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Old 12th February 2013, 08:40 PM   #1
zebedee
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Wife left - because of extended family

Hello,
This is my first post and i really need some advice. Please bear with me as it is a bit complicated and long.
We have been together 22 years, and married for 18. We have two children aged 12 and 14. My wife had a difficult relationship with her family, particularly her mom who was unsupportive and emotionally abusive when she was growing up.
Our first 9 years together were very happy. We had our two children and decided to move to her family's city to be near her family and share their first grandchildren. My wife was also hopeful of a better relationship with her mom. We were there 9 years and things did not get better between her and her mom. I got on quite well with her family but always tried to support my wife.
We left when I found a teaching job in Asia. All our problems began when I was skyping her family to keep in touch. My wife and I had a big fight because my wife did not want to stay in touch with them. She was angry that I had stayed in touch without asking her first. Fair enough. I decided to write a letter to her mom telling her mom that she had caused my wife a lot of pain. Her dad wrote back defending his wife and my wife was upset, and we cut ties with them after that. That was 4 years ago, but unfortunately, her father also had cancer, and died just over a year ago. They still weren't talking at that point. So my wife was not invited to the funeral and was obviously upset.
-Hope you are still with me as it gets worse-
My family(sister and mom) were also in touch with my wife's family. They had always got on well. My wife found out they were in touch and demanded that my family break ties with her family at the same time we cut ties. When my father-in-law died my sister sent an email to my wife saying she was sorry that to hear he had died. My wife was furious that my sister and mom had stayed in touch with her mom over a number of years when we were estranged. she sent an angry email to my sister.

As a consequence my wife said that my family was not welcome in our house. In the last year this has escalated to the point that I was not allowed to send or receive Christmas presents for our boys, from my mom or sister. Mywife and I have had numerous bad arguments in the past year, almost every month. To make things worse in the last 6 months, I promised to cut ties with my sister, but was secretly emailing her about exchanging Christmas gifts. When my wife found my emails, she was furious. I promised to cut all ties with my sister which I have since December. As an added complication my mom has cancer, so I have been defending my mom while trying to remain loyal to my wife. Then last week I tried skyping my mom because I haven't spoken to her for a number of months. My wife found out, and stormed out of the house. I haven't seen her since. She feels I have lied to her, which I have(But only about communicating to my family). But I feel I have been bullied into cutting ties with my own family when I dont feel they had done anything so bad.
Please help with some advice.
Thanks for reading this far.
Lost and confused..
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Old 12th February 2013, 11:20 PM   #2
chosen
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

zebedee

Its her decision as to whether she has contact with her family, but its not up to her whether anyone else has conact with other people.
She is trying to control everyone elses life.
Her trying to stop you from seeing your own family, especially with your mum so ill, and cutting off the children from their grandparents and aunts and uncles when none of you have done anything wrong, is quite bad and very controlling.

I am not sure how you can tackle this but you will need to stand up to her and insist that your family be part of your life and the childrens lives. Even if she refuses to see them that doesnt mean that the rest of you have to stay away.

I wonder if you could both talk this through with a good marriage counsellor(when she comes back) Do you know where she could be at the moment? Has she been in touch with the children?
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Old 13th February 2013, 05:26 AM   #3
1aokgal
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

The kind of behavior you describe sounds like a person is mentally ill. Your wife has no right to control the relationship you have with your family. The one thing your children need is the love of extended family and your mother needs a son who is there for her during this serious illness.

