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I have a journal thread that rambles on about family things, but I wanted to try to get advice here with a specific post about an issue.

 

My FIL is pushing for my husband and his brother to go to counseling because after our last baby's birth, he found out my BIL and his wife weren't acknowledging our kids for years now (we've never said anything about it for years so I guess he just didn't realize).

 

He also wants the wives to go, but my SIL refuses, I also really do not think this would be a good idea. The issue really isn't about them fixing their brother-to-brother relationship, the issue is more that he and his wife don't care to acknowledge our kids, which is their choice and no one can change that.

 

I think my FIL somehow believes counseling will magically make BIL and his wife suddenly love and care about our kids. I don't think so.

 

Also my husband has tried for years in the past to get his brother to be involved in his life... do things together, join teams in college together, and nothing worked because his brother did not want to have a relationship with him. My husband finally accepted that and has moved on. It does hurt him that his brother and SIL aren't nice to our kids, but there's nothing he or I can do.

 

Anyway... for the life of me I can't convince FIL to just accept it and wait it out for a few years. I actually think maybe there's hope they'll act nicer after they've had a couple of kids (or not). But he won't accept waiting for years. He also wants to know "exactly," why my husband doesn't want to go, but I know him enough that he's not going to accept my husband's answer of, "there is no point."

 

What on earth can I do here? I've already put down boundaries I think 3 times saying I didn't think it was a good idea and that my husband just doesn't want to.

 

Maybe he should go to counseling so he can accept it on his own, lol....

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First of all, this is your husband's family, he handles them, not you. Second, words like "I don't think" are too wishy washy. Your husband needs to say to his father that the two of you are not going, period. He does not need to explain himself, he just needs to make it clear. Further, when your FIL starts harping on this tell him you understand his concern, but you no longer wish to discuss this. If he pushes it, you leave the room.

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Your FIL can push or suggest all he wants but at the end of the day, your husband has every right not to go through with it, not attend counseling and he really doesn't need to explain anything at all.

 

Your FIL is meddling (but don't tell him that). Avoid confrontations and heated verbal altercations with your FIL. Remain peaceful, however, don't allow your FIL to tell you or your husband what to do. It is not his domain to do so.

 

SIL refuses to attend and everyone needs to respect her decision.

 

Don't do anything. Don't take any action. Let your FIL fall on deaf ears. Let your FIL talk all he wants until he wears himself out. Deplete your FIL's energy, not yours nor your husband's.

 

As for your BIL and SIL, I agree, accept how they are and concentrate on your own family life. Many people in this world including relatives and in-laws are very indifferent and apathetic. They simply don't care about your kids and that's that. Whether they'll change once they have kids, is left to be seen. There's no telling how they'll behave once they become parents. Perhaps they'll want cousins to be close but that's to be determined when the time comes. Sometimes cousins will insist upon reuniting every now and then and it forces families to converge. You don't know what the future holds. Until then, lie low and focus on your marriage and family life because it's all that truly matters.

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Honestly, this is for your husband to deal with.

 

I wouldn't get involved as it really can cause a huge fight.

 

Your husband is the one who is going to have to sit down with his father and tell him he does not want him to plan events anymore and to just accept that he and his brother are not going to get on as he hoped they would.

 

But you as the wife, do your best to stay out of it. You don't want people blaming you or pointing fingers at you.

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Honestly, this is for your husband to deal with.

 

I wouldn't get involved as it really can cause a huge fight.

 

Your husband is the one who is going to have to sit down with his father and tell him he does not want him to plan events anymore and to just accept that he and his brother are not going to get on as he hoped they would.

 

But you as the wife, do your best to stay out of it. You don't want people blaming you or pointing fingers at you.

