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How to deal with ACA in-laws who "make me crazy"??!

Old 01-21-2012, 10:42 PM
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How to deal with ACA in-laws who "make me crazy"??!

I know that I'm probably going to have to try very hard not to go off on a rant right now, as I've been feeling a lot of irritation lately (more so than usual).

My mother in-law.
She is an ACA; her mother and mine were so similar with their behaviors that they could have been related. So, as a result, we seem to have the same defense mechanisms and triggers, and some of the same dysfunctional behaviors.

She has been through a lot of therapy and now takes anti-depressants, so she's mostly tolerable on a surface level.

I went to other 12 step meetings for years, so some of my baggage has been checked, so to speak, but we both still seem to react to each other on a subtle basis.

There are the subtle signs of disapproval, small comments that essentially say "I am better than you, you're not good enough for my son, your son looks SO much like his father, I don't like your perfume, I can't imagine you wearing that because it's something that I actually find tasteful", etc., ad nauseum.

And, of course, being the ACA that I am, and not perfect, I return the behavior in kind.

It's a fairly subtle dynamic, but one that I am fairly sure I am not imagining. Especially because we have so much in common, both in our childhood experiences, and our apparent coping mechanisms.

My mother in-law (and brother in-law, who is basically a functioning alcoholic at this point, as well as his wife) is really big on talking about how "we're family"...until I actually began to embrace that idea, and tried to be friends with her.
She will rarely come over when invited, but will often want to come over on the spur of the moment, which is somewhat of a trigger for me. I feel like I need to be dressed, with makeup on, etc., before people show up at my house, as my mom was always criticizing me for not doing my hair or makeup enough, etc.

When she does come over, I get the distinct feeling that she really just wants to see my husband (they're pretty close) and my son, as she will sometimes just outright ignore me if I start to speak, or speak primarily to my husband, or make small, subtle comments about things I like in a way that causes me to believe that she doesn't like it.

This is after one or two times of us just chit-chatting naturally and enjoyably, which I took as a good sign...but, maybe I was mistaken...

I can't see my behavior all that objectively at the moment, but what I do know about her is that the only people she allows into her life on a personal level are people who are very isolated, extremely codependent, and depend on her for *everything*.

I am not one of those people, and I feel that, although I have made it clear that her company is welcome and that we do need her as a grandma, babysitter, and just to come over and have coffee or dinner, I don't meet her crazy codependent criteria, so I get the rejection stamp.

Her favorite person right now is another neighbor (we all live in the same building, as she is the manager and got us in quickly when we moved back to the city) who suffers from all sorts of mental and emotional disorders, is afraid to leave her apartment, and depends on my mother in-law for daily company, to take her to the store, etc.
This person also provokes my triggers, as she has absolutely no concept of personal boundaries, and when my mother in-law babysits our son, the neighbor (who claims that she was once a nanny) is often there to help her.

I won't go into too much detail about the neighbor, but understanding boundaries when acting as a neighbor/babysitter, and allowing parents to interact with their child without trying to interfere is kind of a given, as far as I'm concerned. This person does not mean any harm, she simply doesn't know any better, as far as I can tell. But my mother in-law insists that she needs her help to watch our son, despite even my cheerful, accepting husband asking her to not have her around if she can help it.

Anyway, the whole scenario is annoying, and I have no idea how to see my own behavior with her, and she's not going away (she is a great grandma, and loves my son, so I don't really want her to go away...I just want to stop feeling crazy, rejected, defensive, and unworthy around her).

I know this has been a long rant, but I'm at a total loss with this situation.

I suppose the best solution would be to simply *stop* reacting to her when she pushes at my triggers, but I honestly just don't know how to do that right now. I spend days on end festering on how I feel slighted by her, how passive-aggressive and belligerent her behavior is (in my eyes), etc.

If anyone can help me with tools, thoughts, insight into my own behavior, or anything at all to help me to deal with this, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Old 01-22-2012, 06:16 AM
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My father was hyper-critical of my parenting, now he's just mildly critical, but one time he started insulting my parenting style at the dinner table on Thanksgiving (with 20 family members there). I didn't say anything, I got up got our stuff, and started putting on my daughters coat she was 2 or 3 at the time. My dad says "where are you going" I said "home" he said why "I said you are done insulting the way I parent" and at that I turned around, made my apologies to the whole family and left. Of course my mom ran out begging us to stay and my dad came out to say he did not mean anything by it and to please stay, and I told him "Your actions have consequensces, I am 37 years old and you feel the need to belittle my parenting in front of the whole family, I want you to go back in there and you can explain it to all of them", and I left, it was the best thing that ever happened in our relationship, it changed the dynamics of our relationship.

