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Teresa in MO

Why do I let me mother-in-law do this to me! (JAWM)

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My dh passed away 2 1/2 years ago.  It was very sudden and it has been a long, hard road for me.  Over the past few months I have been doing a lot better.  I had to stop at my mother-in-laws house today to pick something up.  (she only lives about 3 minutes away)  We got into a conversation and she started again stating how her relationship with my late husband was closer than mine with him.  Started insinuating things also.  Went on and on.  She had done this shortly after he passed away.  Basically she stated that a mother's relationship to her children are closer than a spouse's relationship.  The thing was, at least in my dh's mind, they did not have a close relationship at all.  We talked many times how she didn't even really know who he was as a person.  Looks like I will have to keep my distance for awhile again.  I don't know I let her mess with my head!

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Oh brother.  Just smile and ignore her, you knew your husband better than anyone else, and if this is her weird way of processing his loss it’s not on you.  She probably just wants to feel closer to his memory and is putting a shine on things.  Don’t let it bother you.

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I think if I could I would smile and say, well, it's not a contest, and he sure was a wonderful man.  I miss him so much.  And then change the subject.

I'm not sure I would think of that 'in the moment' but I'd plan ahead for next time.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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Wow that’s all kind of crazy.  I like carols response.  Otherwise something similar to shut down any conversation going that direction.  And followed by “I don’t want to discuss this and I’m leaving now” if she doesn’t stop.

big hugs

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I'm so sorry.  Oh brother.  Yeah -- don't let her get under your skin...  YOU knew your dh.  Even he said they weren't close.  Please don't listen to her.  Wave and smile.  She sounds like a real weirdo.

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Oh, I am so sorry. 😕 Just to commiserate, and maybe make you not feel so alone in this... my MIL has said that exact sentiment to me on several occasions over the past 20+ years (and my dh feels the same way as your dh - they do not, and did not for many years before he met me, have a close relationship. And yet, in her mind... it's another story entirely - just rewritten in a way that she can live with, I suppose). It always catches me off guard and even though I know it isn't a true statement, it always ruffles my feathers with a sharp sting. Takes a while to shake it off.

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If, next time, you say "Don't be so damned nasty," I won't think any worse of you...

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i'm sorry.  sounds like she has issues. I would not engage in this topic with her, at all,  as she is being competitive and the message she conveys is:- "my grief is greater than yours (his wife)"  "I was more important in my son's life than his wife and (mother of his) children".

that kind of stuff comes from a place of her own emotional insecurity.    please, for your sake, ignore it - knowing you are the one who knew your dh.

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Oh, my god. My grandmother did that to my mother at the funeral, that same pointless, heartless line about how my father was closer to her than to his own wife. (No, he wasn't. He only stayed in touch with her at all because my mother insisted. After that, my mother stopped talking to her too! It's to everybody's general regret that he was buried where his mother could visit but we couldn't, but to make up for it he didn't talk to her after the funeral either.)

Keeping that in mind, I think you're well within your rights to have nothing to do with your MIL at all if you prefer. Nobody who heard what she said to you would argue with that. Don't let her mess with you. She tells herself stories because it's the only way she can cope with being stuck with herself for company all the time. You can get away from her. She can't get away from herself, poor thing.

Edited by Tanaqui
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1 hour ago, Tanaqui said:

Oh, my god. My grandmother did that to my mother at the funeral, that same pointless, heartless line about how my father was closer to her than to his own wife. (No, he wasn't. He only stayed in touch with her at all because my mother insisted. After that, my mother stopped talking to her too! It's to everybody's general regret that he was buried where his mother could visit but we couldn't, but to make up for it he didn't talk to her after the funeral either.)

Keeping that in mind, I think you're well within your rights to have nothing to do with your MIL at all if you prefer. Nobody who heard what she said to you would argue with that. Don't let her mess with you. She tells herself stories because it's the only way she can cope with being stuck with herself for company all the time. You can get away from her. She can't get away from herself, poor thing.

