Family Business Issues
I am writing on behalf of my fiancé. We are hoping there's someone out there who can shed some light on this for us. My fiancé has a family business with his father and brother. His father and grandfather started the business over 30 years ago before he was born. The company has been very successful for my future in-laws. My fiancé grew up very privileged. The company has afforded his family so many things that others can only dream of. Big fancy homes and cars, elaborate vacations, and everything they could ever want growing up. All of his life, he was told by his mom and dad that the company would be his and his brothers once they graduated from high school. It was always said that they would share the company with their Dad. When that time came, that is exactly what happened. The grandfather retired and signed his shares over to my fiancé and his brother. When the shares were signed over, my fiancé and his brother ended up with a total of 380 shares each, and their father was left with 240 shares. This seems great, right? To have had your life completely laid out for you and to be able to own a very successful company at a young age. Well lets fast forward 10 years. Now that my fiancé has been an adult owner of this company alongside his brother and dad for ten years, you would never know it. In fact, the community (and they are very well known throughout the area) has no idea that he and his brother are owners. Everyone thinks that they both just work for their dad. The company pays all three of the owners a salary. It is not impressive. My fiancé brings home $580 per week. While this isn't terrible, it is not exactly how HE would have planned his life out, had he been given the choice. He never gets a portion of any of the profit. From what we understand, and we aren't privy to much information as his parents never include him on any business decisions, all of the profit the company makes goes back into the company so that huge amounts of taxes do not have to be paid. I'm talking tens of thousands of dollars of pure profit each month AFTER all expenses are paid. His mom and dad have all of the profit going "back into the company" as they like to say. When I say that, I mean several things. For instance, they might take ten grand and buy a stockpile of supplies for the company that they wont need for a long time, which is okay, but mainly, it is the company credit card bill they pay off each month that LOOKS like company expenses but its not. His mom and dad will purchase everything they desire on the company credit card each month. But they are smart and creative about it. The type of company they own has to do with construction. I wont say more about that for privacy purposes, but it would not be uncommon to see lots of purchases made at Lowes for example. Well, his parents will go to Lowes and purchase expensive personal items for their home instead of or along with their company. But in an audit, the credit card statement only shows LOWES. They've been audited many times over the last three decades and no red flags yet. The auditors do not ask to see receipts. They simply see a $5000 purchase at Lowes, and assume it was for company supplies. Why is this? If they looked at receipts, they would see all kinds of home décor and elaborate expensive items that all go to his parents home. My fiancé and I, and his brother and wife all live like low to middle class people. We have to watch every penny and are struggling to figure out how to save money after monthly expenses just like everyone else while his parents are living large and flashy lifestyles. The company purchases a brand new Chevy Tahoe for his mother every few years including this year. That's $55,000 she used to have another new car. My fiancé and I are desperately in need of upgrading to a larger vehicle. With my son, we have a family of three and we have dogs and currently, I am taking care of my grandmother, but everyday, I have to drive a small chevy cruze because we cant afford a new car. Meanwhile, his parents have several very nice cars that they paid for with the company that in reality, they own less of than their son! Anytime my fiancé even merely mentions anything about decisions in the company, his family just acts like he has no say. They are quick to shut him down and he becomes outnumbered and defenseless. But that cant be true, can it? They are just trying to manipulate him. He knows this but he is fearful that they will try to push him out of the company if he does not go along with their rules. At this point in our lives, we should be ahead of where we are and we would have been had he been given the choice to do whatever he wanted in life. He would have chosen to be a veterinarian or something but being the owner of this company alongside his family was just too compelling to pass up.... because growing up, he saw what it could afford and he wanted that for himself too. But instead, it is nothing like that. We just want to be able to save money and the only way to do that is for him to get his fair share of profit. On a side note, his parents are over controlling and severely narcissistic. They are always right and everyone else is always wrong. They are very controlling and express major concern over you if you do not give them complete control. They start treating us like we have some sort of major problems in life if we don't allow them to control us. My fiancé and his brother do not get along well because the parents have used their narcissistic traits on tearing the two of them apart. My fiancé is the scapegoat child and his brother is the golden child. His brother doesn't seem to be worried about the way his family is controlling the business even though he and his wife and kids are in worse financial shape than we are. He is brainwashed by his parents it appears, so he goes along with this. In fact, he doesn't even seem to be aware of what is actually happening. And what is actually happening is tat their parents are selfishly keeping all the profit for themselves to maintain the lifestyle they want, and they are doing it at the expense of their children! It has gotten to a point where my fiancé does not want to be apart of the family business anymore but he would want to be paid for his shares in the company if he left. So our questions are: Can he sell his shares to his family? We know he cant sell them to a non-family member because we saw paperwork stating that as a company rule. Can he still have ownership in the company and not work there? Could he work somewhere else and claim his portion of profits and if so, how does he go about collecting it when his parents aren't even sharing profits now? If he decides to stick around, how can he collect his share of profits? Should he contact an attorney? What will the attorney do exactly? If an auditor ever reveals all of these elaborate monthly purchases that his parents are making, can he be punished or fined for it even though it was not his mistake? His parents are using the company to have expensive dinners, stock their home with everything they need from food to supplies to decorations....just anything they want! They buy new cars for personal use but call it a "company car". His dad is an avid fisherman with an expensive boat and depth finder equipment and he has a stock of fishing lures that resembles a bass pro shop. This is what the company is paying for while WE struggle!!!! Help please?!
"their parents are selfishly keeping all the profit for themselves to maintain the lifestyle they want, and they are doing it at the expense of their children! "
As I understand these things, if your fiance and his brother EACH have 380 shares whilst their father only 240, that makes them majority shareholders. Whether end of year profits pay each of the shareholders a dividend proportionate to their individual shareholding or whether those profits are put straight back into the company has to be a decision that's voted on unanimously by the total shareholders.
Even individually, if his brother really won't grow a pair of b*lls, your fiance's share is greater than his fathers, which still gives him clout. I think it depends on whether he's recorded with company's house as a director of the company rather than just a shareholder.
How does your brother and BIL-to-be even KNOW whether the total profits are indeed going straight back into the company? Do they each get a copy of the year-end accounts like they should? Is there an annual shareholders meeting like there should be?
Certainly, the father using the company credit card to fund his personal life is a type of ad-hoc dividend. I'm not sure, but I would presume this would be deemed a form of embezzlement if it's not sanctioned by the other shareholders? Again, though, I think this depends on whether they're co-directors.
I agree your fiance and/or his brother should see a corporate solicitor/attorney over this because, unless they too are allowed to fund their personal lives using a company credit card, they're obviously being cheated out of a share of the profits via a 'bona fide' tax-dodge, just indirectly.
Also, you should be aware (which I think I'm right in saying): as the majority shareholders, fiance and brother could vote their father OUT of the company. And with the way he's been behaving, well he would deserve it! But I wouldn't have thought selling their shares to their father was a good idea. But yes, unless there's some specific condition against it, they don't have to work there to remain shareholders.
Your fiance at least, DEFINITELY needs to seek legal advice over this, and asap, because his monthly loss is his father's gain. However, a private attorney won't do a thing without the go-ahead of his client, your fiance.
As for your FIL and MIL as people and parents? What a pair of rhymes-with-anchors!
Forgot to say: I do know that directors are answerable to shareholders, though.
Soulmate, thank you for your help. The way that each person is listed is as follows: They are together listed as "The board of directors" and their dad is the "president", the brother is the "vice president", the mom is "treasurer", and my fiancé is "secretary". I don't know how that impacts things. You asked me how they know if profits are going back into the company. They don't! But they do hear how high the credit card bill is from time to time.
My fiancé has never received any paperwork of any kind and as for meetings, there has never been a meeting....ever. However, one day my fiancé got really upset about things so he and I went to the business after work hours and found his certificates of shares, which is how we learned he has 380 shares. We made copies. (After your post, I went back to the ppwk we kept and found that I stated that wrong...my fiancé and his brother each have 430 SHARES and their dad has only 140 SHARES. Also, we found "meeting" minutes, where my fiancé's name was signed several times. He did not sign those minutes or any minutes for that matter. His mother forged his signature. One set of minutes stated that no shareholder could sell their shares to a non-family member.
We did find paperwork from years ago before his grandfather signed over his shares to him and his brother that named his grandfather as "Member at Large" You also asked about whether or not my fiancé and his brother have their personal lives funded with the company credit card. The only thing we are allowed to use the company card for is gas. Occasionally, when my fiancé goes to Lowes to get supplies for the company, he may pick something up that we need at home like laundry detergent, but he does not do that often and if he does make a large purchase somewhere, his mother will call about it when she see's his portion of the statement. One time, they even complained about how much gas was purchased one month. The reason is was higher is because we had to borrow their older model Tahoe since our car is too small and had to fill it up twice. We didn't even use all the gas we put in it. They did. We just filed it up when we borrowed it because it as on empty.
