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Family Drama - Not sure where else to post.

Full Disclosure:  I'm a very regular poster, but I wanted to be more anonymous for this post that contains very personal information.

So.. I think I have some of the worst family drama with FILs.. and I'm not sure quite how to to handle it.  Or even explain it.

My FFIL spent most of my FI's life in prison, and has only had a relationship with him since he has turned 18.  He remarried in prison and not spends most of his time at a very evangelical church.  My FI sees him maybe once every other month.  One of his sisters also has contact, but the other refuses any contact whatsoever.  Will explain more later.

My FMIL was very abusive and my FI and his siblings were taken away when my FI was around 10, and FI was separated from his sisters and grew up in foster care.  He has hardly any contact with his mom, but since she has partial custody of his very young brother (by a different father), he tries to be cordial for the sake of seeing his brother.  She's pretty much just a crazy alcoholic.  Both sisters do not have any contact with his mother.

I found out shortly after we were engaged why one of FI's will not have contact with FFIL: FFIL raped her for two years while she was in her VERY early teens while he was shortly out of prison.  He has admitted it to the entire family, but was never charged and this is completely unrelated to what he was in prison for.  I was completely floored when I found this out, and pretty much just freaked.  FI and FSIL (the one who has contact with him, obviously) argue that he is a completely different person now. Despite my own personal feelings, I feel like I have to accept that FI wants his father to be part of his life and I have to respect that as his partner.  

So.. now we have a wedding and a whole bunch of freaking craziness. FFIL and FMIL do not get along, FMIL doesn't like FI's foster parents (who are pretty much the most amazing people ever), one FSIL will not have contact with FFIL, both FSIL will not have contact with FMIL.  Woo.

FI wants to invite both his father and mother to the wedding.  Okay.  We have a gigantic guest list, so I'm pretty sure contact will be minimal between all parties, but now that the wedding is getting pretty close.. things like the rehearsal dinner are super tricky.  I feel like FFIL's actions were so unforgivable, I'm betraying FSIL (who I love to death, although she insists this isn't the case).  FSIL husband will not attend any events that FFIL will be at, so I feel horrible that she's alone at these events without any support.

The other fun part is FSMIL (is that right?  I've never abbreviated this much in my life) doesn't know about the sexual abuse, so she makes little comments like "I don't know why 'FSIL' can't forgive" or whatever, I seriously almost start bleeding I'm biting my tongue so hard.  What would you do?

Also, FI is worried about basically broadcasting personal business by listing his foster parents the the program as such (they will be escorted down and given corsage/boutonniere), and that causing questions because his biological questions will be there and listed as well.  Would you list them as foster parents?  Is there any other term?  

I don't know what all I'm asking as far as big picture stuff, but if anyone has gone through a similar situation.. advice/words of wisdom would be wonderful.

Re: Family Drama - Not sure where else to post.

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    mgietler76mgietler76 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    After reading all that, I've concluded that your FI's family is a bunch of wack-a-doodles and I'm sorry.

    I have no good advice to cover all that craziness, other than I'm sorry that you have to deal with it all.
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    edited December 2011
    Since the foster family sounds like they were really there for him and his real parents sound terrible, I would personally want to honor them by listing them and would not care if it raised any eyebrows. 

    Maybe I'm a bad person for it, but I would hint at or tell FSMIL the truth about the abuse. Imagine if it was the other way around and you didn't know something like that about the person you were with. Wouldn't you wish someone told you? Maybe he deserves a second chance in life and to be married to FSMIL, but she deserves to make that decision based on the true information. 

    Good luck and sorry you have to deal with it all!
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    Girlie1030Girlie1030 member
    5 Love Its Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Holy wow.  I'm so sorry you're dealing with all of this. 

    I don't know how much you can really do since your fiance has already made it clear he wants them at the wedding but work some magic with the reception seating chart and hope for the best.  The RD is a lot trickier though.  Who's hosting the RD?  Is it at a public venue? 

