Thursday, 23 May 2013

Mother's Day Blow Out

That's how I'll always think of that day now.

[I know I said I may not write about this but I need to.  I need an outlet.  And if it's not here it might be at an inappropriate time.  Letting these thoughts just roll around in my head is turning them more toxic by the second.]

After we bought the new place D's Mommy dearest starting acting a little out of sorts.  She always measures a little bit unstable but until this point it's always been manageable for us and her.  The news of the new place sent her off the richter scale.

For a few weeks, her behaviour wan't quite normal. However we mostly just ignored it, chalking it up to the stress of the news that we wouldn't be around for a couple of months.   Not a huge deal we thought, as they usually travel south for a couple months in the winter themselves.

In the weeks preceding my Grandpa's death,  we had been asking MIL to choose a date to come and spend a weekend with us in the new place.    We were excited to show them our new place.

Every time D asked, she said they couldn't come.   She amped up the excuses and told us about how our cats wouldn't get a long (traveling without hers is not an optional in her mind), and about how Gramma (who lives with them) isn't good enough to travel.  This is sometimes true, but lately she's been on road trips of equivalent length and has been doing well.  Every single time that D talked with them he asks them to come and visit.   Every single time they break out one of their excuses.  D was very frustrated by this.

I told D that if it was up to me, that I would just say to her  something to the effect of "you know we would love to have you visit us.  Please let us know when you are ready".  D said the fact that I even would consider saying such a thing to his mother means I really have no clue about how she operates.  I guess I don't.  I just don't like the idea of feeding into their games and us begging them several times a week to come visit us.  Shouldn't they WANT to come see the place that their son, their only child just purchased?  I figured if they want to see us, and the place, then eventually they'd come.

He says that if we said that to her, that she just wouldn't come and she would hold a grudge forever.

Um, okay. Nice.

We have a rule in our relationships with our parents that I deal with mine, and he deals with his.  This has worked well until this point.  It keeps us out of messy waters with our in-laws.   So I backed off trying to influence their visit to us.

Fast forward another couple of weeks when my Grandfather passed. It was the day before Mother's day.  Mother's Day is a bitter pill in itself for me to swallow.  Combined with a very difficult and emotional month with my Grandfather's illness and death, as well as news of a neurological problem my mother is having, it was a lot to take in.

We have spent every Mother's Day for the past 8 years with D's parents.  This year, because we were away, we arranged to send MIL and his Gramma some potted baskets for on their deck.  They love potted flowers of every variety.  We thought it would be a hit.  D called his mother on Mother's Day to wish her well, and see if the delivery arrived.

She says they did.  When D asked her what she thought, she told him they were guilt flowers.  A few short minutes into their call they launched into the biggest fight I have ever seen them have in our 8 years together.  She ranted and raved without listening to a word that he had to say.

I was preparing a hot meal to bring to my Grandmother's house for a family gathering.  I had to leave without D because the fight they had left him so emotionally raw that he needed some time to cool down before heading into a big gathering.  We drove separately.

After talking with D, he told me that there are several things bothering MIL.  She is pissed about not getting every major holiday with us.  That she thinks we are moving away.  That we don't know how much work Gramma is.  That we are all gathered around my Grandpa and no one is there helping her with Gramma.  That she doesn't talk with D's Dad about anything anymore.  That she thinks all we are doing at the new place is partying with my family.

I don't want to go into each point, but basically they are all bullshit.  D an exceptional son to them.  The things she was saying couldn't be farther from the truth.  Except the holiday thing. That's true.  We spend most of them with my family, and celebrate with D's before or after the holiday, with the exception of Christmas, which we spend the morning with them and then drive to see my family.   We had already discussed that we could spend more time with them on the holidays because we will be spending the summers with my family. I thought it was a fair solution.

I was so proud of D because I heard him standing up for me during their fight.  He told them that I only get to see my family six times a year because of the distance, and yes, they are on holidays because that's when we have the extra day to make the 5 hour drive.   He told her "Do you think we have it good? Because all of our friends have babies except for us. All we have our miscarriages".

The fight went on and on.  I'm probably not even capturing it all, but you get the gist.

Reflecting on this now, I feel even more frustrated by it.  Maybe she could have thought of how difficult that day was for us.  It's already one of the worst days of the year for me.  Compounded to be even harder because my Grandfather just died the day before.  A day that I need my husband.  A day that we need to be away from them and their bullshit.

