In-laws bully family members

Dear Amy: My wife and I have been married for 21 years, and my in-laws have never treated me particularly nicely, much less as a member of the family.

My wife dreads seeing them, but fears angering her mother; I have tried to stay out of the way. I’ve seen this dynamic as the “price of admission” for marrying my wife.

Since I come from a close, noisy, Jewish family, I had taken their approach to me as just a cultural difference, since they’re Episcopalian and deal with each other differently.

In the last month, however, we’ve seen them twice and I learned from our kids (19 and 15) that the kids don’t like how their grandparents treat them.

They also reported to me that for years their grandparents have insulted me in front of them and my wife (when I’m not around).

I don’t keep secrets from my wife, but I haven’t reported what my kids have said, as I don’t want to betray their confidences.

At the same time, I am incredibly hurt that she would not defend me.

What ideas do you have for addressing a betrayal that I only know about through our kids?

— Hurting Husband

Dear Husband: First, I think you should pat yourself on the back for raising children who will stand up for others.

Before you bring this up, keep in mind that she is afraid of her parents. This behavior is not a function of being Episcopalian (far from it!). They are bullies, and they scare her into behaving in a way that I doubt she is proud of.

I once witnessed an outrageous bullying incident. People just stood there, frozen. Freezing, or fleeing, are typical reactions.

In the future, lead the way and stand up for yourself and your family.

Stay calm, stay cool, and brook no argument. Your kids will be proud.

Dear Amy: Although social distancing may be more challenging for extroverts, I think my husband is becoming obsessive about having workers visit our home, ever since we began isolating, due to the pandemic.

Although one must stay attentive to house and yard maintenance, I think having two or three workers per week to our house is excessive, not to mention expensive.

He is apparently lonely and craves company. How can I tell him that these paid visitors are not his “buddies?”

– Introverted Wife in Georgia

Dear Introverted: Let it go.

Unless this expense creates debt problems for your household, I think you should consider that you are killing several birds with one stone: Your husband is getting the interactions he seems to crave, your house is getting upgraded, and this expense now might well be less than the expense of therapy, later.

Dear Amy: I take great issue with your typical libtard attitude that everyone in this country has to receive the COVID vaccine.

Many people have medical issues that prevent them from receiving this vaccine. Or they just don’t want it.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

– Upset

Dear Upset: I have never stated that everyone in this country has to receive the vaccine.

I do believe that people who want to be inoculated against the more serious symptoms of COVID (and who are medically able) should go ahead and be vaccinated.

We’re extremely lucky that such vaccinations are available.