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Sort of lost it on MIL

Old 04-08-2011, 07:37 AM
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Sort of lost it on MIL

I know I should feel bad about this but I don't- not one bit.

For years it's been "oh everything is fine" when it clearly was not fine at all. And in the meantime my AH was calling his mommy secretly crying about how mean I am, how I expect too much etc... (typically after he'd gone on a bender and I'd told him his behavior was not okay).

For years I'd get these subtle digs from her about hypothetical situations that "might" cause H stress... and then she'd quickly say "I don't know what goes on here and I don't want to know-- it's just something I was thinking about".

This week, after learning that H had told another whopper lie to his mother and gotten money from her to feed his addiction I called and confronted her. Her response "well H told me that you don't let him have any freedom and I thought he might want a coffee or something and you won't let him have one so I gave him cash".

That was when I lost it.

I told her that I was sick of her lies to cover up for her son's behavior. I told her that she'd done that her whole life with her own AH and that the effect that had on her kids was plain as day (they are all seriously messed up). She told me that her family was "perfectly healthy" and I had "no idea" what I was talking about. She also told me that if I "showed more love to H it would motivate him to do the same". I informed her that enabling is not love and that the fact her son (my H) thinks it is is precisely the problem and is a result of HER lessons as a parent. I told her I hoped she was proud of the job she did raising her kids bc they are all living breathing ex of why you DON'T stay with an A who has 0 interest in getting better.

She told me I was "stealing" our kids away from H and informed her that he'd alienated them all on his own and gave her some tidbits that whether she believes or not, are true about how interested her son has been in seeing his kids since we separated.

I informed her that her other son, my bil, has been calling me leaving beligerant drunken messages ever since I learned that he's been texting my H encouraging him to drink with him and that I've now blocked his number. Her response? "I know for a fact that bil is a recovered A and would NOT do that". At that point I laughed and told her she was delusional and if it helped her sleep at night she should continue to lie to herself but I asked her how well lying to herself and believing her H's and kids lies had really worked out for any of them.

She told me she'd pray for me and reminded me that AH is a "good man" and I told her I appreciated how out of touch with reality she was and said goodbye.

I KNOW this was immature and unreasonable and I should not have done it. But I'll admit that it felt GOOD to finally tell her the truth and let her know that the game we've played for years of "pretend all is well, all the while knowing that she is blaming and badmouthing me along with her kids so as to take the focus off the real problem" is OVER.

I won't do anything like this again and am sure at some point I will need to apologize. But right now, I selfishly feel relieved and glad that the truth is out. It could have come out in a better way but it's out and a weight is off my shoulders.


enabling and that if she wanted to continue to do so it would be further fuel to demonstrate to a court that H and his family are a danger to my children. I also told her that for
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:49 AM
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OMG....are you married to some long lost brother of my RAH that I am unaware of? I think you just described my mil perfectly! I am just stunned at the exactness of the situation. This is precisely my mil. And with that said, good luck to you. You will never get this family to see or admit that any of them have a problem. The mil will cover up anything that her sons or H does and do whatever it takes to make sure they appear to be a model family. Oh, I know so well what you are going through. And, good for you for speaking your mind. I am still with my RAH and have yet to tell my mil what I think.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:02 AM
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Ok, so it wasn't the most effective thing to do, but I understand how GOOD it must have felt to let out all the pent-up anger you have. However, talking to a delusional woman eyeballs deep in her codependence won't really get you anyplace, as you already know.

But, I'm right there with you on wanting to "let it all out"!
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:04 AM
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WTBH,

It is so tempting to do this.
ANd I did.

A few times...LOL.

My MIL comes from a long line of alcoholism, and her 9 brothers and sisters are all but one terribly afflicted.
She was a supportive grandma, and a friend to me for years. When my RAH got sober, things turned ugly.
Even while he was active, there were times when he would cry to her, and I would get a call.
She would say, "I know he is a mess, but he is still human."
"How badly can you treat someone, cant you see it doesnt help him?"

She had only heard one side. There were entire years when she would take my side, seeing that he was abusive, maybe mentally askew.

Then she would have a bout of mama bear, and I would get a call.

