September 25, 2011

Beware of Saws

Family. We don't choose them, and those we're related to typically don't have a say in our choice of spouse when we say "I do." We end up with this interesting blend of personalities, walking thinly drawn lines to keep the peace or finding soulmates in our in-laws. When it works, it makes one feel secure and loved. When it doesn't, it can be devastating.

Family connections are important. We need each other, in good times and bad. The history we have with one another is unique and helps make us who we are. There are very few justifiable reasons why we should turn our backs on family. Unless someone does something unforgivably egregious, you should always find a way to make amends, and never let an outside person be the catalyst for the breakdown of communication with someone you love.

I recently witnessed a wife actively seek to separate her husband from his brother. There is nothing that can justify her actions. The brother has done nothing to her or her husband. Yet this woman spent months trying to not only break up the brothers, but also break up the relationship the brother has with his girlfriend. To drive the final nail in the familial coffin, she had her husband tell his mom that they would no longer spend holidays with her because of the brother. The woman is pure evil.

My hope is that this woman's husband will eventually realize what is really happening and speak to his brother. They need to come together and he needs to know the truth of what his wife has done. The brothers need to become family again.

None of us know how much time we have left with those we love. We don't know how much time we have to make up with those we're estranged from. If there is someone in your past you've cut out, I encourage you to examine what happened and ask yourself if the offense was really worth severing ties. If not, be brave and take the first step to mending your relationship. Don't let too much time go by. Family is important. We need each other.


  1. Well said. There's a rift in my family and one person is to blame. Funny, it's the wife of someone. What's up with that? Do they feel threatened by the family? That's some insecurity if they do.

  2. How do you fix it if another person is the problem?

  3. As a person involved in a rift, I know how devastating it can be. That said, my choice to not communicate with my sister was no one's choice but my own.
    On the other hand, while I may choose to have as little to do with my in-laws as possible, I do encourage my husband to contact them regularly. I may choose not to be involved with them but doesn't mean he can't.

  4. @Sullydasarock, only they know their motives. I'd really like to know too.

    @Fran, I think the other person has to be willing to talk about it and repair the damages. There isn't much you can do if someone's heart isn't in it.

    @theboardbitch, that's how it should be. If you don't want to interact with your in-laws, that's OK, as long as you encourage your spouse to keep in touch and continue having a good relationship with them. Thumbs up to you!

  5. This is so true! Yes, spouses should come first, but when they're trying to drive others away from their family, someone needs to stop and say "wait a second..." My husband complains about my mom a lot, but I don't let that stop me from visiting with her. I do, however, stop HER when she starts complaining that my husband is lazy, stupid, etc., etc.

  6. I can completely understand what you're talking about and I have to confess, I'm in the middle of a conflict that I started a few years back that has driven a wedge between me and my sister. I won't go into specifics as to why, but a day doesn't go by that I wish I could figure out how to get past the obstacle that is her significant other. I took a leap a month ago and invited him into my fantasy football league, but since then I've gone back to avoiding them both.

  7. @Natasha, exactly. A spouse should never come between someone and their family. It goes both ways. Family shouldn't try to drive a wedge between you and your husband either.

    @TL Jeffcoat, I'm so sorry. I think it's terrible when a spouse is the reason siblings can't reconcile. I hope someday you're able to work it out.

  8. This is so dead-on, I'd think you knew my family. I have 3 brothers and one of them has a wife who is pure evil too. He's the oldest and they've been married forever, so she's had lots of time to basically brainwash him. She's controlling and manipulative, but he doesn't see it at all. He takes her side on everything. Now we're to the point where he isn't speaking to any of us and won't visit my parents if one of us is there. They won't spend holidays with the family because of the lies this woman has told him. I can't believe my brother is so stupid. I can't believe he believes her over his own blood when we give him proof of her lies.

    I don't think a person should ever listen to their husband or wife if that person is trying to turn them against their family. I don't think families should split apart because of some outsider.

