Depressed, stressed, anxious MIL blames me... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 05:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Long story short - (seriously, this is the short version)

 

FIL has stage 4 prostate cancer that is being effectively controlled with hormones. This won't last forever, though. Once hormones stop working, chemo starts until he dies or refuses it. FIL told only immediate family (3 kids, me, and wife) about his illness and forbade us to tell anyone else.

 

MIL started having panic attacks a year ago because the future was so uncertain (they never know when the hormone treatment will stop working). She hid her emotions from FIL (her DH) because she didn't want to upset him. FIL is dealing with own guilt about not taking action when symptoms started (and potentially saving his own life). MIL had only her kids to talk to - but doesn't have many close friends anyways, she's a complicated person.

 

MIL's panic attacks turned into severe anxiety. She pretty much stopped sleeping and eating, and now has a serious case of depression (where she talked about suicide). She admitted herself to hospital this March.

 

I had a very rocky start to the relationship with my inlaws. They've done some pretty crappy stuff to me, and as I'm learning, feel like I've done crappy stuff to them. At Christmas, there was a huge blowup and my DH had to leave my parent's family xmas dinner to go deal with some issues. Inlaws were so upset about the unequal time we spend between the two sets of parents. They blamed me for not "pushing" to be with them like I push to see my parents (even though it was both DH and I who don't love spending time there). They also talked about a bunch of things that I did that hurt them. DH listened to their concerns and agreed that things weren't that fair and that we would make an effort to change. Then DH told me about the convo, and listened to my side of the story. It was important for them to understand my side, so DH calls MIL up in January to give my side, but concluded with, we understand where you were coming from, we will make more of an effort, let's move on.

 

So DH doesn't hear anything from MIL (his mom) for a long time, which was unusual but they were travelling. Anyway, DH should have guessed something was wrong. Finally, we get a call to learn that MIL is in hospital for her anxiety and depression. Through the course of DH asking what he can do to help, he learns that MIL is focusing on a few events regarding me, and now resents me with a passion. I'm sure FIL does nothing but exacerbates the situation by agreeing with her.

 

The crazy thing is that MIL and I got along fabulously at Christmas this year! We had a really nice time, but then all these conversations happened (without me involved) and now, MIL can not bear to think about seeing me. She is thinking that I hate her and she hates me and as a result, will be all alone when FIL dies and won't get to see her closest son (my DH) or grand daughter (my DD).

 

There are two main issues floating in MIL head. My behaviours Xmas 2009 (where I was mean because I din't show interest in looking at DH's baby pictures, or making a necklace with the beads she sorted out for me, or going shopping with her, nd sitting on the couch watching TV (I was pregnant xmas 2009)) AND when I refulsed to talk to them on the phone after DD was born. They are so insulted by that, but it was pure self-protection as I was a traumatized mess who spoke to  no one but my mother the day after DD was born.

 

Now FIL wants me to apologize to MIL (with no preamble - just a straight apology) for the above indiscretions because he thinks that will help her on her road to recovery. DH wants to help his Mom. I don't want to apologize for 'sins' I didn't commit, but would be fine talking about the issue - however, I mostly think that MIL isn't in right mind to talk about these issues at the moment.

 

To those who have experience with anxiety/depression. What is the best course of action to help my MIL? (while preserving my own self-respect if possible)

 

Also, to make matters worse, FIL has just sent an out of the blue email discussing how I have been a horrible person to them since I came into the picture. He blames me for many, many things which were completely over the line. 

 

Please help!

 

 

 

 


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#2 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 07:12 AM
 
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Wow, what a situation.

 

I am just going to throw some thoughts out there, maybe others can add on.

 

1) You are not responsible for MIL's anxiety or illness. You know that, but it's good to be reminded. NOT responsible.

2) You are right, do not do anything that is not true to yourself.

3) Capitulating to their demands will not solve anything.

4) Then again, neither would escalating anything (not that you've implied you would).

 

I am thinking something along the lines of: MIL, I'm sorry to see you're having such a hard time. We both send our very best wishes for you to feel better. I realize we had some conflict around Christmas. I ... ok, that's where I'm getting stuck. I was thinking about how the conflict went both ways, and it was also not the cause of her illness, it was a pretty typical in-law squabble. I'm also wondering if it's even a good time to even attempt to resolve it, or if it will be even possible, since she seems set on an unadulterated straight apology from you, and will accept nothing else. Therefore, she's not interested in actually resolving the issues, she's interested in winning, and will go to great lengths to achieve a total win for her (and a lose for you).

