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Problem Solving => Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws => Topic started by: pam1 on October 25, 2010, 09:23:20 am

Title: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 25, 2010, 09:23:20 am
Just curious here, but how often do you see your family?

MIL's - how often do you see your children and their spouses?  Is it enough, more than you like or less than you like?  And if you don't mind, how often did you see your own parents and in laws?

DIL's - how often do you see your FOO and your husbands FOO?  Is it enough, more than you like or less than you like?

Title: Re: How often?
Post by: erma on October 25, 2010, 09:29:42 am
hi Pam, are you wanting to know how often we saw them before they were married, or in the beginning or after problems started? I'm assuming you mean currently, but just checking....
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 25, 2010, 09:36:59 am
Hi Erma, I'd love to hear any and all of it, really.  I'm looking for a lot of perspectives.  The reason I'm asking is b/c I went over my list of boundaries with my therapist and I was shocked when she said my boundary where I compromised the time spent with DH's FOO was still way too much time and the average extended family doesn't spend that much time together.  Kind of shocked me, but again, his FOO wants to spend every weekend together and I'm also wondering if my perspective is skewed from dealing with this the last 2 years.

So yeah, any and all you want to post is good with me. 
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pooh on October 25, 2010, 09:43:12 am
Pam, I have two sons.  One is in unmarried and in the military.  He just snuck up and surprised me over Labor Day and I will see him next when he graduates his training in Marchish.  He Facebooks me and texts me a couple of times a week.  He has a daughter that we had to fight legally to see, but because of his military status, we have not seen her since December last year.

My second son got married last October and I saw them last in person, at Christmas last year.  They live about an hour from me, and spend just about every weekend with her FOO.  An infrequent text is about all I get from him, and he called me in May when she went out of town with her family to talk.  We spoke for about 2 hours.  They bought a new house he was telling me about, that I have yet to be invited to see. 

I was very close with both sons growing up.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pen on October 25, 2010, 09:55:16 am
Pam, I'm kind of in there with Pooh's experience with her 2nd son. DIL's FOO sees them daily. DS calls when DIL is out of town. DH&  I can't see our FOOs often since they live very far away. The men married women who wanted to live near their FOOs so we were left behind.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on October 25, 2010, 09:56:56 am
My surviving son and his lady live in Hawaii and I live in WA state. They don't like the hot summers there, so they bought a park model trailer about seven miles from me and stay there for July, Aug and Sept. He comes back in March for my birthday and stays a month to break the long period between their visits  It's his "retreat." She doesn't like our winters and stays in Hawaii.

They have a lot of friends here and both of them work on their Websites while they are here. I see him maybe once a week. This year he took me in for my surgery and post op checkups but usually it is for breakfast. She is a night owl and sleeps late. She and I probably get together every other week. We love to take long walks and talk. They come to visit Val in nursing about once a month and hang out with me here afterward.

When there is a family "do" involving my grandson (my deceased son's youngest) and the rest of the clan, we usually go together. And if something comes up between visits, we call or email.

I'm very comfortable with the way it all works out.

Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Scoop on October 25, 2010, 09:57:27 am
Hi Pam, I think this is a good question and one that I find really interesting.

I'm a DIL, we live 6 hours drive away from my FOO and 4 hours drive away from my IL's.  My Dad died about 2 years ago, my Mom is retired.  My IL's are not retired.  Everyone involved is comfortable money-wise.

We see my Mom 15 or so times a year and she often stays for a week at a time, we probably spend 60 days a year with my Mom.  Of those 15 visits, she visits us 6 times, we visit her at home twice and we go to her cottage (it's only 1.5 hrs away) 7 times.

We see my IL's about 4 times a year, of which they visit us twice and we visit them twice.  In the past, we would visit them 4 or more times per year, however, they never visited us more than twice and once went 2 years without ever coming to our house.  Since DD was born, we have had to scale back our trips because it's hard to travel with a carsick kid.  Sadly, the IL's have not stepped up their visits to us.  To be fair, MIL works a lot of evenings and weekends.

I would also like to bring up QUALITY of visits.  My Mom takes the time to play with DD.  She comes prepared for whatever activities and can be counted on to participate enthusiastically. 

The IL's come to our city to shop.  Even if we tell them to dress for the weather, they don't, and thus we don't do 'fun' things with them.  If we even go for a walk, MIL & FIL will walk 20 ft ahead of us.  DD loves her Gma and would have held her hand and skipped and looked at rocks or whatever, but MIL was 20 ft ahead of us.  When we visit the IL's, MIL always has appointments.  If we do plan to do something fun with SisIL and the DN's, MIL & FIL don't even come to watch ALL OF THEIR GRANDKIDS doing something fun together.

Whoa - can you see you hit a nerve here with me?  It's because I have an innate sense of fairness, and I *know* that this arrangement is not "fair" to my IL's.  But as far as I can see, they don't seem to make much of an effort, either to visit us, or to plan fun things when we do visit or to participate in the fun things we've planned.  So I've scaled back my level of effort to match theirs.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: erma on October 25, 2010, 10:04:09 am
well, here goes, ill try to be short. my dh's foo, we see at least once a month, usually more because its a family of 38, soon to be 42! so many family occasions to deal with.
my foo, once a month for the most part. more during bad weather.
my kids and grandkids- twice a month, sometimes more around the holidays. i talk to my dd 3-5 times a week, on the phone.

my foo is now only my father, everyone else has passed, but i was so close with my siblings, we talked 3-5 times a week. our mother died when we were very, very, little.
my kids and i were extremely close when they lived at home, and continue to be, except ds. we (the rest of the family) can tell he misses us though by what he says when were together.
my dh foo, was extremely close family too growing up.
i dunno, my family "hangs out" together, thats the way we were raised i guess. our friends hang out with ALL of us.
hope that helped pam..........   :)
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 25, 2010, 10:06:59 am
Pooh & Pen, how frustrating.  In an ideal world, how often would you like to see them?  If someone asked you point blank an actual number per week/month/year...what would be your answer?  (no right or wrong, I'm really just curious here)

Luise, I'm so glad that works for you and everyone.  It does sound like a really ideal type of situation where everyone is respected. 

Scoop, I'm right with you on the "fair" aspect and I guess that is what I'm struggling with.  As much as I say to others in my post that "fair" isn't equal...well, it still bothers me.  But ironically I'm being told that I'm still compromising way more than I should be! 
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 25, 2010, 10:12:00 am
Quote from: erma on October 25, 2010, 10:04:09 am
well, here goes, ill try to be short. my dh's foo, we see at least once a month, usually more because its a family of 38, soon to be 42! so many family occasions to deal with.
my foo, once a month for the most part. more during bad weather.
my kids and grandkids- twice a month, sometimes more around the holidays. i talk to my dd 3-5 times a week, on the phone.

my foo is now only my father, everyone else has passed, but i was so close with my siblings, we talked 3-5 times a week. our mother died when we were very, very, little.
my kids and i were extremely close when they lived at home, and continue to be, except ds. we (the rest of the family) can tell he misses us though by what he says when were together.
my dh foo, was extremely close family too growing up.
i dunno, my family "hangs out" together, thats the way we were raised i guess. our friends hang out with ALL of us.
hope that helped pam..........   :)


That did help, a lot Erma.  Just a few months ago we saw DH's FOO doubled and in some cases, triple the amounts you posted.  It helps me to see that you can still consider this close and hanging out while not seeing them at the rates we are expected too.

Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pooh on October 25, 2010, 10:16:36 am
Hmmm.  I guess I have never thought about an amount of time before.  I obviously want to spend more time with them, so even though I would never hold them to a schedule of sorts, I guess my idea of an appropriate time frame:  I would love to have them for dinner or go to their house for dinner, or meet them for dinner once a month.  My granddaughter, even though I would love to smoochie her every day, I think twice a month would be realistic.

I am a firm believer that your children must have time to live their own lives.

Title: Re: How often?
Post by: MLW07 on October 25, 2010, 10:21:17 am
My DH and I together see my FOO about 2-3 times a month.

I by myself see my FOO much more than that; mostly due to having a shiftworker DH who works nights and my FOO's home is about 30 minutes closer to my work.

We just now started visiting with my DH's FOO again after a two year cutoff.  The plan at this time is to see them about once a month.  Before the cutoff they expected us to be there every weekend for most of the weekend.

