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Major MIL issue..advice needed

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Sigh....I didn't really want to come here and do this. My DH would flip out if he knew I was posting about this here, as he does not like telling the whole world our business. But I am really at the end of my rope here, and it's not like he is open to discuss this, so here it goes....

I used to have a pretty good relationship with my MIL. She came and stayed with us for two weeks after ds's birth with no problems, we used to go shopping together all the time, etc. Then DH, DS, and I moved up to GA from Florida in 2006, and she offered us her home to stay in until we got on our feet...we planned to save up money, fix our credit, and all that good stuff, but DH was working a dead end job at the time, and 11 months later we moved out with barely anything saved because I could. not. take it anymore. My MIL was ok at that time, but my FIL was driving me up the freaking wall. DS was under two at the time, but was a very loud baby, would do the whole shrieking thing to see how people would react and FIL did NOT like it, was trying to tell me how to discipline him(NOT gently), etc. MIL actually defended me most of the time, though I do remember one time she tried to have a talk with me about discipline and though I tried to be as receptive as I could, the conversation did not go very far(her standpoint is to spank when necessary, but is definitely not totalitarian like FIL. Still has a hard time understanding GD though, considers it permissive parenting).

So...fast forward to last year, when I was pregnant with DD. Before I even got pregnant we were at her house with a mutual friend who had homebirthed her last daughter, and as we were talking about it our friend tells her husband that I am thinking about having a homebirth(HBAC). MIL overhears and immediately says, in a totally nonchalant way: "Oooh, I want to be there!" which was kinda shocking to me, and at the time I thought it would be nice to have her there, especially if she was so open about it. So, we get pregnant, and sometime at the beginning of my second tri, we tell her we are having a homebirth. BAD idea. Apparantly she was not really for the idea at all, especially with me having had a previous c-section. The WHOLE pregnancy, she tried to talk me out of it, and I pleasantly maintained that it was not up for discussion.

So...my labor begins, after a little over an hour of sleep one night, and hits me like a Mack Truck. I won't go into too many details here, but let's just say it was not what I was expecting(I did not hire a doula, and I really wish that I had). I labored through the night by myself and throughout the day with my DH by my side....my cntxs never picked up, they kept getting closer and then farther apart all day. DS had gone to our neighbors house but MIL and FIL were supposed to come pick him up at some point. They finally arrived at 5 PM or so: when the doorbell rang it startled me and DH told me who it was....at this point I should have run upstairs but before I knew what was happening, DH had opened the door and they were inside my house, pretty much watching me labor. Then MIL says to me: "I begged you not to do this" at which point I bolted(if you can call it that) up the stairs to the safety of my bedroom, until I heard them leave. The whole time they were there, maybe 20 minutes, I had ONE contraction, and it petered out after like 4 seconds. I really felt like they stalled my already stalled labor, which I know is my fault and DH's fault, but still, the fact that she came in my house and tried to give me a guilt trip while I'm trying to have a baby is unfathomable to me. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I end up in the hospital the following morning, with another c-section. My labor never picked up and after 28 hours of trying, I had no energy left and was going out of my mind with pain. MIL came to the hospital when she heard, and this perhaps was her one saving grace: she stood by me with DH as they were getting our information in a frenzy, with me moaning through contractions, and she rubs my head and tells me "I wish I could take your pain." She did comfort me, to a point. Then followed the most traumatic birthing experience I could ever imagine....not only did I not have my dream HB, but as they were performing the c-section, I felt everything they did because the spinal block did not work, or worked only a little. I was NOT numb, and was screaming at them the whole time. So....all in all, most traumatic experience of my life. At least the subsequent hospital stay was pretty ok, and they were very agreeable with whatever I wanted: no bottles, pacis, vaxes, and they let (beautiful, healthy) dd room with me.

So...MIL was supposed to come and help us in the days following the birth, which I was fine with. She lives 10 minutes from us, and wasn't going to stay over, except that up until that point, ds had been co-sleeping with me, and now I that I was recovering from unexpected surgery, we asked if she could stay in the guest bed and have ds sleep with her(bad idea, who knows what number we are at by now). This worked fine for 2 days...on the third night she went upstairs with him to get ready for bed, and I was on the phone with a friend from LLL, when suddenly I hear through the monitor DS freaking out, crying, sounding like a struggle. I quickly say goodbye and get up with a lot of difficulty, and dh tells me: "I'll take care of it." Not completely sure of the details of what happened next, it is kind of a blur. All I know is, I felt like ds needed me(and especially because I had not been there for him AT ALL since dd's birth 5 or so days before...I was in such a daze), and I wanted to see what was going onthat was making him so upset. So I follow DH upstairs, to find MIL wrestling Ds's clothes off to put on his PJ's, and he is crying and fighting her with all his might. I say nothing ill towards her, all I say is: "Whoa, what's going on, let me go to my son." (DH and MIL both say that sometime within these few minutes, I also started screaming at DH, who was giving me a hard time about following him up the stairs after he had told me that he would handle it...but honestly, I don't remember screaming at him at all, and when DH told me that I apologized).

