Christine - posted on 05/26/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )
What do you do when someone is completely IMPOSSIBLE to talk to?! And God forbid you actually grow a pair long enough to say you don't agree with something, because an hour later everyone and their mother will be told what an ungrateful, free loading such-and-such you are for daring to speak your mind! Oh, the horror...
In case you couldn't tell, I am currently on a rampage (again) thanks to my fiancé, Ryan's, mother. He is her youngest (he has ONE brother who is 10 years older.) The funny thing is that when I met him back in high school (almost eight years ago... Egads!) what made me first fall in love with him was how he spoke about his mother. I thought it was so sweet that this big, burly, scary-looking dude was a self-proclaimed 'Momma's Boy' and for years it was okay, HOWEVER, the last few years, she has really shown her true colours, and I have to say, I don't know how much more I can take!
With MIL (or rather, FMIL for FUTURE MIL...), it's always DRAMA! And by this, I mean the kinds of drama I spent the majourity of my life fighting tooth and nail to avoid. She has control issues, in that she must know every detail of everyone's life every moment of every day. If you dare defy her, watch out, because you never know what's going to come out of her mouth next. One time she got mad at Ryan's older brother and went and told everyone he hog-ties his children and leaves them in their closets, or forces them to take showers in boiling water. At another point she was mad at my Ryan, and told the family he deals drugs from our home (note: he has never so much as smoked a cigarette, and will drink *A* beer maybe once a month... Pretty much as straight-edge as you can get.) When Ryan's brother joined the Army when he was 18 (like 16 years ago...) she was furious and phoned the recruiters every day for MONTHS saying that he was suicidal, gay, mentally unhinged, etc. She also did the same thing for her own brother back in the 70s. It's this kind of crazy behaviour that I'm just unaccustomed to and is really hard for me to keep up with, much less accept!
On the other end of the scale is her 'woe-is-me' self pity trips that last for weeks on end. Ryan and his brother both have different fathers, and (for the most part) she raised them herself (with a TON of help from her parents, I feel I should add.) Now, I completely understand the struggle of the single parent -- Ryan has a son who calls me 'Mommy' because the bio-mom lost interest pretty much right after he was born, and it's really hard for the TWO of us to get by sometimes -- BUT she has done nothing with her life to merit the chip she has on her shoulder. She told me she ALWAYS worked full time and held down TWO full time jobs, working at least 80 hours a week, when in truth, she dropped out of college before Ryan was even born, and worked a combined total of 25 hours a week until the year before Ryan graduated high school in 2004 at which point she went full time at ONE job. She has done all she could to make me feel like less of a mother and less of a woman because I only worked two jobs for a few months, and only work part time while in school. She constantly tells everyone how hard her life has been and how no one loves her, how she's sooooo old and fat, how everyone has hurt her in some way, shape or form, etc. etc. etc.
Ryan has pretty much been her pride and joy. I think she secretly hates his brother because his father was the one she married for a year or two when she was 19 and it failed miserably. Since then they have been at constant odds and she's done all she could to keep Ryan and his brother from being close -- even when they lived together! She would try to make them jealous of each other, try to make them fight, lie to them about each other, etc. Even now, she tries to get them to resent each other through their children, by either spending all her time and money on Ryan's son OR on his brother's two kids... Never all three of them together. She has been clinging to Ryan since he was little because he was her 'Ry Bear', her 'Ry-mee', her 'little baby boy' (all names that she still refers to him as to this day...) and he was easy to manipulate until recent years. Now he finally sees her for how she really is.
As a mother, I understand that your son is your son til the day you die, BUT at some point, you have to accept that eventually he is no longer your 'baby'! She actually told his Aunt this past March that she 'thought Ryan would always live with her.' The Aunt responded 'well, he's not a child anymore -- he HAS a child, and he's getting married in October... He has his own life!' to which FMIL said 'Yeah, but I always figured he'd never leave me.' Now WTH is that?!