My FOO lives about an hour from us and my DH's FOO lives about an hour from us.  They live in opposite directions from us.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on October 25, 2010, 10:29:29 am
Maybe I should also relate how it worked (to use the term loosely) with my eldest son...who died 10 years ago at 52. It does not have the same pattern:

He called me every Saturday. They were "duty" calls and I often found them uncomfortable. My DIL called me rarely and then it was to tell me that I had done something she didn't like at our last meeting.

My son decided in his teens that I was his enemy (after thirteen good years) and from then on until he died of a sleep-apnea stroke, blamed me for everything that wasn't right in his world. He married a woman who hated her mother and had the same dynamic going and together they sang the "Somebody Done Me Wrong Song."

They visited us maybe three or four times a year and had us to their place about the same number of times. From  my point of view they were all "duty" visits. We all pretended everything was fine and I'm sure they were as glad when they were over as we were. I was sent flowers on the appropriate days and was given gifts. I reciprocated.

We never gave up but we never resolved any of it.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: barelythere on October 25, 2010, 10:32:29 am
Quote from: luise.volta on October 25, 2010, 10:29:29 am
Maybe I should also relate how it worked (to use the term loosely) with my eldest son...who died 10 years ago at 52. It does not have the same pattern:

He called me every Saturday. They were "duty" calls and I often found them uncomfortable. My DIL called me rarely and then it was to tell me that I had done something she didn't like at our last meeting.

My son decided in his teens that I was his enemy (after thirteen good years) and from then on until he died of a sleep-apnea stroke, blamed me for everything that wasn't right in his world. He married a woman who hated her mother and had the same dynamic going and together they sang the "Somebody Done Me Wrong Song."

They visited us maybe three or four times a year and had us to their place about the same number of times. From  my point of view they were all "duty" visits. We all pretended everything was fine and I'm sure they were as glad when they were over as we were. I was sent flowers on the appropriate days and was given gifts. I reciprocated.

We never gave up but we never resolved any of it.


:'(
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pooh on October 25, 2010, 10:36:33 am
So sad Luise.  I can relate to that on the other end as a DIL.  With my first marriage, we did see his family about once a month, and they were always "duty" visits for me.  I didn't like her, she didn't like me.  Plain and simple.  But I did them because my DH loved his Mother.  I was always uncomfortable, because every visit was her complaining about something I wasn't doing right.  But I suffered through them for 21 years, out of "duty".  I don't miss those at all.

My MIL this time around is a lovely woman and we see her about once a month.  My DH's family has a once-a-month gathering to celebrate all the birthdays for the month.  It is a wonderful time, and I look forward to going.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on October 25, 2010, 10:39:12 am
What a win, Pooh!  ;D
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pooh on October 25, 2010, 10:40:38 am
It truly is.  My DH tells me that I had to live 21 years with a bad MIL to appreciate a good one! Lol.  Boy do I appreciate her!
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 25, 2010, 10:49:47 am
Quote from: Laurie on October 25, 2010, 10:13:31 am
Good Morning Pam

While wearing my MIL hat, I can honestly say that I've only visited with my ds and dil as a couple only once in the last year.  He too is military and stationed far from home... My dil was in town for 2.5 weeks and came by one day to visit over lunch.  We had plans that fell through a couple of times, hopefully next year we'll spend more time together. My single children and I spend quite a bit of time together.  It's easier to work around their schedule.

As a DIL, we try to see my dh's parents every 2 to 3 weeks at times more often.  Most of these visits are based on their needs as they are both suffering from some health issues.  The quality of these visits is not reflective of our relationship with my in-laws through the years but as they've aged we've moved from strictly social visits to ones of aid.

The demands of life would stop me from attending gatherings on a weekly basis with any of our family members besides I look forward to having something new to converse about when we are together.  Like so many here my ds spends considerably more time with the dil foos and this has prevented us from being able to spend more time with the kids.

How do you feel about your dh's foo arranging family gatherings every weekend?


Laurie, thanks for answering.  I like how in your situation that it is fluid based on needs at the time and how it can change when need be. 

I guess for me, it's not just one thing.  It's not just the high rates of scheduled events.  Most events are something I have to do something, it's either a potluck or a gift event or they want help cleaning up the day before or after the event, or they want help cooking something.  There are a high rate of "must do" something, whatever it may be...along with "must attend."

I have a mix of feelings concerning the every weekend gatherings and it's not just the every weekend, they plan stuff during the week too.  It's especially irritating if you decline something on a weekend and then they cancel it and rearrange for another time during the week, just so everyone can be together.  The sentiment is nice but it's not practical and makes our schedule ridiculous.  And especially if you declined because you just didn't feel like doing this event or you needed some space....they don't make it easy, then it's demanded of you b/c they rescheduled...for you!  So there's something else that bothers me, you just can't say no and have it be.  There will be a flurry of emails and calls to figure out why you can't attend, guilt trips, crying and look at what you did to them!!!!

I don't care that they plan stuff every weekend or week -- it's really the fact that our attendance is considered mandatory.  And with their schedule, it takes over our lives.  Last year alone they held "must attend" events 36 weekends out of the 52.  And another good portion of the weekends they just wanted to see us or do something with us.  One time they complained we don't ask/invite them to anything...well, what free weekend do you propose we invite you to do something on?  lol

So, for me it would be different if these were "freer" events.  I don't care to make them change and stop them from even planning them, I just want to be "free" to say yes or no. 
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on October 25, 2010, 10:53:34 am
Here is something weird about me: I love to be invited and feel badly if I'm not...but I often don't want to go.  :o
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 25, 2010, 10:55:20 am
Eh, and I forgot to add the time aspect.  It's never planned out to be something around a 4 hour visit.  Or something manageable.  They are loooooong days.  That start out in the morning where they want help for something and then they want you to stay later than all the other guests. 

I guess that the fact that it is so many things all compiled into one issue, it really just drives me batty.   
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 25, 2010, 10:56:42 am
Quote from: luise.volta on October 25, 2010, 10:53:34 am
Here is something weird about me: I love to be invited and feel badly if I'm not...but I often don't want to go.  :o


Are you an introvert? 
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 25, 2010, 11:04:02 am
Quote from: Laurie on October 25, 2010, 10:59:03 am
That is a demanding schedule to attempt to participate in.  Since they reschedule plans and do not seem to understand that inconvenience was not the original intention for the decline then I think you have no choice but to politely state that you do not care to be included on a weekly/daily basis.  Oh hmm yep you're not going to make some happy, but haven't you ever wondered how many of the participants did not want to be there either?

Life is short.. I want all my time with my families to be special but I want my life to be special as well.


LOL, I wonder that all the time.  As far as I can tell some people really, really like it. 

Yes, I know I'm not going to make everyone happy and I'm ok with that.  What I'm not ok with is the toll it takes on my DH.  And that is a different story. 
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: miss_priss on October 25, 2010, 11:12:25 am
DH and I live about an hour from my FOO, and about 7-8 hours from his FOO. 

We rarely see my FOO all on the same day since my parents are divorced.  We see my M & SF about twice per month, and we see my F & SM about twice per month.  Those are just averages.  Sometimes we go a month or two without actually seeing either of them.  When we DO see them they are nice, brief visits usually no longer than a couple hours.   

BEFORE the estrangement from MIL, we used to travel 2-3 times per year to see them and we would stay the weekend.  MIL & FIL used to come down to visit us 3-4 times per year, and stay for 2-3 weeks minimum, usually upwards of a month (they didn't see any point in coming down only for a "short" stay of a week, and were appalled that I suggested a week limitation on their visits). 

I too feel it's only fair to include the quality of visits.  I'm going to interject here that their visits were exhausting for me, and although they helped with a few home-improvement projects while they were here, I felt as though they dragged them out as long as possible in order to maximize the length of their stay.  They were hardly pleasant, especially to me, and we were also expected to house their 2 pets for the duration of their stay.  MIL was constantly complaining about something or screaming at FIL, and of course, as the woman of the house, I was expected to keep them entertained....for weeks on end.  When we traveled to DH's hometown to see his FOO, we usually tried to see as many of his family as possible with the time we had, and they all lived pretty close by so that made it easy.  MIL would stick to DH like glue the entire time, insisting that she go everywhere with us, to the point that by the time it was time for us to leave, DH couldn't wait to go to get away from her.

Lots has happened since those days....

