- 2 years ago
I’m feeling down about the situation with my future in-laws. Things with my future Mother-In-Law and Father-In-Law are fine, thankfully. The problem is with his brother. I’ve tried to keep this post short, rather unsuccessfully, but please bear with me. I will feel so much better if someone can tell me that I’m not crazy.
A bit of backstory: My fiance is a second-generation Cambodian-Canadian. His parents and older siblings came here as refugees (but my SO was born here). He and his siblings grew up with physical and emotional abuse. My SO has mostly forgiven his parents, but it’s obvious that it affected him deeply. For example, he has trouble expressing/communicating his emotions, which of course affects our relationship. His relationship with his father is strained. He gets on well with his mother. He has 4 siblings living here and 5 more overseas. For various reasons, his older siblings stood in as quasi parent figures when he was growing up . . . there’s a large age gap between them. Also, he and his sisters/brothers have always (even as kids) done a lot to help their parents. In his culture, that’s normal. So the child-parent relationships in his family are sort of blurred.
As for my background, I’m Caucasian. I grew up with emotional abuse from my mother. I’ve spent a lot of time working through my anger, and I’ve forgiven her. However, we aren’t close. I’m close to my father, though. I have one sibling. We used to be not close at all, but we’ve been getting closer over the past couple years. My upbringing, and recovery from it, probably affects how I act in our relationship, too. I grew up feeling like my feelings didn’t matter, I shouldn’t stand up for myself, and other people matter more than me. That if someone treats me badly, maybe I deserve it. I know now that’s not true. Sometimes those feelings come back, though. I generally stand up for myself. Sometimes I feel guilty for doing so. I am being treated for anxiety and depression. I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life. At the moment, I’m stable (or as stable as I’ll ever be).
One more thing to mention: Me and my fiance are both in our early 30s. We’ve been together about 3 1/2 years now. We got engaged after 3 years.
Anyway . . . I’m having issues with one future Brother-In-Law. He lives on the other side of the country. I’ve only met him a handful of times, and we only actually talked to each other once. He disliked me instantly. I’m too quiet for his liking. Which is fine. I don’t expect everyone to like me. As time went on, he made more and more complaints about me despite not really knowing me or spending much time around me. Most of what he knows about me, he hears second or third hand. I then have the pleasure of hearing some of the stuff he says. This didn’t bother me too much until he started advising my fiance (at the time, my boyfriend) to break up with me.
The criticism started after we’d been together one year. The unsolicited “you should dump her” advice started last year. Future Brother-In-Law found out that I’m awkward with children. I’m not mean to them and would never hurt them, but I have no clue how to interact with them, don’t particularly feel the urge to hold people’s babies, etc. This isn’t a secret. I actually told my SO on our first date that I’m like this, and he didn’t care. My Future Brother-In-Law though? Wow, he freaked out. He texted my SO telling him that it’s a “red flag” that I’m like this. Dunno if he explicitely told my SO to dump me, but he certainly implied it. I’m pretty sure whether we have kids or not is none of his business, and besides, it’s not like I mistreated anyone’s kid. So I didn’t appreciate him saying that.
Then there was The Incident. So, his family from overseas came up to visit for two weeks. One couple with their two kids stayed with us. Everyone else (7 people) stayed at my fiance’s sister’s house. One day, 5 of those other people decided to come over and visit. My SO was at work. I work from home, so I was home. They show up unannounced. I had never met them before. They don’t speak much English either, so when I asked what was going on, they didn’t tell me. My fiance’s main family (who live here) did not make any attempt to contact me to tell me what was happening. They contacted my fiance and got his voicemail. So he didn’t know either. And yes, they know I work from home. Yes, they have my phone number. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t have thought to just bloody text or call me to give me a heads up. In my family, it’s considered really rude to show up unannounced. However, I answered the door anyway. I invited them in and told our houseguests they had visitors. I went upstairs and did my own thing. My anxiety was through the roof. I feel very stressed with people I don’t know just randomly showing up. They were being super loud . . . I couldn’t concentrate on my work. I was also tired from not sleeping the night before due to the two kids crying all night. But I didn’t want to be rude (I knew it wasn’t their fault; someone told them it was ok) so I didn’t say anything to them. They eventually left.
I spoke to my fiance (then boyfriend) right away. I explained to him everything I just explained in the above paragraph. I told him I didn’t have a problem with them visiting (actually, I’m not comfortable with it, but I’m not gonna say no they can’t come over!!). I explained that I really didn’t like it that nobody tried to tell me what was happening. I felt disrespected, like the main family (who lives here) wanted to just do whatever without caring how I felt. I asked him to tell them to give some warning next time. He thought that was “too strict.” I think it’s a reasonable request. It’s not that hard to be considerate of other people. I live here too, after all. Anyway, we had an argument about it. He later told his older sister that I had complained about their family being loud. He didn’t talk about my request. He didn’t explain my side of it at all!!! His visiting family understood completely and actually felt bad and apologized. His family that’s living here got PISSED. They talked shit about me behind my back, in the same room as my SO. My SO didn’t stand up for me at all. So of course, we had a big fight about that too.
Long story short, my SO and I eventually worked it out between us. His brother disliked me even more and texted my SO telling him so. I don’t remember if he suggested we break up, but he obviously wanted us to. Later that year, we got engaged. His brother responded to that by telling my fiance that he shouldn’t marry me. He then went over a list of reasons for why he thinks so. One of the reasons is my depression. He is worried that I’ll end up like his friend’s wife who keeps threatening to kill herself. Never mind the fact that I am in treatment, am not suicidal, and don’t believe in suicide. Oh, and not all depressed people are the same, though I guess he doesn’t know that. Interesting note: he also advised his friend to get a divorce.
The situation NOW . . . I feel like this post will never end. Thanks if you’re still reading!! The situation now is that my fiance and my Future Brother-In-Law aren’t talking to each other. After the engagement announcement, his brother didn’t say another word about me or about the impending wedding. They went on talking as usual until two months ago. My Future Brother-In-Law and his wife had made plans to travel with my Mother-In-Law and Father-In-Law, but he could no longer go. So he asked my fiance to go in his place. He would have to buy his own ticket. My fiance’s job is seasonal, and he doesn’t work as much in the winter. A trip wasn’t in the budget. So he told his brother no. In response, my Future Brother-In-Law stopped talking to my fiance. He probably thinks that I told him to say no, but I didn’t.
Am I crazy to think that my Future Brother-In-Law is crazy to bash me right to my fiance’s face, and then turn around and ask for a big favour? And then ignore him when he said no? I don’t like how he’s treating my fiance right now, and I’m certainly not thrilled that he tried to break us up. What makes the most angry of all, though, is the attitude he has towards people with depression. Ugh. I am just tired of keeping this all to myself. I feel guilty even though I shouldn’t. Should I? Not once have I ever discouraged my SO from having a relationship with his brother . . . but look what happened anyway.