Fallout with MIL...

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Posted 10/5/2012 by momto4kiddos in NSBR Board
 

momto4kiddos
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Posted: 10/5/2012 7:12:35 PM
Likely in the coming week i'll be faced with the situation of seeing MIL at a family funeral.

We (MIL/I) had a falling out several years ago (think it's been about 4 years.) Very long story short, she was mad at me because she viewed me as the cause of dh telling her no to something. For whatever reason she became unhinged over it (it was odd because it wasn't a big deal type thing and dh offered her a nice alternative to what she wanted.)

So she gave him crap about it one day, then called back twice more over the course of several days and absolutely flipped at him both times, screaming and yelling (I could hear her from across the room!) Essentially she blames me for all the worlds problems. She was totally nasty, pretty much saying i'm a piece of crap.

Months go by and all of the sudden she wants to visit (lives out of state and usually spent part of visits with us.) Dh now has to tell her she isn't welcome to stay here. Of course she's mad, but by next visit she'd like to fix things. She tries to gloss over things, wants to move on, but she never so much as apologizes, just pulls the "as a mother i'm sure you can understand how hurt I am not to be able to see, etc."

I haven't had anything to do with her since (easy enough since she's rarely here for a visit.) But now i'm going to have to deal with her. I can go and be pleasant, easy enough.

But I am one of those people who hates confrontation. I was beyond stunned at the way she spoke about me and how much hatred there was in what she was saying! If I do not care for someone i'm nice, but try to limit exposure, not go around and tell them what an *sshole they are!
I'm ok with seeing her because I have to. I can say a few words to her and would like to quickly move away from the situation. But i'm not sure what to do if she starts something?? It could be nasty or it could be I want to apologize and come stay with you tonight. I don't want to be totally rude, but while I could accept an apology, i'm not into hanging out together.

Another big piece that I could use advice on is that i'm quite certain she's bad-mouthed me to the rest of the family. Dh is not close to his family so I haven't seen them. I'm concerned about one of them also confronting me and telling me how horrible it's been for her or something like that. She plays the victim quite well and honestly i'm not the type to sit and refute things piece by piece. I have no intentions of bad-mouthing her, playing the victim myself or any other thing. I'd just like to get through it without discussing it AT ALL!

biochemipea
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Posted: 10/5/2012 7:20:07 PM
Be polite. Be happy to see her. Be nice. If she starts to argue, just say very nicely with a smile, 'this isn't the place to discuss this'. If she wants to make ammends, let her.

I don't understand why you stopped seeing her over this issue. It sounds like she was terribly rude, but was it really so bad you had to terminate your relationship with her and have your DH tell her she was no longer welcome at your house?

How do you reconcile the fact that you want to move past things now and not talk about them, but you hold the fact that your MIL wanted the same thing against her?

It sounds like you EXPECT an apology. From your description, it certainly sounds like it would be the right thing for her to do. However, I am finally learning in my life that EXPECTATIONS earn you nothing but disappointment.

Let go of your worries about what she 'might' have said to the other members of the family. You don't know what, if anything, she has said, and you are causing yourself a lot of stress and putting a lot of problems into an already problematic situation.







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dynalady
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Posted: 10/5/2012 7:22:24 PM
If he's not close to his family and hasn't seen them why are you even going to the funeral?







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megmc
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Posted: 10/5/2012 7:25:23 PM
WOW! sounds just like my in-laws

all I have for you is BIG HUGS.

LunchBox
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Posted: 10/5/2012 7:37:52 PM

Dh is not close to his family so I haven't seen them.
If he isn't close and you haven't seen them why are you going? I thought a funeral is to give support to those who lost the loved one and give respect to the deceased. If you do go, why not just sit on the other side of the room. Your dh is going to be there, if she confronts you, stand behind his shoulder and allow him to deal with it.

Laurel Jean
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Posted: 10/5/2012 7:48:49 PM
((hugs))

I can tell you were very hurt by the original incident. When someone overreacts like she did to a minor thing, and punishes you for it, it stings.

But (and I am not judging you when I say this), time has passed, and she has, at least once, demonstrated that she wants to re-establish a relationship. Although she may never apologize (some folks are just not capable), there may be a possibility that you can have at least something with her.

