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  • Wife vs. My Parents

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    Old 05-26-2013, 04:31 PM   #1
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    Wife vs. My Parents

    My wife and parents have not gotten along for 22 years now. There are periods of exceptional love, and periods of extreme hate, mostly emitting from my wife. I realize I cannot possibly tell the entire background story here, but the problem, honestly, lies with my wife. A brief background: my wife came from a lower/middle class family where there was physical abuse from her single mother and mental cruelty from her mother, grandmother and sister. She also dropped out of school at a young age and her social life was minimal. But, we had a lot in common in terms of interest, and our conversations were never, ever dull. So we became a couple. But my parents, who mean well, have always rubbed my wife the wrong way. What an ordinary person may shrug off, she takes to heart. This comes from her decision to not work, stay home, and have little social contact. We have no friends because no one can tolerate her poor attitude.

    We have two beautiful children and my wife makes no bones about saying very cruel, mean, and bent-truth things about my parents in front of them, swear words included. I have to intervene, I can't have her calling my Mom obscene names and let my kids think that's okay. Problem is the kids love her, and my Dad, despite the "disrespect" my wife feels they show her. For sake of space, you'll have to believe this is not a one-sided opinion.

    The problem I face today is this: Two weeks ago, because of a misunderstanding at what time they were supposed to babysit, my wife told my parents to get out of our house, <using obscene language> in front of the kids. Unfortunately, I was in the washroom at the time and couldn't referee. As they left in shock, my wife went out the front door, and right in broad daylight, regardless of who heard, continued her cursing at my poor parents. They don't deserve this.

    I took my kids to see them yesterday. My Mom even sent home some supper leftovers for my wife, despite her being upset, to which my wife took the food and smashed it on our front step, plate and all, shattering into the grass. Initally she refused to pick it up, but after threatening divorce, she eventually did.

    Tonight she says my kids are to never see their grandparents again. I tell her that's not going to happen. She then tells my oldest daughter what scum she thinks my parents are and that because she gave birth to them, they have to take her side. This eats up my kids as well, as we are in the middle.

    There are infinite more details to this story, but I think you get the idea.

    I've seen what divorce has done to some of my daughters friends and don't want to see the same thing happen to my children. They know mommies shouldn't ask this way.

    I am asking for whatever advice anyone has, knowing that all basic routes have been taken.

    Thank you.

    Last edited by Administrator; 05-26-2013 at 05:35 PM.

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    Old 05-26-2013, 05:03 PM   #2
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    Re: Wife vs. My Parents

    I think you need to have a very serious talk with your wife. The question you need to ask yourself though is, "is my wife's behavior a deal-breaker for me?" "is my wife's behavior something I am willing to divorce her, over?"
    You sound like a really good guy caught in the middle. And I give your mother SO much credit, for taking the higher road even when your wife was so disrespectful to them! My gosh.
    You may ultimately need to make a decision. I wish you the best. This is not easy.
    Your wife is seriously screwed up, and is making so many people suffer needlessly.
    As you know, your parents won't be alive forever, and also, these tirades of your wife's are doing damage to the children you love and need to protect.

    Old 05-26-2013, 11:37 PM   #3
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    Re: Wife vs. My Parents

    You are indeed a patient man. 22 years as referee?? You did not mention how old your children are, but I am assuming they are young. If you really feel like saving your marriage, then you will have to get your wife onboard with counselling. She will not be receptive to the idea as she does not see if anything wrong with her behaviour. You are partially responsible ffor this as you have enabled her to continue her self-destructive and selfish behaviour. Your wife, like many people who grow up in dysfunctional homes, is stuck trying to recreate the relationships from her poisoned past. People are drawn to repeat unresolved relationships from their past. Your wife is doing this and your children will be negatively impacted by her actions.

    You alone know if your parents deserve to be treated as poorly as your wife does. You may think your children aren't affected by her words, but you will be surprised some day to find how deeply her actions have touched your children. While it is too late to erase the damage she has done to date, please consider taking your children in for family counselling, and perhaps with your parents as well, if only to understand why you have enabled your wife to behave like this for years.

    People who survive bad childhoods need to recognize that they deserve better from life, but often they continue to carry the baggage from year to year, injecting all relationships with unresolved issues, allowing the persecutors of their past to continue to control their future right to happiness.

    God bless.

    Old 05-27-2013, 01:25 AM   #4
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    Lightbulb Re: Wife vs. My Parents

    Hi "dan in the middle",

    I can see why you feel that seem like a very good man and you tried changing your wife; she is clearly wrong in her behavior. I agree with the last reply about what PTSD does to a person. I think your wife is really suffering and doesn't know for sure where her pain and fear comes from. But I want to talk about solutions you can enact, not about whether your wife ever gets 'help'. That is for her to see and decide at the right time, not up to you.

    The thing that I see is that you are not really in the middle, it is more like you are on the side line. I think your place is to be in the middle, standing between your mother and your wife, showing yourself to be at your wife's side. It is not about which one has a more right or wrong attitude. Only your wife is your wife and a man has to leave his mother to join with his wife. You can still love, value and admire your mother. but your wife has no moral obligation to like or be like your mother. She is a different person, and never will be like your mother. You found your wife to be attractive probably because she is different than your mom. There is no problem with that. It is healthy of you.