For so many years I resisted the urge to blast her and her whole family, her marriage, their whole narcissitic denial ridden clan.

then once I did it.
I said a lot of the things that you said. I was not seething. I just laid it out. I told her she was in denial, not only of how her son was neglecting his child, but of her brothers, her father, her own marriage."Where do you think he learned that this is how to be a family man? That this is how to deal with life and reality?" I told her he had a lot more to heal from than just alcoholism. And she was silent.
I said that I know everyone does the best they can in the moment, but that A had a terrible childhood, was it any wonder, REALLY that he was such a mess? Could she really not see how terrible his behavior was, and why does she and her family have such a staid tolerance even defense for such behavior.?

She hung up on me. I felt like you did. I felt guilty, but man, it felt good to finally say all that. I was talking a bout an elephant in the room that I had spent years muzzling myself over at family functions, in my dealings with her.

I thought to apologize, I felt a little scared about what might result from such a blatant confrontation of her denial.

I had really attacked her way of thinking, of living.

About two weeks went by, and I thought surely that I was going to get a sh*tstorm from AH for talking that way to his mom. About his family. His precious, perfect family.

No such thing happened.
Instead she called me and wanted to talk. She had not told him anything abt our talk.

She was humble. She was noticeably shaken.
Instead of anger and indignation, she approached me with questions.

"Do you really think I allowed this, by staying with my H? Do you really think my family has a massive alcohol issue? We have had several brothers in and out of treatment. NO one ever got sober."

Honestly, it was as if she just NEVER questioned any of it. With RAH uncles showing up at Xmas falling down drunk, belligerent...She never looked into the consequences...the chain of addiction and sickness?

She hadnt.

Obviously, this comes in waves, for her. She is 57 years old. She has her life in containers, now, that work for her. SHe has a measure of control. After this there have been bouts of terribly unfair fights between her and me. When he got sober she went MIA, then attacked me via facebook. It was weird. NOw she is back to normal and we dont discuss too much, just enough to do grandparenting stuff. She did give me her "blessing" on having put him out of the house in March.

I would not apoplogize. What you have said is true. If anything I would maybe apologize for the WAY you communicated, but add that you hope that the value of what you had to say was not lost in the delivery.

I dont think your MIL is going to come around and start looking at her life, at her kids, examining her parenting, but, people need to have reality reflected to them. It sucks, but people have done it to me, Heck, even here on SR. And it ends up a blessing after I feel attacked, etc.

It may cause a shift in her or not, but, at least you know that once, you said the truth, and now you can just make statements about your own self, your own boundaries. .
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:13 AM
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Wow... so many MIL posts today! Wierd. I had my MIL incident last week!!

It's so true that alcoholism is a family disease. It's is a horrendously awful disease... like a tornado... that destroys everyone in its path. Leaving behind torn, twisted and battered souls.

I came from a dry drunk home with a full on raging, co-dependent mother who insisted ultimatums made the world go 'round. AH came from an alcoholic father, and a raging co-dependent mother who also worshipped the ultimatum gods.

Funny, because when we met - people always said I was just like his mom, and he was like my dad. And cycle continues...

well, until I found Al-anon and became hell-bent on changing the game.

My best advice - interact with family (his and yours) with the same methods you would use with AH. The tools we learn in al-anon can be applied to all aspects of our lives!
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:14 AM
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Thanks Silly Squirrel (btw, I love your user name-- my D5's favorite book is Scardey Squirrel so your name made me think of that).

It's odd how it never occurred to me before now that just as our AH's are all so similar (or AW's) so too are the charming families they came from.

