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Should I be mad?

My husband started working for a finance company a few years ago.  Then, his brother got a job with the same company.  A few weeks ago the finance company made a huge deal and gave a portion of the money to all the employees as a bonus type of distribution.  So, I told my husband I didn't want to tell ANYONE how much of a bonus we received.  I also told my husband not to talk about the bonuses with his brother who works for the same company.  His brother "A" is always trying to be the smarter, cooler, richer brother and spends all his time telling my husband and I how cool he is.  So, that being said I did not want to talk about bonus, because "A" will always have the bigger bonus, bigger paycheck, etc.  Well, last night my husbands mother called him and told him how much his brothers bonus was.  I couldn't believe she would do something like that!  It's none of our business.  I knew if my husband found out how much his brothers bonus was it would make him upset - which it did.  "A's" bonus was larger than my husbands.  I don't know how much the bonus was because I wouldn't let my husband tell me.  Why on earth would his mom call him up and tell him that?  I am so mad.  Am I out of line or should I be upset about this?  I wanted everything to be private.  It's no ones business how much peoples bonuses are, especially when they work for the same company. 

Re: Should I be mad?

  • The only part of this situation you can control is if you tell anyone your husband's bonus. You cannot control anyone else telling you information about your BIL's bonus.

    And clearly your MIL had no idea that your BIL's bonus was bigger. I highly doubt this was some cruel attempt to hurt your husband. Your BIL does not feel the same way that you do about keeping the bonus a secret, and that's his right. He is free to tell his mom and to tell his mom that it's okay for her to talk about it. The only thing your husband can do is tell his mother that in the future he would prefer to not be privy to his brother's salary details.

    I'm also not sure why your husband is so upset about his brother's bonus, unless they have the exact same jobs at the exact same level making the exact same amount of money. Bonuses vary by position/level/salary/annual review ratings/etc. So unless your husband and BIL are exactly equal on all those things, there is no reason to expect that they would receive the exact same bonus.

  • Mad at who, exactly? 

    Is it tacky to talk money like this?  Sure.  On that front, I get where you're coming from.

    But past that.... obviously DH's family doesn't feel the same way.  They like to talk $$ and share this information.  For the fact that you actually had to tell your DH not to share, that tells me that you know he probably would have because you know this is how his family is.

    If this was about your DH sharing (which is where I originally thought this was going), I'd more understand being "mad".  but his brother and his mom - it's not up to you what they decide to share w/ others or not. 

    Sure, it sucks that his brother got more $$, but I'd assume that his brother has a different role and the company, makes a different salary, and is on a different bonus track.  It also sucks that his brother talks himself up and how great he is, how much "better" he is, but obviously on some level, there is some truth to it....

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  • What purpose would you being angry serve? 

    And who would you be angry at - MIL, BIL or the company?

     Also, it's not even YOUR  bonus, just your H's. Try to detach a bit from this and put your feelings into something productive for your career. 

    Hope is not a strategy.
  • I'd also like to see some examples of how your BIL talks about how cool he is. Given your reaction here, I have to wonder if he is just sharing normal experiences and accomplishments and you are completely overreacting.

  • image casmgn:

    I'd also like to see some examples of how your BIL talks about how cool he is. Given your reaction here, I have to wonder if he is just sharing normal experiences and accomplishments and you are completely overreacting.

    Good point! 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
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  • I am wondering if the competition between the brothers was encouraged by their parents while they were growing up.
    image
  • You do realize that it is entirely possible that BIL is lying about the amount of his bonus.
  • image livingitup:
    You do realize that it is entirely possible that BIL is lying about the amount of his bonus.
    Sure it's possible, but that definitely would not be my first reaction to this.

    It seems that the OP and her husband fully expected her BIL's bonus to be larger, which is why she was so against sharing this information.

  • I know being angry hardly solves anything.  I'm upset that my MIL would call up my husband and tell him the brothers bonus.  It made my DH feel bad.  The brother and mother can talk about whatever they want, but when the MIL calls up my DH to tell about the BIL bonus, that is what makes me upset. 
  • Your husband needs to grow a thicker skin. Or perhaps he just gets upset about all this because he knows that you will think less of him. Why else would you get upset about your BIL making more money?
  • casmgn

    You are missing the point.  I'm not upset his brother makes more, or that he had a bigger bonus.  I'm upset that my MIL would call and tell my DH something that would clearly upset him.  The problem is the MIL should not have shared that info with my DH.   

  • Which leads us back to... was this rivalry between the brothers fostered from childhood by their parents?

