Post # 1
Going anonymous for this one because it’s pretty personal.
My FI comes from a very happy home–his parents have been together for about 30 years and are still very affectionate. It’s a wonderful happy home and I’m glad he grew up in such a loving environment.
My FI knows that our home life was a bit more difficult. My parents are divorced (when I was in college) and that was my dad’s 3rd and my mom’s 2nd marriage. My mom left her first husband to be with my dad. My FI knows that my dad was/is an alcoholic who doesn’t drink anymore.
What my FI doesn’t know is that my dad stopped drinking when I was a baby because in a blackout he broke my mom’s arm. My parents don’t know that I know. I found a diary of my dad’s when I was in jr. high and read it. I imagine my dad was arrested, but I don’t know any of the details, just that it happened, and of course I’ve never asked.
I’ve wanted to tell my FI about this because the way my parents fought has really impacted me and my own behavior. I’m passive aggressive at times and a big part of that is due to the constant fighting between my parents. My dad would be cold and dismissive of my mom’s feelings and my mom, who’s on anti-depressents now, would get angrier and angrier and more frustrated because he wouldn’t engage, until she freaked out and just screamed and slammed doors into the wall over and over, etc. Neither would compromise or try to see the other side. They’d just go over the same ground. So I’ve always been afraid in an argument that I’ll flip out and say horrible cruel things like my parents did, so I try to go over everything before I say it and then I lose the nerve because I’m afraid, so I’m just sitting there fuming and feeling sick because I don’t know what to say even though I know intellectually that it’s healthy and ok to get mad and argue sometimes.
But in a way I don’t want to tell my FI. Because learning this really changed how I saw my parents and it took me awhile to come to terms with it. They’re much happier and saner now that they’re divorced and I don’t want to poison my FI against my parents. But it’s a burden for me to know it. And I know it would be a burden for my FI to know it.
So how do you know if the honesty is worth it? If telling my FI to get this off my mind only shifts the burden to him, is that really fair? Thoughts? 🙁
Post # 3
It is fair because he loves you. Simple but true. I would want to know anything that was signficant in my partner’s life no matter how hurtful, especially if hurtful as long as he was willing to share. It’s what knowing each other is all about and the beauty of having a partner you can trust. If you are totally uncomfortable revealing the physical injury incident to him you can (and I think should) talk about the way they fought and how terrible it was and how it has impacted you.
Post # 4
You should talk to him. I agree with Arachna: “It is fair because he loves you.” I think you owe it to your relationship and to him so that he can understand what is going on with you if/when you have conflict. He can help you work through things, and it won’t necessarily “poison” him against your parents. Part of marriage is helping each other with the burdens of life. Let him help you.
Post # 5
I think it would be good for you to share something with your FI about how you’re worried about how their relationship might affect your own, I think those kind of talks only help to make relationships stronger and help your partner understand where you’re coming from, well usually. My parents were going through a hard time most of my life I guess but when I was dating a bf before my husband he saw a lot of the fighting and tried to become like a psychotherapist to me. It drove me freaking nuts that he tried to analyze everything instead of deal with the problem at hand, using it as an excuse for why I was upset with him rather than acknowledging there might be an actual problem. My husband on the other hand is aware that perhaps some things are more touchy than others and my reactions aren’t always ideal, though I’ve gotten 100x better But while he is understanding and supportive we don’t let our past be an excuse for our behaviors and we deal with problems but it is easier to deal with problems when you know the person fully.
Post # 6
If it will make you feel better to share with FI, I would share with FI. He is your life partner. Share, if it will make you feel better. I am a strong proponent of honesty, tactful honesty. I also think that he will be there for you and that it will probably bring you together. Chances are, he will validate your feelings and you will feel better. Also, because this has impacted you in such a way, I think it would be healthy to talk to FI. The more we can understand one another and their/ our own behavior, the better.
Post # 7
writing to say I agree with arachna and troubled, and wish you luck! Once you get started, it’ll feel easier to open up and i’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how sharing this will make you feel and that your partner will be totally there for you.
Post # 8
I think you should share how their fighting style impacted you, but you can build up to revealing the physical violence if you want. Your FI loves you, and deserves to know all of you. Right now, you’re holding back a part of your history that makes you who you are and affects how you act. He probably can tell that you avoid conflict, and are passive agressive at times, but he doesn’t know why. Maybe he’s wondering whether _he’s_ done something that makes you think you can’t share your feelings with him when you’re upset. It’s not fair to keep that from him, and it’s also not fair to you that you have to wrestle with all of these things alone. You have a partner and you should let him be there for you, even with the tough stuff. If he knows how you operate, when he sees you withdrawing and silently agonizing over something, he can gently remind you that he loves you no matter what and wants to know what’s making you upset. I think you should tell him not so he has a better idea of who your parents are, but so he has a better idea of who you are.
Post # 9
Thanks everyone, for your insight. I am an agonizer and I do keep things to myself because sharing is hard and embarassing and I’m ashamed that this happened between my parents. So thank you–I really appreciate your kind words and I’m going to try and be more open and let my FI help me.
Post # 10
It’s fair because your partners. If this is something that is important to you and who you are as a person, then it should be important to him. You should be able to share these kinds of things with one another. Maybe write him a letter that way you don’t lose your nerve and can get it all out. Trust him that he will understand and be there for you and understand how you feel about the situation.
Post # 11
I think you need to talk to him. This is eating you up inside and he will be there for you. That’s what relationships are for, to share problems like that.
Post # 12
Tell him. You are not burdening him with this knowledge, you are enlightening him. It will help him understand where you are coming from and will help you two work together
Post # 13
- Wedding: June 2010 - Tannery Pond at the Darrow School
I think the more you talk with him about it, the easier things will be for you…Once he knows these feelings, he can help you work through them and even recognize/point out behavior that parallels your parents’…
Neither FH nor I come from happy families (both our parents are still unhappily married) and we’ve discussed it many times that we do NOT want to end up like our parents…The more we talked about it and put things out on the table, the easier it became to recognize behaviors that were learned from our home lives…
Post # 14
He picked you to spend the rest of his life with – for better or worse. Its nice to have someone to share the burden with, and I bet it will help you feel better about it that you don’t have to keep it to yourself. I have some dark family secrets that I told hubs, and he didn’t react nearly as bad as I would have thought. He supports my feelings on the subject, and acts accordingly, which I hope your FI would do the same. I really think you should tell him, because if not you will end up “shielding” him from things in the future, which could cause serious problems if found out that you were “hiding” something from him, no matter that it was to protect him.
I bet you it will help you soldify your marriage, all the bad things that happened with both of our parents (mine are happily married now, but weren’t always and his parents are divorced and mom has issues) have made for a stronger bond for us. We have learned from their mistakes and I really believe we will be stronger because we know how to deal if any of those situations come up
Post # 15
i agree with the other posters that you should talk to him. understanding what motivates your fears and your communication style will help him be a better partner to you. it’s not a burden–it’s what he signed up for.
Post # 16
If it was you- you’d want to know!