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So I pretty much have to be nice now, right? UPDATE post 78

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 
Backstory:
My relationship with my inlaws has been terrible ever since I got pregnant for the first time. I miscarried that first baby. Shortly thereafter my MIL tracked down my mom outside of her work and told her she thought I miscarried the baby because apparently, I am anorexic. That was the start of a lot of craziness...I'll spare you details, but the highlights include my MIL arranging a dinner out, an hour from my home to which she invited my husband and newborn breastfed son (days out of the NICU for brain trauma) but explicitly dis-invited me... my FIL screaming at me on Christmas... FIL telling me all I did was sit around all day when I ran a business AND worked a job at night bartending etc etc etc...

Recently, an incident happened where I decided I was totally done with the inlaws...a few months ago, my family and I moved 2500 miles away from them. Shortly thereafter, I went back with the kids to visit my family. The inlaws were out of town pretty much my whole trip, however I did take the kids over to see them one evening, and my 3 year old stayed the night. The next morning, I went to pick him up and he ran away from me. I figure he just wants to keep getting spoiled, whatever. I take him to the car and he gets increasingly upset. He says I don't love him. Again, I think he's just being a kid who spent the night getting spoiled. Then he won't let me touch him. FREAKS out whenever I do, keeps saying I don't love him. Starts hyperventilating, shaking, crying. Gets hot to the touch he's so upset. And keeps saying I don't love him. So I say "Why do you think that?" and he says "Grandpa." I say "What?" he says "Grandpa say you don't love me." So I am livid, obviously, but I just try to tell him mama loves him. It takes hours to calm him and eventually we talk about how sometimes people are wrong and Grandpa was just mistaken... but he was really upset all day... said things about how Grandpa said I don't love him and how it made him so sad. I have no doubt that something happened along those lines... the idea that he made it up himself does not work for me. He was so upset that he felt feverish and very specific. His story never changed.

So my husband talks to MIL and says that Keagan is upset and asks if anything happened while he was there. She says no. The next day she calls back and asks if he's better. DH tells her that Keagan thinks I don't love him since he came back (but leaves out that he says FIL said it) Then she acted all nervous and said that when I was there I was "really rough" with him and that had to be why. She said she'd "never seen Steph act like that."
BULL. I am anything but rough with my kids.

So we decide that we are just going to pretty much cut them out. I have not spoken to her since and removed her from my facebook. DH has only replied to text messages.

Today she called and he answered. She has breast cancer. It's too early to know how bad it is, she just go biopsy results today. Of course dh is upset (I am too, I am not souless) and he wants us to all make up.

I pretty much have to forget all of this stuff, no matter how crazy she is, right? In any other circumstance, I doubt if I would have ever spoken to her again ... but you can't really turn family with cancer away can you?

I am at a loss here. She needs support, but that does not change what happened. I know I am just going to have to put it aside, but man.... she has caused me a lot of pain.

Tell me to buck it up and be kind to a sick woman. That's what I know I have to do... I am just having a hard time because a lot of this stuff is so fresh.
post #2 of 89
Gosh that is a tough one. My Mom had breast cancer, so I am not a total jerk- however, them telling your son that you don't love him seems all kinds of wrong to me, and traumatic to your son. Honestly, I don't know what I would do in that situation
post #3 of 89
Wow, that's an incredibly awful situation to be in. I look forward to seeing what wisdom others come up with.

My first thought would be that yes, you need to be supportive and kind, but that it may be appropriate to communicate (by in-person conversation, phone, email -- not sure what would work best), "I was really shaken up [or whatever] to hear that you were diagnosed with breast cancer. I care about you and I want to do what I can to support you during this scary time. I also need to say that I'm still feeling pretty sad and angry about some things that happened recently, especially the fact that DS seems very clear that he was told I don't love him when he was staying at your house.

[And then I'm not sure where I would go from there, except to say something supportive and positive again at the end, because I know people are more receptive to negative feedback if you can bookend it with truthful positives.]

And I would also never, ever allow your children to be alone with your in-laws again. At least if you or your husband are there, presumably they will be on somewhat better behavior.

Also, keep in mind (speaking now as a breast cancer survivor myself) that most breast cancer survivors these days live quite a long time. Unless she's diagnosed with very advanced cancer or metastatic disease, she's likely to be around for years, possibly many years. This is not to discount the fact that women die of breast cancer -- we do, FAR too many of us. But in the back of your head, you should not assume you have just a short time to be "nice" (months or a few years). This relationship could still last 5-20 years or more.
post #4 of 89
I dunno. I don't think being sick gives anyone the right to be horrible to you. I'd probably still lean towards you and the kids having no relationship with them. I wouldn't keep my husband from seeing his ill mother, but I wouldn't be around anyone who would treat me or my kids that way. (I don't know your husband, but mine wouldn't likely ask that I be around his family if I were to be treated that way) It's be a no go for him too.

I'm not sure. ((HUGS)) For me though I wouldn't want to be around them unless there was severe sincere repentance and a HUGE change in attitude.
post #5 of 89
Hi, my name is BITCH and I would say keep your distance! Sorry but she seems to have gone out of her way to really cause harm. Her being ill (even with breast cancer) does not equal a free forgiveness and open welcome in my opinion. If she called you and apologised then maybe you can start afresh, but only then.
I would, however, encourage dh to be a son and I would support him. I would not let ds stay or visit unsupervised.
post #6 of 89
Thread Starter 
Well I feel less evil for not wanting to deal with her.
It helps that we're in TX and she is in WA. No matter what, I am not going to be seeing much of her. I want dh to support her. I don't want to deal with it though. I get so mad when I think of how they hurt my little guy...
Maybe just send an email saying I am praying for her recovery and leave it there? Let dh take the phonecalls etc? Chances are we won't be out there for quite some time, so I really don't have to see her face to face until maybe Christmas? We'd already decided our kids will never be alone with them again and there is no way this changes that. I shouldn't have to act like she's a good person because she is sick. It's terrible that she is sick. I really worry because she has an auto-immune disorder already... but I don't have to let people treat me bad either... right?

