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    Appreciate the feedback.  My husband has very little contact with his little sister.  And you are correct, Dor, there are dynamics and events that have happened that I have no knowledge of.  Until we were married, my husband never called nor sent a card for her birthday.  I made sure that he wrote in the card that I sent but all of that was instigated by me because of how I was brought up.  I’m the one that shops for birthdays, Christmas….not my husband UNLESS I involve him in it.  Which, I am doing more and more because for events, such as Mother’s Day, he needs to buy for his own mom….not me buying for her under his name.  I took on this role as a wife and I’m ready to not do it anymore.  I think, sometimes, that she views me as my husband….our kids are HIS so there’s sibling rivalry and such that goes on.  That stems from my parents-in-law furthering that message of “Why aren’t you like your brother?” and having my husband sit in on family discussions (basically act like he was a parent) when SIL was in trouble.  That was something he and I addressed with each other before we were married because I didn’t want to have anything to do with that.

    I know she has fear.  My husband, within the past year, was driving through and arranged to have lunch with her.  Her eldest son came along as well, which was fine but my husband didn’t invite him.  So, she doesn’t want to be alone with my husband.

    I have plenty of dynamics going on in my own family.  My mom is 86 and my sisters and I have all sorts of things with her, having dealt and currently healing from various abuses growing up.  SIL is a bit much at the moment for me.  With the professional help I have been receiving recently, it seems to have prompted my husband to look at his own family dynamics which is a new thing for him.

    I don’t hate my SIL, I love her dearly and have wished for her to find happiness in her life.  I try not to take it all personally but it does hurt.  I think I feel the urge to distance myself a bit, focus on my own little family (kids and hubby) and leave the door open for her.


    Thanks, Eliana.

    I’ve known my in-laws for almost 30 years, 19 of them married.  My sis-in-law is my husband’s only sibling.  She is younger than both us and has just seemed lost, which hasn’t really changed just she’s older now with kids and a hubby.  There was a time that she complained we weren’t involved enough in her childrens’ life (physical distance makes it a bit challenging not to mention there are nieces/nephews on my side of the family too).  I think she had a fantasy of what life would be like and the parts we would all play when the kids came along.  95% of communication is instigated by me and that’s not an exaggeration.  In the past couple of years, I saw her at a family funeral where I was happy to see her.  I tried to visit, ask questions but was met with one-word answers.  There are never any inquiries about what we are doing, how our children are….so it comes across that she has no interest for us unless we can do something for her.  My hubby doesn’t contact her too often…there are random texts/phone calls but you could count them on one hand over a few years.

    There are other instances that I’ve tried to excuse.  Such as when our daughter was born, her first niece.  We were all living in the same state then and as it turned out, she made multiple trips to the town we were living in (legal meetings) but never contacted us to meet her baby niece.  That ‘welcome to the family meet’ didn’t happen until a year later when a cousin from another country flew in to meet our daughter.

    To get multiple phone calls from her when she had a possible cancer diagnosis and we were part of her support for that.  Dropped/no-contact after the surgery went well.  If I really look at it, it has been a lifelong pattern and has happened over the almost 30 years I’ve known her.  I just feel badly because she’s “family” but having respect for myself, doesn’t mean you can just use me whenever you want to either.  I simply feel that I’m constantly chasing after her…


    Hi Jenny.

    No, I’ve never abused my children. My mom was mentally, emotionally and physically abusive to me. I recall some apologies after a handful of abusive acts but it didn’t stop the abuse. Thankfully (that sounds so horrible but it is how I feel), when she began having health issues her physical abuse stopped. She still apologizes for some things but it has been difficult for me to see it as sincere or truly meant. I always replied; “Its ok”. Because after all of these DECADES, she still hasn’t changed it and I don’t believe she really cares whether I forgive or not.

    So I tend to see her apologies now as more of a manipulative tactic. Run me off and when I’m about ready to walk out that preverbial door? Apologize to reel me back in. I question myself on that many times, wondering if I’m being too harsh. If maybe this time …and perhaps the other times as well, she really means it? However. It is difficult to argue a track record.



