Family Matters
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Family rift affects the kids??

So it's a long, long story, but dh's family is kind of in bad shape right now.  He has a brother and a sister, and the sister likes to "stir the pot" sometimes.  I don't want to get into the he said, she said game, but I will say that we said some mean things too.  We may not have started the fight, but we certainly didn't play the game very nicely. 

With that being said....we currently only talk to dh's parents.  We aren't able to have family gatherings b/c people can't get along.  (missed out on Christmas)  At first I was stubborn and angry, and wanted an apology for the things that were said about me...but now I'm at the point where I just think it's childish.  The biggest thing is our son misses his cousins.  He's only 3 and he just doesn't understand why he doesn't see his "buddies."  It's just sad.  The person who holds a lot of power in this whole situation is dh's sister.  I've tried emailing, I've tried texting, and she won't respond.  Should I just call her?  And swallow my pride and apologize???

Re: Family rift affects the kids??

  • Since you have not posted the entire backstory, what you've described sounds trivial --- and that you repsonded childishly wasn't cool.

    I came from a family where the aunts and my mother were arguers. Things would be fine for awhile, then some other dumb fight would start with one of the aunts --- and that would be the end of all communication for awhile.

    In the interim, we did not see the cousins.

    The fights would be over trivial nonsense.

    The points of the story:

    1-) even if you are mad at me, don't slight my kids. That's just wrong.

    2-)You all need to learn how to communicate like adults.

    Good luck with patching this up. Maybe if you say "lets do it for the sake of our kids" she might come around.

  • I remember your backstory:

    You say that you want to put this behind you because it's all childish and you want your son to have a relationship with his cousins, and I get that, but your SIL is still the same person she was when you got in the argument with her in the first place.  She's still the person who did something really _shitty to your family and has not taken responsibility for her actions or attempted to make things right with you.  I don't see how you can possibly mend things when one of the parties involved won't admit that she did anything wrong.  Even if she did accept her share of the blame on this particular issue, she'll continue to wrong your family in other ways in the future.  She hasn't changed, so there's no reason to expect that there would be any improvement in your relationship.

    Also, why is it your responsibility to reach out to her?  She is your husband's family, so where is he in all of this?  She didn't hurt you individually, she also hurt him and your children.  If you absolutely must try to smooth things over with her, why shouldn't he be involved, if not take the lead?

  • W/ renegade finding the backstory, I'll reiterate what I said over on Parenting:

    So, what happens if you call and apologize and this time she accepts it?  What about next time?  You say she likes to stir the pot - so I would assume there will be a next time.

    I think you need to think about this in the long term.  Short term fix might work, but then your DS gets excited again, he gets to see his buddies again - then something else happens, and then again there is another rift and then again your DS is upset.

    See what I'm getting at?  If this has the chance to happen over and over, I think I'd start teaching my DS that sometimes family isn't close and he isn't going to get to see cousins as much as he might like. 

    And to add - I don't know that I'd really want to open myself up to being held hostage to her and her antics "for the kids". 

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

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • image EastCoastBride:

    And to add - I don't know that I'd really want to open myself up to being held hostage to her and her antics "for the kids". 

    Yeah, it sucks that he won't have such a great relationship with his cousins, but I really don't think it's healthy for kids to be put in a situation where the adults in their lives argue all the time.  I sure as hell wouldn't want to put my kids in a position to be on the receiving end of her behavior.

    I just realized that your previous post that I linked to is about a situation with your husband's SIL and not his sister, but my point still stands.  Can you provide any more detail about this argument?

    Are you in individual therapy?  Based on your posts about your husband's family and your husband himself, it seems like you feel some kind of obligation to subject yourself to toxic people.  I don't know why you keep choosing to have contact with people who have demonstrated time and time again that they just aren't good people.

  • The best course of action would be for hour DH to reach out to his sister to repair their adult relationship or create some positive interaction for their children. If the siblings cannot or choose not - then YOU will have little success. Anyway, I think your fantasy of 'one big happy cousinlove' is just not realistic with the people involved. That's okay.
    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • I don't know you're back story but here's the idea that I came up with while reading your post. Perhaps you could reach out to your inlaws as an intermediary and set up playdates for the cousins with your inlaws watching. This would of course be up to your inlaws to do but my guess is that they would not mind having their grandchildren together every once in a while. That way the parents don't have to interact but the children aren't being punished.

    Just a though, GL.

  • Based on my personal experience, I would not call and apologize.  Your SIL is like an alcoholic - - she will only come aroudn when SHE is ready, not when anyone else is ready (her kids, you, your kids, etc.).

    I would stop emailing and texting her.  You need to let a "one-on-one" relationship with her go.  You need to have your children meet new "buddies" who are special to them and who don't bring drama and hurt into their lives when their moms decide they don't want anything to do with her.  Tell your sons that your cousins are busy, their mom is busy, they live far away and a visit doesn't work right now.  Make playdates with them at kids from school.

    Work on giving your SIL less power by working on YOURSELF - to be cordial to her, but to not speak to her unless spoken to, by not giving her any ammunition to use against you or to cause a scene.

    In my case, I personally tried for YEARS to get my SIL (dh's sister) to come around.  Even dh didn't want anything to do with her anymore, but I felt like we should be friendly because "she is family."  Eventually we stopped trying, no longer sent Christmas cards or invitations and...................suddenly she wanted to be friends again.  She started texting and emailing DH about how important their relationship was "for the sake of the kids....."!!!!!

    When we stopped caring, it took away her power, and it changed the game.  As long as you care SOOOO much, SIL still has power.  Stop caring, and it disappears.  We are by no means friends now, but I can see her at a family event, be polite, and get through the evening.  I don't talk with her b/c I want to avoid drama, but I can comment on positive things "your dd looks so cute."

    So my advice would be to not call, not text, not email, not friend on FB, but to not avoid family parties either.  Just live your lives the way you want, and if you are at the ILS and she starts drama, go to the kitchen and get a soda.  Practice saying "I'd rather not discuss that.  It's the holidays - lets keep things positive!"

  • You don't have to be friendly with people just because they're your family.

    Your duty as a parent is to raise your children to behave properly and to keep them safe. If being around a toxic relative will hinder that duty, then you need to keep your kid out of that situation. "I got to see my cousins" won't mean squat if it's associated with fighting adults or being around a toxic aunt.

    Kids will be healthy and happy if they're surrounded by live. Whether that's a blood relative or a friend. 




  • Would it be possible for the grandparents to have a grandkids sleepover? That way the cousins could still all see each other. My parents do this sometimes, not because my sibs fight or anything, but because they love having sleepovers and seeing the cousins interact.

    Growing up, my mom and my uncle didn't speak for years. They still don't get along now. However, the kids were still allowed to see each other.

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