So, so, selfish.

The next day, she called D and said that she wants more holidays with us, and she wants to come in a few days for a visit.

In hindsight this timeframe was way to close for me after such a big fight.  I needed way more of a cooling down period than a few days.  But, because she was playing so hard to get I didn't want to give her any sniff us us not wanting her there, because I knew that she would run with it.

I was hoping the visit was just what she needed and would calm her fears.

I think that maybe she does feel better now that she has visited.  However, all the visit did was fuel my anger.

Here's some of the reason's why.

- Did not lift a finger while she was there.  Not one dish brought to the sink, zippo.
- Did not thank or appreciate any of the meals that we prepared that were her favourite things.
- Sat in her bedroom for hours at a time on her computer uploading photos.  'Cause that's polite.
- Declined any invitation to do anything.  To eat out, to take a walk around the new neighbourhood, to ride bikes (which they do at home), to take a scenic drive, to go on a local boat cruise.   All offers to do things were met with passive aggressive responses and snarky tones such as "we can't do that, Grandma's not good enough.  You just don't see it because you are never around".  Yet when there was a sale on at a local big box store, she had no problem leaving Gramma behind.   I offered to stay with Gramma so they could go out together.  The answer was no.
- She yelled, reprimanded and was down right mean and threatening to Gramma "SIT RIGHT THERE AND DON'T YOU MOVE!" (so much so that I just wanted to pack Gramma up and have her stay with us forever).
- She wouldn't tell us how long she was staying.  I tried to make plans with her to go to yard sales (something she loves), and all she could tell me is that they might have to go because Gramma's not good enough.  Even though they had only got there the day before.
- She told D that she didn't want a family-fest happening there while she was there (meaning my family). We wouldn't have invited them anyways.  Last I checked though it is my house and I can invite or not invite anyone I please!
- She did not offer any condolences and told me that she "would have sent something for my Grandpa, but she had no idea what his name was anyways" - the ultimate insult of the weekend, WTF!!!

Her visit was a complete misery for me and everyone around her.   When I told my aunt about it, she summarized "She's not happy and she's letting you know".  I agree that she is.  In every passive aggressive way that she possibly can.  Pot-shots galore and snarky-ness.   It seems it's come down to a power struggle between her and me, and unfortunately it's happening through D.

When she acts like this, I don't fuel her in any way or respond to any of her comments.  I simply say "ok", walk away or pretend I don't hear.

I'm not sure how I'm going to cope with this now.  To this point, we haven't had a fight, but I can feel the coals are red hot.  If  I see her behaving like this again, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to be as polite and accommodating as I've been so far.

I'm sick of the guilt trip that she is laying on D.  I'm sick that he feels stuck in the middle and like crap for considering my needs (which for the record are at this point only to be with my family two months of the year).   I feel like she is trying to poison our new place, and D's enjoyment of it.  She feels bad about her life, and she's trying to bring us down with her.

What she doesn't know, is that if it was up to just me that we would move.  That we are (for now) choosing to keep our home local to them, only because of them.  We could list our house and be gone in a blink of an eye.   We'd see them six times a year.  Wonder if that would work out better for her?


  1. Wow... what a mother-in-law you have!!! I am so terribly sorry that you have to deal with this at such a rough time in your life. I am sending you a huge hug xo

  2. so sorry you are dealing with this on top of everything else. she sounds like a piece of work. i have to say, I can relate a little. On a smaller scale, my mom does a lot of that same crap. It's infuriating. so passive aggressive and makes everything about her. Ugh.

    1. It's crazy because I know she wants more attention, but by acting like that it makes me give her less!

  3. This woman sounds like a prize bitch. Thanks for the condolences on your Grandpa, the mean old witch. You are a saint for putting up with her.

    1. Some days she's ok and fun to be around. Other days, YIKES! I just have a hard time forgiving on this one.... hopefully in time.

  4. Omg! So frustrating. I deal with similar In laws. But I think my father is law is more like your MIL. He's so petty and just plain obnoxious. All they want is attention. This is bad to say, but I wish my husband didn't have these parents.

    1. We used to say that at least both or our parents were a bit crazy, and in some weird way it made it easier. We have friends where one set of parents are so amazing and others less so. It causes stress in their relationships too. The trouble is now my parents are mellowing out (finally calming down 8 years after their divorce!).

      Thanks for the note.


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