 

Totally agree. Completely out of it. Your FIL thinks there is a "should" here -that aunt and uncle are required to "acknowledge" your kids - that's fine if that is his belief, his values. It's not husband's and even if "it would be nice" -"it would be nice" is not a reason to go through the time and expense of therapy. Yes, if they are your children's guardians, yes if they are caregivers for your children on a regular basis then of course they have to give appropriate care in every way to a child but otherwise -where does it say they have to interact with your kids - just because they are related? Honestly I can't imagine a professional therapist taking this on. Perhaps a religious figure who wanted to step in as a sort of mediator but it's a made up problem. People are free not to acknowledge children they have no responsibilities for. I mean, if they come to your home and treat your children disrespectfully that's not ok, that's not nice - but please don't think that having their own kids will transform their attitude towards your kids. I know many people who have no kids and love other kids and many who love only their own kids and don't care to interact with other peoples' kids. It's a preference and it's a free country.

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First of all, this is your husband's family, he handles them, not you. Second, words like "I don't think" are too wishy washy. Your husband needs to say to his father that the two of you are not going, period. He does not need to explain himself, he just needs to make it clear. Further, when your FIL starts harping on this tell him you understand his concern, but you no longer wish to discuss this. If he pushes it, you leave the room.

 

I think both my husband and I are worried about looking bad (image?)... his family have already made us out to be monsters in the eyes of the other relatives (huge family here on both sides) because we've had to put down boundaries before.

 

They go back and gossip about us, and then other relatives who we previously had a great relationship with, start treating us like crap, saying humiliating things to us in public at their gatherings, and have made it to where we can't go.

 

So if we don't satisfy him, he'll use us as the "reason," why the issue can't be fixed. My husband was the scapegoat growing up with his siblings, and it really hasn't changed.

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As for your BIL and SIL, I agree, accept how they are and concentrate on your own family life. Many people in this world including relatives and in-laws are very indifferent and apathetic. They simply don't care about your kids and that's that. Whether they'll change once they have kids, is left to be seen. There's no telling how they'll behave once they become parents. Perhaps they'll want cousins to be close but that's to be determined when the time comes. Sometimes cousins will insist upon reuniting every now and then and it forces families to converge. You don't know what the future holds. Until then, lie low and focus on your marriage and family life because it's all that truly matters.

 

That's really helpful, Cherylyn, thank you. It IS sad to me that our kids probably won't get to know their kids well at all, but there's nothing we can do about that, nor do we want to try to pressure them or make things awkward.

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Honestly, this is for your husband to deal with.

 

I wouldn't get involved as it really can cause a huge fight.

 

Your husband is the one who is going to have to sit down with his father and tell him he does not want him to plan events anymore and to just accept that he and his brother are not going to get on as he hoped they would.

 

But you as the wife, do your best to stay out of it. You don't want people blaming you or pointing fingers at you.

 

Thanks Sherry. My husband is going to have a talk with him. I just hope he can stand firm and hold to his boundaries!

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My brother was never interested in me or my husband or my kids. I wished he was, but no, he just wasn't. I let it go. Had my mother tried to interfere she'd have been told to back off.

 

This problem you have is your husband's to handle, not yours. You two have your reasons to not want counselling and your husband has to tell his father that you are both not going. Period. End of story.

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They sure sound delightful MB. Never mind dramatic. But loving fights and insulting people. They don't sound very stable.

 

"They are a very dramatic family, love fights and insulting people..."

 

What the other posters said. It is time for your husband to be firm and stand up for himself. Show that they cannot continue to bully him. Stop worrying about looking bad. Their crazy behaviour says more about them than it does about you.

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I think both my husband and I are worried about looking bad (image?)... his family have already made us out to be monsters in the eyes of the other relatives (huge family here on both sides) because we've had to put down boundaries before.

 

They go back and gossip about us, and then other relatives who we previously had a great relationship with, start treating us like crap, saying humiliating things to us in public at their gatherings, and have made it to where we can't go.

 

So if we don't satisfy him, he'll use us as the "reason," why the issue can't be fixed. My husband was the scapegoat growing up with his siblings, and it really hasn't changed.

 

My husband was in the same position -- he was the scapegoat for all problems and the family apparently shared one brain. He got a little therapy and learned to put down boundaries and guess what? He no longer cares what they think and what they say. Furthermore, they are all terrified of him because he will not take their garbage and is happy to tell them so in no uncertain terms. My MIL learned from this, does not cross boundaries and has a good relationship with our daughter. He and his sister still don't have much of a relationship -- but they never really did -- but our children all are in touch and see each other. It has been 26 years since he started laying down the law and believe me, life is MUCH easier and more pleasant.

