Monday, June 26, 2006

M.I.L. - Not A Love Story

Posted by Anonymous (as always, no relation to previous Anonymous posters. )

If you'd like to use this space to vent or rant or tell the stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


If you read my blog, the details here will immediately reveal my identity. That’s fine, I’m only hiding this from one person. One person who reads my blog religiously, to my huge chagrin. She feels it’s necessary to call me after every entry to squeal about one thing or another. Or, most annoyingly, to try and share ownership of an experience I feel very much to be mine and mine alone.

In many ways, my husband feels like he raised himself. He was a difficult kid and I think at some point his mother just threw up her hands and gave up on him. But she also went further, when he had an opportunity to attend a world-class public high school, she prevented him from taking the entrance exam because she, "wasn’t losing another kid to HIM!" You see, her daughter (my husband’s sister) had moved out at age 13 (um, red flag!?!) to go live with her father and attend this same high school. So, essentially, this woman intentionally hindered her son’s educational possibilities rather than "lose" him to her ex-husband.

And the positive choices kept coming. She indirectly forced him to quit the wrestling team. She had decided he needed to contribute to the household expenses, so he had to get a job instead. That’s right! At 15, my husband was required to pay rent. Directly after high school, my husband went to live with his father who had moved from the same metro area as his mother to California. While in California, my husband was accepted to a small, private college. Rather than tell him, or even submit the financial aid information herself, she let the paperwork sit on the front table until it was too late to apply. As a result, my husband attended a community college and later a state school from which he eventually dropped out.

When we first started dating, I met the parents of one of my husband’s childhood friends. The mom invited me into the kitchen, sat me down and poured me a glass of lemonade. She asked me if I’d met "her." I hadn’t yet. This woman was clearly troubled about something, but ended up telling me anyway. Apparently, she had observed the vast difference in treatment that my husband and his younger brother received from their mother. She said she often felt it was her responsibility to invite my husband in and feed him, ask him questions about school and offer encouragement because, clearly, he wasn’t getting any at home. She hesitated before saying this, but she said, "It was like he was ignored."

That isn’t even the whole history. The background, on top of her manner (loud, abrasive, generally low-class) didn’t endear her to me. But I did my best in the beginning. Even my husband couldn’t stand to see her. They do pretty well over the phone, but for the most part, she drives him totally berserk. She is the consummate drama queen. EVERY. THING. IS.
ABOUT. HER. No matter what happens, it always comes back to her. When we were having trouble getting pregnant, she’d ask about it with this unbelievable sad-sack look on her face. Like it was SOOOOOOOOOOO disappointing to her. Forget how we felt about it. And then, when we told her, in confidence, that we had finally gotten pregnant, she had a public breakdown complete with flailing arms and harpy screams. She would make knowing gestures and ask questions that would have revealed our secret to anyone who was paying attention. Luckily every one else in my husband’s family is similarly self-absorbed.

When my husband was almost killed at work, I dreaded calling her. I expected her to cry and rail. Surprisingly she calmly made arrangements to get up to us. But that was where the easy part ended. Pretty much the minute she arrived, I expended almost as much energy managing her as I did captaining the ship of my husband’s treatment. Now, I know it was her SON lying there. But the law dictated that I was the person in charge. I had to make decisions about surgeries, transfusions, hospital transfers, legal investigations. I was the only person allowed to call the ICU. I was the only one cleared to hear medical updates. And on top of all of it, I was pregnant.

Yet, every time I went to the bathroom or slipped downstairs for a cup of (decaf!) coffee, I came back to the waiting room to her grilling the doctors for information. I arrived at the hospital one morning to a tongue lashing from the ICU nurses because somehow she’d found the number and was calling all night for updates and to have the nurses tell my husband she loved him. Every meal we ate, she magically didn’t have her wallet. So, I’m pregnant, with a husband on death’s door, very tenuous future financial prospects and I’M TREATING!?! She made every single thing I had to do that horrible first week ten times harder than it had to be. Because of her driving we arrived a few minutes after visiting hours started one day. I was so angry I stormed to the front of the line, got a pass and went upstairs without speaking to her. She thought I’d gotten an urgent call and ran up to me. And then, with all her dramatic flair, she grabbed my arm and hollered, "What happened!"

