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#31 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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I have an apology for your MIL for you.
"I'm sorry, we won't be able to see you for awhile because you called my child a monster."
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#32 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why bring this up? I agree with the posters who said you and your DH really have some stuff to work on. I understand trying to avoid difficult conversations... but after a while, when it's something major like what type of relationship you are trying to work towards (husband-as-head/wife-subservient vs. a partnership), you MUST discuss it and figure out for yourselves how to work it through. Biblical or just psychological counseling-based, I agree with the poster who mentioned that a husband is supposed to make a home - psychologically as well as physically - with his wife. There WILL be times when it will be utterly impossible to please - or even appease - both wife and mother. When push comes to shove, especially in a stressful period, a married adult man needs to side with his wife when talking with his mother. This may mean that husband and wife have A LOT of discussing to do behind the scenes later - but in the semi-public situation of dealing with in-laws, there needs to be a unified front. Period.
I agree. And I think he agrees, but there are underlying issues with us regarding this. I have always backed him up when it's come to issues with my mom(they don't get along either, go figure) -- but with our son, I've had a hard time backing him(DH) up at times, because he has had a tendency to overreact to things DS has done, so in the moment I've wanted to back him up, but usually gave in to my motherly instinct telling me that my son needs a defender, because DH had trouble understanding that what was going on was just age-appropriate behavior and that anger was not helping things (I know, that's not "right", per say, but it is something that I have been working on and it has gotten better over time...he has also gotten a bit gentler over time). Considering all that, I think he had a hard time backing me up when his mom blew up at me, especially since I had just screamed at him too. Understandable, I guess. Though I would love it if he would bring it up with her now, now that he has been apologized to, and has more understanding of where I'm coming from and how much I still hurt(we actually talked about it last night, and he was not angry, and more understanding than he's been in the past). I'm not going to suggest that he do that, nor am I going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen. But it would be nice.

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As far as your MIL, I also think that when it comes to child-raising, people of previous generations often get particularly defensive because they think that if you don't do things exactly how they did it with their kids, that by definition they were bad parents. So instead, they attack you and call YOU the bad parent for not doing things their way! Perhaps if it helps, you can try to see her criticisms as being rooted in a deep insecurity about whether or not she did right by her kids. While I think (unfortunately) most of us will have at least some things we'll wish in retrospect we did better, perhaps she really feels she did some things wrong (maybe because of FIL's being so autocratic?), and regrets it, but can't voice that.
I definitely, definitely agree with the bolded part. I can see this in her(she also breastfed but for no more than 4 months). That's a good way of looking at it, thanks.

And yeah, I guess you could say that I'm a "stewer". She was out of sight out of mind for a while, except for the quick drop-off/pick-ups of ds, but when she started coming over to try to help around the house it really brought the whole thing to the forefront of my mind again. Maybe I am just not ready to start hanging out with her again....maybe after I have been through some therapy I will be. For now I will definitely keep some distance.

Thanks Julybug, I appreciate the time you took in sharing your perspective.

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#33 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
I have an apology for your MIL for you.
"I'm sorry, we won't be able to see you for awhile because you called my child a monster."

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#34 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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i think a lot of women don't really care about their births, or rather, they are told that the only improtant thing is that you have a healthy baby. so they aren't allowed to feel any emotions about their own birth and treat women who are emotionally tied to their birth with resentment. i wouldn't expect mil to get *why* you needed to grieve your birth.

i don't think you are going to get any kind of apology out of her. for anything, cause she thinks that YOU are the horrible parent.

i would apologize for the way things turned out. that's it. "i am sorry things didn't turn out differntly". then, i would let it go, and know that i can't and won't be relying on her for anything beyond taking ds out for the afternoon every once in a while. if she tried to engage in a conversation about the event(s), i would jsut say, i don't want to talk about beyond this point. i am sorry it didn't turn out differntly and no more conversation. cause it won't be a conversation, it will be her harping at you for your choices.

personally i would hesitate about letting him sleep over there cause i wouldn't trust their discipline. in every other way i wouldn't try to get between ds and mil relationship- that is between them and he is allowed to have a gma.

then i would have a lot of discussions with dh about what his parenting choices are. i understand having 2 different ideas about parenting, but you need to be on the same page. i would focus my energy on my parenting relationship with dh. and treat mil kindly, respectfully, but not allow any other situations where she might feel that she can give you any 'advice" abotu your parenting. and know that you can't have a close relationship with her. no more shopping, or hangin out.
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#35 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 04:17 PM
 
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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.
i agree. i personally wouldn't apologize but i would move on and let go. i would def get some major space between us and take dh to therapy. because what you went through sounds so god awful and on top of it for them to stress you out.

