Author Topic: oh no, could use some advice again..  (Read 3585 times)

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Offline isitme?

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oh no, could use some advice again..
« on: December 13, 2009, 07:51:18 AM »
Ladies,
sorry to keep pestering you with questions, but I just can't go to the DIL support forum for this one.. I know what kind of answer I"m going to get and it won't be nice.

My FMIL finally agreed to speak to me on the phone yesterday.  My BF called her up and then turned the phone over to me.  This time we left it on speakerphone so both of us could hear the things she said (is that underhanded and sneaky?).  When I got on the phone, I tried to be polite and said hello, how are you etc. and that I was happy to talk to her.  She started berating me for only calling her when her son told her to and after about 30 seconds, she shouted "I've had enough, don't talk to me anymore!" and hung up the phone.  My poor BF was flabbergasted.  Then about 5 minutes later she texted him and asked him to call.  She apologized and then got back on the phone with me.  For the next 25 minutes, she continued to berate me for not ever calling - telling me that my behavior was not normal, and that she knew I wasn't normal and there were a lot of things that she saw about me that made her unhappy...I wasn't a good family person, I had made no effort to get to know her so I didn't care about family and I had no respect for her etc. etc.  She kept on telling me that I wasn't normal.  Because I didn't call her up on my own all the time.   Is that a reasonable expectation?    :o

When I tried to (respectfully) tell her I that I was sorry she was so unhappy and that she felt I hadn't tried to get to know her but that I thought I HAD made an effort .. by visiting with her family over the holidays and spending time at her home in Florida last winter and her home upstate, she shouted "Don't tell me about those times, I don't want to hear about it, I've forgotten it!"   :o

I was calm throughout the whole conversation and kept trying to just be respectful and let her vent her frustrations.  I'm glad I've reached a point where hearing her say these things no longer hurt my feelings (well, they do a little bit but I can understand that it's not me, it's her) but what can I do?  My BF kept whispering to me "Just tell her you respect her and want a relationship and that she's really important to you and don't try to reason with her."   :(

BF and I are going to go to counseling and try to figure this out, but I thought it might be good to get some of your perspectives on this...

After I talked to his mother, we had a long conversation about things - he's agreed that maybe his mother is suffering from some kind of clinical depression but says his dad will never do anything about it and that maybe he would bridge the subject with his brother sometime in the future.  He doesn't want to do it now, because he thinks it's more important for us to focus on what's going on in OUR relationship (vis a vis her) and also because he doesn't want her to make the connection between my involvement and her being told she needs to seek professional help.  I TOTALLY agree with the latter point but am not too sure about the idea that this can wait. 

His mom's main argument against me is that I never call her and that shows I don't respect her and am not normal and do not believe in family.  When she talks she sounds like she is out of touch with reality, does not want to  listen to any rational response, and seems to get disproportionally upset over what she perceives as any slight.

I don't think anything I will ever do will make her happy, because fundamentally, she is an unhappy person.  This makes me sad for her and her family.  But to counter this particular criticism, I am perfectly happy to call her each and every day and say  "hello, how are you" and let her vent her frustrations on me.  It might hurt a little bit to hear her say all these bad things about me but now that I understand she is sick, it is easier to look at her behavior with pity and not anger. 

Again, I don't think this is really going to accomplish anything.  On the DIL support groups, I know I"m just going to be told - "too bad, so sad, tell BF that you've tried and you're done trying and now cut the bat out."  But what do you ladies think?  I hope our counselor can help us figure something out once we finally find one and go  :-\
« Last Edit: December 13, 2009, 08:01:42 AM by isitme? »

2chickiebaby

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2009, 08:38:50 AM »
Isitme?  I wanted to ask, because I'm going to be out for awhile....when you said in your first story, "his parents don't want him to date me because my parents died"

That sentence just about crushed me!  I could not help losing my Mother at such an early age and neither could you.  I think you're right, they've done an excellent job with you.  You be proud of who you are! ;)

I don't understand his parents at all.  I can tell you that when my CDIL and son first married and stupid me started calling over there, I spoke to son.  I heard her in the background saying, "did she call for me?  Did she ask to speak to me?"

I learned this lesson fast.  I only call now to speak to her, not to son.  I am a fast learner.

I don't know what to make of his parents at all.  I hope you keep you heart open to really see what you're in for with them.  Try to do the best you can without sacrificing yourself in the meantime.  You're worth something too! :)

I'd give it some time and then if things didn't change, I'd look at the relationship you have with your BF.  I hope it doesn't come to that but you have to for your sake. 

This woman has no business screaming at you....keep us posted  :(

cremebrulee

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2009, 10:35:45 AM »
While reading this, I kept thinking, this woman is so angry?????  And couldn't help but feel sorry for her.  My first reaction would have been anger at her, but for some reason...something kept me reading very calmly...do you realize, the first and only time I tried talking to my DIL, she said the very same thing to me...or should I say, yelled....like your FMIL did. 

