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Dealing with difficult family members

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by North Star, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    I am so very frustrated with my mother-in-law. She is part of the reason we are moving out of state…we need to keep many miles between us for the sake of my sanity and the health of our marriage. My husband's ready to hang her out to dry too.

    Any family events mean more contact with her and my brother-in-law (he's another story), and this has been one of those weeks.

    I've determined I'm good for one brief encounter once a month. Well, we've gone over the quota due my daughter's birthday and I'm ready to commit hairy carey. Even after she's gone, her presence lingers in the home like a strong unwelcome perfume. I hate that I have such a hard time dealing with this and that I allow a past encounter to still dwell in my present.

    She prattles on and on on insipid topics (like cousin Sally's boyfriend's new remodel in her kitchen) and my tolerance is gone. GONE. And this is just one area….

    How do you tell someone that they're freakin' annoying without blowing your stack or….I know this is a very real possibility…becoming the target of hostility. Her passive/aggressive comments about me seem to be increasing.

    Hubby knows he needs to rise to my defense but he ends up reverting back to his childhood modus operandi by shutting down. Our house in on the market but who knows how long it will take to sell.

    On top of everything else, hubby ends his temp tax job on April 16. We're growing our own CPA practice but there isn't enough work to support us yet so we have this added stress right now. The irony is…whenever our circumstances are more challenging, she seems to pick up her tendency to drop over. (Law of Mother in Law Attraction?)

    I would appreciate any words of encouragement… And thanks once again for being such a supportive community. :)
    Lily Rose likes this.
  2. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, North Star. I know what family frustration is like. I got tired of family get-togethers almost every weekend at
    my mother's house where she told about the new pot she bought and the men drank and grouched about the jobs
    they hated and drank while watching sports on tv, and their wives worried about the drinking and if they'd all
    get home alive afterward.

    I moved an hour away and that allowed me to make the visits fewer until they were just for major holidays or
    family events.

    Keep positive... the house is going to sell fast and for a good price and you will move out of state and not have to
    visit the relatives. It will happen. Visualize the peace you and your husband are going to enjoy.

    Meanwhile, just say you're too busy to visit or have anyone over because you and your husband are getting
    the house ready for sale, and getting stuff ready for a garage sale.

    The end is in sight, then HAPPY DAYS!
    Lily Rose and Mermaid like this.
  3. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Your sweet note made me smile, Walt. Thank you.:kiss:

    My capacity for being around hubris is so very limited right now. I quit going to the pool for a few months because I was so weary of the inane chatter there. (The chatter is almost 100% centered on health issues and doctors.) I tried a different time to attend but alas…there were other complainers there at that time. I WILL find a time where there's minimal people because I love swimming.

    I will take your advice about visualizing. In this case, it will be my mother-in-law's truck getting smaller and smaller in our rearview mirror.

    We lived in TN for 5 years and it was WONDERFUL being away from them. Oh sure, a few little twinges at the holidays for not having family around but the upside was FAR better.

    And yes, we ARE getting ready for a big moving sale. (That's another issue that she takes jabs at me. I am a minimalist and she has a house STUFFED with junk. GAH!)

    Thanks for listening and again…for your sweet note.
  4. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Your mother-in-law is all wrapped up in herself and seems like a born criticizer. Too bad we can't all be perfect,
    like she thinks she is!

    Hug yourself, from me. I need your hug, too.
  5. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    It is a burden at times to be perfect, isn't it? hahaha

    Hug received and hug given (and a scratch behind the ears to Annie)…you're the best, Walt!

    Btw, Daisy, our new little pup says, "woof, woof!" (Very delicately because she hardly barks at all.)
  6. tigerlilly

    tigerlilly Well known member

    North Star - I'm very sorry to hear you are having a hard time dealing with your MIL. I think most of us can relate!!
    When all else fails, I like to find the humor in things - thought you might appreciate these.

