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#1 of 46 Old 10-15-2010, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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....

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#2 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 12:09 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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#3 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 12:44 AM
 
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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.

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#4 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 01:11 AM
 
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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.

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#5 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 02:10 AM
 
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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.

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#6 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 02:22 AM
 
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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.

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#7 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 06:28 AM
 
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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
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#8 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 09:49 AM
 
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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.
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#9 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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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.

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#10 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 12:24 PM
 
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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!

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#11 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#12 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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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.

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#13 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 01:11 PM
 
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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"....

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#14 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#15 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 01:26 PM
 
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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.

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#16 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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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


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#17 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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...

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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.

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#18 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 07:48 PM
 
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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.
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#19 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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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.

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#20 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 09:08 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.
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#21 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 09:21 PM
 
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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.
This is a problem. Have you and your dh talked about this? It's hard to make a marriage work well when you have different pictures of what a marriage that works well looks like, yk?

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#22 of 46 Old 10-16-2010, 10:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Storm Bride...no, I have not. I suppose I should, that is just a recent realization of mine. It's not something I really look forward to discussing, we get along pretty well and he is seems to be ok with following my lead at least some of the time. But we have plenty of differing fundamental beliefs, that I know for sure.

Eclipse, I feel ya! I think that is do-able for me.

GoBecGo...wow. Thank you for your post and your kind words. I really think you are right, and it *almost* makes me want to apologize in the way that you described(but at this point I can make no promises ). I do think I need to seek therapy, and that I need to heal from the birth trauma. It's kind of bizarre, because when it first happened I cried for two straight weeks, and I really thought I was never going to get over the loss of my homebirth, not to mention the horrific c-section. Now it doesn't phase me so much(though the minute details are extremely fuzzy, if nonexistent. My guess is I have blocked them out), but when I think about the thing with my MIL, I get so indignant, hurt, angry, all over again. I kinda wonder if I'm using that pain to mask over the pain of the birth trauma. This could be, but at the same time I don't think that I am blowing the MIL thing out of proportion....the way she treated me was unacceptable all the way across the board, and the fact that she did it 5 days after my horrific birth experience makes it 100 times worse. I think if she would have done it at another time independent of that, it would have been easier for me to forgive her a long time ago(maybe. BIG maybe). But her timing, and her complete lack of consideration for what I had just lived through, are two of the things that hurts most.

But anyway, thank you for taking the time to type that lengthy post, your words really resonated with me.

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#23 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 01:10 AM
 
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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....

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.
I think the bolded applies to both the MIL and the OP.

As far as why anyone thinks the OP should apologize - because she asked for advice about how to help her get over this, forgive, and move on in a positive family dynamic. The way to do that is to apologize for hurting others (even if it was an accidental or even DESERVED hurting, it is still hurting someone). Taking ownership of one's own actions does not cause or create boundary issues. I personally think it helps with boundaries - we realize what we can control and choose to do and accept, and we draw that line.

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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"....
If you want to clear the air between you and your MIL, OP, you can be the bigger person and do it.

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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!

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, If you don't want advice, then I think you should just put up a support thread, not one asking for advice. And like other PPs have said, being sorry for hurting someone is very different from being sorry for doing whatever.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. Life is messy. We all get hurt by others and we all hurt others. People who are happy and who have pleasant relationships with others like MILs generally choose to let things go even if the other person does very wrong bad things.

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 think this has become a bigger deal for you because of the amazingly difficult birth you had. Your MIL said some stuff. They're words. They were ill-timed. We ALL do and say stupid things sometimes. Even REALLY stupid things. If you want to let it go I think that being the bigger person and apologizing for your role would help you get toward there, but I am sure there are other routes you can try.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.
I am truly sorry you've had such a terrible time. Your birth sounds so hard. Maybe there is a thread around here to process some of that on? And your MIL is definitely wrong in some things and you and your DH sound like you have a few things to work out. But bottom line for me was that you wanted to get rid of the anger and pain and I think that a lot of us have suggested really tangible ways to do that.

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#24 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 01:24 AM
 
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I think the bolded applies to both the MIL and the OP.

