Growing Increasing Resentful of Husband's Guilt Towards Inlaws
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|Mon, 09-19-2011 - 4:52pm|
I have been married to my husband for close to 6 years. He has a different relationship with his parents. He is the parent-like figure and they seem to be emotionally dependent on him.
First a little background: my FIL was a "functional" alcoholic for all of my husband's childhood. He is an only child. FIL stopped drinking when DH was about 20. DH describes his childhood as chaotic, oppressive, unstable with constant turmoil and fighting between his parents. His parents are still married to this day. They are both in their early 70s, in good physical health and live about one hour away.
DH is very loyal to his parents and feels responsible for their well-being. He says he feels sorry for them and it's pity that he feels. Both are a little needy and dependent on him, and when something goes wrong (something breaks, TV bulb goes out, you name it) they go straight to DH for help. I always just shrugged this off as being his family's dynamic and never could put my finger on why their relationship bothered me. DH reminds this is because he's an only child and it's his job to take care of them. I don't mind helping anyone out who is older and needs assistance with physical tasks. They are able to take care of themselves physically. I feel like whenever we visit and it's time to leave that they will just be sitting there waiting for us to come back to visit again. Not really any friends or hobbies to occupy their time.
We now have a couple of young children and I noticed that their need has evolved into "needing" to see the kids. I feel like we do our best to accommodate reasonable visits - usually a whole day visit every 2-3 weeks. I recently realized that it's the guilt that my husband feels towards his parents that really bothers me. The strange thing is I rarely see FIL or MIL (well MIL does a little guilt trip whenever we have to leave after a visit) really put a big guilt trip on DH. On occassion there are small guilt trips, because I remember after my DD was born, FIL would call and say how much they missed her and DH would want to go down there the next weekend to visit because he felt bad that they were missing our daughter. I would feel a little miffed since my parents never played that card and as a result they get to see their grandkids less often (my parents are very careful about respecting boundaries). Anyway, I digress.
I noticed how much guilt my husband carries around for his parents. I don't know why I couldn't put my finger on it until now. I feel my resentment growing over this situation and my resentment is with DH. His parents are needy and I wish he had healthier boundaries. I notice the guilt seems to especially surround his dad who was the alcoholic. Whenever his dad asks for anything, it's my DH to the rescue. It seems like he can never rescue him enough. He so desperately wants to please this man, but it's an unattainable goal. A few nights ago, he brought up the possibility of moving his parents closer. He made the comment, "they just want to see their grandchildren more often" (as if they never get too).