    You're mother may be sweet as pie to everyone else in the entire world and maybe she is: what I am going to say is not anything against your mother, you or your wife. I don't know any of you. but I do understand human nature and interpersonal dynamics some. It could be that mom is being passive aggressive toward your wife whether she sees or admits it or not. Your wife is very sensitive to that. If your wife feels threatened at all in any way for any reason, she needs to know that her husband stands between her and the threat even if it is your mother. This is not about you having to reject or blame mother. It is about the fact that protection by her husband is a wife's need.

    Your wife should not ever have to ask you to keep your mom away from her and her home. There are plenty of other ways to let the kids spend time with grandmother. And grandmother needs to know she has to respect your wife's place and time.

    Although you know the damage that had been done to your wife in past and that she is defensive, you don't stand up to your mom and tell her to please only go through you and let you do the do nothing to show your wife she is first with you and to stand between her and anyone that she is bothered by...yes that should include your own parents. If you want your wife to respect your parents, you must show respect to your wife. Your mother should only see the children when you choose to drop them off. That is your wife's home. If she doesn't want someone there they have no right to be there.

    In my view, this not about whether your wife's behavior is 'right'. It is about who is the head of your own family...your mother or you. Show respect to your wife and you will find that the angst will die down. After all, your mother is not at all right to stand between you and your wife or act like she is the 'better' person. It appears your mother has, whether meaning to or not, interjected herself between you and your wife.

    It really would be galling to me to be furious with someone and tell them to stay out of my business and then have them send food to me. I would not have wanted the food, either. Sending the food was not truly respectful of your mother. She should respect your wife's space and emotions. And, it should have been you that threw the food away, or at least politely refused it. I don't think that is truly the high road of your mother or showed any real understanding or respect of your wife. I think your mother might at least secretly not care if your wife felt she was sticking it to her.

    You are the man of the house, and your wife should come first and your mother needs to know this. There would be no need to choose 'sides'. You can tell each your wife and your mother that you will stand between them and the nastiness WILL stop. Then keep your mom out of your wife's face, and vice versa. Tell your mom she is not to incite your wife and she must stay away from her and let you arrange time for grandmother to be with the kids. Then make sure that you do it according to your own timing, and that both your mom and your wife can depend on you to keep your word.

    This will teach your children how marriage should work, how to manage themselves and how to manage problems with others, and give the children peace, which should be the first goal. The kids are the real victims so be the father that they need. Step in the middle.

    Once you make this happen, and yes, it's up to you to do it, perhaps later on when your wife feels she does indeed have her husband's support and protection she will be able to see her own issues and be willing to try to find solutions for her deep rooted anger and sadness that is causing her to be so defensive.

    But fix the situation and do not try to fix your wife or your mother. Your wife needs to feel valued and know she is first in your life. Your mother needs to know you will always love & appreciate her, but now she comes second.

    Let me add I am a mother of two sons. The first time I had to adjust to a son turning away from me to his wife, as happy as I was for him and her, it wrenched my mom, I will always feel that he is 'my baby', you see. But he wants to be a grown man to me now and wants to honor his marriage. He has to put wife first and I had to move over. Which I did, but it was not at all easy for me to let go of him to stand with his wife. Now my other son is getting married. I know I will be in second position as soon as he is married, and believe me it is not easy for moms. But on the other hand, I want my son to have a great marriage and to do that he has to make sure his wife knows she comes first.

    My job as mother in law is to honor my sons' wife's position and keep my own emotions out of their marriages. As you know it is enough to deal with your wife's angst than to have to also placate your mom...which you cannot do simply because that is your father's job. Not yours.

    Does this make sense?

    You have my greatest empathy!
    I sincerely hope you choose to stand at your wife's side and get your life sorted out.

    Divorce is not at all the best answer, and indeed teaches children that imperfect people should be thrown away, and creates fear in them that if they are imperfect they also can expect to be thrown away. Don't give up, step up and get more involved. You can do this.

    Last edited by yayagirl; 05-27-2013 at 02:34 AM.

    Old 05-27-2013, 04:40 AM   #5
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    Re: Wife vs. My Parents

    You say that your parents rub your wife the wrong way. I don't know what exactly you mean here, but I tend to think they treat her with condescension. Usually, the relationship between wife and mother-in-law is very difficult, and in this case that fact that your wife is still stuck in her bad past and there is a social gap between your parents and her makes things still worse. I don't think this is a problem of your wife alone, but the whole family is involved. Counseling might be useful, but someone who has no idea what counseling is all about will reject it, because they think counseling puts a label on them: they are sick. As far as I can see, the only way out of this is to separate these two women. Your parents should avoid going to your house, but you take your kids regularly to visit their grandparents. I wish there were an easier solution. I know how hard it can be to have a ditch running in your own family, but it may be better than having ongoing conflict and such displays of bad behaviour.

    Last edited by pendulum; 05-27-2013 at 04:57 AM.

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