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Problems in DH's Culture Community

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
When I met DH I really threw myself into his cultural community and they all accepted me in after the first few "evil eyes." Now, I feel totally trapped in a nightmarish high school melodrama. Its horrible.

We must have 50 friends from DH's home country living in our area. At first they seemed really nice, but once your in, its exactly like high school. Backstabbing, gossip, people seem to enjoy each others pain, money constantly being asked for, barely ever repaid. The women are INSANELY jealous. If you go to one persons house, the other will literally cry and call everyone else to complain. And dont get me started on the pot smoking... hoy! ALL of the men still smoke pot and NONE of the women know! And the infidelity: rampant! DH and I cannot STAND it. I am trying not to judge the entire culture on these 50 people, but its a pretty decent group from all demographics, old, young, rich, poor, educated, uneducated.

I really hate them! And now that Im pregnant Im going crazy to stay away from them. I just watched how they practically ate the last women to have a baby alive. The jealousy was so terrible, they were saying horrible things about her constantly. "shes too old to have kids. her husband is going to leave her. they arent even legally married." yikes. And its not like its all behind peoples back, some one would love to call and tell you to your face what "so and so" said about you. Its like they enjoy it! Im so not use to this kind of behavior. My american girls never act like this and if they do, they arent my friends for very long.

Am I alone out here? Are the other people who are totally hating their DP's cultural group? I feel guilt for hating them on top of everything! Its terrible! Anyone else who just stopped hanging out with DPs group? Ive been putting distance between myself and the women lately, but its only made them more negative and spiteful! Its like theres no in between. We're either 'bestest friends ever,' or they all hate me! Im so overwhelmed!

Dont even get me started on horrifying parenting behavior... yikes!
post #2 of 8
I don't think there is anything wrong with distancing yourself from a cultural community that does not fit with your family culture, as long as both you and dh are in agreement about it. You mentioned that your dh can't stand it either, so it sounds like you are. I'm sure there are good things about his culture, and you can incorporate and celebrate those in your family culture without having to be intimately involved in an extended cultural community.

My dh is Vietnamese, so there is a lot of drama in the local community that revolves around politics, people calling you "communist" if you travel back to Vietnam, etc. Dh and I don't agree with it (and we travel to Vietnam quite a bit) so we dissociate ourselves from the local community except for occasional visits to the temple. But we talk to our dd alot about what we love about Vietnamese culture, and she learns about the culture from our trips there.

Just curious, have you visted his home country? Do the people there act the same way? Sometimes I think immigrant communities in the U.S. can become a little dysfunctional due to their circumstances (being in a strange land, not knowing the language, unable to fit in) and so aren't really a fair representative of the culture at large.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
I don't think there is anything wrong with distancing yourself from a cultural community that does not fit with your family culture, as long as both you and dh are in agreement about it. You mentioned that your dh can't stand it either, so it sounds like you are. I'm sure there are good things about his culture, and you can incorporate and celebrate those in your family culture without having to be intimately involved in an extended cultural community.

My dh is Vietnamese, so there is a lot of drama in the local community that revolves around politics, people calling you "communist" if you travel back to Vietnam, etc. Dh and I don't agree with it (and we travel to Vietnam quite a bit) so we dissociate ourselves from the local community except for occasional visits to the temple. But we talk to our dd alot about what we love about Vietnamese culture, and she learns about the culture from our trips there.

Just curious, have you visted his home country? Do the people there act the same way? Sometimes I think immigrant communities in the U.S. can become a little dysfunctional due to their circumstances (being in a strange land, not knowing the language, unable to fit in) and so aren't really a fair representative of the culture at large.

Thats such a good point. I frequently comment on how in his country people are so much kinder and happier, but that all the strangest people must migrate to america. We go back every summer for a month and its wonderful. Then again, a month isnt really long enough to see true colors either. And DH reminds me of that and that most of the people he knows there or here have very similar characteristics. "There's always outliers, but in general, its a cultural norm to behave insanely jealous, which leads to a lot of the strange behavior were seeing." ugh!

But he's still having trouble really staying away. Now instead of getting the updates directly from the people, DH gives me them every day. I keep telling him dont tell me! But he cant seem to help himself. Its so stressful!
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
Just curious, have you visted his home country? Do the people there act the same way? Sometimes I think immigrant communities in the U.S. can become a little dysfunctional due to their circumstances (being in a strange land, not knowing the language, unable to fit in) and so aren't really a fair representative of the culture at large.
Very good point Thao, about immigrant communities not being representative. I think that this can be very true. I know that the Mexicans still living in Mexico sometimes look down on those living in the States. Same goes for Turks living in Turkey looking down on those living in Germany.

Bebegim, I think it is fine to distance yourself from the community, while still staying friendly and on good terms with everyone. I personally don’t like hanging out with just one kind of group of people anyway, be it White Anglo Saxon Protestants, Latinos, Middle Easterners, and Asians and so on. I like diversity. I like to live in an area that is multi cultural rather than ghettos.
I think a lot of the things you have mentioned are things that are really not considered acceptable in any culture.
Oh yes, I have come to realise that people everywhere tend to talk about each other behind each other’s backs. All I can do is not do the same myself and at the same time try not be upset if I find out about it. Easier said than done!
post #5 of 8
I had a problem like this about 8 years ago. It was really bad, I was always extremely uncomfortable. I am now divorced and really it was for the best, I just couldn't fit in with what his ideal was.

The community was pretty rough on me, just for the fact I wasn't "one" of them. I didn't talk poop about other people and didn't bring up money at every possible occasion.

I do want to say that I went to his home country and it was totally different then the American community he was living in, much more pleasant.
post #6 of 8
This kind of thing is why we have very limited contact with both my and my DH's cultural community.
post #7 of 8
I don't post here often, but this thread caught my eye. I've been with DH for 14 years. I greatly admire his culture, I love how the elderly are respected, how loyal they are to each other, the sense of community, and the continuity of between generations. I'm not blind how to the other issues; the envy, back biting, how insular and judgmental they can be,

For me to be around DH's culture and by extension his family I have to very clear boundaries. I've always been clear that I greatly admire the culture, but that I am not part of and I don't want to be. I have my own family, my own culture and religion which are equally deserving of respect. Oddly, this has worked very well. DH's culture can be very derisive of people who "marry in" and try to become part of the culture. Since I don't want to be part of it, I'm more accepted and so is my son. It's kind of twisted. I have no idea if this would work with any other culture.

I encourage my husband to visit his family frequently and to take our son, but I only go to visit every two to three months and only for a day or two.
post #8 of 8
I am part of a close knit ethnic community like you describe (although I don't think the behavior is quite as bad). It might be a little different for us since Dh and I are both part of this community even though we are both not of the ethnicity of the majority of the group so that might put us a little on the outside already along with the fact that my DH is their leader. I have heard other people tell me about gossiping, people getting jealous, power struggles, all sorts of things like that. I have never seen or experienced any of this first hand myself. That is because I put a little bit of distance between myself and them while still being very much part of the community. It is possible that people talk about me behind my back but I never wondering about it or try to keep up on gossip. If some one starts talking to me about some one else, unless it is only praise for them I just sit there with a dead look on my face not responding to them. Once they finish talking they usually understand that I am not interested in that kind of conversation and we can change the subject. So I guess what I am saying is try taking two steps back and drop in from the outside. Greet them but disengage from the drama and gossiping they are doing amongst each other. Be a part of the community but not embedded in the community.
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