This article by Carolyn Hax, published this weekend, brings up the question of venting to others about one’s husband/wife.
Reading this and the comments, and remembering the situation with Richard/Tracy, brings up some conclusions. I don’t want to keep going on about that situation anymore, especially since (after I finally successfully blocked them) my stalkers seem to have dropped off the face of the earth. But this is an important point that applies to all marriages, and my situation illustrates that.
The “nutterati,” as she calls her commenters, note that if you want your family member/friend to get along with your significant other (SO), then DON’T complain to this person about your SO. Look for advice, maybe, but don’t just vent and paint them horribly all the time. You could just be having normal relationship arguments, nothing abusive, but now your mom/friend thinks you’re married to a controlling jerk.
If you’re having real problems and this person could indeed be abusive, then going to friends/family can be helpful. But most of the time, it’s not abuse.
Richard used to come to me all the time with stories of how his wife was abusing him and the kids. Then he turned around and expected me to be buddies with her, or else she wouldn’t allow me to be buddies with him.
But how can anyone be buddies with the person who is abusing her best friend? It just isn’t possible!
If Tracy really was abusing him and the children (and I did see examples of it myself), then he should’ve left her. If he wanted me to be friends with Tracy, and/or if he was lying/exaggerating, then he should never have told me about the abuse.
But because he told me, and I could not be friends with my best friend’s abuser, he put me into an impossible position: loyalty to him and my principles, vs. pleasing his wife so he and I could be friends. Then after putting me in this position, he allowed his wife to rip me to shreds. I became the scapegoat he sacrificed to her.
This is no position in which to put your friends/family. If you’re being abused, go to your friends for help, not just to vent. If you’re not being abused, then keep your mouth shut, except to ask for advice and different perspectives on resolving the issue.
No, Tracy, if you’re reading this, I was not “wrong.” Your husband made it impossible for me to be friends with you, especially as your own actions confirmed what he told me. No friend can withstand pressure like this. Stop making me your scapegoat, and work on your marriage.