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Newest Member: Daughterofthemosthigh

Wayward Side :
A discussion on family compassion

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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 9:37 PM on Sunday, May 21st, 2023

I struggled with a title for this one. Hopefully it will make sense. A question for everyone on showing compassion/care/unity/worry for family members.

A few weeks ago I was speaking with BS about feelings and empathy. We discussed my FOO and the complete lack of real empathy or expression of empathy that my side of the family have shown. I raised a point about family members rarely checking in on one another. This is the complete opposite of my wife and her side of the family. This triggered a memory.

Going back many years we (BS and I) had a call late one evening saying that Uncle X was in hospital and it was suspected that he would not last the night. (Uncle X survived) Now for a little perspective, I had met the chap once and only for a few minutes. He was married to MILs sister. I know BS was not close to Uncle X. However, following the call there was an exodus to the hospital (I think about 15 people were there). I stayed home to look after the dogs, but really had no inclination to go at all. I remember thinking at the time it was odd that everyone went to the hospital. I imagined that if this were my family, I doubt I would have had the call in the first place, but even if I did, I would not have gone to the hospital (if it were an uncle. Sister or parents would be a different story). This is not to say I would not care, but I would not immediately think I need to go. I would imagine that this is the case with everyone on my side of the family. Had this been My Uncle X then his wife and kids would have been there, maybe a sibling, but no-one else.

Both BS and I thought the other way of acting was odd.

I brought this up on another group I belong to on a Skype call with both BS and WS. While there were only seven people on the call, we had a 100% consensus that WS thought this concept of everyone going to the hospital weird and BS thought it was normal. Even digging into the WS of the betrayed, they thought their WS would act in the same way. One sharing that when is WS was ill, his sister came over to look after her while he was working. The WS appreciated it, but felt that she owed the sister something and found it especially difficult to comprehend that the sister did this without expectation of anything in return.

When I pulled my back a couple of years ago, I could barely move. My BS had to go to work, so MIL and FIL came to stay at ours for three days to look after me. Even helping me get to the tolilet. I spoke with my family and barely got any recognition.

Is this something that you guys have noticed?

I now feel sad that my family would not rally round.

This alos reminds me about when BS and I bought our first flat. BS family were in there most days doing something with us (MIL, FIL,BIL, uncles, aunties and even some cousins). Other than my father we had no offers of help. A completely different mindset.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 368   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
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ibonnie ( member #62673) posted at 3:21 AM on Monday, May 22nd, 2023

A couple of thoughts come to mind:

1. I'm the BS, but I don't think I would run to the hospital for my MIL's sister's husband, especially if I had only met him once. I wouldn't think it was weird if my WS wanted to go, but I would doubt that he would based on how he is with his own family.

2. Coincidentally, my parents are very helpful. WS finds it annoying sometimes that we spend so much time together (and I understand, because they can drive me nuts, too) but also (and this is the part that bothers me) has no problem asking my mother for free babysitting whenever he has something he needs to do and I'm still at work (we work different hours). My feeling is that you don't get to complain about my mom wanting us to put dirty dishes in her dishwasher and not her sink, and then turn around and ask her if she can come over on Tuesday night to watch the kids for an hour... And my parents are like, the ideal in-laws in that they pretty much respect all of our rules w/ the kids, so there's no drama over them buying too many toys or feeding them stuff they shouldn't etc. etc.

3. I read an article (I think on Slate?) recently that said children were asked to rank which grandparents they were closest to, and overwhelmingly it was maternal grandmother first, maternal grandfather next, then paternal grandmother and paternal grandfather was barely ranked, but it was funny because most people in heterosexual relationships tend to live closer to the man's family (I can't remember if this was due to work?). There's also a saying, "A daughter's your daughter the rest of your life, a son's a son until he gets a wife." I sent the article to my mom and we talked about it, and she mentioned several of her friends that have sons/daughter-in-laws/grandchildren, and have expressly told her that they need to tread carefully with their DIL, because if they argue or disagree about something, their DILs will remove access/visitation/time with their grandchildren. And, I know I'm not getting the full picture of the relationship, but these are women I've known my whole life that are lovely, genuinely non-toxic people, so it does seem like a pretty harsh reaction from their DILs.

