Saturday, January 18, 2014

Explosions- more in-law upheavals

Not long ago, I wrote about my difficulties with my mother-in-law. Today, I write the follow up.  The situation exploded today, and my husband and I are feeling burnt, exhausted, and dazed.

This most recent episode started on Facebook.  My husband, who started his new job Thursday, posted that it was a good day.  His colleagues and friends rushed to congratulate him over the next day, which was a fantastic feeling, until his mother posted about how she raised him right, and laid claim to credit for his success that does not belong to her. Heather, who not only is my sounding board, my partner in crime, and my dear, dear friend, helped me serve up some indirect revenge by posting a playfully worded smack down (about how isn't it nice that our parents claim responsibility for our achievements decades past when they should) and that credit should go to me for supporting my husband through thick and thin to get to this point. My husband, in an attempt to mollify me, posted a response that acknowledged his mother's outrageous claims, but also credited me (I wasn't super happy that he didn't just say she didn't get to take credit for this unless she wants to take credit for his brother's incarceration).  However, his sister decided to text him that "support comes in many forms" and that he didn't need to be "snide" about it (this coming from someone who hasn't visited him but once in five years in spite of living near by).  At that point, he put the phone away for the night and decided to deal with the stupidity the next day.

As we were preparing to run our Saturday errands so my poor husband could call his sister and say his piece, I was two things on Facebook that probably mean I'll never talk to these people again.  The first was his mother's response to his comment, which was full of subtle blaming of him and multiple references to how she is the victim to his neglect (again, she lives near enough to visit and has only done so once since his dad died, but she has traveled all over the country to attend second cousin's birthday parties or camp in Yosemite). Then I saw something worse, and to borrow a car analogy, I hit the red line.  It was a congratulations to my husband's brother on his wedding day. Not one of them told my husband that his brother was getting married on Saturday.  There were tears, swear words, some threats of violence, and some discussions about what to do, but mostly there is a lot of pain and anger.  For fifteen years, I've watched these people hurt my husband, and sometimes my children, with their callousness, but ends now.

So, reigning in my more violent self, I wrote a letter explaining, with concrete examples,  why I find their behavior unacceptable. It's in the mail. I know it won't change them because they love to be victims, but it makes me feel better because they can't play dumb about how we feel. It's a first step, in any event. For the moment, my husband has made it clear that he doesn't really want to talk to them because he needs some time and space, and for him, this is a huge step towards forcing them to treat him with respect or staying out of his life.  It also prevents them from getting our children involved in their nastiness, which a huge plus for me.

Healing is long way off, but I think for the first time, it might me achievable.  So, with that hope, we look for a way to forward, without people who have for years treated us badly. I'm feeling more confident that we will find that way and the healing we need than ever before.

I want to the thank the people who encouraged me to draw the line and take a stand against my mother-in-law. It helps to feel supported when doing scary things like this, so thank you!

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