"Nothing." I said, "I just don’t like being late!"

Later that day I told her she needed to go home. There was nothing she could do. My husband was barely conscious. He definitely didn’t know she was there. I promised she’d be the first call I made with ANY information. And I kept that promise.

But I’ve been unable to forgive her for her antics during those weeks. I know how she treated him as a child and I resent her trying to take ownership in this crisis. To this day, when I write about the accident, she calls right away whinge about "the horror that we all went through."
I hate how she disregarded him as a kid. I hate that she pats herself on the back for how he turned out. I hate how she credits the rest of his successes to me, instead of giving him the credit he deserves. I hate how she always puts her own wants and needs ahead of her kids’. Pretty much, I hate her. Yup. I hate her.


Anonymous said...

Dude. I didn't know she read you. I'm impressed that you can be as forthright as you are. Maybe it really is time to find another URL. You have NO privacy.

Thanks for some more perspective regarding the accident and her behavior at that time. I don't think I could have taken it - then or now. As always, you are amazing (and so is he).

Annie, The Evil Queen said...

I can't even begin to fathom how you managed all of this. Or how you continue to do so. I can only imagine how tempting it is to delete the whole blog and start out quietly someplace new. I'd be tempted to change blogs, move and get an unlisted number, myself. Unfortunately, no matter what happens in your lives, she'll only see it in relation to herself. I wish you continued patience and caller ID.

Anonymous said...

Don't know who you are yet... will have to work my way through the HBM blogroll ;-).
OH MY GOODNESS! You have infinite patience. I have the opposite effect, my mil hates me and thinks her son is the ONLY child who turned out okay (there were three of them, husband is the only one she talks to anymore!). I have sympathy, such sympathy! I hope you and your family (husband & baby) have a restful summer!

Miguelita said...

I dont know who you are but I absolutely sympathize. I would like to read your blog though so if you feel so inclined you could email me or stop by.

I am so sorry that your husband had the experience he did with his mother. I have an aunt who drastically favored one child over another and the favoritism and bizarre pecking order has made the less favored child into a very messed up adult. I applaud your husband for getting past her and getting on with his life.

She sounds like a major piece of work. I am dreading a visit from my in-laws this week but they are nothing like your MIL. You are extremely patient and strong to put up with her. I hope she stays far away for a long time, and that your husband continues to thrive in spite of her.

motherbumper said...

You sometimes see shades of this type of selfishness in people but this quantity and intensity of selfish behaviour is unbelievable and overwhelming. I would have bitch slapped her long ago but somehow you haven't (your self control is amazing). You are obviously a strong person and to waste intensity, breath and thought on this woman probably isn't worth it. I won't be trite and say "let it go" because that is not a possibility. But remember: she isn't going to change and she probably appears this way to others so you aren't alone in hating her. Your husband is an amazing man to survive that kind of abuse.

Anonymous said...

That sucks.
I always whine about my MIL - and yours is far far worse.
I don't get what makes these mothers think they are such spectacular mothers when they are not.
My mother in law would (and still will) tell me off for things like breast feeding and limiting sugar - and then tell me how well she raised her kids. Said children are a mess because of her.
Feeling your pain!

Bea said...

I'm no expert, but it sounds like a case of narcissistic personality disorder to me. I hope that venting here has helped relieve the pressure a bit for you.

Piece of Work said...

Good grief! That is terrible! I don't know who you are, but I can't imagine what a nightmare it has been for you and your husband to deal with her. Is there any possiblity of your husband cutting her out of your lives altogether? Doesn't seem like she's adding anything but venom. But I know it's difficult with family. Good luck to you. ANd congratulations, for handling it so well thus far.

Anonymous said...

I have a middlin'-low opinion of my MIL regarding her rearing of my husband and his brother, but it doesn't touch what you've had to endure.

