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Old 05-15-2011, 10:30 PM
 
1,073 posts, read 2,512,543 times
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Thanks for all of the great and insightful replies. They are each sincerely appreciated.

As to the questions about my husband's take on all of this, he is 100% on my side. He is good at standing up to her and setting boundaries with her. That is why we see her as little as we do. We would happily spend more time with her if she were more pleasant to be around. There are certain situations where it is just really hard to call her on her behavior. That's why people are passive aggressive though right? They don't want to be confronted or confrontational, but still want to be mean. Over the years we have distanced ourselves.

Yes, I learned my lesson the hard way with the labor situation. We will never rely on her again for anything important. Even with all of her past behavior, I did not think she had it in her to do something that hurtful. It's true though, that she had repeatedly shown herself to be unreliable with smaller things, and it was not the wisest decision to put her in that role at that time.

h886 you always offer wisdom, and I really like your suggestion of seating my husband between us. Will definitely do that from now on.

sierraAZ, yes, maybe I am a little crazy . I never thought of my MIL as a monster. My mom is a monster. She is a violent, gun-toting, child abusing criminal (and is not in our lives). I generally think of MIL as petty and insecure, and honestly have compassion for her in that regard. She can't be truly happy.

hiknapster, I tried that approach with my own family of origin years ago. Tried fighting fire with fire. Honestly it's just not me. I cannot be knowingly and intentionally mean to another person. I have my share of moments where I am insensitive, selfish, or uncaring, but being what I believe is a good person is something I value highly. I would much rather work on setting boundaries and standing up for myself in a more direct manner. I let a lot of my MIL's behavior slide for many years, then starting standing up for myself like crazy, and now have settled into more of a balance. When she does something truly egregious, I will say something very direct. She always buckles with a bunch of lame excuses, but generally does not repeat the behavior. If it's something small, like the french toast, I look for ways to change my behavior so that it becomes a non-issue.

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:49 AM
 
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And my all time favorite. We flew her out around my due date for my second pregnancy. The purpose was for her to be "on call" when I went into labor so that she could care for our toddler. The morning after my due date, my contractions had gone from ten minutes apart to seven minutes apart in the space of about two hours. I started gearing up to go to the hospital soon. My MIL said "I just need to get a quick manicure, I will be back soon...I saw a place down the road that I can go to." In that moment I was thinking "really????" But I didn't say anything. I figured she would be gone an hour tops. She was gone more than half the day. Six hours or so. I was home alone, in labor, without a car (she took my car), with my toddler, and my husband at work, and I guess my toddler could have ridden without her car seat (which was in my car with my MIL). Now I did have options. Could have called a friend or my husband could have left work. But still, the entire point of us flying her out was for her to be there when I went into labor. She agreed to this plan enthusiastically.

Anyway. She's not all bad. We are just two very different people. I know I've behaved less than graciously with her too (although never passive aggressive or intentionally mean...overt bitchiness is more my style - lol). I continue to strive toward the most positive relationship possible because she is my husband's mother and my kids' grandmother
WOW! How awful! How does she live with herself? She definitely has issues! I hear of so many MIL's being wretched to the DIL's! Unbelievable!

I remember my MIL said it was too far for her to go see our twins when they were born! She had meetings at church to go to and didn't really have alot of time. She would see them when they got home!WTF? She has a daughter too who could have came to see them when they were born and said it was too far to go also! My parents are both deceased so it would have been nice to see some family members come visit my newborn twins! I tolerate mine too.. My dh backs me 100 percent when she goes haywire LOL...she is hot and cold... Thankfully we don't live close to her and only visit a few times a year!


Thankfully you live far away lol......She sounds like she is just a bitter person sadly.
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:35 PM
 
538 posts, read 1,434,569 times
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Why are you giving this passive-aggressive, manipulative, emotionally abusive woman any of your time at all?

She needs to see a doctor about her mental health.

Not sarcastic. I am completely serious.
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Old 05-16-2011, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by njsocks View Post
I remember my MIL said it was too far for her to go see our twins when they were born!
Wow, that is really sad about your MIL not coming to see her newborn grandchildren! People never cease to amaze me. It's great that your dh backs you up. That makes all the difference in the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonata36 View Post
Why are you giving this passive-aggressive, manipulative, emotionally abusive woman any of your time at all?

She needs to see a doctor about her mental health.

Not sarcastic. I am completely serious.
The reason I give her any of my time is because:
-She is not all bad all the time. She is amicable and tolerable much of the time.

-She is my husband's mother, and I do not want to cause a huge riff in his family. I would do so if she was causing destruction in our lives, but IMO she is not.

-She is my kids' grandmother, and they adore her. The relationship between them is very positive, and I do not want to deny my children a positive loving relationship, especially since my own family is so screwed up and not in our lives.