I don't know these people but in many of the same situations I simply say, "that hurts my feelings", I know some people will say of no offense or your being to sensitive, but when you reply with "I cannot help how I feel, and what you said hurts", I believe they will modify their behavior after 1 or 2 times.

This biggest problem I see in your situation is the proximity of everyone involved, we live 2 hours minimum away from all our family, which means we only get extensively pre-planned support or emergency support, the distance is a blessing and a curse for us.

Also I want to suggest a book "Dealing with People at their worst" by Dr's Brinkman and Kirschner, I got this book when I became a supervisor the first time, it helped me alot then, and it helps to reread it every so often to polish your people skills.

I hope some of this helps,

Best of luck,

Bill
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Old 01-22-2012, 06:19 AM
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No suggestions to offer but wanted to thank you for your share and your honesty. I relate. Sending peaceful clear thoughts to you.
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:05 AM
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Hello there Plath

Originally Posted by Plath View Post
.... I went to other 12 step meetings for years, so some of my baggage has been checked ....
ooooh I love that line. Never heard it before. Will remember that one for sure

Originally Posted by Plath View Post
....I know this has been a long rant, but I'm at a total loss with this situation. ....
No worries. We all arrived here because we were at a total loss. And your rants are actually quite short. Some of us .... ( ahem, not pointing fingers cuz I'm one of the guilty ) ... can rant for a _lot_ longer than you

Originally Posted by Plath View Post
.... I just want to stop feeling crazy, rejected, defensive, and unworthy around her ....
I am always amazed at how all our "toxic families" act in such similar ways. It's like they all have the exact same model of defective computer installed in exactly the same place in their brain. In my "family of origin" those little games were played by my aunts, my biological mother, one of my uncles.... etc.

What helped me was to realize that I did _not_ feel rejected and inadequate around those "toxic" people. I felt rejected and inadequate all on my own, they just interfered with my usual coping mechanisms that hid my insecurities from myself. I had to work on the reasons _why_ I had that low self-esteem and get _that_ fixed little by little. As I did that I began to feel less overwhelmed by toxic people, not just in my family but out there in the real world.

Took me awhile, I'm a slow learner, but that "baggage" is all gone now. I had a nasty boss for a few months that was _exactly_ like you describe, and exactly like my own biological relatives. A major pain, especially cuz I needed the money, and the insurance, in a bad way. Still, as obnoxious as the boss was, as offensive and demeaning and .... well, you know what I mean. I did really well. I was able to completely understand that she was just a toxic person and had nothing to do with _me_.

I _am_ a decent person. I'm not perfect, I'm still working on clearing up some of my "baggage", but other than that I am good, kind, giving, hard working, and basically pretty normal.

Not something I believed when I started recovery. Something I _learned_ about myself by working the steps, couple good therapists, and some patience and kindness towards _me_ as I slowly unraveled all the garbage my toxic family put in my head.

Originally Posted by Plath View Post
.... If anyone can help me with tools, thoughts, insight ....
This is something that worked very well for me, try it out and see if it does you any good.

My sponsor once told me that a character defect is just a "trait" that I use to an unhealthy extreme. I am a very kind person, and when I use that to enable an alcoholic it is called "co-dependency". However, when I first started recovery I was completely unable to be kind and understanding to _me_. My first therapist taught me a technique called the "lost child". I've heard it called by other names. The point is that since I can't be kind to me I just use that kindness towards something very close to me, but not directly me. Check out this thread:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...step-work.html

Mike
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post

...What helped me was to realize that I did _not_ feel rejected and inadequate around those "toxic" people. I felt rejected and inadequate all on my own, they just interfered with my usual coping mechanisms that hid my insecurities from myself. I had to work on the reasons _why_ I had that low self-esteem and get _that_ fixed little by little. As I did that I began to feel less overwhelmed by toxic people, not just in my family but out there in the real world.
That's really helpful, Mike, thanks. And absolutely accurate, of course.

Sometimes I feel like my self-worth was so damaged and broken by my childhood that I could never possibly repair it, like I'll remain a fragmented human being for the rest of my life...

But I've heard of the "Inner Child" work that people do, and I've done some of that for myself with specific issues, and it does seem to help.

