Author Topic: I'm stuck lately...  (Read 6898 times)

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Offline NewMama

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I'm stuck lately...
« on: November 05, 2012, 10:15:13 AM »
I felt like I had been doing a good job of detaching from my MIL and being ok with choosing not to confront her, for the sake of DH and DS not being in the middle. Lately though, I find myself getting very stuck in being frustrated and angry at her. I had hoped things might be getting better by now, but they only seem to be getting worse. Her jealousy towards anyone in DS's life is getting worse, and the passive-aggressiveness is getting way, way worse. Part of me wants to say something to DH, but she puts on a totally different act when he's around or listening, so I figure he'd just think I was over reacting. I'm dreading what she might do when #2 arrives in the spring - DH hates going anywhere with DS that involves long distance driving, so I know he really won't want to go anywhere with a toddler and a newborn. Which means less time visiting her, which means more blame put on me and more p-a behaviour towards me. He cancelled Thanksgiving on her last minute and of course I got stuck with the snarky comments about it. I feel like I'm very stuck in this circle of what-ifs and anger at the moment. Sprinkled with some pregnancy hormones on top.

I've been thinking about getting an ornament for my mom for Christmas, there's a local lady who does beautiful hand painted ones that she'll customize with names and such. If I come home with a grandmother one for my mom, DH will wonder why I didn't get one for his mom too. And I feel like I should for the sake of DH, but last time I went out of my way for her (her b-day) she repaid me by starting to schedule visits for when she believed I wouldn't be around. And boy was she not happy when it turned out I was actually around. I don't want to go out of my way and expense to do something nice for her at the moment, but I feel like I'm being petty if I don't and I should for DH and to at least say I'm trying.

Offline Pooh

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2012, 11:02:14 AM »
NewMama, I just wanted you to know I read this and I feel for you.  I can't give anyone advice right now because I am stuck in anger myself right now.  I just wanted you know I hear you!
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Scoop

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2012, 12:15:52 PM »
NewMama - you gave the solution to your problems in your message.  If MIL can only manage to be civil to you when your DH is around, then don't be around her without him.  If she can't speak to you kindly on the phone, don't talk to her.  Invest in caller ID and let DH answer it when it's his Mom.

As for the ornament, it would be kind of you to get one for MIL.  Otherwise, DH's Mom is DH's problem.  With 2 little kids (soon), you'll have your hands too full to worry about gifts and cards for his side of the family.  He's big enough, strong enough, old enough and cute enough to figure out what his own mother wants for Christmas.  Tell him where you got it, send him the link to order one himself, but don't worry too much about doing it yourself.

I did this "pulling back" and I was AMAZED at how much *I* was maintaining DH & MIL's relationship.  Now, since I'm not putting in the work, it's sad, but neither DH nor MIL has stepped up to do the work on their relationship, and it's settled to a really low level.  Ah well, not my fault.

Offline jdtm

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2012, 12:38:13 PM »
NewMama - every situation is different but I'll describe mine. 

I've been married for over 40 years and my IL's (particularly my father-in-law and sister-in-law) hated me.  In fact, that is the words used.  However, they were my husband's family and he loved them (and he always put me first).  So, whatever I gave to my mother, my MIL received; likewise my FIL and other family members.  Without fail, I did this for every Christmas, Mother's Day and Father's Day.  Our children have two sets of grandparents and I did not want them to see injustice on my part towards "the other side" and I loved my husband very much (there had to be some goodness in his family somewhere).  I find it so sad when "one side" of the family is considered to be lesser than the other.  To this day, I have no regrets.

Whenever my husband's family got together and we were asked (often times we were not), I always tried to "fade into the background" and not be noticed.  It seemed to work.  Over the 40+ years, I believe that my MIL actually likes me; my FIL and SIL still do not (don't know why but I guess it doesn't matter).  Our children did "see" what was occurring and it helped them to become good, kind and compassionate people.  One can be generous without being a scapegoat.  Like Scoop mentioned, I rarely spend time with his family unless my husband is present.  They like it better this way and it is easier on me.  And after more than four decades, it just is not important any more.

Offline pam1

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2012, 02:38:23 PM »
I think you have to do what you feel most comfortable with.  I see nothing wrong with buying your Mom something different than MIL. 

