Author Topic: The Talk  (Read 8076 times)

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momof2

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The Talk
« on: November 02, 2011, 10:20:52 AM »
Good morning, ladies. I had the talk with my MIL. Mind you, this was the first time we had spoken since our huge blowout last February. It was not the easiest thing I had ever done, but it was completely necessary in order to have some peace back in my family. I'm not going to lie to you all about my feeling towards my MIL before this little chat that we had. I was really hurt and angry with her and I expected a heartfelt apology from her and if I didn't get it, I was not going to reconcile. An apology seems like such a little thing and most people have laughed at me because I was so "hung up" on getting one. Believe me when I tell you those two little words can really have a huge impact on the soul. Those words have the ability to soften even the hardest of hearts. To say you are sorry is to surrender to yourself and take back the things you said or did, even if you thought they were justifiable. This is my opinion, however and I know others may not view it the same way. I am happy to tell you that I did get an apology. Did it heal all wounds? No. I am still working on putting myself back together, but it was a start.

Getting this apology was not easy. Not because I had to squeeze it out of my MIL, but because I had to surrender my feelings on the matter and I had to own up to my part in this. When I answered the phone, I knew that I had to say that I was sorry before I said anything else (Yes, you read that right). Not because I instigated a fight with her, but because I reacted to her verbal attack in a way that did not fall in line with my own beliefs. When I struck back at her, I let myself down. I reacted in exactly the opposite way that I should have. How much different would that situation have been if I would have tried to diffuse it instead of escalate it? I have always taught my own children to be a better the person and walk away from a verbal attack and I didn't set a great example of this. (Side note: I think my applogy made it easier for her to say that she was sorry. It brought her defenses down.) So yes, an applogy was needed on my part, too.

After we said our apologies, MIL didn't want to talk about the matter any further and wanted to let it go. I explained to her that we have always swept things under the rug before and never spoke of them and that I wasn't going to allow that this time. We were going to put it all out on the table. I wanted to confront her on the things she said to me and I wanted to let her know, in a respectful manner, how those things made me think and feel about her and myself. Yes she apologized, but it is easy to say you are sorry when you don't actually have to confront and own up to what you did head on. Bringing the issues to light is necessary, in my opinion. However, I let her know that once we talked about what was said and done, that we would not bring it up again. We closed the issue and tied up all loose ends. It's over. That does not mean that there are not scars and hurt feelings; I am still licking my wounds. It just means that the healing can finally begin and that will take some time. I have no illusions about that. Our relationship is still badly torn and it will take a while to repair. And, infact, it may never be the same again. That is a very real consequence of family feuding. Wounds heal, but they leave scars as well. Scars can change you.    I also explained to MIL that when you have children and there are challenges involved, you want your family to support you. Not tear you down. Family is the one resource that should always back you up. When that familial support  is not there, is makes it harder to have a relationship with them. Nuff said.

Dh and I decided that we would deal with the boundary issues as the arrive. We are taking one step at a time and slow steps at that. I am still very guarded about MIL. I think that it is best to keep it casual for the time being. That may not be what she wants, but it is all I can offer. So, ladies, what are your thoughts on all of this?

Offline luise.volta

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2011, 10:29:33 AM »
If I had a hat handy, it would be off to you! Beautiful! I can think of a lot of other ways to describe your courage and depth…but "beautiful" pretty much covers my sense of what you did…what you put into it and what you got out of it. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Sassy

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2011, 10:50:16 AM »
I'll match your "beautiful" and raise you one "brave".   :D

Doe

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2011, 10:59:03 AM »
It does sound like you did a good job and you got the result you wanted!  I think it's great that you took a look at how you could have contributed to the whole situation.  That's a big deal.

From what you've written, your MIL does sound awful but speaking from a MIL position, I hope you'll be able to start finding some good things about her and begin to validate them.  Like with little kids, we try to commend the good behavior so that it might move to the forefront over the bad.  I have a feeling that underneath all this retched behavior is a MIL who is missing her role as a Mom like many of us are.  When I think of her, I think of someone who is floundering in her new "Not The Mama" role.

Just my 2¢.  I think it's great that you care enough to keep your family intact.

momof2

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2011, 11:22:09 AM »
@ Louise and sassy- Thank you, thank you!

@ Doe- Thank you, too. I really do recognize the the "not the mamma" issues with MIL. She does like having things "her way" and like to call all the shots. Makes sense. I will try very hard to find the good things about MIL and point them out to her.  It is something I need to do, but it has often been hard because I have always been on the defensive mode with her. I will keep that in mind.

Offline Pooh

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2011, 12:53:12 PM »
You did great and remained very poised.  I think the hard work for you is now ahead.  Trying not to let anything she says pull you back into the past offenses.  I think when we are guarded, and understandably so, it's easy to let the past sabatoge what's happening now.  You did wonderful.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

momof2

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2011, 01:50:03 PM »
Pooh, you are very right about that! Remaining guarded is exactly why I am easing into this one toenail at a time. Jumping in with both feet is not an option for me. It will take a while to gain the trust back in this relationship.  MIL tore me down and ripped from my foundations as a wife, mother and as a friend  It will take a while to rebuild and make myself whole.

Offline lancaster lady

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2011, 03:24:22 PM »
My DIL and I put all our cards on the table , it was the only way we were going to continue .
It's tough and takes a lot of guts , but I wanted a relationship with my Gd , as I think my DIL
and I are too different to ever gel . We tolerate each other mostly .
It took time to renew our relationship , but a lot of space and mutual respect worked for us .

Time will tell after this last five months of living together , I think she will head for the hills
never to be seen again ....we shall see.

