised you well. However, they still see you as a child and are actively trying to meddle in your relationship with your wife by contacting her frequently. They need to acknowledge and respect your boundaries as an adult and a married man. Don't feel I am picking on you because I'm even having this same conversation with my husband. Their old habits or how they see you now/then doesn't excuse them from trying to dominate or exert control over your marriage. You are the ONLY person who can do this and your pregnant wife is counting on you to step up.
    Last edited by Snny; 08-20-2017 at 11:49 PM.

  3. #23
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Shawn5
    They are the only inlaws we have. My wife has already gone no contact with her parents. Without my family we have no one.
    What? What is her deal with parents?

  4. #24
    I'm a lurker on this forum but I had to create an account to give my two cents. It will sound harsh but I'm only trying to help you so stay with me. If I was your wife I would not be as patient. You said they treated her bad for three plus years and you still expect her to continue to be mistreated while pregnant, nonetheless. Has something changed in them? Did they go to therapy? Have they taken accountability for the way you were raised? Have they apologized to your wife for the way they have treated her? I'm going to assume none of these things have happened. Instead they probably blame you or likely your wife for when you have been hurt or neglected and you try to set boundaries. Wake up. Your normal meter is severely damaged. Like many emotionally manipulated adult children, you REALLY, REALLY want things to be normal. You want your parents to love you and respect you and are willing to dance like a puppet on a string chasing that love. No matter how nasty and vicious your family has been to you and your wife, you are willing to explain it all away because you are not willing to face the reality. The true existential crisis that comes to ALL adult children of abusers is that your parents do not really love you. That's heart breaking, gut wrenching, horrible and awful to deal with. But the people who actually love you, don't treat you that way. Right now you are willing to sell your soul to avoid having to face that reality. Not only that, you are willing to drag your poor pregnant wife through that. I speak all this because I was once you. It was therapy that finally helped open my eyes to the dynamic that was going on. I believed that if I was just clearer/kinder/smarter/whatever enough, they would love me and treat me differently. That's not true, but it's an easier narrative that dealing with the reality - your parents have and will continue to be emotionally abusive. You're ahead of the game. It sounds like at least you are able to recognize (temporarily) they will not change.

    You say, "Very, very true. I just don't know when or how my parents will change. Every time I ask them to change their ways, and insist that they do so from a loving place - they tend to get immediately defensive and argumentative. It is as if they cannot ever admit fault. I desperately want them to find a way to genuinely reconcile, and put their egos aside. When I put myself in my wife's shoes, I get it. But I also know that I don't like cutting people off, and would try to find a way to have a relationship given it is family."

    While you recognize they will not change (good!), you continue to put the responsibility on your wife to maintain a relationship AS IS. You are too afraid to place the blame where it belongs: your parents are abusive and do not deserve to have a relationship with you or your family. Instead, you say, my parents are emotionally abusive and will never change, but I expect my wife to deal with it because I want to have a relationship with my family. Do you see how selfish that is? Hell, even the title of your post says it all, “Wife won’t talk to my family.” This is not on her. More like, “Parents are abusive, but I want wife to just deal with it.”

    If you want to continue to be abused, that is on you, but do not drag your wife and child through that, man. Your wife just doesn't want to deal with it and she's entitled to that. She does not owe them a relationship. Their abuse has given her anxiety. You realize your wife is setting boundaries because she is well aware that your parents will abuse your child also, right? Are you okay with this? If you say no, why do you think your parents will treat your kids any differently than they treated you? Same questions as before: has anything changed? Is it simply because you think you will have a beautiful child and think that no one could ever hurt anything so innocent and perfect? Really? Because they hurt you, and you were just a child just like that when they did. Keep your wife and child away from your abusive parents. Your future child will be way better off without them in their life. Being treated poorly should never be tolerated, it doesn't matter who it's from.

    You say, “I just think this approach is so severe. How can I hope for any kind of cordial / decent relationship if she won't even entertain a phone call or text? How can I hope that we might have a normal family life when she wants nothing to do with them? It seems she's made up her mind about who they are, and who they have the potential to be. She doesn't believe that they will ever improve. I know in my heart that they are good, loving people, who do in fact mean well. I know we can have a decent family life, but that begins with trying!!”

    This is you back in denial. Her approach is not severe. She has respect for herself and will not tolerate any toxicity. Maybe you should learn from her. You cannot hope for a “normal family life” with your extended family because they are abusive. How many times do you have to hear that? Basically everyone on this post has said the same thing. No, she doesn’t believe it will ever improve because they have been these same people their entire lives. People do not change and your parents have clearly shown that. They're loving people who mean well? You mean they do not respect you as an adult and try to meddle in your marriage. You mean they do not respect your boundaries or your wife. They are toxic. If you have any siblings, I am sure they have tried to mess up their relationships too. How is that going? “I know we can have a decent family life, but that begins with trying!!” Again, this is putting the responsibility back on your wife. You are telling her, wife, you need to ignore all the toxicity and hate spewing out of my parents because I want to have a relationship with my family. If I heard you say this to me, I would have left you a long time ago.

    You say, “I just really want us to have an extended family - sometimes I feel like she eventually wants to cut off my family forever, and I don't want that. I think family is really important, and we should find a way to get along.”