Maybe it's time for a change in the gift department anyway.  DH can pick out his family's gifts, maybe they'll even like it better that he chose for them.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

Offline NewMama

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012, 03:48:01 PM »
Pooh, I read your post as well, and boy do I feel for you too! I'm having a hard time lately holding back my inner mama-bear with MIL when  she's interfering with DS and I really feel like any time now it's going to come out.

Scoop, I started trying to detach some myself, and was feeling pretty good about it until lately. I stopped suggesting visits to him, however if he says he wants to go or can they visit I never say no. I see a change in their relationship too, I used to push him to visit if he was wavering, which he does frequently. We saw them probably half as much this summer as the one before (which was before this started). Every once in a while he'll ask me to send photos to him of DS so he can print them for his mom. I used to do this but stopped when the craziness started. I send him the copies, but it's up to him to print and mail them. And honestly, she's not getting as many as she used to. Thankfully she never calls me. DH and I have used our cell phones as our main numbers for years. So she always calls DH's cell. She mentioned how she thought she should call me but wasn't sure about my schedule. I do shifts (including nights) and it's quite wonky and there's no pattern to it. I made a point of saying that my schedule is hard to figure out and just left it at that. I think it's given us both a good out. I doubt she wants to talk to me right now, and I sure as heck don't want to talk to her.

I think I'm getting stuck in anger partially because we do have a new baby coming, and I'm getting myself twisted into knots over how she's going to react to all that comes with that. That my mom will be our on-call babysitter for when #2 decides to arrive (or get evicted). That there'll be more family gatherings following that she'll have to share with my mother - birthdays, baptisms, etc. Those should be happy things, and I'm still a little bitter that when I think about DS first birthday I associate it with the drama she caused between DH and I. I should've been able to enjoy that. I never thought about anything like that when awaiting DS. It also makes me sad (and maybe there is some grieving here) that even if she stops all this stuff, I think it's permanently damaged our relationship. I used to think she was incapable of behaving this way, and I don't feel like I'll ever trust that she wouldn't again. I can be civil, polite, and caring, but that will always be there.

I think I'll probably end up also picking up an ornament for her (this lady is a one weekend only at a craft show type of thing), because DH would appreciate it. He was very thankful for the things I did for her birthday, even if she wasn't. So I can suck it up for him :)

Offline Pooh

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2012, 07:31:44 AM »
I do think that is your solution NewMama.  It's not in thinking about doing it for "Her" but in doing it for "DH".  I do all kinds of things I really don't want to do, for my DH.  He appreciates it, thanks me and that's all I need.  I do it for my love of him and I know that he would do the same.  Well, actually, he does.  He does alot for me too that I'm sure he wouldn't pick.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline DivaGirlDIL

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 01:00:26 PM »
Stop being alone with her.  If she calls let it go to voice mail.  I dont buy gifts for ILs his family he can do it.  He doesn't buy them if they are upset by it we don't hear about it.  Sorry pregnancies are stressful enough without drama.

Offline herbalescapes

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2012, 04:49:20 PM »
NM, it sounds like we share a character trait that can be a big pain.  I am guilty of assuming there will be a problem with a situation (in your case, how holiday gifts will go, how MIL will act when #2 makes an appearance; for me it's usually about something with my DH) and I replay scenarios over and over.  Often, the problem I imagine never materializes or is much less of an issue than I imagine.  But I get all worked up and make my justifications and have "pre-argued" with DH unbeknownst to him, so I am crabby or on edge or impatient for no real reason. 

Try not to focus too much on potential problems.  You don't want to ignore them altogether, but don't make them a never-ending loop in your mind.  Maybe MIL wouldn't make a fuss if you bought just your mom the ornament.  Maybe she'll be an absolute angel with #2.  When you find yourself obsessing, take a deep breath and break the cycle.  Much easier said than done, I know.  I'd have the perfect life if I could manage to follow my own advice. 

If MIL (or anyone) wants to criticize, you evaluate the gripe.  If it's legitimate (you took MIL's car and got into a fender bender and didn't tell her) you apologize/make amends/etc.  If it's not legitimate (how DARE you get your mother a gift and not me), you disengage.  If they persist, get some catch phrase to repeat over and over (Bless your heart, Oh my, Hmmmmm, There you go, etc.).  If you refuse to defend yourself or participate in any type of argument about it, it'll be hard for her to keep it up. 

