What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's family?
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's family?

Last week, we finally were able to move out of my fiance's family's house and move back out on our own. His parents were busy and have been having health problems, so we had to ask both of my parents to help us move. His family's house wasn't as clean as it should be because A. they were trying to get it back in order and B. they have been too busy and I have been trying my best to help keep it clean as possible.

Fast forward to today: my mom gets on FB and asks me to make sure my fiance wasn't around before she asked me a mean question and get this, she doesn't want me to tell him she asked this because it may hurt his feelings . She asks "Has his family's house always been that dirty?" and then she goes "Your dad cried because he was sad that you lived in a house that dirty" It threw me for a loop and I knew they would be that insulting because my parents are very judgmental and controlling . What do I do? I am visibly upset and want to cry so badly because I am insulted and hurt right now for him, and I don't want my fiance to be hurt anymore. But at the same time, I hate hiding things from him and I want to be as honest as possible with him. So what I am supposed to do?

This is sadly not new. From day one, my parents have always belittled my fiance behind his back. For example, the first time my fiance met my parents, he went on a camping trip with them and they got insulted just because he got sick one morning and didn't eat all of his breakfast. They are the most negative parents ever.

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Old 03-24-2012, 11:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's fami

Nobody can insult or hurt you without your permission.

You have the power to stop this but it will require you to make a hard choice. Your parents or your fiance. In your case you can't keep them both happy.

And lets not forget about you. What do YOU want? What will make YOU happy? And that answer cannot involve other people because the only person you can control in this scenario is you.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's fami

You need to look them directly in the eye and say, "Why do you make comments like that"?
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's fami

Ya know, I came from spotless grandparents, but guess what, the atmosphere in the house was "cold" sometimes, so clean you are afraid to sit on the furniture lest you might not have clean clothes, or you moved something out of place. Then I have had friends who , well, their house was always a wreck, so was my mother in laws house...and they opened their doors to me when I needed a place to live before we even married. And those friends of ours, they'd give the shirt off their back.

The point being.... just cause a family has a cleaner house, doesn't mean they have a cleaner heart. Sounds like the situation here.

It would be great to have both, but some of us are still struggling somewhere...

I think it is somehow freeing... to come to a place to be able to make light of these things without offending -if that is even possible... For example... My MIL is a hoarder, we love her, but dagone it , we joke about it too -her son /my husband leading the way... because if we had to have a straight face with as bad as her junk grows....that would near be difficult. And of course he loves his mother.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's fami

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Ya know, I came from spotless grandparents, but guess what, the atmosphere in the house was "cold" sometimes, so clean you are afraid to sit on the furniture lest you might not have clean clothes, or you moved something out of place. Then I have had friends who , well, their house was always a wreck, so was my mother in laws house...and they opened their doors to me when I needed a place to live before we even married. And those friends of ours, they'd give the shirt off their back. So true! They are very kind hearted and go out of their way to do anything for one of us, even if they aren't the tidiest of people.

The point being.... just cause a family has a cleaner house, doesn't mean they have a cleaner heart. Sounds like the situation here.

It would be great to have both, but some of us are still struggling somewhere...

I think it is somehow freeing... to come to a place to be able to make light of these things without offending -if that is even possible... For example... My MIL is a hoarder, we love her, but dagone it , we joke about it too -her son /my husband leading the way... because if we had to have a straight face with as bad as her junk grows....that would near be difficult. And of course he loves his mother.
I should say that I didn't like living in the mess that they had, but I did my best not to say anything about it too because it was their house and it was only temporary. I did help keep it as clean as possible without interfering in their business. However, I wish my parent's weren't so judgmental. I honestly just believe they are finding ways to make the in-laws look as bad as possible just because they are jealous. Oh well, I am not going to let them get to me anymore because I love my fiance so much and I don't want their ways ruin our relationship.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You say, "Mom, you're speaking about the man I love. That was an uncalled for comment, one I find intrusive and unacceptable. Please keep those kinds of thoughts to yourself."

You'll have to find your own words, but the upshot is you are building a new life for yourself with your fiance. It is up to you to define the boundaries - this is where you have to learn to be the mama bear defending her cubs. You don't have to respond angrily, just clearly.

Your folks are still thinking of you as 'theirs'... and you are transitioning away from them and making your own family. They'll need your help to learn that things are changing, so it's important that you learn to tell them when they've stepped over a boundary. It's scary and uncomfortable, but do it early! Don't procrastinate because then you WILL get angry and then it's much harder to say. Just be factual. "I don't like it when you say these things. I wish you wouldn't." or even, "Mom, that's mean and hurtful." Don't think of it as a big hairy deal, it's just feedback. You're just helping them understand where you stand - and it's with your man!
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's fami

Tell them nicely but firmly that it is not acceptable. that it is your life and you are in love. They can either support you or loose your connection with them.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's fami

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You say, "Mom, you're speaking about the man I love. That was an uncalled for comment, one I find intrusive and unacceptable. Please keep those kinds of thoughts to yourself." [COLOR="rgb(153, 50, 204)"] You are right. [/COLOR]

You'll have to find your own words, but the upshot is you are building a new life for yourself with your fiance. It is up to you to define the boundaries - this is where you have to learn to be the mama bear defending her cubs. You don't have to respond angrily, just clearly.