While there were only seven people on the call, we had a 100% consensus that WS thought this concept of everyone going to the hospital weird and BS thought it was normal.

I think statistically speaking, men cheat more frequently than women, so were most of the WS you asked men? And most of the BS women? I wonder if this has something to wo with it.

Lastly, in my personal experience, my relationship with my parents is that, if I woke up really sick tomorrow morning, I could call my mom at 6am, my dad would drive her over, she would come to my house, get my kids ready for school and take them, even if it made her a little late for work. No questions asked, one of them would leave work early that day to then pick kids up, and they'd drop me off saltines, gatorade, etc.

My in-laws live a plane ride away, so they couldn't do that for us, but they live 15 minutes away from my nieces and nephews. LONG story short, my sister-in-law passed away a fee years ago and my ex-brother-in-law is a piece of shit. The kids have a home, clothes, food, but otherwise XBIL generally ignores them and expects the oldest to take care of everything while he's busy getting his d*** wet. The youngest has frequently been missing the school bus, frequent absences, etc. My in-laws are both retired and could easily pick youngest grandkid up in the mornings and make sure he gets to school, and then go back home to bed or whatever they do all day as they stay at home. Instead, they join in on lecturing oldest grandkid that she needs to do a better job with the youngest. look Sorry, but it shouldn't be a grieving teenagers job to basically be a step in mom for her elementary aged sibling. It sucks all around but if XBIL is a shit parent, and SIL is deceased, it would be nice if grandparent in-laws went above and beyond for poor kiddos, but... they don't.

I went off on a tangent here, but maybe you're on to something with some people having good, reliable, loyal, empathetic families and being more likely to be a BS, and some people having selfish, self-centered, unavailable families being more likely to be a WS.

[This message edited by ibonnie at 3:23 AM, Monday, May 22nd]

"I will survive, hey, hey!"

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3yrsout ( member #50552) posted at 5:28 PM on Monday, May 22nd, 2023

BS here. My family is health care workers. No one even admits to being in the hospital. We are all DNR DNI and would prefer to have strokes at home and die on the bathroom floor. It’s considered embarrassing to be in the hospital (even for childbirth). You ignore it and visit in a few weeks after the issue is solved and minimize everything.

My WS’s family sits shiva in the hospital and talks about their medical problems A LOT. They have little real compassion, I think. They like pretending to be caretakers (because they don’t in real life? So they prefer it in death to even out their odds maybe). It screams narcissism and attention seeking to me.

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grubs ( member #77165) posted at 9:15 PM on Monday, May 22nd, 2023

Going to the hospital in this case is really not for the person in the hospital. It's for the others that are there. That is your wife went for her mom who was there for her sister in her sister's husband's health crisis. It might not be a strong direct correlation, but I would suggest that those who were brought up with a greater sense of duty to their extended family would be less likely to stray.

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TrayDee ( new member #82906) posted at 11:38 PM on Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

There might be some correlation there but may not be cut and dried.

My WW family, (especially the extended family), is one of those that are always together in crisis...supposedly. I on the other hand come from a family who if there is a crisis maybe you would get one or two phone calls but only the immediate family would come.

My WW and her cousins (about 30-40 of them) always plan reunions or getaways with out their parents generation because they say that there is where all the drama comes from.

Problem is that there is just as much if not more drama from the cousins than their parents generation. They just minimize it.

Here in my opinion is where the crux of the problem lies. Most families like that tend to present a façade they they are a loving close knit family, but in reality they are avoidant and do not resolve conflicts amongst themselves. They do it under the guise of "keeping the family together" or "keeping family secrets".

I on the other hand have family members that I rarely talk to because they crossed boundaries or acted in ways that I could not accept.

So to me that style of allow drama to fester is fake and unrealistic. It seems that it is avoidant But it also is part and parcel of the wayward mindset.

There are families who are truly there for each other in large numbers and I have seen how those family dynamics work. It is different from the ones who "act" like they are so close knit but in reality do a lot of rug sweeping so it is no wonder that waywards from those families are so good at compartmentalizing and rug sweeping.

[This message edited by TrayDee at 1:56 AM, Wednesday, May 31st]

posts: 47   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2023   ·   location: MS
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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 9:23 PM on Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

Some really interesting thoughts.

