Family Ties

I have been busy chatting with women with similar stories. There are a few in particular, that blew my mind. The family dynamics came into play and interestingly enough it was the mother in law that caused a lot of drama. That was my experience as well.

I am a mother, I know we are not perfect and we can make mistakes just like anyone else. In my experience, this was on a lot of a deeper level and often seemed to be intentional. For years, I thought she hated me and I still have no proof that she didn’t. I can remember dating him as a teenager, I can still hear the guilt trips he would put on him for stupid things. Things like forgetting to take out the garbage, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He would feel like a POS and then go do what she asked, it was heartbreaking to watch. I never experienced anything like it. Once he moved out, her attention seemed to turn to me and as soon as my ex would leave a room, she would corner me and tell me how I didn’t deserve him and how I was spoiled. On several occasions she would tell me they things she did to help her daughters out, usually monetary, followed by a comment on how they deserved the help she offered. She never offered to help me, and I never asked. I did receive a text one time, telling me how she would never pay for plastic surgery. Ok, was I wanting some? Or you suggesting that I need it? It was weird and confusing. Years ago, I complained to my ex about how she did this and he wouldn’t believe me, I made it all up. Eventually, he said he would try and pay more attention, and within a few months he caught her cornering me. I was blown away, he actually said something to her, but it changed nothing. She told him it was a misunderstanding, he had taken it out of context and it was all my fault. It wasn’t long until he forgot about catching his mom in the act and moved on, the only thing is her behavior towards me stayed the same. I made an effort to never be alone with her, I was so tired of being told how I was basically worthless compared to him. It made me so angry, and it really began to mess with my confidence.

About 8 years ago, he accepted a job about 3 hours away from where we lived. He told his parents about the move, and he said they took it well. The next day, I got an angry call from his mom. She told me how I was ripping the family apart and how I was forcing him to move away from her. Once again it was all my fault. After this, I was so happy to be 3 hours away from her. I was sick an tired of all of it. I hoped that this would cause some peace in our marriage if she wasn’t always meddling.

The only compliment I ever got from her was that she wished her daughters were more like me. My kids were clean, came to Grandma’s house with everything they needed and dressed appropriately. She talked about how she liked that my house was cleaned regularly, and how I was organized. She didn’t know where she went wrong but her daughters missed that. I remember hoping this was a turning point in our relationship. I thanked her, and I think that was the only genuine compliment I ever received.

As time went on, not much changed. I tried to talk to her, in which I received and angry email stating how everything was my fault, and she does so much for me. I wanted to ask what she did for me, but I said nothing. He tried to talk to her once, it ended with her crying hysterically, claiming everyone hated her. Awesome, could we be more child like? She still tried to corner me, she still was rude but I became a pro at ignoring her. I even asked my ex once, “If these people weren’t your parents, would you let them in our lives to create this chaos?” His answer was a quick and strong, “No”. So I followed up asking why they got a free pass? He was silent, he never had an answer for why he allowed them to treat us as they did. After that, I quit trying. I wasn’t rude but I no longer attempted to change our relationship for the better. I for sure could have done a better job in my actions, I see that now. At that time, I didn’t have the self-awareness to do better. I was already in survival mode.

For those who have known me for a long time, I bet you can remember how we used to “joke” about his mom being very similar to the mom off of Everybody Loves Raymond. Meddling, kinda mean and often treated her daughter in law like crap. That was how it was, I just needed to accept it.

I found this meme the other day, and this was my life for years. I laughed at it, and the sad part is- it should never be funny.

Alzheimer’s should never be funny, but this was how my ex and his sisters talked about his mom. Just ignore what she does to you, she’s losing her mind was the response. How is that supposed to fix anything and make me feel better? And if she does have it, is anyone helping her? Nope. I could never understand this, and honestly I still don’t.

I always felt like she felt threatened by me. I now can see that her words were often projections. It is just sad, how it flowed down from her. It is even sadder that because she offered financial assistance to her daughters, that they chose to overlook how she treated them. They chose to allow her to treat them poorly. It was like it made it ok, mom and dad give us money, so we have to put up with how they treat us. It blows my mind to this day that they allow their parents to treat them as they do.

Not having that added element of constant drama has felt amazing. I ran into her the other day, and seeing her I didn’t miss her. As sad as it is, it feels right to have cut them from my life and I don’t regret it one bit.

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