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Old 08-23-2014, 01:27 PM
 
16,521 posts, read 17,570,611 times
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Sounds like your MIL is a bitter self loathing person who gets to feel superior when she belittles someone weaker than her. When my mom and stepdad made some disparaging remarks about who I chose to marry I told them in crystal clear terms that they can either accept it or step out of my life. It's their choice.

I would tell your husband what had transpired and the next time you go see your MIL you should be the moma bear and tell her to either accept you and your family as is or gtfo of your life. And stay out.
I had absolutely no problem telling my mom to accept my wife and my decision on who to marry or leave us alone.
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:05 PM
 
374 posts, read 388,054 times
Reputation: 886
OMG.... if I had a brother which I don't I would swear you are talking about my mother and sisters. What a nasty bunch they all sound. I literally have to just keep my father and other family members in my life. My mother and sisters no longer are due to me finally standing up, and having moved away they could no longer barge over.... But I never stopped them from being in my life or kids, but they aren't and to this day still do same passive aggressive, mean narcissist things.
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Old 08-23-2014, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Florida -
8,250 posts, read 10,017,245 times
Reputation: 15121
Since your son has been able to make this about her, and not about him, it is probably a good opportunity to help teach him about mental illness -- in people who otherwise seem okay. It's also important for him to learn that he doesn't have to 'own' every stupid or hurtful comment that someone may make. Finally, you might help him figure-out how to best respond in a 'classy' manner (not out of anger or vengeance), if/when he encounters this type of mean-spirited attitude in life.

Should you play the furious 'momma-bear' role? Angry retribution might make you feel better, but, it won't change her and will likely drive a wedge between your families. A more subtle approach might actually make her think.

You or her son might send her a 'thank you for the visit' note. In the note, 'Thank her' for her surprisingly insensitive and unkind attempts to help undermine her grandson's identity and sexuality during his recent visit. Explain that he's never had the opportunity to experience that type of treatment from people who "love and care about him"... And, that "since he will soon be going out into the world, her words will help 'toughen him' against insulting and mean-spirited comments often made by a hard and uncaring world. [/i] -- Sign the note, "Love ... names"

Last edited by jghorton; 08-23-2014 at 03:56 PM..
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:01 PM
 
2,747 posts, read 3,925,955 times
Reputation: 2421
Your m-i-l thrives on drama. When there isn't any she must create some out of thin air. I've known people like that.

The best thing that you can do is ignore her. She's looking for you to react over this. Don't react. Don't play into it.

Your son is old enough for you to explain some of the issues that you & your husband have had with her in the past.

Just make sure that your son knows that what she said to him isn't a reflection on him, but it's her way of seeking attention for herself.

Ignore her & be happy.
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:12 PM
 
5,106 posts, read 6,071,774 times
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it is up to the son @ 17 years old to set the course on this. He was the one mistreated. Actually it is fortunate that he saw her true colors and this is his opportunity to grow into manhood. Just be background support to son and husband.
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Bloomington IN
5,877 posts, read 7,106,260 times
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Agree with the above poster. People like your MIL thrive on the reaction of others. Your son's reaction (quite normal for a 17 year old) was exactly the attention she wanted. Your son needs to learn to ignore his emotional response which is difficult.

A call or message from you or your husband would fuel the fire and give her more attention.

Time for your son to learn a few key phrases to use with her or the aunts next time they start in with the nonsense. They will serve him well in other relationships. Next time he should simply say, "I understand why you might think that," or I'm sorry you feel that way," or some other simple sentence that does not indicate agreement or disagreement. He needs to simply acknowledges the comment was heard and not provide include the emotional reaction. These statements work well with people like your mother-in-law and throws them off their games so to speak.
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:39 PM
 
7,241 posts, read 12,664,661 times
Reputation: 8518
Quote:
Originally Posted by jghorton View Post
Since your son has been able to make this about her, and not about him, it is probably a good opportunity to help teach him about mental illness -- in people who otherwise seem okay. It's also important for him to learn that he doesn't have to 'own' every stupid or hurtful comment that someone may make. Finally, you might help him figure-out how to best respond in a 'classy' manner (not out of anger or vengeance), if/when he encounters this type of mean-spirited attitude in life.

Should you play the furious 'momma-bear' role? Angry retribution might make you feel better, but, it won't change her and will likely drive a wedge between your families. A more subtle approach might actually make her think.

