Friday, April 6, 2007

My mother-in-law

I love my mother-in-law (hereinafter MIL) but sometimes I don't like her. A few weeks ago, Husband was supposed to go up to his mom's house and set up her computer along with her internet service. We live 2 hours away, so a visit requires gas and gas requires money. We have absolutely no money. The weekend he was scheduled to go up was the same weekend as my D&C so he postponed the visit until the following weekend (just this past weekend, actually).

Because I didn't want to be alone all day on a Saturday and without a car, I decided to go with him to MIL's house. Our plan was to be at her house for a few hours, just long enough for him to set up her computer, and then we would proceed to a large park called Mendon Ponds for the afternoon before heading home. When Husband and I first dated, we would go to Mendon Ponds with the Jack Russell Terrier and walk the trails. It's a lovely place, and I tend to feel peaceful when I visit the ponds. We even went so far as to call MIL and let her know of our plans so that she wouldn't expect us to stay for the day. It was a good plan.

Husband told his mom that the subject of my miscarriage was off limits and requested that she not bring it up. When we arrived, Husband went right to work on her computer. I was stuck talking to MIL, despite the fact that I was attempting to read my casebook for school. She proceeded to go on and on about Husband's 2 cousins, both of them are 3 years old. Great, just what I want to talk about...children. Then, as she walked away, she threw in that one of those 3 year olds plus his older brother would be coming over for the day. Perfect. And, that we would be coloring Easter eggs together. Wow, it just gets better and better.

Just as Husband is finishing up, she tells me that dinner will be ready at 3pm. Dinner? No sooner do I find out that she has slated us for dinner, does Husband's sister show up. Clearly this dinner thing had been planned from the beginning and she had not warned or even asked Husband whether he wanted to stay. Once dinner was done, I thought, well, we still have some daylight to go to the ponds. When I go to look for Husband so we can round up the dogs and head out, I discover him in MIL's driveway surrounded by parts excavated from his sister's car door. In fact, he had taken the whole thing apart to fix her window. I was in shock.

It was quite clear from that point, that we would not be going to the ponds, and that MIL had no intention of allowing us to stick to the plan we had told her about. We had been ambushed once again by my MIL. Fuck.

The kicker is that I was angry with myself for expecting things to be different than they are. I went in expecting to follow our plan when in the past such plans have always been summarily ignored by MIL and Husband. What was I thinking? I know better than to expect what I cannot have, and yet I expect it anyway.

I want to take a long walk off a short pier. I want to play in traffic. I want to go to war. Anything that would provide a method of self destruction. I am so tired of me. When I look forward at the minutes I have to fill, I just want to leave them empty.

31 comments:

Adrienne said...

Husband needs to stand up to your MIL. I know that's easier said than done, but he should have put your mental well-being before his mother's manipulation. I'm sorry I'm saying mean things about him (and her), but I'm very, very angry on your behalf. Have you told him how you feel?

Not so little sister said...

Hey. Nicole. None of this play in traffic shit, okay? Not.an.option.

I'd be pissed at my MIL if she did something like that too. Man, I hate when I get my expectations up for something only to be let down. I agree with Adrienne though. Speak up for yourself and hopefully Husband will stick up for you next time. He sounds like such a good Husband, so hopefully he'll come around.

Sorry for the tough love above, but c'mon. We want you around.

Dream Writer said...

At my age of 40 years old, I have come to the point where I don't care who you are, or where we are...if I want to do something I do it and If I don't well then, I don't.

I tell my mother and even my mother-in-law the deal...I come off bitchy a lot to others, but too bad.

This is YOUR LIFE, not hers and not even his.. If that was me, I would have told my husband to have a nice meal and I would have went to the pond myself.

I'm not kidding. One day my in-laws were visiting (we all live in different states) and my mother in law pissed me off and so did my husband...we were getting ready to go out to eat and I told them to go eat without me...I wasn't going!

I sat by my pool with a nice bottle of wine and made myself a nice meal!

I've learned in life that we cannot ALWAYS please others (the disease to please)...shit! The others have no problem pleasing themselves by making us do things without feeling bad and guilty, so why should we?

jo(e) said...

It sounds like your husband simply does not know how to set boundaries with his mother and stick to them. I'd be angry at my husband for something like that.