The reality is that his parents live in a mansion-like house with a pool, two guest houses, 6 garage bays, new cars, corvette, flashy boat and fishing equipment, motorcycles, jewelry, you name it, they have it. We live in a small 1100 sq. ft. house that his parents built when he was a baby. They are still the legal owners but they call it his. They are always saying it's my fiancés house but they haven't signed it over. He's been living there 7 years like that. It is almost like his parents carefully planned out a way to keep full control of their children forever by setting them up but not really allowing them to have it. And it works because my fiancé will never say anything for fear of not getting what they call "his" legally. He's afraid they will never sign it over and/or take it away if he gives them any push back. And as for the company, even though his shares are listed on a certificate in black ink, we KNOW that one little misstep, his parents will be forging his signature on a transfer of shares document.
Sometimes things are just so bad that he wishes he could get out of the company, so long as he is bought out for his portion. But you mentioned that his shares outweighing his fathers shares should give him more power. What if the brother and the dad vote against my fiancé. s he considered outnumbered or does it go by individual shareholders votes? I really appreciate your help.
And I also want to say that his mother spends the companies money on a lot of things...Christmas presents, grocery store, hobby lobby, and she always figures out what to say in case an auditor asks about it. They haven't been audited in several years but whenever they are audited, the auditor appears to do a half a** job and never uncovers any of this. I find that to be very strange. Also, the mother is not listed as an owner but she is listed as an employee and she receives a $300 paycheck each week for doing absolutely nothing. She is a stay at home wife who gossips and watched soaps all day. She does not work at all. But she gets a weekly paycheck because, well, she can! Lies lies lies!
Even forging co-director/shareholders' signatures? Oh, wow, no doubt about it now - your FIL AND MIL have definitely been committing long-term Embezzlement in almost all its forms! *And* Fraud (falsified signatures)! Including their accountant (who must surely be getting kickbacks for cooking the books).
Re the MIL being falsely listed as an employee: That one's called Payroll Using, another criteria under embezzlement (not to mention tax-dodging). Also, check the overtime records of either of you to see if they've been falsified and 'paid' in cash (i.e. pocketed by those two).
Better yet, as I said, get yourselves to a corporate solicitor IMMEDIATELY! Once you know precisely where you stand from a legal viewpoint, you could insist on back payment of all the funds your husband's ever been unwittingly denied and deprived in return for non legal action. If not, you have grounds to sue.
Re falsifying his signature on share transfer docs: They could try to forge as many further signatures they like, but that doesn't mean they can get away with that any more than they can the rest. Also, any voting by your father would mean diddly squat given his crimes against the company's and co-director/shareholders' interests, so don't worry about that.
Did you take photocopies or photographs of the documents you found? If so, take them with you to the solicitor.
Best of luck! Doesn't sound like you'll need it, though.
SOULMATE, I have really been researching this since your last post. We even talk to an attorney on Avvo. It has diminished so many gray areas and has revealed the black and white.
After relaying all of this to my fiancé, we realize with 100% certainty that everything they are doing is wrong. Now it is a matter of whether he will act on this or not. The sad reality is that his parents make our lives very complicated, and after researching for months and months about their many behaviors, we finally determined that they are ill with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. They fit the bill in its entirety. With that said, I think it is great that you are here giving advice to so many. You seem very wise and I appreciate your help. I will be posting for advice about his parents later. But the reason I bring all of that up will have everything to do with his decision on this family business matter.
Only he can make the choice on what to do but at least he has more answers.
Try to think up a reason to get the place of stay handed over in paper. Get that done first. Then may be ask for a higher pay through more share in profits? Get his brother also together in asking for more pay. Don't touch the shares issue as of now as that could blow any chances of amicable settlement.
"and after researching for months and months about their many behaviors, we finally determined that they are ill with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. They fit the bill in its entirety."
Don't they just! But at this point, who cares, because first you have not just future but BACK dividends and salary to recoup. That's a lot of injustice redressing AND A LOT OF WONGA! Bye-bye pokey little flat - the one you shouldn't have been squeezed into in the first place! But do not, I repeat, DO NOT mention a thing to the parents-in-law! I'm sure you know not to do that already, courtesy of your attorney.
However, I must just mention whilst it's on the table, how it's rare for two Narcissists to end up together. Normally a Narcissist and whatever-level, socially-reliant type of Aspergic (think Marilyn rather than Einstein) attract - because a Narc relies on an over-truster/gullible, over-giver - of which your self-uneducated Aspie is - in order to operate narcissistically (think about it) - and at the point of attraction/wooing they share *positive* traits. It's not until disagreements start to kick in following the Honeymoon Period that the chasmic differences between them reveal themselves (including the biggie of doggedly in pursuit of and unable to see anything but truth -v- doggedly in pursuit of and unable to see anything but lies and twisted reality)...but by then it's often too late for the Aspie in terms of having become locked-in by the heart. I suspect mum is the Aspie... that dad is the engineer and mum has learnt to go along with it and by-now like it (in a lump it kind of way). If you think about it, he does seem to pay for her compliance quite a lot in terms of her house-pride, doesn't he.
Where two Narcs end up married, ...well... suffice it to say, 'The female of the species is more deadly than the male'. But, as I say, I don't think so in this case because otherwise she's be a shareholder-director, not just an employee (again, think about it) and he'd be the put-upon, whereas it's solely him who's got both hands on that steering wheel, meaning he could too easily passive-aggress in protest. In fact, were she a Narc as well, she'd probably own the company exclusively, in its entirety! LOL So, nope - my vote is dad.
But what will you think if your husband *doesn't* take any action? Surely you'll find that very hard to live with?
SOULMATE, I have known these people since I was a little girl. And there's a lot that I would love to talk about as I have kept things bottled up for over two years now ( and I think in order to get through it, I will have to create a separate thread for different issues with her), but to the point of this discussion and which one is worst, I have to say it is the mother.
Everything you are saying makes complete sense, but this is how things work in their family... The company is owned by my FH, his dad, and his brother. But my FMIL acts as BOSS in every way. She dictates every move they make. She is the go-between person for all family matters, business or not. When it comes to the business, she does not work, but because of her self entitlement through her marriage to my FFIL, she treats it as though she owns it along with everyone else with her being the queen B. And I guess if she and FFIL ever divorced, she may even be entitled to half of his portion because they never had a prenup. When it comes to the business, she simply dictates to them and to the company secretary and micro-manages from her comfy spot at home. Sometimes she will show up to see paperwork and bills, but the secretary handles all of that. The only one thing she does manage for the company is their CREDIT CARD BILL. She has the title of "Treasurer" but is not on the board of directors. The credit card statement is not mailed to the business...but straight to her. She pays it from the company account and that is the extent of labor on her part with the company. She and her husband are the only one's who see the CC statement. Gee, I wonder why?
She just likes to pop in at their office and check everything out constantly. She doesn't know the mechanical ends of the company or the physical labor the guys put in, but it is her first order of business each day to KNOW every little step they will be taking each and every day. She even calls each of them on their cell phones while they are on the job asking every little question, like where are you now, when will you guys finish up, and where are you going next kind of thing. Just being nosy. My FH often says how annoying she is to all of them when she does this because they do not have time to appease her constantly. My FH says that his dad will always say things like "A happy wife is a happy life" and "It's cheaper to keep her". He only says this when she is not around.
She has many narcissistic traits. She likes to be the center of attention, she is constantly doing nice things for us but it never seems genuine. She does it for praise and bragging rights about what kind of mother she is. It's simply a conversation piece for her. She brags about her assets, she talks about herself as though she is a very important person, she is selfish in many ways but disguises it by doing nice small gestures for others but even then, it in someway benefits her, she only socializes with other high-status people, she becomes furious if criticized (which rarely ever happens because people know better), she carries this large sense of entitlement everywhere she goes, she is arrogant and rude to service personnel, and believes everyone is envious of her.
The key here is that she is this way ALL the time. My FFIL is this way within the walls of their company. Whenever he is away from his wife, he acts this way. When he is with her, he takes the backseat and lets her do her thing. So what you said about two narcissistic people not normally being a match....well the truth is they ARENT a match, but my FFIL will never divorce her because everything he worked for his entire life will be divided with her and this man truly loves his materialistic life more than anything. My FH and I think that he is generally happy with his life, except for the times when she is overbearing and over-controlling in which he stays gone. He is always either working or fishing and does not seem to want to be at home. The main things the two have in common is their love of spending money on everything they want and their arrogance. They are a power couple in our community and have everyone thinking they are perfect and blissfully happy. Only family members know the real truth and even we are sometimes confused.
At work, my FFIL is very controlling, micro-managing, and acts as though he is the boss of his sons even though his shares are far less than theirs. Since he started the company with his dad 30 years ago, I can understand why he does this, but it isn't right. My FH has no say so, his decisions and suggestions are knocked down, he is given no rewards, and he basically treated as an employee, If he is 15 minutes late for work at his own company, his father will scold him. However, his father comes and goes as he pleases.