More about AH's family: oldest sibling is a girl- she's as narcissistic and passive aggressive as they come. she was nice to me until the day we got engaged and has spent everyday since then finding ways to try and make me the bad guy in her family's eyes. when we told the inlaws i was pregnant with D5, my mil's first remark upon hearing this was "oh, this will be hard for sil (39 at the time) since she's always hoped to marry and have children". YUP. sil now has a son who is 1 1/2- she's unmarried and the father wants nothing to do with her and is fighting for custody. she's a real gem. D5 and D3 have been treated like they don't exist since he was born (which is fine by me but confusing to them when we are all together).

bil is 2 yrs older than AH. he too is an A. he is on disability for anxiety and brags about how he "cheats" the system. he judges the world without mercy-- everyone in AA are losers, racial minorities are every slur imaginable, he's as extreme with political views as he is with the rest of his views, he calls H only when he wants a. money or b. someone to drink with him (and tells H he will have to pay) or c. wants to vent and be told he is right to feel he is a victim of the world. My H is so desperate for any relationship with his brother that he leaps and does whatever his brother says. Over the years this has meant breaking promises to his children and I to bail at the last minute to go "help" his brother (code for going out to drink together) among other things. BIL's parents pay for him to live in a hotel full time, he is not expected to try and work, go to T, he has a credit card paid for my his parents that he uses to expand his stereo equipment collection... He lives an unrealistic, immature life and thinks that at 40+ he is living the way most adults do. Anything that befalls him is someone or something else's fault. This winter I made the mistake of asking him to join me in a family meeting to talk to AH about our concerns. He spent weeks texting and calling me obsessively telling me that I am uneducated, know nothing about alcoholism or alcoholics and the only person qualified to be H's sponsor (I wasn't suggesting I be his sponsor btw) was him. BIL who recently said "Charlie Sheen is right - AA is a cult" believes that he is THE single most knowledgeable person in the universe on alcoholism and can spew what he "should" do like the best of them. But his actions and his life speak to something very different. His mother, my mil, listens to the quacking and belives that quacking=action and tries hard to tell me (whether I've asked or not) that bil is really healthy. SURE!!!!!

My AH is the youngest of 3. He is the "golden child". His role in the family was as the one who never caused trouble. He excelled in sports and academics but got credit for neither. He felt like an outcast at school, kept the family secret and finally fell in with a red neck crew of kids in high school and starting drinking/smoking cigarettes and pot with them and with those substances in him "the real him" (as he says) was able to come through. College was spent high and drunk and he managed to play D2 soccer and do well academically. He's always maintained a different professional image/public image than his private one. He's told me he is desperate for the attention/affection he never got as a kid and that as a wife it is my "job" to make him feel good about himself... His family is toxic to him and he won't ever see it and it's sad.

I tried to convince him of this for years and now I'm giving up. Either he'll see it and want to ask for help or he won't and he'll become his father; an A who at 65 is a shell of a man, has every medical condition known to man, had a diabetic stroke this fall (due to drinking but MIL of course says it's bc of diabetes that has nothing to do with his alcoholism) and is wasting away in front of everyone's eyes. Can't really talk, can't really hear, is in chronic pain and is still drinking bc though he can't drive, MIL gets him vodka and says that since it's too late to stop it, the last "loving thing" she can do is "provide him something to take away the pain".

Quite a family eh? And I bet that this story is like so many of us on here...
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:21 AM
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Buffalo- That's amazing that your MIL had an awakening of sorts. I have no crystal ball but I'd bet my life on the fact that my MIL is FULLY aware of everything I said and will probably just ramp up the passive aggressive crap now that the elephant in the room has been addressed. She's said things over the years when I have hinted that her son has issues and I'm worried like "I know, I know, but what can you do?". And my personal favorite, when she notices that AH has been out of touch with her for a few days, is that she calls (or does this in front of me in person during visits) and will ask AH "didn't you have a great childhood? didn't we have fun times? didn't I do a good job and make things good for you?" And AH says "of course ma, you did great". It makes me want to vomit. Even typing this makes my blood boil. It's like she doesn't want to let his mind wander too far away from alcoholic thinking and if she sees that he's detaching (and he has tried at times) from his family, she knows how to suck him right back in. And he is so desperate for that parent love he never got that he will never see it as the manipulation it is.

Nodaybut2today- Glad to know I am not alone in that "I want to let it out". Not at all the healthiest choice but damn did it feel good. I should have done it a long time ago bc now I feel like I can put her and her issues to rest and let it go. The feeling of feeling like I am not "allowed" to speak the truth had been eating at me for a long time. Now it's out there and it's done.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:37 AM
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Yep.
They sound very toxic, and it is a shame.

