- 8 years ago
- Wedding: February 2010
I am in mourning. Due to privacy, I can’t say much more, but I am going through the stages of grieving more slowly than I’d like.
I visited DH’s family in NJ, with the idea of distracting myself. I had good moments and what I would describe as OK moments. We stayed at home mostly, and didn’t go out amongst the public.
My last day my Father-In-Law and myself went to a diner for breakfast, while Darling Husband slept in for the drive home. As SOON as we got there, he was recognized by many and I was PEPPERED with questions from very extroverted and very loud-mouthed (for lack of a nicer word) people. I have met them before, but since my face shows all my emotion they knew right away something was wrong with me.
But instead of leaving me alone, or listening to me when I said “I’m fine” and changed the subject, they just KEPT barraging me with questions.
Father-In-Law has APPARANTLY told these people everything about our lives (they’re practically strangers to me) and so in front of all these people in a diner, the owner starts screaming:
WHAT’S THE MATTER? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? WHEN ARE YOU LEAVING? HOW’S SCHOOL?! (I’m not in school.) WHERE’S YOUR HUSBAND? WHY DIDN’T HE COME? DOESN’T HE HAVE A JOB YET? (super sensitive subject.)
I was so embarassed. I had promised myself i wouldn’t cry (I was in a happy mood before we got there), but this set me off right away.
She finally leaves, but comes back. There are tears going down my face but I’m trying to get a grip. I tell her I’m fine and she’s about to leave when my Father-In-Law outs me and spills the beans on why I’m upset. (He thought that explaining why I’m upset will save the day or something) I’m then subjected to a bunch of hollow advice from someone who is well-intentioned but WAY TOO BLUNT/HARSH for me right now.
Father-In-Law is from NJ. When I protest that I couldn’t believe this was going on and that I’m tired of the only topic of conversation being what’s WRONG with EVERYTHING (it’s too crowded, too much traffic, it’s too hot)… he starts belittling me – “why did you come then? Welcome to New Jersey. You should have just stayed home and sit in a corner and be miserable. It’s not everybody else, it’s you.”
I have never met such well-intentioned people, but with absolutely NO tact. It’s like they have no feelings, no softness- they just bark at you. They are SO rough, and it’s not just him- it’s EVERYONE I’ve ever encountered there. 10 years of on and off visits and it’s such a different attitude from any other place.
When we got home, Darling Husband asked how breakfast was and Father-In-Law says “MINE was FINE.” Yeah, because I spent the entire time hyperventilating at the counter trying not to make a single noise. I couldn’t leave because he was my ride. It was miserable.
Both Darling Husband, Father-In-Law, and everyone I’ve seen there have the same reaction to sad people too: they yell at you. I don’t understand it at all. I live in New England now and it’s actually very similar here as well: It’s like they’re trying to “talk sense into you”, but ….. what?!
Father-In-Law justified all his actions saying that he was trying to “stop me from acting like an ass.”
I fought him as much as I could while I was there. He walked away and I cried for a while, Darling Husband comforting me but with nothing to say and with no control over his Father-In-Law. Later, Father-In-Law happens to be in the same room with me and his version of an apology is “Are you still pissing and moaning about this?” My response was “Yes.” and he reached out to hug me. At the time, I could do nothing but return the hug and sob, but… now a day later I’m actually regretful that I didn’t put up more of a fight.
But it wouldn’t have mattered at all, really. It would have been a waste of energy. I’m at work and I’m fighting the urge to call him now and say, “You know what, I’m NOT ok with this, I take it back.”…..
I apologize to any people reading this from NJ. I don’t really mean any harm…. I just don’t understand the culture at ALL. You KNOW what I’m talking about – it’s what everyone finds hilarious and adorable about the Sopranos and all that crap and people from Jersey LOVE their tough-gal and tough-guy personas, but ……… being so rough around the edges makes for a real hard time for someone who is not used to it.
Does anyone understand? I feel like I’m going insane, and trying to explain it to Darling Husband and Father-In-Law was equally impossible – …
On second thought, maybe I should change the title of this post to: How Do I Teach my Italian In-Laws to Stop Yelling and Be Sensitive.
If I knew the answer, I’d write the book.