Stuck In-Between 2 Conflicting Variables
Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
The girls in my family are poison, I admit it. They seem to have a trend of alienating anyone who marries into the family (particularily, men). They make scathing, condesceding, and/or inappropriately sarcastic comments whenever the mood strikes them (especially when they're all together). They push their beliefs and opinions onto you whether you like it or not, and won't understand your point-of-view if it's any different, no matter how well you can articulate it.
Yet, despite all the in-your-face attacks to/on people, we're a very, very close bunch of dysfunctional relatives who are in-need of some anger-management and treatment of clinical bipolarism, but nonetheless are there for each other...in good times and in bad.
However, my issue isn't exactly with my family. It's with my fiance, who is just as direct as they are. They make a scathing comment to him, and in the beginning of the relationship he smiled and just took it in. but increasingly grew tired of it. It's at the point now where he'll leave to go back home early (we live 2 hours apart, including the US/CDN border), even if it's during a family get-together, a funeral, and he even threatened to me that he'd do the same at my brother's wedding. It seems to be happening every weekend. He's even at the point where he no longer wants to be included in family get-togethers nor stay at my house, which will make matters worse because they'll feel insulted. But he says he doesn't care who gets hurt anymore, because he's tired of being nice while constantly being put down.
I know how he feels about the girls in my family, I feel the exact same way towards them (i wanna strangle them, honestly). I completely understand that he feels that he needs to remove himself out of the situation and environment in order to protect himself. And that's the problem: it just seems that he's protecting himself, looking out for numero uno. I feel like crap when he talks bitterly about the female members of my family, as we are very tight-knit, and I am the product of it. I feel abandoned when he leaves early, when he states to dis-include him in important events, and gets increasingly angry when he even starts to talk about them. It also doesn't help that I come from a family whose means of getting along is speaking ill of anyone who's not present, and they ask me why my fiance does the things that he does (they see him as arrogant and isolated from `real people' because he graduated from an ivy league school).
I feel like a child whose parents are going through a messy divorce. I'm in the middle of a tug-of-war. No matter how direct I am about it, it seems that they don't seem to get the idea that amidst each side's anger and resentment, I AM the one who suffers the most because I AM the one who always has to interact with both sides. Sometimes I feel like it doesn't occur to my fiance that he can get up and leave all he wants, but I have to deal with them for the next 2 years. As if I have to clean up after every mess he makes.
Once we get married, I can't wait for the day I move out of my house for good and control my involement in such a negative environment. But in the meantime, it sucks that one side of my life is so poisonous, and the other half of my life is only looking out for himself. I need him to work with ME to deal with this situation in a way that incurs the least damage. I need to know that he doesn't see me as the enemy.
After dealing with this for a while, I feel that my fiance is the reasonable side (or the lesser of two evils, on my bad days). How can I get him to realize that he needs to reapproach the "I'll say what I want if they're gonna do the same to me and I don't care what happens" attitude he has?
I predict your fiance will become your ex-fiance pretty soon.
There is no reason on earth for him to put up with the behavior of your sisters. He is being kind to you by putting up with them at all.
You have been around their behavior so long that it is acceptable to you and you expect him to work his way around it too. It is remarkable that you have been raised amongst these women and have not taken on their habits too.
If that occurs to him you can color him gone. So far he isn't thinking of numero uno but if he does... bye bye.
So you need to figure out a solution (which I unfortunately don't think there is) so that he can comfortably fit into your family. Remember, it is a lifetime committment that he is contemplating.
Sorry to sound so negative, but this is a bad situation.
Good luck! George
-- from George
One of Your Friendly Advisors at RomanceClass.com