 

I also winced a bit reading about your DH's promises for you to try harder. Get thee to a library and check out Susan Forward's Toxic Parents (and Toxic Inlaws too). You guys need to back each other up. Your DH's heart was in the right place, trying to be "fair" to his mother, but we're looking at an illness here. She's not going to meet you halfway.

 

A couple points in your story are similar to experiences I've had with MIL, though not the overall issue. She also blamed me for not pushing to visit her as much as my own parents. I told her that was DH's job. We obviously are both connected more to our OWN parents, right? Also, I've been demanded to give an unadulterated straight apology too, and while I was willing to own up to my part in the conflict, I refused to own it all. That was bloody awful, I want to forget all about that episode forever. The conversation didn't go very well but over time we just moved on and it's been left in the past. So I'm guessing you're under a lot of stress and have a knot in your stomach. I would, anyway. And I'd be simultaneously pissed that I was scapegoated here, but also a little bit caught in the snare.


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#3 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 07:26 AM
 
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Your MIL is a hot mess. You are not to blame for any of her problems, but if I were in your shoes I would apologize (as dying FIL has requested) and do whatever I could to help MIL recover. Does she deserve it? No. Do you want your DH to have to deal with a wrecked shell of a mother after his father has died? No. The idea of losing her husband is traumatizing, and she is blaming everything on you, because the way she feels has to be someone's fault. Its ridiculous, and one more reason to hang out with your parents more than her.

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#4 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 08:03 AM
 
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I've thought about just apologizing (if I were in the OP's shoes).

 

I'm not above setting aside my pride to smooth things over. At work, sometimes I take the blame for something that went wrong just so the customer feels better and has trust in us, even if I was entirely not to blame. I'm not as good at this in my marriage, but I think in a good marriage sometimes just saying "I'm sorry honey" even when it's your spouse who is being cranky that day, can serve to put the marriage first (as long as it's not a pattern).

 

But the big question is, what would it serve in this case? Would MIL then feel better and be able to deal with the issues at hand and FIL dies in peace? If yes, then sure, maybe it's the right thing to do.

 

But I'm thinking the demands will increase, that more drama will ensue and OP will be called upon to shoulder it again and apologize. And MIL will become wrapped up in directing her venom at the OP. Which not only does not help the OP, but also doesn't help MIL or FIL either.

 

Maybe... "MIL, I know you're upset about our conflict over Christmas. Let's set it aside for now, because I know there are so much more important things you are going through right now. I'm sure we'll be able to work through this, and you should know that I care about you. I would like to support you guys through this time, and we are praying for you both" (or thinking about, or sending best wishes, whatever).

 

The point being that this situation is a red herring. You don't want to get in the way of the real problem (FIL dying). Maybe communicating to her that you care about her (if that's at all true) might help a lot. (Or maybe not, I dunno.) But something like that is caring and giving, without capitulating to their bizarre demands. At the very least, even if it doesn't go over, you can feel that you did not add to the drama during their difficult time, that you came from a position of caring.

 

If they insist you flat out apologize, then they are the ones insisting on playing out the drama - and you could, if it came to that point, actually say that. "You are looking for me to take on full ownership of a more complicated relationship conflict that has roots on both sides, and I'm afraid you have asked me to do this knowing that it would be impossible - and knowing that you could focus all your stress and anger on to me during this difficult time. I am willing to try to work this out mutually, but I don't think that's possible right now. If you are looking to resolve it, we can talk, but if you are looking for a scapegoat so you don't have to face what's happening, I can't stop you from scapegoating me, but I can call you on it."


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#5 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

I've thought about just apologizing (if I were in the OP's shoes).

 

I'm not above setting aside my pride to smooth things over. At work, sometimes I take the blame for something that went wrong just so the customer feels better and has trust in us, even if I was entirely not to blame. I'm not as good at this in my marriage, but I think in a good marriage sometimes just saying "I'm sorry honey" even when it's your spouse who is being cranky that day, can serve to put the marriage first (as long as it's not a pattern).