    Because I'm totally picturing Marie Barone being so proud of Raymond for buying toothbrushes while ignoring Robert's promotion.

  • casmgn

    You are missing the point.  I'm not upset his brother makes more, or that he had a bigger bonus. 

    Yes, you are.

  • I'm upset that my MIL would call and tell my DH something that would clearly upset him.  The problem is the MIL should not have shared that info with my DH.   

    How would she know, though, that it would upset him?  She doesn't know what his bonus was, correct?

    And again, while WE can all sit here and say that sharing this kind of information is tacky, his family clearly does not agree.  To the degree that you even had to tell your DH not to share! 

    To me, this is partially about you all needing to work with who his family is.  they are oversharers and it probably isn't even a blip on the radar of your MIL's mind that "of course" this information is confidential and really shouldn't be passed on.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • Does MIL know she is upsetting your H? Is she intentionally encouraging competition between them? 

    If yes, then your H needs to learn to set some boundaries with her and maybe some individual counseling is the way to go for him.

    If no, then this is a family quirk and you need to let go and focus on something else.  

    Hope is not a strategy.
  • casmgn

    You are missing the point.  I'm not upset his brother makes more, or that he had a bigger bonus.  I'm upset that my MIL would call and tell my DH something that would clearly upset him.  The problem is the MIL should not have shared that info with my DH.   

    I'm not missing the point at all. It clearly upsets you, even if you don't want to admit it.
  • Your new problem is you have your email as your screen name. You should delete this and get a new account.

    Next year your H ought to figure out what makes his brother's bonus so big and work on trying to do his job better. The bonus has to be tied into performance if they are doing the same work. Your MIL is out of line telling anyone's business, but I'm sure it is not the first time she has yapped about things. Keep your business private and that is ALL you can control.

  • casmgn

    You are missing the point.  I'm not upset his brother makes more, or that he had a bigger bonus.  I'm upset that my MIL would call and tell my DH something that would clearly upset him.  The problem is the MIL should not have shared that info with my DH.   

    Why "clearly"? Did MIL know YH's bonus was smaller than BIL's?

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  • image alliejo725:

    casmgn

    You are missing the point.  I'm not upset his brother makes more, or that he had a bigger bonus.  I'm upset that my MIL would call and tell my DH something that would clearly upset him.  The problem is the MIL should not have shared that info with my DH.   

    Why "clearly"? Did MIL know YH's bonus was smaller than BIL's?

    This is what I was thinking too.  Unless MIL gets a kick out of making H feel bad or feel inferior to BIL I doubt MIL was clear about this.  And if H is that upset he should take it up with his mother.

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  • Etiquette discussing money among family members and/or friends is not something that is universally agreed upon.  You may be irked at someone discussing money, but you don't have the right to expect that they'll not.  You told your DH not to tell anyone how much he made.  You did not discuss with him the wisdom in not engaging in conversation about his or other people's financial situation.  The conversation with his mother could have easily been interrupted.  His being upset only happened because he entertained such a conversation.  He should not engage in such conversations (including allowing them to happen, giving ear to them) unless he is able to handle it fully.  Neither of you have a right to be angry or even disappointed in his mother, unless you phoned her directly and asked her not to disclose information she had or to abstain from the subject of money altogether.  She didn't trespass anything. 

     

    Having said that, I understand his feelings of comparison - and this is going to dog him until he figures out why he reacts this way, what he feels is missing or unfair or wrong with him.  That doesn't mean to say that there is anything wrong with him necessarily, but he's using his brother as a measuring stick for himself - and that's not healthy.  Your desire to buffer your husband now, to protect him from these feelings would be fine *if* it were taking place before the bonuses were given out.  Right now, it's too late, and is only going to serve to worsen his own situation.   

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  • I have to sympathize with the OP.  My husband and his brother are like night-and-day, partly because they were raised separately as teenagers, and their philosophies and priorities are very different.  My BIL is very much like the Dan Aykroyd character in the 80's movie "The Great Outdoors", very in-your-face with his illusions of accomplishments.  He could have all the money in the world, but that doesn't make BIL a better person.  The difference in this scenario is their mother doesn't think money makes the man and actually wishes my BIL would just chill out and stop and smell the roses instead of the Mercedes.

    (a) You can't filter all of the comments about salaries, but you can say, "Hey you're family and it's not your money I love so I don't want to hear the specifics.  Let's try to redirect the conversation onto more pleasant topics."

    (b) Or you just get thicker skin and continue to be mum on your own info.  Your MIL and BIL could just be fishing.  (And like someone else suggested, your BIL could have lied about his bonus.  Shrug it off is the best bet.) 

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