As far as why anyone thinks the OP should apologize - because she asked for advice about how to help her get over this, forgive, and move on in a positive family dynamic. The way to do that is to apologize for hurting others (even if it was an accidental or even DESERVED hurting, it is still hurting someone). Taking ownership of one's own actions does not cause or create boundary issues. I personally think it helps with boundaries - we realize what we can control and choose to do and accept, and we draw that line.
If I poke a tiger with a stick and it bites me, I don't expect an apology from the tiger. If a woman provokes (berates, interferes with, and yells at just inches from her face) a post-partum woman who is recovering from a major trauma and gets her feelings hurt in the process, well...I guess my sympathy for her is pretty nonexistent. Apologizing to someone just because they expect it, when you really have nothing to apologize for, is in my opinion an excellent way to show that person that you are their doormat. OP is already experiencing boundaries issues with her MIL and I completely disagree that the best way to react to her MIL's (IMO) bad behavior is to apologize just to placate her. Being the "bigger person" with someone who already has boundaries issues almost always makes them worse, in my experience. And her MIL sounds to have boundaries issues galore.

Granted, we're only hearing one side of the story and I do agree that OP should see a therapist privately to help process the trauma of her birth, but her MIL's treatment of her--both before and after the birth--was totally unacceptable and she has every right to say so.

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#25 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 01:42 AM
 
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I would expect a lot more understanding from my husband. Of course you blew up at him- you were being shooed away from your crying, screaming toddler. You were in the midst of physical pain, emotional pain, hormones and guilt over being absent to your son. It would have been much more helpful if your mil and dh had just let you do whatever it was you had to do. You were really not yourself in the moment and I doubt you had much control over your actions in the state you were in. Especially as you can't even remember yelling- you were in a daze.

That being said, maybe your memory of this situation has attached itself to all the other pain you were experiencing at that time and made it so much harder to let go. Forgiveness means letting go of your end of the rope. You are in a tug-of-war with your mil about who has the right to feel hurt. You both have the right to feel hurt but the right thing to do is to let go of your end of the rope- for your sanity and mental health.
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#26 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 01:52 AM
 
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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.
Um, seriously? Did you even read her post? She had the most traumatic experience of her life, and this woman was completely and utterly insensitive.

OP, some people don't understand birth trauma. Your MIL (and some of the people who replied to you) are some of those people.

I have mean IL's too. Here's how I deal. I tell them what's happening with OUR family and don't leave room for argument. For example 'MIL, we are having people over to our house on Thanksgiving Day. We'd love to have you come. No, BIL and SIL are not invited. If you need to see them on Thanksgiving, we can get together earlier in the week, BUT we are having OUR day on Thanksgiving Day.' OR 'MIL, it is not okay with me for you to quiz DS on what he has learned at home lately. We do school work when/how it works for us. No, you cannot make him write out things for you either. That's not how OUR FAMILY does school at home.'

Make the focus YOUR FAMILY - you, your DH, and YOUR kids. She is not one of the parents in your family, nor does she get to be. Make it really clear to her also that you really DO want her around, but she'll have to agree to XYZ. It is really, really, hard at first, but oh my gosh it's so much easier than how things were before for us.

FWIW - I dropped how she had hurt me. I've never brought it up, and I never will. It's just not worth the hassle. Also, I've learned that I can only give so much; a relationship has to be two people giving, and your MIL is not giving anything except a nice face hen it matters. So, expect that and nothing else. Maybe someday it will change.

Also - talk to your DH about standing up for you. YOU are his family now. Two shall become one and leave their mother and father. I know it's from the Bible, and it is SO true!! And I rarely quote the good book

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#27 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 02:19 AM
 
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(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).
Newly postpartum, hurting, sleep deprived, hormonal, angry...I wouldn't hold you to anything you did. But I wanted to point out that you don't really remember. It's not fair to hold your MIL to something that isn't even clear when so much of the anger is about some of the nuance.
How much is anger about her actions and how much is anger over the possibility that she ruined your homebirth and maybe make you have surgery? Until you chew on that, I doubt you'll she'd ever please you with anything she says. I'd guess this is more about losing your vaginal birth than pj's.