So I say "Let me go to him.." and enter the room, I go and hug ds, and MIL BLOWS UP at me. Tells me that I am creating a monster, that none of her 3 kids were EVER disrespectful to her( right...) and on and on, the basic gist being that I am a crappy parent and I have no idea what I'm doing, and that there are TWO parents here and I need to let them BOTH do their jobs(yeah, and last time I checked, YOU were not one of them, lady. But she was talking about the history dh and I have of not agreeing on discipline...he is also a lot more traditional than I am…). Then, I finally end the tirade with "Get out of my face" because she was very very close to me, and she says "Fine", grabs a bunch of her stuff, and leaves. Meanwhile, I am still in a lot of pain, greiving the loss of my birth, and now with no help, and DH had to go back to work the next day.

Somehow, we made it through that horrific experience, all the while enjoying our tiny newborn as best we could. DH had to call the mom of a co-worker, a nice lady that he knew but that I had never met, to come and help me out for the next 2 days until my mom flew in to town. MIL and I did not talk for 3 months, until the week before Thanksgiving. She kept telling DH that she was going to write me a letter and that she wanted to talk to me and settle things, but I never saw any attempt from her to reconcile. Finally I had DS call her and invite her over to play Candy Land, she came over and while he was outside, there was that lovely uncomfortable silence, until I again had to drag the conversation out of her. She said that basically the reason she blew up at me was that she had witnessed a lot of times where I was too accepting of Ds's "bad" behavior, and brought up a time from the Christmas before last when he was two, had a tantrum in a public place over candy, and while DH was carrying him to the car, I was walking behind them telling ds that it would be ok, and damn right, I was trying to let him know that I understood that he was upset. I told MIL that I had a right to empathize with my child, and she said yes I did, but that I shouldn't reward bad behavior. Obviously she has no concept of developmentally appropriate behavior, especially since HER kids NEVER disrespected her. Right. Oh, and she explained how ds acted the night she flipped out, saying that he had heard me tell him to get his pj's on with her, but when she went upstairs, he refused, and was sitting on the floor holding onto one of his chairs refusing to budge. But he was three, and had just gone from being an only child to being a big brother. Of COURSE he's going to act out...

Then our conversation got cut off by ds coming inside, and it never picked up again. She never apologized for her behavior towards ds, never apologized for going off on me 5 days after the most devastating experience of my entire life(and ironically, one of the best since it produced my dd). We were civil towards one another over the next few months, just not overly friendly with one another, and our relationship has been very cool, if not borderline frigid. They live 10 minutes away from us and I for the better part of this year I have avoided going over there unless I HAD to(like, if ds begged me to go see her). Then, over the summer he started having pretty regular sleepovers over there, about once a week. And I found the more I was forced to deal with her, the more that this major incident slipped further into the back of my mind(since she is pretty much back to her sweet, giving "perfect wife and mother" self, as if nothing ever happened)....until this week. My family and I just moved into a new house(still only about 10 minutes away from the IL's, unfortunately! ), and twice this week, my MIL has come over to help us hang paintings, etc. And everything was, well, fine....we got along, were able to laugh about little things that happened...but it seemed that whenever we would be alone without anyone else around there would be an eerie silence between us, like that "thing" that happened was still there, unresolved. So, on the second day that she had come over, I went and found her hanging pictures in ds's room(while ds, dh, and FIL were outside), and I said(very hesitantly...I haaaate confrontation!): "Look, I don't want to stir things up again, I just want to say...I'm glad we're ok again, but, you really hurt me." And she said immediately: "And you really hurt me." And launched into this whole thing about how I had screamed at her son as if he didn't matter, and my son and his "bad behavior", etc.

Still did not apologize, turned the whole thing around and made it about her, again. Admits that her timing was terrible, but seems totally justified in her actions otherwise, and I get a serious impression that she expects me to apologize. Even DH, who accidently walked in on our conversation and then quickly left the room...when I was with him alone in the kitchen later, I acted nonchalant about it and said:"Everything's fine, she still didn't apologize though" and he said: "Did you?"

What on EARTH am I supposed to apologize to her for? She came into MY house, days after the most traumatic experience of my life, and cut me down, insulted me, basically poured salt into my VERY fresh open wound. And I'm supposed to apologize to her for screaming at her adult son(which I already apologized to HIM for), or for my 3 year old acting his age??? I mean, I just don't get it. I don't see how she, and my own HUSBAND, think that the two things are even remotely comparable. I can't talk to him about it because it turns into this ugly argument...he just does not understand!!

I really want to forgive her, and I know I need to for my own sake. It felt like I was going to be able to. Until I brought it up again. I don't know why I did. I guess I just wanted closure, and I felt like it would be ok even if she didn't apologize, I just wanted her to realize what she did to me. But she doesn't get it, and keeps making it about her, even though I didn't say one ill word towards her! And now that I angry about it again, I have not been able to get it off my mind, and I have been so sad all day. Which is why I came and posted in here, I just had to let it out somehow, and I do feel at least a little better. I wish I could afford therapy, I would go, seriously, because I also have issues with the women on my side of the family. But MDC and my IRL friends are all I have to vent to for now....

So, there it is. My story. Sorry, I know it is insanely long. If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading, please let me know your thoughts or if I need to further explain something. I appreciate your time....

ETA: I meant to also add, WWYD at this point, if you were me? I've thought, so many times(but especially in the last couple of days since this last occurence), that I would e-mail her and just let it all out, so I could actually finish what I had to say, and then add, at the end, "I forgive you" (even though I don't feel ready to anymore, but I know I need to, as it is hurting me more than it is hurting her). Uggggh, I just don't know. I wish there was a clear-cut answer, or that I could just let it all go, or at the very least get some understanding from my own husband about it....
post #2 of 46
I think that you can take ownership of the things you did that hurt her - yelling at your DH in front of her, sniping at her. Apologize for making her uncomfortable and being unkind in front of her, and for talking in an angry way to her. I think those are things you know you did and that you know hurt her.

