Dysfunctional Family and Holidays ~ When You Feel like the Bad GuyBy
I watched a show the other day where the in-laws were totally against the daughter-in-law and the whole family (the husbands parents and grown siblings) went on the show to publically gain validation that they were ‘right’ to be against her even though her husband was totally FOR her. They were all insisting that he couldn’t really be in love with her. And if they couldn’t conceive of it, then it must not be so. They dictated ‘respect’ to her. They demanded that she have respect for them but it wasn’t mutual respect, it was that one sided kind of respect. She was supposed to respect them even while they looked down on her and they were very open about their beliefs that their son had made a mistake in marrying her. These people ganged up on the woman (and it seemed to me to be because she had different viewpoints than they did) and never considered that the grown son/brother had a choice or could think and make decisions for himself. The married couple had been together for around 10 years and had two children but his parents and siblings refused to believe that he had chosen his wife and that he was happy with his choice! They insisted that his wife changed him, and that he wasn’t ‘himself’ anymore. They begged him to “come back”.
The grandparents were so disrespectful of their daughter-in-law that they justified disregarding the daughter-in-laws rules when it came to the children and they publically refused to respect her choices when it came to those children. These parents/grandparents thought they had a ‘right’ to do and say whatever they wanted!
It really reminded me of my life and the way my in-laws regarded me. And because of their actions and disregard, my in-laws lost their son and their grandkids. I was just someone who could cook for family dinners or christmas and holidays and do the mundane chores for their son so he could work more for them. I know they didn’t care about me or about losing me. They never approved of me in the first place; but I am pretty sure they didn’t consider that they might lose him.
When my husband drew HIS boundary, his family blamed me. (This is not so surprising when you think about it; abusive controlling people always blame someone else and never look at their own actions.)
BUT when I look at this through the grid of truth, the way that he was treated by them, why on earth didn’t they think he might draw the line somewhere? Looking at the way they treated him, what did they think was going to happen?? I mean REALLY!
And here is the answer to that question; my husband’s dysfunctional family never considered that he might draw the line with them because he never did before and they were comfortable and confident that he never would. His parents and their parents before them believe in entitlement and parental rights which is at the root of the dysfunction in all dysfunctional family systems. They believed that they “owned him” and a dog is always loyal to its master even if it falls in love with another dog. My father in law believed with every fibre of his being that his ‘dog’ would never dare to have a mind of his own and make a choice of his own. He believed that ‘his dog’ would always be loyal to him and comply with his wishes. He never considered that ‘his dog’ his prize possession, his well-groomed and very brainwashed son would wake up and see the truth. That is how he raised (groomed) ‘his dog’ after all.
My abusive father in law never considered that HIS actions were disrespectful, abusive, manipulative and dysfunctional. He only looked at the ‘problem’ with everyone else. There was no mutual respect. There was no give and take. There was no clear communication because making us “guess” was a great way for him to feel as though he was the king. He ruled without consistency so we would have to spin and fret to figure out what he wanted. There was no interest in having a relationship based on equal value in fact my husband’s father would have dropped his jaw at the mere suggestion of equal value and he would have look at me as though I were from outer space! I can still see the look; you know ‘the look’. That look that speaks volumes and says “are you out of your mind”; that eye rolling, disgusted, dismissive, insulting and defining LOOK. (That look that they deny ever having done if it is ever pointed out) That look that says “I knew you were nuts and you just proved it.”
But am I really the bad guy?
What a huge insult to my husband when his family blames me for the fact that he no longer sees them. There is a message in that too; they are communicating that my husband, their son, is stupid. That he is not capable of standing up for himself, and that he ‘lets his wife’ make all the decisions FOR HIM. They are calling him a wimp, saying that he has given his power up to a mere woman. They are communicating that he is unable to make his own decisions and unable to think for himself. I remember when my husband realized this truth; he was hugely insulted and it made him really angry. But the more he thought about it, the more he realized that the truth is that this is the way he had always been treated anyway. He was regarded this way long before he ever met me.
I think they were shocked that we dared to defy them. So shocked in fact that they could not even comprehend that we had the audacity to draw a boundary and ASK for mutual respect. But there is no love without equal value and mutual respect. There is only dysfunction and the constant reminder that we are not nearly as worthy as them.
So are we or am I missing anything not having this ‘family’ around for the holiday season?? No… I don’t think I do. And am I the bad guy here? I don’t think so. These people are responsible for their own results and this is a big part of the truth that set me free.
Please share your thoughts about dealing with Dysfunctional Family over the holidays ~ where does this feeling of “being obligated to deal with them” come from? Why do you think you might be the bad guy? And of course feel free to share about the freedom that comes with NOT dealing with dysfunctional, controlling, abusive and manipulative family.
Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time
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