I haven't followed through with caring for my inner child, or the "Lost Child" on a daily basis, though. I usually just kind of check in, look around, and sometimes I will see, in my mind's eye, a very scared, anxious little girl who is feeling ashamed and wants to hide. I visualize caring for that little girl, or teenager, or whatever age the child takes when I "look inside myself", and I often feel as though I've released some of the pent up emotions related to different experiences when I do that exercise.
Maybe I should go more with what you suggested in the link, and do this on a daily basis.

I really do need to start giving myself some positive affirmations.
I have a recorder with headphones, and if I just wanted to take the time, I could easily record a few things to listen to as I fall asleep, or while sitting quietly, etc.
The therapist who gave me the recorder/headphones suggested saying a negative perception about myself, countered with a positive affirmation...
Something along the lines of "Although I don't feel like I'm good enough, I am good enough", etc. (I will add here that the snide, critical part of my brain just told me that I sound like Jack Handy).

But, to get back to it...you're right; it's not the toxic people around me who make me feel worthless and bad, that's how I feel all the time (insert critical voice here, shaming me for feeling worthless and bad).
If I hadn't learned that that's a "normal" way to feel all day every day, I would probably just shrug off their behavior and go on about my life.

So...parenting my inner child, or the "lost child" will help with my self-worth... I suppose I had never really connected the two ideas, as I haven't read too much about those concepts, just heard about them from other people.

Thanks again for the input and suggestions!

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Old 01-22-2012, 10:36 AM
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Wow, I just shared something very similar in another thread. I know the feeling all too well. Disapproval of the MIL but still a very good grandmother. She gave my daughter so much love but was a thorn in my side. I did finally just decide to not care. But it took a long time. I'll post it here in case you didn't see it, sorry if others read it already:

My MIL was my biggest problem, I didn't know how to relate to a family that wanted contact, haha. She wanted weekly contact but she was constant disapproval of me. We took them on a fancy trip to Hawaii with us once staying an the Hilton north shore championship golf course resort. When I asked her at the end of the trip how she liked it she put her nose in the air and said, "It aint no better than going up north to the lake at home." One time I ran an entire Sunday School Christmas play and invited her to it. Feeling so proud going to meet her the first thing she said was how awful it was! I was devastated and ran out hiding in the set and just sobbed. I had tried my hardest to get her approval and she just couldn't give it. She tried to put it off on the writing, the set, the costumes, well duh I did it all! Well I finally went on without needing her approval because I realized no matter how much I did it was never going to be enough. So after 25 years we finally started to co-exist just fine. She is a great grandmother and I am grateful for that much. No expectations no disappointments.
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Old 01-22-2012, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Willybluedog View Post

...I don't know these people but in many of the same situations I simply say, "that hurts my feelings", I know some people will say of no offense or your being to sensitive, but when you reply with "I cannot help how I feel, and what you said hurts", I believe they will modify their behavior after 1 or 2 times.

...This biggest problem I see in your situation is the proximity of everyone involved, we live 2 hours minimum away from all our family, which means we only get extensively pre-planned support or emergency support, the distance is a blessing and a curse for us.

...Also I want to suggest a book "Dealing with People at their worst" by Dr's Brinkman and Kirschner, I got this book when I became a supervisor the first time, it helped me alot then, and it helps to reread it every so often to polish your people skills.

Bill
Wow, Bill...Good on you for standing your ground with your dad like that! (Extra exclamation points!!!!!!)


I honestly don't even know how my mother in-law would react if I told her that something she was saying was hurting my feelings...my husband's family has the tendency to shrug things off, so I don't know how that would go over.

And, although I don't think this is healthy, I believe that my pride and inherent feeling that I need to protect myself emotionally from this woman and not allow her to see that I am vulnerable to being hurt by her (the same way that I feel about my mom) may not allow for me to be that open just yet...but it's something I will give some serious consideration to, as it seems like a healthier response that just digging back.

Also, the things she says are basically designed to be very subtle (I'm pretty sure, as I do the same thing to other people, including her), so it's hard to muster up the courage to say that something as simple as "oh, I wasn't really impressed with their stuff" (referring to my favorite shop for neat natural soaps, shampoos, etc.) hurts my feelings. In reality, it makes me want to stick my finger in her eye (I suppose the anger is the fall back defense for feeling hurt).

The proximity thing is hard...I hope it doesn't sound like I'm "justifying" things here, I suppose I just use this forum and the feedback that I get from all of you to kind of sort things out in my own head, hahah.

