I am heartbroken today. For some time, my husband has opted not to visit my parents, and I can't say that I don't blame him. He is a northerner, they are southerners. We are Catholic, they are not (Baptist and non-church-going). We are college educated professionals, they are not (trade school and high school). However, these differences are not the problem, but rather how they treat my husband.
My husband went through an extended period of unemployment, and my father called him "sorry" (as in "lay about lazy"). My dad has never apologized to my husband. My parents will not recognize that a great deal of my husband's joblessness was related to him moving to a small town in support of me furthering my education and career (we are now moving to a larger metropolitan area).
My mother announced a few years ago that they were not "doing birthdays". Yet I still receive a present for my birthday; my husband receives nothing.
When my husband has come to visit, they ignore him. When my parents talk to us, they only make eye contact with me. It's almost like he's a potted plant. He tries to talk to them, and they continue watching TV.
Today, on our wedding anniversary no less, I stopped by to say hello to my parents. My mother broke down in tears (that she immediately recovered from) to say how sorry and upset she was that my husband hasn't come to visit. She added, "and after we've done even more for YOU than your brother" -- as if there is a contractual quid pro quo instead of love at the heart of our parent-child relationship.
I did not want to argue with her, and told her and my dad that I was not discussing this matter, and left rather abruptly. I do not want them to know exactly how hurt my husband is by their behavior because I think they will use it against us. My mother, particularly, is very masterful at playing "victim" when in fact she has been the instigator through callous and less than feeling remarks. I have just told them that it is best he not see them now. I am afraid that HE will tell THEM what he thinks of them, and any hope for reconciliation lost.
With our upcoming move to another state, my mother has packed up the last of my childhood items. I don't have a problem with taking these items with me and picking them up next week, but she is absolutely demanding that they are gone TODAY. I cannot deal with TODAY as I was stopping by her home on a break from work. It is almost as if she wants to rid her house of any evidence of me.
What can I do to foster a reconciliation between my parents and my husband? The gulf between them seems so far. I feel like such a spineless individual, but I don't like the confrontation that has been forced on me. For me to admit to myself that my own parents -- who were loving in a cold WASP-ish way to me growing up -- can be this cold, passive-aggressive, and narcissistic is very difficult, and I am frankly pretty hacked off with them, too. I do not want to move away without at least making the effort to make a bad situation better.
Your honest advice from a spiritual point of view is appreciated. Thanks!