Husband afraid to defend me... - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Husband afraid to defend me...

Back story, I am not close with my some of my husbands family members ( his brother and his girlfriend) They had shown their lack of care for me in the past so I made it clear to them that I was fine seeing them at family functions and really had no interest in anything else. The girlfriend became very pushy to hangout and what not which seemed desperate and I did not respond, I work full time have a 2 yr old and only have time for those that I have fullfilling strong friendships with as my time is limited. I (had) a cordial civil relationship with my husbands stepmother until recently. His brother revealed to their father that I had tried to "get the the stepmother to hate the girlfriend" and it must be because I am racist towards her ( she is of another race, which has NOTHING to do with my lack of interest of becoming close with her) I found out and told my husband what was said and I told him he needs to defend me as I find it very disrespectful that someone had said this and tried to vilify me ( I dont know who exactly had started this rumour) and needs to straighten things out with his brother who I feel may be behind it all..His stepmother is not trustworthy and has done things like this in the past to other family members and so I didnt suggest he talk to her as she will just deny it. Anyways my husband has not done anything, he expects me to just "let it go" which I cant, I feel very disrespected even more so with the way they acted in the past (originally the reason I disliked them never HATED..) I told him I would let it all go and start fresh with them if he did this especially since we have a 2nd baby on the way soon and I wanted to have this fixed before..Im tired of asking him if hes talked to his brother and he believes by doing so he will make things worse...I got very upset today as he facetimed with his stepmother and I had no interest in talking with her so I played dumb and had a shower...Im very hurt that he is dismissing my feelings. I feel like a married a wuss who cannot defend his OWN wife...what advice can anyone give me? Im starting regret I ever married someone with such a toxic family and no backbone 🙁

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 10:03 PM
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Re: Husband afraid to defend me...

You have my sympathy and understanding OP. I have the exact same problem as you.

In general, my husband is a good, strong man. He has a good, well paid job, is well respected by his peers, all my friends and family love him and he them. He doesn't abide bad behaviour and has strong morals, values and ethics. I love him to bits.

When it comes to dealing with his wretched family however, he reverts to a spineless, weak little boy and it drives me absolutely crazy. I am not scared of my family, and would not hesitate to put them in their place if they'd behaved in the same manner as my husbands family. But no, he can't do it.

He asserted himself recently when they overstepped a boundary while our daughter was in hospital, and they've not spoken to him since. He can't believe it and asked me why they would behave like this. I simply said "They've lost control over you and they don't like it. This is their way of teaching you a lesson". They sent him a card in the mail for his 50th birthday recently. A card. No phone call, no gift, just a card. His sister blocked him on FB, wooo she showed him, lololol.

If your husband is unwilling to stand up to his family (and it took me a long time and lots of arguments and tears to accept this), you have two choices - accept this is how it is, or leave. If you decide to stay, you have the right to set boundaries - mine are that his family are never to be in our home, and birthdays/holidays are to be spent with me and our daughter...if he wants to see his family he fits them in around us at a time that won't take away from our family. Those are my boundaries and I absolutely will not budge on them. Not one bit.

That's the cold reality and I'm really sorry to have to be so blunt but that's just the way it is.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 12:47 AM
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Re: Husband afraid to defend me...

OP, I'm sorry you're in this situation, especially with one on the way as now would be the optimal time for your husband to step up.

It's not ideal, but many women have had a come to Jesus moment with their husband: it's either your family or me.

I believe that when we marry, we agree to put the spouse first and family second. With children in the picture, family moves to third place.

Your husband obviously isn't the type to make waves. As @frusdil said, you may have to accept this is who he is.

One of my closest girlfriends is in love with a man she thinks is too passive. She's too afraid to leave him, so I remind her that she can't complain about his fear of standing up to his family when she's also too afraid to leave him over it. Someone has to be brave for anything to change.

Start with the come to Jesus talk. See where it gets you. This is as much about you and your children's futures as it is about the here and now.

"If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."

~ Abraham Maslow
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 01:50 AM
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Re: Husband afraid to defend me...

This is a really hard situation, and it's primarily what ended my marriage. It's very hard to change and it can be impossible to live with. My ex-husband was an only child and a mama's boy - which I was told before I married him but unfortunately I ignored. Mama did not like me because I changed her relationship with her son. I was not allowed to sign a birthday card for MIL's birthday. I am a physician so I had difficult work hours, and I was absolutely persecuted for having to work on holidays at times, and ruining the family's schedule. I didn't do the things that my husband's mother did for him (like ironing his underwear - something I downright refused to do). I didn't have the status with my then-husband to outrank his mother and this was probably the one most important thing that ended our relationship. I hope your results are better.

Don't let people become a priority in your life when you're just an option in theirs.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 06:53 AM
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Re: Husband afraid to defend me...