    How do you leave that identity? By accepting that I don’t feel that love, I don’t feel a bond?

    And by the way, I completely relate to what you posted about the hurt being personal.



    Thanks for all your replies/feedback.

    CLB: Currently, my little family lives far enough away that we can’t be of much help but can get there in a day, if need be. Appreciate you sharing your experience, thank you.

    Anita: Thanks for your compassionate message.

    Inky: Thanks for the different approach, appreciate a different option in how to view and handle things. You said something about the gifts your mother gives you….and you’re absolutely correct. In visiting with a friend last night, I saw where the authentic, honest relationship I have with my spouse was partially due to this relationship I have with my mom.

    Peaceatlast: Thanks for sharing your ideas, experiences.

    nyres817: I appreciate you sharing resources and your story.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s an emotional/mental issue underlying mom’s behavior and treatment of others. I spoke with both sisters, months ago, about the possibility of some level of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. One thinks it isn’t the case but rather mom is extremely selfish. While the other doesn’t say much (as she stated that when dad died, she was going to have very little, if anything, to do with mom). That one knows a lot more than what she’s saying, sometimes relays some stories/memories but generally tries not to say much.

    Mom was extremely firm and strict when we were raised, a controlling parent. There wasn’t a complete absence of love but rather when we approached a certain age (around 10) she withheld love, affection was no longer appropriate. At that time, the ‘rages’ (which were going from 0 to 180 with anger) were not clear as to what set it off…one never knew what would upset her. Punishments made little sense. So that was very confusing and still is. Also know that there’s a history of abuse on that side of the family (via stories from grandma). From stories relayed to me, it sounds as though she experienced post-partum depression with me (grandmother shamed her about being pregnant at 40). It sounds that dad and my siblings were heavily involved in my care. My siblings are 9 and 11 years older than I.

    There was never an official diagnosis and I don’t believe mom ever sought help with that either….which may go along with a popular belief system in her age group (depression isn’t a real disease).

    It was very confusing for me. Lots of ‘flip-flopping’ on what I got punished for, severity of punishments that didn’t fit the crime or ‘imagined’ crime (yeah, got punished for what she thought I did even if I didn’t do it). She and I have a hard time communicating with each other. I can state things simply and bluntly and she doesn’t understand it. She expects me to read her mind and instinctively know what help she needs, when she needs it. ha ha…I haven’t evolved THAT much yet. 😉

    I share these bits and pieces….not to have a vent session, pity party or “Poor me!! I’m such a victim!”. Not at all. It is a puzzle that I feel such a huge drive to solve. Its painful sometimes to meditate and have memories, I had long forgotten, surface. I seek to remember the good memories as well. I guess, as a mother myself, I now see more of an abused inner child that lashes out at the world…instead of the monster I used to see. Forgiveness….it will take some time but I know it will come. That is something that isn’t typically difficult for me, forgiveness.

    I have checked out the ‘daughters of narcissistic mothers’ website and found valuable information. I have also been reading (little chunks at a time) “Codependent No More” and a friend loaned me “Shame & Guilt: Masters of Disguise”. While I really want to understand this, find compassion for it and find a love for her that I can give without feeling hurt that it isn’t reciprocated; I’m also searching for freedom. Physically distance doesn’t matter if I still allow her to affect me as she always has, snap her fingers and I perform. I understand that I’m responsible for my choices and I’m as free as I allow myself to be (internally). I’ve discovered less guilt, more self-love over this past year. I had a few days at one point that I felt this huge beam (think Iron Man) of love radiating from my chest….and I loved that!