You may never trust her entirely, and that's ok, but with appropriate boundries in place, you may be able to choose to let her be part of your lives again.

The choice belongs to you and your DH. Only the two of you know all the background and circumstances. Remember, though, life is short, and we all have our imperfections.


UkSue
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Posted: 10/5/2012 7:49:34 PM
I had to suck it up and be cordial to several family members at my MIL's funeral 3 weeks ago. It wasn't comfortable for me, but it was a beautiful funeral and the gravity of the occasion completely negated my own discomfiture over things that suddenly seemed relatively trivial.

Also, if it's any consolation to you, the occasion had affected everyone else in the same way as it did me, and everyone behaved impeccably. I hope it is the same for you, too.


It's not the passage of time that heals. It's what you do with that time.

momto4kiddos
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Posted: 10/5/2012 9:33:55 PM
To answer a few questions... Dh isn't close with parts of the family, but that doesn't include everyone and we will need to attend.

Biochemipea: She wanted to move past things and move on (aka let's sweep it under the rug so I can resume doing as I please.) I'm ok with moving on, being cordial. I am not ok with pretending it didn't happen and playing hostess when she visits all the while she treats me like something on the bottom of her shoe!

Apology would have been nice, but really it doesn't change the fact that she does not like me. While I realize not everyone in the world likes me, I do expect that you play nice instead of tearing me a new one without provocation!

Thanks for the understanding and hugs. As mentioned she really did hurt me. I just prefer to keep my distance and not be involved with someone like her (trust me it wasn't just a bad day, many years led up to the incident so i'm pretty comfortable with my decision to keep her at a distance.)

I think it's pretty workable to just state it's not the appropriate time for such discussions if need be. Hopefully everyone can be cordial and leave it be and go in their own directions.

phdscrap
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Posted: 10/5/2012 9:54:38 PM
This might be an unpopular position - but I think you should show your mil grace. She is your husbands mom - he chose you (as he should) and that was probably a painful realization for her.

I believe you when you say she said horrible things. But, this was one incident. It has been several years. You can *be right* and demand an apology. But what are you really accomplishing besides an estrangement between dh and mil.

OTOH, if you show her grace and she treats you bad again, you can go back to not associating with her.

I really think that all mil and dil should be given one free pass. That particular relationship is probably one of the hardest. If she has tried to make up why not be the bigger person.

This world could use a little more grace.


Jules

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Posted: 10/5/2012 10:02:46 PM
What a beautiful post, Jules. I wish the world were filled with more people like you.


Elise

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cycworker
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Posted: 10/5/2012 10:44:24 PM
You won't like my answer.... I believe we're called to forgive. She's an elder in your family and your dh's mother. Let go of the past, wipe the slate clean, and find a way to move on so you/your dh and kids can have a relationship with her. No matter how you feel about her, you need to be welcoming for their sake.


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rechickw4
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Posted: 10/6/2012 12:26:51 AM
My MIL received many free passes from her children and their spouses. I could literally lose count over how many. But she battled with alcoholism and I'm sure other mental disorders. But she absolutely loved her kids and her life had revolved around them. My boundaries after dealing with for years was the safety of my children and her being respectful (which was only a problem one time...and we left immediately).

She died unexpectedly a few years ago, and I am amazed how the bad times we dealt with are harder for me to remember, yet I get sad at times when events happen that I know would have been the light of her life.

Please try and have an honest conversation with your MIL about why you are hurt. You will probably find you can move on and let it go. If you can't, give her another chance...or more. No one is perfect.

Kerry in CT
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Posted: 10/6/2012 8:37:19 AM
I'm sorry your family is dealing with this. I'm sure she said a lot of things that hurt and will be hard to forget. At least in this case your DH backed you up. How many times have the Peas jumped on someone because he didn't??!

I know a lot of Peas are saying to forgive her, but it sounds like there is some history behind this story. Don't feel guilty if you cannot move forward in a relationship with her right now. You are doing well just to deal with her in a pleasant manner and not shut her completely out of your lives.

If other family members feel the need to bring up the subject at the funeral, the simplest response would expand what another pea mentioned: "This is not the place for this discussion, but please remember that there are TWO sides to every story."