-I guess compared to my own mother, my MIL's antics are small potatoes. Over time I learn how to respond effectively to her behavior in a way that makes the relationship work for me and my family. She is responsive to boundaries for the most part, and to me this makes all the difference in the world when dealing with a dysfunctional person. It's the ones who don't respect boundaries that I boot out of my life.
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Old 05-16-2011, 02:42 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
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I think you're a very kind and generous person, Marmon. You've handled the situations very well. I've nothing else to add.
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Old 05-17-2011, 02:26 AM
 
Location: The Conterminous United States
22,583 posts, read 51,058,379 times
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We have it in us if we have to. I suspect you are magnanimous - with exceptions - because you have the backing of your husband. I did not. In fact, he egged her on. There was my child at stake, too. Eventually, we moved away and things drastically changed.

She is no longer the woman she use to be nor is my husband.

Regarding my mother, she is not a criminal but a narcissist that cares nothing for her only child or grandchildren. My youngest, the 11-year-old, she has never seen, nor does she care to. I was removed from her home when I was 14.

However, even though she is also far away, I do keep tabs on her as she grows old, possibly in the first stages of Alzheimer's. I am her only child and I have always been a far better daughter to her than she has been a mother to me.

That is because I am a kind, loving and gracious person. Honestly, I was trying to help and took exception to the "good person" statement. I only did what I had to do or my daughter would have suffered.

I thought that you were in a different situation due to being left alone for hours while in labor, not even able to summon your husband's assistance.

On the face of it, it seems that your circumstances are not that dire and you didn't really need any advice at all.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hiknapster View Post
We have it in us if we have to. I suspect you are magnanimous - with exceptions - because you have the backing of your husband. I did not. In fact, he egged her on. There was my child at stake, too. Eventually, we moved away and things drastically changed.

She is no longer the woman she use to be nor is my husband.

Regarding my mother, she is not a criminal but a narcissist that cares nothing for her only child or grandchildren. My youngest, the 11-year-old, she has never seen, nor does she care to. I was removed from her home when I was 14.

However, even though she is also far away, I do keep tabs on her as she grows old, possibly in the first stages of Alzheimer's. I am her only child and I have always been a far better daughter to her than she has been a mother to me.

That is because I am a kind, loving and gracious person. Honestly, I was trying to help and took exception to the "good person" statement. I only did what I had to do or my daughter would have suffered.

I thought that you were in a different situation due to being left alone for hours while in labor, not even able to summon your husband's assistance.

On the face of it, it seems that your circumstances are not that dire and you didn't really need any advice at all.
I am very sorry. I didn't mean to offend you or to imply that you are not a good person. See, like I said I have my share of times being insensitive (or in this case rude) and inserting my big foot in my big mouth .

As I said, I tried the same methods you suggested (not with my MIL, but with my own family) and it simply didn't work for me. Yes, if I were trapped so to speak, I would respond very differently and would probably be more aggressive in ways you described. Most definitely if the well being of my children was at stake, I would do whatever was needed to protect them.

To clarify, when I read your post, I was not in any way thinking that you were not a good person. My thought process was more along the lines of "yeah I remember trying that approach, and I remember that it didn't work and I ended up feeling like I was no better than the a-holes in my family." That was the origin of the "good person" comment. Hope that helps. The big difference is that I have never been trapped or without options (at least not as an adult). In the case of my MIL, I learned my lesson to not rely on her for anything important, as well as keeping a good amount of distance between her and us. It does make all the difference in the world to have my husband on board with me.

Your situation with both your husband and his mother, as well as your own family sounds rotten. When you say your husband and his mother are not how they used to be, is that for better or worse?

You are very kind to keep tabs on your narcissistic mother. It's more than I do with my mother, and I am her only child too.

Again, I do appreciate your insights. Take care.

Last edited by marmom; 05-17-2011 at 08:56 AM..
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:53 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,570 posts, read 16,882,580 times
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You'll find that Hiknapster is a really sweet, caring person and I LOVE her directness. My first contact with her here on CD was her being very concerned about my housebuying from a distance. She was truly concerned that I would be "taken for a ride" I didn't want to be on. It really warmed my heart to read her concerns about me.
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:21 AM
 
1,073 posts, read 2,512,543 times
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Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
You'll find that Hiknapster is a really sweet, caring person and I LOVE her directness. My first contact with her here on CD was her being very concerned about my housebuying from a distance. She was truly concerned that I would be "taken for a ride" I didn't want to be on. It really warmed my heart to read her concerns about me.
I appreciate her directness too. That kind of feedback is valuable. I am one who appreciates being called out when I act like a jerk. It's not done intentionally, so it's extremely helpful to know when my words / actions have a negative impact on others. Honesty and directness are gifts IMO.
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Old 05-17-2011, 02:27 PM
 
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Wow, that is really sad about your MIL not coming to see her newborn grandchildren! People never cease to amaze me. It's great that your dh backs you up. That makes all the difference in the world.
I know really! Event of a lifetime and she is too busy.I will never understand that ever. I would have given anything for my mom and dad to be there and they would have been in a heartbeat! MIL Lived about 60 miles from the hospital. Her daughter could have taken her.My husband was po'd as I. She is so selfish at times. They are backwards that's for sure!People do not cease to amaze me.

Good luck with your situation. Hopefully it will get better over time.
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