Yanno, I don't think it's you, I think, personally, she's very angry about a lot of things, and she is surpressing that anger...and you are her punching bag.  I could be wrong, b/c she sounds like a very emotionally depressed woman....it seems no matter what you say to her, she is illogical? 

Here's what I think...I think, you should get her to go to counseling with you...seriously, right now, the main problem is between you and she...tell her you need her there, that the problem exisis between you and she, and you really want to find out what you can do to resolve your differences and make this better...explain to her, how this hurts everyone, not just the two of you...and how important it is to try to get things out in the open. 

Yanno, just maybe, something happened to her and her husband's relationship a long time ago...and she clung to her son?  And now she feels like she's loosing her whole world? 

Just thinking out loud?

Offline Pen

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2009, 10:58:42 AM »
Isitme, I'm sorry you are going through this. No one deserves to be treated this way. I hope your FMIL gets help before she loses her son. She doesn't know how fortunate she is to have you as a potential DIL! My DIL would have been outta there and would have dragged my DS along with her. Best wishes to you and your fiancee.

And that brings me to another thought - those of us MILs who do not act like Isitme's FMIL are treated as if we do! What's up with that? It's very frustating to realize there's nothing you can do, whether you're a DIL, FDIL, MIL or whomever when the other party has made up their mind to hate you.

Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline isitme?

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2009, 05:33:18 PM »
Thanks ladies for the support.  It really means a lot to me and is helping me to cope with FMILs hatred and anger with some compassion.

Penstamen:  that's an interesting thought.  You don't know how relieved I was to find out there were MILs who had this problem and that the relationship really does go both ways (good or bad). Most of you  ladies sound like you have really tried hard to be understanding and do what you can to keep the relationship going.  But I think we've all gained some insight into what makes people like this behave so terribly and now we're looking for how we can deal with it while maintaining some kind of relationship.


just2baccepted

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2009, 07:26:24 PM »
If she is depressed then maybe your BF could approach the subject with his dad and see if his dad could try to nudge her to get help.  I know its a touchy subject for some and some don't believe in depression.  Some think you should just be able to pull yourself up by the boot straps!  My MIL tried antidepressents twice but refused to take them b/c they bothered her stomach.  And her daughter is a nurse and told her she'd get past those side effects but MIL would not listen.  So I know it may be hard to approach it, especially if she's so so mired down in desperation.  Good Luck.

cremebrulee

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2009, 05:32:27 AM »
When someone refuses counseling and makes a statement, like it's your problem and not hers....whew...that young lady is in for a rude awakening....


Offline isitme?

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2009, 06:27:19 AM »
yes, that basically sounds like my MIL.  She will never go to treatment -  I am the one with the problem not her.  I am a bad person and "not normal" but the truth is, no matter what I do, she will not be happy with it.  I"m sorry your DILs also have this problem - it must be horrible to watch your son and grandchildren suffer under this type of personality.  It makes me sad to realize my BF had to grow up with this type of woman - and I'm beginning to see how it has hurt him.  He is always afraid to tell me things he thinks I won't like because he's used to getting back an irrational emotional (and violent he said  :() response.  So he walks on eggshells around me because he's used to walking on eggshells around his mother.  But I"m NOT like that and he knows it.  If he tells me his own opinion and I don't agree with it, I don't get upset.  We might not always like what we hear but I think the mark of a welll-adjusted person is that they are able to handle unpleasant truths and admit that they also are not perfect.

My FMIL and your DILs do not sound capable of that.  And the people who should be trying to get them help (My FFIL and your sons or son's ILs) are either not aware of it or strong enough to see it through.  They just want to walk on eggshells their whole life and not rock the boat.  The end result is that EVERYONE is miserable.  How sad  :-\
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 06:30:20 AM by isitme? »

Sassy

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2009, 05:10:44 PM »
Quote
My BF kept whispering to me "Just tell her you respect her and want a relationship and that she's really important to you and don't try to reason with her." 
When you tried to repond the way BF suggested, what happened ?

I am wondering that if you can do this during occasional conversations, will it satisfy your sense of love and duty, and what your BF expects of you.  I agree with your assessment that she is deeply upset in ways that are not about you. I also agree that you probably aren't able to fix her problems, whether you call or not call. Like how the visits did not help.

Quote
I am perfectly happy to call her each and every day and say  "hello, how are you" and let her vent her frustrations on me.

Is your BF perfectly happy with the idea of you doing this? Does it appear to bother him to see someone talking to and treating his GF like this?  Is this what he thinks is "normal"? 

Do you think its possible BF may agree with any of her accusations (such as, that its not normal to not call his mother; or that you don't believe in "family" as his family defines it). 

As a BF, does he express any concern that what she says to you hurts you, or that a daily dose of direct insults towards you, even as a "vent", could erode your self-esteeem, self-worth and overall mental health?  Does he think you being able to better fortify your defenses against her criticisms (even though logic does not appeal to her anyway) is worth that?