We haven't made the trip up there since the estrangement.  We would like to, as we have a lot of his family and friends we would both like to visit.  Believe it or not, I am very close with most of his family.  DH is trying desperately to maintain a relationship with his dad, but MIL is constantly running interference and making it nearly impossible.  We would like to see FIL and DH's other FOO and friends, but MIL won't let that happen without her presence.  We simply don't wish to see her, and that is DH's call, not mine.  So, lol, its funny that this topic come up, because we're currently trying to figure out how to make the trip up there to see his family for Thanksgiving without having to deal with her mess.  It would be only our 2nd trip up there this entire year, but not because we don't want to.       
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on October 25, 2010, 11:28:55 am
Does you husband feel the same as you?  Would he be comfortable applying the 'we' into all the  decisions instead of you feeling like it's your decision alone?

I read the number counts you gave 36 weekends and many weekdays as well.  I'd have to sell my house and move :)  It has to be hard to find time for yourselves as a couple. 

Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pooh on October 25, 2010, 11:43:29 am
I'm with Laurie....FOR SALE SIGN!!!  Lol.  Pam that is way too much to expect out of anyone.  Sounds like they need a life!
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: jill on October 25, 2010, 06:45:21 pm
I can't help but notice how most of you ladies don't get along with your DILs.   My dd and her DIL get along great, it's me she doesn't like.  Of course I just have SILs and we get along fine. 
Anyway when my gd was born I used to see them every other week which I loved, but then my daughter said it was too often, so it was every 6 weeks or so.  I used to see them all at Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and the grandchildren's birthdays (I have 3), and Mothers Day.  But this year I only say my older daughter on the gc birthdays, and don't know if I'll see her at Christmas.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Sheen on October 25, 2010, 09:19:24 pm
Hi Pam
I guess my circumstances are a bit different due to my location . I have three daughters and one son, two daughters and son live in the US. One daughter and I live in Sweden.  I see the one that lives here every day,  ( she lives with me along with my gs), my two other daughters usually once a year.  We try and alternate who goes where because of the financial aspect. Last year  we visited them for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I spent two weeks with one and three weeks with the other, they live in different states so flights are necessary.   This year we did not travel to the states, however oldest daughter  and hub will be flying in May to visit for three weeks,  I speak to the girls every day which is nice and keeps us all in touch.  The times we spend together are always special and we have lots of fun .

As far as son and dl and gc  goes, the last time I saw him or spoke to him for that matter was six years ago . Needless to say this is the one that brought me to this site. 
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pen on October 25, 2010, 10:22:53 pm
Quote from: pam1 on October 25, 2010, 10:06:59 am
Pooh & Pen, how frustrating.  In an ideal world, how often would you like to see them?  If someone asked you point blank an actual number per week/month/year...what would be your answer?  (no right or wrong, I'm really just curious here)

Luise, I'm so glad that works for you and everyone.  It does sound like a really ideal type of situation where everyone is respected. 

Scoop, I'm right with you on the "fair" aspect and I guess that is what I'm struggling with.  As much as I say to others in my post that "fair" isn't equal...well, it still bothers me.  But ironically I'm being told that I'm still compromising way more than I should be!


Hi Pam - I'd love to see DS as often as DIL/DS sees her FOO - every day! Can you imagine? I wonder what that would be like? But seriously, I know they're busy their lives and with DIL's FOO, so a nice, drama- and distraction-free visit of a few hours once a month, or even once every two months, if it was a high quality visit, would be wonderful. It would be nice if those visits could be augmented by a phone call EW/EOW that wasn't inspired by DS needing something from us. I'd like to know DS still considers us valued members of his family. My dream is to spend a few hours with DS so we could talk about the things that interest us but aren't quite as fascinating to DIL or my DH, but I know it's just a dream. Wow, I miss him a lot. Got a little teary just now.

***Just for the record, I'd like to say that from the start of their relationship we really liked DIL. We thought she was beautiful, talented, intelligent, hardworking & focused. We admired her accomplishments and the hurdles she had to overcome to succeed in her field. It was great to have her in our lives, and we thought she was becoming more comfortable around us, too. Those feelings haven't changed although we are very cautious now due to the confusion and hurt we feel since she announced her true feelings towards us.

Sheen, I'm so sorry you haven't seen or spoken to your son in such a long time. I'm glad your daughters are in touch with you.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Nana on October 26, 2010, 12:10:27 am
Pam

I baby-sit my 2 gc every Friday while my son and dil work.  My dil picks them up around 4:00 pm.   My son/dil are very social.  They have a very nice group of friends with small children and they get together very often.  Very often on Saturdays they leave my gc with hubby, daughter and I over night, and they come in the morning have breakfast with us, and sometimes stay all day.  About 2 times a month on Sundays they call to let us know that they are coming to have lunch with us (my husband likes to make barbecue every Sunday).   So it would be from one to three days a week with my married son.  But we never push....they come when they want.  We never visit unless it is a birthday.


My oldest daughter 29, lives with us, so we do a lot of things together and she works with dad because both are doctors.  My youngest 23 is living and working in San Diego, Ca (about 2 hours drive) and use to come every weekend to spend time with us, but now she is in a relationship and comes about once a month.  She arrives on
Saturday morning and leaves Sunday after lunch (boyfriend is waiting for her)


I am very lucky to have them near...it wasnt like this though some time ago. 

Love
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: cadagi101 on October 26, 2010, 04:37:56 am
[quote author=Pooh link=topic=1044.msg20752#msg20752 date=1288026996]
I am a firm believer that your children must have time to live their own lives.
[/quote]

Absolutely Pooh otherwise resentment builds towards the gp who interferes even when it is done with good intentions.     Some gp turn to marshmallow when the see their gc but please..leave the child raising to the parents.   
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 26, 2010, 07:19:49 am
Quote from: Laurie on October 25, 2010, 11:28:55 am
Does you husband feel the same as you?  Would he be comfortable applying the 'we' into all the  decisions instead of you feeling like it's your decision alone?

I read the number counts you gave 36 weekends and many weekdays as well.  I'd have to sell my house and move :)  It has to be hard to find time for yourselves as a couple.


DH....I don't know what to say about DH.  He says that it's crazy and outrageous and he doesn't like the way they treat him at times and especially the drama over childish things.  He really dislikes the favoritism between his siblings and how the favored siblings and MIL control the holidays/events with their wishes.  But OTOH, his actions don't show this.  It is extremely difficult for him to say no or set boundaries.  It's becoming clearer every day to me that he doesn't know what boundaries are, much less good boundaries.  My therapist has said that it sounds like he was just never allowed to have his own.  After the fact, he will become extremely upset with himself and his parents but he doesn't have the awareness of before to clearly see the situation and how it will likely play out.  Bottom line, it's a struggle and a major one for him.

And he refuses to go to therapy now.  So we went the past few months without the therapist trying out our boundaries together -- doesn't work so well in our situation.  He's able to follow through, he's able to say no to an extent....but when the "machine" (my word for the manipulations, guilts, triangulated communication) goes into effect he has trouble handling it.  And unfortunately, I'm the one who it affects 90% of the time. 

So now I'm in therapy just for me and the therapist has said in our type of situation, I just have to set my own boundaries.  I can't rely on couple boundaries.  I can't deal with the drama and the guilt trips.....so the only way for us to survive this and me not driving DH away and DH not pushing me away for his family...is for me to separate our boundaries from my own boundaries and just truck on. 

DH seems to like this which bothers me.  I think he wants to be able to say Pam doesn't want/isn't willing and have that as his excuse.  Before when it was "we" decisions, he couldn't argue back, he couldn't hang up the phone...it paralyzed him.  Now since I've told him the my boundaries thing...he is excited, he will say just tell me what you want, babe!  And you know, I'm uneasy about this.  But at this point, I can't live like this any longer.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 26, 2010, 07:21:10 am
Thank you so much everyone for your replies!  It is so helpful to read all of this.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: justus on October 26, 2010, 08:01:24 am
When things were OK with my FOO, I saw my Ps at least once a week. Mom wanted us for dinner every Sunday, but that was unrealistic for us because we had three very active kids as well as being active in our community ourselves. I talked to my Mom at least once a week, and my siblings every couple of weeks. I was comfortable with this. As Mom became more and more jealous of DH, she started becoming very difficult to deal with. We saw them less and less, and I seldom spoke to Mom. When I did, I gave her very little information because she would use anything personal I told her against me.

