Dear Amy: My husband's narcissistic father died by suicide three months ago.
After spending 25 years of our adult life dealing with his childish, nasty, out-of-proportion reactions to our lifestyle and family values, we created boundaries for him within our family.
It infuriated him that he could not use money to get us to adore him. He wrote my husband out of his will and left his estate to my husband's siblings. This was a pain that you cannot know unless it is done to you.
Is it naive to think that his siblings would give up a percentage of their inheritance to make my husband whole and even things out? It is not about the monetary value of the inheritance — if offered a share, my husband would give his portion to charity — it is about doing what is natural as siblings.
How do we have a relationship with these people who continue their father's legacy of dangling money in exchange for adoration?
Amy says: Based on what you say, these siblings are not dangling money in front of you and your husband. They simply are choosing to keep money that was left to them.
I do not think it is "natural" for siblings to share an inheritance with an estranged family member, especially if your husband had exited from a relationship with their father. So yes, you are being naïve.
Presumably, these siblings endured their father's mental illness and suicide from a closer perspective than your husband did, and whether their motivation was a financial or filial one, they might feel that they've already paid dearly for every penny they've inherited.
Even though it is the opposite of your stated intent, you and your husband seem to be letting his father's money control you. It's time to let go.
Having a family member die by suicide initiates a kind of grief like no other; my recommendation would be for your husband to talk this through with a counselor. Coming to terms with his own confusion, anger, guilt and longstanding heartache would be the way for him to become "whole."
New marriage is on the rocks
Dear Amy: I am going through my second divorce. My wife wants this. I don't.
We have been married for only seven months, and she has told me she loves me but is not "in love" with me. I don't want to lose her, but she will not talk to me (or a professional) about her issues.
What do you think I can do to rebuild the love she once had for me? We have no biological kids together, but we have three teens in the house: her daughter and my two sons.
She has been going into work early and coming home late. She told me her career is her priority and that our relationship would just "be there."
She said she doesn't want to come home because she doesn't feel wanted, needed or loved. She says she feels unappreciated. I work from home, taking care of the kids, animals, shopping, appointments, my job, the yard work, etc. Can you help?
Amy says: When your wife said she feels unwanted, unloved, etc., you should encourage her to expand on all of that — and assume a very non-defensive attitude when she does. The new household might be overwhelming for her.
Some of the clues she is dropping indicate that there might be someone else in her life. As painful as this is for you to confront, you should ask her about that, too.
Marriage counseling works best when a couple participates, but individual counseling would be helpful for you.
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