Next time, maybe you need to have a plan ahead of time. If you and your husband decided ahead of time, for instance, that you were going to go to the ponds at 2 pm, maybe at 2 pm you should have just taken the car and gone there yourself.

My Reality said...

I am not sure if I would be more upset with my mother in law in this situation or my husband. I think I would be more pissed at my husband for not standing up for me.

I am sorry your day wasn't how you planned.

Jenny F. Scientist said...

I'm with NSLS: No playing in traffic.

My MIL does much the same thing- Mr. S can stand up to her, but it's a strain and hassle, etc. I'd agree- he needs to set limits, with you, and STICK TO THEM. End of story. Otherwise, the husband-beating stick.

What I finally decided was- as the other women say!- that she simply couldn't make decisions for me. So last time we were there, I took the car and visited my aunt for three days. Next time, yeah, take the car and go, and you'll be back in three hours and then you are going home.

Grrr all around.

Sarah said...

When this was the one thing you thought you control in your life, and then those plans were taken away from you, it must be maddening.

And while I hope more than anything that you don't play in traffic, I totally understand the desire to. That feeling of not being able to scream loud enough for anyone to understand how much you hurt inside... feeling that the only way to express the feelings is through some action...

Just wanted to let you know that everything you wrote made sense... I hope writing about it took away a little bit of the hurt (it does sometimes, as you know)...

Casey said...

(((Nicole)))

ultimatejourney said...

I'm sorry you had such a frustrating experience. Your MIL sounds just like mine -- self-absorbed and clueless. I agree with the other ladies that you need to be less accommodating of both your husband and your MIL. They should be bending over backwards to make things go smoothly for you after what you've been through. Please, please, please switch to self-preservation mode. You deserve it.

tipsymarie said...

I don't even know these people, and that situation really makes me mad. You NEEDED to go and relax - did neither your husband or MIL understand this? I am confused - you just went through a mc, and you need to do for yourself right now. Oh man. I just read theoneliner's post about insensitivity, and now this. I really just don't get people sometimes.

Aurelia said...

This is so NOT your fault, and nothing to do with you. Your husband should know better, and your MIL, I have no words for beyond sputtering rage.

Give me the address, and I'll go after her house with a pitchfork for you. And maybe give your husband a little poke too! Grrrrr

Jason and Samantha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason and Samantha said...

Sorry about the MIL. :(

But you have a great hubby :)

((((HUGS))))

TInk said...

Thank you for the warm wishes. It's very much appreciated!

Sorry to hear about everything going on with you. It's not easy. We know that. And sometimes people in our lives get so wound up in themselves that they forget that. We're all human.

I'm not at all condoning their behavior... it was just a reminder for you to take a DEEP breath! MIL's are like that... mine drives me nuts, bonkers and insane too!

Hang in there!

Venusuvian Debs said...

Been in a funk for a good 3 weeks at least. I can emphathise with how you feel. Feel better soon :)

Renee said...

Sorry your MIL ruined your day...make DH pay for it. hee hee

My MIL is great, it's my mom who is the problem. But today she calls and she's all whiney about her life and tells me to tell her off because she doesn't want for me to stop talking to her like my brothers.
I feel a bit sorry for my mom 'cuz she is living by the two of her kids who don't want to be near her and her favorite children live far away. But not sorry enough to move back home.

OHN said...

UGH! I pray I remember posts like this when I become a MIL someday so I don't try to pull that shit. I bet you anything she was controlling when husband and his sibs were growing up and it has never stopped.

Because I am an older bitch now I wouldn't have hesitated to say "Oh, I am so sorry MIL but remember I told you that we are going to Mendon Ponds? We really need the time together right now" then give husband the evil eye and march my ass to the car. Now, mind you when I was in my 20's I would never have had the nerve...age is very freeing :)

marlena rivers said...

hi. i agree with most of the other commenters. especially that life is short or even if it's long, your time is valuable and the ML was walking all over it, with no consideration for you as a person, especially given what you're going through but even if it was a regular day for you, you should not have to submit to that kind of control and manipulation. others have given good advice, so i won't repeat it, except to say how important for you right now to only do as much as possible what you feel like doing. to hell with everyone else. really. i mean doing good things for yourself and avoiding any unnecessary stresses. i find it helpful to in my mind or on paper draw a circle, put myself in the center and then put all th epositive people and animals in my life who are supportive and good to me in the circle, and put the people like your mother in law outside the circle. the people outside the circle are always welcome to enter the circle when they behave in a way that is supportive and nurturing and positive in your life, just like anyone inside the circle could be put on the outside if s/he becomes a destructive influence...