When SD lived with us, MIL called her several times a week and DH about once a month. When SD moved out, she called a couple of times a year on holidays or to give us bad news. Since SD has moved closer to MIL, we hear from her even less than that. DH calls her even less than she calls him. DH goes to visit them every couple of years and the PILs used to come her every couple of years. I doubt they will make it this way again since SD isn't here. It makes DH feel unimportant. I do remind him that the phone line goes both ways, but I guess it isn't important for him to call his Mom.

When SD and DD lived here as adults, we saw them at least once a week and talked to them a couple of times a week. We had a family dinner night, at their request and we often watched GD a couple of times a week. Occasionally, SD would invite us over for dinner on the weekend. They seemed happy with that. Since we both have experienced extreme enmeshment with our Moms (when DH lived closer to his family his M expected a lot from him) we tend to follow our children's lead. We are comfortable with whatever they want. Now that everyone lives all over the U.S. we talk to them at least every other week. I tend to talk to DD more often because she is away by herself and so I worry about her more. I talk to DS about every three weeks. This seems to be what is good for him and I have gotten used to it. DS wants less, while the girls want more. *shrug*
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on October 26, 2010, 08:04:27 am
I hear exactly what you are saying Pam.  My own son is so non-confrontational that  I can see him making some of the same decisions as your dh.  How does your therapist help you to deal with him/dh and keep your own marriage balanced.  I can see how you are working towards keeping your own boundaries intact but at some point will you not hit a breaking point with your dh?
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: miss_priss on October 26, 2010, 10:24:56 am
I have to ask the same question as Laurie...

It sounds like DH is taking the easy way out.  This way he doesn't have to be the bad guy and can pin it all on you.  Sounds like a lifetime of "conditioning" and "coaching" to me, maybe he feels like it's too late for an "old dog to learn new tricks."  He sounds very comfortable with YOU setting the boundaries for yourself, but I agree....by design, there has to be a breaking point where you will become frustrated that he's making YOU call the shots, instead of him being forced to have a backbone and set some boundaries. 

IMHO, it's not YOUR job alone to set boundaries for HIS FOO.     
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 26, 2010, 11:14:12 am
Laurie & Miss Priss, I just don't know sometimes.  I've hit many breaking points and it seems like DH waits until I get there to make any type of change.  Actually, today he did some stepping up on his own which I'm proud of, so maybe change is coming?  But at the same time, you wouldn't believe some of the actual things that have happened concerning his FOO and their wants over my needs and his confusion and inability to handle them.  So we can get two steps forward and one step back.

And while I think this way, DH will typically say that he is working on it and he thinks its getting better.  Right now, I'm looking at 5 of our next 7 weekends getting booked with his FOO and he's not aware of that.  Completely oblivious.  He knew that out of the next 3 upcoming weekends that the last 2 weekends of that his FOO wants us at their events, but then MIL starts in on him that she hasn't seen us in 2 weeks and she wants to see us this weekend.  So he went and scheduled something with them this weekend to get her off his back.  And it's the only day he has off work. 

I don't know how we are able to look at this so differently but there it is.  I mentioned to him all the upcoming stuff and he will say I don't have to go...but with our work schedules, when do I get to see my husband? 

So, it's hard to say.  It seems like it's been a roller coaster.  As far as my therapist, she says right now she wants me to practice something called radical acceptance.  She said that it typically means to accept something as big as a terminal illness or something along those lines.  Even though this is not the same thing as getting a diagnosis, it's similar in theme in that it is a huge life adjustment.  So for now, I've been following her advice and working on it. 



Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on October 26, 2010, 11:23:24 am
Radical acceptance...hummm. I wonder if that's the same as having things be the way are? Because that's the way they are. Sometimes I think running away sounds great.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on October 26, 2010, 11:31:29 am
 RADICAL ACCEPTANCE  ... I'm assuming that you are being told this as a means of self-preservation.  You're a better and more stable person then I.

I would buy or make a wall size calendar and mark all In-law obligations in blue, then together I would attempt to schedule in together time in code red.. maybe then he'll see how upside down this situation has become. 

I would not be above speaking with the mil at this point either, I'd stay in the 'we' frame of mind while  hanging his butt on not being able to 'man up' and protect his relationship with you.  God my dh hits the ceiling when I tell him it's time to man up.  Would it help to cart this calendar like the noose that it's become over to your MIL as well?  Or what if you carried a day planner and filled it with things you want to do and then when she suggest yet another family event, you can whip it out and say oh sorry but see we had plans on that day.

Of course your therapist is probably right :) 

Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 26, 2010, 11:43:14 am
Yes, it's about self-preservation and marriage-preservation. 

Those are good suggestions, Laurie.  I wonder if seeing it written down would make a difference.  DH does like to communicate by writing rather than talking.  That could really work, thank you!

There is no talking to my MIL.  She stonewalls me or pretends like I didn't just say anything.  I've tried, believe me.  And then she would go back to DH and try to persuade him.  It just isn't worth it, imo.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on October 26, 2010, 12:08:07 pm
Quote from: pam1 on October 26, 2010, 11:43:14 am
It just isn't worth it, imo.
Sounds like he is worth it
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on October 26, 2010, 12:20:17 pm
Ah, therein lies the problem.  ???
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: miss_priss on October 26, 2010, 12:59:55 pm
The calendar is a GREAT idea, color coded is even better, if you can keep up with it! 

I don't know Pam, I honestly would not commit, myself, to ALL of their events.  If it were me, I'd probably make an appearance at every-other event.  I'd start making plans for myself, plans for a spa day, plans with the girls, plans with my own FOO, plans to volunteer, plans to do things YOU enjoy.  I don't think you should be, nor should you feel, obligated to devote all or most your free time to his FOO.  Let him go on his own, maybe he'll start to miss you. 
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: justus on October 26, 2010, 01:48:16 pm
I like the calendar idea. Using a red marker, you could schedule in couple time which he dare not schedule anything with his family during that time, and train him to say to his mommy that he cannot commit to anything until he checks the calendar and checks with you.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: barelythere on October 26, 2010, 02:05:34 pm
Quote from: justus on October 26, 2010, 01:48:16 pm
I like the calendar idea. Using a red marker, you could schedule in couple time which he dare not schedule anything with his family during that time, and train him to say to his mommy that he cannot commit to anything until he checks the calendar and checks with you.


This calendar idea would not work for my son.  Her FOOey's are not to be disobeyed.  This would totally work with his parents but not for hers.  She is unable to say to her "Mommy" the word no.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on October 26, 2010, 02:16:14 pm
BT, then that is a issue that she needs to get a grip on.  Sometimes you've got to bite the bullet and do the hard things in life if it's important to you.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: cremebrulee on October 26, 2010, 02:30:36 pm
BT, how old is she?  The reason I ask is I'm wondering if she ever will be able to say no....and perhaps to, that is where she gets her behavior from, her parents....?  What do you think?  Does she act a lot like them?
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: barelythere on October 26, 2010, 02:36:33 pm
Quote from: cremebrulee on October 26, 2010, 02:30:36 pm
BT, how old is she?  The reason I ask is I'm wondering if she ever will be able to say no....and perhaps to, that is where she gets her behavior from, her parents....?  What do you think?  Does she act a lot like them?


She's 42 and yes, she acts just like them.  No sense of humor and totally opposite from us, which is fine except we are silly people and she does not do silly. 
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 26, 2010, 02:39:48 pm
LOL, she sounds like she'd fit right in with DH's family. 

Heck, I wonder what would happen if two people like that married each other.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: cremebrulee on October 26, 2010, 02:42:00 pm

QuoteShe's 42 and yes, she acts just like them.  No sense of humor and totally opposite from us, which is fine except we are silly people and she does not do silly.


LOL, she doesn't do silly....BT, she is missing out on so much, especially belly laughing....
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: cremebrulee on October 26, 2010, 02:42:43 pm
Quote from: pam1 on October 26, 2010, 02:39:48 pm
LOL, she sounds like she'd fit right in with DH's family. 

Heck, I wonder what would happen if two people like that married each other.


they'd probably both frown themselves silly....? 

Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on October 26, 2010, 02:47:07 pm
hey speaking of silly and totally off subject... Need someone younger to answer this I guess... what is with adding the words 'so she said' to the end of a sentence to make it a dirty  thought?  I thought my dd and her bf were pulling my leg.. so I let my dd order her dinner the other night and when she told the waiter that she wanted her meat well done.. I quickly added So She Said.. the waiter about fell down my daughter had a look of shock and her bf gave me a high five... what's with that?
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: cremebrulee on October 26, 2010, 02:48:42 pm
Pam1,
I can't answer your question as a MIL, because my son, wife and GD, all live far away...