    Attached Files:

    Ellen likes this.
  7. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    ROFL, Tigerlilly! Those are just perfect! A sense of humor in all things is usually helpful….but especially so with in-laws.
  8. Aucklander

    Aucklander Peer Supporter

  9. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Hi North Star,

    I know exactly where you're coming from, I've experienced the MIL from hell too. Being around someone who saps your energy like this wears you down doesn't it.

    My advice would be to do some free writing about the situation, get all the poison out on paper - then burnt it. This is also a good way to find out exactly why she pushes your buttons so badly, so you can try to address that instead. You can't change her, you can only change how you react to her. She sounds a very unhappy woman, don't let her drag you down.

    Good luck with the move, Walt's right it will be a breeze.

    Deep breaths ! ;)
  10. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    {{Mermaid}} You are such a doll. Oh yes…she drains my energy big time.

    And yes, I have journaled about her and then I step out side and take a match to my musings. I am SO looking forward to moving and being far away from the family.

    As the old hymn goes, "One glad morning….I'll fly away…" I know the writer wasn't writing about the in-laws. But wait a minute…maybe he was? ;)
    Lily Rose and Mermaid like this.
  11. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    I never had a mother-in-law, but I had a stepfather that was just as hard to live with.

    Family, our own or inlaws, can be wonderful, but when they're not, it's a good idea
    to do what a friend advised me about local politics and politicians ...
    "If you don't like 'em, vote with your feet."

    I did. I moved to another suburb and have been happy ever since.

    Putting distance between us and problem relatives woiks!
  12. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Family is so ........ terribly complicated. The one area I felt let down by my saint-husband, was in the dealing with his mother. It is hard to be upset with him because he simply didn't understand why it bothered me. He was totally indifferent to her moods. We now live near my mother. She treats him with deep respect and is always friendly. She respects my boundaries, and never ever would she intrude if I said 'go away'. It wouldn't even hurt her feelings. His mother, on the other hand, does not have any social life outside her 3 daughters and her very un-social son. She leans on him for all major decisions, and she will not forgive me for taking him away. I have loved her since before I even met him (I worked for her company). I love her still. I will always love her. I simply cannot bear to be around her anymore, and my life is with my husband, not with her. I am still very upset that she caused our financial down-fall, but in the end ... we stood by and let it happen (having faith she would do the right thing, and learning otherwise). We have to take some responsibility for that.

    Beautiful North Star ... you husbands mother must be so terribly unhappy living inside herself. Everything you describe about her makes me feel badly for her. Can you imagine living in her head? When life is lived on the shallow-realm, behavior such as hers is inevitable. She lives in a narrow, micro world. She drags around sludge with her. Don't let it cling to you.

    You .. you know better. Your state of being is far more advanced. You have more options open to you, because you are more available to those options. More aware. More sensitive. More ... everything.

    If you look at her, can you see how she is so trapped? She will likely never experience the rich depths that you are capable of. For that, she deserves compassion. This does not cost you anything, and it will help free you from pain. It also does not obligate you to be around her. Move as far as you can .. be free.

    While waiting for that .... have you considered using a smudge stick in your living environment after she has been there? White Sage, sometimes mixed with Rosemary, is a very cleansing ritual. I have used it often if negative energy has invaded my space.

    Yet another aspect of protection can be invoked thus: Sage and Rose Petals sprinkled across your drive way. This helps prevent mal-intent from enveloping you, and may even cleanse some of the negative energy before it reaches you. I used this method once, in an emotional emergency ... my husband assisted (he was willing to try anything to prevent me from being hurt by what was coming). Within the hour, the situation faded, and the danger never crossed that threshold. Mmm, I do miss the magic of Alaska *smiles*

    Whatever methods you choose ... the ritual is calming. The invocations of protection, the blessings, the prayers ... these affect our attitude.

    When the season permits, I love to rub fresh sage leaf against my wrists, and a rose petal. The scent alone is calming.

    always with grace and gratitude,

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