Your folks are still thinking of you as 'theirs'... and you are transitioning away from them and making your own family. They'll need your help to learn that things are changing, so it's important that you learn to tell them when they've stepped over a boundary. It's scary and uncomfortable, but do it early! Don't procrastinate because then you WILL get angry and then it's much harder to say. Just be factual. "I don't like it when you say these things. I wish you wouldn't." or even, "Mom, that's mean and hurtful." Don't think of it as a big hairy deal, it's just feedback. You're just helping them understand where you stand - and it's with your man!
I need to be more assertive with them for sure. I grew up in an environment where you do not dare question the parents or authority, even when the parents are in the wrong. If I ever tried to, I got spanked for it. But I need to be not so afraid of my parents and stand up to them. I am tired of their holier than thou attitude towards people. I am tired of them making my life a living hell, as well as my fiance's.
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think there's a daughter dynamic... a protective thing that parents do, and it's tough for a girl to get out from under it once she's grown. After all, it's protective, and that's loving, right? But... at a certain point, the girl has to become the woman, and there's just no way to claim that space without rejecting the protection. Fundamentally, it's rocking the boat and it feel like you're rejecting them. You're not. And it IS rocking the boat. You're getting into a new boat. You still love them. But you need to leave their boat. You're getting into your own, and you need to tell them that...and you do that by telling them when certain things they say aren't acceptable.

Probably the first time you say something - even tiny - that disputes what they say, everyone's eyebrows will shoot up. It's a first, so it'll be shocking. It's okay. Feel the adrenaline, the fear... when you look back on it, it's called courage. You're learning how to be mama bear.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's fami

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I need to be more assertive with them for sure. I grew up in an environment where you do not dare question the parents or authority, even when the parents are in the wrong. If I ever tried to, I got spanked for it. But I need to be not so afraid of my parents and stand up to them. I am tired of their holier than thou attitude towards people. I am tired of them making my life a living hell, as well as my fiance's.
It is very freeing to come out of this....and furthermore, they will have more RESPECT for you, and this BS will stop. Try it, stand up to them ... you will see a change. Bullies quiet bullying those who stand up to them!

There is a book called "Feel the Fear and do it anyway".. I like that phrase... .

ALso a book like this would help you ... Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

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I honestly just believe they are finding ways to make the in-laws look as bad as possible just because they are jealous.
I agree , they are likely jealous of your new relationship with him & his family, they are going about it completely in the wrong way to win your heart back in their favor though.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's fami

There is often a little power struggle with your parents when you are starting out on a marriage. How you deal with it will define your relationship forever.

You have to make it VERY clear that you will not tolerate this sort of behaviour from you parents and that you will cut them off if they continue. Your loyalty must lie with your spouse if you are going to have a successful marriage.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:21 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I disagree with this being insulting.
Your mother was being factual.
Your father was expressing his own feelings.
It is normal for parents of a daughter to be concerned about what type of man she is marrying.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:16 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's fami

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I disagree with this being insulting.
Your mother was being factual.
Your father was expressing his own feelings.
It is normal for parents of a daughter to be concerned about what type of man she is marrying.

I am not going to deny for one second that the his family's house was not dirty. In fact, I cringed when I saw how it was. But I was going to stick it out for my fiance and he did try to help clean it up. He is a really good guy despite a few bad habits.

Also, I know that it's normal for parents to be concerned about who their daughter marries. But there is a fine line between being concerned and just being mean. My parents don't understand how much he makes me happy and how they continuously say mean things behind his back shows a lack of respect on their part. I am not trying to be defensive, but my parents are very critical people and I have grown up in that kind of environment my entire life. My parents have called me fat and told me that I need makeovers. They even called me a snob when I was going through a rough period in my life when I was having a hard time making friends. Instead of helping me through it, they criticized me and made me feel terrible for it. So that's how my parents are and that's why I wrote this post.
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:41 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's fami

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Don't let it bother you. You have to learn to let things just roll of. I know it only upsets you because you care, but you have to stop caring about what she thinks and so does your fiancé. It is possible to have a relationship without letting her snide comments affect you. Just tell yourself; it's petty, it's rude, and it’s intrusive. Whenever she says things like that always respond with a quick, dismissive, nonchalant comment.

Mom: Is their house always so dirty?
You: Not generally, they have been sick and we have been busy. Thanks for helping us move. Did you like our new place?

It is fairly easy to redirect people if you keep the transition smooth and natural. Keep it simple and without too many details, then change the subject. Look at it this way, at least she had enough tact not to say it to your fiancé. You have to learn how to handle her without putting him in the middle.
That is also a good strategy that I have tried using as well. I am trying to get better about letting things roll off of my back too. Sometimes, I really have to in order to stay sane and happy. You are right though, and I like the way you suggested about redirecting her too. That is a good way of dealing with it too IMO.
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:55 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: What should I do when my parents ask an insulting question about my fiance's fami

Simply tell your parents your loyalties lie with your husband and that he will hear every snide comment they make.

They'll shut up
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