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#36 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i think a lot of women don't really care about their births, or rather, they are told that the only improtant thing is that you have a healthy baby. so they aren't allowed to feel any emotions about their own birth and treat women who are emotionally tied to their birth with resentment. i wouldn't expect mil to get *why* you needed to grieve your birth.

i don't think you are going to get any kind of apology out of her. for anything, cause she thinks that YOU are the horrible parent.

i would apologize for the way things turned out. that's it. "i am sorry things didn't turn out differntly". then, i would let it go, and know that i can't and won't be relying on her for anything beyond taking ds out for the afternoon every once in a while. if she tried to engage in a conversation about the event(s), i would jsut say, i don't want to talk about beyond this point. i am sorry it didn't turn out differntly and no more conversation. cause it won't be a conversation, it will be her harping at you for your choices.

personally i would hesitate about letting him sleep over there cause i wouldn't trust their discipline. in every other way i wouldn't try to get between ds and mil relationship- that is between them and he is allowed to have a gma.

then i would have a lot of discussions with dh about what his parenting choices are. i understand having 2 different ideas about parenting, but you need to be on the same page. i would focus my energy on my parenting relationship with dh. and treat mil kindly, respectfully, but not allow any other situations where she might feel that she can give you any 'advice" abotu your parenting. and know that you can't have a close relationship with her. no more shopping, or hangin out.
First bolded part...that never even occurred to me, but it makes total sense, considering that she had three c-sections, and has never once expressed regret about any of them. I never expected her to get *why* it was important to me, but thought that she might show me some sympathy anyway, whether she understood my reasoning or not. But, not everyone is capable of that, and especially not if there is some hidden resentment there about me actually caring about how the birth went. Interesting.

Second bolded part...what's surprising about all this is that now, even my FIL has relaxed a little bit, not necessarily in his views, but in how he treats ds. They have actually spent a considerable amount of time together over the past few months and have really bonded, and ds has never (let me knock on wood here) had any behavioral "issues" while over there, ever since we lived there. I'm pretty certain that my IL's know that there is a huge line that they are not to cross regarding discipline, and that all HELL would break loose should one of them ever strike him. And he is old enough now to tell me if anything should ever go down over there. So, I am pretty ok with it, but am still ready to call off any and all sleepovers if I hear any differently. DD will not be sleeping over there til she is at LEAST three, and probably not til four.

And at the thought of going shopping with her again! I think not. The hanging out was because she came over here to help out, but I can definitely do without that help for now.

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#37 of 46 Old 10-18-2010, 08:49 PM
 
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I can kinda relate, I think. After my birth trauma I spent a long time fixated on this idea that if my dh would just get it everything would be all better. He came with me to therapy and finally kinda did, but other than getting us out of the cycle of me looking for validation and getting hurt again ad nauseum it didn't really help like I thought it would.

I was just struck by the similarities to your post and thought I'd share. Good luck.
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#38 of 46 Old 10-18-2010, 11:53 PM
 
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I agree. And I think he agrees, but there are underlying issues with us regarding this. I have always backed him up when it's come to issues with my mom(they don't get along either, go figure) -- but with our son, I've had a hard time backing him(DH) up at times, because he has had a tendency to overreact to things DS has done, so in the moment I've wanted to back him up, but usually gave in to my motherly instinct telling me that my son needs a defender, because DH had trouble understanding that what was going on was just age-appropriate behavior and that anger was not helping things (I know, that's not "right", per say, but it is something that I have been working on and it has gotten better over time...he has also gotten a bit gentler over time). Considering all that, I think he had a hard time backing me up when his mom blew up at me,
The two aren't the same thing at all. You have a duty to your son - while it can be hard to find the line with the other parent, you do have an underlying responsibility to protect your ds. (DH and I have each intervened with the other when lines are being crossed, due to fatigue, overwork, etc.) Your dh does not have a duty to protect his mom from his wife. I mean, yeah - if you were completely wigging out and physically threatening her or something, sure - but he doesn't have a duty to take his mom's side in an argument. Considering the overall circumstances here (traumatic birth, still physically recovering from surgery, pp hormones, etc.), he quite definitely has/had a duty to you. I think it's almost fair to say that protecting his wife (and child) in those early days is one of a husband's most fundamental responsibilities.

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especially since I had just screamed at him too. Understandable, I guess.
Well, it's not understandable to me, but if you and your dh have worked through some of that, that's great. I've had too many c-sections, and if my dh ever showed up anywhere except in my corner in the early days afterwards, there would be hell to pay.

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#39 of 46 Old 10-19-2010, 01:14 AM
 
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I have an apology for your MIL for you.
"I'm sorry, we won't be able to see you for awhile because you called my child a monster."
I love the way you think!
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#40 of 46 Old 10-19-2010, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The two aren't the same thing at all. You have a duty to your son - while it can be hard to find the line with the other parent, you do have an underlying responsibility to protect your ds. (DH and I have each intervened with the other when lines are being crossed, due to fatigue, overwork, etc.) Your dh does not have a duty to protect his mom from his wife. I mean, yeah - if you were completely wigging out and physically threatening her or something, sure - but he doesn't have a duty to take his mom's side in an argument. Considering the overall circumstances here (traumatic birth, still physically recovering from surgery, pp hormones, etc.), he quite definitely has/had a duty to you. I think it's almost fair to say that protecting his wife (and child) in those early days is one of a husband's most fundamental responsibilities.