Offline pam1

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2011, 06:08:12 PM »
Pooh, you are very right about that! Remaining guarded is exactly why I am easing into this one toenail at a time. Jumping in with both feet is not an option for me. It will take a while to gain the trust back in this relationship.  MIL tore me down and ripped from my foundations as a wife, mother and as a friend  It will take a while to rebuild and make myself whole.

She doesn't define you, remember that.  You had the guts to do what a lot of people in your place wouldn't -- you confronted it head on.  Take it easy on yourself
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

Offline Pen

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2011, 10:06:17 PM »
Pooh, you are very right about that! Remaining guarded is exactly why I am easing into this one toenail at a time. Jumping in with both feet is not an option for me. It will take a while to gain the trust back in this relationship.  MIL tore me down and ripped from my foundations as a wife, mother and as a friend  It will take a while to rebuild and make myself whole.

This is how I feel about my DIL; her treatment of me has torn me down and created doubt & insecurity - and it is taking me awhile to rebuild and become whole again. The difference is that I cannot face DIL head on because I'll lose DS. It may be awkward & painful for DILs to confront their MILs, but the risk isn't the same as it is for MILs who must confront a rude, overbearing DIL.

That said, I think you did well, Momof2. You handled your situation in a way that left MIL with her dignity but also stood up for your family. I hope your MIL continues to progress.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Sassy

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2011, 04:53:55 AM »
The risk of addressing the issues is not the same for mistreated MILs as it is for mistreated DILs.  It is a different risk.  MILs risk the mother-adult son bond becoming more tenuous, and risk time with the grandchildren.  For the most part, MILs probably aren't risking their marriage, home, and young children's lifestyle by addressing issues with their grown son's wife.

DILs can feel like their if their life partners start to believe only 5% of what they're being erroneously accused of, it will create cracks in the foundation of a marriage and family.   Like a gardener is actively planting seeds of hate in your marriage, that may have 50 years or more before they sprout and grow.  If I have trouble with his mother now, how will he feel about me after she's gone; will he blame me?  Even the strongest romantic love bond can feel in jeopardy when your husband's mom, the woman he loved before any other,  thinks you're a bad person and tells him why every chance she can.  Moms do have a lot of credibility with their adult kids.  It's hard for an adult to let go of the concept that their parent must be looking out for his best interest, on some level.  As a DIL to a MIL who's decided I am bad for her son, bad for her family, unloving, selfish, materialistic...I am acutely aware that my whole marriage, life, dreams, and future rests on my DH's ability to be able to see, on every level, that the single mother who raised him, is fundamentally "wrong."

Doe

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2011, 07:26:46 AM »
  Moms do have a lot of credibility with their adult kids. 

I wish!

momof2

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2011, 07:27:36 AM »
Sassy, you are right on! That is exactly the difference between MILs and DILs (at least in my situation). My MIL hay have lost some time with her DS and GC, and I'm sure that was painful. But I can tell you that the turmoil caused by my MIL's accusations felt as if it nearly ripped my marriage in two. MIL was able to hang up the phone or walk away from the fight and the situation and go back to her quiet, peaceful home. I, on the other hand, was left to clean up the bomb she set off in my home. For me to walk away, I would have had to leave my DH or my home. It is where I lived. MIL caused trouble in my only place of refuge and that, I think, is a lot more than what she had to suffer. There was no escaping the disaster for me. It was in my face constantly causing my DH and I to argue. I really don't think MILs really understand the trouble that they can cause in their children's marriage. If they were to see and hear all the things that happened behind closed doors, they would probably think twice about what comes out of their mouths. Then again, I think some MILs want their children's marriage to be destroyed and that some of the find pleasure in all of it. It was their goal from the beginning to be a destructive force. I can only speak from my own personal experience that my situation with my MIL felt as if she set fire to my home and then walked away to leave us to clean up the disaster. She said her peace and left us in the chaos and rubble. If she had to suffer at all, it wasn't anything like what my DH and children had to go through. She managed to destroy our place of refuge and our place of safety all the while she was able to return home and continue on with her life. Although I am sure it is hurtful to MILs to be set apart from their DSs, it's not the same kind of hurt that we as DILs feel. Our homes literally fall apart because it is hard for the DHs to separate their past from their future. My DH took a vow to love me, forsaking all others. I don't think my MIL truly understands what that means.  I think the Biblical passage about the sons leaving the mother and father and cleaving to the wife sets a clear image of what a marriage should be. The people under the DHs roof come first, then everyone else. It's not to say that they are not important or loved less, but that their role in the DS's life has changed. I think that those words were meant to have a purpose in today's society. We are so obligated to technology and are constantly in contact with one another in one form or another that we often forget that there are boundaries that are there for a reason; To give some sort of separation, even if just a little separation,  between the homes and families that live under them.

Offline Pooh

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2011, 07:35:31 AM »
This has been debated here before and it all boils down to everyone suffers.  There is no DIL suffers more, MIL suffers more...everyone suffers.  I can say that because I have been on both sides.  An awful MIL that interfered in my marriage and home as you guys are describing and now an MIL myself that has lost a Son.  They are both painful in their own ways and I assure you, they both hurt terribly.  If it is an MIL causing issues, it hurts the DIL terribly and when it's a DIL causing issues, it hurts the MIL/FOO terribly.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Doe

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Re: The Talk
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2011, 07:39:19 AM »
FWIW,  both our parents gave us grief at times, but my husband and I never allowed that to come in between our marriage.  We got married when we were older, maybe that was the difference.  We were already far away from the parents and had no doubts about how their opinions affected our lives.
I think it's the boundaries thing again.  You protect  your home and family from toxic people and situations.