“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 Mar 12, 2014
DEAR AMY: My mother has two sisters. She has had multiple falling outs with them over the past decade or so.

It has gotten to the point where I don't even know what they're fighting about or why there is still so much tension between them. I don't know why these two siblings feel the need to ignore and ridicule my mother.

The thing is, while I don't condone their behavior, I do miss them. I would like my mother's side of the family to be a unit. I miss having family members to spend time with. I miss seeing my younger cousins grow up. It makes me sad that my siblings and I are getting married and having kids and my aunts are missing out on these events.

I'm not quite sure if they'll ever change their ways because they have been quite nasty in the past, but sometimes I just want to reach out and ask them why. Why do they want to be so mean and distant? Do they even miss us? Do they have any desire to work things out?

In a situation like this, is it wise to reach out when things have been so toxic in the past? And if so, what would be the best way to do this?-- Broken Hearted

DEAR BROKEN: I gather that you are an adult. One of the pleasures and benefits of adulthood is that you have the freedom to try to create and maintain the relationships you envision.

Understand that you will bear the consequences for your choice. For instance, your mother might feel betrayed if you contact your aunts. You might also learn that your own mother is behind at least some of this unpleasantness.

Most importantly, know that "when you mess with the bull, you get the horns." People who are combative in one relationship tend to be combative in other relationships. These family members might reject you outright. Or they might welcome you into the fold and then find a reason to kick you right back out.

One way to initiate this rapprochement would be to connect with some of your younger cousins on social media in a casual way and then work upward through the generations.

DEAR AMY: My son just got married. We have an open mother-son communication.

He was visiting one day and I mentioned something negative about his wife. He turned around and told her what I had said. Then he did it again!

I asked why he would be repeating what I said to him. His reply was, "She is my wife."

Now I cannot say anything to my son due to the fact that whatever I say leaves the circle.

Now I have to talk to my daughter-in-law and apologize?-- Mother-in-law

DEAR MIL: You have a smart son.

You, however, are a little slow on the uptake.

Your son demonstrated to you -- with absolute clarity and certainty -- where his circle is now drawn, and it is drawn around him and his wife.

While you were the first woman in your son's life, when he decided to marry he put another woman at the center of his world. He should honor and respect you, but he should not let you gossip about or bad-mouth his wife behind her back.

This may be a challenging period for you as you realize that your son is a human sieve. The open communication you have enjoyed with him can continue, but you obviously cannot count on secrecy where his wife is concerned.

He did a good job of training you to behave differently. Now you need to both behave differently, and you should apologize to his wife.

DEAR AMY: The letter from "Sad" about her childhood sexual abuse broke my heart.

All I can say is that victims of sexual abuse never stop paying for something that was done to them that wasn't their fault. The trauma of not being believed or of being blamed is as bad as the abuse. There is constant work for victims to recover from abuse, but you can become a survivor.-- Survivor

DEAR SURVIVOR: Thank you for offering this wisdom.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#2 Mar 12, 2014
2- Okay, I sort of agree with Amy, cleave unto the wife and all of that, but without knowing exactly what this "negative" comment was, the son might just be a little whiner.

The mom could have made some innocuous comment about not liking the color of the DIL's eyeliner, the son goes running to wife saying "mom hates your eyeliner!"

I still think the mother and son should be able to talk privately with one another without son repeating every conversation to his wife.
Cass

Claremont, CA

#3 Mar 12, 2014
LW2 - Stop bashing your son's wife. I wonder why you have so much negative stuff to say about her.

Re Dog: Mom doesn't have to comment on the color of the eyeliner another woman uses. None of her damn business.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#4 Mar 12, 2014
1 Lamy gave good advice (blech)

2 Team Cass, Mommy needs to cut the strings and get her own man

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#5 Mar 12, 2014
Cass wrote:
Re Dog: Mom doesn't have to comment on the color of the eyeliner another woman uses. None of her damn business.
She can give an opinion. I don't want to get tied up in hypotheticals, but if she's clearly "bashing" the wife, it may be out of line, but don't see why the son needs to tell his wife about it, as it will clearly cause animosity. Same token, her off hand opinion about something doesn't need to be shared either. Why can't son just keep his mouth shut? The more I think about this, the more I want to take the mom's side

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#6 Mar 12, 2014
RACE wrote:
1 Lamy gave good advice (blech)
By telling an adult she can form her own relationships? That's the same advice I would have given. Don't really think Amy deserves a gold star for this one

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#7 Mar 12, 2014
L1: I agree.

L2: You really should never say anything bad about your SIL or DIL. If your son ever says anything bad about his wife, tell him he should not be speaking about his wife in that manner. I'm with Amy. The only exception would be if the spouse is abusive.

L3: PSA.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#8 Mar 12, 2014
LW1: What is preventing you from inviting these aunts and cousins to wedding, showers, whatever? You are an adult and don't have to ask mommy for permission to invite people to your party.

LW2: You taught him that open communication is a good thing, now you're pissed that he is doing the exact same thing in his marriage? Nice.

However, I'm not 100% sure that I agree with telling your spouse everything your parents say about them. From experience, I have found that it is better to just keep that to yourself. In the past, I told Dickie some of the nasty things my mom said about him and they have forever clouded how he sees her; rightly probably, but it just makes the times we have to be together 20 times harder for him. Even though as the years have gone by and she has changed her opinion of him, he cannot forget the hurtful things and I wish I had never told him. Not for my mother's sake but for my husband's sake.

An example: When we were still dating, I told my mom that he was black and she said "Well, he will never be welcome in my house!" (I'll never forget it, we were crossing Michigan Ave on a lunch date). I told Dickie that after we engaged and he was shocked and hurt because never once had my mom been nasty to his face. 12 years down the road, he still can't get over that and I feel like it's my fault. I could have just kept that to myself but I wanted someone else to know what a passive aggresive b!tch my mom is, and my soon-to-be spouse seemed like the perfect person.

But I learned my lesson. When my mom saw Leela for the first time, she said, only to me of course, "Well, I guess I'd better start saving for the nose job". I want my grandkids to have some relationship with their grandmother, and if I ever told Dickie she said that, we would never speak to them again. I don't know what possess the woman to say such hurtful things...

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#9 Mar 12, 2014
squishymama wrote:
LW1: What is preventing you from inviting these aunts and cousins to wedding, showers, whatever? You are an adult and don't have to ask mommy for permission to invite people to your party.
LW2: You taught him that open communication is a good thing, now you're pissed that he is doing the exact same thing in his marriage? Nice.
However, I'm not 100% sure that I agree with telling your spouse everything your parents say about them. From experience, I have found that it is better to just keep that to yourself. In the past, I told Dickie some of the nasty things my mom said about him and they have forever clouded how he sees her; rightly probably, but it just makes the times we have to be together 20 times harder for him. Even though as the years have gone by and she has changed her opinion of him, he cannot forget the hurtful things and I wish I had never told him. Not for my mother's sake but for my husband's sake.
An example: When we were still dating, I told my mom that he was black and she said "Well, he will never be welcome in my house!" (I'll never forget it, we were crossing Michigan Ave on a lunch date). I told Dickie that after we engaged and he was shocked and hurt because never once had my mom been nasty to his face. 12 years down the road, he still can't get over that and I feel like it's my fault. I could have just kept that to myself but I wanted someone else to know what a passive aggresive b!tch my mom is, and my soon-to-be spouse seemed like the perfect person.
But I learned my lesson. When my mom saw Leela for the first time, she said, only to me of course, "Well, I guess I'd better start saving for the nose job". I want my grandkids to have some relationship with their grandmother, and if I ever told Dickie she said that, we would never speak to them again. I don't know what possess the woman to say such hurtful things...
Most likely your mother grew up with racist people. It took many years for my mother to get out of old habits of seeing things in black/white, jew/christian, etc. It's the way she grew up. Eventually, she did but it was a long process and many children teaching her many lessons. Sometimes parents need to learn from their kids.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#10 Mar 12, 2014
I agree wirh the dog that mom should be able to have private vonversations with her son. But at the same time, mom needs to stop talking ill of his wife. He could have put a stop to that by telling her to keep those thoughts to herself, but he chose a digferent route. I'll cut him a little slack. He at least got the message across. "I will not be a party to conversation, about my wife behind her back. Especially negative ones.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#11 Mar 12, 2014
2: I agree that the son should not have repeated his mom's hurtful comments to his wife. As squishymama said, this will only hurt his wife and he may regret it in years to come. It might have been better if he told his mom he didn't want to hear her hurtful remarks about his wife. Then he should have gotten up and left. He should have repeated this procedure whenever she says these hurtful things. I think the lw would have learned the lesson. If not, she would simply not see her son. As it is now, I doubt the daughter-in-law will find it difficult to ever have a close relationship with the lw. The whole situation makes me wonder how many other people the lw (and her son?) trashed in the past while having their private conversations. Of course that might not have happened but I do wonder.
pde

Bothell, WA

#12 Mar 12, 2014
LW1: I half-wonder if my husband's cousin wrote this letter, because we have heard similar stuff from her. Of course, in that case, it's her (the cousin's) definition of "normal" being totally skewed as a result of being brought up by her mother, and her mother is the nastiest witch of them all.

Ok, really, the second nastiest witch of them all, since the true dysfunction was the mother of all three (my husband's/his cousin's grandmother), who liked to see her daughters at each other's throats and manipulated situations all their lives to cause that to happen. Two of the sisters got therapy and healed, the third became a imitation of their mother and is pissed her sisters no longer participate in her games.

LW2: you encouraged open communication. Your son has applied that to his marriage as well as his relationship with you. Although I kind of wonder if the "open communication" you refer to was you feeling free to dump whatever gossip/cattiness you wanted on him, and expecting him to keep his mouth shut about it.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#13 Mar 12, 2014
1: So freaking ask why! You're an adult. They might not change but wou wringing your hand and asking strangers won't solve it.
Also, be prepared what you want won't ever be. I want my family to meet without my parents arguing, with my brother there....etc....never gonna happen.

2: REFRESHING! A son not still suckling at mom's teet at the expense of his marriage.
I think nasty MIL can keep her criticisms to herself.
Nasty in-laws ruin marriages.
Children who side with parents and not the spouse ruin marriages.
Spouses always competing with others in their union ruin marriages.
Team Son!

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Chicago Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
News BARACK OBAMA BIRTH CERTIFICATE: Suit contesting... (Jan '09) 4 min Rogue Scholar 05 222,248
News Barack Obama, our next President (Nov '08) 8 min VetnorsGate 1,417,181
News Once slow-moving threat, global warming speeds ... (Dec '08) 40 min Hillarys devil 60,992
last post wins! (Dec '10) 1 hr honeymylove 2,404
Four letter word game (Dec '11) 4 hr GEORGIA 1,924
Word (Dec '08) 4 hr They cannot kill ... 6,684
Double Word Game (Dec '11) 4 hr GEORGIA 3,017
Topix Chitown Regulars (Aug '09) 9 hr Go Blue Forever 103,417

Chicago Jobs

More from around the web

Personal Finance

Chicago Mortgages