July 02, 2020, 03:39:04 pm


"Welcome to WiseWomenUnite.com -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."

Could use some wise thoughts

Started by C., June 01, 2015, 12:52:35 pm

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Hello, all,

I have posted here over the past several years, though infrequently, but I read fairly often.  My past posts were about my adult child who had cut off all contact with me.  Later that child encountered serious life difficulties and moved back in with me for about a year.   I did my best to support this child through legal difficulties, unemployment and the end of a very bad relationship. Strangers looking on would have thought all was mended, and I had that hope, but I also had my doubts,  At the end of a year's time, my child moved out overnight, basically.  I went to work in the morning, and my child was gone when I returned home that evening.   We had argued, and I had had to set a boundary, and I didn't think that would go over well, and it did not.  I have not spoken with this child since, no family member has.  The child cut off all contact with all of us and moved quite a ways away.  I have worked hard to make my peace and move forward with my life.  I have a large family, a full time job, a long commute, a farm and beautiful grandchildren whom I regularly see and love very much.

I am 62 and the oldest of five siblings.  Both my parents are still alive and live independently on their own and do pretty well.  For many reasons I have always been the black sheep of the family, long story, but I have worked hard to maintain my connection with everyone, especially my parents, whom I visit regularly.  My siblings and I are not close, but we have always been cordial and warm towards one another.   A big issue for me and my kids has always been, my parents, especially my mother, have always greatly and unapologetically favored my youngest brother and sister and their children.  This hurt me and my kids over the years.  My kids are all grown now, and most of them have little to nothing to do with my parents and siblings.  Some harbor deep resentments. 

A couple of years ago, one of my nieces shared a house with my daughter her own age and two other roommates.  This did not go well, because the niece took up with a man who was abusive and caused many problems.  After a particularly bad scene, the niece moved out without paying her portion of the rent, leaving my daughter and the two other housemates on the hook for her rent for the remainder of the lease.  This caused some pretty bad feelings including with my sister, the niece's mother, with whom my daughter had strong words.  Not only was my daughter upset about the rent, she was very upset about the abusive boyfriend and scared for my niece.  My sister did not respond well to this.

During the time of the unpaid rent/abusive boyfriend issues, my daughter had been planning her wedding and my niece was to be a bridesmaid. Those plans went up in smoke in the fallout around the abusive boyfriend, the moving out, the unpaid rent.   Both my sisters took my niece's side.  One, a florist, had agreed to do the flowers for my daughter's wedding, but at the last minute, with only a couple of weeks until the wedding, she backed out and said she would not do the flowers. In the end, neither of my two sisters or their families attended my daughter's (large, beautiful) wedding.  They did not RSVP, they did not attend, they did not send gifts, they did not acknowledge my daughter's wedding in any way.  My parents and two brothers and their families did attend, and I was grateful. 

This past weekend, my niece married the abusive boyfriend.  No member of my large family was invited to the wedding.   The wedding photos are all over the family FB pages with me -- the oldest daughter -- and my entire large family clearly missing.  No family member has said anything about the wedding directly to me (or to anyone in my family), even though I've seen my folks regularly and have seen and had contact with my brothers and my sister, for that matter.  We were all just pointedly and silently omitted. 

This is really hurtful to me.  I knew it would be, but it's worse than I thought it would be.  It's as though my whole family has been erased from the extended family and the network of friends.  (My immediate family counting spouses and grandchildren amounts to 24 people.)   It is both painful and bizarre.  In a way, it's like all of the favoritism of the past decades has reached its final outworking, which is the erasure of me and my children.  (I am divorced and have been a single mom since 2008.)

I don't really know how to move forward now.  Do I have regular conversations now and just avoid any talk of the wedding?   I don't see that any good would come from bringing it up, but I also don't see that any good can come from pretending it didn't happen.  I did deactivate my FB page, no need to subject myself to that.  While I can possibly see my sister's and niece's predicament-- they didn't want my daughter at the wedding after all of the unpleasantness, but also didn't want to exclude only my daughter, so they excluded all of us.  Confrontation, disagreements and arguments are not really acceptable in my extended family.  That was the problem in the first place-- my daughter dared to speak up and say, hey, my cousin has taken up with an abuser, they are fighting all the time, he's hurting her, they moved out and did not pay the rent, what the heck.  (I was not in on any of this directly, I just heard my daughter's side, and, of course, my sister just heard her daughter's side.  The other two roommates did confirm what had happened though-- they all came to me asking for advice.) 

