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Misplaced priorities?

Old 07-19-2011, 10:07 AM
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Misplaced priorities?

Good morning SR friends.

I have an in-law issue that is eating at me. Instead of taking it directly to the source, I am going to vent it here. My RAH - now 8 months sober, has a very strange relationship with his FOO (family of origin). To make a long story short, he puts their feelings above mine, and always has, especially his sister, who has been passive-aggressive and competitive with me in the past...nothing malicious, just projecting her insecurities on me.

Now, this same man has been confrontational with my family and vocal about my family's quirks and petty behavior annoyances. I don't mind him venting to me about my family. I don't always like my family...I don't expect him to either. All I have ever asked is that he let me be the buffer zone and deal with them directly. But if I complain about his, watch out! Mr. Defensive swoops in to rip my head off. He's taken a stance that I am oppositional to his family and is holding tight to that, regardless of anything I say. And it colors everything. And he won't give that up.

I believe the family of origin and the family of creation are mutually exclusive of each other. Of course, there is overlap and a certain amount of meshing involved, but when you create your new family, your FOO takes a back seat on the priority list. And yet, here I am. I don't understand, especially knowing he isn't terribly fond of his family, where the misplaced loyalty comes from and why he can be quite comfortable complaining about my family and extremely defensive if I do the same about his in return.

Anyone else have this experience? And how do you deal with it? I am struggling with what seems like a heaping dish of hypocrisy and it frustrates me to no end. But maybe I am expecting too much? Thoughts?
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:13 PM
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((Tuffgirl)) I can certainly hear your frustration. Completely understandable. It's like the pot calling the kettle black.

I have experienced the same thing in my relationships be they work or family. It's kind of human nature, I think. Sadly, I don't know that anyone can change the knee-jerk defense of family unless they really accept that THAT is what they are doing.

The only thing I can share is that if I discuss the topic calmly with the defensive person at a time other than "in the heat of the moment", it helped.

Hugs, HG
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
Good morning SR friends.

I have an in-law issue that is eating at me. Instead of taking it directly to the source, I am going to vent it here. My RAH - now 8 months sober, has a very strange relationship with his FOO (family of origin). To make a long story short, he puts their feelings above mine, and always has, especially his sister, who has been passive-aggressive and competitive with me in the past...nothing malicious, just projecting her insecurities on me.

Now, this same man has been confrontational with my family and vocal about my family's quirks and petty behavior annoyances. I don't mind him venting to me about my family. I don't always like my family...I don't expect him to either. All I have ever asked is that he let me be the buffer zone and deal with them directly. But if I complain about his, watch out! Mr. Defensive swoops in to rip my head off. He's taken a stance that I am oppositional to his family and is holding tight to that, regardless of anything I say. And it colors everything. And he won't give that up.

I believe the family of origin and the family of creation are mutually exclusive of each other. Of course, there is overlap and a certain amount of meshing involved, but when you create your new family, your FOO takes a back seat on the priority list. And yet, here I am. I don't understand, especially knowing he isn't terribly fond of his family, where the misplaced loyalty comes from and why he can be quite comfortable complaining about my family and extremely defensive if I do the same about his in return.

Anyone else have this experience? And how do you deal with it? I am struggling with what seems like a heaping dish of hypocrisy and it frustrates me to no end. But maybe I am expecting too much? Thoughts?
What you describe in your first paragraph is identical to the r/s my AH has with his FOO. He does not see how sick, enmeshed and well, alcoholic the dynamic is (his dad is an A, his mother enabled and emotionally incestuous with AH from a young age, his sister is a control freak- very narcissistic anbd miserable in her life and any good that has come my way in 8 yrs of marriage has instantly resulted in SIL having an "issue" with me and AH gets angry with me and the focus is on how wounded SIL is... I could go on and on and on.

I tried to be honest and open and talk about how much I'd love a r/s with them all based on being open with each other, resolving problems, coming to each other (instead of elephant in the room stuff and passive aggressive crap constantly). That went NO WHERE. I even wrote them all heartfelt letters talking about things I know about myself and my flaws and how I'd love to develop closer r/s with them (they claim I distanced myself and acted like I was better than them). No one replied.

I am the scapegoat for them and I've accepted that. My "solution" for sevearl months now is when I have to see them I am cordial and severly limit the time I am with them. Other than face to face time that is unavoidalbe, I am NC.

I wish I had a solution for how to deal with toxic families of our A spouses but clearly our spouses learning their unhealthy coping skills, or lack thereof from the FOO and from what I can tell with my in laws and what it sounds like yours are like, I don't see any one of them being interested in doing anything different.

I'd respect his right to have whatever r/s he wants with them and limit your interaction with them at all costs... I also have had to accept that they will badmouth me and try to get a reaction and I;ve let it go (or at least not responded) bc the more I reply to anything from them the more toxic it gets...

Best of luck to you...
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:04 AM
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Thanks guys. Good points, especially that the dysfunction is probably there to stay and its up to me to learn to have tolerance and detachment.

I don't care much about his family and what they think of me...but I do care that this has become an issue between us. That seems unnecessary and unrealistic. But sobriety doesn't mean sudden perfection on all controversy. *SIGH* I wish it did!

What I love about my family is that we can laugh and enjoy our "dysfunction". We are all old enough and distance enough to acknowledge it and find it humorous, instead of being defensive about our quirks. So when he complains, I just agree and laugh. Makes me appreciate my family more today...!
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:30 PM
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Family situations are tough, and exacerbated by alcoholism at a high level in my opinion. That said, I don't agree that family of origin takes a back seat to the new family. What I do agree with is that the new family is as important as the family of origin. Not more, but not less.

And, regardless, it's up to him to manage his relationships with both, as it is up to you to do the same. What he doesn't get to do is project onto you what you should or have to do in regards to his FOO.

Their rights/importance ends where your rights/importance begins. If that balance is out of scale it is a problem, but I'm not sure how to solve it. My wife has left me alone to deal with her crazy-ass family and stays out of it for the most part (as do I which is why I get along with them most of the time). As for my family, they love wife as much as I do I think. No problems there thank God. Mom/5 Sisters/Wife/Daughter are very, very close. Too close dang it!

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