Family Drama, Again!
It’s no secrete that my mother-in-law and I do not have the best of relationship.
I make an effort, because she is my husband’s mom. I spent years trying to be the daughter-in-law she seems to want, but it never worked. And then, one day I decided to stop trying to be someone I’m not, because it’s not right and it wasn’t working anyways. I will never be subservient to my husband, I will never be a stay-at-home mom, we never intend to move to the city they live in so that we can ever visit once a week (or more). And, I will never be able to provide her with multiple grandchildren, even if I wanted to.
(As an aside, I honestly don’t think it’s me that she hates. I think it’s the concept of me – her son’s wife. I think any women who married her son, that didn’t match her 1950s version of wife, would be treated the way I am treated. And, I also don’t think Mr. MPB would have married someone who met her 1950s version of wife, so I don’t think she would have liked anyone who fell in love with).
But, even though years ago I stopped trying so hard to be her version of the perfect wife, I can proudly say, I have never in my life been mean or cruel to her. I have been as polite as possible, I bite my tongue and avoid confrontation at all costs (this is my husband’s expressed wish, so I try my damndest to do it). Yet, I have still gone out of my way to organize thoughtful gifts from their kids and grandkids and I even started this visit by inviting her for pedicure with me as my treat. Needless to say, I know I’m not perfect, but I have tried to treat her the same way I treat other people, in-spite of the fact she’s not all that nice to me.
Well, this trip, I said something that she really did not like (in fact, I’ve asked a few friends who would give me an honest opinion if I was out of line, and they have all told me that I was not). She proceeded to give me the silent treatment for 2 solid days. And, she even ignored my son, as if trying to make me angrier. And let me tell you, it did!! It’s one thing to be mad at me, but to ignore a toddler, who doesn’t understand, is simply cruel and unacceptable. Little MPB kept trying to play with her and hold her hand, and she kept pulling her hand away from him and simply ignoring him. This was not okay. In fact, I’m still angry that she would treat a child this way, especially her own grandson. When she did start talking to Little MPB again, she proceeded to teach him to play on the stairs and to plug/unplug items into electrical sockets (I’m fairly confident she wasn’t doing this to intentionally hurt her grandson, but the fact that we’ve spent his entire life discouraging these unsafe activities and she proceeds to teach him these things while mad at me, makes me wonder. And for the record, at this point I did voice that these games were unsafe and not allowed, this didn’t help her be less angry at me, but I don’t care when my child’s safety is involved).
She also ignored my family when they also stopped by to visit the next day. Which resulted in some very odd conversations between my family and I, as they asked what was wrong with her – we all came to the conclusion they were being ignored because they were related to me, the spawn of the devil. I told them the truth of the situation, they also reinforced that what I said wasn’t inappropriate.
Then, the next day when we were saying goodbye at the airport, both her and her husband goodbye to Mr. MPB and Little MPB and gave them hugs. They both did not say goodbye to me, and refused give me hugs.
I am a big girl, and honestly part of me could careless if I never have to speak to his mom again. But, part of me is also heartbroken as I go out of my way to do nice things for them – I’m even the one who encouraged/forced Mr. MPB to invite them out for Christmas this year. I seem to be the only one of their children and/or children’s spouses who does this stuff for them. And I do it, because it’s the right thing to do.
But, I’m officially done. This behaviour was simply unacceptable, and not something I will willing exposure myself to anymore. I will still be polite if they talk to me, but that’s it. I will not be doing anything special or nice for them, not anymore. I will not be forcing family visits, in fact, I wont even be encouraging them.
And I struggle with future visits. I’ve made the decision that I do not plan to be home if they are in my home again because I do not need to be exposed to people like this. But, then, is it appropriate that I am being chased out of my own home? And, is it appropriate to leave my son near them, people who withhold love and affection from a toddler? (Mr. MPB points out that he was raised this way and turned out normal, so for Little MPB to spend less then a week every year with this type of behaviour isn’t the end of the world). Mr. MPB would obviously be with them all, but I’m not sure that is enough. Maybe the better option is that if they choose to visit, we tell them to stay in a hotel, which will give us daily separation/breaks?
I don’t know the answer to any of this right now, I assume I will calm down over time. But, I also know that I will not willing be treated this way again.
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