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slipping back into anger and sadness

Started by stilltrying2010, October 01, 2012, 04:49:26 am

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I am unsure how to stop my descent down the slippery slope into angry with my DH FOO.  My husband recently told me he thinks I am holding a grudge against his family. And according to merriam-webster, I am.  I just cant seem to put myself or my children out there to be potentially hurt (me hurt again, them to be secondbest).  I go through motions of being nice (like sending MIL photos of our kids) but then am annoyed that she emails these things onto GSIL and her entire social group.  We have no relationship with some of these people... so why would we want them to know the intimate details of our lives?  And yet I am the bad person for not doing it or being bothered by it?  Recently MILs sister came to our area and felt free to txt pics of our kids to SIL and MIL... is this her right?  To me a relationship is a 2 way street,  a give and take between people.  We (DH included) do not talk to SIL(not meanly just no relationship) but MIL endlesssly talks about SILs kids (If my daughter 6 likes to color, so does SILs son 11, if ours just got home from dance, SILs daughter, 15 is helping teach dance) Every topic to the Nth degree is a platform for SILs family.  The conversation with us is endlessly about SILs kids accomplishments.... sometimes she doesnt even ask about our kids we're jsut fresh ears for a story about SILs kids.   Its like any tidbit I try to share becomes a lauching point for SILs kids lives.  When I have put our daughter on the phone with MIL she will talk to HER about SILs kids...  is this the basis for a relationship between MIL and our DD, her cousin's?  MIL is a great gma to those kids but I cant imagine the conversation with SILs kids is about ours constantly.     

My DH says just to get over it and stop thinking about it - I wish I could, I am stuck.  I feel like I want his acknowlegement that he could understand why I am feeling this way.  Am I being spiteful because they don't like me?  I know this but I do feel like I try to make an effort, only to give an inch and they take a mile...  at least we don't live nearby.  I try to tell my self they are doing nothing to intentionally hurt my kids so I should just let it go.... and yet here I am  :(


there is a feature on here that allows me to go back and re-read my older posts... sadly in dec 2011 I was in the same place as here.. same sadness, points, everything...  what a waste.  I have to let this go.


Two things -

1 - Do you find that you're sadder, in general, in the fall?  A lot of people are.  So maybe, now that you see 2 years in a row of being upset about your IL's during the Fall and the lead-up to the Holidays, you can push some of it off as "seasonal". 

2 - I think it's time for you to pull back from the IL's.  Some space in your relationship might help things, either you'll find that you can handle her more in smaller doses, or you'll find that DH doesn't want to see or hear from her either.

If it upsets you to talk to her, then don't.  And you don't have to stomp your feet and say "I REFUSE TO TALK TO THAT WOMAN".  You can just be "too busy" to talk.  At first, you'll probably have to be "too busy right now" with everyone.  But you can return the calls of the people YOU want to speak with.  If MIL calls and leaves a message, tell DH that his mom called. 

Right now, you're the buffer between your DH and your MIL, so of course he wants you to stay in that position.  But what's wrong with their relationship that he needs a buffer?

I've stepped WAY BACK from a relationship with my MIL.  I've left it up to DH and MIL/FIL to work on their relationship with each other, and you know what?  It has settled down to the lowest level possible.  He doesn't call them to share good news, he doesn't send them pictures, and he doesn't suggest that we visit them.  We haven't seen them since last Christmas (they live 4 hrs away by car).  That being said, MIL doesn't call our house, she calls DH's cell phone during work hours, and they haven't visited us since June 2011.  I'm also pretty sure that MIL blames me, but I certainly don't feel it on MY conscience.

I suggest that you step back from being in the middle of them and see what kind of relationship they ACTUALLY have with each other.  Of course, you have to "allow" him have the relationship HE wants, without blocking him or ragging on him either.  Detach, detach, detach.


ST2010, good for you for looking at your own behavior as well as that of your ILs. As Luise says, we can only change ourselves and our reactions to other people's behavior.

It sounds as if you and your ILs have different comfort levels regarding the passing along of info. Perhaps they sense that you are uncomfortable sharing, so they've learned to focus on the GC who are more accessible. IDK, just a thought.