I am so confused right now. I want to be a good person, but not a doormat.
post #7 of 89
I would never let DS spend anytime with them alone, ever ever again. At the very least.
post #8 of 89
I would write a supportive note to her and I'd encourage DH to be a supportive son. But I'd not allow my children anywhere near them ever again (unless they were supervised).

And I'd keep my distance big time. You owe her NOTHING.
post #9 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephenie View Post
I am so confused right now. I want to be a good person, but not a doormat.
You are being a good person by encouraging your DH to be a good son. That's enough IMO.
post #10 of 89
I hate to sound totally callous, but... so what if she has breast cancer? What exactly does that have to do with the way she and her husband treat you, how they have abused your son, and how they will probably continue to act in the same way? I'm sorry, but cancer does NOT give anyone a "get out of jail free" card in my opinion. We can all of us die at any time, from a car accident or a house fire or getting sick. The fact that she might be dying is scary, but does not mean that you have to all of a sudden pretend that everything is roses and daisies.

Yes, I am sure she needs support, and I would not keep your husband from giving it to her and his father if that is his wish and need as a son. But why should you bend over backwards when it is clear that your in-laws would like nothing better than to completely ruin your relationship with your child and husband?

Now if your mother in law came forward with genuine remorse and apologies and demonstrated a real effort in making things right... yes, can see where forgiveness and support would be called for. But as things stand... no. Be supportive of what your husband needs to do, but keep you and your child out of it. And if she begs to see your son and you agree, you MUST be there at all times, no compromises. And any hint of rotten behavior means you and your son pack up and leave.
post #11 of 89
I completely agree with tinuviel_k

I would pretty much keep my distance, let DH have whatever kind of relationship with her he needs and keep the children from being alone with them. Having cancer is no excuse.
post #12 of 89
I feel awful asking this, but is it possible she's just saying she does?
post #13 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaMadly View Post
I feel awful asking this, but is it possible she's just saying she does?
That crossed my mind too.
post #14 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaMadly View Post
I feel awful asking this, but is it possible she's just saying she does?
I felt awful for thinking it, but I did wonder for a second. Before the "Mama doesn't love me" incident, I would have said no way... but I don't know...
I sincerely hope she isn't making it up... and think I kind of have to act like it's true. God what if she did have cancer and I blew it off...

It's all so complicated. I don't think I will be doing much more than sending an email or card...
post #15 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephenie View Post
I felt awful for thinking it, but I did wonder for a second. Before the "Mama doesn't love me" incident, I would have said no way... but I don't know...
I sincerely hope she isn't making it up... and think I kind of have to act like it's true. God what if she did have cancer and I blew it off...

It's all so complicated. I don't think I will be doing much more than sending an email or card...
My friends parents did this every time my friend behaved in a way that she disliked. She flew home from Europe once, because her father was hospitalized. He was fine - they wanted her away from her boyfriend of the time, who she was traveling with.

I agree with you, though, you have to assume that it is true until shown otherwise.
post #16 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by *bejeweled* View Post
I would write a supportive note to her and I'd encourage DH to be a supportive son. But I'd not allow my children anywhere near them ever again (unless they were supervised).

And I'd keep my distance big time. You owe her NOTHING.
ITA. The consequence of being pyschotic towards your DIL and grandchildren is that your family isn't close and they're not there for you in the capacity you want when you need them to be. It's very sad. Clearly, your DH should do whatever he wants, but there's no reason for them to be alone with the kids ever again.
post #17 of 89
Personally I would still not have contact with her. I most definitely, definitely would not allow my kids to have any contact with IL's.

I do agree with pp who have said that DH should feel supported by you that if he chooses to see her/talk to her he can. But you and the kids are not part of the deal.

FWIW, I have a very VERY toxic dad who I went through something similar with, and I ultimately decided his having cancer did not change any of the atrocities he inflicted on me and my siblings, and my husband and son. So, I chose to have no contact with him. And guess what. He's still around, several years later, since he beat the cancer.

I am very glad I kept my distance, because his being sick did not change who he was/is as a person, and it is much better for us to not be around him. Especially my son, who I don't want influenced by him in any way.

There is no law that says you have to be nice, or you owe her anything just because she is sick. You OWE IT TO YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILDREN to protect yourselves from the harm that she may cause, actually.

You can always pray or hope for change in her, but until the day comes when she sees the light, it's not worth it.
post #18 of 89
I think you have to be nice to your husband. I think you can be supportive of him while still not having a relationship with these evil, nasty people.
post #19 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by daisymama12 View Post
I would never let DS spend anytime with them alone, ever ever again. At the very least.
Agreed. If ANYONE told my son that I didn't love him, family or no, they'd never see my son or me ever again. Breast cancer or no.

ETA: Your DH should have also made it clear to his P's that you and he are a package deal after not inviting you to that dinner. I think he failed you a little there.
post #20 of 89
I agree with the PPs: support your DH, keep your distance, and protect your son. If you can muster it, write a nice e-mail.
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