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Thread: When your partner's family is toxic...

  1. #11
    For example after the huge fight a few months ago, we stopped talking to them and seeing them. Two months later, his dad calls and tells us he bought us a vacation. We dont even know what to say. We dont want to go. He keeps persisting. I still havent given them an answer. Then he assumes we are going - and starts saying do this, do that, and many other things because he "bought us a vacation" that we dont even intend to go on. It's really, really strange.

  2. #12
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    It's probably a good idea not to have long discussions via text message. Keep things to the point and on topic. I don't suggest stopping contact completely (that's up to you and him to decide - at your discretion). They are still his parents and I would be concerned that cutting them off completely means it hurts your boyfriend in the long run. For the sake of your relationship, let him be the one to decide. It should never be you making that decision (it's not yours to make).

    I have the feeling that you want a resolution quickly and this may not be realistic. Part of managing a family means learning to take the good with the bad and knowing how to handle the bad while enjoying the good. By now both of you will probably know when she's about to get into one of her moods or you both may be able to sense what makes her upset. Avoid unnecessary drama and try and be compassionate to everyone. It's good for you to also stay on track with your work, school, fitness or other goals. Stay balanced and healthy (mentally and physically). Stay out of harm's way and don't antagonize her.

    Regarding the vacation, in the best interpretation, it appears that they miss their son (if not both of you). I feel like there's a cultural and generational divide here. Are you of a different culture from him? It's not unusual for Asian parents for example to do the same thing. If you haven't given them an answer, they may think you're lackadaisical and irresponsible in your muteness. Give them an answer and stick with that answer.

  3. #13
    Platinum Member maew's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by platypus554
    Thanks for the advice. and if they step on the boundaries, do we just stop contact with them completely? I just don't know how to go about it..
    Itís VERY hard to cut off contact with family... he will always have a desire to try and work it out with his mom... ideally yes you want to stop contact completely however for many itís an unrealistic expectation.

    Consider that this will be your life if you choose to stay with him and consider seeking some professional help for how to deal with this type of situation.

  4. #14
    Thanks Rose. No, we are not from different cultures. And this has been going on for over 5 years unfortunately. We do get a sense of her "moods" coming on but sometimes it mean sacrificing a lot for us to keep her happy and we aren't willing to do that anymore. I feel like on my end, I am done with his parents. I have no intention of seeing them unless it's at large family gatherings. His mom actually reached out to me today after their fight, and tried to antagonize me. I try to maintain my composure and not give her anything to have negative ammo on me. For the vacation I think my bf told them we would go. Obviously that has changed after today's argument.

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  6. #15
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what she said to you but let it go. No, you do not need to keep everyone happy. Just be aware of your surroundings and what others are doing. Most people will self-correct once we do not give them the attention they seek. If plans change with the vacation and both of you decide to go, remain neutral and enjoy yourself. It's free after all.

  7. #16
    Gold Member SarahLancaster's Avatar
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    I would send them a nice letter (in the mail) outlining what you see as the problem and setting some serious boundaries about what you will and will not tolerate.

    And then stick to it.

  8. #17
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by platypus554
    For example after the huge fight a few months ago, we stopped talking to them and seeing them. Two months later, his dad calls and tells us he bought us a vacation. We dont even know what to say. We dont want to go. He keeps persisting. I still havent given them an answer. Then he assumes we are going - and starts saying do this, do that, and many other things because he "bought us a vacation" that we dont even intend to go on. It's really, really strange.
    Originally Posted by platypus554
    Thanks Rose. No, we are not from different cultures. And this has been going on for over 5 years unfortunately. We do get a sense of her "moods" coming on but sometimes it mean sacrificing a lot for us to keep her happy and we aren't willing to do that anymore. I feel like on my end, I am done with his parents. I have no intention of seeing them unless it's at large family gatherings. His mom actually reached out to me today after their fight, and tried to antagonize me. I try to maintain my composure and not give her anything to have negative ammo on me. For the vacation I think my bf told them we would go. Obviously that has changed after today's argument.
    These are examples of your own very poor communication and behavior. Either you accept and say thank immediately OR you reject and tell him to get a refund on that asap because you will not go. What you did was neither - drag your feet in a passive aggressive manner with zero communication.

    Now you had some text fight, now you won't go? You think your bf told them you will go but you don't know? It's not just his parents that are the problem.....here..... You and your bf are not communicating with each other either.

    Bottom line, OP, is it takes two to fight. Take a good look at how much fuel you are adding to the fire because that's the only thing you are in control of and the only thing you can change in this situation. Learn how to respond in a timely way and directly. Learn when to respond with "sorry you feel that way" to diffuse whatever she is trying to incite. In short, learn how to neutralize. Again, takes two to fight. She can only pull you into the argument they are having because you are engaging instead of stepping aside and minding your own business.

  9. #18
    Gold Member SarahLancaster's Avatar
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    I agree totally with Dancing. It's awfully assuming that he bought you a vacation without even consulting you. You said you didn't even know what to say. What about, "Sorry, Dad. That's not going to work out for us." And when he kept persisting, just keep repeating that phrase until he gets tired of it.

    You're teaching the both of them that it's ok for them to run over you, and that you'll be angry and huff off, but then you'll come around. You and your bf HAVE to have a plan of action for dealing with them. If you're both giving them two different answers, they'll just use that indecision to beat you up with.

    Don't get angry. Don't get riled up. Just keep repeating phrases to them in a calm voice. As Dancing suggested, "I'm sorry you feel that way" and "That's not going to work for us."

  10. #19
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I'd probably stay away from "I'm sorry you feel that way". It sounds a bit underhanded in its pity (she is upset and you feel sorry for her). Keep it simple and thank them for the offer (I think manners still count here), be clear about going or not going and honest. What this person wants is a long drawn out response and I think she'll do what she can to undermine also whatever is said to her. Keep it simple.

    If your boyfriend changes his mind again, maybe you should be speaking with your boyfriend and not bother getting stuck in the middle of it. This really isn't completely his mum's fault for being "crazy" if your boyfriend is so fickle.

  11. #20
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    Originally Posted by SarahLancaster
    You might want to rethink this relationship.

    If your boyfriend doesn't have enough courage to stand up to them and protect you from their attacks, he's not going to change. I wouldn't stay with someone who wasn't able to make a clean break from this ridiculous situation.

    Forget the furniture. If he doesn't part with them, you need to leave.
    I agree! Your partner needs to develop a backbone. What happens when you have kids? How can you expose them to this?

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