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AIBU to resent my DH's 'black sheep' status?(70 Posts)
When we met, he was all about how into his brother and sister and mum and dad he is, and I thought "aw, what a family man!" and this was one of the aspects that I really liked about him.
Then as our relationship progressed and got more solid, it turns out he actually doesn't like anyone in his family at all. He's only confessed this 2 years after we we got married...I'm very close to his sister and we message on a daily basis...something he resents and makes sarky comments about, like "glad she can care about you when she doesn't give a fuck about me."
Thing is, I actually feel like most of this is in his head. I've gotten to know his family, and though they are different in terms of lifestyle/political views/religious stance etc., I don't actually believe they have a problem with him like he believes they do. They HAVE had a few falling outs, but in my opinion, most of this is his skewed view of the situation, his instigation, and their inevitable reaction to it. (Sorry for the vagueness, but trying to not be too detailed.)
I find it incredibly tedious. I just want a lovely, family-bubble to mutually dote on each other's kids and exchange pleasantries and have a nice time together, and I feel awkward being torn between liking them and supporting his, what I feel, are delusions.
If I side with his sister for instance, then I am in the wrong and non-supportive. But most of the conflict has come from him, and I find it embarrassing to be honest.
I should also say is that everyone on my side of the family is gone, either passed away or immigrated. And he and I get along fabulously when he's not hung up on his family
Any advice on how I can reassure him or bridge this gap? Is it a LTB situation? I don't feel it is but it's a massive thorn in my side, none the less.
I'm not sure you can reassure him. His problems with his family seem to predate you and tbh the fact they are capable of having a better relationship with you doesn't mean they haven't treated him unfairly in the past.
My concern would be that he likes feeling 'left out' and doesn't see that he's isolating himself. I had a bf like that and it made me worry about his attitude to family.
Sorry I've realised that I'm no help at all
Anyone? Feeling quite down about this tonight as I had to fight with him, verbally, on him sending a drunken text message to his sister about how much he hates her.
APlaceOnTheCouch thank you so much for replying. You've been a massive help in just acknowledging how I feel!
There are about 2 or 3 past issues that he's hung up on, that he feels like he was done hard by, and these seem to be the catalyst for how he feels now. He's actually had a heart to heart with his sister over them, about a year ago, and felt better for about a week after their chat, and then went back to resuming his resentful status...I feel like it's more out of HABIT then willing to accept the change and being able to move on more than anything, which is so fucking frustrating!!
But I really appreciate you replying..it's weighing so heavily on me tonight so it's so lovely to have someone give me their perspective.
The fact he went back to feeling resentful is a problem but not one you can fix. If he wanted to change it, he could get some counselling or read up on core beliefs (beliefs you develop to protect yourself as a child but then hold you back as an adult).
Is the problem that you defend his DSIS? Or that you don't like seeing this side of him that is petty, resentful, angry and jealous?
And the reason I have started this thread tonight is he came home from an, admittedly, rare night out and said he'd written his sister a big "fuck off" text, basically, and I had to spend 20 minutes talking him down from sending it cos I know it would be the thing that would sever the relationship once and for all. I said to him that if he sent a drunken text about how he feels then he forfeits all dignity/integrity and genuineness on how he feels. He went to bed without speaking to me, but didn't send the text.
I think, superficially, the problem is me defending his DSIS. But the the long-term/overall issue is, as you say, me not liking seeing this side of him. He's just stuck on a loop, a broken record, and I feel like he's taking me down with him.
Give him back control of the relationship with his DSIS. In the morning, when he's sober, tell him to send the text if he wants. But make it clear you are still going to be friends with his DSIS. It will be interesting to see if he sends it or if he just likes creating drama for you to resolve.
There are lots of little warning bells - his resentfulness; his trying to bully his DSIS with drunken texts; him trying to isolate you both from a family support network and the fact he pretended his family dynamic was completely different until you were married.
You need to start thinking about what's acceptable behaviour to you and your boundaries.
We're moving this thread over to our Relationships topic at the OP's request.
APlace yes! Your post really resonates with me, thank you!!
His DSIS is vulnerable too...I can't say why as it might out the situation but she is heavily dependent on her little family unit (her DH, DC, etc) so I feel like his stance of her being somehow superior and therefore manipulative of him is bullshit...I am sure she is just like, what the fuck ever...exhausted of his nonsense, whereas he sees it as her being a superficial cow trying to somehow control the situation. I don't know how to get through to him, I really don't. If I'm really honest, I think he has a massive, massive ego problem, and I didn't realise this until after we were married, and it kind of
really puts me off him.