As far as you not needing an apology - that's true, you don't NEED one, but you sure did go looking for one by starting a conversation with "you hurt me". I get that you were trying to clear the air, and if she would have just said "sorry for hurting you" it probably could have been over, but she didn't say that. So really you were looking for an apology, and now you know she isn't going to give one.

It isn't in your power to force her to apologize for all the crappy things she's done, so you can only take ownership of your own mistakes, apologize for them, and do your best to let go of your anger (praying helps me with that aspect).

I'm sorry you're in the spot you are in. FWIW I also think that your MIL should have been more understanding and apologetic (you had just had a baby!), but I'm not her and I can't apologize for her, so that's that.

Tjej
post #3 of 46
That sounds awful - I'm sorry. One thing that stuck out in your story is that there were a lot of little things building with your MIL and that everything sort of burst shortly after the birth of your DD. So now, the focus is all on "the big incident" when there were actually a bunch of little incidents leading up to it. It also sounds like there is also an issue with your DH. While you don't have to get his approval for everything you do with your children, maybe finding some kind of compromise in parenting might help. I think your MIL definitely gets involved where she shouldn't, but I can see one day being sensitive if I thought my DIL was ignoring my son's wishes and doing whatever she felt was right with their children.

Your MIL definitely crossed some big lines getting into it with you when you were newly postpartum, especially after such a traumatic birth. I mean, seriously, doesn't she remember how rough that period can be?? But it almost seems like it's gone too far, become too big. I agree with the PP who said you can only take ownership of your own mistakes. Maybe apologize for the hurt that was caused and let it be. Most people when apologized to end up profusely apologizing on their own end too. But someone has to be the bigger person and it doesn't sound like your MIL wants to be.
post #4 of 46
what would i do? i would LET IT GO. for gosh sakes, this is all very very petty. i know it seems "major" and all, but there could be far far worse things going on.

get over yourself and tell the woman "i'm sorry if i hurt you." i'd be willing to bet that she will quickly say the same back to you, and you two can then simply drop it, and start being friendly again with no eerie silences.

and you get to be the "bigger person" -- the first one to apologize.

don't wait another day.
post #5 of 46
I kind of agree with previous posters, and kind of don't. It almost sounds as if your MIL thinks she should get an apology because you yelled at her son/your dh. If that's the case, it sounds like a really screwy dynamic. He's a grown man, and he and his wife had an argument (when you - the wife - were newly post partum and recovering from major surgery). That has nothing to do with her, except for the fact that she happened to be present. That whole aspect is just weird to me.

I think it would make sense to apologize for going off on her, and leave it at that. If she brings up the way you discipline, tell her you're doing it your way, with your son, and that's that. If she brings up the difference between you and your dh with respect to discipline, tell her it's between you and your dh, and not her business.

And...you and your dh need to find a way to communicate and compromise about this stuff. It sounds like there are some issues going on between the two of you.
post #6 of 46
This advice might be hard to hear. You describe your mil as thinking everything is about her, but it doesn't seem that you have made any attempt to let go of the idea that it is all about you. It's not. Your labor sound horrible and the recovery very difficult. You were under amazing amounts of stress. I get that. You must also understand you are not the only one who might have found that situation horrible and stressful. Your mil seems to have tried to help and come through for you at every turn. Maybe at points she said things that bothered you or were insensitive. Think about where she is working from, home-birth, your discipline style... the two of you are very different. It seems like she has always tried to support you even if she didn't agree with the choices you were making. She might have expressed her concern, or difference of opinion but she still tried.

You absolutely should apologize to her. Because it's not about you. It's about the relationship with your husband. It's about your kids relationship with their grandmother. You've got to let it go that she hasn't done things the way you have wanted her to... from her perspective neither have you. The healthy and function thing in this situation is to take some responsibility for your behavior. A great place to start would be how you spoke to your husband. It doesn't matter if you "don't remember" about yelling at him, it's totally unacceptable to yell at someone. It is an abusive form of communication. Apologize to your husband. Apologize to his family. Vow to make more of an effort to listen to their concerns. Explain that you know that everything they try to do is to help and sometimes you loose sight of that.

Suck it up. Be the better person. Let go of the resentment you've been holding, it's only hurting your relationships. For your marriage, for your kids and for yourself. Be the example of how to gracefully handle conflict. And don't e-mail your mother in law telling her you forgive her, it is in very poor taste.
post #7 of 46
I do want to be supportive to you and understand how the little things can add up to something simmering in the back of your mind. However, from her perspective I am hearing of a grandma who let her son and his family move in for a year with a shrieking 2 year old and were told off if they had any opinion son disciplining him despite him living in their house. I can't imagine how it would feel to be somewhat elderly and having suddenly a screaming child in your house that you've been told not to react to at all. There are many grandparents who have zero relationship with thier grandkids or even care about their own kids. Then despite you hating her she took your son when you gave birth. She didn't have to. She did it to be helpful and needed by you. Then you asked her to move in. She could have stayed in her quiet cozy warm bed but instead decided to help you out and despite her difference in child rearing does exactly what you ask and sleeps with your son to make him more comfortable. Seems she is going out of her way to do what you feel is the right way to raise your child and doing her best. So she steps up to the plate and is pretending to be mom and take control and you shove in there and call everyone there helping an idiot and that they're doing it all wrong. But you are postpartum and not in your right mind at this point. She was dealing with the situation. She wasn't beating your child or calling him names, she was taking charge like you asked and she got screamed at and ignored for the next year. She has more to lose than you do. She is just an In Law to you. If you choose to she will never see her son or grandchildren again. She probably feels like she's walking on eggshells at this point.