One day while at my FMIL's house to pick up our dog, she started talking to me about how my FH doesn't seem to be happy working with the company. I told her she would need to talk to him about that, not me. Then she said "Well, if he's not happy, he can go and do something else, but if he leaves, he will never be allowed back". Now, I know those were her words but somehow I felt it implied that he has no rights with the company. It is in the way she said it. She told me this because SHE WANTED me to tell him...so that it would scare him into complying with things as they are now. She made it seem as though he wouldn't get anything if he left and would be disowned from then on. Obviously, if he did leave and was paid for his portion of the company, he wouldn't NEED to come back.....so that is why I feel she implied he has no rights in the company stake. Also, I just want to say my FH loves the company itself and the work he does. He is proud of it but does not like how they are running the business behind his back, and preventing him from making the kind of money he is entitled to. I mentioned before that his grandfather retired and signed his shares over to him and his brother. Well, there is more to that. His mom and dad tricked him into signing his shares over which caused a huge family feud that resulted in the grandparents now being completely estranged. The grandfather did not pursue this in a court of law, but a few months after it happened, he was also diagnosed with Alzheimer's and is now a permanent resident of the local nursing home. Nobody has even been to visit him from this portion of the family. Even my FFIL's siblings do not have contact with this family. My poor FH hates all of this but feels very trapped because of the control, clout, manipulation, and guilt they make him feel. And it makes it harder when his parents say everything with such sweetness and act like they love him so so much... It's all just so crazy and bizarre.
As for how I feel about what my FH decides to do about this is a moot point. I don't have any say and I am not going to tell him what to do with his life. But I will support him and be there for him in whatever he decides to do. I don't want to see anyone getting in trouble for embezzlement or anything, but I would like to see him being treated fairly and I will always give him the mental and emotional support he needs to hopefully achieve that.
If you're sure she's the mover-shaker? Because, reading that up there, it sounds to me like her power and control is quite petty compared to his in terms of whom of the two is LEGALLY/FORMALLY the boss with the finger on the actual buttons. This is often the way with wives married to high earning over-controllers. Because she isn't allowed much sway, if any, over the big stuff she'll resort to trying to over-control all the trivial stuff including the mere details, yet does so in such a way as to *suggest* it's big stuff. So she could just be an highly materialistic, greedy, 'keep up with the Joneses' type but where it's nowadays got totally out of control?
Sometimes it's the seemingly nicer, quiet ones, is what I'm saying. You've got to ignore the posturing and volume levels and look at only the actual ACTIONS. Yet at the same time it can also be true that the animal who's the most in pain or discomfort will make the most noise and kick up the most fuss.
Well, anyway, certainly what's highly characteristic of Narcs is this carefully-crafted, false, shiny-happy public veneer of the kind you describe, as hides a completely different story behind closed doors, meaning, if ever you try to get other people to believe your causes for complaints, they assume *you* must be the crazy one. That's not a problem for you and your husband in this case because serious breakage of company law is serious breakage of company law, and for these two there's no getting away from it or around it. But your husband (and presumably his brother) have done nothing wrong, in which case they shouldn't worry about suffering any further losses, regardless of whatever empty threats and posturing MIL feels the need to come out with. Basically, whenever she does that she's exhibiting her greatest fears but trying to disguise them with postured threats and warnings. So she obviously does KNOW how vulnerable she'd be if ever her son was allowed to think straight for five minutes free of intimidation tactics. What I'm saying is, her threats are COUNTER-threats in reaction to the walking yet silent and so-far non-activated threat that is her son. It's in her interests to keep his eyes closed through forcing him to constantly focus on his OWN fears. Capiche?
Your husband needs to wake up and smell this coffee in order to realise how in actual fact, he has ALL the power here. Didn't the attorney manage to impress this upon him? Or was it just an initial, quite brief consultation?
However, husband putting his foot down does rely on him being *psychologically* ready, not just financially, to finally rear up and cease taking any more nonsense just because they happen to be his parents. Part of that process, what he needs to appreciate on the emotional level, is this: being his parents hasn't ever stopped THEM from seriously exploiting and depriving their own 'baby' so... if what ordinarily should be sacrosanct means so little to them, why should HE be the only one to pay homage to it? Sacrosanctity is a two-way street like anything else. Through deliberately flouting it, this pair have made their bed and dependent on your husband deciding enough is enough, will soon have to lie in it.
Er, yes, you do have a say. You and he are one team comprised of two. By the legal act of marriage, half of his is yours - same for debts, same for wealth and assets, same for whatever wealth you SHOULD have had the privilege of through legal entitlement but were unfairly and illegally denied. YOU'VE been exploited and deprived, too (and your kids), to the tune of 50% of whatever the overall backdated amount is. Put it this way, if you and husband happened to have been in the process of divorcing right now, you'd have grounds to seek your share of compensation independently of him and whatever he decided to do. In that marital context, you and he are equal director-shareholders of the marriage and all that's involved in it. So, yes you damn well do have a say. But I appreciate that this decision of his to exert either 'informal' or legal pressure is a delicate, personal hurdle until such time as he gets his head more around it. If he's been financially abused (AND, I'm betting, the rest!) for so long by his own parents - those very people originally charged first and foremost with protecting him - it'll take him time to see it all clearly and dispassionately without getting upset. It's a huge betrayal, in other words.
I'd have thought the thing to do would be to ensure your attorney knows all of the ins and outs regarding said financial deprivation and how, i.e. to PREPARE a case, and then for your husband, either with or without brother's accompaniament, to confront them over all he knows and insist on settlement of whatever fair sum of monies owed to-date AND henceforth into the future. Again, he has massive leverage over them. They'd have to be thick as pigsh*t not to instantly comply.
And if BIL can't face up to the reality of the situation and the fact he has such utterly mercenary parents, that's his problem, meaning, he'll just have to go it alone come some other future date yet bear in mind that his parents might very well react to the sh*t hitting the fan with your husband by suddenly covering all such past tracks.
PS, I should mention in case I end up confusing anyone: having a carefully crafted public veneer, etc., does not automatically mean the person concerned is personality disordered. What determines these things always depends on THE DEGREE, specifically, a critical point beyond which the condition produces behaviour that affects their day-to-day functionality.
You are so awesome. Thank you! I bet there are a lot of people who really appreciate you!
You have really got me thinking now about how she controls all of the trivial stuff so that she can appear to be the boss. It is really hard to say who holds the power. On the surface, it looks like it is her, but you may be right. She may just be miserable inside and all of these antics are a façade. He started the company after they were married, so she has been around for all of it. I, on the other hand am just their son's fiancé. We aren't married yet, and I will have to sign a prenup just as my FSIL did, on the company only. It is written in their by-laws that any future spouse of a director will not have a right to company assets during a divorce. Its amazing how they took the time to get that drawn up, but never formed a detailed plan for anything else. My FSIL had to sign a prenup on everything her husband has. My Fiancé is not making me do that. Only for the business. I really don't mind. But I will not sign on anything else. So, because we are not married yet, and because I have no stake in the company and never will, I do feel it is his decision. But when it comes to the income our household brings in and how we care for our family, I do have a say. With my income combined, we are doing okay...just not saving what we'd like.
The attorney he spoke with told him to get as much documentation and information gathered as possible. He said they are most likely guilty of corporate assets and funds misappropriation, tax fraud, embezzlement, dept. of labor issues, IRS issues, state agency compliance issues....and he also said that my FH did not conduct his due diligence in this business to have allowed this to happen. He wants to see the information to start explaining his rights and decide on the best course of action. The office we spoke with was not only an attorney, but fraud examiners as well, so that should help. should he decide to fully examine this with them further.
Honestly, I do not see my FH taking action through an attorney. I don't see him ever making that step where he actually sits down with an attorney and starts this process. He did however go into the office today when nobody was there and made copies of everything he could find. He plans to hold on to it and have it ready in case he decides to take action. Over dinner tonight, he told me that he would rather go through the battle of talking this out with them and getting them to see that he will not tolerate this anymore, and that things will have to change from now on. I know this is going to be very hard for him and it may take him some time to mentally prepare for it, but I am glad he is doing something about it. At the end of the day, and for whatever reason, he does love his family. He loves them but he hates them. He doesn't want them in trouble, but he does want this nonsense to stop.
Sometimes I'm awesome, sometimes I'm a complete bizc. Depends on who and what I'm dealing with, i.e. Victim versus Perpetrator. You da victim. Trust me, there are a lot of perps out there (and in here!) who can't stand my guts. But anyhoo, context and perception can be reality, so CHEERS! :-)
Back to the regular scheduled programme...
"You have really got me thinking now about how she controls all of the trivial stuff so that she can appear to be the boss."
There you go, you got it.
"I, on the other hand am just their son's fiancé."
"and I will have to sign a prenup just as my FSIL did, on the company only."