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I think both my husband and I are worried about looking bad (image?)... his family have already made us out to be monsters in the eyes of the other relatives (huge family here on both sides) because we've had to put down boundaries before.

 

They go back and gossip about us, and then other relatives who we previously had a great relationship with, start treating us like crap, saying humiliating things to us in public at their gatherings, and have made it to where we can't go.

 

So if we don't satisfy him, he'll use us as the "reason," why the issue can't be fixed. My husband was the scapegoat growing up with his siblings, and it really hasn't changed.

 

If there are people who would gossip and be rude the answer is you do not interact with them no matter who they are in your life.

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My brother was never interested in me or my husband or my kids. I wished he was, but no, he just wasn't. I let it go. Had my mother tried to interfere she'd have been told to back off.

 

This problem you have is your husband's to handle, not yours. You two have your reasons to not want counselling and your husband has to tell his father that you are both not going. Period. End of story.

 

Thank you, Melancholy. I agree.

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They sure sound delightful MB. Never mind dramatic. But loving fights and insulting people. They don't sound very stable.

 

"They are a very dramatic family, love fights and insulting people..."

 

What the other posters said. It is time for your husband to be firm and stand up for himself. Show that they cannot continue to bully him. Stop worrying about looking bad. Their crazy behaviour says more about them than it does about you.

 

Thank you, LaHermes, we really do need to just not care what we look like to them anymore.

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If there are people who would gossip and be rude the answer is you do not interact with them no matter who they are in your life.

 

It's just SO hard Batya! My MIL is the one who gossips the most, but it's like she can't help it, it's just who she is. It would be so hard to cut her out of our life, and would break her heart because she loves our kids. She used to be rude, but my husband cut them out for about 4 years and that taught her a very painful life lesson. Now she's nice, still spreads gossip, but it's about everyone wherever she goes, so everyone kind of knows to just ignore it.

 

But I do agree with you that if they're *insulting* and maliciously gossiping then we don't need them or to interact with them in our life.

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My husband was in the same position -- he was the scapegoat for all problems and the family apparently shared one brain. He got a little therapy and learned to put down boundaries and guess what? He no longer cares what they think and what they say. Furthermore, they are all terrified of him because he will not take their garbage and is happy to tell them so in no uncertain terms. My MIL learned from this, does not cross boundaries and has a good relationship with our daughter. He and his sister still don't have much of a relationship -- but they never really did -- but our children all are in touch and see each other. It has been 26 years since he started laying down the law and believe me, life is MUCH easier and more pleasant.

 

Arjumand, your comment gives me so much hope! Thank you for sharing your experience with that. Hopefully that's where we can get to after he gets some therapy, and that's exactly what he's doing now, for his boundaries, and he did it on his own, which is a HUGE deal to me.

 

He comes across as super masculine and has no problem defending us or himself *except* when it comes to his family for some reason... and that's why he went on his own accord, but it was starting to bother him and he was worried it's like a split personality thing or something (which I'm sure it's not... but it IS odd... he's mentally strong and very stubborn/persistent in a healthy way, so it doesn't' make sense he can't just talk to them like how he talk to someone not related who would be crossing a boundary).

 

He recognized it was actually a problem, and is doing something about it to fix it!

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So the overall advice is to just back off and not talk with his FIL (even though the FIL is reaching out to me - not my husband- trying to get my husband to go).

 

I should have my husband deal with him firmly *fingers crossed he can do that* and just wash my hands of it.

 

Ok! I think you all really helped me see it clearly. THANK YOU!

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So the overall advice is to just back off and not talk with his FIL (even though the FIL is reaching out to me - not my husband- trying to get my husband to go).

 

I should have my husband deal with him firmly *fingers crossed he can do that* and just wash my hands of it.

 

Ok! I think you all really helped me see it clearly. THANK YOU!

 

But you can control you. Tell your FIL " thanks so much for reaching out -it's obvious you care deeply about this issue. I am not going to be able to speak with you about it since this is between your son and you. Thanks again for reaching out! Have a nice day!"