I think you should simply apologize for screaming at someone who left their life to revolve around yours.

I know it's not what you want to hear and I'm sorry about that NO ONE helped me after I had my baby. No one brought me dinner or helped with the house. DH worked and grumbled when he got a bottle once at night. Would have loved to have my MIL stay the night. Only one person offered who had just gotten out of a mental institution (no thanks). I nearly lost my mind and I only had one. I also didn't have the birth exp I wanted but nothing like yours. I thank my lucky stars I had 3 days of labor as opposed to an awake c/s! Ugh.

But I'm a little jealous because no one helped me move into this house, no one helped me paint or decorate. I actually had to go on bedrest trying to paint the baby room by myself after the baby came. My MIL babysat once and had to call her daughter to help because she was scared to mess it up. So I've not had a babysitter since and I really need one to just get away.

I'm not sure what you can do at this point. I think you need to do something to clear your own head of this worry. maybe count the eggs you DO have rather than the one dropped.

And just cause he's a dh doesn't mean he's not right :P
post #8 of 46
You've gotten good advice in the previous posts, I would only add that you can write your mil a long letter, explaining everything you have here, and then not give it to her; instead let it go as you work on forgiveness. I don't think you're going to get any more apologies out of her than you've already gotten.
post #9 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by babygirlie View Post
I do want to be supportive to you and understand how the little things can add up to something simmering in the back of your mind. However, from her perspective I am hearing of a grandma who let her son and his family move in for a year with a shrieking 2 year old and were told off if they had any opinion son disciplining him despite him living in their house. I can't imagine how it would feel to be somewhat elderly and having suddenly a screaming child in your house that you've been told not to react to at all. There are many grandparents who have zero relationship with thier grandkids or even care about their own kids. Then despite you hating her she took your son when you gave birth. She didn't have to. She did it to be helpful and needed by you. Then you asked her to move in. She could have stayed in her quiet cozy warm bed but instead decided to help you out and despite her difference in child rearing does exactly what you ask and sleeps with your son to make him more comfortable. Seems she is going out of her way to do what you feel is the right way to raise your child and doing her best. So she steps up to the plate and is pretending to be mom and take control and you shove in there and call everyone there helping an idiot and that they're doing it all wrong. But you are postpartum and not in your right mind at this point. She was dealing with the situation. She wasn't beating your child or calling him names, she was taking charge like you asked and she got screamed at and ignored for the next year. She has more to lose than you do. She is just an In Law to you. If you choose to she will never see her son or grandchildren again. She probably feels like she's walking on eggshells at this point.

I think you should simply apologize for screaming at someone who left their life to revolve around yours.

I know it's not what you want to hear and I'm sorry about that NO ONE helped me after I had my baby. No one brought me dinner or helped with the house. DH worked and grumbled when he got a bottle once at night. Would have loved to have my MIL stay the night. Only one person offered who had just gotten out of a mental institution (no thanks). I nearly lost my mind and I only had one. I also didn't have the birth exp I wanted but nothing like yours. I thank my lucky stars I had 3 days of labor as opposed to an awake c/s! Ugh.

But I'm a little jealous because no one helped me move into this house, no one helped me paint or decorate. I actually had to go on bedrest trying to paint the baby room by myself after the baby came. My MIL babysat once and had to call her daughter to help because she was scared to mess it up. So I've not had a babysitter since and I really need one to just get away.

I'm not sure what you can do at this point. I think you need to do something to clear your own head of this worry. maybe count the eggs you DO have rather than the one dropped.

And just cause he's a dh doesn't mean he's not right
:P
Um...WOW. I think you might want to go back and re-read my original post, I never said any of the things that I bolded. I never said I hated my in-laws, but that I eventually found living in their house unbearable because we had just so many differences of opinion, and I was tired of my FIL trying to ram HIS opinion down my throat, constantly. I never called ANYONE an idiot, I was just trying to follow my maternal instinct that was screaming at me to get to my son, and help him, because he was having a really rough time. I never screamed at my MIL, the only time I came even close to that was when I said: "Get out of my face" because she was literally IN my face and i wanted her out of my personal space. And just because he's a dh doesn't mean he's always right....I never said he was always wrong, again, we also have differences of opinion when it comes to child-rearing. But he is right plenty of the time. And I've already apologized to HIM for screaming at him that night.

I do get that not everyone gets to have help that is so close by....I'm grateful for that. But this was a HUGE occurence, not something that I could just overlook.

Quote:
Originally Posted by basje View Post
This advice might be hard to hear. You describe your mil as thinking everything is about her, but it doesn't seem that you have made any attempt to let go of the idea that it is all about you. It's not. Your labor sound horrible and the recovery very difficult. You were under amazing amounts of stress. I get that. You must also understand you are not the only one who might have found that situation horrible and stressful. Your mil seems to have tried to help and come through for you at every turn. Maybe at points she said things that bothered you or were insensitive. Think about where she is working from, home-birth, your discipline style... the two of you are very different. It seems like she has always tried to support you even if she didn't agree with the choices you were making. She might have expressed her concern, or difference of opinion but she still tried.