What-AH!?!?? Don't you dare! [and breathe...] Anyway, that might well go out of the window with your husband's new-found crowbar, so don't worry about that for the mo.
But, in other breaking news...
"just as my FSIL did,"
THERE IT IS! So MIL is milking the company while she can! Get it?
Re the attorney: WOAH! This guy clearly knows his stuff. And it sounds like possibly the matter of suing will be taken out of FH's hands anyway, meaning, his parents might not even ever find out it was down to he and you! :-)
"I don't see him ever making that step where he actually sits down with an attorney and starts this process. He did however go into the office today when nobody was there and made copies of everything he could find. "
LAUGH OUT LOUD! You're wrong with a capital W because male actions speak louder than male blah-blah-blahs. He just wants to get to be in full control his run-up time and take it in baby steps. Think about it: he doesn't need copies in order to just informally confront them, he could just TELL them what he's seen and knows (and describe the documents, if necessary). Don't under-estimate him even if he sounds like he himself is right now. Evidently, if they don't respond the way he hopes they will, he'll then shift to formal action, hence these preparatory, thinking-ahead actions.
He doesn't want them in trouble? Mate, with all of what they've been up to, it was just a matter of TIME, ANYWAY! See what I'm saying?
(More tomorrow. I've just seen the time, yikes!!!)
You've given me hope that he will do the right thing when he gets ready to. He has been known to surprise me in the past in relation to his family and them crossing the line. But for now, this is where he says he is at with it. He wants to first try to accomplish getting them to sign our house over into his name, then he will try to get them to agree to be fair going forward by talking about company issues like the ones mentioned above. If he can be treated equally, receive at least a third of the profits regardless of his share amount, and start being able to aide in company decisions, he will not pursue action. He plans to slowly unravel this upon them by asking for certain pieces of information, asking for meetings, and politely letting them know what their actions look like from a legal standpoint. This way he cannot be accused of threatening them. He plans to make them aware that he has copies of important documents so that they do not try to manipulate any paperwork. also enforce more distance from them
In fact, he asked them for a year end statement yesterday for 2014. His secretary spoke up and said that she is 4 months behind in their books and is trying to get it all caught up. In November, they installed new software to keep better records of client information and billing. The secretary had to go back and key in years of info. Before this, everything was on paper. I mentioned to my fiancé that they really need a computer system and business software to keep everything straight. I couldn't believe they were doing everything so old school in this day and age, especially with the amount of business they have. He suggested it to his family, who said no. Two months later, his mom came up with this bright idea to start keeping billing information in the computer with this amazing new business software she found! She is notorious for this. It must be HER who has the ideas. I've been given advice in the past to allow her to think everything is her idea all the time so that we all get what we want, but I have a hard time with that. Same thing goes for outdoor lighting at the company office. I told my fiancé that one cannot see the company after dark as there are no lights around. He suggested they put up lights and was told they were not needed. One morning when my FH arrived to work, lights were being installed and his father told him his Mom had been wanting to do it for some time. This way, my FH can still be seen and treated as though he doesn't "show enough initiative" as FMIL loves to say.
My sister is the only person I talk to about it and I don't share much even then. The company issues are very private, but I will talk to her about FMIL and her cruel antics. My sisters advice was to start playing FMIL's games right back to her. I am just not that kind of person, but sometimes I wonder if I should. I just don't want to become that.
I was just typing just now when FMIL called. She never ceases to amaze me. Wow...it just never ends. She just called to inquire about the two dogs that we just picked up a week ago from some local dumpsters. They were strays and were hungry and cold. We took them in, bathed and fed them, treated them for fleas and ticks, gave them warm beds in our heated garage, and took them to the vet for shots and worming. His mother is not happy that we have two more dogs now. Before them, we only had one dog, which we adopted a year ago from the spca. That dog is like our human dog child and lives in the house and goes everywhere with us. She also suffers from major separation anxiety from being abused in her past so she does not do well when left alone. She is so afraid of being abandoned again. It honestly takes days for her to recover when left alone. For this reason, she goes to work with my FH whenever I am not working from home and does not bother anyone. She is the best most well behaved dog I ever have seen. She is simply perfect. Before we adopted her, we shared our plans to adopt a dog with his family. His mom said verbatim "Absolutely not! I can see me having to babysit that dog and I DO NOT WANT to do that so I am telling you I forbid it!" This is REALLY how she speaks to him. My FH told her that she will not be bothered with the dog if we decide to adopt now that we know she wants no part of it. She just kept telling him he should get one and always believes her son will do what she asks. A month later, we adopted our new dog. While we were out in our yard with her for the first time after getting home, his parents pulled up in our driveway with one of their usual invasions. They didn't know we were adopting as my FH had started to learn not to include them in everything anymore. My FMIL see's our new dog and gets out of the car yelling at FH about it. "What did you do!? I can't believe you did this and didn't tell me! I thought we agreed no dog! I am NOT going to babysit this dog so do not even think about asking me!". Then she comes closer to check her out and tells us all about OUR new dog. "Oh she's a pit-bull! DO NOT let anyone KNOW that she has pit in her and I mean it! People will not want to be around us if they think we have an aggressive animal". Umm....first of all, she is a black lab/pit-bull/chow mix, has no signs of aggression (and never has still to this day) and her use of the word "we" as if our dog is automatically hers too is ridiculous, and she needs to just but out and go away. She cannot accept that she is not in charge of us! So, after a few days of us cuddling and loving our new dog, FMIL calls and asks how it's going with the dog. I tell her how wonderful she is and how happy we are to have her and that she is just our new sweet baby! Well, FMIL decides to call my FH at work and ask him if she can babysit the next day in order to bond with our dog. Well, he says no and reminds her that she wanted nothing to do with her. So FMIL calls FFIL and tells him that FH will not allow her to babysit. 20 minutes later, FFIL tells FH that he cannot bring our dog to work the following day and it just so happened that I had appointments the next day too (and we had tried leaving her in a kennel but it caused so much anxiety for her, she hurt herself trying to get out) so FH was left with no choice but to let her babysit our dog. He tried to see a positive light in it because by now, we had learned of our dogs anxiety disorder and maybe it would be a good thing for his mom to keep her every now and then when needed. Well, then when FH goes to pick her up, FMIL informs him that she took out dog to the vet that day to find out what type of dog she is and that the vet told her "mostly pit-bull". Why would she take our dog to the vet without our permission and why is she so insistent in proving our girl is a pit-bull. Anyway, I didn't believe the vet told her this. (months later, I took her back to the same vet for medication she needed and asked him the same question in which he told me what I originally thought she was according to the spca who uses the same local vet). So here my FMIL is lying to us but we cant understand what he goal is. Still don't know. Anyway, over the last year, she has babysat our dog maybe ten times and most of them were voluntary on her part. Now, she calls our dog her grand-dog and says "She's my baby too you know". Everything of ours must also be hers. Well her phone call just now was about the two dogs we just got. Now she wants us to find homes for them because she does not think it is a good idea to keep them. We have a large outdoor kennel they will stay in when we are away and they already do great in there, unlike our other dog. I explained to her that we are keeping them and are already in love with them. She proceeds to tell me we have thought this through because these dogs will require too much of FH's time and money and may chew up some of his belongings. She even told me that she will have to have a chat with FH about it AFTER I told her they are HERE TO STAY! I just don't get why she cares what WE do! WHY!? I'm always baffled and just want her to leave us alone!
"He wants to first try to accomplish getting them to sign our house over into his name, then he will try to get them to agree to be fair going forward by talking about company issues like the ones mentioned above. If he can be treated equally, receive at least a third of the profits regardless of his share amount, and start being able to aide in company decisions, he will not pursue action. He plans to slowly unravel this upon them by asking for certain pieces of information, asking for meetings, and politely letting them know what their actions look like from a legal standpoint. This way he cannot be accused of threatening them. He plans to make them aware that he has copies of important documents so that they do not try to manipulate any paperwork. also enforce more distance from them"
He needs to use his head more. Spouses who are being cheated on make this mistake. (And when it comes to cheating, whatever it happens to be over makes no difference; cheating is cheating.) They confront the cheater with what meagre evidence they've gleaned or collected, as if they believe it'll be enough to make the cheater change his ways and revert to behaving his/herself. Only it backfires. All it achieves is, TIPPING THEM OFF ON WHERE THEY'VE MADE MISTAKES AS LEFT THEM OPEN TO BEING SUSPECTED. They then start quickly covering their tracks and destroying evidence.
Unless all the evidence your FH has seen has been RECORDED (photocopied/photographed) and LOGGED with said attorney, his baby steps approach is going to get them thinking and acting fast to hide the rest of the evidence. They're not stupid, it IS going to occur to them that his starter request is him gearing up.
So HAS he given the attorney hard-copy proof of every single crime committal and questionable material?
Preparation is everything!