Be glad she went out the door for a time. Maybe she rethinks her behavior and modifies her thinking for her family. You need to have the balls in the family about this! When she shows up, tell her you will not tolerate this behavior and disrespect to your family. I can't believe you cut your family off here! Terrible. I suggest you both see a counselor but I think she sounds really unstable..maybe chemically unbalanced. Very strange behavior. If her family treated her poorly, that is her background and how she relates there is her thing. She has no right to treat your family this way and influence these grandchildren to put distance between them and grandparents. I suggest you need a counsellor to help mediate this problem. She sounds unbalanced to me. Family is very important for your children.
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Old 13th February 2013, 09:38 AM   #4
Raymond
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

I agree. You are being controlled here which is never right. You have to make a stand and not give way to fear. This had to happen in a way as her control thing is so strong. She will be back but you still cannot give in. You are being punished at the moment for disobeying. You must show her love of course but to be controlled must be a big NO.
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Old 13th February 2013, 10:43 AM   #5
zebedee
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

Thanks for the replies.
I have been in denial for a long time that she is wrong. That I was the one who was wrong. Although my cowardice and lack of honesty is certailnly my fault. The phrase 'chemical imbalance' sends a terrible signal to me as my wife always said her mother was chemically imbalanced.
The kids and I have not had contact since Saturday. I have sent her a few emails. She went to England for a follow up interview for a job as she has been trying to get her career back on the move as she has been treading water the last 4 years. (we live in central europe where I teach- we moved there 6 months ago from Asia). I must admit I secretly thought I was hoping she got the job so I could find some space.
I should also add that when we are not fighting we get on really well, are affectionate and do things together. However, the fear of the next argument is always in my head.
many thanks,
Z
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Old 13th February 2013, 12:11 PM   #6
chosen
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

So if she gets the job is she moving to the UK?
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Old 13th February 2013, 01:47 PM   #7
Raymond
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

Has she taken the children with her?

She definitely has a control thing which personally I do not believe is anything to do with chemicals. This will come and go but compliancy will not help you unless you want to become a controlled person which will not be becoming to you. Meeting it head on when you see it is the only answer whilst still loving her of course.

One of the features of a controlling person is that the children never really grow up as the apron strings are never cut. You need to make sure this doesn't happen when the time comes and that they grow into mature adults.
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Old 13th February 2013, 02:39 PM   #8
zebedee
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

Hi all,
My wife will probably move to England if she gets this job. She will perhaps stay there to keep looking anyway.
I just received a 3 page email response to my pleas for her to return.
She is absolutely furious, angrier than ever. She feels betrayed by me and believes I did not put her before my family and her family. She should be first in everything. Is that true? Should you always put your spouse above everyone else? I think it is true that i did not support her enough with her parents. In fact it is obvious from the email she blames me for coming between her and her dad in the final years of his life. But she is taking no responsibility for any of this. That isn't right, surely?
She refuses to even sit down and explain to the kids our potential separation. I have the kids with me as they go to the school where I teach in Switzerland.
I don't know whether I should tell my sister and mother we have separated?
Many thanks again for the help
Z
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Old 13th February 2013, 03:48 PM   #9
chosen
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

One thing that a very controlling person will never do is to admit they are wrong. I cant believe that she has not only left you but her own children, and all because you wanted to stay in contact with your family. She is blaming you for her familes issues.
The fact that she has been looking for jobs in the UK shows that she has been thinking about leaving for some time. Maybe there is more to this than just that issue.

Raymond is so right about the children of controlling parents. I can think of two families immediatly that I know, where a very controlling mother has ruined the adult children. They cant cut the apron strongs, they cant make decisions, they have no desire to be independant, they find it hard to relate to people, and they allow others to walk all over them. Its very sad.
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Old 13th February 2013, 08:56 PM   #10
Raymond
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

Zebedee. Yes our wives are the most important relationship we have and we must love them. The relationship does come above our parents, but we need to honour them as well. It is reasonable to incorporate that.

However if you love her you will not let her control you. That is not good for her or you. Co-operating with her manipulation is not really loving her in the long run. Getting ones own way is not always a good thing, depending on what it is.