 

Also I'd strongly consider that being assertive has nothing to do with masculinity -it's a personal trait that certain men and women have and it's not always across the board -I can be much more assertive in certain situations than others.

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Thank you, Batya, that is true women can also be assertive. I think I meant it in a more overall way, like he's really manly in general (build, body language, and then attitude on top of that)... people always think he's military, yet he's not, he just puts out that vibe, very hard to describe.

 

Thank you for all your wonderful comments on my Journal, also! Very much appreciate the thoughts!

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That's really helpful, Cherylyn, thank you. It IS sad to me that our kids probably won't get to know their kids well at all, but there's nothing we can do about that, nor do we want to try to pressure them or make things awkward.

 

Thank you, maritalbliss86. I appreciated your kind words.

 

I have some relatives and in-laws who've always been apathetic and indifferent to my kids ever since the day they were born. I can't control that nor can I force them to have the "Norman Rockwell" fantasy with us for us just because we're "family." In an ideal, most gracious, respectful, accommodating family life, relations with relatives and in-laws would be ideal, what we all wish for and dream about. Unfortunately, it is unrealistic for whoever is in the dynamic whether it's the relative, in-law, whom they married or what their personal preferences are.

 

When I was younger, I was awfully disappointed in several relatives and in-laws. Disappointment is still there, however, what helps is to lower your expectations to nil. Then you won't get hurt anymore and if any good "once in a blue moon" chance comes along and you have a family have a reunion, you can afford to feel pleasantly and temporarily pleased ~ if and when that happens, that is. What also helps me is to accept how situations are and remain realistic. Not everyone wants what you want and don't allow others to cause you to fret over this anymore. Become distracted and busy and when you do, you won't have as much brain space to devote to people who are not benefiting you nor rewarding your life with joy. That's how I look at it and when you do the same, you'll feel more courageous, brave, resilient, strong, tough, self confident and secure.

 

I know you hurt for your children because I'm a mother, too. All you can do is keep your head high and carry on. Make the best of non-optimal situations. Don't allow a few bad apples in the family tree have a hold or grip on your life because they're not worth the time and energy in your thoughts.

 

As for your FIL asking you to make sure your husband attends counseling, defer to your husband and have him deal with HIS father. Stay out of it and don't get involved. Your husband should just say "NO" to his father and that's that. He can say it respectfully, calmly and make it his final answer. After that, it's unnecessary to continue to drag this out.

 

It's unfortunate that your husband isn't close to his brother and SIL and they're not showing interest in your kids which is not uncommon. I'm sorry. I'm not particularly close to my sister and her disrespectful husband, however I'm okay with it because all of us are mature enough to maintain peace between us despite not being close. Peace takes top priority above all else. It's better not being close than engaging in a war with words any day. Peace is best even when relationships are not ideal or as close as you desire.

 

As for your MIL, I know you can't just cut her off. I have a MIL / FIL, too (and SIL & BIL). If you don't feel chummy and close to them, do what I do. I simply keep the peace, practice good diplomacy, remain respectful, gracious, kind yet maintain a safe, well mannered distance. I do this with my in-laws, relatives and a great many people in my life including non-family. This behavior works great. You can be in the driver's seat and control all situations if you navigate yourself wisely.

 

Change the way you think and act and you and your family will be fine.

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Thank you, Batya, that is true women can also be assertive. I think I meant it in a more overall way, like he's really manly in general (build, body language, and then attitude on top of that)... people always think he's military, yet he's not, he just puts out that vibe, very hard to describe.

 

Thank you for all your wonderful comments on my Journal, also! Very much appreciate the thoughts!

 

So you seem to hang your hat on a lot of cliches and assumptions - especially when it comes to what outsiders think - you care a lot about whether your relatives are gossiping about you, whether others assume your husband is manly because of his build/physical features, whether it's a given that someone related to you would want to be around your kids - I'd shift my perspective to thinking of people in far more individual terms and in questioning the cliches and stereotypes that don't seem to be serving you particularly well -for example, assuming that someone who looks /acts like he should be in the military is assertive on the inside - in a genuine way, or assuming the kind of Norman Rockwell stuff Cherylyn mentioned -if you can let go of these kinds of generalizations I think you'll expand your mind and be much more comfortable accepting unpredictable situations or situations that seem out of the norm.