I have even had times where my RAH had made some headway by not having so much contact with them, and he started to see some things. He is very smart, and it was hard for him to realize he was the product of such dysfunction.
His oldest brother moved 300 miles away right outta high school, and is now just graduated with a masters in psychology.

He rarely comes home. He is the most like my kind of person out of their whole family, save for a few other SIL, who married into the family.

The narcissism and grandiosity of your BIL actually sounds like what my RAH is struggling with, now. He is seeing it in bits and pieces and I can see him sometimes being so overwhelemed by embarrassment at how he was raised, and what he thinks, but it is nearly impossible for him to sustain without counseling assistance, and with no tools, he will revert back to that behavior alot.

When I first met my RAH, I was so in love with him, and he was very charismatic.
His familys darkness didnt register with me at first.
Looking back, I remember going to eat dinner at a restaurant, and them having conversations about themselves, themselves themselves. It was as if they are in constant celebration of who they are, of what theythink.
I did not think at that time, that it was odd that they were meeting me for the first time, and that no one asked ONE question about me, or gave me a second look...or that there was a competitive tone coming from h=MIL, and even BIL, when I would add to the conversation.

I think, initially I mistook their grandiose sickness as a sort of JD Salinger type of family. They all seemed so charismatic and confident. I even used to describe them as a "colorful group of people.."

What was I thinking?

What you describe about how your pregnancy was vuewed as something that would hurt or challenge SILs self esteem, is so typical of RAHs family.

I would have successes. And MIL was the most normal of them, in responding to it. BUt the BIL, even cousins, always responded with their own success stories. It was as if they could not bear to acknowledge my good work, or my success. I did not care, they were on the fringes of my life...

That was then. I now see their narcissism as a real affliction. It is something that keep many of them from true happiness, and it was taught.

My son sees a lot of them, but not too much. I know they love him, and he is treated like a little prince, but the grandparents respect my wishes and guidelines, and overall are as good of grandparents that anyone could wish for.

FIL said to me once, when drunk at a wedding, (he is not a drinker, just an emotionally unavailable terrible father), that my son was the best thing in his life, and having a grandson has taught him to be less selfish.

Strange, but not really how similar these families are.
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Old 04-08-2011, 04:16 PM
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For anyone interested- update.

Wed morning is when I laid it out clearly for my mil and expected to have a break from hearing from her for a GOOD long while.

Just checked messages tonight at home (after not doing so yesterday) and there was one from her from yesterday afternoon. Frantic. Sounds something like this:

"Hi wtbh, I've been emailing, texting and calling AH and haven't heard back from him (aka haven't instantly heard back from him as I usually do) and I am very worried. Do you know where he is, have you heard from him? Call me as soon as you get this. I know he was very upset because of what you did yesterday (presumably calling her is what she's referencing). Call me because I am worried sick".

So, here's my plan.

a) not going to call
b) not going to call
c) not going to call



Remarkable to me how her call is not at all about concern for him. It's concern about HER. SHE is upset bc of what I told her and wants to commiserate with AH (presumably about how I am the cause of all the is wrong in the world!) and she can't reach him to get her needs met so she wants my assistance with that. NOT gonna happen!
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:13 PM
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WTBH all I can say is GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!

You are setting your boundaries not only for AH but for the 'extended' family. I love it.

I also love your plan a), b) and c) about her phone call, roflmao it's a GREAT PLAN!!!!!

Love and hugs,
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:51 PM
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She's nuts.
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:23 PM
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contents under pressure tend to explode.

well you got it out this time
after how many years?

now, when the ashes hit the ground
you'vfe an empty tank
and it's our responsibility
not to let them build like they did before.

That's all part of the new persona.

The new personal
doesn't 'stuff' those things.

The thing I tell myself is
"oh yeah - I don't allow this any more"

What you describe I call 'the damburst".

You're setting a boundary
now all you have to do is keep your side of it.

Just look at us grow!!!
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:16 AM
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Great for you!
I, too, love that plan. <3
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:46 AM
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MIL called again today! I let voicemail pick up. Now that she's heard from AH and knows her baby boy is safe she left a message saying that she was calling to find out how I am and then at the end of the message (knowing AH is not here and is not getting the messages) encouraged AH to keep praying for me as she is. Unreal! ROFLMAO!

