need advice concerning family

Melissa - posted on 01/03/2012 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My husband and I are struggling with the issue of his family. There are three adult children in his family and my husband is the only one who is looked down upon and treated differently. His brother and his wife are pastors but they constantly look down on others and have actually bad mouthed people who have called them for advice in front of us. My mother in law criticizes every move we make (why do you go out to eat on fridays when you have 2 kids? etc.). This past month my brother in law was stationed here in CT for the entire month and my inlaws as well as he and his wife, my husband's sister and her boyfriend had family dinner every sunday of the month at my mother in laws house and on Christmas they were talking about the inside jokes from such occasions which we were never invited to even though we live 10 minutes away. We are trying to be good Christians but are really starting to resent being treated in such a way. It makes us angry and we want to distance ourselves from them for the sake of our children (don't want them to hear my mil talking down to dad in front of them) They didn't buy my kids gifts for Christmas but got something for my nephew. I don't want to dislike them but we really want to cut ties and say "this is what we're doing" in regards to birthdays and such and not have to call several times to get them involved in our kids lives. Do you think it would be ok to not have them in our lives even if they are family?

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Anne - posted on 01/05/2012

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Kristina Your advice was in my opinion right on, and I am not 19 I am 56. I love the verse that talks about Let No Man Despise They Youth.



Melissa if after you have tried to talk to your husbands family and they still so not change I would have them be a part of your and your children's lives as little as possible with out being rude or disrespectful.

Kristina - posted on 01/03/2012

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I want to start off with saying that I am only 19 so I won't have the best advice. But I do have some experience in a similar situation. My in-laws like me but my step dads family did not when he married my mom about six years ago. They were constantly talking bad about me and my sister and even made a rude comment about my mother -based on the actions of my step dads ex-wife. We had our fair share of arguments and fights. The best way I could handle it was to bite my tongue and to stay away as much as possible. I was also a teenager. I think you should sit down with your husbands parents and discuss your feelings with them. Tell them what you notice and how you feel about it. They might not even notice that they are doing it. Just see how they react. I also think you should talk your brother-in-law and his wife. Bring to their attention the hurtful things they are doing and saying. Not just to you but to members of their church. The bible says we should bring to attention the wrongdoings of our brothers. If they don't listen, bring a fellow Christian to talk with them as well. If they still don't listen, bring it to the attention of the congregation. I'm not saying you have to go that far, but let them know that they are not portraying good Christians. If they are true to their faith, they should accept the criticism instead of resent it. I hope some of this helps
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Natausha A. - posted on 01/12/2012

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The 19 year old Kristina is dead on wit her answer. I had a similar situation and decided to talk to the person about it. We both got a full understanding. (I was right, she was wrong :-)! ) My mom-in-law was never involved with us at all. She had her reasons, although they weren't justifiable. I was able to understand why she thought the way she thought, but it was still no excuse for her actions towards us and I conveyed that message quite clearly, but lovingly. The issue was resolved. Talk to them. Don't just cut them off without first doing it God's way as Kristina had explained. If the issue is not resolved that way then God automatically releases you and you don't have to worry about it anymore. God bless.

Lindsay - posted on 01/09/2012

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My husband has some issues with his father, and it had always been a source of stress for him. One day it got out of hand, and since then he decided to cut him out of his life. He has been a much happier person since doing this, let me tell you! You do not get to pick your family, and if theyre treating you badly, move on. Surround yourself with positive. Negative people will only continue to bring you down. I will say though that he has agreed not to keep his father out of my stepsons life. If his father ever calls to see colton, or what not, he is always welcome to come by and see him. He has been all of 2 times in about 8 months if that tells you how much he really cares. But such is life.

Linda - posted on 01/08/2012

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I think you have made a wise decision. The Bible says that in as much as you are able to, live at peace with all men. Sometimes that may mean not seeing even family much. You constantly begging to be a part of their lives is not promoting peace. I know it is painful because I also have family that doesn't seem very interested in my life (though they would never actually admit it) but I have had to come to terms with it. Be gracious when you speak to them, but don't beg either.

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Jennie - posted on 01/16/2012

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You need to stay away from people that are being detrimental to your family. Family or not, they are negative and need a serious intervention in their lives. Christ loved all people and didn't judge them like these people are doing to you. Look for a new church.

