- 5 years ago
- Wedding: September 2017
Hey everyone, I am really in need of some space to vent and let everything out. I am not looking for any harsh judgements, more just encouragers through a difficult time. This is a bit of a long post so I apologize in advance. It is also Not Wedding Related.
There is a bit of backstory you will need to hear before understanding what is happening currently. This all deals with my SO’s side of the family. My SO is 24 and his sister is 30. When he was growing up, his parents were the ultimate hellicoptor, controlling, manipulative parents. They were emotionally abusive and sometimes verbally abusive. His mother was the worst of the two, and his dad allowed her to treat the kids in a poor way. They keep secrets, and are always blaming things that go wrong on one of the kids, usually my SO instead of the sister. Over the years, my SO realized the way they were being treated was unhealthy and not normal.
Some examples of this would be the time his Sister went to college and wanted to be a nutritionist, and her parents refused to pay for college unless she majored in something that made more money so they forced her into pharmacology. She did this, but always talked about how she never had the free will or choice. Another one with her would be the time that she was dating a guy in college and her parents didn’t like him. They threatened to stop helping with tuition unless she broke up with him, and yes they were dead serious about it. There have been more recent times since then, but I can’t think of something at the moment.
For my SO, he was told that if he went to college, he had to become a doctor so they chose the school for him, a very expensive private university in our home town, and chose his major. He was interested in it, but looking back at it now he wasn’t ready and didn’t fully understand the financial commitment that went along with school. He ended up not being able to afford his senior year of school, and didn’t finish his degree. His parents were furious with him and kept telling him what a disappointment he was and kept saying “if you dont become a doctor, how do you ever expect to pay us back?”. They took out almost all of the loans in their name, my SO does not legally have any ties to the loans. He was living at home with them during the time he wasn’t able to continue schooling and thats when the emotional abuse really started taking off. He finally had enough of it and left the house, literally deciding to get out of there and leaving within the hour with just a backpack and not telling them he was leaving until his friend showed up to help him.
This is where a lot of the problems still continue to stem from to this day. Whenever we see his parents, they always somehow bring up how much my SO hates them because of the way he left that day. He admits that he wishes he would have informed them in a nice way that he was moving out, but regardless he said he would have left. They also always bring up the loan and money thing. It’s the only thing they ever want to talk to him about and call him for. He is currently working full time as an EMT while going to school part time at a community college and providing for the two of us (we live together). He is so busy that he doesn’t have time to be an full time student, and his loans are no longer able to be deferred. He is paying back his portion of the loans, and this means his parents also need to start paying back theirs. Every time we see them they say “If you loved us, you would be a full time student so we don’t have to pay.” or “If you loved us, you would have finished school and paid everything back.”.
This is always the center of the conversation. It sucked so much when we went to tell them our timeline of getting engaged because we felt it was the right thing to do and they literally said “Thats nice, but what about school? Why can’t you be a full time student to stop our loans? You know we can’t pay them back, I know we chose the financial responsibility but we thought you would be able to pay everything off and take care of us.” and this went on for two hours. When we finally had to leave they looked dumbfounded and said “Oh well this meeting was supposed to be about your engagement…why didn’t we talk about that?”. That happened about two months ago.
We have since then been seeing a counselor together to help deal with the stress and emotions we are both feeling with the family. The counselors we have seen have said his mother matches almost all descriptors and criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and that his dad is enabling her to behave this way. She said to us that we can either keep contact with them and try coping mechanisms but never have the kind of relationship we want, or we can choose to limit or cut all contact completely and protect ourselves emotionally as much as possible. My SO decided to limit as much contact as possible, and so we have chosen not to visit them for holidays, dinners, or answer their calls. The counselor also recommended that any time a family member begins being negative about the money or his schooling situation or that they are aggressive in general, we don’t respond.
This is where things have been difficult. The last time we saw his parents was at Thanksgiving, and it was not very good. We decided that we were absolutely not spending Christmas with them this year. When they asked about it, we politely declined and said we already told my family we were spending it with them. They were not happy with this and said “We are your family, not hers, you shouldn’t be spending time with them for holidays.”. We didn’t respond to this as it was the negative thing our counselor talked about. His sister then texted him and asked if he wanted to join them for brunch on Christmas day at her house. He politely declined and explained the same thing and said that we might come up in the late afternoon (when his parents will be at work) and visit with her, her husband, and their son.
She didn’t respond to that and then sent another text and asked if he would like to get coffee sometime before Christmas. He responded back that as much as he would love to, he has been working so much overtime to save for the ring and really doesn’t have the time or money for the coffee–which is actually very true. She didn’t respond to that. The following day she texted him again and was very aggressive and said “If you’re working so much, why is your car in the driveway whenever I drive by? If you don’t want to talk to me or see me then just be an adult and say so. I don’t have time to play games with you. Were you even going to see us Christmas day? Or were you just going to spend time with her family?” and he decided not to respond because it was the aggressive thing our counselor talked about.
Fast forward to today, he texted his parents, his sister, and brother-in-law “Merry Christmas” and said he loved them. His dad responded politely and said “Love you to my son”. His mom didn’t say anything, and neither did his sister. His brother-in-law did though…and it said “Don’t text me. I dont appreciate the way you treat your sister. You’ll probably just text us on Martain Luther King Jr. Day or whatever the next holiday is.”
We were both so surprised by his brother-in-law…he is usually so calm and neutral and we didn’t expect him to be so aggressive. We have not told his sister or her husband that we were going to counseling and that the mother has qualities of Narcissistic Personality Disorder because we know that the sister would go and tell her parents everything we say, and this would just make everything blow up even more than it already has. Part of me wishes we could just explain to them why we don’t want to see his parents and the reason why we don’t respond to aggressive texts, but I also don’t think that would go over very well.
I am just feeling so sad and hurt over everything that has happened. What makes things really hard is that his sister has a son who is only 2 years old and we have always been very active and involved as much as possible with him. We know that given recent events, they probably wont allow us to spend time around him anymore. We have a Christmas gift for him that we were going to drop off in the next few days, when his parents won’t be up at the house, and just see the sister, husband, and son alone but with the recent text we got we aren’t sure what to do anymore.
I feel so anxious about it and I feel really bad. I have a feeling that today when his family gathered together they were probably saying things like “Oh, SO isn’t here and he never use to be this way until ME showed up. It’s all her and her fault and the fault of her family.”. Our counselor said that this behavior is actually typical in situations like this, where they stop blaming their child and start blaming the SO and using them as a scapegoat. I don’t have any proof that they’ve said these things obviously, and they have not been rude to me yet. I just feel bad, and my SO says all the time “Why would you feel bad about showing me what a healthy family looks like and acts? I am grateful for your family and would rather spend time with them anyday. Even our counselor and other friends of ours who KNOW my parents knows they are not healthy.”
To clarify, my family and his all live in the same city so we don’t have any excuse saying “we were traveling to my parents home for the holidays”. We are also not engaged yet, but expect to be in the Spring. I am just looking for a place to let everything out. Has anyone else dealt with a similar situation? Is there any way that I can stop feeling so anxious or bad about everything? We aren’t sure if we should go in person to drop off our nephews gift or if we should just send it to them? We know if we visit in person, we will get chewed out or they may not even let us inside, and if we send it in the mail they’ll chew us out for not coming over.