How do you deal with ungrateful family members who tear down your partner to others?
Your parent calls and needs help (again). Your spouse drops everything and goes to their aid (again); genuinely happy to be helping - Every time .... Months later, you discover from other people that - even though your spouse has been kind thoughtful and generous to your parent - he/she has been bad-mouthing your spouse ... Then, your parent starts being passive/aggressive to your spouse; "forgetting" to say hello/good-bye, leaving their name off a gift/card for the family, "accidentally" calling your spouse by your Evil Ex's name, etc. ... What do you do? How do you protect your spouse?
That would be so hard. It would take a lot of courage but I would let them know that I love them, but that my spouse is my top priority and if it continues, then you will see them less. Let them know that unless and until he is treated properly, they need not bother to call for help. Let him (her) know how much you appreciate them and love them.
I think it is the responsibility of whoever's parents they are to take care of this issue and protect the spouse.
I have this same problem with a mother-in-law who has disliked me for no reason for 41 years! But my husband let her know he would not tolerate her mistreating me in any way.
I've had something similar happen to me and the longer you try and ignore it and think it will go away the worse it gets.
Try speaking to them without your spouse there and ask them why you are hearing these bad stories about your spouse and why you are being told they are coming from them. Try and listen and be open and find out what the real issue is. Once you find out what the issue is you can take the steps required to deal with it.
If you discover it's really a non issue or something that makes no sense logically etc then try and explain that it is putting unnecessary strain on your relationship and that it would be best if they brought their issues to you in the future and not to discuss it with others. Either way, I would still stress that last sentence to them as it's really no one else's business....
Sometimes when a son in law helps his in-laws they feel embarrassed and this is how they deal with that embarrassment, by belittling and undermining the person who helped them. I know it doesn't make sense logically but it's really common. As I said, I have been in this situation and have seen others in it too. Next time, either an actual relative should help them and you should tell them that you are really sorry but your partner is really busy and can't help.
I totally agree with duffsmom..and I can't add anything because she says it beautifully. It's an unfair situation that you're dealing with and I wish you the best.
I would tell my parent that when they criticize this man behind his back after he has helped them, they are slapping you in the face and hurting you. If that does not get the point across to them, I would break contact until they can act properly to him. They really need to grow up and quit the juvenile behavior.
I think you should be very strict about this matter. Talk to your parents and ask for their explanations. Next time whenever they need the help from your spouse, you should be present there and give your parents repeated reminder to behave properly..If necessary show your parents how much you love your spouse or how much you respect him for his generosity. I think this will work. Since they are your own parents so you have the right to correct their mistakes [either in s soft tone or strong tone] which your partner can not.
It is a sad situation, but then you need to know what matters most to you. You should keep a distance from the people that cause negativity around your household. Although it hurts, you know you and your partner did the right things. You were never at the wrong.
I went through the same with my in laws. I did my best to be nice to them and be an important part of the family. They've hurt me and they're rude. We have now decided to stay away from them. Every time i think about the times they were rude to me it hurts. If they can't see genuine affection for what it is then its there bad. We now plan to move away from them and maybe see them once a year if it fits us. Being nice to people does not always pay and all kindness are forgotten. I so wanted to be a part of them because they're my husbands parents but you know what, tolerance has its limits too. I'd rather stay out of the negativity and move on rather than fall victim again.
I had this problem with an aunt of mine and luckily I didn't have to do much except argue a little. Most of my family retaliated against her entirely leaving her alienated until she couldn't take it and she apologized completely.
I would let my parents know what they are doing because sometimes, they don't realize it. If they are doing it on purpose, a lot of times, they will step up and tell you things that they don't like about your spouse/partner. If they don't realize that they are doing it, it would be a wake up call for them. I think if the parents know that they are doing these things on purpose, you should let your spouse know that and tell him/her not to help the parents anymore unless it is a dire emergency.
Rosa, I'm sorry for the pain you are experiencing...from those you'd least expect! Nonetheless, I know your pain all too well. The best way to handle it is to take control by not allowing them to affect or "control" how you feel. How do I do this? I have to show people that I won't tolerate such ignorance by either having a conversation and/or not allowing them to be a part of various things that I do. You have to stand up for the respect that you and your spouse deserves. It doesn't matter who it is. If someone wants respect, they must show respect. Even our parents who are the ones that should set an example to begin with nonetheless. Sometimes, more oft than not, you may need to keep your distance. We all have issues and our parents are riddled with issues that may be a lot darker than our own. Your happiness is where you allow it to be. The same with your unhappiness. Spend more time with your hubby, doing what makes you two happy. If family thinks life is so long that they have time to mistreat you and your spouse, let them be. Invest your energy in praying for them and leaving them to their own unhappiness for whatever reasons. Spend more time doing what makes you happy and what makes your spouse happy. This is your life! Allow no one to control it through their own shortcomings. Maybe writing in a journal when things are said or occur will alleviate the stress that overwhelms you. If family is unappreciative of the love, time, and service your spouse so willingly extends, then don't extend it and please share how you feel with them, with your spouse by your side. The only things you owe your parents is to wish them well, be there when you can (in your case this is challenging), and be the best role model for others to follow. Take care and keep your head up!
If this is long-standing behavior, dating back to the beginning of the relationship, I'd sit down and talk to my parent about it. If, however, this is fairly recent behavior that is growing worse over time, I'd consider the possibility that my parent may be suffering early symptoms of dementia, Alzheimer's, or some other medical condition related to aging. I'd keep a record of interactions with my parent, then ask to speak with his/her doctor about the changes I'm seeing in behavior and attitude.
I'd also do my best to support my spouse and make him understand that his actions and generosity are greatly appreciated--if not by my parent, then certainly by me.
When you say "parent" I am assuming that both parents aren't in the picture. Depending on how long you have been married (and how long your parent has been alone) could be part of the reason. You may be the only child this person has to depend on and they could be lashing out due to anger or jealousy. Aging parents may fear a loss of independence and fear loneliness. Sit down with your parent and be HONEST about how their behavior is affecting your relationship, you may be surprised at the response. No matter the result, I wish you the best of luck. Remember, you have your own family now and expressing how you feel about the way they are being treated is all a part of marriage and in-laws.
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