    I don’t know what the future will bring but I always have hope. And yes, maybe that hope is in vain….but maybe that’s why I’m also numb right now. I’m hopeful yet protecting myself…out of habit. What I don’t expect is unconditional love, acceptance from my mom. Those hardly ever came when one did things exactly as she wanted you to, so not going to happen even if I’m happier than I’ve ever been. However, it is also a life lesson and these memories, educating myself (thanks everyone for your input)…this cycle stops with me. I’m NOT passing it onto my children. It’ll be interesting to see how they evolve and improve on parenting (if/when they have their own). In the meantime, CLB is right….I need to work on accepting that this is all she has/can give. I do wish for her to feel more authentic love for herself, feel more acceptance…so maybe she can feel some of that freedom herself before she’s gone.

    Thanks for your replies and thanks so much for reading. 🙂


    Dear Anita,

    Thanks again for your reply. 🙂

    We had a wonderful week and weekend. I highly recommend the camping trip we took over the weekend; no electronics, internet or cell service. It was GREAT!!! Wildlife around, plenty of nature and lots of physical activity for the entire family.

    Afterwards, we had a long drive home. Kids were worn out so hubs and I had plenty of conversation time. I appreciate greatly his honesty and his ability to hear my concerns without taking offense or becoming defensive. I shared my recent observations with him, as well as my carefully thought comments/opinions.

    The weekend was very relaxing for him. His thoughts that he shared have me convinced that he has no desire to move. We are not a couple that tries to manipulate each other nor play mind-games. We talked about the pros and cons while also bringing up what matters most to us both in this stage of our lives. It was a good conversation, more to come I’m sure. It was also nice to hear from him, how appreciative and grateful he is for unconditional love, support, loyalty through all of this and previous relocations. I shared what I appreciate in him and what I’m grateful for.

    When he left to go to work yesterday (out of state); I noticed his eyes tearing up and his voice beginning to break when he said, “See you on Friday.”

    Thanks again for your perspective,


    Dear Anita and Aislynn,

    Thanks again for your responses and perspectives. Its a bit late for me so this will be quick (well, quick for me…ha ha).

    A handful of short conversations since Friday when hubby came home. He is working out of home for a week. He doesn’t want to move, it is difficult to think about right now. The job keeps him super busy, other departments needing 10 different pieces of information yesterday….y’know how that goes. I will say that since he’s been home, I noticed today that he didn’t have dark circles under his eyes. So he’s getting a lot of rest and relaxation with us, coupled with family time/playtime with the kiddos. PLUS good nutrition because its hard to have that when you live out of a hotel room.

    I know he doesn’t want to move the kids and I. I completely understand why he’s torn on the matter as well. I agree with Anita that it will take a few conversations not just one big one.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been doing some meditation the past couple of days and today felt TONS of motivation. Thus, the kids and I have begun unpacking ALL the boxes that we usually never touch. We’ll go through them and do whatever needs to be done whether its repacking some items and donating others. The clutter doesn’t help matters so we’ll get rid of the clutter….before school starts!

    I’ve also re-thought my response of “If we’re here”. You’re right, Aislynn, it is exhausting. So on some things it’ll be a “Sure!” and some things will have to be “We’ll see….” Either way, it really doesn’t matter where we live because the things they want to do have the activities available. i.e.: Can I take dance lessons? You bet! –they have them in both places.

    I put up workout and motivational posters in my ‘workout’ room and unpacked those boxes. Trying to find the other pictures and figure out how I’ll arrange the “family wall” of photos. I think the way I was looking at it all, the focus needed to be shifted. Will I have to take those pictures down and move again? Maybe. But this is OUR HOME now. And its up to me to make it feel like a home.

    The owner of the house, prior to us, was a Master Gardener. And did she ever plan this out! There are so many bees buzzing around the flowers and flowers bloom from early Spring into Fall. Tonight, I walked around outside, barefoot, looking at all the flowers. Smelling some of them. Rubbing my fingers on the lavender blooms. The neighbor’s cat came over and found the perfect place to roll. Every person that drove by, smiled and waved. The kids were out there with me, playing with the neighbor’s cat (no worries there because we have a house-full of our own furry children). It wasn’t a picture of complete peace…tranquility with lots of giggles. Thinking about that now, I can’t spend my energy worrying about what might happen. And that’s where all this resentment really comes from. Yes, its about hubby’s job but its also about worrying what I can’t control. So I need to practice being present. Live each day to its fullest. We’ll have our little conversations and I know the kids and I are here until the end of 2016/2017 school year. We’ll see what those conversations open to us.