But as a DIL, I think every weekend is to much with a baby, jobs, work around the house?  But you have to decide what works best for your family....give yourselves some quality time to just veg if need be...or, visit them every weekend if that works for you?  Whatever you do, make you happy.



Good luck...
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 27, 2010, 07:38:13 am
Quote from: Laurie on October 26, 2010, 02:47:07 pm
hey speaking of silly and totally off subject... Need someone younger to answer this I guess... what is with adding the words 'so she said' to the end of a sentence to make it a dirty  thought?  I thought my dd and her bf were pulling my leg.. so I let my dd order her dinner the other night and when she told the waiter that she wanted her meat well done.. I quickly added So She Said.. the waiter about fell down my daughter had a look of shock and her bf gave me a high five... what's with that?


LOL, I think you mean "that's what she said."  I didn't know where it came from so I just did a quick google and apparently it originated in a Waynes World skit and just caught on as a popular joke.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on October 27, 2010, 07:40:57 am
Quote from: miss_priss on October 26, 2010, 12:59:55 pm
The calendar is a GREAT idea, color coded is even better, if you can keep up with it! 

I don't know Pam, I honestly would not commit, myself, to ALL of their events.  If it were me, I'd probably make an appearance at every-other event.  I'd start making plans for myself, plans for a spa day, plans with the girls, plans with my own FOO, plans to volunteer, plans to do things YOU enjoy.  I don't think you should be, nor should you feel, obligated to devote all or most your free time to his FOO.  Let him go on his own, maybe he'll start to miss you.


I don't commit myself to all of their events....and that's the problem.  They call, email, whine, beg, cry, demand...you name it to get their way.  It takes a huge toll on DH. 

If it were me, I'd say no..and not answer my phone again.  DH can't do that.  And I do let him go on his own, problem is, he doesn't want to go most of the time.  So it becomes a Pam said/did/will or won't do situation. 
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pen on October 27, 2010, 08:45:54 am
Pam1, I too think the demands on your time are excessive. I wish I knew how you could deal with the whining and begging, but other than ignoring the bad behavior and rewarding good behavior, like with a toddler, I have no idea. Until DH steps up you're kind of stuck.

Hey, you could look at it this way: at least you're in demand and popular! Some of us are dealing with rejection and loneliness. If only we could mix both extremes together and get a balance.   ;D
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: miss_priss on October 27, 2010, 08:59:10 am
I somewhat have to agree with Pen, at least they do like you enough to want to spend some time with YOU too.  They could be demanding that they get time with DH and the kids all to themselves without you.   
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: justus on October 27, 2010, 09:22:57 am
Barely, I was in my 30s before I really learned how to say "NO!" and mean it to my family. I had been trained from birth to do what Mommy told me and the training was really good. Even now at 46, even though I am cut off, at times I start feeling guilty and wondering what I can do to make my Mommy happy. Learning that it wasn't my job to make her happy was one thing, following through was another. Bucking that sort of training is very, very hard even if you do see that there is a problem and you want to change things. It took me living far away for several years to understand how messed up my Mom was and DH had the same experience. He is 49 and chooses to continue to live far away from his Mom rather than confront the issues directly. I wish he would because I think they could work them out, and because I like most of his family and hate that I probably won't see them very much because of DH's avoidance issues and MIL's manipulative ways.

I think the best you can hope for is your son learning that "NO" is a complete sentence. Just like Pam is learning how to set her own boundaries, I hope your Son will learn to do the same.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: cremebrulee on October 27, 2010, 09:30:23 am
Learning to say no, is very difficult, and yanno what really bothered me the most....

I said no in a round about way...like, "well, I'm really not into that", or Wellllll, I don't think so..." and so on...but people don't hear that, they don't have the awareness to know that your actually saying NO and to respect that....so they carry on, as if they didn't hear it...

and what it does is, makes me angry b/c now they've put me in the position to have to say "NO!!!"  Yanno? 
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on October 27, 2010, 11:44:37 am
From a (really) old person, it means it's not the truth.  :o
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on October 27, 2010, 11:51:48 am
Quote from: justus on October 27, 2010, 09:22:57 am
"NO" is a complete sentence.

I like that statement Justus... makes a lot of sense.. thanks
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on November 12, 2010, 03:12:37 pm
Hey Pam... checking in with you so see if you're still totally swamped with your MIL's holidays plans?  Wondering if you did a visual with dh so he could see for himself what your lives have become.  I know at one point you mentioned trying to spend more holiday time with your family.. how's that going for you?
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: GreatWhiteNorth on November 19, 2010, 12:50:54 pm
I saw my FOO once in a 13 month time span, I saw MIL twice in 2010- once in July, once in October and I will be seeing her in December on Christmas eve.

My MIL is like a toxic substance, like a toxic substance in the workplace, sometimes one has no choice but to be exposed to it, but you never expose yourself without proper protective equipment, for me the Protective Equiptment is in the form of buffers, these buffers are in the form of SILs family, that is why the July and October exposures, these are the birthdays of my neices, thus SILs family will be present.

SILs family there means that MILs narcissistic mask will be warn, that of a godly saint that is not even capable of any wrongdoing. MILs narcissistic mask on means that MIL will be relatively well behaved, rather then her normal energizer bunny on steriods performing antic after antic after antic, all the while watching me carefully for any sign of a reaction.

That is the answer with my MIL who is severely personality disordered.

Before I figured out that MIL was personality disordered we saw her every week, stayed with her everyweekend, every holiday I got from work she claimed as it meant that we could come and stay at her summer home and thus my DH could go and serve her in the role of manservant that MIL thinks she is supremely entitled to. MIL has pages and pages of this never ending sonny do list of all the big ticket item appliances and such that DH can purchase, and then spend every moment of his time researching and installing for her.

I didn't like how often we saw her, we literally had no time for us, no couple time, we could not even take a walk as a couple without MIL on my DHs other side. All DHs time and money went towards showering MIL with these gifts, when DH got married and his resources started being spent on his family, that is when MIL declared war and has stated that the real issue is that I just woke up one day and out of the blue for no good reason decided that I just don't like MIL. MILs never ending sonny do list not being completed is clearly MIL being victimized by ME.

We went to see a counsellor back then to decide what a healthy amount of time would be to see MIL (none of us knew how personality disordered she was at that point) and we thought once a week, for maybe a couple hours, for dinner or visiting but if we were staying the weekend then one weekend a month, but that time would not spent with my DH in her role of manservant, DH was never allowed to go and be a guest, he had to earn spending time with her by pleasing her with what he could do for her.

The counsellor pointed out (before we knew how disordered she was and before she started with the dangerous behavior of injuring herself for attention and the munchausen by proxy bit she did with our daughter- just to  name a drop in the bucket of her horrendous behavior towards us). The counsellor pointed out that once kids come, it might be once every 6 weeks we go for a weekend visit where we stay over night.

This topic was discussed in much detail years and years and years ago (okay- only 7 years ago) but now since MIL has had 7 years to pull horrendous antic after horrendous antic, I tollerate no more then three exposures a year and even that is too much for me at times, not healthy for our family, causes alot of upset and fighting over MIL (again)

It is dangerous to go near MIL actually, give her and inch and she takes miles and miles, if I exposed my DD to her, MIL would snowball this into meaning that she is welcome to go to her school and try to abduct her (clearly this is the permission that this must mean) then MIL will reak all kinds of havoc (and she had done it several times) and then claim she meant no harm, she is just a little old lady that just loves so much. She doesn't function like a fully functioning adult you know, thus we are suppose to see all her dangerous antics as cute and childlike and meaning no harm. It is an absolutely ludicrus situation.

So now I tollerate these exposures, get through them as unscathed as I can and it is all about damage control with my MIL, trying to control the damage that this woman causes to our family.

This Christmas I think I am going to do a big Christmas do, that way I can have buffers there....

Yes I have to plan like this to tollerate MIL, and to get through these exposures, that is how toxic she is.



Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on November 19, 2010, 01:37:48 pm
Quote from: Laurie on November 12, 2010, 03:12:37 pm
Hey Pam... checking in with you so see if you're still totally swamped with your MIL's holidays plans?  Wondering if you did a visual with dh so he could see for himself what your lives have become.  I know at one point you mentioned trying to spend more holiday time with your family.. how's that going for you?