You absolutely should apologize to her. Because it's not about you. It's about the relationship with your husband. It's about your kids relationship with their grandmother. You've got to let it go that she hasn't done things the way you have wanted her to... from her perspective neither have you. The healthy and function thing in this situation is to take some responsibility for your behavior. A great place to start would be how you spoke to your husband. It doesn't matter if you "don't remember" about yelling at him, it's totally unacceptable to yell at someone. It is an abusive form of communication. Apologize to your husband. Apologize to his family. Vow to make more of an effort to listen to their concerns. Explain that you know that everything they try to do is to help and sometimes you loose sight of that.

Suck it up. Be the better person. Let go of the resentment you've been holding, it's only hurting your relationships. For your marriage, for your kids and for yourself. Be the example of how to gracefully handle conflict. And don't e-mail your mother in law telling her you forgive her, it is in very poor taste.
I understand that it was a stressful situation for everyone, and that my MIL had not spent extensive amounts of time with a 3 year old in a very long time. But, it was about me. Not TOTALLY about me, of course, she was there to help with the baby and her son, but I was the one that went through that traumatic experience, and was in excruciating pain. I was the one that she went off on, when all I did was yell at her son, my husband, a grown man. I don't get why everyone is telling me I should apologize. I can see if I yelled at or struck her DOG, something that she actually owned. Even if someone came and wronged my son, who is FOUR, and they came to apologize to me, I would tell them to go apologize to him, because he is his own person(at least, in a similar situation, if he was yelled at or struck by one of his peers. If I did deem an apology to me would be necessary for a wrong done to him, it would be because he is little and still under my care). I've already apologized to my DH, because he is the one I screamed at. As I said, all I said to her that was remotely "wrong" was "Get out of my face", because she was inches from it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I kind of agree with previous posters, and kind of don't. It almost sounds as if your MIL thinks she should get an apology because you yelled at her son/your dh. If that's the case, it sounds like a really screwy dynamic. He's a grown man, and he and his wife had an argument (when you - the wife - were newly post partum and recovering from major surgery). That has nothing to do with her, except for the fact that she happened to be present. That whole aspect is just weird to me.

I think it would make sense to apologize for going off on her, and leave it at that. If she brings up the way you discipline, tell her you're doing it your way, with your son, and that's that. If she brings up the difference between you and your dh with respect to discipline, tell her it's between you and your dh, and not her business.

And...you and your dh need to find a way to communicate and compromise about this stuff. It sounds like there are some issues going on between the two of you.
Thank you. It is a very weird dynamic. And it DIDN'T have anything to do with her, which is why I don't get why everyone is telling me to apologize! I didn't go off on her. I could have easily said something to her about the way she was treating my 3 year old, over pajamas of all things -- it was way too rough and he did not deserve it. But all I said was "let me go to him", and she lost it, because she had just witnessed me screaming at her son. She took things way too personally, when the only one that treated her even remotely disrespectfully was my 3 year old son, and I did make an attempt to correct him in the situation that I witnessed. But really he was three, and was going through a major life change. You would think thatshe would just let anything he said to her roll off her back, or at the very least not take it personally.

I think another cause of this "explosion" is that because we lived with her for so long, she had witnessed TOO MUCH of our family dynamic, and perhaps felt like she was a part of it. She had seen how my husband and I had such vastly differing opinions about things at times, but because he has typically always worked long hours and I was the one at (her) home, I was doing things my way, because at the time we could not figure out how to meet in the middle. But, ds was under two at the time, so mostly I was just doing a lot of redirecting, but the whole screaming thing was a real issue for everyone. Anyway, I think that if MIL had not witnessed so much prior to this incident and gotten into the habit of thinking of me in a certain way(as being mostly oppositional to her son), then she perhaps would not have overreacted as she did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElliesMomma View Post
what would i do? i would LET IT GO. for gosh sakes, this is all very very petty. i know it seems "major" and all, but there could be far far worse things going on.

get over yourself and tell the woman "i'm sorry if i hurt you." i'd be willing to bet that she will quickly say the same back to you, and you two can then simply drop it, and start being friendly again with no eerie silences.

and you get to be the "bigger person" -- the first one to apologize.

don't wait another day.
Really?? Get over myself?? I was in such a delicate place emotionally and physically, and she went off on me, insulted me in so many different ways and then left me hanging. And I'M supposed to say "I'm sorry if I hurt you", when I didn't say a thing to her? I don't think so. A little empathy would be nice, but I suppose you have no idea what it's like to have a family member that you previously trusted stomp all over your broken heart at a time when you really needed love and support. Hopefully you'll never have to realize what that's like, and then have to figure out how to let it go, while having no choice but to have that person remain a constant in your life.


I'm not apologizing. I have to let it go somehow, because it has been eating me alive for the past 48 hours. I really did like the idea of emailing her, but I think that would have been more helpful to the situation if I had not brought it up verbally again. At this point it would be like beating a dead horse, even though I did not get to voice exactly how horribly wronged I felt by her. The idea of writing to her and not sending it does resonate with me though, I think I may try that. Thank you, Vaske.
post #10 of 46
Detach, detach, detach.

