A Point of Clarification

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I just want to quickly address this so that there are no lingering questions about it. The Fiance was infuriated with what happened last night and in general does not almost ever agree with anything his mother does. It's not me vs. them, it's us vs. her. He was dumbfounded and as upset as I was about her behavior last night and her rudeness in leaving today. He comforted me and he used the only real communication route he has to deal with it- his father (whom I adore, by the way) and we'll see what happens.

I know it seems very black and white, but I promise you, with the MIL, everything is in the land of the gray. The Fiance could tell her every single rule, edict and law that she is to follow in our home, he could (and almost always does) come to my defense and explain to her the concepts of respect and kindness, but she does not hear anything and she does not do anything unless it is her idea. I could probably literally list every single example of every unkind thing she'd ever done, to her face, and I'd expect her response to be something along the lines of, "why are you picking on me?" She just lacks social skills altogether and everyone knows it. It's not as if this is a secret that she shares only with me, it's like the gigantic polka dotted elephant in the room at every family gathering.

At this time last year we told her she could not stay with us for Mardi Gras and we became involved in one of the worst family skirmishes ever to occur, ever and we just didn't want to deal with it again, which is why we both decided that she could stay here. It wasn't as if I wasn't on the committee for this, I was, and we knew it would be tough, I think I just expected it to be a little more passive.

She cannot be controlled, which is why our interactions with her are very very limited. We see her usually 3 times a year: Christmas/Hanukkah, Jazz Fest, and the summer, The Fiance speaks with her very rarely (you should hear her ringtone, it's like if death was to call your cell phone what you'd expect his ringtone to sound like). I have already made it crystal clear that if she treats my children the way she treats me (or him for that matter) that she will be non-existent in their lives because I will not subject my kids to that, The Fiance understands and agrees. He doesn't want our kids to have that kind of childhood, he lived it and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't wish it on anyone. I will spend the rest of my life mending the pieces that she has ripped him into because I love him, and we will do better for our children because we know better.

Please don't mistake the tone of this post as rudeness, it's not. I so appreciate all of you being concerned about this, I would be too if our roles were reversed, I just don't want everyone to jump on a bandwagon against The Fiance, because truly, he's doing everything exactly right, and I know that if he could fix this, he would. My sentiment earlier is just regret that he can't have a mother in his life who loves and supports him and his decisions, because that's really what a mother should be, and it's something that we are meant to have.

It just means I have to love him more, and I'm really thankful that I get that job.


Flea said...

Oh my. I found you through Tammy at The Color of Home. I must say, your MIL sounds shockingly like mine, but I didn't see her for who she was in the beginning. Are you aware of this web site?


It might help you understand her, if this truly is what's going on. It helped me to be strong and separate, which doesn't sound like a problem for you, but it might give better clarification. Again, if it's the problem. You have my deepest empathy.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Flea is barking up the right tree here. Your MIL sounds like my Mom. Or my MIL, for that matter.

The two of you are a united front and you have the upper hand; you're sane, and you're united.

We marginalize her. Our whole family unites to distract and discipline her. Both hers, sorry. She's to be treated like a child, with the exception being that instead of putting her in timeout when she throws a tantrum, you put yourself in timeout.

It takes awhile to build that wall high enough that your blood doesn't boil, but after some practice you can approach it with amused detachment. I've found it takes years.

Anonymous said...

You know - the fact that The Fiance went through all the trouble to get on your blog and let everyone know what was going on with your surgery when you were in the hospital said a lot about the sort of person he is. He knew you had people who care about you here & he cared enough to update us - not because it was important to us but because it was important to you.

Growing up, we had exactly 1 grandparent, my father's mother. She didn't like my mom and, as a result, I never had a good relationship with her & neither did my siblings. It wasn't even as hostile as you have but we sensed it & that was enough. Her loss. And your MIL's loss.

Anonymous said...

She left? Damn. I am behind on reading your blog! Glad you and your fiance are together--that is ALL THAT MATTERS!

About died when you described her ring tone on his phone....

Still sorry the suckage is so great. Alas!

kim-d said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! THIS, my dear, was exactly what I was wondering about--and I am so glad you took it for the concern it was. What you said about The Fiance's reaction is what I would expect from him, based on what I've learned of him over the past couple of years. I just wasn't sure, ya know, because family-of-origin issues can be complicated. You two have got it all handled, and you and The Fiance WILL prevail. Having the FIL in your corner helps immensely, too :)!

From experience, I can tell you this--what you wrote of at the end of your post--about loving The Fiance "through" the damage she's done? That works. And the rewards will be stupendous! You, The Fiance and your Future Sprouts will be just fine. While she (MIL), on the other hand, will count as her only claim to fame having her picture in The Big Book of Personality Disorders under Sociopath, Narcissistic, and Borderline :).

brneyedgal967 said...

Very well said - yes, very well said. Sorry for the unsolicited advice - I found your mother-in-laws behavior shocking and I think I'm a know it all to other people's misery. Mainly, I just hoped you and your fiance addressed the problem in a good way and not try to brush it under the rug because that never works. And it seems you're doing everything you can. Yay. I wish you both the best. He sounds like a great catch!

Keep your chin up. And thanks for clarifying - no it didn't sound rude one bit.

Flea said...

I hope it's not too late to say this, but it's an EXTREMELY bad idea to even whisper the term "Borderline" near someone whom you suspect is. It becomes nasty ammunition later. Just sayin'.