Hi Laurie, how are you?  And yes, the visual helped DH so much!  Thank you, that was an awesome idea, I can't thank you enough.

However, while he is able to "see" it, MIL still doesn't.  Now I'm being accused of breaking up her family and her traditions and apparently it's all just because I hate her.  It's a lot of tension around here.  While DH and I are more on the same page or at least in the same paragraph now, MIL has ramped it up big time especially with the holidays coming.  Now we are supposed to have a family meeting with her to explain why we don't want to do some of the same stuff she wants to do, i.e. pretending like she's Santa to the kids.  I doubt it will go well and I don't think it's a good idea but it's falling on deaf ears.  At this point, DH and I both decided we are going away next year and it very well may become our tradition to do so.  You won't believe some of the things they are arguing about, I feel like I'm 5 years old again.

I don't know what all this will mean and how much of an impact it will have on DH, but now I feel a lot of freedom to decline to participate in the every weekend stuff and I've felt a lot of personal relief.  I feel like the pressure has been put back in the right places.   I hope it keeps up and hope the holidays pass quickly and DH and I can find some enjoyment with each other this year -- so far no holiday has been a pleasant memory for either of us together, how sad!
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on November 19, 2010, 01:43:23 pm
GWN, my counselor also third partied diagnosed MIL as having a personality disorder.  I thought at first it was kind of poppy cock, she'd never met her and what good does that do anyway lol.  But I've been reading a little and how different it is to deal with someone with pd and normal ways of interaction never work, exactly what I had been banging my head against the wall about.  Everything that I was doing that would make sense to a "normal" person was great offense to someone with pd. 

Do you have any resources that helped you?
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on November 19, 2010, 08:38:35 pm
I'm so happy that your husband is now standing next to you and understanding how the demands are effecting you and your marriage.  Your MIL does sound like she could use some therapy or drugs slipped in her eggnog. 

As a parent of a married 27 year old son.. I realize without having to have it beaten into me that he has a life with his wife.  The sad part is, she is the one who is constantly trying to pull massive amounts of family into all their holidays and gatherings.  When he said that he had booked a Christmas cruise, I thought that was the best thing he could do for their marriage. 

Making some of your own traditions is long overdue... MIL will fight, scream and behave like a child throwing a massive temper tantrum, but at the end of the day, it's your life, hubby and your own parents need you as well.  I sure wouldn't argue with her, I'd simply tell her what you are and are not willing to participate in.

Good luck and have a great holiday season..  your way.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: GreatWhiteNorth on November 19, 2010, 10:38:21 pm
Pam1- There are blog pages and many many articles and books written on the topic and I can pass them along if you are interested. The very best book on the topic was from Dr. Scott Peck called The People of The Lie, it is a a wonderfully written book on the topic, he suggests that the particular brand of NPD that my MIL is should more accurately be called Evil Personality Disorder. It is an interesting read, and he is right there is a certain point where the actions cross the line.

The thing that is interesting about this book is that he suggests that we deal with that through love, that puzzled me so much, how does one love MIL? I didn't even know where to start. So I started to research love and came across the Love Dare, a wonderful book that is chapter after chapter of what love is. I do my utmost to practice these principals in dealing with the effects of MIL, I practice these principals on my husband and do try to be patient and kind and take the suggestions seriously and I didn't do the dare per say, I more read each chapter and took my time and carefully reflected on what it all meant, how it fit into my life.

Our counsellor was a great resource to help us manage the situation and minimize the toxic effects of it on our family and marriage. In counselling, we never ever barely talked about MIL- yes there was the acknowledgement that she is severely personality disordered and she helped us understand how MIL got that way, not an excuse for how she is but reasons it happened. I always got the impression that pity is what we should feel for MIL. But we focused on us, on strengthening our marriage and continuing to be strong, you see when you do that it is one the biggest defenses against MIL whos personality disorder is essentially a parasite that drains our marriage, that drains our family.

Next, I started to look at myself. It is interesting to be read about NPD and all but I found getting too wrapped up in that meant I was looking at MIL instead of myself, and if I am doing that I am not improving, not growing, not learning anymore but instead stuck looking at the pink elephant in the room. I found what it was in me that made me a good target for MIL who is essentially no more then my bully. Then I started to work on that, started to work on me, improving myself.

Since I have done that, it is interesting, my strength somehow weakens MIL- as you say, and you are so correct, it is so backwards dealing with a personality disordered person. The biggest thing I did to offend MIL, was simply to withdraw from the situation. I was not retaliating against her in any way or doing anything to hurt her, I simply took myself out of the situation to allow myself to heal, and wow, talk about hurting MIL, that was the worst thing I could have done, you see in doing that I withdrew her N supply, her negative attention.

MIL was more torked up then ever before with my withdrawal, so MIL started to fake illness for attention. MIL is her own worst enemy, all she did there was manage to nulify all her horrific words that she spoke to my DH about me, now MIL was truly seen as not in her right mind and I got the peace I have been praying for, MILs words stopped effecting our marriage since she only managed to nulify her toxic words to my DH that were causing so much pain for us in the past.  So I trusted God, I prayed everynight, not for anything bad to happen to her, but simply for peace from her and he answered.

So there are lots and lots of coping mechanisms, I am doing pretty good these days, except for the odd time I vent a little (like I did on here).

It is my DDs birthday, every grandchilds birthday MIL pulls a big fiasco in order to take the attention off the grandchild (all of which are under 5 at the moment) and put it onto herself. So guess I am upset gearing up for what MIL will pull this time and I did find out what it will be, found out from my DH this evening, MIL never disappoints. I can count on that as much as I can count on MIL self injuring everytime a grandchild is born to similarly steal away the attention from the newborn.

When SIL was pregnant that is how I knew she was in labour, MIL had one of her *accidents* and sure enough SIL was.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pen on November 19, 2010, 11:56:22 pm
It sounds horrible. I'm sorry you have to deal with this.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on November 20, 2010, 06:08:42 am
GreatWhiteNorth... do you think your mother-in-law is fully aware of what she is doing?  Could they really be accidents in her mind.. just wondering
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: GreatWhiteNorth on November 21, 2010, 03:40:07 am
Laurie: I truly do believe that MIL knows exactly what she is doing, these are my reasons. And these are only a few examples of MILs behavior.

1. MIL behaves perfectly fine when SILs family is around. If MIL is aware enough to know when to put on her Narcissistic mask and behave, MIL also knows when to misbehave.

2. When my DD was a newborn, to push my buttons, MIL grabbed her from my arms and started to walk around with her all wobbly, tripping on everything in path, with my DD held very far away from her body as if she was going to drop her at any minute.

When my son was born, when DHs back was turned, MIL grabbed him did a bit of unsafe wobbling, looked at me, smirked and then handed the baby back.

MIL has never ever done this to BIL and SILs children, it is only reserved for ours.

That sounds like a woman who knows exactly what she is doing.

3. When MIL tried to move into our house when DH first moved in, MIL speaks two languages, one is German and one is English, I don't understand German. MIL spoke English the whole three weeks she was in my home (trying to move in with DH- when DH moved in) and then when MIL was trying to get DH to deposit X amount of his money into her account weekly for spending money (even though MIL has quite a bit of money in the bank of her own) , when she was doing this she all of a sudden switched to German.

MIL was hiding what she was trying to do to DH from me by asking in German, making her claims in German. Her claims that were this money would "make it up to her" that FIL was apparently maltreating her again, she upped the anti to claim that she was afraid FIL would now start to beat her.

(MIL makes up these claims for attention, and then requires her sons to make it up to her by showering her in very expensive gifts. Constantly setting FIL up to look like he is abusing her)

If MIL is hiding what she is doing by speaking German, then she knows to  hide it, she knows what she is asking for is shameful...

MIL knows what she is doing.

4. The way that MIL sets up FIL is another point.

FIL has a thick German accent, he makes the comment that blueberries are bigger in Germany then here in Canada. MIL depends on us not understanding FILs thick accent, hears this, and pounces on the opportunity. MIL immediately hangs her head and in her best victim pose she states "oh FIL.....why must you always berate me" she starts the crocodile tears and gets all kinds of "awe...poor mom" reactions out of her sons.

