Re: greek mother-in-law/mother problems

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Posted by RM on November 11, 2001 at 18:15:15:

In Reply to: greek mother-in-law/mother problems posted by pp on October 24, 2001 at 10:45:40:


I completely understand where you are coming from. Although I am not married, i am seriously involved with a Jamaican-American man, and my parents (who were born in greece) ave completely cut me off. They hate the fact that he is black, and believe that i am only dating him in order to spite them! My parents believe that I am destroying my family by being with him, and that I am selfish for not taking their "opinion" into consideration.

I'm don't feel as much anger towards my parents, as i do sadness. They just don't understand that skin color doesn't matter to me, and SHOULDN'T matter. I've learned that, one of the basic staples of Greek culture is FAMILY. Many Greek parents (from what i've observed) expected their status/reputation to be preserved, even if it require sacrificing one's own happiness. Your mother may feel that by having gone outside the Greek world to find a wife, you are threatening your family structure. In most traditional Greek families, individualism and self-gratification does NOT exist. I think my parents view these two concepts as being selfish and rebellious. However, having grown up in American society, indiviualism has been INGRAINED into my everyday. Making myself happy and putting my priorities first has helped me grow and mature, while my parents view it negatively and feel that it only pushes me further from them.

But you and I both know, putting your happiness first is completely innocent. I understand your wishes to make your family happy are important to you, but once you start living for your parents' happiness, your wishes and hopes will eventually die. And this will seriously affect your marriage. YOu won't be the same person you once were.

Ultimately, your mother needs to TRUST you as an individual. I am sure she has raised you to make sensible,responsible decisions for yourself; but now it is up to her to come to grips with these decisions.

This is all easier said then done, for I'm going through the process as we speak. But i remind myself everyday that I am NOT doing anything wrong. Your family's acceptance of S. will not come easily or quickly.

It will instead come with time and with keeping the lines of communication open. I know that the latter requirement is the most difficult of all. For me, merely picking up the phone is difficult because i know the ocnversation with my mother will not go beyond her expressing her disappointment and misery about my decision.

Reassure your mother that you love her and want to be her son, but you also want to have your own life, under your OWN terms! Tell her that you will visit as often as possible, but that visiting Greece cannot be enjoyable if all her prejudices continue. If she doesn't listen, just keep repeating. The important thing is that you still talk to one another. remember, it takes two people to break a relationship. if you keep trying to communicate, the fault of this situation can never lie with you.

However,the most important thing above all, is your WIFE! Your are married now and have your OWN family to be concerned with. That will always be first. Remind your wife everyday that you love her and that none of this is her fault! And NO ONE can force you to divorce...if you decide to do such a thing on account of your parents' wishes, the only person to blame would be yourself.

Your mother can only have as much control over your relationship as you and your wife LET her.
Don't let her. you're a grown man. As difficult and emotionally draining this situation may be, it can only make your marriage stronger.

Please feel free to email me directly i've been hoping to meet Greek people like you going through this type of struggle. I know how draining this must be for both you and your wife, and maybe sharing more of our experiences would be helpful.

I'd love to talk with you more, so please write! :)

: Hi,
: I have serious problems with my mother
: I am greek and married to a non-greek woman.

: Propably not the only on to suffer with his mother!

: I am living in Spain where I came together with my wife. We got married with S. on end December 2000 and we wanted to celebrate this in Greece this summer. But we had big problems in the marriage which took place in Spain. My parents and the parents from S. didn't come along. It was a horror trip. I can't explain it how it could happen but S. was completely changed/ stressed because of the marriage and of my mother taking to much control of us and my mother is still thinking that I will leave my parents and never com back...

: My mother still has a lot of concerns about this marriage and about my relationship with S.. Right now to be honest I am angry with my mother and my wife. I don't see a solution, and this takes actually to long. This situation is like this for 10 months now, incredible. Whether my mother nor S. are willing to contact each other and the two woman are getting depressive, which wonderful situation for someone to be in the middle. For now I nearly stopped contact to my parents and I concentrating more on my wife.

: Do you have any advice?
: Anyone had similar expriences?
: It would be good!

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