I'm laughing it off and know for a fact that if I was still holding in all the stuff I told her that these calls would be making me crazy. I guess letting it out created space in my brain to let me see this for what it is.

I hope she calls everyday at this point. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes her to get the message!
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:12 AM
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We have the same family! They are identical! Except my RAH doesn't have an older sister. His mother is the queen enabler, his father is an A, and his brother is an A. RAH is always looking for approval from his brother. For some reason, looks up to him, even though he is unemployed, divorced several times, and drunk daily.

MIL is supportive of me as long as I am playing the game and pretending to be happy in my marriage, something she has done her entire life and has taught her son that it is a "good" wife/mother's responsibility to do. For better or for worse, right? If I choose to distance myself from their dysfunction once in awhile and maybe go do something for myself while RAH has the children over at their house (the only time I get to myself...when he goes to his parents.....because his mother will watch the kids for him while he relaxes) she will give me the cold shoulder and not talk to me. They are sooooooo dysfunctional and yet my RAH thinks it is normal because it is all he knows.

I feel for you WTBH, it is a very difficult position to be in. I am so proud of you for standing up to you mil. I am sure my day will come.
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by sillysquirrel View Post
We have the same family! They are identical! Except my RAH doesn't have an older sister. His mother is the queen enabler, his father is an A, and his brother is an A. RAH is always looking for approval from his brother. For some reason, looks up to him, even though he is unemployed, divorced several times, and drunk daily.

MIL is supportive of me as long as I am playing the game and pretending to be happy in my marriage, something she has done her entire life and has taught her son that it is a "good" wife/mother's responsibility to do. For better or for worse, right? If I choose to distance myself from their dysfunction once in awhile and maybe go do something for myself while RAH has the children over at their house (the only time I get to myself...when he goes to his parents.....because his mother will watch the kids for him while he relaxes) she will give me the cold shoulder and not talk to me. They are sooooooo dysfunctional and yet my RAH thinks it is normal because it is all he knows.

I feel for you WTBH, it is a very difficult position to be in. I am so proud of you for standing up to you mil. I am sure my day will come.

Holy cow SS we DO have the same family! Except I won't let "R"AH take the girls to his parents house. It is a smoke infested nasty place and I don't trust them to not vilify me or screw with the girls emotions (my MIL and SIL were caught red handed by me about 2 yrs ago talking to my then 3 yr old D about how "mommy treats daddy" and that was the end of alone time with the in laws). They've proven that they want to suck my girls into believing the lies they all believe and make them a part of their dysfunction but I won't allow it.

Like you my MIL has pretended at times to be loving and pleasant toward me but it's always conditional upon how well I play along with the family expectations.

I feel SUCH freedom now that it is clear I won't ever play along again. Should've done this years ago!

To answer Barb's question- this has been about 10 yrs coming...
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:34 AM
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As dysfunctional as they are, I don't believe that my mil or fil would ever bad-mouth me to my children or even to my "R"AH (I like the "R", I have struggled with what to call mine as he is not drinking, but not active in his recovery). I think they speak highly of me or just don't say much if they are annoyed with me and my ability to "act". (Actually, fil may badmouth me to "R"AH when he is drinking...in fact, I am sure he does.) I am comfortable with my children being there and even though my fil is an A, he is a very controlled, quiet A and I think it goes quite unnoticed by the children, at least at this point. And the brother isn't there very often. When "R"AH was drinking, that was a different story. I kept the kids with me as much as I could without causing an uproar. I just plain old feared for their safety! At least I don't have that particular problem right now.
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Old 04-10-2011, 09:35 AM
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I've been thinking about this post for the past couple of days and I just wanted to share what it brought up in me ...

I want to start off by saying that I no longer have any active alcoholics in my life. The main alcoholic in my life was my father and my parents were divorced thirty years ago. He continued to drink for the rest of his life and he only played a minor part in my adult life (other than the therapy/recovery I needed to accept my childhood and my parents). He passed away in August.

