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Advice from Dear Webby
Bragging Inlaws

Dear Webby,

> During the holidays we get together with my wife's family. Her brother and his family come in from California, the rest of us live here. They seem like nice people. I know they are better off then we are.

My wife thinks she has to impress them with lies about what we have, how much I make, the childrens school grades and the like. I hate these lies and wonder if she is dissatisfied. She never complains at other times.

I would like to have them to our home but she doesn't want that. We have to meet at her parents. We do take them out to dinner while they are here and it really blows the budget.

Sign me
Feeling Down

Dear Feeling Down

Don't! Your wife's insecurities and need to impress are HER problem. Be glad that eleven months of the year she is content.

Perhaps it stems from her childhood. Was she the oldest or maybe the only girl? Did she have to vie for her parent's attention with high grades in school? We can only guess her history.

Did anyone disapprove of the marriage? Is she is trying to prove them wrong?. Do you see the rest of her family throughout the year?

The need to impress is a sign of insecurity. It reflects a feeling of low worth and self-esteem and rarely has anything to do with reality.

You mention that they are better off than you are. Are you talking about financially? Are they happier and healthier or just have more money?

Few people are "better off" in all areas. If they truly appear to be, maybe they too are trying to impress you and your wife because of the image she is giving off.

Webby, and most people, really enjoys people who are themselves, no better, no worse than anyone else. Speak to your wife and tell her how bad the lies make you feel and how much you'd enjoy having them at your home. Not to mention the added savings.

Let her know you will not take part in the lies. Of course she's your wife so tell her you will not expose her but would appreciate if she would not tell them in front of you. You would hate to have to leave the room.

Ask her if she is unhappy with your economic situation or not proud of the childrens school work. Let her know you don't approve and it makes you feel less worthy, in her eyes than her siblings.

Maybe she is unaware of your feelings and her actions.

My guess is that she has a need to impress that you probably have not picked up on in other situations. Keeping up with the Jones' is a common problem in our society. Just be glad you're not the Jones. How stressful it must be to maintain their status on the peak of the mountain!

You sound like a down to earth unpretentious man. Good for you! Keep up the good work.

As for your wife it sounds like other than this one problem at this one time of the year, she's a winner too. Lucky You

Happy holidays and the best to the "family"


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