1. It sounds like you were good with your boundaries before: The WHOLE pregnancy, she tried to talk me out of it, and I pleasantly maintained that it was not up for discussion. Keep up with this.

2. Be a united front with your husband. When she gives parenting advice, say "DH and I are very comfortable with our parenting decisions". Ask your husband if he would consider doing the same.

3. Detach emotionally from the situation!!! As I tell my kids when one is bugging the other, don't give your power away. Don't let her control your feelings. I know this is a hard one, and requires time.

4. Accept MIL for who she is, good and bad, of which it sounds like she has both. You can only control your reactions to her, and your own actions. She's not going to apologize, so stop seeking it. See if you can appreciate her company, or her help, once things have settled down.

Hope things improve!
post #11 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daisymama12 View Post
Detach, detach, detach.

1. It sounds like you were good with your boundaries before: The WHOLE pregnancy, she tried to talk me out of it, and I pleasantly maintained that it was not up for discussion. Keep up with this.

2. Be a united front with your husband. When she gives parenting advice, say "DH and I are very comfortable with our parenting decisions". Ask your husband if he would consider doing the same.

3. Detach emotionally from the situation!!! As I tell my kids when one is bugging the other, don't give your power away. Don't let her control your feelings. I know this is a hard one, and requires time.

4. Accept MIL for who she is, good and bad, of which it sounds like she has both. You can only control your reactions to her, and your own actions. She's not going to apologize, so stop seeking it. See if you can appreciate her company, or her help, once things have settled down.

Hope things improve!
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I think this is what I really need to do....detach, and probably meditate, as well! Thank you for posting this.
post #12 of 46
I dont agree with the PP's, and Im sure Ill get flamed for it. So let me get this straight, MIL came to your house while you were in labor and told you she begged you not to do this, was nice to you at the hospital, came to your house to help and manhandled your kid, told you off b/c you yelled at your DH, and told you that you are a crappy parent and you dont know how to control your child? And you are supposed to apologize for hurting her? I think not.

I would advise talking to your husband about what exactly he thinks you need to apologize for and telling him that you would be willing to apologize for making her uncomfortable, as ridiculous as it seems that she needs an apology for you yelling at her grown son. I would make it clear to her that you want to maintain an aimable relationship with her, but that you are choosing to discipline your child in a different way than she and her H did, and regardless of what they see as the outcome, it is not really up for discussion, as this is the desicion that is to be made only between you and your DH. I think she really messed up telling you that you were a crappy parent, and I think it is more than acceptable to ask her for an apology regarding her behavior while you were laboring at home, as well as for the comments she made upstairs.
post #13 of 46
I guess what I get from reading the OP is that at some point we have to be the bigger person. I would be furious too, I would be hurt, and I wouldn't want to say sorry when I felt there was nothing to say sorry for.....but....I think I would at some point have to be the better person and say "I am sorry. I am sorry you felt I did something to hurt you. I hope we can move on"....
post #14 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post
I dont agree with the PP's, and Im sure Ill get flamed for it. So let me get this straight, MIL came to your house while you were in labor and told you she begged you not to do this, was nice to you at the hospital, came to your house to help and manhandled your kid, told you off b/c you yelled at your DH, and told you that you are a crappy parent and you dont know how to control your child? And you are supposed to apologize for hurting her? I think not.

I would advise talking to your husband about what exactly he thinks you need to apologize for and telling him that you would be willing to apologize for making her uncomfortable, as ridiculous as it seems that she needs an apology for you yelling at her grown son. I would make it clear to her that you want to maintain an aimable relationship with her, but that you are choosing to discipline your child in a different way than she and her H did, and regardless of what they see as the outcome, it is not really up for discussion, as this is the desicion that is to be made only between you and your DH. I think she really messed up telling you that you were a crappy parent, and I think it is more than acceptable to ask her for an apology regarding her behavior while you were laboring at home, as well as for the comments she made upstairs.

Yep, that's exactly right. Thank you for your understanding! I don't even want to bring it up with my DH though, unless it is in a therapist's office. It puts an ugly strain on our relationship, and he does not seem to be able to budge from his standpoint that she and I were both wrong. For now I think I will just go back to dealing with her as little as possible, so that I can once again(hopefully once and FOR ALL) detach myself emotionally from the situation and let it settle back in the back of my mind once again, while focusing on her good points...and forgiveness. AND, write her that e-mail, which I will make as civil but to the point as possible, but keep it to myself...at least for now.
post #15 of 46
I don't think you should continue to ask for or expect an apology. Personally, based on hearing your side of things, it sounds like she owes you one. Berating you while you were in labor (after hounding you during the pregnancy about your choice to homebirth) was beyond awful. Getting in your face shortly after what sounds to be one of the most traumatic experiences a human being can go through and survive (major abdominal surgery without anesthetic? ) because you yelled at your DH (Heaven forbid a post-partum woman recovering from a traumatic surgery should yell at her husband!) was very much not okay.

This icy silence thing you two have going on is definitely not ideal. But things are probably never going back to the way they were before the blowup. I would focus on being pleasant and polite to her as necessary but would stop expecting anything from her emotionally. Someone who refuses to apologize, or who is incapable of admitting that she might share some small amount of blame for the riff between you, is probably not someone you should count on to ever validate your feelings.

