Thursday, August 7, 2008

Family Feud

My in-laws are Italian. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be an excuse or an explanation, but they are at it again, trying to stick me in the middle of a family feud. And it's a tough situation, because, as usual, I have the empathy to understand both sides.

It's funny how families own mother would never dream of enlisting one of us kids to side with her in an argument with the other, but my in-laws seem to thrive on conflict. Whenever a disagreement arises, no one is allowed to remain neutral for very long...and however you really feel about a situation, whomever you express sympathy to first feels they have you firmly on their side. I've learned through painful experience that it's better to keep my mouth shut and let them get on with it.

So here's me, keeping my mouth shut.

Wonder how long that'll last.

Writing Prompt: Being stuck in the middle is never an easy place to be, especially when you can empathize with both sides of the situation. How do you handle family conflicts? Do you allow yourself to be drawn in, or do you withdraw and let them sort it out?


Wellness Writer said...

My mother-in-law is also of Italian descent, but neither she nor my father-in-law (now deceased) would do what your husband's family is doing. I think it's a personality trait, not a cultural one.

But I must admit that when my mother was dying and my brother and sister had turned against me, if I had had a larger family, I would have enlisted anyone related to me to try and resolve all the problems they created.

And after my mother died, and my siblings were trying to screw around with our inheritance, I got my aunt (my mother's sister) involved.

To this day, I am so grateful I thought of this because otherwise, it would have cost me a fortune in legal fees and it would have caused a far worse depressive episode than the one I experienced.


Jazz said...

I agree, I'm sure it's a personality trait rather than a cultural one. It is hard when family--who I always thought were supposed to support each other and stick together--turn against each other. My own family did it to me, too, though, when they didn't approve of my choice of husband, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

Anonymous said...

How is it going Jazz?

Jazz said...

It's been going...I've been called by both parties, and I've tried to be as neutral as possible without being rude. It's really hard when it's such a charged mother-in-law and my sister-in-law (mother and daughter) bought a house together about eight years ago, and now mother's medical issues are forcing her to move out in order to be safe--she can't navigate the stairs, and the bathroom is difficult for her. Sister-in-law is not very good with money and there is no way she will be able to afford the mortgage (technically she could, but she doesn't have the discipline to budget her money), and she is furious that mother is leaving her in the lurch. Why she didn't consider that this day was coming when she and mother signed a 30 year mortgage, I will never know, but that's my in-laws for ya!

iHanna said...

Yuck what a mess Jazz! I hope it works out without you having to be involved to much. I can't recall a similar situation though, and I'm glad I can't.

Chris said...

I hate being in the middle of drama. Especially drama that isn't mine. Especially family drama that isn't mine. I wish you luck. You seem to know the right course anyway.

Jazz said...

Hanna--Thanks for the hoping it works out! I'm just hoping it works out without everyone ending up hating each other!

Chris--Family drama that isn't mine is the worst! Especially when they try to make it mine! I'm really doing my best to stay out of this one.

Marissa Miller said...

lol. I usually just worry!