When we married, I basically married his family too. They have been a constant presence in our lives and in our home. He has always been the “father” of his family – where his father had a severe deficit. I felt at times I was just along for the ride. Happy to accompany him of course and I loved to help…I took pleasure in helping them. I took pleasure in being part of his family. Many times we would help them out with money or invite them to stay with us because they had no place to go…my husband was constantly babysitting his father and cleaning up his messes that would arise consistently. It was a never ending rollercoaster of my husband trying to bring his family up and then his dad knocking them down once more.
Mind you man of the ideas to help his family came from me…like the idea to give the car and the house…and to loan the m large amounts of money. All in the name of helping them out. Doing the right thing. Being family.
I even bought a bigger house when I moved out of state, anticipating that one day they would come to stay and our house could be a transitional place they could stay while they found their own way in the new state. It happened last year and I was thrilled to have them around us again. I loved the excitement, the conversation (granted I would mostly be on the sidelines), the connection with all of them. It filled me.
But then my husband started to make comments to me about how his mom or sister were offended by certain things I would or wouldn’t do…little customs that I would forget…like saying hi to everyone immediately after entering the house from working outside the home. It was rude not to in their eyes – a major offence. They didn’t take too well to my quietness as I am not the type to talk incessantly (writing is another story). I like to listen to the sounds and think and just be…that’s just me. They took it as an offence.
Then the thin seal of “family” that held us together began to tear. I found that they did not attribute any of the things they had received from us to me…it was all because of my husband that they were helped…I was just there.
Anything “bad” that they saw in my kids, they made comments like “oh they get that from your side.”
They genuinely thought I was the bad seed. The cause for turmoil among the family.
And then I realized they did not consider me family. I was not one of them.
I should have known when my mother in-law made a comment to me when I was thinking about adopting a child she said “you can never love another child as much as your own.” I disagree…once you adopt them and let them into your home they are your child. How could she love me? I am not from her. Her and my thought process differs greatly – I don’t foresee her and I ever seeing eye to eye.
This is why I chose to separate…they hurt me…or you could say I hurt myself when I believed that we were so much more than people occupying a house. I thought we were family occupying a home.
For the first time my husband and I are seeing the separation that should have taken place when we first got married. He has stopped enabling his father and we have become more of a family unit separate from the extended family. God talks about how he used negative experienced and incidents for the good. In a sense I thing it was necessary…that is had to happen so we could finally define what our family is (my husband, our kids, and myself).
That comment even that my husband made about Jesus eating with sinners and tax collectors and saying that I am a hypocrite for not acting like Jesus…the difference here is that the sinners and tax collectors wanted to eat with Jesus – probable admired and respected him for his efforts to reach out to them…with my husband’s family, they didn’t even want me at the table! Respect and admiration weren’t even thoughts floating about in the same room when we shared the same space. The air they breathe is so much purer than mine.
Having this forum to converse about this issue has really helped me. I feel more at peace. I have worked through this crisis and feel I am above the realm of being affected by it…they can’t hurt me any more. Nothing they do can hurt me because they have ceased to carry the same weight as they once did on my heart. I am no longer seeking their approval. I’m not bitter…I don’t wish them any ill will. I am just not going to let them define me any more…