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Chinese Family Politics

I've been in tears most of the evening.

The bullshit began long ago, but I'm the new wife in the family so it's Open Season on me. The immediate in-laws, the ones I'm living with, are great people. It's the extended in-laws that feel the need to unload venom on me.

Husband Guy and I have already made arrangements with Grandma to pay for household expenses. Husband Guy and I have always erred on the side of generosity. We don't publish the fact that we've paid for a lot things. We don't do our fucking accounting at big family gatherings to get into minute detail about the things we paid and how many miles we put on our cars for which family errand (no word of a lie, we've had to sit through the mileage count!).

The extended in-laws don't know how much we spend towards the household and think we're freeloading (although we've watched some of them make off with some hefty toys). This, so goes their logic, gives them the right to spew abuse at us at every turn.

We had an agreement with the Grandparents that Husband Guy and I were paying the property tax on the house. I guess Grandma mentioned offhand that she felt kinda bad for asking us to pay so much - which is not true, she didn't ask us, we offered... but that's the way women with low self-esteem tend to talk when they're internalizing blame.

T comes up with a whole "payment plan" for us. She cornered me this morning and told me that we should write post dated cheques for every month written out to T. Her reasoning was that "then Grandma wouldn't feel bad that you're paying her"... if anyone out there in LJ Land - and beyond - figures that one out, please let me know because I still don't understand.

I told her that I thought we had already worked it out with Grandma a while ago and she said "it doesn't matter, your husband and I have agreed to do it this way instead, so you can write me 12 post dated cheques and give them to me now".

Now, I know Husband Guy doesn't make agreements that involve partially my money without at least letting me know, so I knew something was up. She was being extra pushy about it, so I definitely wanted to be careful. All I said to her was that Husband Guy probably hasn't had time to tell to me about it yet (he's been supersuper busy).

I saw Grandma later this afternoon and we got talking about it. I told her not to feel bad about us paying for stuff, we were happy to and if she feels bad about taking our money directly, we'll just pay the bill when it comes. That way, we're not paying her, but we're helping with the household expenses and the funds are not being pushed around. =) Grandma was okay with this, so I went on helping make stuff for the Thanksgiving Day big family dinner.

T blew the biggest gasket when she heard this. As soon as she got to the vicinity of the front door, she started screaming and kicked up the biggest stink. I've never seen the cousins so scared shitless. This Thanksgiving dinner was probably the record for the least food eaten.

She went on and on about Husband Guy and I not taking responsibility, not contributing and what the hell did we think we were doing, who the hell did we think we were, etc., etc., etc. Neither of us dignified what she said with an answer of any sort. Anyone who matters, knows she's full of shit.

Grandma was telling her to shut up, T's husband, K, was telling her to shut up before she went overboard. She just went all out overboard and back again, anyway. In the middle of it, she yelled, in front of everyone, "I know The Bride doesn't have a good opinion of me, don't think I can't see it. But, I'm family and I'm going to be hanging around here, so she better shut the hell up and fall in line behind me."

It makes me suspicious of her because she's so upset that we didn't go with her plan. No, I haven't been buddybuddy with her, but I haven't done anything to warrant that uncalled-for outburst either.


Comments

bride
Oct. 8th, 2001 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Hey...
Yup. It's painful to be caught in it, especially in times of economic hardship... y'know, when business sucks and people have more venom than ever.

Sometimes, I really admire the Western "small doses only" approach to family.

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eLouai
bride
The Bride of the First House

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