    It breaks my heart that I can't talk to my brother anymore. I miss him. He was the one who always stood up for me when the others were picking on me. He was the one who taught me things like how to ride a bike. Now I can't even say hi to him because he doesn't speak to me.

    If I had one wish, I would use it to change all of this. I want my brother back. I want him to see how much his wife has lied to him. I want him to see the light. Is that asking too much?

  9. I recently found out that my brother and his wife have been angry at me for years. What's hampered any possible reconciliation is that they've chosen to deal with their anger by one or both of them anonymously posting nasty comments on my blog. (Which seems kind've petty and infantile to me.) What they haven't done is tell me what I allegedly did to incur their anger. We've spent holidays and other less formal gatherings together and they've never even hinted that there was a problem. But apparently it's been there all along. I can't imagine why family members would want to fuel a feud without directly addressing what the problem is in the first place. Family should come first, regardless of any perceived wrong-doing.

    @Fran: Good question. I have no idea.

    @Christy: This is a really good post. It's a shame it already appears to have fallen on at least two sets of deaf ears.

  10. @Ally Cat: Holy cow! I read your comment after I posted mine. Your first paragraph is spot-on with what I'm going through right now with my brother. I love him to death and he won't even address me directly in any way, shape or form. He's emailed my girlfriend, he's called my mom, but he hasn't said 'boo' to me. And he totally supports his wife's twisted point of view. Frustrating and sad.

    I wish us luck with our brothers.

  11. @Ally Cat, I'm very sorry. I know what a tough situation you're in because I'm watching Steven go through it with his brother and I've watched my grandpa go through it with one of his sons. It's heartbreaking. If I had one wish, it would be that all the broken family relationships would be healed.

    @Steven, it's an extremely frustrating situation. Everyone needs to sit down together and talk it out. How can you fix it, get over it, etc. if you don't communicate face-to-face? If your brother or his wife had a problem with something, they should have addressed it with you in person long ago. Skulking around on our blogs for months was a cowardly way to handle things. Cutting off communication and punishing your mom by making threats about not spending the holidays together is simply cruel. I have no respect for either of them for the way they've treated you and your mom.

  12. My exhusband did that with me. I didn't speak to any of my family for a couple of years because of him. He had me convinced that they were bad and he was good. That they had wronged him big time. Mind control at its best. I eventually found out everything he told me was a lie or a very twisted version of the truth. I felt so bad because they all tried to talk to me and get me to listen but I wasn't having any of it. I had cut them all out of my life because of him. When 10 people are trying to tell you the same thing and 1 person is telling you something different, it's time to listen. I learned.

    My new husband is wonderful! He encourages me to have a relationship with my family and has helped us heal. I love him and my family loves him. He believes family should talk, work things out, and be there for each other. He's right.

    I'm sad we've all had experiences with not speaking to family. Not to sound all hippy like or anything, but I do wish you all peace and love with your family someday.

  13. @Michelle, I'm so happy you found new love with your wonderful new husband. It's sad you had to go through what you did with your ex, but at least you saw the light and saw what he was doing eventually. You're right. If 10 people are trying to tell you something and 1 person is claiming something else, common sense says listen to the 10 people. Unfortunately, some people are really good at manipulation and control.

    It's hard to watch someone blindly follow a person who is telling them lies, treating them poorly, and separating them from their family.

  14. Christy, you write beautifully. This is so true. We must forgive and move forward. Not only forgive though, but truly put it in the past. Don't hold on to the old. When we hold on to the old, we keep the barrier up. We have to let it go in order to move forward. Often people think they have forgiven. They haven't. There is still a wall. They haven't let the other person off the hook. They feel the other person still must pay. No progress can be made. This is unproductive.

    1. Thank you, @Farrah. Forgiving, putting something in the past, and moving forward is often much easier said than done. The concept of forgiving and forgetting is a difficult one, and the path to complete forgiveness is complicated. I believe in order to truly forgive, someone has to get what they need from the person who has offended or hurt them. Partial won't do it. It's all or nothing. Until they get that, then they can't move on.