Author Topic: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...  (Read 2786 times)

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higgins

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How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« on: February 27, 2011, 12:50:37 PM »
  Hi there,

  I'm a lurker here, but I haven't posted anything until today...  I'm looking for some different perspectives.

  I am a DIL with MIL issues.  Let me start by saying that my MIL is not an ogre, so in spite of the fact that I find her insanely annoying at times, she does "generally" mean well.

  MIL is a very controlling woman.  When she is over at our house, she is forever trying to direct what we're serving, what we're serving it on, what dish towel we use, how our drawers are set up etc, etc, etc...  As you might imagine, I get very irritated by this, and I have exploded and told her exactly how I felt a few times.  The irritation was somewhat lessened by the fact that I have since noticed that she does it to everyone else too, be it my parents, her sisters, her SILs, her mother - you get the picture.  Unfortunately, now, I find that I'm on guard every single time that she is over, and I'm expecting to be irritated, and thus it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, even when she genuinely is trying to be helpful... 

  MIL was a nightmare at the wedding of her DD and SonIL.  She nearly came to blows with the mother of the groom over the stupidest stuff (in my opinion).  For the record, I would have been completely happy to have eloped and saved our money, but it was important to DH to have his family at the ceremony, and I figured that I enjoy a good party too.  Only problem is that I am NOT a wedding person, and am NOT interested in obsessing over minute details (we are paying for the wedding).  This, of course, is in direct contrast to MIL. Neither of us is more "right" than the other, this is just the way it is.  DH and I are going the non-traditional route for some details, and this has caused some conflict.  My main bone of contention is that she bitches and complains to her extended family members and her DD about us and our choices (all of which gets back to us eventually) and never addresses her concerns to our faces.  I have to say that I attempted to clear the air with what I considered a long and thoughtful e-mail trying to take her needs and mine into consideration (e.g., conceeding she has a right to an opinion, but we are not just rolling over every time she barks.), and boy was that a mistake.  I admit that I should have just met her face to face to work things out, because now my words are being twisted into things they were never meant to be, she gossips and obsesses even more, and I find that I am more resentful than ever about being in her presence, and I'm getting to the point where I can't stand her.  If I see her number on our call display I will ignore the call.  This is not good, and is making my issues with her worse than they need to be.

  I get so annoyed with her childish tantrums and behaviour that I tremble a little when I think of our future children.  She will be an excellent Grandmother, but I forsee more pushiness and controllingness and undermining of parenting choices. She already harasses us whenever she sees us about when she's getting a grandchild, and it's her dream to have grandkids, so much so that I feel at times like a womb with legs.  But then again, that could just be my built up anger and frustration talking again...   

  What I really need to do is sit down with her and have a heart to heart, even if we're never friends (we're totally different people), there needs to be some understood respect there.  DH is wonderful in terms of back up when it is needed, but MIL can play a good game of emotional manipulation (e.g., I have a right to do this because it's my son, you both have made me so sad that I can't sleep because I'm crying so much - that last one was said when we didn't want to have flowers at our wedding).  I'm aware that her entire family is like this, so she comes by it honestly, but for the sake of my DH I need to not be so resentful, and angry and annoyed when I spend time with her.

  So anyway, there is no easy solution, but thanks for listening!

  H.J.


Offline JaneF

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2011, 01:10:45 PM »
Welcome here! I am glad you decided to post. I can see by your words you are frustrated, and if I had a MIL that did what you are saying, I would be the same way. Ido hope you get great support here. I am a MIL, but I do not think it is my place to tell DS or DIL what to serve, or what to serve it on like you said! lol I'd love to be able to have a chance to ever be invited to a meal with them...never have been in a dozen years, and we only live 20 minutes away. I had to chuckle at the walking womb comment too, great visual picture! I can see why you might feel that way though. I hope you keep posting, and I wish you the best with your situation.

Offline luise.volta

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2011, 01:40:59 PM »
Welcome: Lurking is good. I get PMs occasionally for those who read but don't write, telling me how much they get from our site.

I'm wishing you all kinds of success on the sitting down and having a good talk about respect, boundaries, etc. (My words.) Your MIL is the way she is. My bet, (and I hope I'm wrong,) is that she will take exception to any such conversation and use it against you. I'm afraid that's the kind of person she is and what you see is what you get. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline pam1

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2011, 03:25:02 PM »
Higgins,

Welcome!

My relationship with my MIL started out very similar as to what you posted.  And similar happened with our wedding, I'm more low key and she wanted a big white wedding fairy tale.  The obsessing and gossiping...yeah, it was all there.  I'm still disappointed about our wedding a couple years later, I think we compromised way too much for a woman that wouldn't even look me in the eye to talk to me!  I hope for you that after the wedding it settles down, but in my experience kids and all that comes next makes it worse.

So, this is what I've learned.  If it makes you miserable, stop.  If having her over is an issue (and I think what you described would drive the sanest person to the asylum) than either stop having her over and take her out instead OR limit her visits.  If she's coming over once a week, make it once a month.  Whatever YOU feel comfortable with and adequately be a good host at the same time.  If you're bristling with anger, you're not a good host anyway. 

Ok, so the gossipers.  MIL likes to use them too where she can tell them what she expects from us or what she wants or what she's upset about.  In turn, they are supposed to tell us and magically we cave in.  At this point our current motto to those in betweeners is "Tell MIL to talk to us.  What's up with you?"  In essence, refuse to discuss or have an audience about it.  Eventually they will get it and MIL will have to talk to you directly.

Now this was the hard part for me b/c I naturally don't think this way.  But every event that you expect MIL to be a part of (seriously) think out what you would be willing to bend for or parts she can control/pick that YOU won't have a problem with.  If you know ahead of time what you're willing/not willing to do, it's that much easier to say "no" and not get stampeded by every event. 

You might be the bad guy, you might be unloving, she might say all kinds of things....but at least you won't be miserable :)  And lol, my MIL had a fit over the lack of flowers at our wedding (we didn't need flowers! the location was naturally beautiful!) so that was one of the things that I said she could do, since it was that important.  And boy do I regret that, she wanted ALL the pictures of the flowers....since she paid for them lol.  Ok....

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

overwhelmed123

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2011, 06:44:20 AM »
I think Pam has given you some great advice.  Cut back on the amount of time and have your gatherings at a neutral territory.  I wouldn't feel comfortable with that kind of MIL at my house either.  Sorry- we know how frustrating it must be!

holliberri

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2011, 07:10:18 AM »
Unfortunately, now, I find that I'm on guard every single time that she is over, and I'm expecting to be irritated, and thus it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, even when she genuinely is trying to be helpful... 

 Neither of us is more "right" than the other, this is just the way it is. 

  I get so annoyed with her childish tantrums and behaviour that I tremble a little when I think of our future children.  She will be an excellent Grandmother, but I forsee more pushiness and controllingness and undermining of parenting choices. She already harasses us whenever she sees us about when she's getting a grandchild, and it's her dream to have grandkids, so much so that I feel at times like a womb with legs. 

What I really need to do is sit down with her and have a heart to heart, even if we're never friends (we're totally different people), there needs to be some understood respect there.  DH is wonderful in terms of back up when it is needed, but MIL can play a good game of emotional manipulation (e.g., I have a right to do this because it's my son, you both have made me so sad that I can't sleep because I'm crying so much - that last one was said when we didn't want to have flowers at our wedding).  I'm aware that her entire family is like this, so she comes by it honestly, but for the sake of my DH I need to not be so resentful, and angry and annoyed when I spend time with her.

  So anyway, there is no easy solution, but thanks for listening!

H.J.

Welcome! You're right, there isn't really an easy solution...I get caught up in self-fulfilling prophecies too, and find myself obsessing over the smallest thing. (For ex: telling my DD that DD wishes she lived close by her G-ma and never wants to leave her G-ma, as we are ready to head back home).  This is not a big deal, b/c DD was only 3 months old at the time, but boy did I overanalyze that. My feelings before going down there revved me up to do just that.

You can't be upset over sending an e-mail now, it's too late...it can't be undone. If you do manage to have a heart to heart, just simply say that you shouldn't have handled it that way (for your sake and maybe a little bit  hers...but you don't need to say that).

While you're right, you may not be more right than her, it is your wedding. Ultimately, that means that you count for 50% of the decisions (DH counts for the other half), particularly b/c you're paying for it. If that means some people (even family) get upset; oh well. They had their day once.