I hope just being able to say it all here has given you a little mental clarity -- esp. the part about hating her. Putting words to the feeling - I really hope it's provided at least a little relief. Because it must be a true burden. Good for you for laying it down for a little while down here in the basement. And while you're free of the wet-sand backpack, if you'd like a hug, I've got one for you. *hug*

Andrea said...

While I have a wonderful mother in law, her mother (my husband's grandmother) is Class A selfish and shows favorites and divides the family by her pettiness and biased expectations. And she's still only a smidgeon of the bitch your mother in law sounds like. Big kudos to you for keeping your cool. If you ever need a giant rant again, please come back to the basement, because keeping all that crap inside you might just make you explode. I wish I had something insightful to say to help you deal with her, but other than saying pick a different url and moving, I got nothing. Maybe if you move to a different url, you could come back here and tell us all where you moved so the people who read can still keep up with you.

Jaelithe said...

Wow. This woman is a bitch. That's all I can say.

Anonymous said...

There are some eerie echoes of your MIL in my MIL - and ohgod, how I loathe my MIL.
You have all the sympathy in the world from over here, for sure.

SUEB0B said...

I know who you are, and I love ya.

I think that these types of people are the most dangerous people in the world. They really, truly, don't know anyone exists but themselves. They are weird to deal with because it usually takes a long time to figure them out. I dated one. Every conversation turned back to him - he could literally not imagine how someone else was feeling. If it wasn't a feeling he had, he could not relate.

Probably the worst kind of parent to have. I'm sorry for you and sorry for your husband.

Anonymous said...

Hey HBM - can you post your email for those of us like myself, who can't just click and get there? Thanks.

Her Bad Mother said...

The e-mail is now spelled out - literally - in the sidebar:

Sorry that you haven't been able to link to it!

Silly Hily said...

I'm new so I have no idea who you are...wait, are you Bree from Desperate Housewives? Sorry to joke on such a serious matter but it's kind of how I deal with things. Laughter can be a miracle drug.
I'm terribly sorry to read that you and your husband went through such a tough time...with the accident and with his mother. I don't know how you were able to hold yourself together WHILE you were pregnant. It sucks that unless your husband cuts her off, you will have to put up with her for the rest of her life. In this case, I don't think it's a bad thing that you hate her. You only hate her so much b/c you love your husband so much.
Stay strong sister and I hope your husband has either recovered nicely or is in the process of doing so.

Anonymous said...

I hate her too if that helps
Have no idea who you are but would love to read your blog as well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks ladies!

And, HBM? Again, thanks so much for the catharsis.

Nichole said...

I don't know who you are either, but we clearly have the same MIL...or perhaps they were trained at the same academy for craziness.

Other than the terrible incident you suffered with your husband (so glad to hear you made it out of that okay!) my husband's relationship with his mother nearly perfectly mirrors yours. Right down to the divorce and children moving out.

My husband's older sister moved out of the house and in with her grandparents when she was 15. My husband moved out when he was 17. His younger sister moved out when she was 16. You'd think women like this would get the picture that they aren't doing something right!

Heather said...

I didn't know who you were but, aside from the the fact that my fiance doesn't have a brother who's been in a life threatening incident and a wife who blogs I'd swear your MIL and my future MIL are the same person. I have nothing but empathy and shared frustration. She reads my blog and I really need the venting sometimes too. Wow do I have sympathy for you.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know your MIL read your blog either. Whoa, that makes it tough.

You have been so brave through everything that's happened. I can't imagine what it was like trying to deal with a drama queen MIL on top of it all. I hope you can continue to use this forum to vent whenever you need it -- you know that there are lots of us who would do whatever we can to help.

Love to you, girlfriend.

Al_Pal said...

HOly snaperdoodles.

I don't know who you are, but I have some massive hugs for you, anyhow.

My man's mother "wasn't ready" to be a mom, signed him over to his dad [thank god], and then had another child a few years later, upon whom the sun rises & sets. It's tough. In some ways it is even tougher for my "SiL", the wife of the golden child.

Definitely sounds like a bad case of narcissism. I'm so sorry for you and your husband.