If not, he's demonstrating that he's in denial and entrusting too much hope that one sniff, or a couple at most, of him being onto them will have them suddenly cleaning up their entire act. Sorry, but no it won't. If their consciences were incapable of serving that function, as clearly was the case, then the fact of his discovery certainly won't. He's also showing self-doubt in spite of the evidence he's seen with his own two eyes... trying to go in carefully in case it turns out he's somehow got things wrong. I think he's being very naive as well as unconfident, in other words... which simply means he hasn't got his head around it all enough to start pursuing justice measures. He should wait until it's all had a chance to sink in more.
Now to you: You sound to me like you can't wait for them to get their just desserts. Try to approach this only using your business head as emotions can cloud you and reduce your savviness.
Re the dog incidents and them turning up unannounced whenever they feel like it: is your FMIL related to Stalin or Kim Jong Un by any chance? :-p This woman AND this man are clearly not used to not constantly getting their way over others'.
"Why would she take our dog to the vet without our permission and why is she so insistent in proving our girl is a pit-bull."
Because she owns you; you defied her original orders; you dared tell her her opinion over what breed it was was wrong; and nobody does that to HER and gets away with it! Again, this smacks of a woman who feels so incredibly deprived of all the normal, bog-standard life elements over which she should ordinarily get to have control that she's trying to compensate by grabbing every other steering wheel she can find. If you see it that the extent of her attempts to control things that aren't hers to control corresponds directly to the extent at which she's denied her rightful remits, you can work out how hugely frustrated and dissatisfied she feels, can't you. It's no different to how when one feels they're not being heard, they shout. The less listened to, the louder they shout. In this instance, FFIL *helped* her to achieve her petty control attempt. So there you go on both scores. He denies her her adult control and instead feeds or secures her anything else she wants that he doesn't mind her having (rather those than what he daren't give her proper access to). In short, he's the despot and she's HIS pitbull. She does his dirty work FOR him.
If you want my honest opinion, were it me I would take them to court, sue their arses as befitting not just the crime but the unconscionable, taboo-defying, ANTI-sacrilegious aspect of it in terms of WHO they've long been conning, and then cut ALL strings by which they get to control you both and refuse to mix with them until they can see it and feel deeply ashamed of themselves. For starters, you and he are too old to be parented like you're still a couple of toddlers, particularly when as parents they are iron-rod authoritarian through and through ("ya vull mein Fuhrers!"), all stick and no carrot.
But could you not have rearranged your appointments? Wouldn't you have rather that than her her pettily vindictive machinations and manipulations succeed? To me, this is where you and FH are letting her win, thereby each time increasingly reinforcing her bad behaviour. Alternatively, were I your FH I would have said, 'Well, in that case you've forced me to be unable to come into work tomorrow'.
I find it interesting that you've got a dog that's so high maintenance it's tantamount to having a real baby. It's as if you two are trying to head your own reproductive instincts off at the pass because you wouldn't want to put an actual child into that toxic environment. Does that ring true on any level?
Even if it doesn't (or doesn't yet), I know what I know. And you can clearly see the proof of your deep down suspicions coming to fruition because, look - she's starting to bit-by-bit appropriate YOUR DOG (in order to make you two dependent on her so that she has yet another hold over you)! Imagine if that really were your child. So this toxic family set-up- nay, INCARCERATION is now affecting you both to a very deep level indeed. You need to get out. RIGHT out. And as soon as possible. Whether you two can feel it or not, yours and his (particularly his) self-esteems must be on the floor by now!
"Now she wants us to find homes for them because she does not think it is a good idea to keep them."
Tell her to f**k off and mind her own damn business. Oh, wait. She doesn't HAVE her own business, does she. Well, in that case, tell her go GET one or what's next - it's her son so SHE gets to sleep with him at night?! Ridiculous woman.
If I could only speak the way you do....to her!!!! Oh that would be the most wonderful day ever! I think I am trying to deny to myself that I want them punished but I don't know why. I guess I'm afraid that makes me a bad person, to want revenge. Its funny because I don't walk on eggshells for anyone but them because of the fear that my FH has produced to me concerning them, which means I have only adopted his terrible fears of them and it is very unhealthy emotionally. And what's ironic is that my FH has made me a better person every single day that we've been together and that is the biggest reason I love him. He is just a wonderful man. So it is bizarre to me that these terrible people were even capable of raising someone who turned out to be so great. You are so right. It causes a lot of harm to our self-esteems. There are so many times when I wake up and think "How the heck did I get here?" and then I sometimes start dreaming of a life far away where they can never reach us again. Then my darling FH walks into the room and hugs me just because...having no idea what I'm thinking about...and I feel for him. I hurt for him. I HATE them for hurting him! He too has dreams of moving far away, but we tend to think of that as something that we will do later when my son is older and in college.
"I find it interesting that you've got a dog that's so high maintenance it's tantamount to having a real baby. It's as if you two are trying to head your own reproductive instincts off at the pass because you wouldn't want to put an actual child into that toxic environment. Does that ring true on any level?" I find it interesting too. The SPCA did not disclose all of this baggage she had when we got her. But it's really my FH's fault for being such a wonderful person. He literally walked into the SPCA and asked them to take us to the dog that nobody else wanted. When we saw her in a large room filled with over 50 other dogs, she was the only one not barking. She was scared and had been there for 9 months. All they told us was that she was brought in with several other puppies. We knew right then by looking at her sweet scared face that we wanted to change her life forever. Later on, I ran into an old employee of theirs who recognized my dog. Turns out, he remembered her and said she had been abused and was wounded when they got her. Her siblings were adopted pretty quickly and she was left alone for nine more months in their confinement. That made perfect sense to us based on her behaviors. We cut out the babysitting thing a lot by being more creative with her environment when we are away.
As for my appointments, they were for work and involved clients coming from out of town. As much as I love my dog, I cant cancel work. Now he could have done so if he had dared to, but that falls under a battle he doesn't feel like fighting. Its so small in comparison to the majority of things. As for children, my FH wants children desperately (after marriage) and I want them too. I already have a son whom my FH treats as his own. He is 12. My FMIL doesn't care to have much to do with him. My FBIL and FSIL have two young children and my FMIL will NOT babysit for them EVER. She is way too selfish to have to keep an eye on babies. Its apparent that she only seems to be obsessed with her husband and two sons. Sometimes I think she wishes they were a family of 4 again. She can watch a dog because the dog wont take up all of her time. My FH says she will never take care of our child but neither of us think she'll want to either. With that said, I DO think she will dictate our parenting and the raising of our children as much as she can. And it is then, that I will turn into a mean Momma....You can mess with me, but my kids are off limits.
And my FH needs to sit down and out some hours in with an attorney and take his advice asap. I will work on trying to get him to see that. But I am not feeling confident that he will.
Let's from now on separate the emotional/psychological from the legal to make this simpler and easier to keep abreast of... with said headings, like this:
Couldn't we call a court judge putting a murderer in prison for 25 years, 'revenge'? No, it's punishment plus deterrent against recurrence, redressing the non-rightful and onerous imbalance. It's up to decent human beings to intervene when other humans are behaving indecently in such a way that isn't conducive to a harmonious society on any micro or macro level. We humans have a relationship with Nature/Fate, individually and as a pack. Like any relationship, it has to be a team effort, 50/50 ideally or whatever proportion suits capability at the time. And like any partner, if you fold your arms, so will this 'spouse'. If, however, you're seen to do your bit, your duty, it joins in and takes care of whatever portion remains to be done which you yourself couldn't realistically, practicably manage. If Nature/Fate didn't like that set-up, you can bet your arse it would be sabotaging our man-made justice procedures, left, right and centre. That the CONCEPT of man-made justice has for so long been allowed to work (despite there's always room for improving the mechanical details), shows you that Nature/Fate approves of it.
You're just not used to standing up for yourselves properly, the pair of you, and would rather mis-label justice redressing as something as distasteful to put, this case, yourself, off.
Nope. If you two sit back and do nothing about a transgression against you and against decency this gigantic then you may as well get WELCOME printed on your foreheads and take up position on the inside front door floor.
And you speak just fine so - nice try again, still not nice enough. ;-)
If, however, what you mean is you wish you could keep your clear-thinking and eloquence under-fire then this is precisely why I've told you to GET RID OF THE EMOTIONS ...BEFOREHAND. And how you do that is by ACCEPTING the truth of his (and his brother) having been for years taken for fools. The emotions, those sensations evo-designed specifically to spur you into TAKING ACTION, will then no longer be needed and will exit from your thinking. You will then be capable of discussing or arguing like a seasoned barrister.