 

But the big question is, what would it serve in this case? Would MIL then feel better and be able to deal with the issues at hand and FIL dies in peace? If yes, then sure, maybe it's the right thing to do.

 

But I'm thinking the demands will increase, that more drama will ensue and OP will be called upon to shoulder it again and apologize. And MIL will become wrapped up in directing her venom at the OP. Which not only does not help the OP, but also doesn't help MIL or FIL either.

 

Maybe... "MIL, I know you're upset about our conflict over Christmas. Let's set it aside for now, because I know there are so much more important things you are going through right now. I'm sure we'll be able to work through this, and you should know that I care about you. I would like to support you guys through this time, and we are praying for you both" (or thinking about, or sending best wishes, whatever).

 

The point being that this situation is a red herring. You don't want to get in the way of the real problem (FIL dying). Maybe communicating to her that you care about her (if that's at all true) might help a lot. (Or maybe not, I dunno.) But something like that is caring and giving, without capitulating to their bizarre demands. At the very least, even if it doesn't go over, you can feel that you did not add to the drama during their difficult time, that you came from a position of caring.

 

If they insist you flat out apologize, then they are the ones insisting on playing out the drama - and you could, if it came to that point, actually say that. "You are looking for me to take on full ownership of a more complicated relationship conflict that has roots on both sides, and I'm afraid you have asked me to do this knowing that it would be impossible - and knowing that you could focus all your stress and anger on to me during this difficult time. I am willing to try to work this out mutually, but I don't think that's possible right now. If you are looking to resolve it, we can talk, but if you are looking for a scapegoat so you don't have to face what's happening, I can't stop you from scapegoating me, but I can call you on it."



Nice wording :)


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#6 of 31 Old 03-31-2011, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much ladies!!! It mean a lot to me to have some unbiased opinions. 

 

This is an insane situation. I feel like a scapegoat - and since I'm not the one ill or soon dying (it could be 10 years) I'm ok to let the insults to the quality of my character go... as long as it is temporary. I think MIL just needs to talk about her situation, but can't talk to FIL about the most important one (his sickness) so she's found something else to talk about - me. FIL is on female hormones (permanent pms??), facing death, and has a sick wife who's anxiety comes from me (because that is what she says to him so as to not upset him that she's stressed about him!). FIL has also never apologized, to anyone, ever. He hold grudges. He's even said to my SIL, "I should just forget about (my) DH altogether - I don't care if I don't see him again". I'm not certain if he meant it or not. 

 

Both MIL and FIL don't understand how anyone could not see the world as they see it. They never think about how things they do are perceived. (eg/ in my kitchen, my MIL asks while I was getting a snack: "how much do you weigh?") So they just go back and forth reinforcing to the other how horrible/wrong/rude this or that was since it isn't what they would have done. They are also the most selfish parents I have met, but they would never think that. 

 

With all our baggage I have a hard time thinking about apologizing straight-up. I do care about my MIL and I want her to get better. I am less fond of my FIL - mostly from what he has most recently said and the speed at which the conversation gets mean and personal. I couldn't apologize and then have any real relationship with my FIL I think... I'm just not that good of a person. The apology would be fake and I would feel so manipulated and defeated. MY DH thinks the only resolution is for my FIL to let go of the past, but has a hard time believing he will ever be able to do that... 


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#7 of 31 Old 04-01-2011, 10:01 PM
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To those who have experience with anxiety/depression. What is the best course of action to help my MIL? (while preserving my own self-respect if possible)

 


 

You've got it ass-backwards order. First comes your self-respect. FIRST!

 

Second (or much further down the list) comes anything you can actually break off to send her way.

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Your MIL is in treatment right now, right? I would get in touch with her psychiatric care providers and ask what you can do to nurture a healthy family relationship with your inlaws and everyone involved. Let him/her lead the way.

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#9 of 31 Old 04-04-2011, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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MIL is in the hospital. She's getting new meds but I'm not sure she actually has a therapist at this moment, but I like your suggestion.

 

An update to the situation.

 

DH and I decided to ignore the second email FIL sent and just focus on sending our message of, "we care, we want everyone to get better and get along, and we don't want to rehash the past". So took that position and chatted with FIL on skype. The conversation got out of hand really fast. FIL is SO angry with me. He talks about the issues they are pissed about and says things like, "don't kid yourself, MIL and I feel exactly the same way on these issues". The convo got heated several times, FIL got personal (talked about how my behaviour showed my true character), and threatened to cut the conversation off (and us from his life). I tried to stay out of the issues, but failed. DH was more composed than either of us. Anyway, walked away from that conversation feeling like I could never be civil with my FIL again because he was such an a-hole. 

 

Since then, MIL called DH (for the first time - she was avoiding him because she thought he would remind her of me) to discuss the conversation we had with FIL. To me, if FIL really cared about reducing stress for MIL he would have shut up about our terrible convo - but instead told her that he thought things were irreparable. Anyway, it was good that she called because she and DH had a good convo. MIL said she could see things that she could apologize for, could I see things I could apologize for, and I said yes. It was easy to talk to someone who was willing to see that there was a second side to these issues (mine). So that was good. I'm sure that made FIL soooooo mad. But I digress. 

 

DH is now finally not so swamped with work that he can go visit (we're 10 hours drive away), so we leave on Wednesday. I'm not welcome in the house or at the hospital - because, so MIL and FIL say, "it would cause too much stress/bad feelings etc." Fine, I'm ok with that. They can have DH for a bit without me, this one time. He will make that clear. However, FIL has suggested bring my DD to see MIL in the hospital. This would involve me dropping DH and DD at hospital (at the end of a 9 hour driving day), waiting around outside until DH delivers DD back to me and I continue the 1.5 hours to my parent's house.

 

I think that MIL and FIL can't exclude me only from their life and expect to see DD. DH thinks I'm being selfish. Should I let MIL see DD?

Please help. Thanks.


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#10 of 31 Old 04-05-2011, 04:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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please, someone...


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#11 of 31 Old 04-05-2011, 05:07 AM
 
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I don't know what is a good answer, but I will send a hug your way...

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#12 of 31 Old 04-05-2011, 05:28 AM
 
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In reading your posts, I was starting to wonder if you were talking about my in-laws.  I'm so sorry, OP.

 

After years of dealing with their behavior - which is exactly like your dynamic - we have chosen not to have anything to with them.  This decision came after my FIL told us (like yours threatened) that we were dead to him.  However, if there was a terminal illness/serious hospitalization involved and DH wanted to go see them, he would go alone.  There would be no, "We want to see the kids, but that woman is not welcome." Um, NO.  I'm sorry, we are a package deal - the kids and I.  Their son is their son, and I've never stood in the way of their relationship, but I draw the line at being separated from my children for their games.

 

I hope that somehow you can find peace within yourself with the situation, and that you and your dh can come up with a solution that works for all of you.

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#13 of 31 Old 04-05-2011, 07:09 AM
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Have you read Toxic InLaws?

 

 

I cannot imagine choosing to participate in the situation that you are describing.

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#14 of 31 Old 04-05-2011, 12:41 PM
 
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If it's that important for them to see her and not you then you can drop DH and DD off and continue on to your parents. Whenever they're done visiting with her (who knows how long that will be) they can lend your DH their car or drive him and your DD over to your parents. The fact that you're even willing to go out there at all shows that you're being MORE than reasonable. The least they can do is meet you halfway. I don't see how it could possibly help your relationship to be made to wait in the car like a chauffeur.

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#15 of 31 Old 04-11-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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I'm so sorry that you are going through all this.  They are treating you HORRIBLY, and you certainly seem to have already shown a lot of patience, forgiveness, and insight.  I do agree with the importance of self-respect and being true to yourself.  That said, I think I'd handle it differently than some of the previous posters.  Personally, I don't think there is any "victory" (though I don't mean exactly that word--it makes you seem as if YOU want to be in this battle, and I know you don't) or "success" in trying to force some amicable- or at least fair and reasonable discussion/agreement with people who are NOT in a position to be fair/reasonable/generous/insightful/patient, etc.  FIL is looking his own mortality straight in the face, and knowing that it is only a matter of time (and maybe a short amount of time) before he has to decide to know he is declining and will eventually die or decide to undergo intensive treatments which will make him feel awful and drastically change his life as he now knows it. He is likely dealing with every single end-of-life issue that you can imagine... fear, anger, grief, guilt, and so many more that I can't even think of.  It really doesn't matter what kind of person or FIL he is-- this has got to be beyond horrible to face.  and as for MIL, she is currently in the throes of what sounds like significant mental illness.  As a psychologist and as a person who has close family members with long-standing anxiety and depression, I can tell you that needing inpatient mental health treatment is a pretty good sign that someone is really suffering. Anxiety and depression (especially as severe as hers sounds), lack of sleep, not to mention the effects of medications all have definite impacts on cognition.  The brain is so overwhelmed by the battle it is fighting to deal with the overwhelming emotional issues that everything else gets pushed to the back of the line- its just a matter of allocating the resources.  There is no way that someone who is going through what she is going through has the cognitive resources available right now to have the self-control, insight, perspective-taking ability, mental flexibility, ability to see shades of grey (etc) that are needed when adults get "into it" over family dynamics issues.  I've seen this time and again in practice, in my family, and even on neurocognitive testing of patients who are severely depressed, etc.

 

Sorry to be so long winded.  Personally, when my mother is at her least mentally/emotionally stable (she has a long history of anxiety/depression and maybe some mild personality disorder issues) there is no victory to me- no personal satisfaction- in "doing battle" with her over the things she does or has done that hurt/offend/annoy me.  Even if "doing battle" means having a nice long conversation.. its just not worth it.  I know she isn't in a place where I'm really connecting with the HER that is able to BE the person who can see my side, care how I feel, and be able to introspect.  It doesn't matter that it isn't fair.  It doesn't even matter that I'm right.  It wouldn't even make me feel better if she finally just said that she'd been wrong all along.  I've had to decide that sometimes my interactions with her are just designed to make life smooth.  I don't need her to understand or compromise with me-- to take responsibility sometimes, because I can tell that there are times she is not capable of what is needed to do taht.  and me trying to require it- no matter how kindly and fairly worded does no good- just further frustrates both of us and keeps whatever bad fire is burning alive.

 

In your situation (and I've done this, to a lesser extent) I'd probably cut out the middle man and send MIL a nice card- either blank or thinking of you generic stuff.  I'd put in a few pics of DD or a little art thing she's done- a hand print, something.  And just write a short note saying something like, "I'm so sorry to know that I've caused you pain.  I'm thinking of you and wishing you all the best.... Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.  DD sends her love and can't wait to see you guys!"

 

I don't feel like it is being un-true or un-self-respecting to make a conscious and deliberate choice to give in or not to engage in a particular battle.  I don't feel bad about myself for "allowing" my mother to sometimes do/act/be in a way that hurts my feelings... on the contrary, I feel great about myself for being able to know that she is doing the very best she can... even if her very best at that particular moment is pretty shoddy.  and I feel good being able to choose to be the grown up and to NOT engage in any way that keeps the problem alive.  I feel so much calmer and so much less angry deciding to only do what I can to make things better without feeling like I have to get some particular type of response from her.  This may sound condescending (to my mom) and I don't mean it as such... she is a wonderful and intelligent woman!  But there are times that I get the same feeling dealing with her as I do when I'm dealing with my 5 year old.  There are times that DD1 has been an IMPOSSIBLE HANDFUL for the day and has really been out of line and treated me poorly.  At the end of the day, I can feel really proud when I just remembered that she and I are not in the same place emotionally/cognitively/etc and that I was able to step away from how I WISHED she was able to act that day and just do my best to stay in control of my own self and just step out of the line of fire (so to speak).

 

hope some of that makes sense....

 

 

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#16 of 31 Old 04-11-2011, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks very much everyone for your responses.

 

Chiefmir, you make a lot of sense. 

 

I'm at my parent's house now, and DH is with his FIL. During our 10 hour drive here, I wrote a letters to MIL and FIL. Each letter said: "i did not intend to hurt anyone's feelings, lets leave the past in the past, I'm here for support - let's move on" but with different words. FIL letter was really diplomatic, straightforward, not very warm, but not cold either. MIL letter was more heartfelt and sensitive. DH had a good talk with his dad and gave him the letter. He seemed to agree with everything I said. DH has not given MIL her letter yet because he didn't want her days at home this weekend to be any more stressful than they already are, and wanted to wait for one of her 'good' days... but perhaps there will never be one...

 

FIL talked with DH again today about me. He's had enough time to think about my letter and now not be so ok with it. FIL brought up one of the issues again which made DH and I feel like it is hopeless to think that FIL can move on. FIL doesn't think DH should give MIL my letter. After Chiefmir's response I think I might agree, but for completely different reasons.

 

DH is now trying to get in contact with her doctor to get some answers about MIL. Whether she'll be advised to get therapy, what the plan is, how long the meds take to kick in, etc. It seems that FIL is not asking these questions, nor has he done any reading about depression. I know FIL is concerned and wants his wife better (for selfish reasons as much as for her), but I think he's doing a really crappy job and now the burden of chasing doctors and getting answers is falling to DH. I think MIL needs to talk to a therapist desperately, but I'm not sure that will happen. Right now it seems that they are just giving her medication... I don't even know if they know that FIL is sick!

 

 

I don't really think that there is anything for me to do now, but eventually I'll have to see them (I think). Then who knows what I'll do?! What if MIL doesn't want to see me again? DH and I have said that we wouldn't split up our family again... 

 

Oh, and I did send a little card and photobook to MIL but it was intercepted by SIL and FIL because they thought it would upset her. DH has sent flowers from us as well....

 

 

 


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#17 of 31 Old 04-11-2011, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Forgot to mention that I did drop DH off at the hospital and he brought DD in to see her while I sat in the car. Unfortunately, after the 10 hour drive, she was ready for bed and not that happy a camper. I had waited because my parent's are 1.5 hours away from my inlaws. DH has been with them since I dropped him off. It sucks.


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#18 of 31 Old 04-11-2011, 03:50 PM
 
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sigh.  you really are doing the best you can in a very rough situation.  On top of everything else, I'm sure its all pretty awful for  your DH.  I can't imagine what I'd be going through internally if my father was facing a pretty grim cancer prognosis and my mother was simultaneously suffering from anxiety/depression enough to need hospitalization... talk about overwhelming!  Even if your in-laws are totally non-deserving of the kindness and tact you've been showing, hopefully you'll be able to continue to draw strength from knowing that any effort you make to keep things calm and smooth will be a gift to your husband so that he has one less source of stress and pain.  I think its really generous of you to be acting the way you have been with them-- and I hope if I'm ever in such a bad place in my life that I treat decent, well-meaning people as horribly as you've been treated that there will at least be one person who is as gracious to me and is able to stand out of my path of destruction well enough to help me avoid causing more damage.

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#19 of 31 Old 04-11-2011, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks so much.


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#20 of 31 Old 04-13-2011, 11:22 AM
 
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hug2.gifOh so sorry you are dealing with all of this crud! I have been there a bunch of times with my own dad and it can be horrible. 

Just remember, you are responsible for the happiness of your family (dh, dd, you) and you shouldn't feel guilty to protect your dd from such a dramatic mess. 

And, honestly, poor DH. It must be VERY hard for him since it is his parents. I hope you two can really cling tightly to one another right now.

I hope it smooths over soon. 


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#21 of 31 Old 04-17-2011, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So I learned on the drive home that FIL decided to vent to DH about what a bad person I was and how FIL didn't respect me. The conversation caught DH by surprise and he didn't respond (even with his first convo including DH saying "I will not tolerate you speaking badly about my wife"). Instead of calling his dad out on being disrespectful, DH clammed-up and just wanted to get out of there (I picked him up the following day).

 

Now, DH has just had a conversation with his mom about her progress and afterwards DH spoke to FIL. The chit chatted about work and other stuff. DH was laughing and being 'normal' which just made me totally furious. 

 

Am I crazy to be so pissed and hurt at DH for ignoring the conversation where FIL said he didn't respect me at all? I think DH should be polite to his Father for his Mom's sake, but to pretend like everything is normal - fun family happytime (without me), drives me to distraction. DH doesn't want to cause any waves with his parents since they are going through such a rough time, but I feel like he didn't stand up for me when he should have, and as a result, chose to make me unhappy instead of them. Is this selfish?


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#22 of 31 Old 04-17-2011, 10:50 PM
 
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Wow, I can really see where you both are coming from. On the one hand, I feel strongly that when you're married you're supposed to have each others' backs always. On the other hand, it sounds like there's a good possibility that your FIL will die soon thanks to his health issues. I can really understand just wanting to ignore any areas of contention so that your DH can enjoy the last few months his father has left.

 

The impression that I've gotten from what you've posted is that your ILs are panicking in their own ways. I can't imagine how I would behave if I found out that I or my husband were likely to die in the next year or so. On the other hand, it sounds like your FIL has always been... difficult... so this may not be new behavior from him. Exacerbated, sure. Whereas it sounds like (Obviously I'm basing this all on just what you've posted, so take it for what it's worth) your MIL is usually more stable and reasonable, but has just been spinning out. Also, and this may be harsh, she's the one who will be around longer. She'll need your support and strong relationships with you both more than ever. It might be worth it to let stuff like that go if at all possible. Easier said than done, I know.

 

And if your FIL finds success with his treatments and his outlook for the future looks more stable, fixing the relationship with him can be done at that point.
 

Did you tell your husband how you're feeling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HonkyTonka View Post

So I learned on the drive home that FIL decided to vent to DH about what a bad person I was and how FIL didn't respect me. The conversation caught DH by surprise and he didn't respond (even with his first convo including DH saying "I will not tolerate you speaking badly about my wife"). Instead of calling his dad out on being disrespectful, DH clammed-up and just wanted to get out of there (I picked him up the following day).

 

Now, DH has just had a conversation with his mom about her progress and afterwards DH spoke to FIL. The chit chatted about work and other stuff. DH was laughing and being 'normal' which just made me totally furious. 

 

Am I crazy to be so pissed and hurt at DH for ignoring the conversation where FIL said he didn't respect me at all? I think DH should be polite to his Father for his Mom's sake, but to pretend like everything is normal - fun family happytime (without me), drives me to distraction. DH doesn't want to cause any waves with his parents since they are going through such a rough time, but I feel like he didn't stand up for me when he should have, and as a result, chose to make me unhappy instead of them. Is this selfish?



 

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#23 of 31 Old 04-19-2011, 01:44 AM
 
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Just apologize. No preambles.. no excuses just say sorry. No buts. It's just a word. This woman is losing her family and she is suicidal. Just apologize. You were probably young and not as understanding then. This isn't the time to have a war. She's you mom. Let it go. It's the only way to go about with someone who is suicidal. It's not the time to tell her she's a horrible person. If she gets better maybe but right now for HER to move on and get healthier .. who cares.. say you're sorry. It's two words. Don't over think it.

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Just apologize. No preambles.. no excuses just say sorry. No buts. It's just a word. This woman is losing her family and she is suicidal. Just apologize. You were probably young and not as understanding then. This isn't the time to have a war. She's you mom. Let it go. It's the only way to go about with someone who is suicidal. It's not the time to tell her she's a horrible person. If she gets better maybe but right now for HER to move on and get healthier .. who cares.. say you're sorry. It's two words. Don't over think it.

 

This is really insulting, and not helpful.
 

 

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#25 of 31 Old 04-20-2011, 11:23 AM
 
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How do you figure? Someone is suicidal. Pick and choose your battles. To push someone to death? now THAT is insulting. Guarenteed she would lose her husband over that. I would never forgive a spouse for pushing my mother over the edge.

 

I'm sorry but I find many women here are young and selfish with a lot of growing up to do and she even stated as such.

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#26 of 31 Old 04-20-2011, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by AttunedMama View Post



 

This is really insulting, and not helpful.
 

 

I agree.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by babygirlie View Post

How do you figure? Someone is suicidal. Pick and choose your battles. To push someone to death? now THAT is insulting. Guarenteed she would lose her husband over that. I would never forgive a spouse for pushing my mother over the edge.

 

I'm sorry but I find many women here are young and selfish with a lot of growing up to do and she even stated as such.

 

I'm curious to know, have you dealt with people with depression before? 

 

Also, I never said I had growing up to do. You hypothesized that about me.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by babygirlie View Post

How do you figure? Someone is suicidal. Pick and choose your battles. To push someone to death? now THAT is insulting. Guarenteed she would lose her husband over that. I would never forgive a spouse for pushing my mother over the edge.

 

I'm sorry but I find many women here are young and selfish with a lot of growing up to do and she even stated as such.



I already sounded out my thoughts on just apologizing in my post #4 (because I did give it some serious consideration), but since I really hate to see anyone actually placing responsibility for someone's mental illness on the OP, I figured I'd chime in. The OP, regardless of how young and selfish she may or may not be, is not driving MIL to suicide. Think about it. But more than that, you are assuming that if the OP apologizes, that will be the end of it and everyone will be happy. However, what is more likely to happen is that the OP will be pressed to make more apologies in the future, change more things, and capitulate to more demands. And even if she did that, she still wouldn't "cure" MIL of her problem, while putting her own marriage, self-esteem, stress levels and family life in jeopardy. I'm all for people, including the OP, owning up to their part of any issues, but this is outright blackmail, and it's preposterous to say that the OP is responsible for MIL's condition.


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#28 of 31 Old 04-22-2011, 08:07 AM
 
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Also, if you read beyond the first post, you'll see that the OP and her MIL have gone a long way in reconciling and patching things up. They've had at least one pleasant conversation and they've both admitted to each other areas where they were wrong and could improve. The issue now is with her FIL. Totally different, IMO.

 

 

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#29 of 31 Old 06-13-2011, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since my last post, nothing has happened. DH and I still think and talk about this issues on a regular basis, but we have made no progress in resolving any issues.

 

MIL is now acting a little more normal - writing emails to DH, getting out gardening. She hasn't seen a therapist yet. I couldn't believe it! The only person she talks to is my FIL who we are certain is propagating negative feelings. DH has had skype and phone conversations and emails (without me) with FIL and MIL. DH is pleasant with FIL but doesn't think he ever wants to see him again based on what he said about me. This makes it tough for DH because he wants to be there for his mom, but he can't let go of what his Dad has done. 

 

MIL requested last week that DH skype with them on a more regular basis, so that they can see DD. This was an opening for DH to finally say that he is not happy with the situation. Here is his email:

"At this point I am still under the assumption that you asking to Skype with myself and DD but not HonkyTonka, is that correct? I understand that this has been an issue that we are avoiding until we all feel prepared to deal with it, but it is very difficult for me to have a pleasant conversation with you guys when I know that there are such negative feelings towards my wife. I'm not necessarily asking for us to discuss this at length at this point, but I would at least like to acknowledge the elephant in the room." 

 

 

MIL took six days to respond but here it is: 

"I have taken such a long time to reply because I wanted to think about what you wrote. I am certainly very much aware of the elephant and have always been so. We used to call  them mammoths  in the hospital. When I went into the hospital I had two big ones and a whole family of smaller ones. I have reduced them now pretty much to the one big one. Mostly I try not to think about HonkyTonka, it just makes me too sad. Your email has made me think about her a lot over the last week. Just thinking about her reduces me to tears and/or gives me an anxiety attack ( I can hardly see to write this now). What you call "negative feelings" are not just a whim,  they didn't just pop up like mushrooms overnight. Somehow this all has to get resolved as it is making me very unhappy. At the moment consider HonkyTonka's recalcitrant attitude a serious obstacle to any solution."

(recalcitrant = Having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority)

(I'll remind you that I have had no contact with MIL at all since Xmas. I sent a photo album that was intercepted, I wrote a letter saying "I want to be friends" which didn't get delivered, and I sent a thank you letter for a scarf that was given to me from MIL from her trip to Thailalnd. She has not spoken to me at all)

 

DH and I have had our stomachs in knots and are bouncing off the walls with stress. We're talking about seeing a counselor tomorrow to help us figure out what to do. DH is at a total loss. He can't see any good solution to this problem. He would be fine with never seeing his dad again, but wants to help his mom, but wants to stand up for me and do what is right. We don't know what part of MIL problems are depression-related and which ones are "real". We don't know if I should talk with MIL or try to ride it out longer.

 

I'd love for people who have dealt with depression to help us through this. Do we try to smooth things over (assure her that I don't intend to keep her grandchild away from her and tell her that I don't hate her (both true)) or is it a losing battle if she is still stuck in depression???

 

 


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#30 of 31 Old 06-14-2011, 12:24 PM
 
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I'm so sorry you're going through this. hug2.gif

 

I wish I had more to add. It sounds like it might have helped if your card and photobook had made it to your MIL months ago. I don't know what good it would do at this point since so much time has past and she's obviously so worked up over it, IMO. I wonder if it would help to call her yourself, to try to talk things out. Try calling with a clear head (if possible) and no agenda, just that she was on your mind and you wanted to see how she's doing. Just a thought. Sounds like she's over thought the entire situation and has your FIL to add fuel to the fire. I have no idea if this will work.

 

Good luck. I hope others have more helpful ideas...


  

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