This sounds so complex. As most families are, tbh.
You have no way of knowing the true family dynamics. It also sounds to me that you have an idealised view of family? An amazing amount of shit goes down in families.
You insist it is all 'nonsense' and he is 'deluded' - but he may not be. Just out of interest, is there a sibling in the family who can do no wrong?
I'd tread carefully iiwy. If you side with his family this could be a huge, vast, betrayal.
APlace Yes, we have 4 between us. We're a 'blended' family, and one DC is ours, exclusively (rather than being from past partners iykwim)...
springy Thanks for that perspective. His DSIS and DBRO are 'only' half-siblings, and he doesn't have a full sibling, actually. He was brought up to consider them as full siblings, but he has admitted that he never felt particularly included in that dynamic. Does he need counselling? I wonder if I should encourage him to go back. He's had it in the past but it was for other issues.
As far as our relationship goes, I'd say 80% of the time he's not thinking about this stuff and we just go about our lives, merrily getting along.
Then something comes up like a birthday or family event and it's like a dark cloud descends on him and he can't cope.
He firmly believes based on cherry-picking past events and recording them as 'evidence' in his head that his whole family has been poisoned by his half-sister's bitching about him, which he's sure has happened based on her personality.
Whereas I find her funny, sympathetic, and engaging.
All parents are dead now (though not at the time I met him) in this scenario. Though DH had a few resentments about his stepmum and does say regularly how much DSIS reminds him of her, and of that fact.
based on cherry-picking past events
I'm actually have to pause here because I'm shocked you don't seem to grasp that ALL family dynamics are about seemingly tiny incidents - or at least tiny to those not on the receiving end.
I can't help thinking you are doing him a huge disservice here - tantamount to betrayal.
'Funny, sympathetic, engaging' means nothing. TO YOU she may be these things - she may be someone else entirely to your husband.
Sorry, but - is there a sibling who can do no wrong?
You see an adult sister who has her own issues. He possibly can't see past what he learned at a young age; that he was less loveable and less important than his half-sister to the most important people in his life.
She may well have been brought up to believe him to be inferior. Even if she has now grown past it, he might still have that angry, sad child somewhere inside and can't escape the past view and his suspicions of her. What may look like cherry-picking and exaggeration to you, might be something he has been unable to process properly.
If he won't go to counselling, can you? They might help you to gain some perspective on why he is this way and how you can behave to improve relations. Taking one side over the other is almost certainly exacerbating the problem.
Does he hold petty grudges against you too?
Did his dsis and him live apart as children? We have this situation in my family - the half siblings who lived together with parent all get along but the half sibling who was there every other weekend is very resentful. In my family, none of them are bad people but the one who is resentful feels that the others thought of themselves as a family and he was an inconvenience - and all of that is a result of several easy-to-make mistakes (like making very little fuss for his 18th as they were skint then having big parties / holidays for half siblings 18ths).
You are right to be frustrated - sending a fuck you text would be beyond childish of him. I think you should have a sober chat with him, ask him what would help him in his relationship with his family and why did he pretend they were close when you met?
However, you can't expect him to like his family because you get on with them,. Do you have any idea how often a dysfunctional family can present a respectable front? It's perfectly possible for his sister to be lovely to you as a friend and then revert back o a horrible bullying sister with him.
I don't know. I could see my family appearing like this to someone who hadn't had years of their emotional... Weirdness. Luckily DP completely gets it but if find it incredibly hard if he became very close to my brother. My brother is a nice person. Just not to me.
Could your shopping be suffering from paranoia.
This rings such a bell with me. I speak from experience.
Okay have you tried to see it from his point of view?
He thinks he came from a dysfunctional family. Where he was the scape goat. He still feels hurt at times from things that happened then. But they were good at covering it up, and even he learnt to pretend everything was okay.
Now you come along, you are the most important person in his life. And they manipulate you to take their side against them - which was frankly easy as you were looking for family having lost your own.
He'd like a loving family too, but he knows he can't trust them, they have stabbed him in the back too many times.
And just maybe he's not good enough with words to explain just what really went on? Especially as they will minimise it all.
If it was the other way round I think most people would be sympathising with your husband for your betrayal.
Counselling might help him. But so would you having a normal relationship with his family not an over involved one.
What if, he's right and you're wrong? And his dsis is part of a family dynamic that has been very dysfunctional and is ongoing? And you have been 'hoovered'? If that were the case, he would be very lonely.
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