I would be worried about death by a thousand paper cuts.  And that if you subject yourself to daily degradation, scab-picking on old childhood wounds, mainly so that BF can continue to avoid the real problem (getting her help for her instability/depression, whatever it may be causing that's causing such overtly hurtful behavior), you will eventually grow to resent or detach (deaden) yourself to BF as well.

2chickiebaby

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2009, 05:35:56 PM »
Quote
My BF kept whispering to me "Just tell her you respect her and want a relationship and that she's really important to you and don't try to reason with her." 
When you tried to repond the way BF suggested, what happened ?

I am wondering that if you can do this during occasional conversations, will it satisfy your sense of love and duty, and what your BF expects of you.  I agree with your assessment that she is deeply upset in ways that are not about you. I also agree that you probably aren't able to fix her problems, whether you call or not call. Like how the visits did not help.

Quote
I am perfectly happy to call her each and every day and say  "hello, how are you" and let her vent her frustrations on me.

Is your BF perfectly happy with the idea of you doing this? Does it appear to bother him to see someone talking to and treating his GF like this?  Is this what he thinks is "normal"? 

Do you think its possible BF may agree with any of her accusations (such as, that its not normal to not call his mother; or that you don't believe in "family" as his family defines it). 

As a BF, does he express any concern that what she says to you hurts you, or that a daily dose of direct insults towards you, even as a "vent", could erode your self-esteeem, self-worth and overall mental health?  Does he think you being able to better fortify your defenses against her criticisms (even though logic does not appeal to her anyway) is worth that?

I would be worried about death by a thousand paper cuts.  And that if you subject yourself to daily degradation, scab-picking on old childhood wounds, mainly so that BF can continue to avoid the real problem (getting her help for her instability/depression, whatever it may be causing that's causing such overtly hurtful behavior), you will eventually grow to resent or detach (deaden) yourself to BF as well.

That is exactly the way I feel when the DIL treats me/us like she does.  I guess it's okay to do this to me but it's not okay for his Mother to do this to Isitme?

Sassy

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2009, 05:58:40 PM »
Quote
  I guess it's okay to do this to me but it's not okay for his Mother to do this to Isitme?

2chickiebaby: is your question directed to me, or to the board in general?   

I don't think I understand your question asking about it being okay to do things.  Because I haven't read that Isitme's BF's Mother treats you at all the same way that I've read your DIL treats you. 

I also don't see you and Isitme as being in similar situations.  My main concern for Isitme is that the way BF's Mother treats her, if BF continues to condone it and even encourage it, will affect how she feels about BF sooner or later.  Isitme's relationship with BF's Mother simply won't matter, if there is no relationship with BF.

2chickiebaby

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2009, 06:01:54 PM »
It was directed at you.

just2baccepted

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2009, 06:40:29 PM »
Sassy I totally think it will eventually affect the way Isitme feels about BF.  As a wife, sig other you want your man to stand up for you, not try to get you to placate someone who's being cruel.  I know when my DH  has no problem getting mad at anyone who tries to wrong him from my family or his co-workers.  But I want to know where that anger is when his mom tries to tear down his wife with subtle innuendos.

Sassy

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2009, 07:40:17 PM »
2chickiebaby:  I'm still not sure I understand the question you are asking me.   I do not see where you would be able to personalize my response to Isitme's situation with her BF's unwillingness to address the problems that are affecting them, to apply to your own situation with your DIL of 17 years. 

Edited To Add: So that Isitme's thread is not hijacked away from her topic and concerns, I would be happy to explore any questions you have for me about your situation on another thread. 


« Last Edit: December 15, 2009, 07:50:19 PM by Sassy »

Offline isitme?

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Re: oh no, could use some advice again..
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2009, 06:59:06 AM »
Thanks for the questions Sassy - they are the very same ones I have been asking myself and BF lately.  I think he thinks it's okay for me to endure this verbal abuse because HE has put up with it his whole life.  But it's not acceptable for her to do this to either of us. 

I did try to say - I respect you - etc. etc.  but she just talked over me or told me "she didn't want to hear it."  The truth is, how can you genuinely respect someone like this and have a close relationship to them?  I felt like BF expected me to form a relationship with her but when he saw it wouldn't happen and that it wasn't really my fault, he changed tack and now just expects me to put up with her abuse the way he does.  One of the things he has always told me he loved about me is that I am a strong person - but I think maybe that's why he thinks I can put up with his mother.  But neither of us can any longer...  :-\  We are both so depressed.

Chickie - it's not okay for your DIL to do this to you either.  It's not okay for ANYONE to do this to ANYONE else, no matter what the relationship.  I just read an article on narcissism and co-narcissism that really hit home to me.  I know Luise requested this site not be used to diagnose people, but I found it really helpful for thinking about some of the dynamics of my BF and his mother and thought it might help some of you to understand maybe what is going on with your sons and DILs...  I will post it on a new thread though...
« Last Edit: December 16, 2009, 07:27:23 AM by isitme? »