I'm unfortunately very familiar with dysfunctional families and the affects that alcoholism (or other dysfunctions) have on people and families.

When I started my own recovery I came into it with another sort of denial. While growing up, especially after their divorce, my mother would talk constantly about my father's alcoholism, how he only cared about himself, how he "chose" alcohol over us, didn't truly love us, ... There was never a doubt in my mind that my father was an alcoholic or that it was ruining our lives.

The denial that I didn't see was the dysfunction in the rest of my family of origin. Luckily, none of us had any chemical addiction problems, however, we were so codependent with each other. We were always in each others business, talking about each other, and giving unsolicited advice. I remember spending many sleepless nights right before my sister's wedding because I was certain that she was making a mistake and I had to figure out how to "save" her.

When my eyes were opened to the true dynamics of my family of origin, I took it upon myself to "enlighten" everyone else. I had a number of arguments with my mother and my sister. They thought I was the "crazy" one and didn't understand why I was being so hurtful to them.

Someone on another message board posted an excerpt about denial from The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie. It made me see my dysfunctional family system in a different light.
"Denial protected me from pain, but it also rendered me blind to my feelings, my needs, and myself. It was like a thick blanket that covered and smothered me. Eventually, I began to recover. I had a glimpse of awareness about my pain, my feelings, and my behaviors. I began to see myself, and the world, as we were. There was so much denial from my past that had the blanket been entirely ripped from me. I would have died from the shock of exposure. I needed to embrace insights, remembrances, awareness, and healing gently, gradually."

The dysfunctional tendencies my mother, my sister, my brother, and I developed were created for a reason. They protected us from the craziness of living in an unstable home. I personally got to the point where my ACA traits were getting in the way of the life that I wanted to have, however, the rest of my family was perfectly happy and WANTED to keep things as they were. And you know what, it wasn't my job to go around ripping off other people's blankets!

It's has definitely taken some work, but I am now able to have a relationship with my mother and sister that is healthier for me. I set boundaries and I speak up when I feel like they have crossed those boundaries. I try not to think about their lives anymore and what type of "help" I think they need (it's a struggle sometimes to know what sort of help I need :-) My sister still has a lot of chaos in her life and my mom isolated herself and hardly interacts with her children/grandchildren. And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it!

It's not easy. We still have our ups and downs. I think they still think I'm the crazy one, but I am SO MUCH happier now that I only worry about me, my nuclear family, and the things that I CAN control.

Thank you for letting me share.

Best Wishes,

db
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:11 AM
  # 19 (permalink)  
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dbh- thanks for sharing your story... i'm not sure whether you are likening your wanting to change/enlighten your family about themselves with my losing it on my mil?

my losing it on her wasn't about my wanting me to educate her. i know full well she knows what the reality is. i just was sick and tired of being talked to by her in a way that let her believe she was conning me along with everyone else. i blew my top and let her know what i thought and i don't feel the need to ever say another word about anything other than the weather to her again.

i have spent all the years since i met my AH trying to make myself into what i thought my mil, sil and bil (and AH) wanted me to be. and it never occurred to me until recently that it didn't matter who or what i was- it was never about me- no matter what i did or was or said it was going to be wrong and i'd be the distraction for them all from the reality of their own life.

so, i guess in a way, speaking up and telling my mil that i actually could see the emperor wasn't wearing clothes, despite being told otherwise, was really about me standing up for me.

i have for years tried to help my mil "see" what my AH has done to himself, and supported my AH as he tried to tell his mom what his A father is doing to himself... i've absolutely been part of the "i'll try and educate you" club but that wasn't my goal this time.

telling her what i thought wasn't real mature and probably wasn't the most loving way to address what i had to say (which was essentially 'stop reaching out to me to lie to me and try to involve me in your sickness') but i am glad that i said what i did and i feel i probably should've done this years ago.
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:51 AM
  # 20 (permalink)  
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Just dropped in to see what's the news today
and see if you're okay...
you sound 'way okay' to me!

I foresee another step in the future as well =-

the step of not even listening to the message.

I know circumstances might not allow that right this minute
but ... I can see a shining path headed that way...LOL
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