    Your certainly not betraying your FSIL but I'm not sure it's your place to tell the FSMIL about the abuse of her. 

    For the programs, can he ask his foster parents how they'd like (if at all) to be listed?  Maybe VIP?  To you, it could mean Very Important Parent, but nobody else would have to know that.
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    jcamm11jcamm11 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I agree with asking his foster parents how they would like to be listed.  I don't think there's anything wrong with listing them as foster parents in the programs.  It's the truth.

    If FSIL decides not to go because of FFIL, which she definitely has good reason for, I guess you'll both have to be OK with that.  I can understand why you would want to bar FFIL from coming, so that FSIL would attend, but that has to be your FI's choice.  It's his Dad.  It's very important that you not try to sway your FI's feelings about his father either; just be a listener when it comes to his thoughts on his father.  I also would not tell (or hint to) FSMIL her husband raped his daughter.  This could affect your FI's relationship with his father, which may in turn affect you and FI's relationship.


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    lauraf1202lauraf1202 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    :( I'm truly sorry that you're dealing with this. 

    I've been in weddings where there were people listed simply as "Honoured Guests" or "Guests of Honor." Perhaps you could ask if FI's foster parents would be amenable to being listed as that? It never seems to be something that people ask questions about.

    Is your FI as stressed about all this as you are? I can't really tell from your post, but I think that's how it goes with venting. I think one thing that might help is some degree of separation from it all, honestly.  I know you're marrying into this family, but try and remember that this isn't your set of issues to fix.  I'd keep biting my tongue and deep breathing.  And making creating seating charts. 
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    edited December 2011
    FI needs to handle the issue with his foster parents.  I, for one, agree that they should be listed as the parents.  If everyone already knows they are his parents, for all intents and purposes, I don't think he needs to worry about broadcasting his business.  

    As for FSIL - wow.  Being forced to interact with the person who raped her repeatedly (wow, again) is going to be horrible for her.  FI needs to understand her perspective on this.  However, if he wants FFIL at the wedding, geez, I guess he has to be.  As for the RD, FI needs to discuss this with his foster parents.  He clearly respects them, and maybe if they put it in perspective for him, he'll understand.  And he needs to decide if he wants his sister (I'm guessing she may not come is her husband refuses) at the RD or his father.  If it were me, I'd go sister.  But your FI clearly wants to make amends with his birth parents, which is respectable since carrying that anger toward them could be damaging.  

    FSMIL - She needs to just stop.  Seriously.  She has no clue what kind of abuse was inflicted on FSIL, so her suggestions that she get over it are absurd.  Also, abuse affects people differently, so even if it was physical abuse (hitting, etc.), it is still not her place at all to suggest how FSIL should handle it.  I think hinting that it's significantly worse that she thinks might help, but it may not because she sees FFIL in  a certain light already and may not want to view him any other way.  
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    edited December 2011
    I'm sorry you are dealing with such a miserable situation. I think you are doing the best you can, under the circumstances. Let fi make the decisions regarding his family, even if you don't agree with them.

    Continue to support your fsil. It must be tough for her to see that her father hasn't really suffered any consequences for what he did to her. Offer to let her bring a supportive friend with her to any wedding related events, if her husband will not attend. Encourage fsmil to question her husband about his relationship with his daughter. She should know the truth, but it's not for you to tell her.

    In your wedding program, you could list the biological parents and foster parents by their names, rather than specifying the exact relationship. Or you could skip the wedding programs, then you won't have to worry about this at all.

    Good luck.
                       