My husband is very close to his family, as I was once very close to my family.
Both of our families are healthy enough to have them around our son, but it's my mother who mostly poses the danger of emotional damage through her negative behavior--and thankfully, I have kept her and my family on her side at a safe distance that requires about three hours of driving.

When I first had my son, my husband and I had been living in a small, rural town where we didn't know anyone, and having a babysitter and family around sounded very appealing (as did moving back to the city).
I did have to curb my mother in-law's relentless requests to come visit us all the time, as I value my privacy, and his family has acted out in various ways that have caused me to be very cautious about trusting them, mostly just for my own well-being.

We're looking at houses right now, as the apartment we live in is really cramped and is driving my husband a bit mental, so we won't be living in the same building for long...although that does have its benefits, to be sure, as far as babysitting and just being able to go to the store without a big production.

But then, there's something in me that doesn't even want to give her the satisfaction of asking her to babysit, as she insists on bringing her overbearing, boundary pushing friend along as often as she can justify it--in spite of the fact that she knows, under no uncertain terms, that we do not want that person around us.

(We're willing to offer her friend help along the lines of picking things up for her while we're at the grocery store and dropping them off at my mother in-law's apartment, but we're not trying to be her surrogate family the way my mother in-law would like for us to be.)

Gahhh! I think this is probably just "life on life's terms", so to speak. I've had to let go of my control issues in this area regarding my husband's family, as it is my natural inclination to simply not want them around at all, which isn't fair to my husband or my son.

I will write down the book that you suggested (I need to start making a list, as I forget every time I go to the book store!), and much warmth to you for being such a supportive person for me on this forum.

Thanks to everyone for responding, as this situation is clearly unmanageable for me, and it's not coming easily for me to accept that I have not control over her behavior...I can only control my own behavior, and how I choose to react (or refuse to react).

Hope your day is wonderful, and thanks again for your input!

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Old 01-22-2012, 11:17 AM
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Wow, Kialua.
Yeeeshh, the "In-law Issue". It could be a book unto itself, eh?

Thank you so much for sharing that story and your experience, it gives me a feeling of strength to read it. To feel like I can have the strength to just stop caring whether she accepts me or not, and hope to conduct myself as a reasonably tactful adult without feeling the need to return her little jabs, and not fester endlessly over how insulted I feel by her behavior...

I will pray to my higher power for whatever it is that I need in order to get over the idea that if I "just do this or that" then she will become accepting of me and be an actual friend. Because, realistically, that will probably either not happen at all, or it will take a very long time. Either way, I don't know if it's even what I need in my life.

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Old 01-22-2012, 12:37 PM
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I honestly don't even know how my mother in-law would react if I told her that something she was saying was hurting my feelings...my husband's family has the tendency to shrug things off, so I don't know how that would go over.
I have found repeat as necessary to be a critical part of standing up to people, my dad was always once who when you showed youe feelings would question my manhood cally me various names for female genitalia or a candy-a$$, I would just ask him why do you feel the need to do that?

And, although I don't think this is healthy, I believe that my pride and inherent feeling that I need to protect myself emotionally from this woman and not allow her to see that I am vulnerable to being hurt by her (the same way that I feel about my mom) may not allow for me to be that open just yet...but it's something I will give some serious consideration to, as it seems like a healthier response that just digging back.
Could it be that she is thick-headed or do you believe she is a bully?

In reality, it makes me want to stick my finger in her eye (I suppose the anger is the fall back defense for feeling hurt). When this happens I go into my own little mental movie and actually play it in my head, it gives me a little laugh.

The proximity thing is hard...I hope it doesn't sound like I'm "justifying" things here, I suppose I just use this forum and the feedback that I get from all of you to kind of sort things out in my own head, hahah. My husband is very close to his family, as I was once very close to my family.
Ok,he is close to his family, does that mean he is ok with the mistreatment? The one thing I refused to allow my family to do was mistreat my ex-wife,as much as they hated her, they held their tongues becuase I told them, you want me around you will be civil to my spouse, you don't have to be warm and cuddly, but no overt or covert BS will be tolerated.

We're looking at houses right now, as the apartment we live in is really cramped and is driving my husband a bit mental, so we won't be living in the same building for long...although that does have its benefits, to be sure, as far as babysitting and just being able to go to the store without a big production. But then, there's something in me that doesn't even want to give her the satisfaction of asking her to babysit, as she insists on bringing her overbearing, boundary pushing friend along as often as she can justify it--in spite of the fact that she knows, under no uncertain terms, that we do not want that person around us.
I have to tell you it was never worth the price for me, I watched my sister dump my niece at my moms every time she wanted to do anything, pretty soon my mom was running the show, telling her how to parent all the time, what could my sister say, she had a choice, free babysitting and taxi service with grandma calling the shots or haul my niece everywhere with her, she chose to let grammy run the show.