So don't. I definitely wouldn't send the email (write it if you need to, but destroy it afterwards) and I think daisymama12's advice is perfect. Put those boundaries back up and keep them there. Don't expect more from her than she's willing to give, and similarly, don't let her push your buttons or poke your sore spots if you can help it. Most of all, get your DH on the same page as you regarding your parenting decisions and his mother's involvement in your marriage. When I read the part about how your MIL barged in and started guilt-tripping you during labor, all I could wonder was why your DH allowed it to happen. My DH adores his mother (as do I--she's like an adoptive mother to me) but if she were to do something so awful and crazy I know without a doubt that he would toss her out immediately so I could labor in peace. (He also would have stopped her if she'd been silly enough to berate me for my birth choices during the pregnancy.) Your DH should have done that for you. He is married to one woman, not two. You and he are your children's parents; he is not co-parenting with his mother. That is something I would highly suggest you work out with him, because these boundaries issues are only going to get worse if not promptly addressed.

I don't think you owe her an apology at all and honestly I'm a little puzzled as to why anyone thinks you do. I don't apologize if I'm not truly sorry, so I'm not going to say you should do that just to calm the waters. In fact I think apologizing when we don't mean it is a great way to enable bad behavior and encourage others to trample our boundaries.

My feelings on it aside, you can smooth things over without apologizing. Be pleasant and polite and totally detached. Relax your expectations and just...let it go. And learn from this experience that as comforting as she can be at times, your MIL is not someone you can trust to respect your feelings or parenting decisions when it counts. Act accordingly.
post #16 of 46


I'm sorry this happened. I think for many of us we have such horrible MIL's yours seems really great in comparison, but that doesn't take away from the fact that she was wrong.

Kinda like the verbally abused women in the battered womens group (extreme analogy but the clearest I could think of) Both are unacceptable, but you know.

I think you need to forgive her in your heart, but something I have learned recently with my own MIL issues is Forgiveness is not reconciliation.

You can't hold hate or anger in your heart, it just destroys you.

This is something she is going to have to get over and you are going to have to see that this is her issue.

Under everything I see a thread of her wanting her son to have more control and for you to do what she thinks he wants. Which maybe what he wants and he's telling her and not you or she just thinks (like my MIL) he must want what she wants.

Either way something needs to change with you Dh, your and you MIL dynamic. Mainly does she get you are married to Dh and does Dh truly get that he is married. (you didn't mention anything eluding to this, but some Dh's run to their mom to fix things, not my Dh and maybe not yours but an idea) If nothing changes well....nothing changes

post #17 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakotablue View Post


You can't hold hate or anger in your heart, it just destroys you.

Under everything I see a thread of her wanting her son to have more control and for you to do what she thinks he wants. Which maybe what he wants and he's telling her and not you or she just thinks (like my MIL) he must want what she wants.



I agree that I can't hold hate in my heart, I have really been feeling it destroy me over the past couple of days...

and the second part, I think my MIL and my husband both have this old school view of marriage, that the man is the head of the household, and that the wife's opinion is somewhat secondary to his....I see it as an equal partnership, period. They do think a lot alike, so you might be on to something...

Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
I don't think you should continue to ask for or expect an apology. Personally, based on hearing your side of things, it sounds like she owes you one. Berating you while you were in labor (after hounding you during the pregnancy about your choice to homebirth) was beyond awful. Getting in your face shortly after what sounds to be one of the most traumatic experiences a human being can go through and survive (major abdominal surgery without anesthetic? ) because you yelled at your DH (Heaven forbid a post-partum woman recovering from a traumatic surgery should yell at her husband!) was very much not okay.

This icy silence thing you two have going on is definitely not ideal. But things are probably never going back to the way they were before the blowup. I would focus on being pleasant and polite to her as necessary but would stop expecting anything from her emotionally. Someone who refuses to apologize, or who is incapable of admitting that she might share some small amount of blame for the riff between you, is probably not someone you should count on to ever validate your feelings.

So don't. I definitely wouldn't send the email (write it if you need to, but destroy it afterwards) and I think daisymama12's advice is perfect. Put those boundaries back up and keep them there. Don't expect more from her than she's willing to give, and similarly, don't let her push your buttons or poke your sore spots if you can help it. Most of all, get your DH on the same page as you regarding your parenting decisions and his mother's involvement in your marriage. When I read the part about how your MIL barged in and started guilt-tripping you during labor, all I could wonder was why your DH allowed it to happen. My DH adores his mother (as do I--she's like an adoptive mother to me) but if she were to do something so awful and crazy I know without a doubt that he would toss her out immediately so I could labor in peace. (He also would have stopped her if she'd been silly enough to berate me for my birth choices during the pregnancy.) Your DH should have done that for you. He is married to one woman, not two. You and he are your children's parents; he is not co-parenting with his mother. That is something I would highly suggest you work out with him, because these boundaries issues are only going to get worse if not promptly addressed.

I don't think you owe her an apology at all and honestly I'm a little puzzled as to why anyone thinks you do. I don't apologize if I'm not truly sorry, so I'm not going to say you should do that just to calm the waters. In fact I think apologizing when we don't mean it is a great way to enable bad behavior and encourage others to trample our boundaries.