Good luck. 

Offline Pen

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2012, 06:42:22 PM »
Err on the side of kindness. Trust me, this MIL stuff can be pretty painful. Just be kind.

Re: the "new rule" that men buy for their FOOs, women buy for theirs -

With that logic, I guess I'm off the hook to buy DIL gifts since she's not in my FOO. She can return all the expensive spa day gift certs I've given her over the years; I could sure use a massage!


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

Offline NewMama

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2012, 05:42:44 AM »
Thanks everyone for the replies. Hearing from other helps me get some perspective.

DH threw me for a loop when he last minute cancelled Thanksgiving on MIL, and I knew she was going to take that out on me. And sure enough she did, telling DH it's ok and then complain to me that we were supposed to come visit and didn't. I used to push him to go when he did stuff like that, but stopped. I think next time he does it I'm going to have to tell him it's making my life miserable and to stop. Whether or not he believes his mother is acting that way remains to be seen.

The Christmas gift thing is interesting, I see different families doing it different ways. My brother has always done the shopping for our family, and SisIL does hers. DH and I used to each buy a gift for everyone, but when DS arrived we were perplexed as to where to put his name on gifts. We decided that instead of each of us buying a gift for someone else, we'd buy 2 or 3 three things and put from NewMama, DH and DS. So he does the gifts for his side now, and I do mine. I still end up with the longer list since my side is bigger, but DH seems way less stressed about Christmas now. He still doesn't get why my FOO buys him gifts, no matter how much I tell him that since he married me, they see him as 'one of us' now. And I see his family the same - they're my family now too, but he doesn't see things that way. He's also not a sentimental guy, and doesn't care for holidays. Part of the reason he doesn't get that bailing on his mom on holidays hurts her feelings.

Offline Pen

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2012, 09:44:01 AM »
We thought of DIL as "one of us now" but she didn't want anything to do with us. If I discontinue giving gifts to DIL, can I still give to DS under the "new rules?" Do I then ignore the hurt feelings of DIL & the awkwardness of the situation?

Fair's fair - MILs & their FOOs deserve the same consideration DILs & their FOOs deserve. IMO.

My DIL likes to pretend that DS doesn't want to interact with us. What she doesn't know is that he calls us when she's not around. In his little way he lets us know he loves us & wishes he could be in contact with us more often. It's less stressful for him if DIL can pretend we don't exist, so he plays along.

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

Offline Pooh

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2012, 10:01:45 AM »
I think it boils down to our personalities Pen.  I personally wouldn't feel right buying for my YS and not my FDIL.  If OS was around, I would still buy for DIL even though we don't jive.  I would have felt bad buying for my FOO and leaving my Ex's family to him, because frankly, they wouldn't have gotten anything, left to him.  So I did the gift shopping for both of us because I felt it was right and I felt better knowing they were getting something.

DH even has 2-3 best friends he likes to get something for...which 90% of the time...I end up buying...Lol.  Not because he wouldn't do it, I'll just happen to spot something while I'm out shopping that I know they would like.  I actually could with this DH tell him he was in charge of his presents and I would be in charge of mine and he would never bat an eye about it.  He would do it.

That's not saying if someone else chooses to split up the duties that I feel they are wrong.  If it works for them, it works for them.  I think everyone has to do what works for them in their lives and marriage.




We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Pooh

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2012, 10:04:48 AM »
That did make me think of a question though.  For those that leave his FOO to him as far as gift giving, do you do this across the board?  Like friends, his AC (if it's a blended family, etc.) 
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline pam1

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Re: I'm stuck lately...
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2012, 10:37:28 AM »
I see it much differently.  Even if DH buys for his FOO, it is still coming from our household and shared income and the gift is from both of us.  He is the one who bought it and delivered it, but it is from us.  It is exactly the same as before when I bought the gifts and insured delivery to his FOO, those gifts were also from our household and came from both of us to his folks. 

I'm not big on gifts anyway and almost always relieved when someone wants to change up the obligatory gifts by not exchanging.  So, if MIL wants to do that, I'm all for it.  But if she is using the reasoning for it because DH is now buying our gifts to her and she is upset that I'm not doing it, then it's just another mental note that she is looking for a reason to be upset with me.  But, that's only because of my exact situation and not what I would consider across the board in every IL situation.

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift