Family drama-llamas

Published April 25, 2012 by Kim

Ugh. Sometimes, I love my family to death. Emphasis on the TO DEATH part. Case in point: my brother and his wife, and some kind of stupid rift between him and my parents over her parents. For this post, I shall refer to my sibling as “Broron.”

Permit me a bit of background? SiL is the only daughter of four (five?) siblings. Her mother doesn’t work, but effectively brought SiL up as a housemaid (no educational encouragement, no driver’s license, nada–though her brothers were ferried on their sixteenth birthdays for that all-important card, and never made to do housework). Fast forward to the day Broron and SiL were married…and her parents arranged for a musician that they wanted, but suddenly would not pay for–and Broron used their honeymoon money to pay what was owed. (Some of my family caught wind and gave him extra money on the spot so they could go on their honeymoon, as planned.) Time passed…SiL’s family would ignore him at meals, making him drive separately to events while SiL rode in their car, bought gifts for her birthday but not his, gave her Christmas presents and him none (or something like a box of clothes detergent or used Walmart gift card). Meanwhile, they expected name-brand clothing and other pricey gifts at practically every celebration. When my niece was born, SiL’s mom wanted SiL and the baby to come live with her–even started preparing a room for her!–and insisted on buying dresses for all holidays, so that Niece would wear what SiL’s mom preferred. Even as Niece’s first birthday approached, we learned SiL’s mother planned to host a party only for their kin, so we wouldn’t be around. (That idea got shot down, thankfully.) During all of this, years of this, my parents were asked to not mention it, not buck the system or cause problems–down to not posting pictures on Facebook of trips Broron, SiL, and Niece came on with all of us–so as to not upset SiL’s mother.

So, the proverbial poo hit the fan at the end of March, when my dad–as is his style, God love him–found out SiL’s family was going to the same restaurant we had already planned going to after finishing our Easter pictures together. He laughed and told SiL to have her brother hold a table for all of us. I heard, I laughed–it’s true! SiL’s mother would’ve gone thermonuclear had we shown up and sat with/near/in the same building as them.

That’s all that was said, and it was promptly forgotten…until not so very later, when Broron called our parents and blessed them out for their callousness and “childishness.” Dad is completely pissed, as is mom, and I’m standing by going “WTF?” (as Broron admitted that he “doesn’t know” what was said, but it was out of line, whatever it was, and our parents need to apologize; my parents responded with their version of “like hell we will” and hung up on him.) He hasn’t called them since, and it looks like I’m also in the exclusion zone.

To which I reply, “like I give a shit.”

Sorry about That Word, as I usually avoid That Kind of Language, but there are times I feel (and I think my parents would agree, despite my upbringing) that everyday words don’t effectively communicate just how pissed you are over something. I’m mad on Mom and Dad’s behalf–it’s ridiculous to expect them to walk on eggshells and forever tolerate the manipulations and abuse doled out by one crackpot mother-in-law on their son. I love Broron, he’s my brother, but I cannot fathom why he’s gone nutters about this when he doesn’t know what was said. Isn’t that the first thing you fact-check? Get the story, evaluate the damage, decide the outcome? I can’t believe his grasp of logic is so…lost.

Jesus on a bicycle–what happened to my brother? Has he gone Stockholm Syndrome on us? Is he so…*ahem*…whipped that he’s going along with anything SiL asks? And I try not to let it get to me that he works a full-time job while she stays home, babysits another child while Niece is home, too, and then gallivants off for a weekend with her “moms’ group” and he’s left with Niece on his own. Sure, he loves being with his daughter, but I can’t help bristling at the idea of him not getting a weekend break. SiL can’t drive! He can’t leave his wife and daughter home alone with no way around while he takes off for some downtime–how is it appropriate that he must always be “on” and she gets weekend getaways with the girls?

(For the record, Hubby has offered to let me go away for a weekend, to write or decompress or what-have-you…and I always say no. It seems unfair to him.)

Whatever happens, though, just happens. I’m not going to make my parents’ lives harder by complicating things. I think I’ll just try to give them as much time with their grandchildren I as can arrange, even just to stop in a few minutes for a hug and kiss, and remind them that they are loved. Aside from that, I’m going to thank God that my in-laws aren’t as freaking insane as Broron’s.

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4 comments on “Family drama-llamas

  • …wow…

    I have no words. That is just…how did he ever meet this girl? How does a total head-case like that get a husband and I’m still…

    Oh, never mind. But seriously, that is the worst thing. How does she even like her parents after that upbringing? Are they fabulously wealthy and Broron and Wife Of are just trying to stay in the will?

    If I were your parents, I would post all the pictures they haven’t posted. I mean, why not at this point?

    And that joke was funny, in context.

  • I’ll tell you where he met her…AT CHURCH. And as for how she landed him…there are theories about that. *ahem*

    (Side note: I stand by my belief that you, sassy and smart as you are, haven’t been snatched up because Something Else Is At Work. I have to believe that, as life is inexcusably unfair, otherwise. You’re amazing, and any man would be lucky to have you. Frankly, I’d rather my brother had found you–or someone of your ilk–than her. *sigh* Lost chances…)

    I can only presume–after the education you gave me regarding abuse and victim reactions–that she still loves her parents just because they’re her parents, and she’s never known any differently. We used to hold out hope that Broron would influence her positively, that she’d see there’s a whole world available to her if she exerts a little effort–but no dice. She flunked the driving test every time, was floundering in college (until she dropped out), and seems completely happy with a mediocre version of herself.

    Good God, I’m judgmental. I don’t mean to be, but it’s hard watching someone as determined as Broron (Bachelor’s degree, then Master’s degree earned while working full-time) be under so much pressure to provide *everything*, with little/no assistance from his wife. I remember when he would come home after work and cook, do laundry, and wash dishes, though she’d been home all day.

    (Not that I’m in ANY way Donna Reed, but at least I’m pulling my weight in financial contributions to our household. Hubby’s not on his own.)

    My parents *should* post those pictures! I’m going to suggest that. *makes note* In for a penny, in for a pound–right?

  • Wow. Your brother’s MiL is a nightmare. Irrational, rude, possessive, destructive and toxic.

    I agree with Heidi, your SiL is probably trapped in victimhood…she’s been raised to believe the only way to get her parents’ approval is to be perpetually dependent and glued to them.

    How awful for your brother, though. When we start a new family unit, that’s what we’re supposed to do…commit to each other over our birth families. And your SiL hasn’t done that. So your brother’s options are 1) support his wife, which is what a good husband does – only because she hasn’t detached properly, that means lining up behind her parents or 2) not support his wife, which is a breach of the commitment we make when we marry.

    Bummer.

    I have no advice, but I do have loads of sympathy.

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