I can't really see that it was your fault that the contact was broken with her father. This came from her according to what you have written. Expressing anger doesn't always mean that someone is right. You have to stand your ground and do what is right and reasonable without being controlled.
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Old 14th February 2013, 10:23 AM   #11
zebedee
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

Thanks for your kind words of support,
I think there may be some deep rooted issues with our marriage which we both failed to address even before the families became involved.
One day In 2011 I found her in tears outside. I asked what was wrong and she told me I had never bought her an engagement ring. I was shocked becuase when I proposed 18 years earlier I had done it very unromantically (which seemed right for our relationship -neither of us was like that). So it was a shock to see her so upset so many years later. So I bought a diamond ring a little later.
after our bout of arguments around Christmas she took it off and said I had broken the promise. She tied the ring to my commitment to break off ties with my sister. Obviously, there were a lot of things I did not address in the early years of marriage, but I was still very young. If only my middle-aged self could tell my younger self.....
Thanks again
Zebedee
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Old 14th February 2013, 01:34 PM   #12
zebedee
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

Hi again,
I have spoken to a friend and they have pointed out that I may have really made my wife feel devalued by not respecting her wishes and going behind her back to stay in contact with my family. We had agreed that I would cut ties with my sister but I really did it in bad faith. My sister did send an apology to my wife, although that was after I asked her too.
I have received a christmas card that my mom sent to my kids but I hid them because I knew my wife would be angry.
Am I really being controlled by her, or is my wife just not getting the support she needs from her husband because she feels disrespected by my family.
Many thanks,
z
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Old 14th February 2013, 01:57 PM   #13
Raymond
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

She may well not be getting support from you. Only you know that. Can you send her some flowers online today. Valentines day.

There is obvious control going on here. Your mistake was in agreeing to not see your sister then going behind your wife's back to see your own sister. This shows me control is going on and that you were afraid to cross your wife to carry on a normal relationship with your sister and your family.

What you should have done is not agree to cut yourself off from your family. That is unreasonable and shows that she tries to manipulate you. You have fear there which is normally how it works.

To be sorry that one did not get an engagement ring 20 yrs later is unusual but there is nothing wrong in the way you responded. What was wrong is that she misread it as a sign that you agreed not to see your family. I think that she is needy for love but needs to know that she cannot manipulate it. We can respond to need but not control or manipulation by another. True relationship is freewill.
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Old 14th February 2013, 05:25 PM   #14
Forever
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

Your wife is mentally/emotionally ill. You trying to understand every tiny bit of the twists and turns of that illness will drive you nuts and to despair. She needs professional help in order to see that she is living in a time warp of yesteryear...a continual backlash caused by the strain of not being able to sort what she needed but did not receive from her own family...she has become her own worst enemy...and now... everyone else's.

Your family cannot be held hostage to her, nor should YOU be. That sort of destructive thinking serves no one, and your children will have their own emotional/mental health forged by what they experience as she "imprints" her illness on to them. If you allow her to continue to call the "shots" and emotionally blackmail you, she will never come out into reality and get a healthy perspective of what a family should mean to each other.

You are too close to the tree to see the forest...and you will always be blamed somehow whenever you try to be reasonable. Your family did nothing to deserve her disdain, and you responding to her by hiding your desire to keep in contact with them is NOT betrayal...it is simply fear resulting from her manipulation of you. She is actually the one betraying her own husband...demanding that you go along with her desire to isolate, using the ring (a token of your love and desire to please her to prove her point), leaving you and your children...is extreme and obviously very hurtful.

Stand your ground and let the storm blow with full fury against you as a tree firmly rooted. Repair the damage with YOUR family by explaining to them that you will have normal contact with them in the future, and tell your wife that this will be the case from now on...that you love her, but she is ill and this can no longer be tolerated. Tell her she needs help...that we all do from time to time and that her time to get that help is well over due.

You have gone along with her for so long that I am surprised that you have any feelings left for anyone except for her...that is what she wants, and that is what she will continue to get if you allow this to go unresolved, especially if you buckle to her now that she has put everyone and everything on the line. So it is Valentines Day...big deal. When is SHE going to learn to love others?

Last edited by Forever; 15th February 2013 at 01:45 AM.
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Old 14th February 2013, 07:44 PM   #15
Raymond
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Re: Wife left - because of extended family

A lot are enjoying Valentines day today Forever. My wife is thrilled with her flowers so it is an opportunity to show a little freewill love that isn't manipulated.
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