That's how barristers do it, they don't allow emotion (via empathy) to feature, and that's why they get called sharks and why you have barristers, people who represent you and argue FOR YOU, in the first place. It's not actually their business, their problem (think about it) and hence they are not personally affected so CAN'T feel sufficiently emotional. You see, when you're emotionally roused to that extent, your mental programme switches to running on Fight, (little-mentioned Freeze) or Flight mode. This is evo-designed to to turn rational thinking OFF due to the immediacy of action required, so that, when a sabre-toothed tiger looms, you don't stand there mentally writing a Pros and Cons list about your reactionary choices because, obviously, if you were to do so the result would be this: WHOOMPH!...chomp-chomp-chomp...you're dead! The decision is left to your animal, as has, in any threatening situation, one aim in mind: basic survival. The trouble is, these days with everything we face being so much more complex than warrants simple run versus stand still like a statue/play dead versus chuck your spear, our Fight or Flight mechanism is no match PLUS, then, neither are our powers of rationale, ergo we so often get it wrong.
So! The inarguable facts are this: those so-called parents are overly selfish, self-serving and over entitled to a degree that is SHOCKING by all normal, healthy, parental standards and instincts as well as senses of moral decency. I imagine quite a number of people, not just me and you, would be thinking, 'I could NEVER treat my own babies like that! How do these people sleep at night or face themselves in the mirror each morning?!'. If those two veer that far from the workable norm, they need punishment then help. But first comes punishment so THAT they're at least sufficiently aware of how little they adhere with the healthy societal majority and thereby and thereto will ACCEPT help (if unable to set about self-improving). If the punishment doesn't work to change their attitudes, then is when you quarantine them (this case, by YOU giving them a wide berth). But at least their problems are no longer getting taken out on you two whereby you're trapped forevermore in a whinge-and-whine existence. Instead you'll be hugely proud of yourselves and popping open the champers.
Back to you: nobody forced you to adopt his fears, you could have been countering and resisting them this whole time. Camp Victim could have been Camp Let's Gett'em! by now. So, for his fears to have so easily infected, you had to have had this tendency in you to begin with, despite to a LESSER degree, ALONG WITH a little too much empathy (despite that's a good thing in other areas). Non-confrontationalist meets non-confrontationalist [wait!] ...when it comes to over the REALLY scary, big-gun issues. Result: effective confrontation takes TIME to muster.
Think about why you needed outside opinion to begin with, why you didn't trust your own? Or was it moral support? Why would you need support or extra if FH were giving it? Or was it to discover the wider implications?
This, in one, hidden way, is also a battle between you and this couple's victim, as renders you co-victim by association, over what your camp will be now and always, which is important when bearing your marital future with him in mind. Think about it...what is he going to do if he needs to step up in a similar way, either alone or in unison with you, over a nasty predicament your future children might find themselves in?, is your background thinking. Quite right, too. You need a HUNTER-PROTECTOR to your childbearer-rearer or you're never going to feel quite safe enough to sprog (which might interfere with your fertility). This primitive, primary, vital, two-way exchange deal between the male and female team members-to-be is still as active and supervisory a main programme today as it was when we were hunter-gatherers. Our loftier self-opinion and expectations might have changed/heightened, but our capabilities, courtesy of our wiring and how it's been long programmed, have not. We're still just hairless apes - fact.
So this is [pun intended] 'gorilla' warfare...its about you and FH mounting a counter-attack in the form of giving two of your so-called pack members a series of hard whacks round the mush the minute you discover how they've been stealing from your banana stash, behaviour as runs counter to the tacit demands for survival of the PACK via cooperation and support, not just a self-select few of them that happen to believe themselves 'special'. (Yeah, they're special alright... licky-windows-num-nums-on-the-little-white-minibus special! :-p) They're anti-social and anti-societal (both on the micro and macro levels) thus a threat to welfare as supports survival of their own pack as well as the specie as a whole. BERBOM! And that's why it's intolerable (verb).
So this issue and whether and how your FH handles it - with your encouragement and support - is CRUCIAL. On so many levels. It's a pre-marital test that you have to pass. And never MIND that he 'compensates' you with lovely words and cuddles. Now he has to do the MANLY HUNTER-PROTECTOR thing to prove that he has REAL masculine qualities - a mix between *both* "Urr" and "Ahh". But I have to say I have faith in him because it sounds very much like he's always been the Black Sheep of the family anyway (correct?), meaning, all he needed was a likeminded teammate... which is fair enough when otherwise it'd be two sabre-toothed tigers against one, which are not good odds.
"You can mess with me, but my kids are off limits."
Rewrite (and you need to repeat it 10 times): You can't mess with me OR my kids!
I wanted to ask you if you read my other post on my future in-laws, which has to do more with me than with him. Because you are right...there are two issues...one is his legal issues with his family and the other is emotional. The emotional issues are broken into three categories: Mine, his, and ours.
"Think about why you needed outside opinion to begin with, why you didn't trust your own? Or was it moral support? Why would you need support or extra if FH were giving it? Or was it to discover the wider implications?"
In part to discover the wider implications, yes. But also because even though FH is supportive, it is me who mostly supports him. As his fiancé, I try not to be the naggy complaining woman who constantly talks about his screwed up family, therefor reminding him of how awful they are on a regular basis, but instead only talk about the more major of issues. But inside my mind, I am reeling with anger and I have allowed them to consume my thoughts. Sometimes, I wonder if I have mental issues for allowing this. Is this normal? Anyway, my FH is very laidback and doesn't talk about problems until things get really bad, in which it is my loving arms he runs to and seeks advice (and sometimes takes and acts on IF the proposed punishment he believes will happen is not too bad). Other times, he will take action completely on his own and tell me all about it when he gets home, and I am sometimes surprised at how strongly he stands up to them. But when it comes to my personal issues with his mother, he listens and just says things like "Honey, I know my family is crazy but you can't let them get to you like this"...and then he wants to be done with the conversation. Whenever it is something serious that she has done, he will get mad at the situation itself and later surprise me by confronting his mom about it...who will always sweetly tell him she "did not mean to", of which he will BELIEVE, but will also remain disappointed in her. This woman has intentionally best friended my boss in order to know my every move (see other post and comments), she ruined my engagement by telling me he was about to propose, then told everyone about it before he had purchased my ring, asked my dad for permission, or proposed and we started receiving congratulations from all of these people, and then the actual proposal was bombarded by her also. Then, she started planning my wedding with her friends without me knowing about it even though she was not paying for it. Lets take that story for example. When she started telling me all of the wedding plans she had begun, I got upset and told her nicely that I wasn't sure what I wanted yet and would let her know more when I do. Everyday, she continued to plan and plan. Her "suggestions" are not really suggestions but rather demands based on the fact that she will cry and get the whole family to gang up on FH if I don't go through with them. One day my FH told me he wanted to get married on a sailboat with only immediate family members present. I fell in love with the idea, so I started doing research and making calls, and getting everything in place. When I told his mom of our plans, I showed her pictures of the company that would charter the sailboat and other ceremonies and a list of all of the details. This wedding would require all of our immediate family to travel so in order to arrange accommodations, I had to go over in detail with both our families. Well, she got upset (because there is no traditionalism to this wedding) and said that it would not be something she would like, but that it is whatever we want. The next day, she took it upon herself to call the charter company and ask questions about handicap accessibility for her mother and father who have serious health issues and live states away. Whatever they told her was not suitable to her so she called all of her sisters and together, they called and ganged up on my FH and told him we could not get married on a sailboat because of his grandfathers handicap and that we needed to plan a different kind of wedding, that our plans are too difficult for everyone. Then my FH calls to take me out to lunch and tells me we cant get married like that and need to start over and told me why. I was so mad at him for allowing them to tell us what we are going to do and we had our worst argument ever over it. He BELIEVED her reasons were genuine concerning his grandfather (my grandmother is the same way and we knew she wouldn't be able to travel and attend on a sailboat but that wasn't stopping us. The point of this wedding plan was to have a destination wedding that is informal and for immediate family only). FH and I could not get along for the next week. I was still trying to convince him of his mothers plot to get what SHE wanted and how we need to do what WE want and he turned on me and said that he no longer wanted the sailboat wedding because it will cause too many problems. If FH and I are not getting along and arguing like this (which has only happened twice and both concerned his mother), his family picks up on it while he is at work because he cant think straight, he becomes depressed, and is not himself. Well his mother calls me a few days later and tells me she does not want me arguing with her son about this. Bitch! Since I know that she has already won, and that I am not going to have the destination sailboat wedding, I just told her the truth....that I was very sad about it and that it has crushed me and will take me awhile to get over it and start planning something different. Her response was "sorry, but it's just not going to work". I told her that at the end of the day, it is our wedding and that we don't want others planning it for us. She then told me that as long as her entire 50 member family and all of her friends could attend (and offered to cover the extra expense involved with that), that she would be happy and that is all she is asking for! So in this instance, FH was not about to back me up and she won. He had too many family members on his case and couldn't handle it. He cracked and let her win. After some time had passed, I started the beginning of planning a traditional wedding that would take place locally. I picked out my colors and a theme. I told her I would be using white tablecloths with burlap and lace runners. I know what you are thinking. WHY do I tell her so much? Because she calls our house ten times a day and asks so many questions and if we don't answer, she calls right back and leaves annoying messages and will scold poor FH later. She will tell me what she is going to do in regard to my wedding planning and it is my job to tell her that I already have ideas for that. His mother calls me one morning to tell me how she just purchased the tablecloths. I had not asked her to do that or even help with my wedding in any way! Then she tells me the tablecloths she purchased are black. Yes, black. Black does not match anything I have going on. Black reminds me of something dark and is not appropriate for our wedding. And didn't she hear me when I told her I was getting white tablecloths MYSELF? So, I told my FH that I was upset about it and he told her we don't want black tablecloths and just because she buys things, doesn't mean we are going to use them. SO she rounds up the FFIL and FBIL and they all gang up on him. FBIL tells FH that I am being ridiculous and that "beggers cant be choosers", and that there is only one woman in this world who will always be here for him and that's his MOM...and that he needs to think about whether or not he should even marry me after these petty tablecloth complains of mine! My FH told his mom in front of both of them that she needs to back off, this is our wedding, and if she cant go along with my plans, then she will not be apart of the wedding or planning at all. Then he left. I couldn't believe it! So in this instance, he did stick up for me. But then it's the little things that deep down make me become irate! Like last night, my brother, sister and their families came to visit us. While they were here, his mom called just to chat with his as she always does. He stayed on the phone with her for 30 minutes when we had company! I told him three times to tell her we have company and that he needs to get off the phone. He ignored me and continued talking with her. Afterwards, he acted annoyed with her and said how hard it is to get off the phone, but that is because he never told her he had to go! He was too scared to do that. He gets so tired of his family being mad at him that he just appeases them most of the time. And THAT bothers me big time! I can't imagine life without him but I also cant imagine life with his family forever either! I am really in a predicament here and I don't know what to do when he is not going to man up and always do what needs to be done!
