Alienation from family as the spouse of a recovering alcoholic



So, during this battle with alcohol my AH’s brother and his wife have all but alienated me. It created visual tension when we’ve been to family events. They’ve gone as far as taking their children into another room to avoid me.
His brother is a middle child and their whole family walks on eggshells to protect his fragile ego. He is a man who will dish out the jokes and comments but cannot take it at all. I am NOT a woman who will bite her tongue. I am very sassy and outgoing and if you’re going to dish it out I’ll give it back. But apparently I did it one day and made him feel some type of way and he harbors resentment so his wife does too. I’m not about that life. I’m almost a decade older than his brother so o recognize my view is different.
I’ve tried to his parents that I am glad they all want to support him on recovery but part of that is showing up and being there and that if this behavior continues we simply won’t come around (NY husband has said this not me). That he will choose me and our family above all else and their response is biblically that’s how it should be to choose your wife first, and I retorted with but it should HAVE to be.
They don’t get it. I don’t think they understand. They’re very simple minded folks and his dad is a great person and has been a great supporter through this for both of us, but today we’re going over there and I’m already anxious about the experience.
I’ve made ot clear if his brother needs to talk about whatever happened to get some resolve to move past this I’m there for it but I am not going to apologize for responding back to him when he behaves certain ways. But to come.together as FAMILY as they call it we all have to be on the same page.
Their lack of understanding me frustrates me to high hell.
I know it’s not my responsibility to change these things or to own it, but my husband loves his family and deserves that support if they’re wanting to give but he will turn his back If they continue to behave this way.
Should I be the bigger person and apologize even though I don’t feel I was in the wrong? I know his brothers feelings aren’t mine to own and it’s not as though I made comments unwarranted.
His mother excuses it because he was bullied in school… he’s been out of school for 10 years, makes the comments and doesn’t want shit given back to him because then it goes from a joke to an attack. It’s BS. Sorry I’m rambling I just don’t know how to navigate this situation. I married my husband not his family that’s for sure but I want what’s best for him.


Honestly it sounds like it won’t matter if you do try to resolve but worth a try at least you can say you were the bigger person , the brother sounds like he’s been babied his whole life and is attention seeking with narcissistic tendencies, also not your fault props to you for wanting to actually try in my opinion
If I was you and would worry about your husband and your own self care


My husband is my ultimate priority in supporting him in his recovery. I am very good at maintaining my boundaries and working on ensuring my self care is my priority.
His brother is honestly the least of my concerns, I just know that his family is important to him and he shouldn’t ever have to feel like he has to choose over me.

I will say the interactions yesterday were better than they have been, not great but xefinitly better. Though my husband was struggling a little bit yesterday so he remained my ultimate focus.
I am contemplating just writing a text to the brother about my thoughts in a diplomatic matter to kind of open the floor for dialogue if he feels like I did him dirty and hurt his feelings. Just to say I tried.


He was looking for a cup. I said, there are dixie cups on the counter. He still didn’t see them, I pointed and said right there. He said oh, you me mean solo cups. I laughed and said, same thing. Dixie is tn be brand name. I joked and said didn’tk know people didn’t know that a Dixie cup and a solo cup were the same thing. Even his dad joked about it.
A month later his dad tells me I made him feel stupid and embarrassed. I told his dad and him both my intent wasn’t to make him feel any type of way, was just giving him a hard time tyne way he had been giving me for the last hour. That I was sorry he felt that way. But nope nothing got better. It immediately became I’m just a bitch who thinks I’m smarter than everyone. His mother told me it’s because he got bullied in high school. I told her protecting his feelings wasn’t my responsibility when at every single opportunity he will tease me or give me a hard time.


I am not sure what was said to whom but it all sounds like it is a personality conflict, which often happens when dealing with in-laws. For the longest time when I was younger I harbored anger towards my ex-mother-in-law’s boyfriend for something he said to me 30 years ago. He is that type of person that doesn’t have a filter, thinks he is god’s gift, and often says rude things. We lived two states away so I didn’t have to deal with him often. As I got older, I discovered that many people didn’t like the man. Some people are just hard to get along with and just need to be tolerated for the sake of your loved ones.
You could try to smooth things over with your brother-in-law , but prepare yourself for the potential outcomes. If prior to this you got along, then you may easily be able to say something like “maybe I shouldn’t have responded to you in such and such a way but when you ___________, it hit a nerve and I cannot stand by idly while you ____________.” If there is always friction then you both may need to tolerate one another for the sake of your husband. But your brother-in-law may not be aware that he too is in the wrong. He may feel strongly that it was all you, and no matter how hard you try you may never get him to see what triggered you to respond the way you did. Again, I am not sure what was said so it is hard to say if an apology or truce is something you should strive for.
I know in my case, I am a very defensive person and sometimes respond to or get offended by things when they were not meant in the manner that I took them. So sometimes I need to take a step back and look at the situation from the other persons point of view. Some people don’t communicate with others well, and many things that are said can be taken the wrong way. You should think of all the potential scenarios and develop a response that won’t make the situation worse. You may need to swallow your ego and stop thinking “I can’t let this spoiled brat get away with acting like this any longer” because I doubt what you do will make this man change a life long way of behaving. And develop a plan for how you will respond in the future…I.e. will you leave the room, change the subject, or say “we are not going to discuss this” without turning it into an attack on your brother-in-law. I don’t know if this makes sense.



That has kind of been my sentiments as well.


Honestly, I wouldn’t apologize for that. He needs to grow up. There is a lot worse things in life to be upset about. He would never survive around my family!


Happy new year and hi @jewelrydiva70 ! Great post- super upbeat and constructive.

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