    Aislynn and Anita,

    Thank you for your responses.

    Well, I’ve started this, typed that, deleted it and started over a couple of times. 🙂 I appreciate your questions so much, I’m thinking about a whole bunch of things now.

    Aislynn. Job-wise, he is well-known within the industry and someone that is approached many times by other places of employment. So I don’t think it is a matter of finding a job and quite possibly, not a matter of salary either. I’m thinking it is a difficult decision for him because this job WITH this company…he has had for almost 19 years and is really the only job he has ever held. Not a sure-thing but pretty close to it. We are both at an age that if he is going to switch companies, now is the time.

    I have no problem with looking for a job. Availability of part-time employment within school hours, now that’s a challenge. I have a degree that I can do something with online from home. It would be a first for me so yes, a challenge in many ways. Freelancing and not having that guarantee when you go to a job with posted hours…it will be a switch. I’ve entertained the thought of it over the past 3 years, seems that now I’m in a place in my life that I’m ready to tackle it.

    Yes, I’m feeling some resentment towards his job. 18 years and we’ve moved a total of 7 times. His traveling with work has increased instead of decreasing. I have boxes that I don’t bother to unpack, pictures I don’t trouble myself to hang. His job has provided a lot for us and I am grateful for that. Just weary of moving for it. And perhaps that’s where I need to redirect my thinking, in thinking that we are moving for his job. It would be so nice to have a conversation with the kids about something in the future that doesn’t require “…if we’re still here…” statement at the end. My thoughts about staying? Before all these changes came up in March, we were planning on being here until the kids were finished with high-school…at the very least. We enjoy the area, it feels like ‘home’ to us and its so nice to feel like part of a community instead of feeling that we’re only visiting.

    Anita. Whose benefit? Sometimes I think we psyched ourselves into thinking it would be best for our family…provide longevity in an industry that has a history of layoffs and forced early retirements. However, there’s no guarantee in any industry. I’m not sure what his anxiety with work is distracting him from but the workaholic bit was modeled to him by both parents. As I typed that…here’s what popped into my mind: His anxiety may stem from not having control over the uncontrollable. Perhaps he keeps himself busy enough so he doesn’t think about that….just a random thought that has come up.

    A year ago, we moved out of the ‘executive’ lifestyle. Yes, it is something we can both do but neither of us really enjoy it. It simply isn’t “us”. This position he is in currently….is executive. He has gained weight, dark circles under his eyes, misses us within an hour of having seen us because he knows it will be another week before he sees us again and living out of a different hotel every week can be stressful.

    As every parent does, there are things we want to do differently than what our parents did with us. On his side: work was always chosen over family/commitments. On my side: obviously; not repeating the physical, emotional and mental abuse from my mom. Hubby is the analytical, logical side of the coin while I’m the emotional, philosophical side of it. As a result, sometimes we balance each other out and sometimes we simply don’t understand the other one. We’ve both experienced amazing support from each other that we haven’t experienced within our families. Having said that, I wonder if now I need to support his growth in a different area of his life instead of his career?

    To me, the answer is obvious that we need to stay put for a while. I need to think on this, come up with more questions for myself and also to pose to him so he thinks as well. Nothing in life is completely ideal. I just don’t feel that it has to be a choice between professional and personal life, as he has pretty much stated (Personally he’d rather stay here but professionally the other town).


    Thank you, Inky. 🙂


    Thanks, Matty. I appreciate your feedback. 🙂


    Congratulations, Vidalevi!

    I went back to college after almost 20 years absence and earned my bachelor’s degree at 40 years old. I was slightly concerned about being an older student. However, others really couldn’t care less. I made new friends in and out of my age group and some great contacts! Good for you for going back to learn more.

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