I think statistically speaking, men cheat more frequently than women, so were most of the WS you asked men? And most of the BS women? I wonder if this has something to do with it.

The group in question was entirely men (It was on a forum entirely for men called "mens group"). From memory, it was slightly weighted towards BS. We as a group were surprised that this was the case and assumed it was a staggering coincidence. So I asked you guys. (I think I've heard too that infidelity is more often committed by men)

One of the guys did mention that, while his family were very close, he too thought this was a façade and that most people were not being genuine in their care but did acknowledge that those who were genuine, were also the ones who would not expect similar treatment should they require help.

My WW and her cousins (about 30-40 of them) always plan reunions or getaways with out their parents generation because they say that there is where all the drama comes from.

Problem is that there is just as much if not more drama from the cousins than their parents generation. They just minimize it.

I'd not considered that there could be minimisation in these dynamics.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 368   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8793280
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ThisIsSoLonely ( Guide #64418) posted at 2:10 PM on Wednesday, June 14th, 2023

Bulcy - my situation is EXACTLY as you describe. I am the BS. WHs family are what I would consider "cold" (or IMO severely lacking in empathy - the whole lot of them). WH would maybe get the call about Uncle X a few days later, but likely only if he died, and my WH would NEVER consider going to the hospital if Uncle X were there - and honestly, it would have to be about as serious as you describe (not likely to last the night) for him to go even if it were his own parents/siblings. My family would all be like your BS's family - my mom, my dad, all of them. My WH cannot understand this and he has admitted that he is "jealous" of the closeness but also finds it stifling and weird.

But seriously I could have written what you wrote. I have always connected his infidelity with his very emotionally distant upbringing, but a lot more went on in his house than distance which I'm sure is all part of it.

EDIT: re reunions etc. My family does the whole reunion thing (or used to - some of the family is getting pretty old now so travel is hard) - no rug sweeping - often there are little arguments etc but no one is putting on airs about being loving and caring - we all do - we just don't all get along perfectly. But I was brought up that you show up for your family, no matter what, because family sticks together. I would say that the "drama" comes from my cousins - both in their early 30s - definitely not the older group and my mother.

My WH's family is just COLD and although like 90% of them live in the same small town they don't share holidays or other events together because they are all "too busy" (hint - they are not - they watch like 2-3 hours of TV per night sitting on their respective couches). The only time they have had a family gathering was one I organized years ago for my WH's birthday. We had all kinds of fantastic (and pricey) food which they devoured and commented on how awesome it was (not to me - just generally), but only when reminded did anyone say happy birthday to my WH, and only his parents gave him a card. They all talk about how great it was to get together, but no one organizes anything, and after that I was certainly never going to.

Basically I find them very rude - and interestingly my WH and I have had the conversation of our understanding of rudeness and it's also very different. I find his family incredibly rude and entitled. For example at said birthday party above - NO ONE thanked me for throwing the whole thing or buying the food or inviting them - not a single one. People also just sat down and started eating - didn't wait for everyone else (which is also a pet peeve re my WH - making himself food and not offering anyone anything or to get them anything - just helping himself). Just totally self-centered. My WH didn't get why I was so floored about the thanklessness (he knows how I feel about the helping yourself). I told him IMO you thank people because they were thinking of you and asked you to come and you should recognize that and make them feel appreciated too. This idea that someone feels appreciated when they are thanked was like a huge revelation for him. Crazy how different we think.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 2:31 PM, Wednesday, June 14th]

You are the only person you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with. Act accordingly.

Constantly editing posts: usually due to sticky keys on my laptop or additional thoughts

posts: 2359   ·   registered: Jul. 11th, 2018
id 8795192
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 Bulcy (original poster member #74034) posted at 8:54 AM on Monday, June 19th, 2023

ThisIsSoLonely

Thank you for responding. I was staggered by your comments on the reunion. I thought what an extremely distant family your WS has. Then I thought, I read the post again and so many triggers hit me. I saw myself and I saw my side of the family. Maybe not exactly like you describe, but the entitlement, the lack of communication, their rudeness and self centeredness. So may traits that we exhibit. I even suspect that the thanks occasionally offered is not genuine.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 368   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8795916
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