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#28 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 04:30 AM
 
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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)...
It may well be that you won't ever have the relationship with them that you want. It's OK to grieve that. If they really are judging you (only you can tell), then you can't really have a decent relationship.

But I would also gently point out that families have arguments. It's difficult when it's in-laws vs. your family of origin, but it is possible to get past family disagreements. You have a new understanding of hwat your MIL is/isn't like, and may eventually be able to accept her for who she is.

I also second those who have said that this is probably 100x 'bigger' in your mind because of the surrounding birth issues than it might seem to others.

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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.


You can express your empathy for someone without accepting their reality. At this point in time, I probably wouldn't bring up the incident again, because it doesn't sound like it would profitable. But should a similar incident happen with her (or anyone else), a good way to START these conversations is: "I'd like to talk. I'm sensing that you feel hurt, and I'm sorry that you feel hurt."


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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.


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How much is anger about her actions and how much is anger over the possibility that she ruined your homebirth and maybe make you have surgery? Until you chew on that, I doubt you'll she'd ever please you with anything she says. I'd guess this is more about losing your vaginal birth than pj's.
I agree -- do you maybe subconsciously blame her for causing your labor to stall? Even if you don't, counseling for you to heal from your birth experience would be helpful.

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#29 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 06:46 AM
 
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I probably have a bit of a different perspective here. I've had two sets of in-laws - my first husband died of cancer several years ago when we were in our late 20s. His parents were difficult to deal with. It seemed like things would get better for a while, that we had at least agreed to disagree on certain subjects and drop some arguments - and then right as I started to relax a bit, another blow-up would happen. There were absolutely times when they displaced their anger and hurt about other issues onto me (i.e. their younger son's behavior was a major problem, especially when we first got together - and at least one memorable time, his mother screamed at me right after fighting with her other son). My late husband had also reached the point very early in life where he felt he couldn't easily be himself with his parents' input. Later, I think they blamed the fact that he almost never asked for or took his parents' advice on me (although that had been going on for several years before we got together). They don't deal well when they're not allowed to control people they feel they should be able to control. Until I came into the picture in an increasingly serious way, my late husband just avoided dealing with life choices and permission issues with his parents whenever he could. But my being there challenged their illusion that they still had some control over, and an open relationship with, my late husband. It took a while, but my late husband realized he needed to form a strong, unified front with me - that that was the only way to help keep them from getting between us (they even physically tried to separate us when there were disagreements at times!). Some times were rather bad. But the fact that we had a unified front 90% of the time - and pulled ranks even more closely together when they got really belligerent - kept a lot of incidents from getting far, far worse.

When he was dying of cancer, at times they did help us out. But there were also times when, even though we could have used help (and if my family wasn't around), we politely but very firmly told them in particular that we had decisions to make that we needed to make alone. Obviously that was hard for them - they were his parents. But ultimately - after his death - they actually appreciated me more and realized how much my late husband and I loved each other and how good we were for each other, even if they didn't always agree with being shut out or didn't like it when we didn't take their advice.

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.

While your MIL was quite unreasonable (I think you don't owe her an apology, FWIW), the bigger issue I see is your DH needing to realize that he needs to make sure he his protecting and nurturing his home front... even if his Mommy isn't always happy about it! I'm not saying that he should be oppositional to his mother for no reason. When it's a small tiff, trying to ignore it, or if she's persistent, make a comment along the lines of, "Gee, Mom, thanks for that different perspective. We'll consider that when we discuss the issue privately later. More cornbread?" is the way to go. If she really pushes her way into issues that are not her business - even if she's helping out with something - your husband needs to stand up to his mother and tell her that that is her perspective based on her own life and how she chose to raise her kids - but now it's his family, his perspective, and his wife and kids, and she has to respect that - or take her opinion elsewhere.

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. While my now-husband's mother is cautious about saying too much (not-great relationship with other DIL), she has at times made these comments re: breastfeeding that have irritated me. She did nurse her kids, but on a more limited basis, plus I think alternate cultural issues were at play. But I think she wishes she could have nursed longer (she worked at least part-time) and probably feels badly about that, so I figure the comments come from her own regrets as much as being somewhat ill-informed about current recommendations for breastfeeding, and some well-meaning (if uninformed) concern for both my and my son's well-being.