When Ryan and I first started dating, she and I were becoming very close because she HATED Ryan’s ex-wife (they married fresh out of high school ONLY because she was pregnant) and, like I said, she secretly hates his brother and his wife by association. Also, I was willing to believe her sob-story about how hard her life was and how she valiantly made it through. All was fine until she started getting a little TOO interested… Asking me what I was spending my money on, or how I was spending my free time. She always wanted a daughter, and has always gone for the girls with Mommy-issues. Ryan’s ex, his brother’s wife, and a whole slew of ex-girlfriends all had issues with their mother. I, on the other hand, am incredibly close to my mother, and have never felt the need for a Mommy substitute. She was really upset with me for awhile when I told her I wasn’t comfortable calling her ‘Mom’… Instead I refer to her by her first name. Strike one for me.
The other problem is more of a parenting problem -- she doesn't see Ryan's (our) son as her GRANDson, she sees him as the long-lost son she SHOULD have had now that she married someone with money and can afford to be crazy. She is a blatant shopaholic -- she will load Ryan and our son down with CRAP they don't need, because she thinks she can buy their affection. Now, please don't think we're being ungrateful, because when we do actually need something, we wholeheartedly appreciate any and all help we can get, but when it's just STUFF for the sake of HAVING STUFF, that's when the problems begin. The first being that we have a SMALL house that just can't fit overflowing piles of junk everywhere! The second is that we're very un-materialistic people and are trying to raise our son in the same way. I was raised by an upper-middle class family, but I didn't have half as many toys as our son does, thanks to FMIL. Having only a few items that I really LOVED taught me to appreciate and wand what I HAVE, rather than focusing solely on what I WANT. When our son goes out with her or over her house, he comes back mouthy and spoiled, with a terrible case of the gimme-gimmes. It goes further than 'grandparents spoil their grandkids'... He will get garbage bags or suitcases full of stuff every time he sees her, because she truly believes the more junk she gives him, the more he will love her.
There's much, much more, but this has turned into a short novel as it is. What prompted me to post something in the first place is an e-mail Ryan forwarded to me yesterday that she sent him. After the last HUGE lie she spread about us sometime after the New Year, we decided that we needed some space from her. She would be on Yahoo IM with Ry ALL DAY, or would babysit our son several nights a week. We slowly decreased her role in our day-to-day life, and (shocker) things have been better for us as a family. We have become closer and are more self-sufficient. Ryan and I are communicating more now that I know he's not going to happen to mention something about me to his mum on IM that will result in me being turned into some Disney-worthy villain the next time she phones his Gram.
However, FMIL has become increasingly more needy, dramatic, b!tchy and so-on, since Ryan's tried to have his OWN life. She's sent nasty e-mails or Facebook messages to him (yes, she's one of THOSE parents...) and finally sent him one with an ultimatum, basically saying that she wants him to talk to her NOW and tell her what's going on and why she's 'unwelcome' in his life and if he doesn't reply, then she knows they're done. (Keep in mind that we get one of these kinds of e-mails every time she feels she’s not getting enough attention… She doesn’t REALLY think something’s wrong, she just wants Ry to feel like he’s hurt her and that he owes her something.) We are at a crossroads between sending her something generic ('sorry, we've been really busy lately...') or telling her (again) what's been bothering us. We have laid it out at least two or three other times in the past two and a half years, and she gets all indignant and hurt and involves the whole family through manipulative lies about us. Our wedding is in four months and two weeks... We can't afford to have a feud this close, because she NEVER gets over ANYTHING. On the other hand, I don't want the drunken scene at the end of the reception where the mother of the groom flings herself at his knees and begs him not to leave her. What should I/we do? Has anyone ever had something similar with the future in-laws?
Phew! Sorry that was so long winded... I guess once I got started, I just couldn't stop! I just don't know what to do. My own mum is very private and doesn't cause fights or drama, so this is all new territory to me. Hope you're all well and that your families are all happy and healthy!