LOVE AMY: My husband and I are very frustrated with his father and his father's second wife, who turned up when all the children were adults. For almost a decade, we've tried to make contacts and make life together more bearable. It does not work and I'm ready to throw in the towel.
Amy, they just refuse to get involved with us! My husband has explained his job during each visit for the past two years because he does not listen to his answer. They never ask for me; I can as well be invisible. They keep talking about themselves, interrupting you when you talk, and basically talking about other people.
My husband and I recently told them we were expecting a baby. Not only did they not ask how I was pregnant, but 1
I feel like I'm at a dead end. I can not bear being treated like I do not care, and I do not want to force myself to be with people who do not support me, especially as a mother for the first time. My husband is angry at her behavior, which annoys both of us.
Should I go to family events only a few times a year and absorb it, or should my husband and I try again to explain their relationship with us because of their behavior?
Try, Try, Again?
DEAR TRY, TRY: Yes, you can convey your in-laws as well as you feel when you're with them. If you do that you may feel better, but you also have to understand that it probably will not cause any changes.
The presence of a grandson might drive them towards another focus, but here, too, people who are completely absorbed in themselves tend to immerse themselves in their self-esteem, regardless of the audience.
These future grandparents will miss a lot. More is pity. Yes, show up at family events a few times a year and tolerate behavior that you can not change. Reward family-oriented and generous behavior with the quality of your own attention.
LOVE AMY: I have a friend of over 20 years ago who in essence has invited to stay with me, bedroom / bathroom at home, for his vacation.
He did this for the third time recently, though I have explained my discomfort with this arrangement.
He does not rent a car and expects me to drive him around and come. He boasts that he is a tightwad and NEVER drives. How can I dissuade him without hurting his feelings? Incidentally, I'm a single woman. We were never more than friends and – even then – not very close friends.
Dear Put-Upon: Please pass on contact information, because I could use a vacation, and you sound extremely accommodating.
My point is that social bullies need willing victims.
Your "friend" does not behave like a friend, and he counts on your inability to deliver a truthful and appropriate response to his imposition.
Please learn to say no. An effective no need not be decorated with details or excuses. They simply say, "No, you can not stay here, but let me know if you're coming to town and maybe we can have dinner while you're here."
Practice this – on paper, in the Mirror and with other friends – until you find it more convenient to deliver your "no."
LOVE AMY: Parents who called themselves "Put On" wrote to you about the financial dependency her daughter and son-in-law and her son-in-law's passivity are simply helpful at family gatherings.
They reminded me of myself – only I identified with the son-in-law.
Is it possible that the son-in-law was so overwhelmed by his wife's financial control? Parents that he behaves passive-aggressive?
It started for me when our car had to be replaced. I had a used Volkswagen in mind because I could afford it and wait. No, that was not good enough for my parents-in-law. I was financially unable to be the husband they wanted for their daughter, and later not financially the father they wanted for their grandchildren.
When I finally and passionately interpreted all of this for them, they said, "Only what they thought was best."
Maybe these parents should take a few steps back.
There had been
Dear: Very wise advice.
You can send Amy Dickinson an email to [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.