And I know I go on and on, but it is 2 1/2 years of me bottling this up and having nobody to talk to about it except for FH who doesn't really like hearing me vent about his family. So in one way, me writing about it and venting it out is therapeutic, but now I realize that I may be faced with a decision of my own. If my FH can't be the "MANLY HUNTER-PROTECTOR" and prove that he has "REAL masculine qualities", then I will have to decide on whether or not I can stick around for this life with him. And now I feel sad and worse than when I came here because FH is unpredictable and I don't know what he will decide in the end. I know he loves me but he is easily persuaded by FMIL when she is being sweet to him. And she is always very sweet to him whenever he is not going against her. My FH doesn't speak as well as I do. He has a hard time explaining his feelings and cant put it into words, which is one the biggest problems because he becomes defenseless with them so often for the simple fact of not knowing what to say. I try to help him prepare for situations that will likely arise so he'll be ready for them next time, but he still doesn't do it right.
Oh boy....I just don't know if there's hope!
You know you go on. Laugh out loud!  it's refreshing to finally have competition on that score, actually!, and  me, I've been known to manage to read a WHOLE BOOK before (no, really, it's true)! :-D. (Ya daft a'p'eth.)
What I WOULD ask, however, is that you try to include more para breaks so that your posts aren't one big mass of text?
"But also because even though FH is supportive, it is me who mostly supports him."
Do you mean over this particular giant issue or generally? If you mean the latter, then, although it's *understandable* when too many blokes are still getting raised parentally and societally to moreover be stiff upper lip merchants, non au fait with emotional parlay (especially with a mother and father like that!), that still doesn't make it feel all that tolerable to wives, in which case you have to ask yourself if this is a Pink flag (fixable over time via practical encouragement) or a Red one (you want someone already emotionally better trained). When you sit and evaluate this, don't forget to take into account what other strengths he has that maybe you don't nor ever could yet would always need. Because that's good teamship, a good uniting and exchanging basis:
'Jack Sprat could eat no fat,
His wife could eat no lean,
And so you see, between them both
They licked the platter clean.'
The point is always a 'clean platter'.
"Sometimes, I wonder if I have mental issues for allowing this."
Nope. You just haven't become really used to standing up for yourself to the max., growing up. Very common. But here it is, finally - proper practise/a free 'gym' - for both of you - and practise makes perfect where developing huge muscles is concerned. Welcome to the school of life. And in fact, the more normal and healthy you are, the harder it is to deal with people who behave like these parents because you have no frame of reference, it goes outside your decency expectations. But I promise you both, if you do the right thing by taking this couple on and do it PROPERLY, the result will not only be rightfully materially heightening, but you two being capable of taking on *anyone* similar who tries to take advantage to any such unacceptable level and with no mental blocks left to stop you.
""Honey, I know my family is crazy but you can't let them get to you like this"...and then he wants to be done with the conversation."
Your response: Honey, this ISN'T me 'letting them get to me', it's me going through the normal, typically female 'out-loud' process of coming to terms with it all, so I'd appreciate it if you'd just let me get it all out, please.
Back to your FMIL: she sounds so gobsmackingly over-entitledly controlling and intefering that, let's be honest here - if this financial abuse issue results in however much alienating her (and her husband) from you both, i.e. them wanting to stay away from you individually as well as a couple because you've now shown you're equally always potentially a serious threat, that could only be a GOOD thing.
But here's the rub: your FH has not grown up yet because he's still tantamountedly living with and dependent on his parents. So again, if the result of suing them for back-owed income and preventing all future financial abuse should be that FH (by his own choice) has to make his career in another company, that too could only be a good thing.
So as far as I can see, pursuing this action properly is a win/win situation. Agree?
Word of warning, though: if FH should fold and drop his campaign, thereby leaving this rotten child-parent dynamic in-situ, I cannot see how you could happily live the rest of your life with him, because it would mean you as well as him living constantly under these people's thumbs. When he fall in love, it's not just the chemistry that hooks us, it's also that we can see how if we get with this person we will get to live the kind of life we want to live.
But, meanwhile, it sounds very much to me like all of that enforced 'helpfulness' of hers was geared specifically to put you off marrying him. Why do you suppose she wanted to do that? It's a formal abuse criteria called Isolating (her son) - go google. Hence the more you tried to stand up to her, the worse she got because by standing up to her she could too easily work out that your greater propensity for self-assertion would result in it 'rubbing off' on her son.
This - "there is only one woman in this world who will always be here for him and that's his MOM." - is another tactic. In the romantic arena, when accompanied by other abusive tactics, it goes like this: No-one will ever love you as much as I do.
But your FH isn't stupid. So she could stand there and say whatever she liked. Won't work. She may THINK he's her puppet, he may have reasons for LETTING her believe it, but he isn't. *Evidently*.
This is what's going on in your mind right now and is making you worry prematurely: Now that you can see freedom via victory looming, and because you've been gagging for it for so long, now that it's seemed to have begun, you just want it completed now-now-NOW! Well, it can't be. Because it's a process. And like any process, it takes TIME. So you're going to have to have patience again, but this time with the carrot RIGHT in front of your face, tempting you like never before. However, it's never true patience unless it IS exerted in the face of an actual carrot. So this is yet another piece of gym equipment in that there life gym, isn't it.
But I disagree FH is unpredicable. I've been noting his *actions* and they're clear and distinct. His 'toleration' capacity has been stretched and widened more than yours because he's been living with those petty sorts of nonsenses his whole life. However, he DOES, as you yourself admit, rear up whenever something hits a critical mass. ...and you can't get more critical than having found out you've been seriously financially abused for years.
No worries. Just hang in there for a little longer, safe in the knowledge that your internal muscles are meanwhile getting bigger and harder - which is what a happy future vitally requires!
It's all good. :-)
Thank you SOULMATE :) And sorry for the major lack of para breaking there!
FH is very loving, always making me and my son laugh (even on a bad day). He helps me around the house (even though I don't ask him to), and he considers me in all decisions from what type of flowers should be planted in the front garden beds to what color he should paint the inside of HIS man cave. If I mention something I'd like to have in the future, he will try to accomplish it for me as soon as he can. To the point that I have to tell him sometimes "Okay that doesn't mean you have to go out and buy it now...I MEAN LATER ON, okay?"!! I loved the hot tub at one of the vacation spots we went to. 3 months later, he had a new hot tub installed in our deck. I said I'd love to update the kitchen cabinets someday. 6 months later, he had me picking out new cabinets in a catalogue. He's very sweet and thoughtful like that.
The relationship he's formed with my darling son is just beautiful. My little boy didn't have a dad growing up and often looked to my dad for him to take on that role. And while my parents have always been nothing short of wonderful to him, he was still lacking a DAD! When FH came along and the two of them started my bonding, my son would tell me whenever it was just me and him how he hoped I would marry him someday, how he is so much fun and helps him learn things that I can't (like building things and gym exercises that guys do among so many others), and how happy he is to finally have someone like him in our lives. My son speaks like a wise man for his age. Now, the two of them sometimes cause me to get a little jelous over their bond b/c my is entering the tween age where he becomes distant trying to figure out this whole puberty thing....and guess who he wants to be his #1? Yep, FH! Which is fine by me. When I say jealous, it's more of a "I'm not used to taking the backseat with my baby kind of thing!". It was me and him for so long and I NEED my child to still NEED me right now! Ya know?!