When my daughter was born we went 100% the other way, no parents allowed in the delivery room, no asking for babysitting except a very rare evening out, our daughter went everywhere with us, we lived downtown in a bar & restaraunt district and she a big hit, she sat in a punkin seat on the patio with us, we just got used to hauling her along, I had one of those african baby slings and I just spun her up in there and carried her on my back to the store.

(We're willing to offer her friend help along the lines of picking things up for her while we're at the grocery store and dropping them off at my mother in-law's apartment, but we're not trying to be her surrogate family the way my mother in-law would like for us to be.)
My therapist reminds me of this all the time. NO is a complete sentence.

Gahhh! I think this is probably just "life on life's terms", so to speak. I've had to let go of my control issues in this area regarding my husband's family, as it is my natural inclination to simply not want them around at all, which isn't fair to my husband or my son.
As I said before he should defend you at every turn in the road, it is his job to make sure that his mother treats you with respect.

Anyway kiddo, hope I am not offending you with this, anytime you want me to stand down I will, but I am worried about you so I am playing it straight.

Last edited by DesertEyes; 01-22-2012 at 02:38 PM. Reason: Fixed broken quote
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:08 PM
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No, your posts don't offend me Bill, as I know that they are entirely of a good, caring nature.

My husband doesn't tolerate any negative talk to or about me from his family. He has listened to some of the observations I've made about his mother's behavior, and openly considered the validity of what I was saying.

Once, when I pointed out how she does little things and makes little comments, he made a small comment of his own to her, basically saying "why isn't my wife included in this?" as she was going on about a story book she had bought for my son that only had a dad and son in it.
Hard scenario to explain, but he does his best to ensure that I'm not being treated in a noticeably hostile fashion.

However, he's also not particularly keen on hearing anyone speak poorly of his mother, so...here I am.

She is never particularly overtly rude, so it's extremely difficult to point out anything other than the passive-aggressive little "vibes" I pick up from her.

We rarely ask her to babysit, honestly. Occasionally, on the weekends, if we want to go shopping together, we will ask her to sit with him for a few hours. This only takes place about twice a month.

The reason it only happens rarely is for the same reasons you have described. I do see her as a bit of a controlling, manipulative, passive-aggressive type bully (not outright, just in a subtle fashion).

I see my brother in-law and his wife dropping their four year-old daughter off at grandma's EVERY weekend (so that they can go out and get plastered, in spite of the fact that they're well into their thirties), and the subtle message that my MIL sends out that she is somehow more preferred or more important in my niece's life than her parents are.

When my niece was born, my BIL and his wife actually asked my MIL to come and *live* with them so that his wife could go back to work, and grandma could be a live-in nanny.
That didn't work so well. His wife actually ended up getting so fed up with my MIL that she told her she had to move out. That created a lot of vitriol for my BIL's wife with the rest of the family, but I can understand how it happened. I learned what I needed to from their experience, thankfully.
(Now his wife chalks it up to having postpartum depression--which I'm not questioning, as that's her personal journey that I'm not privy to--and proceeds to basically kiss the ground my MIL walks on, which is of course the only way to gain acceptance from her.)

I will NOT have that sort of dynamic taking place in my home, so I will often just run to the grocery store after my husband gets home from work, or vice versa.
(My son is kind of a handful to take out and about so far, and it's cold outside, so I prefer not to take him on mundane trips like to the store, etc.)

My husband doesn't really need to stick up for me, as I think that his family knows already that he isn't going to tolerate any negative talk about me, or to me. It's just that her behavior is so subtle that it's very difficult to say "hey, don't speak to me/me wife that way".

I also told everyone under no uncertain terms that *no one* would be allowed in the hospital room with me and my son when I gave birth. My mother seemed pretty fumed about that, and decided to drive over anyway after the second day I was there, but she seemed to quickly grasp the idea (for once) that she wasn't wanted or needed, and that she was adding more stress to the situation, so she left fairly quickly.
I was pretty peeved that the hospital staff just let her on into my room without asking my permission, as I would have said that I didn't want visitors.

As for the neighbor, I do what I can to help people who are struggling and having a hard time. But I do it with boundaries and within reason.

