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I received an e-mail today from a sister-in-law, and inadvertently the "forwarding " had come from my step-son (33 yr old). To give you background, I had an end-stage pituitary tumor (brain), that required 2 different surgeries, and at one point nearly cost me my life. Step son says he thinks I had some nerve talking to the family and burdening them all with my health issue, over that. He has great influence over my husband, and believe me this young man has verbally attacked me repeatedly over the years, and I refuse to engage. I have probably been with celiac symptoms for 6 years, and just got diagnosed last month, finally. Well, not to digress further, this guy has told my sister-in-law, his aunt that NOW WHAT, another made-up disease. And the rest of the e-mail plunged on. I am not sure what to do if anything about this, as I have to put up with him at many family gatherings. No one else has had reactions to my tumor (I didn't tell many people of the countless hospitalizations, I just went "on" with life). And no one else has had this weird reaction to this dietary restriction I now have.

Comments or suggestions......

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That 'child' needs a talking to from his father, and a stern one at that. If your husband is unwilling or unable to confront him over this issue there really isn't much that you can do other than to continue to treat him with the respect that he is denying you when you are together. He may harbor some resentment toward you as his 'step mother' even if you came into the picture long after his natural mother was out of his dad's life. Try not to feel too hurt by his words, his ignorance is showing and he obviously IMHO has some problems and could use some counseling. If it is possible to engage him, your husband and yourself in some family counseling sessions that might improve matters. But I doubt he will agree to it.

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IMO this step-son is just attempting to poke a hornet's nest to see what trouble he can cause. Pretend you never read it. Nothing will come to any good by telling him that you read it and are upset. And if he confronts you about it, just say "you are right about that".

No, you don't have to really mean that you agree with whatever he says (it will be something nasty to make you mad). But when saying you agree with him it doesn't leave him much room to argue.

When I first learned about "you are right about that" as an answer, the example given was between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law. If the mil says to the dil "You can't keep your house clean, my son should have never married you" and dil answers "you are right about that". It really puts the mil doing the attacking up against a wall.

I've done this a few times and it's really hard not to start laughing but well worth the results.

Keep an eye on the sil who did the forwarding, she may have took a swing at the hornet's nest by forwarding the message. People sometimes do things disguised as trying to be helpful. The best and least hurtful thing to have done with the message is to have hit the delete key.

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It's your husband's responsibility to stand up to his family for you. He needs to clear the air with his son.

On your part, as you already know, you can't control how your SS acts only how you act. When you act respectful and do not seek out conflict, he will lose his power. He only has power when he can make you react then his family can back him up in the conflict. IMO, I would pretend to those interested parties like I had never rec'd the e-mail, after all glitches happen all the time.

Behind his back at family gatherings, I would do nothing but compliment him on whatever you can up with that is positive. This will confuse and befuddle him and is great fun. I have family that loves the drama. I'm pretty much left out of their lives because I don't buy into it. I think it's funny that my sister's MIL called to invite my whole family and mom to their giant Thanksgiving meal. They will have to deal with us and we will be gracious the whole day. That tees them off (though they will never admit it) that every one likes us and wants us around but them.

I don't know if you believe in Karma or the Law of Attraction but I do. When your SS puts out such negative, mean and spiteful energy it can't help but come back to him at some point. If you continue to be positive, good things will only come to you.

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I know what it is like to have difficult extended family. I do like others have mentioned...act like I haven't heard anything and be polite. This MAN and he is a man, has some problems and they aren't you. He's being a jerk and there's nothing you can do to make him a nicer/better person.

This part is the most unsettling to me:

"He has great influence over my husband, and believe me this young man has verbally attacked me repeatedly over the years..."

Fortunately, my husband has ALWAYS been on my side and would NEVER let anyone attack me. He would cut them off just like that. We have been married over 25 years. How does your husband react to these attacks?

All I can say from my own experience is that I keep my distance, don't talk about anything really personal or important and treat them as nicely as I do strangers. I've managed to keep my stress level down that way.

I'm sorry you are going through this. I KNOW how disturbing and stressful it is.

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It's your husband's responsibility to stand up to his family for you. He needs to clear the air with his son.

On your part, as you already know, you can't control how your SS acts only how you act. When you act respectful and do not seek out conflict, he will lose his power. He only has power when he can make you react then his family can back him up in the conflict. IMO, I would pretend to those interested parties like I had never rec'd the e-mail, after all glitches happen all the time.

Behind his back at family gatherings, I would do nothing but compliment him on whatever you can up with that is positive. This will confuse and befuddle him and is great fun. I have family that loves the drama. I'm pretty much left out of their lives because I don't buy into it. I think it's funny that my sister's MIL called to invite my whole family and mom to their giant Thanksgiving meal. They will have to deal with us and we will be gracious the whole day. That tees them off (though they will never admit it) that every one likes us and wants us around but them.

I don't know if you believe in Karma or the Law of Attraction but I do. When your SS puts out such negative, mean and spiteful energy it can't help but come back to him at some point. If you continue to be positive, good things will only come to you.

I agree. I am usually pretty calm and silent, and it works out fine in the gatherings. BUT I stew about it later. You advise is good, as well!

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I know what it is like to have difficult extended family. I do like others have mentioned...act like I haven't heard anything and be polite. This MAN and he is a man, has some problems and they aren't you. He's being a jerk and there's nothing you can do to make him a nicer/better person.

This part is the most unsettling to me:

"He has great influence over my husband, and believe me this young man has verbally attacked me repeatedly over the years..."

Fortunately, my husband has ALWAYS been on my side and would NEVER let anyone attack me. He would cut them off just like that. We have been married over 25 years. How does your husband react to these attacks?

All I can say from my own experience is that I keep my distance, don't talk about anything really personal or important and treat them as nicely as I do strangers. I've managed to keep my stress level down that way.

I'm sorry you are going through this. I KNOW how disturbing and stressful it is.

Thank you for your kind response. Keeping a distance is easy for me, I will remember this idea.

Actually, the past 2+ years, since my pituitary disaster, my husband has held me at arm's length. It happened very suddenly after my surgery. No matter how cheerful and steady I am, he will NOT take up for me anymore, it seems. We have been married 18 years. The only thing I can figure out, is that many of my close friends (nurses) saw him have a complete breakdown mentally, when the doctors told him I probably wouldn't live. I was literally knocked out for 15 days and have no memory of this. He was a wonderful, affectionate, caring husband. He has stopped going to church , or any other place with me these last 2 years, and he "lost" his wedding band over 6 months ago.I am fairly certain that he has some kind of post traumatic stress syndrome (I have an advance certification in this subject and was chairman of the committee in the hospital sytem where I worked). I constantly remind him I am doing well physically (even when I don't feel like it). And NOW I find I have Celiac? That will really help! Naturally, the man refuses any counseling, etc. Funny how you picked up on this.....you were right on target!

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On your part, as you already know, you can't control how your SS acts only how you act. When you act respectful and do not seek out conflict, he will lose his power.

Behind his back at family gatherings, I would do nothing but compliment him on whatever you can up with that is positive.

I don't know if you believe in Karma or the Law of Attraction but I do. When your SS puts out such negative, mean and spiteful energy it can't help but come back to him at some point. If you continue to be positive, good things will only come to you.

Ang1e0251 said it best. Don't engage him- he wants trouble. If you ignore it, he'll have to find someone else to take out his anger on.

That said, I am sorry you have to deal with this after so much health trouble. I hope you are healthy and well soon!

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