SAC - posted on 01/09/2012

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So many words of wisdom here from others. Prayer is the most important in these situations. I am a MIL that has problems in the reverse with my DIL. Just as parents have to learn to let go and let their children make their way...I believe you have the right to limit time with the offending family members. It is never easy when all you want is to have a close family foundation that includes those who raised you and your spouse. It doesn't always work that way. We try to set our own example and hope that others will follow, but it comes down to: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.

Pray, be cordial and polite when needed, talk with your family members and try to explain your side of things, pray more and if needed, limit the times you are around them and keep walking your chosen path with God. Perhaps they may see what is happening, perhaps they won't...turn them over to God and see what happens.

It has been quite the struggle for me as I have had to walk away from my oldest because of his choices and his wife's troubled past blinding her and making waves. My peace comes from turning them over to God and continuing to pray. It hurts that I cannot really spend time with my Grandchildren when I have been so involved in their lives since birth, but my feelings will heal some in time. What is important is I don't have to bite my tongue and the children do not have to listen to ugliness between myself and their mother...for which I have always tried to avoid anyway, but sometimes, being human can be quite challenging.

I wish you and your family well and will keep you in prayer.

Carla - posted on 01/06/2012

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Sounds wonderful, Melissa. The Spirit has given you release from these people, and sometimes, unfortunately, that's what we have to do to survive mentally. People often kid and say 'our family puts the fun in dysfunctional'. I find nothing funny in my family--it's heartbreaking and painful. However, it is what it is, and if we can pick ourselves up and carry on without them, we are better for it.

God bless, darling

Melissa - posted on 01/06/2012

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Thanks for the advice everybody. Just so everyone knows, we do not attend the same church as our family. We are actually of an entirely different religion (they are salvationists we are evangelical free) which is ANOTHER issue they have with us. We have a wonderful church community that is not critical for our children to see how pastors should behave towards their flock. I appreciate everyone's advice. My husband and I are continuing to pray about this and between the advice I've gotten here and through my mentor we've decided that from now on we are not going out of our way to "beg" (which is essentially what we have to do to get together for anything). It's going to be "this is what we're doing, this is when it is, this is the RSVP date and if we dont hear from you by that time we assume you are not coming" My four year old doesn't even ask about that side of the family since he rarely sees them and my side of the family loves them so much that it just seems that it is more damaging to stress ourselves out and let the kids pick up on it every time we are trying to get them involved in their lives. Hopefully some day they will say "hey we've got great grandkids/niece and nephew" and wake up and WANT to be part of our lives on a regular basis. Until then, we will continue to pray for peace about the whole situation.

Mindee - posted on 01/05/2012

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I actually have the same problem with members of my own family. It became so emotionally abusive of a situation that when my husband lost his job and was offered one 13 hours away, I said, "tell them you'll take it!" It's one of the best moves we've ever made! Now I don't feel heartbroken every Sunday when we aren't invited to family dinner at my sister's house. I even had to go so far as to block certain emails from family members. It's nuts! But I can tell you my family and I are so much happier where we are and I don't have a single regret about moving away.

VICKIE - posted on 01/05/2012

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We relocated and love it. I miss my family because they played a serious role in my child life but we needed peace and less drama. Now I have 3 kids and they don't really see anybody because of the distance. My dad calls and give gifts and we go there or he comes here once a year or every other year and I wish they could see him more because before my mom passed who was not with my father she didn't go a day without seeing my first son and my other two will never have that kind of grandparents relationship. So I'm grateful for my dad trying. However my inlaws don't do anything for my kids either and only seen them a few times and they are 14,4, &2. They use to mistreat me and talk about me like a dog until my husband finally stood up for me and we prayed on how we would handle it. We allow them to play whatever role they want and we don't mistreat them but we don't go out our way to reach out to them. We talk to them sometimes and my husband use to keeping ask them to be more in their lives and do for them to but he had to let go and let God. Also, forgive them and understand they have to want to be there. So we have learned to love them from a distance. My children know they have grandparents but only see one and hear from one on a regular and we continue to pray for the two who are not really in their lives. Praying for your family and wish you all the best.

Carla - posted on 01/05/2012

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@Kristina, you are wise beyond your years, sweetheart! These people are ministers, for goodness sakes! But, having been in the world a looonnngggg time, I have discovered that not all that claim the Name of Christ have the right to do so.