I also strongly, strongly agree that you need to get some kind of therapy. Look around your area - often there are sliding-scale programs out there, volunteer counseling through churches (if you're open to that), etc. I didn't go through a fraction of what you went through for your second birth, but it still took me some time to process some of what happened with my son's birth.

We all come to our relationships with our own unique baggage, for better and worse. I'm doing therapy now - and I'm finding that a lot of my own parents' parenting choices are coming up rather painfully as I work out my own goals for my son. For the most part, I have forgiven them for a lot of that - I just have to work through some remaining hurt and try to use it to better inform my own approach. And I also have found that my experiences with my late husband's parents, as well as remaining hurt from that, has been an issue. Plus, they pretty much stopped communicating with me when I got engaged, although they did give us a wedding gift and a baby gift, which was nice of them. But they were my family for several years, so it does hurt to have lost them (as well as extended family on that side, but that's a whole other set of issues), and know that they wish their son was still here instead of me (that's just fact, and I understand that). So I do understand about hurt from in-laws.

Ultimately, I do agree that you can only control what your reaction is - to a point. But it's not easy to start to let go of situations like this, especially if you're a "stewer" as I am. I don't agree with dishonest "apologies" when you don't mean it, especially when it's likely to just get your MIL to jump all over you once again. Writing the letter to not send is a good way to think about it and work through your perspective.

But, you and DH need to work on your style as a couple, and your approach in dealing with family - especially your in-laws. I think it's perfectly appropriate to take breaks occasionally from family, if needed, to regroup and decide on what you will accept in the relationship. But things will likely only improve if you and DH work things through and decide on a unified approach. It won't be easy at first, but it's necessary and will ultimately likely improve things.

Hope this helps - maybe my insomnia tonight will be good for someone.

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#30 of 46 Old 10-17-2010, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree -- do you maybe subconsciously blame her for causing your labor to stall? Even if you don't, counseling for you to heal from your birth experience would be helpful.
I don't...really, I don't. My labor had been really irregular all day, still very much in the early stages. I mentioned that she came in and said that because it was just part of what happened. I certainly don't appreciate her coming in and telling me that in the midst of my labor, but I don't hold her responsible for the loss of my homebirth. The bottom line is that DH and I should have hired a doula.

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Newly postpartum, hurting, sleep deprived, hormonal, angry...I wouldn't hold you to anything you did. But I wanted to point out that you don't really remember. It's not fair to hold your MIL to something that isn't even clear when so much of the anger is about some of the nuance.
How much is anger about her actions and how much is anger over the possibility that she ruined your homebirth and maybe make you have surgery? Until you chew on that, I doubt you'll she'd ever please you with anything she says. I'd guess this is more about losing your vaginal birth than pj's.
Here I need to clarify: the only thing that is a blur to me is when I screamed at DH. Right after that is when I entered the room to go to ds, which is when she started going off on me, starting with: "You are creating a MONSTER! He is like this because YOU have allowed him to be...." and went on with the tirade from there. So I do remember.

My anger at her is about her actions, when I was newly post-partum, grieving the loss of my birth, in horrendous physical pain. I needed understanding, compassion. I needed my 3 year old to be treated with compassion by his grandma, since he was also going through a major life change. And I thought that I would get some form of that from her, as I used to consider her my second mother. That's why she was there. I never even so much as gave her a dirty look, and she completely flamed me after I yelled at her grown son, my husband. I still have some residual pain from the loss of my vaginal birth...but the only way that it is tied in with this is that she should have had that much more compassion towards me because of it. So I would say it has a little to do with the pj's, but more so to do with how she treated me, as a person, just a few short days after the most traumatic experience of my life. That's what it's about. Me yelling at her grown child is NOTHING compared to that.

And that is all I have to say about that, for now anyway. I am taking a deep breath, going to go have some lunch, and later I will write the e-mail that I may or may not send. I am going to seek therapy. And there is a great-looking book that I am going to check out that I was just given a recommendation to by PM, here. I will work on forgiving her. That is all I can do at this time.

Thank you for your understanding and advice, mamas.

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