When it is left up to the DSs to pass along family info, many of us MILs know that is the kiss of death for us. Men tend to not pass along the sweet, funny little stories that a woman would, even if the DS loves and respects his FOO. They probably don't communicate as often or as thoroughly as women do. Nice for DIL's FOO, sucks for us.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Still Trying -

I can identify with what you say about the grandma talking endlessly about the other grandchildren when she is with your family.  Yes, she should focus on YOUR kids when she is with you, and focus on the SIL's kids when she is with them.  She may have some subconscious desire to "control" or "stir-the-pot."   

We had the same situation when I was growing up.  My dad's mom always went on and on and on about my cousins whenever she visited us.  My dad had been sickly as a child, and spent a lot of time with his grandmother, who was in better position to care for him.  My mom explained that GM simply was closer to those cousins than to us because their parent lived with GPs all the time, and my dad had essentially been raised by his GM.  That was a reasonable explanation, and we all accepted it, and frankly didn't think much about it. 

Then in college, one of my college friends happened to marry my cousin.  After a few years of marriage, she shared with me that this grandmother constantly talked about me and my siblings whenever she was with who I had perceived to be the "favorite" child and grandchildren.  I then realized that she didn't favor one set of GK over another she was always bragging about the GK who were not there.  Why?  Who knows.  Did she want to communicate the goings on so that the cousins might feel closer to each other?  Did she want to make the cousins jealous of each other?  Don't know.  I don't think it is the best way to handle the GK relationship - but it turned out that she was doing the same things to the other cousins.  Are you SURE your MIL is not saying similar things to SIL and her children?  It could be a mis-guided attempt to facilitate relationships.  Or it could be a manipulative way to pit one branch of the family against the other.   

As for the pics being shared - not sure I understand the sensitivity here.  Sounds like a proud grandmother sharing the pics.  I don't think I would resent the sharing of pics.  I would probably take it as GM being proud of the wonderful GK I had given them.   Just a thought. 


Still Trying, I can really identify with you on this.  Scoop gave some really excellent advice on detaching.  It's what I did, and sometimes I slip but on the whole...it's a lot better. 

I too can relate to the picture thing and over-sharing.  I do not understand passing on information to other relatives that MIL does, if I/DH wanted them to know...well, DH or I would tell them ourselves.  To me, it's an underlying symptom of my MILs need to control her adult childrens relationships. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


stilltrying, I'll second that Scoop gave some good advice there about detaching. Sometimes you have to for your own sanity. And it's nice when someone can validate your feelings - in your case, your looking for that from DH - but sometimes we never get that and it doesn't mean your feelings aren't valid. He may never really understand. Holding a grudge to me is wishing revenge or something bad on a person. Maintaining some sort of relationship with someone, just polite and civil, but not opening yourself up to being hurt isn't a grudge to me. It's self preservation.

I had to let go of the anger I felt towards my MIL over trying to include her as much as possible and then being told it's not enough. It's never going to be enough, so I'm at peace with knowing I tried. But I've detached a bit - I don't suggest visits to DH anymore (but I never say no if he wants to visit), it's up to him to send photos, keeps his Ps in the loop etc. And he does, but not as much as when he had a lot of prodding. The last time I tried hard to maintain things I went pretty out of my way to make a nice birthday for her, and after that she started not wanting me present at visits with DH and DS. It was also right before that she put up a big stink about having to share DS's first birthday with my FOO; DH and I had a BIG fight over it. DH didn't really get it, but we found a compromise. If that ever happens again, it's just going to be here's the date and time for the party, hope you can make it. End of story. I don't think I'm holding a grudge there, however I don't feel like I have to open my marriage up to fights like that again.   


Is there any way that you can just turn all this over to your husband?  Is she gets pictures, let him be the one who sends them.   Let him originate any communication to her.  I really feel like it's his role.


I agree with the others and Scoop gave excellent advice.  Let DH take the lead.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Quote from: stilltrying2010 on October 01, 2012, 05:00:52 am
there is a feature on here that allows me to go back and re-read my older posts... sadly in dec 2011 I was in the same place as here.. same sadness, points, everything...  what a waste.  I have to let this go.

Wow, ST, that is a powerful post!  You know Dr. Phil says, "what we don't acknowledge cannot be fixed."  I have had some of my biggest epiphanies when going back to reread in my journals what I was thinking a year or five years ago.  Like you, I saw a pattern and then set about fixing it.  Good wishes to you!!
Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift (Eleanor Roosevelt)