I find it reasonable to help someone with severe PTSD who is afraid to go to the store by herself or take the bus (she doesn't have a car) when I'm at the grocery store and she needs an item or two.
Beyond that sort of basic stuff, I'm not willing to have her any closer than at arm's length, so to speak, as I feel like I have my own issues to work on, and I'm not trying to "save" anybody.
So she isn't welcome to invite herself over, I do not invite her over, and I actually go out of my way to avoid being around her.
But, if she needs assistance finding help with sliding fee counseling, food banks, or whatever, I'll send her the links to the sites I know of.

*Sigh* Now it's my husband who is acting out on his lovely behaviors this weekend, so I will probably be posting more about that later.

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Old 01-22-2012, 04:23 PM
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The subtle passive agressives are always the worst aren't they, you are always wondering did I hear that wrong, read that wrong, is ist me? As an ACOA I have always struggled reading people who were not overt in their actions whether negative or positive. It tended to increase my shyness to a paralyzing level, I was always the person in the corner dancing with the plant..
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:52 PM
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I know what you mean, Bill.

But WOW, have the tables turned this evening. My husband was really acting like a jerk (I won't go into details...he is generally very kind, loving, and patient, but he has his own triggers), and it was actually my mother in-law who did in fact come to my rescue to let me vent, acknowledge my husband's issues as well as his good qualities, and really talk to me and allow me to talk.

She came over because my husband had left the apartment and I needed to run to the store...but man, was she ever helpful tonight.

I realize that, like my own mother's behavior, this may not be a long-lasting thing, but tonight I've had to kind of eat my words, as she was sincerely and genuinely very helpful and insightful.

I guess we all have our moments for everything.

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Old 01-24-2012, 03:06 PM
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Aaannnd, just like my own mom, here she is today, back to showing up here unexpectedly during the day (as I mentioned, she is the manager of the building here, so sometimes she brings up packages that we've received, and visits with my son) and behaving in a way that I consider somewhat odd and...uh...it rhymes with "itchy".

After how helpful she had been on Sunday, when my husband had finally blown a gasket due to the stressors in his life that are pushing at his own triggers (it sucked; he was yelling so much, and in front of the baby, I had to tell him to leave), I expected some sort of camaraderie from her today, as we had really talked on a genuine level. But when she showed up here a few hours ago, she seemed very distanced, and it seemed like she was ignoring me if I would start to speak.

Now things are sorted out between my husband and I, and will hopefully remain that way for a while, as we've made some changes that should help him to cope with his stress, and here is my MIL seeming to retreat back behind her thinly veiled "vibe" of nastiness.

I told her I have to work tonight, and she then went on to tell my grandson, as she was leaving, "it's okay, I'll be back. Maybe I'll be back tonight!" She even said "oh, you're working tonight?" before she said this. My brother in-law's marriage is in a miserable state, and he's actually staying with her right now, so we're all in the same building. What better time to come over to my home to visit my family than when I'm not here?



I didn't react to any of her behavior today, as it often takes a while before I realize what's going on (she is unpredictable and subtle with this stuff, so even my "spidey senses" as someone called them, aren't always quick enough to pick up on her annoying little behaviors).

So, as I predicted, and like my mom, the positive and helpful behavior just can't be depended on or looked at for consistency...and also like my own mother, it can often come back to bite me, as she almost seems to enjoy acting like we're friends and then being a (insert negative word here).

I don't know how to NOT react to her behavior without simultaneously encouraging it somehow, like it's okay for her to behave that way, since I'm not sending any of the behavior back her way, but I'm determined to try.

Also, the bizarre thing is that, as a raging codependent who clearly has her own control issues, she is actually genuinely very helpful sometimes, when she is *really* needed. But then it seems to go back to her default, and I don't really know what to do with that. We moved closer to her, in part, because we wanted help from family who wasn't as crazy as my mom...

And work. Tonight. I really dislike my job.
Of every job I've ever had in any social service place, working with homeless women is the worst for my triggers. The clients test and push my boundaries at *every* turn, and as I'm supposed to be the person who is level-headed and in-charge, I can only fume silently in my own head when I've been triggered, and then come home feeling p*ssed off.
Don't get me wrong, I have compassion...but it's not the job for me, due to how manipulative and easily triggered the women themselves can be.

That's another thread in itself, but thankfully I don't work very often.

I am so tired of reacting to people though...I give up. Probably the best thing I could ever do.

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