FH doesn't want to go out and do things without me. He wants me with him for everything he does (other than work of course) and includes me. He never goes out without seeing if it's okay with me and I'm the same with him. He doesn't get jealous when other guys stare or hit on me. He handles it very well. He is a gentleman who opens doors on date night, takes my coat, and compliments me when I'm all dolled up. I wake up every morning to his sweet kiss and the usual "I'm off to work baby, love you!" .
He does sweet things for my parents or my grandmother whenever they have a problem. To the point, they now call him when they have a problem with something that needs fixing. They treat him like a son and he treats them like parents. He even says "I love your family more than my own"...and he even told his mom once how much he enjoys spending time with my family over his because my family is real and they are not. His mother got offended and later called me about it, saying that my family must say whatever they want and that is not something she deems appropriate for her family. She was putting my families realism down. Crazy lady!!!
My FH thinks the reason his Mom may not like me (he says "may not", I say "does not") is because my family doesn't have much money like his does. See, he doesn't judge people and I am proud of them! Neither grew up with many resources and had a hard life. Together, they built a very close knit family with 3 kids (I'm the baby and a major daddy's girl!) and we all are still very close today. My FH LOVES this and wishes his family could learn something from them. Instead, my family is too far from their social acceptance to even acknowledge.
I on the other hand have been trying to think of why she doesn't like me, and I think it may be a combination of things that all boil down to her orthodox ways of thinking. I had a baby young. Doesn't matter that I took care of my child on my own with no help from anyone else (although my parents have helped with A LOT of babysitting while I worked over the years as my mom works from home). I didn't go to college because I couldn't afford to, while raising a baby and trying to work two and three jobs. When I met FH, I made more money than him after successfully working my way up in a corporate company to a GM position making more than some of friends who have college degrees. FH and I BOTH wanted me to resign because of the hours and traveling it required...which bothered FMIL big time! She liked it that I was gone a lot for work as this gave her more control over FH. Other than all that, I don't know why...but I'M sure it all comes down to me being the #1 woman in his life now and not her.
Which brings me to the fact that FH is good about letting her know that I come first. For ex" She may tell him she thinks it's time for him to upgrade something on his house...and she'll start picking out the details. He will tell her that he has to talk to me about it first...and then after he and I have completed the upgrade, he will then tell her it's all done and how he and I picked it out together and how great it looks. This doesn't sit well with her. She wants to be the mom and the wife.
Most of all, my FH is always there for me on life issues. He listens and makes me feel better (unless I'm beating the dead horse over his mother which I TRY not to do often). Part of why I'm here is because I haven't mentioned her to him in 3 months just to see if I could feel better by not talking about her. But I only felt worse with things bottled up inside. He appreciated my efforts though. It was my idea and not his btw. He's loyal, honest, and absolutely adores me! I'll wake up to him playing with my hair, and giving sweet kisses on my forehead, and then he'll see my eyes open and tell me how beautiful he thinks I am.
Together, we make every effort to never forget all that each other does for one another. We tell each other how much we appreciate each other often. We quickly apologize when life is crazy busy and one of us snaps at the other. If we have an argument, we BOTH feel helpless and instantly depressed over it and life just isn't the same until we make up. If I'm sad, so is he and vice versa.
So to give you an update on his stance now two days later from the last update...he is not planning to take legal action and said that if things get to a point where he doesn't want to be around them anymore, he will just walk away with nothing before creating a huge small town scandal that can drag on and on. He'd rather start over than to do that. I don't even know how I feel about that. I think it's cowardly in one respect and commendable in another.
So I thank you for your wonderful help and the insight you've given me. You have truly helped me more than you'll ever know. I think to myself "this SOULMATE person should be paid for this valuable advice" and I APPRECIATE YOU!
So my plans now with this forum is to try to help others ( which is so rewarding) and I'm sure I will post occasionally when new things come up that I need to vent. So I sincerely ask that you follow me if you can because it really does mean a lot to me! And if nothing else, maybe I can keep you posted as to what happens with all of this mess!
Well, there go the actions of a man bang-slap in massive love enough to last a lifetime! And I speak from first-hand experience here, not just theoretical. NO WAY would this guy choose inactivity and remaining an incarcerated abuse victim over getting to stay with you for the rest of his life. Why, that would be like you being asked to choose eating lumps of dog poo for the next year versus grilled lobster and champagne, etc! It's just not going to happen, is it.
I think you can safely relax and bide his time. And I also wouldn't worry about 'losing' your kid. Mother's are no more replaceable by any other human being on the planet than anyone being capable of permanently holding their breath being possible, a logic that your FMIL would do well to summon the brains to realise.
And it appears your FH has higher than average intelligence, as well, to have suffered what MUST have been an oppressively unhealthy childhood like that yet come out of that wash having worked out what NOT to ever be and behave like, and, further, having chosen a woman with a healthy background, the sort he clearly aspires to! *Actions, actions, ACTIONS*. :-)
The reason MIL doesn't like you, which is probably not even personal, is purely and simply because you threaten her unhealthy fears, insecurities and ability to constantly pander to her subsequent issues rather than deal with them once and for all. Berbom. That's it. Nothing more to it.
You two have no problems aside from a purely circumstantial one. Big though it is, it's not complicated and won't drag on and on. And you don't know how his parents will react once he whips their naughty backsides. They might well clean up their acts and tread exceptionally carefully and respectfully around you both from then on. Some people simply get used to forever cheating and being underhanded due to the fact nobody before has ever tried to stop them. Let's see.. Time will tell on that score. But one thing's for sure, if they DON'T change (or don't change instantly) their attitudes, yours and his and your nipper's life will be greatly enhanced by cutting those ties for however long necessary.
"So to give you an update on his stance now two days later from the last update...he is not planning to take legal action and said that if things get to a point where he doesn't want to be around them anymore, he will just walk away with nothing before creating a huge small town scandal that can drag on and on. He'd rather start over than to do that. I don't even know how I feel about that. I think it's cowardly in one respect and commendable in another. "
I agree. I think what he's describing is taking the path of least resistance and, by doing so, foregoing a very handy life-leg up in the form of those non-received dividends (and proper salary) in lump sum format. HOWEVER, whether he knows it or not (probably not), this is just HIM processing out-loud. He hasn't got used to it all yet, remember? Until his mind can accept and register the *true* extent of their crimes against him in terms of weightiness, that registering being part of the complete process still to come, he's incapable of reacting befittingly or even PLANNING to, befittingly. But he will because, having surmounted the blockade called 'I accept that action per se is required', having taken the *decision* to act in whatever way, his mind is now free to finish that walk up the recovery and reactionary path to fuller strength. So this is just his interim decision.
You see it with abused wives (and husbands) who finally leave. The first phase features this type of vocalisation: "He really shouldn't have treated me like that, why DID he?!". The second sounds more like, "I cannot believe I let him do that to me all those years! Am I stupid, am I mentally ill or something?!" (you last but one post back, by the way ;-)) The third is, "WTF?! Who the hell did he think he was! More to the point, who the hell did he think *I* was?!!" (you again, now)..... all the way to this: "Grrrrrrr, gimmie the gun!!!!" (wanting full vengeance - the phase you're waiting for him to catch up and hit), and then this (acceptance), "What a weak, pathetic, lazy little snake, UGH! But you've got to feel sorry for him, in a way, because unless he learns he'll never be happy [etc]", which then becomes, "Who...? Oh, him. He was a twat and that's all there is to be said about it. ANYWAY, as I was saying...".
It's coming. And - the main thing, in fact, the only thing is, at least now you know the SCOPE of victory and that victory per se is what his plan centres on. The what and how are just the details to come and be settled upon, mentally. So you've more or less succeeded already with the questions remaining concerning only how big the cash prize will be and whether instant (settlement) or accrued over the next however many years (better salary with a new company). But greater happiness, less stress and pressure, that one's guaranteed.
As for me? I do get paid. By Fate. Karma Kredits I call them. And I don't care who might laugh at that concept because *I* know it's true; my quality of life and bank balance prove it and always have for as long as I've been helping others out of nothing but a sense of social responsibility and existential obligation. Not that that's why I do it. It's just a wonderful side bonus. You can view it spiritually and call it karma, or scientifically and call it high self-esteem and reaping exactly what you sow on/via the psychological level. But I think it's like anything in life: it's BOTH, and probably myriad other elements as well. So it's great to hear you're going to stick around to do likewise, not least because your own self-esteem will get fast-tracked back to its optimum level. Plus, although it's always harder to see your own woods for the trees, I've noticed your advice to everyone else is excellent in terms both of commonsense and insightfulness.
Yes, of course you can keep updating and I'll keep following! Any time! Closure ist gut. :-)