    There is no getting along with toxic people and that is not family. Your wife who truly loves you, respects you, values, and supports you is your family. Let go of the toxic one, and build a healthy one if you want to live a happy life. Otherwise, you will end up with a child and divorced.

    You say, “You are absolutely right. I know I am on thin ice, so I know I need to deliver here. But I also don't want to feel like I'm not speaking up when I have a point a view about how we might mend this relationship. I think ignoring people for a year isn't the way to go. Torn, because I understand her pain, but I don't get her solution.”

    I will repeat it again, until you hear it, there is no mending this relationship. Your parents will not change and they will continue to be abusive. Your wife is entitled to ignore them for as long as she pleases. She’s doing so now because stress will affect the health and wellbeing of your baby. Do you not see that? Clearly, you will allow your parents to mistreat your child once it is born as well. Right now, I can see why your wife is so anxious. She is desperate to protect both herself and her child without any support from you. Why? Because you’re so desperate for the “love” of your extended family. Wake up!

    You haven't provided us with examples of how your parents have treated your wife, but I guarantee you that if we were to ask her directly, it would NOT be good. I know because I myself have emotionally abusive parents. It took a divorce for me to wake up. Do you want to end up divorced? Because that's where you are headed if you do not get yourself into therapy and back her up 100%. Find yourself a good therapist for yourself and you/your wife. Good luck.

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  6. #25
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    Are you sure you aren't my ex husband? My ex in-laws were brutal. Treated me badly. They treated him badly but i didn't know it because we met at a period of time when he was not on speaking terms with his immediate family - or kept them at arm's length. I removed myself from situations and had a peaceful life when i was the girlfriend but as the wife, they felt they were entitled to my home and the undivided attention of my husband. For awhile things were okay but my ex decided i was evil for not being more welcoming to them and he decided that he can't change his family - so he got rid of me instead. What the proper response was is that we came first and if they wanted to act crazy, they didn't come over -- but i found out he only "soft" set a boundary by saying "we already have plans" etc, or that i wasn't feeling well. After awhile they decided i was the problem and was controlling him so they just bulldozed over him because he never set a REAL boundary with them - he never told them flat out no - and then he decided it wasn't worth it so he left me instead of telling his family NO NOPE NADA NUNCA.

    Stand up for your wife. Send your family a baby announcement. In the meantime, no means no. Give her space to have a healthy pregnancy. You can meet them alone if you "happen to be in the neighborhood for 20 minutes". When the baby comes -- only see them in controled settings -- meet them in a public place for dinner - where there is a start and end time or go to holidays at extended family you are fine with.

  7. #26
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    Originally Posted by Shawn5
    You are right. I don't think it is "baby brain" talk either - though - I'm not really able to tell what is these days. I don't dare to tell my wife when her emotions are getting the best of her. This is a situation where she is anxious, worried, and trying to set firm boundaries. She says that in the past she has done things taking into consideration my feelings, and therefore neglecting her own needs. I just think this approach is so severe. How can I hope for any kind of cordial / decent relationship if she won't even entertain a phone call or text? How can I hope that we might have a normal family life when she wants nothing to do with them? It seems she's made up her mind about who they are, and who they have the potential to be. She doesn't believe that they will ever improve. I know in my heart that they are good, loving people, who do in fact mean well. I know we can have a decent family life, but that begins with trying!!
    She does not have to entertain a call or text. In fact, myself and all of my siblings' husbands/wives have a good relationship. But they all have boundaries. The person who is the child of the parents that are of issue are the ones who communicate and talk to the parents -- son or daughter in law does not. They deal with their own parents. My siblings and i call eachother when we are talking about something major and then the sibling decides how his/her individual family is going to react, contribute or deal with whatever it is. So your parents should be calling and talking to you, not her. She should not have to entertain calls and texts from them

  8. #27
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    When you allow them to treat the mother your child and wife with major disrespect, you are enabling them to treat her poorly.

    Stress can cause miscarriage, and if they cause her a great deal of stress, one should avoid that level of stress.

    They may be on goody two shoes for now, but it's really just a ploy to get what they want; like a game. That animosity and cruelty will show up, and they will of course show themselves again to your child. Whether they back talk about your wife to your child or not, something is still wrong. You don't go from being cruel to lovey dovey, and especially without apologies and break-throughs on their behavior.

    I haven't communicated with my MIL since I was pregnant with my first child Fall of 2011 after she left 20 messages on my phone in a row threatening me. She of course spent two years stalking us, and now has since only stalk us once in a while that I am aware of.

    My husband has stood by us in all of this. He got the brunt of the years of emotionally abuse, endless emails, texts, voicemails, that still keep reminding us of his histrionic personality. So, if your family is cruel to your wife, don't ever make her put up with it. Forcing her to play nice is only going to keep the cycle of abuse going. Do what is best for your family (your wife and kid); not your folks and sister who historically have been abusive to her.

    Anyone can play nice to get a result; but a change in behavior has to be present for at least 6 months to years at a time to be genuine.

  9. #28
    Member gohawks292's Avatar
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    Perfectly said!!!

  10. #29
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Thread is 3 years old.
    Originally Posted by gohawks292
    Perfectly said!!!

  11. #30
    Member gohawks292's Avatar
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    Lol realize this but it was something that i needed to read that yesterday. It helped me get through something

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