That is a bit too calculated for it to be from someone who truly does not know what they do....that is how they excuse MIL for her behavior, claim that she knows not what she is doing, thus us giving her consequences would mean that we are vicitimizing HER.

MIL is a severe form of NPD, NPDs by legal definition are not insane and it is not an issue of them not being able to help it, for reasons similar to this one.

I should post some of her illness faking behavior, and how she stops it exactly when it is not getting her what she wants.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pen on November 21, 2010, 05:51:45 am
My GM was a lot like your MIL, GWN. I suspect she was NPD too, as is my DF (her son.) Creepy weird stuff, so sorry you've had to contend w/it.
IMHO, although they can control their behavior I'm not sure they know what they're doing or that it's out of line - my DF always claimed he was just sitting there minding his own business when WHAM! People started beating up on him (not literally) for no reason! Our observations of the same events were way different, LOL.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on November 21, 2010, 11:44:29 am
I would not tolerate your mil speaking anything but English when you are present.  That is rude and unacceptable and if your dd is going along with that I would be all over his stuff until he realized how wrong that behavior is.  If it continued I'd pass dh notes and say boldly, well I don't know another language and this is my way of blocking you from the conversation.

I would  then withdraw from her and I would  be upfront about it, saying that you are not comfortable or happy when she is behaving in this manner. 

My own mil who I am very close to, has played similar games, not to the same extent.  She has a mobility issue and uses a walker.. but I walked in on her and she was walking pretty good around the house.  She saw me watching her and she said oh I can't find my walker, I couldn't let it go and had to mention that she wouldn't have misplaced it if she was dependent on it as she likes for everyone to think.  She stated using a wheelchair and had to sit in it all the time.. she'd roll around my house denting door frames and such.. but then I noticed that it was never in her house.. I called her on it as well.  With my mil, telling her that you aren't buying it seems to work.. that might not be the case with yours.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on November 21, 2010, 12:05:07 pm
Oh, that comment about "passing a note" is wonderful! I love it! There are so many ways not to feel helpless! ;D
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pen on November 21, 2010, 12:13:52 pm
Laurie, I can just picture the note passing scenario and the wheelchair/walker game. You should write a screenplay. I know it's not funny when you're living it, but it's cracking me up right now.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on November 21, 2010, 12:54:16 pm
Sometimes being creative is worth some bonus points in life. 

My first holiday company is coming in about 2 hours.. ready or not the holidays are here.  My daughter just called and said that she and her bf just had a spat.. I told them that there will be no spatting on my day.  The house is clean, big pot of Texas Chili cooking on the stove.. I've gotten my shower and I'm ready. 
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on November 21, 2010, 01:59:39 pm
Oh, yum! I'm coming! I'm coming! :D
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: GreatWhiteNorth on November 21, 2010, 04:26:39 pm
I like the note passing suggestion as well :)

My DH did call her on that one actually, MIL said that she didn't mean it, that it is just that German is what she is comfortable with and she slips. But then when you realize that this woman literally spends days scribing IN ENGLISH about how much she hates so and so, she has got pages and pages of these scribed notes, inches worth of paper. And she leaves them lying around in clear sight, it is almost as if it is her revenge or something for people to read these. They are mostly about how much she hates her husband, she calls him a PIG (always bolded) in these scribed notes. I am not really buying the reason.

MIL seems to have a problem in that she is a chronically angry person, has been for years and years and years. She very much blames everyone else for the predicaments that she finds herself in and is very much out for revenge.

I often do think that a MIL board is the wrong place to post about her, the issue is not that she is a MIL but someone who has some significant psychological issues and is in desperate need of some psychiatric help. Her MIL status has nothing to do with how she behaves really. She was like this before she ever became a MIL.

I guess I can understand how it is upsetting to lump her into the MIL category and then overgeneralize (I have been catching up on some of the posts, been a busy while for me so not on line a whole lot). It really is unfair actually, it does only add to the stereotype. MIL was probably significantly psychologically ill when she was a child, when she was a daughter, when she was a DIL herself, as a mother, as a wife and finally as a MIL, but where do the issues get posted? on a MIL sight...and why is that, it is because the stereotype is so out there that when I googled MIL issues I found all kinds of places that post about it. It is so out there that I immediately thought, oh no...I have a MIL issue.

It is kind of nice actually, I feel like I lost alot in having the woman I do as a MIL as she is just so creepy and mentally disturbed that she truly can not function as a MIL or a grandmother even, or a mother. It is kind of nice to find nice MILs out there, think I will adopt some of you :)



Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on November 21, 2010, 04:47:42 pm
Well, you'd better! We adopted you!  :D
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pen on November 21, 2010, 10:13:13 pm
Pick me! Pick me! Although Laurie has a cleaner house and makes better chili.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on November 22, 2010, 07:12:38 am
Quote from: GreatWhiteNorth on November 21, 2010, 04:26:39 pm

I often do think that a MIL board is the wrong place to post about her, the issue is not that she is a MIL but someone who has some significant psychological issues and is in desperate need of some psychiatric help. Her MIL status has nothing to do with how she behaves really. She was like this before she ever became a MIL.

I guess I can understand how it is upsetting to lump her into the MIL category and then overgeneralize (I have been catching up on some of the posts, been a busy while for me so not on line a whole lot). It really is unfair actually, it does only add to the stereotype. MIL was probably significantly psychologically ill when she was a child, when she was a daughter, when she was a DIL herself, as a mother, as a wife and finally as a MIL, but where do the issues get posted? on a MIL sight...and why is that, it is because the stereotype is so out there that when I googled MIL issues I found all kinds of places that post about it. It is so out there that I immediately thought, oh no...I have a MIL issue.

It is kind of nice actually, I feel like I lost alot in having the woman I do as a MIL as she is just so creepy and mentally disturbed that she truly can not function as a MIL or a grandmother even, or a mother. It is kind of nice to find nice MILs out there, think I will adopt some of you :)


I feel the same way.  The issues we are having (DH and I) with her aren't b/c she's a MIL, it's b/c of this disorder.  As far as I can tell she was like this when DH was a child and probably as a child herself.  She had these issues as a daughter, daughter in law, mother, sister, wife and now mother in law.  Unfortunately her disorder was addressed only superficially before I met DH and now it is the elephant in the room.  The way my DH's family learned to cope was to ignore or give in.  It created a sick family dynamic.  And I don't really have a place to talk about it other than here.

Well folks, tonight is the family meeting.  Dun dun dunnnnn.  The latest word on the street is that I'm not incorporating DH's family enough.  I'm sure that will be brought up tonight.  After the last 2 years of every holiday of mine being taken away, every supposed romantic even in a young couples life invaded by and shifting the spotlight directly on MIL.....yes, I'm not the one blending well.  Talked it over a little with my therapist, she basically said there is no way that we are walking away with this type of conversation with an aha moment or some clarity from MIL.  She said don't even go in there thinking this is going to happen, there is no hope.  Well, isn't that pleasant lol.  She did say this is a chance for me to say my feelings, she told me to concentrate on "I" statements and make my feelings known.  She said that will be worth it enough in having this conversation b/c of how MIL will not speak to me directly, only DH...so this is my chance.  But don't expect it to go well.  Ugh
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: GreatWhiteNorth on November 22, 2010, 09:47:36 am
Pam 1-
I am in the same boat, my DHs family tends to deal with it by denial, anything to not admit the truth about her. The denial are in way of lines like, "she can't help it", "she means no harm", or "that is just the way she is", or "be the bigger person and adapt to her behavior" She is considered not to be a fully functioning adult thus should not have to or be expected to behave like one.

She seems to perpetuate this, even want this, but for me, I cherish elders for their wisdom and their experience and feel that youth is a gift but aging is an art. I would rather be seen as a wise elder when I am an elder and someone who gave alot to the world, yet she seems to want to be seen as not a fully functioning adult. That is so odd to me, I would personally be offended if in my elder years I was seen and treated as not a fully  functioning adult. The family doesn't seem offended by it either.

The family has only managed to make it worse by enabling her, they have enabled her creepy weird behavior, they have enabled her and her husbands lack of communication as well. She has never had to learn to communicate with her husband as her sons always stepped in, now all we have is two people who have been together for 50 years yet can not communicate with each other. Their enablement has only made her worse in her behavior and has lulled her into believing that her behavior on some level is okay. But then she tried to function in the normal world and just can't.