Kerry in CT

Mewcat
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Posted: 10/6/2012 9:46:38 AM
This might be an unpopular position - but I think you should show your mil grace. She is your husbands mom - he chose you (as he should) and that was probably a painful realization for her.



I also agree with showing her grace.

But in the event that she does try to start something you say, I agree with another poster: "This is not the place for this discussion, but please remember that there are TWO sides to every story" and walk away. This is the best way to handle it. Its possible that she will behave herself at the funeral, but in the event that it doesn't happen you have a way out. Yes maybe it is possible that she has "bad-mouthed" you. However, people make their own decisions and others who have been around her know what her MO is.

As other posters said some people are not capable of apologizing. Your MIL might be one of them. I know its hard but forgiving her will be easier. Remember that forgiveness was meant to set us free. It doesn't mean that you don't completely forget what she said or did, but that you are wiser the second time around.

It doesn't mean as Kerry in CT said "Don't feel guilty if you cannot move forward in a relationship with her right now." No one expects you to be "buddy buddy" with her overnight. I also agree with Laurel Jean and others that boundaries are needed with her. There is a reason why we set boundaries with people and why Drs. Cloud and Townsend wrote the "Boundaries" book.


~*Melissa*~

Mariah2
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Posted: 10/6/2012 9:50:38 AM
From Miss Manners:

Person says something rude or asks a rude question.

You: "what did you just say?"

Person repeats

You: "that's what I thought you said"

Change subject. "what a beautiful flower arrangement. I wonder who sent it..."


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ilovepaper
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Posted: 10/6/2012 9:56:47 AM

Dh now has to tell her she isn't welcome to stay here. Of course she's mad, but by next visit she'd like to fix things.


I have to agree with the others who say let it go and show her some grace. When my husband and I were first married, I had many issues with my MIL. The best thing I ever did was find a way to overlook some of the things she does and find a way to get along with her. We get along very well now, but it took time.



Andrea

recap.pea
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Posted: 10/6/2012 9:58:46 AM
To me there is a simple solution...go to the funeral, be polite to everyone and don't say much to anyone. If someone tries to start something (which I highly doubt considering where you will be), simply say "this is not the time nor the place for this discussion" and walk away.

I do hope you can patch things up with you MIL though. Life is too short to go through life like that. For your husband's sake and your own, it would be good if you could forgive her (even without a formal apology). You will probably never be best buds but it would be nice if peace were in the family


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*~*amanda*~*
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Posted: 10/6/2012 11:45:48 AM
Go and be nice and polite to everyone, even MIL.

If anyone brings up the situation just say that you don't feel this is the time or place to discuss it and change the topic of conversation.

That is true. A funeral isn't the time or place for past grievances.



Princess Pea
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Posted: 10/6/2012 7:50:13 PM

To me there is a simple solution...go to the funeral, be polite to everyone and don't say much to anyone. I'd someone tries to start something (which I highly doubt considering where you will be), simply say "this is not the time nor the place for this discussion" and walk away.


This. I do hope that you can patch things up. I've come to realize that we spend say too much time and energy worrying about these things. You can't MAKE a person like you. Sometimes I think that in the case of relations with ILs, the person made a decision a long time ago that she doesn't like you and is now using this situation as an excuse. Do what you can on your end and then move on.


Melissa

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"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
Theodore Roosevelt


colscraps
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Posted: 10/6/2012 8:03:37 PM

This might be an unpopular position - but I think you should show your mil grace. She is your husbands mom - he chose you (as he should) and that was probably a painful realization for her.

I believe you when you say she said horrible things. But, this was one incident. It has been several years. You can *be right* and demand an apology. But what are you really accomplishing besides an estrangement between dh and mil.

OTOH, if you show her grace and she treats you bad again, you can go back to not associating with her.

I really think that all mil and dil should be given one free pass. That particular relationship is probably one of the hardest. If she has tried to make up why not be the bigger person.

This world could use a little more grace.



What a lovely post. Thank you phdscrap, for the reminder to show grace.



momto4kiddos
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Posted: 10/7/2012 9:45:32 AM
Thanks for all the advice. I know it's unlikely anyone will say anything regarding it. If anyone does start a conversation, I will politely end it.