Well, it's not understandable to me, but if you and your dh have worked through some of that, that's great. I've had too many c-sections, and if my dh ever showed up anywhere except in my corner in the early days afterwards, there would be hell to pay.
*I* understand it's not the same thing, but I don't think he does.

I really don't think he gets how much of a different person a woman can become during the PP period, and how much hormones really do take over. So he took offense to me screaming at him, and then I guess he went back to his "She never backs me up" thinking(never is a gross exaggeration here, but I think that is how he felt at the time), and thus had trouble defending me to his mom when she blew up at me. I can forgive him for that, because I see where he is coming from and he was caught in the middle. But now that he's had time to think it over, I feel like he should realize that he should have defended me, or at least explain to his mom NOW that she was totally out of line...because it would at least make up a little for not standing up for me then, and I would feel better knowing that HE at last understands. But, I don't think he quite gets it.

Thank you, Storm Bride, I think you just helped me to clarify why I am still upset with him regarding all this. As far as what I'm going to do about it...I guess drag him to therapy with me, especially since we have plenty more to work through as a couple...

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#41 of 46 Old 10-21-2010, 07:55 PM
 
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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.

This is wonderful advice. Respectful distance. That's how I deal with a certain in-law. And now she knows not to cross that line.

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#42 of 46 Old 10-23-2010, 09:10 AM
 
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All I have is my experience that allows me to have extreme empathy with you. All I will say about my story is I basically cut my MIL off for two years. She lives 10 minutes away, had some major boundary crossing issues and missed the first two years of her first Grandchild's life. It was an unbearable situation for everyone. I can't say who it was worse for; me, dh mil or our child. It sucked all the way around.
The only conclusion I finally could come to was to just let it go. Living and stewing in that anger and difficulty of uncomfortable visits and holidays (when we would go over), the strain on my marriage etc etc, just became not worth it. I didn't like who I was as this person waiting for this apology that was never going to happen (still hasn't 5 years later). I even found this on line forum that is all about tearing apart in laws and family members people don't get along with. That's how much I was sitting in a place of non forgiveness and anger. It was eating up my life.

I finally realized that my life was better served lived as a forgiving person. Not to say my MIL was right, but to realize, we live differently and I accept who she is as a person. I don't have to agree, I obviously need very strong boundaries, but she is allowed to be who she is. As much as I wanted an apology, it was never gonna happen and I knew it. In fact, I know she still blames me. But I just can't stay in that place anymore...for myself. It is not the kind of person I want to be, so relentlessly unforgiving. Needing something I was so obviously never going to get.

It took about a year to have any sort of trust again. Neither of us apologized, but we did small things to be kind to each other that were largely noticed. We both seemed to have an unspoken agreement to just finally let it go. But we were strengthening our boundaries at the same time.

So I think it is unfair for anyone here to say that you should apologize. I absolutely see where you are coming from, having just had a baby, a traumatizing birth experience, the hormones and everything. I get it and she needs to think outside of herself (your MIL) and think about her wrong doing. But I don't think that is going to happen. So might you just try to let it go and see if that is enough? Let it go in your heart and in your mind. You cannot control another person. You can only be the best you. And hopefully that is a kind and loving person that can accept and allow others to live as they are.

That's all I got. I hope there is something in there for you.

I really wish you the best. It was painful to read your story and I really get. If nothing else, I offer you that. ((BIG HUGS))

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#43 of 46 Old 10-23-2010, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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IntuitiveJamie: Thank you.

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#44 of 46 Old 10-23-2010, 09:40 PM
 
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It's turned out well in the end. Good solid boundaries and back to a good relationship. But I had to let the disagreement go, otherwise we'd still be in that awful spot 5 years later. That would suck.
She is who she is and I am who I am. It's life.

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#45 of 46 Old 10-24-2010, 09:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's turned out well in the end. Good solid boundaries and back to a good relationship. But I had to let the disagreement go, otherwise we'd still be in that awful spot 5 years later. That would suck.
She is who she is and I am who I am. It's life.
That's great. It looks like that is what is happening over here too. She stopped by today(which I knew was happening ahead of time), and ended up actually really helping me out by hanging out with the kids while I was fixing dinner(new recipe which ended up being a lot more complicated than I thought! ).

Perhaps one reason that this all happened is that so I could learn to put firm boundaries in place for myself, and my family...

and perhaps, what I really needed is not so much an apology, but some true understanding, a BTDT and it's better now story. Thanks for that.

And thanks to the rest of you that weighed in on my situation, whether or not I liked your advice. This thread has helped me a lot...I still have that book coming from the library, and I'm sure that will help too, but I feel like I am mentally in a much better place now than I was when I posted this thread.

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#46 of 46 Old 10-26-2010, 02:35 AM
 
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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.

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