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    vicki0508vicki0508 member
    5 Love Its Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I don't have much advice, I just wanted to say that it would be extremely inappropriate for you to say anything to FSMIL about this.  If FSIL hasn't said anything, then you certainly shouldn't.  I know some of the PPs have suggested that you tell her, or hint about it, but I really think that you should just leave it alone - like you have been doing thus far.
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    edited December 2011
    I know this is kinda late, but there's something I HAD to say.  I hope you and your FI have discussed what sort of access you will give your FFIL to any future kids, especially if you have girls. Also, when/if you will tell those kids anything about their grandfather to keep them safe. I don't have kids, but if I did, there is no way I would let someone who had done that to his own daughter (no matter how much he had changed) near my own kids unless me and/or my husband were constantly and directly supervising, and if my future husband didn't see things that way that would be a real problem.

    But back to your original question.

    Ditto MariePoppy, especially the part about allowing FSIL to bring a friend to the rehearsal dinner. Since your FSIL seems to be understanding of the tricky situation you're in, I woud try not to worry about it as much and let your FI make decisions about his own family.


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    edited December 2011
    Thanks - you've all pretty much confirmed what I thought.  Its hard to know when to just be supportive of FI since it is his family, especially when its so hard for me to not speak my mind.

    FSIL is in the wedding party and is coming to all WR events, which means the world to me knowing how hard it is for her.  

    And yes, we have discussed how we will handle future children.  They will never, EVER be with FFIL alone.  FI shares these feelings, despite how much he thinks his father has changed.  FSIL (the other one) allows him to constantly watch her young daughter, and honestly, I don't get it.  That will never happen.
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_family-drama-not-sure-else-post?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:357Discussion:28d56e90-6528-491d-b637-43584e36d50fPost:f2cb2607-5125-4f39-ae6f-e0a5eaed763b">Re: Family Drama - Not sure where else to post.</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thanks - you've all pretty much confirmed what I thought.  Its hard to know when to just be supportive of FI since it is his family, especially when its so hard for me to not speak my mind. FSIL is in the wedding party and is coming to all WR events, which means the world to me knowing how hard it is for her.   And yes, we have discussed how we will handle future children.  They will never, EVER be with FFIL alone.  FI shares these feelings, despite how much he thinks his father has changed.  <strong>FSIL (the other one) allows him to constantly watch her young daughter</strong>, and honestly, I don't get it.  That will never happen.
    Posted by SummerWedding123[/QUOTE]

    <div>That gets a big fat WTF in my book.  Sheesh.  </div><div>
    </div><div>Best of luck with your situation.  It's great that you can talk with your FI about these things ahead of time.  it would be awful to not discuss something like this now and end up fighting over it in 10 years when you have a daughter of your own.  I really feel so, so sorry for you.</div>
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_family-drama-not-sure-else-post?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:357Discussion:28d56e90-6528-491d-b637-43584e36d50fPost:c63b8166-e1d8-4624-b1e0-1ca8e92df5ae">Re: Family Drama - Not sure where else to post.</a>:
    [QUOTE]After reading all that, I've concluded that your FI's family is a bunch of wack-a-doodles and I'm sorry. I have no good advice to cover all that craziness, other than I'm sorry that you have to deal with it all.
    Posted by mgietler76[/QUOTE]

    This exactly.  Very sorry you have to deal with all of this.
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    StephieBowStephieBow member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Wow! Good on you for sticking with your FI.  A lot of women wouldn't have the patience for all of that so I applaude you!!

    In terms of his foster parents, they should be honoured as they appear to be a big part of his life.  Frankly, his parents were't role models enough to him but these other people were.  Have your FI ask them how they would like to be listed as he would like to honour them as well.

    In terms of your FSIL - hopefully she'll still come to the wedding.. sit them on opposite sides of the room and hope that they don't cross paths...

    One way or another, drama will be learking but hopefully everyone can just act adult for your special day and avoid the people they don't like, and respect them if they cross paths and then never set eyes on each other again!
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    asialee2asialee2 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I just want to give you a hug! 
    I have family issues but not like this, I wish you all the best with this. Don't worry about his birth parents since they were not a big part of his life.... his foster parents seem amazing so I would honor them. 

    All the best! 
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