You or her son might send her a 'thank you for the visit' note. In the note, 'Thank her' for her surprisingly insensitive and unkind attempts to help undermine her grandson's identity and sexuality during his recent visit. Explain that he's never had the opportunity to experience that type of treatment from people who "love and care about him"... And, that "since he will soon be going out into the world, her words will help 'toughen him' against insulting and mean-spirited comments often made by a hard and uncaring world. [/i] -- Sign the note, "Love ... names"
Oh gawd no, that's just inviting MIL (and SILs, because you know they will talk) to up the stakes.

I could've swore OP has my husband's family. My husband was also the only male/one able to stand up to his mother and sisters- so he was the scapegoat for all the "bad" things. The family thrives on drama, conflicts, jabs/put-downs and so on. I'm very sympathetic, it's always hard to figure how to raise children amidst all the conflict. I'm grateful forthe buffer zone we currently have.
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Old 08-23-2014, 07:24 PM
 
10,608 posts, read 13,400,793 times
Reputation: 17163
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSD610 View Post
I would absolutely confront her and ask her what in hades gave her the idea that SHE could talk to MY CHILD like that.
I would proceed to tell her to mind her own business, stay out of my son's life and bedroom, keep any opinions she may have to herself
and don't call us we'll call you.

Then I would be walking out of the door never to look back and have no regrets about that decision.
ABSOLUTELY. I would do the very same thing.

NO WAY is she going to pretend to think and tell everyone else that the future estrangement is anything other than what it is.

And while we're on the subject yep, you need to let your husband on board because some day his parents are going to need care and we'll find you on the Caregiving forum stuck in a miserable situation ...so I'd read her on THAT, too, while I was at it.

There is absolutely NO future between your son and them so why let him agonize over it and leave any wiggle room. His brain doesn't even stop growing until he's 26.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:42 PM
 
5,703 posts, read 15,506,761 times
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Thank you all for the replies. My husband and I talked about it alone and we agreed we won't call his mother. We feel that calling her would make it more about us. It would make us feel better to give her a piece of our minds but it would not help the situation. I mean, if his mother was reasonable and we could have a honest conversation with her and tell her that she hurt our son's feelings and if she was interested in apologizing for the sake of the relationship, that would be one thing but his family NEVER apologizes for anything. They get defensive or make excuses. His mother's favorite line is, "well I am entitled to my opinion." So all in all it would be pointless.

We feel it would be best to use it as a learning moment so we can give our son the skills to deal with people like my MIL and well future dealings with my MIL. My husband has the catholic guilt as he calls it, so he still visits his family. Sometimes he has a good time (when they are on their best behavior) and other times not so much. It is not always bad and well that is the heart of dysfunction in many families. That lovely roller coaster ride.

I actually pulled away from them all as they are toxic for me. I do see them for the larger obligations such as weddings and funerals but when we go home to visit, we have such a short time span that I see my family and my husband sees his. Sometimes I make the trip back home alone and when my MIL hears about it she actually voices how upset she is that I didnt stop by to see her. Of all the people in the world, why she would think I would spent my time visiting her is beyond me but it just something else to complain about. I still see them about once or twice a year so its not a complete cut off but it has to be about them all the time. Moving away from them was a huge relief for me. No more weekend BQ's, birthday parties and whatever else they drum up.

My son has a lot of my husband in him and I think he will be comfortable addressing their behavior in the future. It took me much longer to deal with confrontation so I am glad he takes after my husband more in this regard. Where my son is more like me is that I think he will distance himself over time. He won't feel guilty if he feels it is best. I have been impressed with decisions he has made regarding some unhealthy friendships. I know he will fall from grace, he will be making decisions in his own life and I know it won't please everyone.

As far as writing a letter, I know that would be a bad idea. I made that mistake years ago. My letter was actually an olive branch. Too long of a story to go into but it was supposed to repair a riff with one of his sisters. A small understanding that snowballed into something else because of her doing. I read it over to my husband before sending it and he thought I was too kind in the letter but appreciated the gesture. It was later used against me, taken out of context and turned into an epic episode where he ended up getting involved and his relationship with sister changed forever. So I vowed no more letters.
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:09 PM
 
5,106 posts, read 6,071,774 times
Reputation: 9677
nice to hear your feedback. goodluck
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