As for pressure about G-kids...I'm sensitive to that b/c I've dealth with fertility issues. It is simply none of her business when you have kids, and you were not put on this earth to make her a GP. Having kids is optional, and if some people get to be GPs then that's great, but by no means is it a requirement. That is one question I'll never ask someone, not even my own child. It's not all about me.

My MIL is heavy on the guilt too...I am taking a lesson from my DH and learning to thicken my skin. If I don't react to her guilt trips, her plan falls apart. It's a loooong process; I don't know that I'll ever be great at it. But, I've been letting what she says just turn to vapor and it's been easier. I've kept in mind that even though a guilt trip may come, that doesn't mean we're changing our plans. If she really is that upset, it's only affecting her at that point, not me.

Please keep coming back here; I do hope you get to have a heart to heart with her eventually; I think you need to do it for you, even if it doesn't resolve a thing. Again, welcome!




Offline Pooh

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2011, 01:30:03 PM »
Welcome Higgins.  I echo what Luise said.  She is what she is.  I think it's great if you can do a face-to-face, but do it with the expectation of how you and her can maybe get along, not with how are you going to change her mind.  It's great that you want to try and make it work, but be prepared for it to not work out like you want.  I think we have all learned here, that you can not really like someone, but still be respectful to each other.  But it takes both parties wanting to do it.  Best of luck.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Mariatobe

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2011, 01:52:06 PM »
I saw this post on another site as well.  I know you are upset about this, and we all give MIL's the benefit of the doubt when we are younger.  We all want to get along, and not feel like we are steamrolled.  Unfortunatly, that is what she is doing, and you have to put a stop to it:
A.  for your sanity,     and
B.  because she won't respect you if you don't.  She'll feel you'll cave to her and she'll continue to steamroll over you. 
She will do anything to get her way, and guilt and crying has worked for her in the past.

Do NOT talk about the wedding plans with her.  Tell her things have already been decided and not open for discussion any longer.  Stop the information train with her.  Is she paying for this?  If not, just be nice and say, I appreciate your input, but its already been decided.  Then change the topic or walk away. 
Also, you're going to have to get a thick skin with her.  Not be mean, just nod your head and let it go in one ear and out the other.  I also agree with Pam.  You need time away from her.  No phone calls or visits for a while.   It will give you a new perspective. 

LaurieS

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2011, 04:22:07 PM »
I saw this post on another site as well.  I know you are upset about this, and we all give MIL's the benefit of the doubt when we are younger.  We all want to get along, and not feel like we are steamrolled.  Unfortunatly, that is what she is doing, and you have to put a stop to it:
A.  for your sanity,     and
B.  because she won't respect you if you don't.  She'll feel you'll cave to her and she'll continue to steamroll over you. 
She will do anything to get her way, and guilt and crying has worked for her in the past.

Do NOT talk about the wedding plans with her.  Tell her things have already been decided and not open for discussion any longer.  Stop the information train with her.  Is she paying for this?  If not, just be nice and say, I appreciate your input, but its already been decided.  Then change the topic or walk away. 
Also, you're going to have to get a thick skin with her.  Not be mean, just nod your head and let it go in one ear and out the other.  I also agree with Pam.  You need time away from her.  No phone calls or visits for a while.   It will give you a new perspective.

What other site gave this type of response?

Mariatobe

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2011, 04:45:11 PM »
Laurie, I'm not understanding your question, I'm the one that gave this response.  The other site, the ladies basically said, it's good you are wanting a good relationship w/MIL, but stop the information train for a little while.  Stop trying to clear the air. When someone gossips about you, it puts up red flags as to their character.  Higgins is trying to get some respect and be liked but feels steamrolled over.  I think she needs a break, and should stop telling MIL every little detail, because everyone has an opinion, MIL just makes it known that hers is the only "right" one, and if Higgins doesn't listen, she will pay for it.  By guilt trips and crying and gossiping.  That's not right.  She needs a break from this lady, before Higgins breaks.  Or says something mean, because tensions are too high.

higgins

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2011, 05:53:42 PM »

  Ladies,

  Thank-you for your support and very balanced words of wisdom...  I know what I need to do, but I need to be sufficiently calmed down enough to be able to do it effectively, and realizing that there are many others dealing with "not so ideal" relationships has helped to ease the frustration.  It has also helped to take a few deep breaths and try to put myself in her shoes.