I would so deeply value any words of wisdom anyone might have.  I feel like though I have tried hard to be part of my family, it's kind of been for naught.  It does really hurt, and I am also deeply hurt for my kids.  Fwiw, my adult kids are all successful, college graduates, good jobs, nice homes, good spouses.  They're just all good people.

Thanks so much for reading, those of you who have taken the time!



C I know it hurts but I think that you may be reading more into it than there is.  Your niece did not want anyone who had accused her now husband of abuse.  She and probably your sister most likely threatened everyone else in your extended family with being ostracized like you were if they told you.  They wanted to be included and honestly you wanted them to go when you think about it, right?  After all a wife abuser first isolates his wife from her support structure so he can have her completely under his thumb so the more people who can get along with him the better it is for your niece.  My sister once married an abuser and my DH and I were the only family members that managed to remain close to the two of them so when she had had enough she called me and my DH (bless his heart) and I moved in with her and kicked him out.  If we had ostracized him the way the rest of the family did who would she have turned to?  So thank your lucky stars that the rest of your family is staying close and encourage them to remain close!

Now, as for the other I am sure someone in your extended family will bring it up eventually and my thoughts are that you should tell them that you were hurt but you understand why it had to be that way.  Let your Mom, Dad and brothers know that you are not going to hold anything against them and you hope they had a great time.  After all it would have been really difficult to watch your lovely niece marry a man that you are so sure is not good for her so not being invited was a kind of blessing.  I know you missed out on the fellowship with your extended family but having to smile and act happy is really tough (I know, as the mother of the groom how hard it can be).

The one thing you should remember in all of this is that any ill feelings or grudges that you decide to harbor due to this event will only hurt you and make your life more miserable.  Life is way too short to spend it worrying about things you cannot change.  You have complete control over how much this affects you so my advice is to decide that your happiness is worth more than a missed ceremony and let it go.  Good luck!

Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


Stilllearning, thank you for those wise words.  <3   You are so right-- I want my niece to have the support of the family.  And it would have been painful to watch her marry this man, knowing what I know.  I think what I wish would have happened is, I wish my sister would have come to me, even just emailed me, and said, "C., I feel horrible about this, but I don't really see how we can invite you to the wedding given how things have gone between our daughters, etc."  Going back a ways, I realize how much I am still  hurting over my sisters not attending my daughters' wedding, or at least just acknowledging it in some way, even just sending a card.  I wish, again, they'd have come to me or even written me and said, we feel horrible, but we don't see how we can attend.  I would have been sad, but I would have also understood and been accepting.  The silence seems crazy-making and eerie to me.

I am not the grudge-holding kind, but I am also not good with smiling and pretending things are okay when they are not.   I don't see my sisters often-- my sense is, now I will see them even less.  But  life will go on, and I have so much to be happy about and grateful for.  I do intend to send my niece and her husband a gift, just via their registry, to let my niece know I love her especially and that I care.   All of this is informed by my own past as a survivor of abuse.  I married in my early twenties, and my first husband tried to kill me and almost succeeded.  He went to prison for the rest of his life for this and died there in 1997.  I taught my children about abuse and battering, how to recognize it, how to avoid batterers.  All of these things figure in so far as how things have unfolded in my family. 

Well, anyway-- thanks again, Stilllearning.  I am so thankful for your wise words.  <3


C., good to have you back. I'm sorry you have had to be part of a split that was between the girls, the abusive guy and the rent...since none of it was your doing. All I can suggest is that you look at interacting with those that respect you...and pass on the 'wedding vendetta'...and those who want to set their life course around it. You sound like a wise and loving person, to me. I suggest you share those qualities where they are returned and know that those who turn away have their own choices to make and paths to follow. You don't need to understand or be included if it brings you sadness and a sense of helplessness. You deserve better...give it to yourself. Sending hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama