Audra - posted on 06/10/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )
Hi everyone. I am a DIL. I've been reading this site for some time now and would like to hear from some of you about a few things. I am a DIL for 8 years now with a very difficult MIL. I guess I will jump right in and try to combine 8 years of stuff as best as I can. I have 2 children ages 5 and 10. The 10 year old is from a previous marriage and dad is not involved but DH has adopted him. DH and I met and DH was a full-blown drug addict and alcoholic. I got pregnant 6 months after meeting DH and about a month later DH stopped drinking and drugging and has been sober since. We have been together 7 years and married for 1. DH was brought up my MIL as a single parent and MIL was in abusive relationships while DH was growing up and she worked 2-3 jobs and DH was by himself all the time as a very young kid to a teenager until he moved out got it lots of trouble and started drinking and drugging.
I thought MIL and I had a great relationship. I was there for her when her mother died, helped her with almost everything, she went into a deep depression and I took care of her. Cooked her food, did her chores/washed her clothes etc... We got along great and when DS was born she took him once a week for the day to spend some quality time with him. Older son was in school all day. I never missed a birthday or holiday or even mother’s day. Not because I felt I had to but because I cared.
MIL from day one has been prying, meddling and over-stepping her boundaries 24/7. This however has been the least of our issues. When she came to our house she would re-arrange things, throw out food she thought was bad for us, tell us what we're doing wrong with child rearing, etc. She even told me how I wasn't making a salad correctly or vacuuming the right way. She has taken food out of DS's hands if she thought it was unhealthy. He had a white chocolate lollipop one day and when she came over to our house she took it away and threw it out saying how bad sugar is for kids. When DS was a few weeks old we had to live with her due to a fire and our house needing to be repaired. She would get up in the middle of the night when DS was crying and take him out of my arms and feed him etc. This went on for years. MIL over-stepping boundaries- but not quite being rude and nasty about it. Neither DH nor myself knew how to deal with any of this so we decided to go to counseling. We stayed in counseling for about 4 years, with 90% of our discussions involving MIL. At this time MIL was still taking DS once a week and sometimes on the weekends with my older son as well. This goes on for about 3 1/2 years. MIL even came to my PT job and showed me how to mop correctly because I wasn't mopping right I guess. HAHAHA
Oldest DS who was about 6 at the time starting telling us that MIL lets him swim in her pool (4ft, above his head) by himself because there are floats in there. I started asking 6 yr old DS what else he is allowed to do alone. And he said he waits in the car with younger DS while MIL goes grocery shopping, he can walk around neighborhood by himself because "he's smart and knows how to get back to grandma's house" etc etc. So DH decides to tell MIL that she can't do these things and that she needs to keep a better eye on the kids and never leave them alone. Ok, so we think she listens but she doesn't. I get a call from DH one day that says MIL calls him hysterical saying she doesn't know where DS who is 2 now. Come to find out she left him in the car alone (DS1 in school) and someone seen and called police and DS was taken and being held by CPS. DH went and picked up DS and no charges were filed, thank goodness. SO after that DH tells MIL that she can not take kids alone and she will have to see them when we have time to bring them over or she can come over our house and see them while we're home. We also noticed TONS of safety hazards at MIL's house as well.
MIL flips out on DH and doesn't speak to him for a few days. She finally shows up at our door in hysterics begging to see her grandchildren. We say come in, of course you can see them, but we're not comfortable with you taking them alone after the recent incidents. MIL's behavior takes a turn for the worst and now she is over-stepping boundaries more than ever and saying things like "I've know DH all my life, he likes xyz for dinner not abc" etc etc. She starts showing up at our house every day uninvited, without calling, etc. DH decides we should bring her to our counselor so we can let her know that her behavior is very invasive.
When she sees our therapist she breaks down crying saying that she just left baby in car for a minute, and she doesn't leave them alone, that DS1 is lying about the pool and neighborhood and that she's too involved in our lives because she thinks my way of parenting is not right, etc etc. She then all of a sudden turns on me and says I spend too much time watching tv and not baby. I spank kids all the time (lie) and that I feed them nothing but sugar and fast food (lie) Therapist tries to explain how she needs to take a step back and that DS is not her child etc etc. MIL will not accept therapist’s advice and even disagrees with the therapist when she said DS was in danger in car alone. So counseling session to bury the hatchet- unsuccessful! It became a 2 hour session for MIL to criticize me and the things I do with my kids!
The next day she calls and says she's on her way over to see the kids. She comes over and I'm in the kitchen making dinner when I hear her saying to my oldest son "why did you tell your mom I leave you alone and let you swim in the pool by yourself. Now you're not gonna be able to come over anymore, and this weekend I'm going camping and you cant go because you told your mom everything and now she’s not gonna let you." DH walks in the door 10 mins later and MIL leaves. I told DH what she said and he said not cool, shes probably mad at you so she's directing towards DS. He calls her and she denies it all.
DH and I go to therapist and she suggests DH tells MIL that he needs some space from her and so do the kids. She suggests telling MIL to see a therapist and in the meantime just taking a break from everyone. Well this is where things get real bad.
MIL writes DH an email saying how it's all me manipulating him to ask for a break, etc and that I'm a butch and he can't seem to see it. She says that I'm nasty and vicious to her (never have been and DH told her not true), she says I'm mentally ill and needs help, DH is brainwashed by me, I have transformed DH, that she will tell DS's when they're older that I kept them apart. She also told DH that she believes I have the devil inside me and that I need to stopped and punished by God and she can't wait for the day something bad happens to me for all the pain I'm causing her, and that karma is gonna get me etc etc. She tells DH that she has a counselor and the counselor agrees that I am pure evil in human form and that there is no help for me and that she must get DH away from me!!!
Now DH decides that he was to be left alone- he asks MIL not to contact him in email, phone or person. He told her her loves her but he thinks she's consumed by not being able to see kids for a while and not being able to take them alone. He tells her to get a new counselor and after some time we'll re-visit this situation and come to an agreement as to when she can see and talk to kids once and awhile. She tells him off and hangs up the phone.
For the next few months MIL calls DH 3-4 times per day. Calls his cell, stops by his job, texts him many times per day, calls his other family members to get them to call DH and convince him to talk to her etc etc. She writes him letters in the mail, sends religious cards and drops off religious gifts for him at our doorstep with letters saying she's praying all the time for his eyes to be open about me and that I get what's coming to me. He calls her to tell her to stop showing up places, emailing, mailing gifts and letters and to give him space but she keeps on going. DH blocks her phone numbers and she calls from pay phones and other family members phones.
A few days later DH's aunt (MIL's estranged sister) calls DH and tells him that she heard it through the grapevine that MIL is filing paperwork to take us to court to try to get grandparents rights, and if its too late then she's moving 4000 from hometown to where we are going too and filing there!
DH and I have always wanted to move out of state to where my parents live- so what better a time than the present. So we decide to move and before we move we decide to have a small outdoor wedding ceremony so our families can see us wed before we move 4000 miles away. This is now 3 weeks before the move. Of course I don't want MIL there since she’s not supportive of our relationship anymore, and I'm worried she will cause a scene. I told DH my thoughts and said here is an invitation for your mother. If you really want her there- write it out and send it. Well, he never did. So wedding day comes and what do you know MIL shows up and causes a scene. My brother calls the police and they remove her and we carry on. However, we notice that none of DH's family from his mom's side attends (who we were pretty close with)
A week goes by and DH's father who has been divorced from MIL all of DH's life calls DH and asks him to come to his house xyz night alone to talk. He said he wants to have heart to heart father-son talk before DH moves. Ok, no problem. Well what do you know? MIL showed up a few days prior on his doorstep in histrionics. MIL asks DH's father if they can set up DH to come over and she will be waiting for him. So DH decides to go to his fathers one night and walks in his dad’s door and MIL is sitting there crying with his dad, aunt and uncle. MIL proceeds to tell DH how he's blind and etc etc. DH stays for about a half hour and leaves. Nothing changes.
Two weeks before move I get a call from police and they're telling me MIL called them and told them I have been driving around her house late at night and that she wants me to stop. I tell them I don't leave my house after dinner and that I've never driven by MIL's house without stopping by. A week after that police call me again and tell me MIL has called them again and reported an "incident" involving some harassment and that I need to come down and talk. Now I know what that means, so I say no and retain an attorney. The attorney calls police and tells them that the only way I'm going to station is with a warrant and an arrest. Never heard from police again after that. My thoughts are MIL was trying to stall move by having me arrested, you cannot leave state during an open charge. Then she would file for grandparent visitation time.
2 days before we move I go out to my car to grab boxes and MIL is sitting in her car next to mine. I don't know how long she was there but I go back into my house and call DH at work. He calls MIL and asks her to leave and she does. We make the 4000 mile move and for the next 9 months MIL calls from pay phones, emails gets our p.o.box and sends letters and cards begging DH to talk to her and in one letter saying how she's moving to new state too. We then get an attorney and write up a no-contact order. For the next 2 months we have peace and quiet from MIL. DH discovered an ulcer and I am now on blood pressure pills because I was feeling sick and sent to the e.r and my b.p. was 180/110. Most likely due to stress...
She got our p.o.box address from DH's dad's side of the family and sent DH many letters saying the same things she's always said and how she cant believe he married me, look how much problems I've caused in the family, that it’s scary we're raising children and that she hopes we don’t succeed in new state.
Over the course of about 18 months DH has written her emails and letters telling her that her behavior is dysfunctional and is making things worse for herself. It just seems like no matter what DH says, does or asks for nothing will get through to her. Still to this day I have never been rude to her in person or over email or phone or anything. Never once told her off or even "put her in her place."
After a few months we realize living in new state is not working out so we decide to move back to hometown. I was terrified of MIL at that point. DH thinks that we should let kids call her once in awhile and see her around holidays. He feels like that will stop her from obsessing over trying to see or talk to the kids and it will stop her from her erratic behavior and that giving her some time with kids will be enough for her to be satisfied. He also feels since both of our DS's have a relationship with her it would upset them to never see or hear from her again. He feels that if he brings the kids over there every once in awhile and supervises the visit then there is no harm in that.
My counselor feels that MIL has a toxic enmeshment with DH and that he needs to seek counseling to be able to get rid of guilt he's displayed and learn ways to deal with a mother like her.
I told DH that I'm not comfortable with the kids having a relationship with her at all since she's hoping for something bad to happen to me (their mother), trying to get DH to leave me, split up their parents. I am upset because I feel that given all she's said and done that she has bad intentions and wishes for bad things to happen to us. I just don't think that my kids should be around someone who doesn't have good intentions and doesn't bring positive things. I don't feel like she should be around the kids just because they're related and she loves them and they love her. I think you should base having someone in your kids life because they are a positive person and they have good intentions and have done good things. It doesn't sit well with me that someone who wants to pretty much ruin my kids lives inadvertently should spend any time even supervised with them.
My thoughts are it is a privilege to be involved in your grandchildren's lives not a right. I feel that she hasn't earned that right back and that she has ruined that privilege she once had by her behavior and actions the past few years. However, my kids want to see her. They are ages 10 and 5. :-\So my question is what would you do if you were me and what are your thoughts on everything?
Thanks for reading this long rant. I tried to include mostly everything. I really do appreciate your feedback. I really want to do the right thing here...