My MIL had actually years ago purchased all of her kids and spouses cemetery plots in her hometown two hours away.  Her parents and husband are buried there.  My dh and I had talked throughout the years and I told him I didn't know if I wanted him so far away if he died.  He told me to do whatever I and the kids wanted.  I knew when he passed that there was no way I could have him buried there.  And my kids wanted him close too.  So, my dd found a very small cemetery that is about 30 minutes away.  It is in a little rural area (we live in St. Louis), windy roads to get there, which my dh loved, deer all around. It truly is the perfect spot for him.  I go there quite frequently, though not as much as I did at first.  My MIL did say that the week before my dh told her that he wanted to be buried in the plots two hours away, but I knew that she only hears what she wants to hear.  My kids practically begged for him to be close.

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Smile and wave.  

It is her own grief. But so so inappropriate and unkind.  Even if they had been close a marriage is completely different.  

Just try to view it as her own insecurities. And if it bothers you so much certainly limit contact with her.  

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Oh my goodness. She must miss him an awful lot, and the relationship she wanted to have with him and didn't.

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24 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Oh my goodness. She must miss him an awful lot, and the relationship she wanted to have with him and didn't.

Yeah. It's a really self-centered way for her to express that, but maybe by seeing it this way, pity will allow you to respond (or not) with peace.

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28 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Oh my goodness. She must miss him an awful lot, and the relationship she wanted to have with him and didn't.

Yes, this is a good way to look at it, and is probably true.  

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3 hours ago, Teresa in MO said:

So, my dd found a very small cemetery that is about 30 minutes away.  It is in a little rural area (we live in St. Louis), windy roads to get there, which my dh loved, deer all around. It truly is the perfect spot for him. 

This sounds so lovely and like you really did the right thing.

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3 hours ago, Teresa in MO said:

My MIL had actually years ago purchased all of her kids and spouses cemetery plots in her hometown two hours away.  Her parents and husband are buried there.  My dh and I had talked throughout the years and I told him I didn't know if I wanted him so far away if he died.  He told me to do whatever I and the kids wanted.  I knew when he passed that there was no way I could have him buried there.  And my kids wanted him close too.  So, my dd found a very small cemetery that is about 30 minutes away.  It is in a little rural area (we live in St. Louis), windy roads to get there, which my dh loved, deer all around. It truly is the perfect spot for him.  I go there quite frequently, though not as much as I did at first.  My MIL did say that the week before my dh told her that he wanted to be buried in the plots two hours away, but I knew that she only hears what she wants to hear.  My kids practically begged for him to be close.

 

So glad you followed your heart on the burial spot. It sounds lovely - the kind of place I’d like for myself, when the time comes. 

My heart hurts for yours in the painful interactions with your MIL. She must be incredibly lonely after driving off her own kids. No excuse for her behavior, though. 

I acknowledge that as a mother, I will have had some (many?) experiences with my child that a future spouse wasn’t part of- those child rearing years. But for Pete’s sake, those precious times aren’t to be held onto and used as a weapon. I hope to one day share those memories with a future dil to help her know her man better - never as a contest. Those apron strings will be fully cut!

I wish peace for you, Theresa. You’ve fought through some tough years and I hope that the words of a bitter old woman won’t stick with you and discourage you (though you sure are justified in being mad in the moment!). I believe you were a wonderful wife, are a wonderful mother, are a strong woman. Praying happy times ahead for you!

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That's awful.  I want to give her grace and say she is striking out blindly in her grief, but of course she is not striking blindly, she is striking where she knows it will cause the most pain.  What a terrible thing to do.  

I'm sorry for your loss.  And for your MIL continuously picking at the scab.  

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My paternal grandmother did similar.  Only she blamed my mother, then cut off contact for awhile.

It was hurtful to us kids.  Protect your kids.

And she died four years later.

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{{{Hugs}}}

Edited by ---
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