This family has done her no favors. She is now the equivalent of about 4 year old in a 75 year old womans body. I guess I pity her more then anything for this. I don't believe it has really benefitted her in the end at all.

It is great to see women on here striving for wisdom, learning from the wise. So opposite from what I have seen in my situation.

Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on November 23, 2010, 11:48:35 pm
Quote from: pam1 on November 22, 2010, 07:12:38 am
Well folks, tonight is the family meeting.  Dun dun dunnnnn.  The latest word on the street is that I'm not incorporating DH's family enough.  I'm sure that will be brought up tonight.  After the last 2 years of every holiday of mine being taken away, every supposed romantic even in a young couples life invaded by and shifting the spotlight directly on MIL.....yes, I'm not the one blending well.  Talked it over a little with my therapist, she basically said there is no way that we are walking away with this type of conversation with an aha moment or some clarity from MIL.  She said don't even go in there thinking this is going to happen, there is no hope.  Well, isn't that pleasant lol. 


How did your meeting go Pam?  Maybe no aha moments but I do hope that your husband had enough sense to say hey I saw it all laid out and no human can keep up with this schedule.  Even if your mil had a Tasmanian Devil moment I hope you were able to walk away with a sense of renewed balance in your life.  Now it's time to spend a holiday with your family, next year maybe you and hubby can get away for a different type of aha moment.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: pam1 on November 24, 2010, 09:05:34 am
Quote from: Laurie on November 23, 2010, 11:48:35 pm
Quote from: pam1 on November 22, 2010, 07:12:38 am
Well folks, tonight is the family meeting.  Dun dun dunnnnn.  The latest word on the street is that I'm not incorporating DH's family enough.  I'm sure that will be brought up tonight.  After the last 2 years of every holiday of mine being taken away, every supposed romantic even in a young couples life invaded by and shifting the spotlight directly on MIL.....yes, I'm not the one blending well.  Talked it over a little with my therapist, she basically said there is no way that we are walking away with this type of conversation with an aha moment or some clarity from MIL.  She said don't even go in there thinking this is going to happen, there is no hope.  Well, isn't that pleasant lol. 


How did your meeting go Pam?  Maybe no aha moments but I do hope that your husband had enough sense to say hey I saw it all laid out and no human can keep up with this schedule.  Even if your mil had a Tasmanian Devil moment I hope you were able to walk away with a sense of renewed balance in your life.  Now it's time to spend a holiday with your family, next year maybe you and hubby can get away for a different type of aha moment.


It was really odd, I'm still thinking it over.  Not one of the complaints was brought up that MIL has been saying to DH or other family members, not one.  So here we go again with MIL talking to everyone about me with her complaints but not to me.  My guess is that she doesn't really want to solve anything, she likes being at the mercy of big ol mean me lol.  Gives her something to talk about.  I just don't get it though, if all this was so important and so hurtful to her, why not ever say anything to me? 

She mainly talked about holiday plans and stuff she wants to do, which is the same stuff every year that DH does not want to do.  She accepted our changes during the conversation (and really, it's nothing major anyway which was a major head banger that she blew up about it earlier.)  DH had already tried talking to her about this and that is when she had the meltdown and accused me of changing all her traditions blah blah blah and then called the family meeting to discuss it.  ????  So yes, odd stuff.  The only thing DH could think of was that both FIL and I were present so she didn't feel as comfortable in bashing me and DH. 

Eh, whatever.  DH and I decided next year we are going on an Xmas cruise.  Can't wait!
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on November 24, 2010, 09:19:40 am
Atta girl! Christmas cruises must be great fun! I would sure like to go on a Thanksgiving cruise...since I will be alone. We are snow and ice bound here in WA state. School are closed, a plane ran off runway and a metro bus flipped over. Cars are abandoned in ditches. We have so many snow-free winters, we have limited road clearing equipment and most people have poor winter driving skills. Those who were coming to be with me, can't and I can't go over to nursing and eat with Val because he has an intestinal bug and family have been asked not to visit. Just circumstances...but it feels weird. I'm going to go over to assisted care and eat there to be with others.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pooh on November 24, 2010, 09:22:59 am
Wow Luise, what bad weather you are having.  So sorry it mucked up your plans, but glad you have a plan B!  I wish you the best Thanksgiving blessings ever!

Pam, I'm glad the meeting went fairly well but I think you are right.  When confronted with everyone, she was playing it cool.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: LaurieS on November 24, 2010, 11:37:49 am
Hey Pam, glad she didn't not create a scene and cause hurt feelings.  She might be the type of person who just has to be itching (oops I left out the b) about everything and everyone.  While she is carrying on she has an audience. Quite possibly it's the only time anyone pays her any attention, so nagging about everyone and every situation may have become a poor form of communication.  She didn't bring up anything at the meeting because she's chicken and was probably a little afraid that you might behead her.

My son and dil are doing the Christmas cruise this year.. I'll let you know how much they enjoy it.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Pen on November 24, 2010, 11:43:56 am
I agree. And I think you were right in saying she doesn't seem like she wants to solve anything.

Enjoy your cruise! If DDD was able to make plans of her own we'd be gone baby gone at the holidays.

Luise, you will have a good time no matter where you are - that's how you roll. I'm sorry Val isn't feeling well :(
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: holliberri on November 24, 2010, 12:18:31 pm
DIL here. I moved home to go to law school (bad idea!). In that time, my husband had found a decent job and we bought a house (where we'll be for at least 3 years due to that government lending). It is very close to my parents, but my in-laws live 800 miles away or so.

I actually see my grandparents once a week (Sunday dinner). I see my dad about every 2 weeks for a few hours, and I see my mom maybe once a month, but often less, for a few hours. They're pretty busy with their own lives (they divorced when I was 17, so mom remarried and Dad is enjoying being solo...I think they're still adjusting to their 'new' lifestyles).  I really appreciate the space they've given us to be a family, plus I'm an introvert...I need downtime to recuperate and I think work and school and baby is more than enough activity in one day.

As for my in-laws, I think we've managed to see them about every 6 weeks since the this year: May, June, August for 2 days, October, and then Thanksgiving and then New Years. We have tried setting up a weekly Skype session as well since the baby was born. In terms of accommodating out of town guests, it is hectic, but doable. The cleaning/prepping the house/nonstop activity/long ride to go down there is hectic, but once I'm past that, I'm okay. Haha.

If ILs lived closer, I think seeing either FOO or DH's FOO once a month is doable; in terms of DD, maybe she could see each on her own once a month on her own in addition to seeing them at a monthly get-together. Not sure this is enough time for ILs or not, but it seems like it is *more* than sufficient for my FOO (exempting my grandparents).
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: Barbie on November 24, 2010, 05:09:59 pm
While my mother was alive DH and I went to my parents' house for lunch every Sunday, my IL's were both deceased. Then after my mom past away my father came to visit us every sunday morning for about 1 hour and played with the GKs, I must add that my kids really enjoyed this time with their only GP, now that he's gone they cherish those memories. I was hoping DH and I could have done the same thing with our GC, but as it turned out, at least with our only GD we see her every 4-5 weeks, either we go to their house or they come over to our house and because they don't live close by we stay the night, not our ideal situation but it's what we got.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: stilltrying2010 on November 26, 2010, 07:35:47 am
We live away from everyone.  However, my Foo & MIL/sibs live 2000 miles north while FIL lives 1400 mi east. 
Whenever we visit my FOO we visit DH's Foo, usually exactly equal time (not including the day we leave to go to the airport at 7am!)
DHs FOO often complain that my FOO get more weekends (his parents don't work while both mine do).  MIL & step FIL have sometimes come here to visit (usually during cold months) for up to 3 wks at a time.  FIL usually visits us 1 time a year for 5 days.  Both sets of ILs pretty much have zero relationship with me and I have literally heard them talking about me - so glad to cook, clean & host such appreciative people.
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on November 26, 2010, 07:48:10 am
Thanks, Pen. Val has turned a corner and now thinks I was the one who was sick. There are times when the lack of short-term memory serves!  :)
Title: Re: How often?
Post by: luise.volta on November 26, 2010, 09:10:17 am
Thanks for asking. Val has turned a corner and that intestinal bug has swept through the nursing home and is pretty much done. I was allowed back on Wed. and he said he was sorry I'd been sick! There's an up side to losing short-term memory.

We are in a thaw with only a few snow patches left. We had six inches of snow accumulated yesterday. It's dark and rainy...perfect WA state weather!  ;D ;D