  We have been meeting DH's parents at restaurants mostly for the last little while, and that seems to work out better.  When she is at our place it seems the competitive spirit from hell takes over, and she's all over me about everything, peeking in our drawers etc...  Once she pulled me aside and basically asked me if everything was okay with DH and I sex wise.  I marched straight to DH and informed him that his mother wanted to know if I was satisfying him in bed.  You can imagine how thrilled he was about that!!   :P 
  With regards to the wedding, we gave her the centerpieces to do (which really mean nothing to me), and that has kept her somewhat busy and out of our hair.  When she does start to meddle, DH has been very good about kindly but firmly shutting her down.  I have turned over most of the "dealing with MIL" duties to DH, and I will take my cues from him from now on as to how to handle his family. 

  Someone said here that we can drown in our expectations for others, and I think that is exactly right.  While I expect her to be respectful, and I will not deal with her if she is not, in most cases it's my responsibility to teach people how to treat me and to try to be kind. 

  Luise:  I do hope that you're wrong about how the conversation will go.  It would be nice to have peace and harmony, but I guess I have to be realistic too...  In the meantime, my DH and I work opposite shifts most weeks, and she doesn't bother with me when he's not available, so I will take my breaks then... 

  Holli:  I totally agree that procreation is no one else's business...  I once said that I wouldn't mind adopting (because I have siblings that were adopted), and from the reaction I got (NOOOOOO, you HAVE to have his babies), you would think that I was married to the King of England. 

  Pam:  I like your "dealing with gossipers" strategy, and I have started doing something similar to that when gossip is repeated to me.

  Once again, thanks for your supportive and constructive comments, everyone...  I really appreciate having both the DIL/MIL perspective... 

  H.J.   

LaurieS

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2011, 06:06:14 PM »
Laurie, I'm not understanding your question, I'm the one that gave this response.  The other site, the ladies basically said, it's good you are wanting a good relationship w/MIL, but stop the information train for a little while.  Stop trying to clear the air. When someone gossips about you, it puts up red flags as to their character.  Higgins is trying to get some respect and be liked but feels steamrolled over.  I think she needs a break, and should stop telling MIL every little detail, because everyone has an opinion, MIL just makes it known that hers is the only "right" one, and if Higgins doesn't listen, she will pay for it.  By guilt trips and crying and gossiping.  That's not right.  She needs a break from this lady, before Higgins breaks.  Or says something mean, because tensions are too high.
I was trying to follow what you were saying.. the words "the other site" threw me.

I think Higgins says that she realizes what she needs to do, and she sounded to me like a person who was trying to make things work for the betterment of the family... wishing you luck HJ

Offline luise.volta

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2011, 07:29:02 PM »
Another thread, here, maybe?
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline lancaster lady

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2011, 01:33:56 AM »
Higgins:
Getting back to your post ,
If what your MIL does annoys you that much you are going to have to have it out with her .
Even though you know she will have a hissy crying fit ,she will know how you feel and maybe change her ways ,maybe not , but you will have had your say .She'll get over it .
I think it's up to your DH to reprimand her over the bedroom question ,my DS would be horrified to think I discussed his sex life with his partner .
Just a thought ,when in her house next ,try her at her own game . Opening drawers and making comments on tableware etc ....
I wouldn't dream of looking anywhere in my DS house ,familiarity breeds contempt ( as they say ).
Stamp your mark now , before any little ones arrive .

Offline luise.volta

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Re: How to rid myself of anger and resentment...
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2011, 07:42:38 AM »
My take is that this lady might be able to change but unfortunately not until she decides to, if that ever happens. That's who she is. Any exception you take to it is just going to bring a defensive reaction and more drama. She doesn't care what you think and how you feel. She makes perfect sense to herself and others are suppose to agree and get in line. You wouldn't pick her for a friend. You picked her son for a partner and it was not a package deal. You never marry your MIL. The essence of "family" continues on when personalities mesh. It is not a given that they will. Your home, your marriage, your children constitute a new family unit that is entirely your business. Those who support and respect it are one thing, those who think it's an extension of their own life are another.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama