Family Dilemma ,advice please?

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  • Family Dilemma ,advice please?
  • carlosg

    Myself and mrscarlos went to a family funeral last week (her uncle on mums side). Mrscarlos hasn’t had any proper contact with her mother for over 20 years except for seeing her at a couple of funerals and a wedding.

    The reasons in brief are poorly treated (beaten ect) as a child , stole money from her as an adult , tried to gazzump us on our 1st house purchase and generally being a nasty/vindictive person. There’s other factors involved which I don’t wish to go into on a public forum as I don’t think it’s fair for my wife to re-live some things from her past. Contact was cut in 1990.

    At the funeral/wake my mother in law got to see her grandsons (6 and 1)in the flesh for the first time , we didn’t make an effort to talk to her but didn’t keep our kids away from her either.

    Our main worry here is mrscarlos brother who is adamant that my wife should forgive her mum for past indiscretions and behaviour and act as if nothing happened as ‘she’s a lonely old lady’ , we have no idea if her mum has said anything to her brother but get a feeling she’s pressured him. Mrscarlos has no regrets about not having contact stating that ‘life is easier without her in it’ I feel she doesn’t trust her mums intentions towards us based on her past.

    After we got home from the wake mrscarlos got a text from her sister in law saying that her brother has been upset about the breakdown of the relationship for a long time and will want to talk to her about it as ‘life is too short’ ,Mrscarlos only worry is that when her mum’s life ends her brother will be effectively on his own to arrange the funeral and thank people for coming ect.

    My wife loves her brother dearly and doesn’t want to loose contact with him but feels that at the time her parents split he was to young to see/understand the things that were going on , her mum has denied(to her brother) ever being anything but a caring parent to my wife and refuses to admit ever being wrong in her past actions.

    My only concern here is for my wife and kids , her mother was quite cold towards me when we got together and I saw how she was when the relationship with her husbnd broke down and couldn’t believe some of her actions.

    Sorry for such a long post but we just want to get a bit of feedback/advice from an impartial veiwpoint as we’re at a bit of a loss. We feel a bit ‘damned if you do , damned if you don’t’


    Having recently lost both parents, I can sympathise with the “life’s too short” bit. However, if your wife truly has moved on then she needs to discuss this with her brother and tell him it’s just not going to be resolved. That might be a bit painful for both of them but she should just be honest and hope he understands.

    b r

    Whatever your wife decides to do, support her. And if it doesn’t work, still support her.


    Your mother in law sounds vindictive and her brother sounds caught in the middle. Ive suffered similar from an abusive father and am still in touch with my brother who is in touch with him but we have a clear understanding that our father will never be part of my life.

    Either you or your wife need to have a gentle but firm word with her brother and explain that mother is not going to be a part of your lives again, you don’t want it to come between them but he needs to understand the reasons why she will not be in your lives.

    People’s past actions are not excused just because they get old. If anything with your MIL she’s probably more poisonous now than she was when your wife was young and she’ll use the fact she missed years of her GC lives to get at your wife whenever she can. I’d steer well clear and just be there for your wife.

    I also feel you can flip the ‘life is too short’ statement that’s always flung around the other way. Life is too short to try and make something of a relationship that it really isn’t. Why invest in something that will inevitably end up in further heart ache. Not worth it.

    Premier Icon martinhutch

    Putting aside all the ‘life’s too short’ stuff, sometimes family relationships do break down irretrievably and with good reason.

    Listen to your wife, make sure this is how it truly is, and back her 100%.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl

    Not an easy situation for either of you. However, life may be too short but that does not mean you should tolerate bad behaviour from family members. Being a ‘lonely old lady’ is no excuse.

    How highly does your wife value her relationship with her brother? It seems sad that one person should be able to compromise that relationship.

    As said above, you must support your wife in whatever she feels is the right course of action.

    Families really are a pita.


    Talk to the brother with no preconceptions. see what is said then decide if you want to change the status quo. You would need a good reason to change the status quo IMO

    hhmm , Tricky call but you asked us lot for help, so must be bad ..
    Really talk to your wife. Put the kids to bed , make a hot chocolate , sit down facing each other , dinner table or lounge , and find out exactly how she feels .
    Old people can be manipulative and seem to get more cynical as they get older. No need to be aggressive , just be clear on what contact she wants her familly to have with her mum.
    Then back her decision 100% .
    If she does pass away absolutely nothing to stop you helping with funeral arrangements , registering death , sorting will , probate , etc.
    Make it clear to bro you will be there when that time comes , but up to that point , whatever contact mrsC is happy with .
    Do not contact Bil behing mrsC’s back , no good will come of it .likewise the old bat.
    hth. insert std stw disclaimer here. .


    My wife had a similar childhood. She has cut all ties with her family at 15, all siblings included. Its just not worth the hassle of getting into these type of situations if you ask her. We have our own family and my parents are always asking why she doesn’t get back in touch. Your post is a perfect example of why not IMHO

    Premier Icon chakaping

    We feel a bit ‘damned if you do , damned if you don’t’

    Well there asren’t going to be any winners in a situation like this and your wife certainly shouldn’t change her mind just because other family members think it would be nice.


    Sadly, people rarely change. I’m reeling from events today where my wife, myself and my kids were humiliated by my siblings at a family event. Still a bunch of arrogant (*&%^^&** even after all these years.

    Sometimes you just have to let go of people who are a negative influence.

    Premier Icon CHB

    Whatever your wife decides to do, support her. And if it doesn’t work, still support her.

    This +1


    Its your wifes problem, dont get involved, but be supportive of your dear wife, listen to her, hug her.

    Oh and aftwer a family member dies, people change, been there and sen it happen, and still living the nightmare


    Thanks for the ideas everyone , it seems the majority veiw reflects our own.

    We’ll see what happens.

    It cannot have been easy living with this unresolved for 20+ years.

    Well here’s a thought: 20 years is a long time to reflect on one’s mistakes. If I felt that the person genuinely admitted, accepted and regretted their mistakes I might see if I could forgive them. The only way to find out is to discuss what happened. It will likely be upsetting and your Mrs may, quite reasonably, walk away again. But one way, or the other, she will be in no doubt.

    Good luck to her, whatever she chooses to do.

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