Maggs said...

my mil is just crazy. plain and simple.

thrice said...

I'm sorry...... He should have realized how important the planned day was to you, especially now. I'm sorry.....

Sara said...

(hugs)
Standing up to parents - yours or otherwise, can be so freaking hard. We're all so conditioned to be *nice* about things that when people push those limits or take advantage of familial positions it can be almost impossible to say anything. I know I've been left fuming in impotent rage over my MIL's antics... with probably less reason....

Playing in traffic, however, will solve nothing and will only confirm their feelign that they were right...

ellie said...

That just plain sucks. Sorry you got stuck there for the day-- maybe do it in reverse next time-- go to the park first and then just plain show up for the 2nd half of the day. I am all about having my needs met first--and if she is notorious for re-planning your day-- showing up late or doing what you need to do first seems fair. Anyhow, my assvice-- and you didn't ask for it so feel free to ignore it.

infertilemertil said...

Ugh. Sorry you had such a crappy day. You handled that much better than I would have. I agree with what everyone else before me has said. MIL is apparently one of those people who assume they know what is best for everyone else. Don't you just love it when people believe they know what you want - even when it is the opposite of what you say you want? I hope the rest of your weekend went better.

Ol' Lady said...

my MIL from this marriage was an angel...and now she is one :)
my 1st MIL lived to make my life hell, she thought I wasn't good enough for her son (she told him this with me in hearing distance) then she made lots of noise about women keeping their maiden names or worse...hyphen in between both names...I did the hyphen just to piss her off. When Baby was born I wanted to name her one thing and shorten it to another...she agreed with the name and thought it should be shortened but not to what I wanted, what she said she would call Baby just cut through me I couldn't stand it. So what did I do? The only logical thing...I gave Baby the shortened name only for a first name and I hyphened her last name...needless to say MIL wasn't to pleased with me, but I was, it was the first time that I did anything about her and her bullshit.
BTW it will get easier as you get older to do what you want when you want.

niobe said...

Your last paragraph sounds like an echo of my own voice. Whenever I'm (however legitimately) furious at someone else, somehow I always manage to turn it around so that the person I end up hating is myself.

LIW (Lady In Waiting) said...

I agree 100% with adrienne. As hard as it is, your husband has to stand up to his mother for your well-being. Mr. LIW and I had many fights about him kowtowing to his mother and he has come a long way. But, unfortunately, you have to make it very clear how much you need him to do that. It is really hard to make a stand like this but your husband may just need pressure from you to do it.

And you sound so very very depressed which makes me sad....

I know that this would have been so difficult to do, but next time could you take the car and go to the park by yourself for a while. Even just for an hour or so. Or make up an errand to run. Anything to get you out of that space where you feel so out of control. I realize that it wouldn't solve the problem but it might help a bit.

occasionalconfusion said...

You know? that would piss me off so much, too. I mean, you guys let her know about your plans and she still forced you guys to accomodate with her plans. I hate when I get stuck in situations like that too. I would do what Dream Writer said she would do, which is to just leave husband in there and you go to the ponds alone.
One time I was stuck in a situation like that with my bf, who i live with, and I told him that I was leaving but that I would pick him up later on. He just decided to leave with me. But after a few situations like that I think he has learned not to push my bottons too much 'cause I'll stay bitchy for a long long time. Hope you feel better today :-)

Baby Blues said...

I'm sorry you got ambushed. It's just too sad when your own families sometimes don't get it. If that happened to me. I'd be giving hubby "the look" and would have been kicking him under the table.

hope548 said...

I have been really busy and hadn't checked in with you in a while. I am so very sorry for your loss. So so very sorry. You hang in there and take care of yourself. You are not alone.

Renee said...

re: Pretzel recipes. I've heard of the baking soda & boiling water for browning before, but have never tried it.
The lye definately does add a flavor to the pretzles...I dip mine really fast to try to reduce it...especially for the sugared pretzels. But now that I know that smell I can pick it out at those pretzel places in the mall.
My MIL says that she's tried the egg & baking soda meathods but she likes the way the lye browns them up best.

Renee said...

how are you doing?