So everyone's advice is sound. First pray, pray, pray. Second, talk to them of your concerns, ALL of them. Third, if they blow you off, do as Kristina says, and take another outside Christian to talk to them, if that doesn't work, take them in front of the board, if that doesn't work, take it to the church body. Paul said we are most definitely supposed to judge those inside the church, especially the leaders! The letters to Timothy and Titus tell very specifically how leaders are to conduct themselves. Talking AT ALL about what is discussed in counseling it tacky to the extreme, as well as against how we have been told to behave.



As for the way you are treated, how does your husband feel? Again, pray, pray,pray, then talk to your in-laws. This seems to be a very unhealthy circumstance, and I believe you are right in limiting the amount of time your children are exposed to it. Not even to mention not getting gifts from your grama and grampa? Shocking! We sacrifice much in order to give our grandchildren the very best we can.



God bless, darling, we love you, and appreciate you. Keep us posted.

Shannon - posted on 01/03/2012

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Prayer is always the way to go. God hears our prayers and He will work in His own time. He is all knowing so He knows what is in the hearts and minds of all of His children. I agree w/ Kristina about following scripture to deal w/ their offenses. You have to make sure that what you do is honoring to Christ and you are only accountable to God for yourself and what you have done to further the kingdom in His name. Pray, pray, pray. Pray for yourself and your spouse too so that you are strengthened through this time of trial. The Lord says in His word that the trials strengthen us and that He wants us to come to Him. When He/says "take my yolk upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yolk fits perfectly, and my burden is light.", He is saying He will help you through. A yolk was used to help the oxen bear the loads together, not alone. Jesus is you helper, His yoke is easy and His burden is light, He wants you to talk to Him and let Him guide you in the right direction. He will help with all situations. He will help the in-laws that make bad choices and as pastors they will receive harsher punishment if they don't make right their ways and follow Christ as servants and not as judges. Keep your head up and know that the only thing that matters is bringing others to truly know Him and further the kingdom of God. If you can help them by praying that God will truly change their hearts and lives then you should do that, but if you need to do that w/o them then that's what you have to do. If they feel God leading them to change their ways then they will feel God when He asks them to make things right w/ you and your husband. When that happens them you have to be a willing vessel as well and be quick to firgive them as He forgave us when it was undesearved.

Angela - posted on 01/03/2012

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None of us have a "duty" to retain any people in our lives that have a negative effect on our wellbeing, self-esteem and peace of mind. And this applies to family as well as friends.

It appears to me that your parents-in-law don't hold their own son (your husband) with the same respect and esteem they have for their other children. You, by default, have also become a less worthy person in their estimation, simply because of your association with your husband - their son!

It's absolutely none of their business if you go out for a meal one evening a week or even if you were out every night of the week! You were a couple long before you were parents and it's good that in the midst of family responsibilities and work responsibilities you find the quality time for each other as a married couple. The best service you can ever do for your children is to keep your marriage alive, healthy and happy.

So the rest of the family have their own little clique and private jokes therein? So what? You can have your own private jokes (about them) when you get home!

It's beyond the pale that your brother-in-law and his wife as religious ministers talk about the private business of the people who go to them for counsel and guidance. If someone's life is 100% settled and smooth, they don't need counselling. So to make small talk and give criticism about someone's issues and problems shows serious disrespect to vulnerable, troubled people - how DARE they?

Depending on how strong you feel about this, why not try giving some assertive answers when they criticise or question you for your choices - if you're not quite ready to give up on them yet.

Otherwise, if you've definitely had enough, keep your distance and have a polite but truthful answer when they phone asking why you've not been in contact.

And pray for them!

Jennifer - posted on 01/03/2012

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I have many family problems, with both my in-laws and my bio family. I advise you pray about it. I can't bring myself to cut ties, even though I've been through much worse than you are describing(threats on my life from my in-laws). It does take me quite some time to prepare for a 'visit'. Lots of prayer and some memorized verses.........If you and your husband can cut ties with a clear conscience, I'd say go for it, though, no reason to stress yourselves if it is not needed. I feel like my husband and me are the witnesses to our family, though, even though they all claim to be Christians, so don't cut them from your prayers, you may be their life-line.

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