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So you seem to hang your hat on a lot of cliches and assumptions - especially when it comes to what outsiders think - you care a lot about whether your relatives are gossiping about you,

 

I think you're generally right that shifting my thinking to the individual and just accepting what is, is right. I didn't used to care if people talked about us, I had a totally different mindset about that years ago. But then I watched the gossip change the way other relatives saw us and interacted with us and our kids (some have gone so far to be unkind in front of them at events, it's just so out of hand). This happened with ones we previously had a good relationship with, so that made me care very much if they were gossiping and kind of poisoning the environment we'd be entering later on. It made it to where now we really can't go to almost anything with most of them (we do have relationships with some relatives, but it's on more of an individual basis).

 

I mean, that's the problem with gossip... it ruins a person's reputation. If our FIL and MIL are playing the victims and complaining about us, it makes other relatives who care about them, get angry and treat us from the frame of mind later. That's painful to watch relationships ruined because of the way they see us now, so it did change me to be more aware of how things would directly affect us and our kids.

 

Ultimately though, we can't control what others think/saw/act like. He may use this as more fuel to their fire of, "Well they just don't want to work on it." So you're right, I need to let that go completely.

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Thank you, maritalbliss86. I appreciated your kind words.

 

I have some relatives and in-laws who've always been apathetic and indifferent to my kids ever since the day they were born. I can't control that nor can I force them to have the "Norman Rockwell" fantasy with us for us just because we're "family." In an ideal, most gracious, respectful, accommodating family life, relations with relatives and in-laws would be ideal, what we all wish for and dream about. Unfortunately, it is unrealistic for whoever is in the dynamic whether it's the relative, in-law, whom they married or what their personal preferences are.

 

When I was younger, I was awfully disappointed in several relatives and in-laws. Disappointment is still there, however, what helps is to lower your expectations to nil. Then you won't get hurt anymore and if any good "once in a blue moon" chance comes along and you have a family have a reunion, you can afford to feel pleasantly and temporarily pleased ~ if and when that happens, that is. What also helps me is to accept how situations are and remain realistic. Not everyone wants what you want and don't allow others to cause you to fret over this anymore. Become distracted and busy and when you do, you won't have as much brain space to devote to people who are not benefiting you nor rewarding your life with joy. That's how I look at it and when you do the same, you'll feel more courageous, brave, resilient, strong, tough, self confident and secure.

 

I know you hurt for your children because I'm a mother, too. All you can do is keep your head high and carry on. Make the best of non-optimal situations. Don't allow a few bad apples in the family tree have a hold or grip on your life because they're not worth the time and energy in your thoughts.

 

As for your FIL asking you to make sure your husband attends counseling, defer to your husband and have him deal with HIS father. Stay out of it and don't get involved. Your husband should just say "NO" to his father and that's that. He can say it respectfully, calmly and make it his final answer. After that, it's unnecessary to continue to drag this out.

 

It's unfortunate that your husband isn't close to his brother and SIL and they're not showing interest in your kids which is not uncommon. I'm sorry. I'm not particularly close to my sister and her disrespectful husband, however I'm okay with it because all of us are mature enough to maintain peace between us despite not being close. Peace takes top priority above all else. It's better not being close than engaging in a war with words any day. Peace is best even when relationships are not ideal or as close as you desire.

 

As for your MIL, I know you can't just cut her off. I have a MIL / FIL, too (and SIL & BIL). If you don't feel chummy and close to them, do what I do. I simply keep the peace, practice good diplomacy, remain respectful, gracious, kind yet maintain a safe, well mannered distance. I do this with my in-laws, relatives and a great many people in my life including non-family. This behavior works great. You can be in the driver's seat and control all situations if you navigate yourself wisely.

 

Change the way you think and act and you and your family will be fine.

 

Thank you, Cherylyn, that is exactly what I've been trying to do in the recent years, practicing good diplomacy, being respectful, gracious and kind yet keeping an acceptable distance... it's been working great! Thank you for understanding what we're feeling.

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