As far as MIL goes, I definitely feel for her position and can show her grace and kindness. Unfortunately it wasn't a one time lapse in her judgement and she also went after my kids (her grandchildren.) But I know i'm not the person she is and I can be the better person. I guess I was more nervous that someone would bring it up to rehash and although I never said an unkind word and I don't want to have to now.

Lorri.V.
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Posted: 10/7/2012 10:28:36 AM
Life is not too short to keep toxic people out of your lives. It sounds like your hubby made a decision on his own and was not "pushed by the wife". I had to remove my mother from my life 20 years ago. She was toxic. Many people that knew her from our old neighbourhood were very supportive of me over the years. She died this past year and no I did not have any regrets. I shed some tears for the mother I lost and never had but quickly was reminded of all that she did. I, on the other hand, make and made many mistakes with my own children but we talk and I can say I am sorry and move on.

Good luck with the situation and remember there are those of us out here that had to live our lives the best we could and did not make nice with toxic people.

Lorri

Epeanymous
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Posted: 10/7/2012 10:36:56 AM
There have been several time in my fifteen years of marriage when I could have written your post. One thing I have learned over this time is that dh's parents are the type who scream hurtful invectives and basically have a temper tantrum, and, a few weeks later, it is like nothing happened. I, on the other hand, was raised in a house with very quiet parents who would only yell or say something nasty if they were planning to cut all ties with the person they were yelling at. Now, I think that my family's approach is more sane, but I have had to adjust to the fact that this is my inlaws' "normal," and, however it makes me feel and however wrong it probably is for them to do, the level of illl-will and malice that I hear in their words isn't what they mean to convey.

Well, I can type that all out rationally, but, honestly, in the moment, I always still feel lousy, and I have a very difficult time letting those negative feelings go (while for dh and his parents, they figuratively pull the plug on the bath water and it quickly drains out). Go, be civil, and hope that acting civil helps you let it go. Accept that you will not get an apology. I am sorry.

TheOtherMeg
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Posted: 10/7/2012 10:47:34 AM

But in the event that she does try to start something you say, I agree with another poster: "This is not the place for this discussion, but please remember that there are TWO sides to every story" and walk away.

Say as little as possible to everyone at the funeral, and if compelled to reply to a negative statement, use the above response. Repeatedly, if necessary.



You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists. ~Abbie Hoffman




pennyring
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Posted: 10/7/2012 12:05:39 PM
This situation is all about the redirect, "Oh, I'm not here to talk about that today. I'm here to support my husband. Wow, these flowers are beautiful! How have you and the kids been?"

Stop the questions. Redirect. Move on.

This is the advice the peas gave me years ago and it works well. (I don't talk to my mom but have to see her occasionally at family events.)




Cariad12000
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Posted: 10/7/2012 12:21:24 PM
Go kill her with kindness. If she is looking to be a victim or confrontation you'll take the wind right out of her sails. My Bro and I had a huge bust up and he cut me out of his life, but I still sent cards xmas pressies etc.

He eventually told my other bro how awkward he then felt. He'd have much preferred for me to ignore him so he could play the victim but he was the one left with egg on his face!! He eventually came and made up but he thinks twice about confronting me now.


CARIAD

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AncestralPea

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Posted: 10/7/2012 1:54:25 PM
I just wanted to address one part of your post.

You expressed concern that your MIL has bad mouthed you to two,e people in the family (presumably that you might care about). My MIL did that as well. I never said an unkind word about her to anyone in her family.

No one in DH's family was ever unkind to me except MIL. After she died, I kind of got the impression that over the years she had talked about everyone in the family at one time or another behind their back.

I wouldn't worry about it.



ladygarter1574
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Posted: 10/7/2012 8:15:54 PM
If things are confrontational I suggest practicing these two phrases and actions:

MIL: "I'm sorry you feel that way/believe that." then change the topic or turn and quietly leave her presence.

Relatives: "I'm sorry you got pulled into this drama." then change the topic to something about themselves or turn to find friendly family.

Otherwise attend the funeral with the attitude you will be polite and kind to all. Bring the thought you will be ready to offer forgiveness if an apology is offered even if awkwardly.

I believe that forgiveness allows you to let the pain go but does not require you forget that person hasn't hesitated to hurt you.

Christina
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