I Married into a Bad Situation
I married a interesting, competent, good provider, man 28 years ago. I cried when we decided to get together and now I know why. His family is duplicitous, exclusive and racist toward my whiteness.
When I first met this Native family I was thrilled to be a part of it as they are a large family and I had only one sibling and always wanted to be part of a big family. I was unable to have children and we agreed to adopt which we did. The first 5 or 6 years went well and I put all my efforts into being a good family member and Mom while raising our kids with their cousins.
During the first 20 years; I endured many slights including being left out of pictures, parties, outings, and conversations. I was understanding because I had compassion for generational trauma and family dysfunction. When my children were treated as second class family members, I started pushing back on all this. There have been too many hurt feelings, and emotional abuse to list, the slights and cruel acts are too numerous to count, and I don't want to be stuck cataloging the past. I did take an inventory of my life at this point and I decided to invest my time and attention elsewhere.
This family used me up without giving anything in terms of friendship and good will back. I finally quit going to Christmas because anything I brought was rejected and my attempts to join in were ignored or rejected. In fact anything good about me was ignored, and I was not a member of this family, only a prop or something that got in the way with their "relationship" with their brother. I quit going to Thanksgiving,
and Easter as well. My husband goes anyway and blames me for being a spoil sport. He says, "What? Are you going to stay home and pout? Then you will just miss out."
Over the next 8 years, I stayed in the relationship because I wanted our kids to have the home we promised when we adopted them. My husband was and is still a good father and remained in the marriage over some rough times with the kids. I have developed a good life for myself with lots of friends and interesting groups for social change. I joined a drum group, and support 3 important causes. The youngest is 17 now.
I am again sitting home by myself during a birthday party for my nephew because I drove around my husband's sister and her daughter on a dirt road where they had been blocking the road because they didn't know how to drive on it. I didn't know it was them and just beeped the horn to let them know I was there and went around because I am a good driver with experience on back roads and there was someone behind me. When I passed their car, I noticed it was them. I didn't think anything of it until the rage was again directed at me. Then the 2 sisters and all their kids, everyone there, all treat me with scorn if I dared to show up.
I am tired of this. My husband cut me off from affection and physical contact 20 years ago so I have learned to live without that, (we are Catholic) but as I sit here, I wish there was somewhere I could go. Some other life I could have had. Is it too late for me?
Eugene Kayser, lic. Marriage & Family Therapist