My feelings on it aside, you can smooth things over without apologizing. Be pleasant and polite and totally detached. Relax your expectations and just...let it go. And learn from this experience that as comforting as she can be at times, your MIL is not someone you can trust to respect your feelings or parenting decisions when it counts. Act accordingly.
Thank you...I think that my DH did not stop her because he was in survival mode just like me. Neither of us had been through a labor before, and I think that neither of us thought that it could possibly slow down more than it already was....

as for the last part, ITA, I believe the reason I brought it up was not so much to drag an apology out of her(b/c who wants an fake apology?), but because things felt like they were getting better between us, I was trying to test the waters and see if she would actually validate my feelings, and bring some closure to this matter. Now I know that will never happen, and I won't bring it up again. It makes me sad that things won't ever be the way they were before all this happened...I no longer truly feel like they are my family, because of that occurence and because I feel constantly judged by them. But it could be worse I guess, at least they are good with my kids(now)...

thanks for your kind words.
post #18 of 46
I think you should do two things:

1. Let it go. This is all water under the bridge and will do no good to dredge up. Take the high road. Be pleasant and polite but don't send that email.

2. Most importantly - create some distance. This means that when she criticizes your parenting (which she'll probably keep doing) you DO NOT ENGAGE with her. Change the subject. Don't answer. Do not engage. It's hard, but it will be worth it. Make "That's certainly something to think about. More bean dip?" your standard answer to everything.
post #19 of 46
I would apologise. Why? Because it would cost me nothing to say "i'm sorry you felt hurt". That's not "I'm sorry *i hurt you*", which is a whole other thing. And besides i think she is wrong for feeling how she does, and so apologising to her over her feeling that way is genuine, i AM sorry she feels hurt, because, though i won't say it, it's irrational, selfish and kind of weird to me that she does. MY FIL is mad because he got to see his 1st grandchild at a few hours old and (because i got up too soon, made myself sick and was told by my MW to lay flat and limit visitors for a few days) had to wait until the 3rd day with our DD. I am sorry he feels badly over that. My own dad was staying with us and had witnessed the birth and i know FIL felt excluded (which i never intended). I am NOT sorry i looked after my health and my baby for those few days, and i won't say i am. But he isn't looking for me to say i am. When it gets brought up (and it DOES, over and over it seems) i explain, again, why it was that way, and i reiterate that i'm sorry he felt badly over it. That's all it takes.

You don't need to be sorry about all of the things she thinks you did. All you need to do is say you're sorry for her (erroneous, but no need to say so) feelings over it. Regard it as a daub of social lubrication on a joint that doesn't mesh well and move on, and let it cost you nothing.

Honestly, she did some pretty rubbish stuff, but equally i think you are (justifiably) in a LOT of pain over the birth and you have added her "stuff" to that, which is blowing it out of proportion. If you'd had this incident happen after a normal homebirth it wouldn't be on your radar, by now you'd have said "i was crazy postpartum that day and DS was freaking over not having me all to himself anymore, sorry you got caught in that crossfire!" and everyone would have moved on. And though she said crappy things and your labour stalled even more after she visited it wasn't her fault your labour went how it did (NOR IS IT YOURS!) so it'd be better for you to try to separate the different hurts you suffered that week and put each into their own context.

Your birth was nightmare-level horrific. An incredible shock like that is going to cause MAJOR emotional damage, and she should have known better than to expect anything much in terms of rational or friendly behaviour, BUT what she *actually* did was very minor if you take out the context, and remember SHE didn't live your context. She doesn't know what it felt like to want a HB with all your heart and not get it. She doesn't know what a repeat cs when all you want is a safe vaginal birth feels like. She doesn't have any concept of how it feels to have someone cut into your body while you are awake and feeling it. From her POV you had a baby, she helped as best she could despite having to pick up totally alien routines and methods, and she got caught up in yelling and unkindness despite her best efforts. She doesn't get it. She never thought HB was safe, from her POV you should probably have been grateful for the repeat cs "saving" you both and for the help she offered, and not all weird because she yelled at your son "for you" when you were recovering from the birth.

I really encourage you to get some counselling for help dealing with the birth mama, you are expecting an awful lot of yourself in trying to get over it unassisted. It's a pretty big thing to process. I think you'll find that once you're able to heal from the horror you suffered to bring your daughter to earth you will naturally care less about the other stuff that went on that week, and this will feel like it's less of an issue at all. When i read your main post i read a story you have built around the horrible horrible suffering of the birth. A story about how incredibly insensitive someone was, how cruel, how irrational, how interfering, how wrong. But it IS a story. Taken individually you could equally sum all those things up as minor-if-poorly-handled differences in approach. My XMIL (when she was already XMIL) once said to me that if i was tired it was my own fault for "being up "at it" (dtd - with my new partner) all night!" - in fact i had been consoling my father in the minutes and hours after he had watching his mother die something i'd done myself the year before, and then crying for my dead mum and gran. I was pretty angry for a long time about her saying something so totally insensitive to me, but you know what? She IS pretty insensitive, and it was my grandmother's death and my fathers pain and missing my mum which made that wound she poured her ill-advised-and-petty salt into. She was just being her, it happened to be the one day i could. not. take. it.

hugs to you Mama. You will heal, this will stop hurting, believe it and let it happen.
post #20 of 46
I understand why you're furious, and I, personally, wouldn't apologize to her for anything. What I would do, assuming she was going to be in my life, is just not talk about that specific incident again and be very alert and and at the first sign of her being disrespectful to me in the future, meet it with a "You are not allowed to talk to me/treat me like that. Please leave/I'm leaving." Don't count on her for help or support in anything - just be pleasant as long as she is respecting your boundaries - and those boundaries can certainly include not interfering with your discipline of your children or inserting herself into marital disagreements.
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