Why ask someone to intervene on your behalf? Are you not an adult? Are your brother in law and his girlfriends not adults? I think blaming your husband is a cop out, your not asking for his support, your asking him to solve your problems. Why? Are you afraid to speak for yourself? Have you never learned how to deal with conflict?

Leave your husband out of this, be an adult. Invite the BIL and his girlfriend to lunch, have a talk but keep it civil and act mature. In the end you may not come to like each other or agree with each other, but maybe you can reach a cease fire and stop the drama.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 07:25 AM
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Re: Husband afraid to defend me...

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Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
Why ask someone to intervene on your behalf? Are you not an adult? Are your brother in law and his girlfriends not adults? I think blaming your husband is a cop out, your not asking for his support, your asking him to solve your problems. Why? Are you afraid to speak for yourself? Have you never learned how to deal with conflict?

Leave your husband out of this, be an adult. Invite the BIL and his girlfriend to lunch, have a talk but keep it civil and act mature. In the end you may not come to like each other or agree with each other, but maybe you can reach a cease fire and stop the drama.
@Cooper, I agree that she should learn to defend herself, as it's a very important skill to acquire, but at the end of the day these are members of her husband's family. He is ultimately responsible for being the "representative" of their relationship. She is responsible for being the representative of their relationship to her parents.

We've had discussion on the board previously about step-parenting, how the biological parent of the children is responsible for standing up for the step-parent spouse, to educate the children that they need to show respect for their step-parent. I find this situation to be no different.

JMO.

"If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 10:32 AM
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Re: Husband afraid to defend me...

In the same position here and have been for 21 years.

The only solution, I am sorry to say, is to live your life with them on the periphery. I am super polite to my in laws but I give the NOTHING. I respond to ridiculous accusations with a *smile* or a look of bafflement - then change the subject. I do not involve them in my life, nor give them any information about me that can be used against me. I talk about the weather, I ask them about their lives, and basically do innocuous small talk.

I also changed my numbers so they cannot call me.

I basically took control because I will be waiting a lifetime for my husband to finally stand up to them. But you have to be clever, verbally standing up to them usually backfires - better to rise above it, bamboozle them with politeness but enforce firm yet polite boundaries.

I have been doing this for about 3 years and they have now moved onto my SIL who is the devil itself (apparently), they just leave me be. (Hooray).
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 10:52 AM
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Re: Husband afraid to defend me...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satya View Post
@Cooper, I agree that she should learn to defend herself, as it's a very important skill to acquire, but at the end of the day these are members of her husband's family. He is ultimately responsible for being the "representative" of their relationship. She is responsible for being the representative of their relationship to her parents.

We've had discussion on the board previously about step-parenting, how the biological parent of the children is responsible for standing up for the step-parent spouse, to educate the children that they need to show respect for their step-parent. I find this situation to be no different.

JMO.
While I agree when talking about children they need parental representation I don't agree with adults it should fall fully on the representative of that family. Don't get me wrong, if the family is bashing the wife he needs to speak up and tell them to knock it off, but that doesn't necessarily solve any problems, it just pushes things under cover to simmer.

As an adult I believe you are responsible for your relationships, it doesn't matter if it's family, friends or co workers, you need to figure out how to deal with differences and move on. If the OP would talk it out with the inlaws they may discover some silly thing just spun out of control, or they may decide they truly don't like each other, but you can still be mature about it. Look at the OP's comment about BIL's girlfriend pulling the race card, the OP says it has nothing to do with race. So how did that come up? Who said what? Why can't the OP just go to the girlfriend and say "hey, I don't know how that even came up but I swear your race isn't an issue with me". You deal with it directly and clear the air. When you drag a third party into it, like the husband, every comment gets tweaked a tad going back and forth, in the end who knows what's really being said.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 10:53 AM
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Re: Husband afraid to defend me...

Stop drama, don't encourage it.

You shouldn't be forced to be around these people. Don't be.
Your husband will have to respect your decision not to be around people who cause drama in your life.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Husband afraid to defend me...

Thank you for your responses. I would have talked to them myself, just from past experience it never amounted to anything as they saw it as confrontational and only made excuses for their behaviour which lead to me being clear with them that I would only see them at family functions. The mature approach on their part would have been to come to me instead of spreading the fake story and elaborating it with hurtful assumptions.
I asked my husband to clear things up with them as I felt that the brother would believe him rather than the one who he clearly has some strong opinions about already(me). I told my husband that if he did this I would let it all go...so since he hasn't, the alternative was to completely disassociate from them. I need to accept that my husband was not able to step up and fix a situation that has been festering for a couple years now and now I will put my foot down and protect myself and my children from the toxicity. I hate this, all I can take from it is understanding that every relationship has their struggles and sometimes families aren't what you hoped for! I just hope it doesn't affect us in the future anymore than it already has....

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