Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The email
Last night's dinner with friends was SO needed & so fun. It felt great to relax, eat some pasta & have a couple of beers while all of us complained about our wacky families. Of course, Grandma L wins the "Worst Mother-In-Law" title & every time I tell my friends what's going on, their mouths drop to the floor in disbelief. But they all have their own crazy to deal with too, so it's refreshing to know that I'm not the only one. Last night after everyone told their own horror stories (one actually picked up & moved across the country because of her mother-in-law), we all decided that it must be a generational thing to have so many nutty grandmas.

So, to recap the events from yesterday since HOPEFULLY things calm down some & tomorrow I can post about my 6 week postnatal check-up complete with post-pregnancy pictures for a workout reference...

This was the email I got yesterday morning:

Yes!! Had so much fun with (Cousin B). Didn't get to spend as much time with Logan as we would have wanted to. Kristin 'allowed' us to hold Carter one time!! So sad.

After Bill chewed her out while taking Logan to the Doctor, she emailed this to me:

First of all, I have no idea how your name was attached to an email I sent to (friend). In the email I stated that we got to hold Carter only one time. I did not place fault with anyone - it was just a statement. I DO understand your protectiveness of your children. Do you honestly think that we would want any harm to come to any of our children or grandchildren? As for (Cousin B) being sick when you came over, Bill was told that (Cousin B) was taken to the Dr. Did he covey that information to you? Did you think of leaving when you came and found out he was sick? I think there needs to be some shared responsibility here.

That's when I sent her the "Definition of Bad Apologies" article I posted the other day. She hasn't responded since & I'm positive that she & Bill are talking again like nothing happened.

Hopefully, I'm not the only one who can smell her BS from a mile away. It was mentioned in the comments from yesterday that this was her passive aggressive behavior rearing it's ugly head (you hit it spot on, Erica). She denies any fault for lying to Bill saying that Cousin B was fine & then after pretending she didn't lie, then points the finger at me. After denying that she sent the email, she's trying to turn it around by saying I hacked into her email & sent it. Right. What a whack job. So, she never did any of the horrible things she's said & done & this is just another thing she didn't do. Maybe if she actually took responsibility for something rather than nothing, she might have a little more credibility but after three (or ten) years of saying that she hasn't done anything, who can believe her now?

Anyway, I wanted to send her a long email telling her exactly how I felt, specifically addressing whether she has our kids best interest in mind. Here's just a taste, a small paragraph:

To answer your question: "Do you honestly think that we would want any harm to come to any of our children or grandchildren?" I think you don't have the best judgment to make sure they are safe. We've had to talk to Grandpa L many times about exposing our kids to second hand smoke (that's harmful, isn't it?). Then you continue to make family dinners that exclude Logan because of his allergies when you can easily make safe dinners that he can be a part of or just not invite us over for dinner period if it's too difficult (hives & allergic reactions are harmful, aren't they?). Then this last visit is just the cherry on top of what kind of harm can come from your poor judgment. You would rather purposely expose our family to a virus & risk getting us sick instead of cancel to keep us healthy just so we would all be there for your turkey dinner (that's very harmful).

The email never got sent, it's still in my draft folder & probably won't ever go out. Bill doesn't want me to say how I feel. That irritates me because I feel like she's just getting away with being horrible & behaving any way she wants. Then I had a little moment of realization.

Bill & I had been watching TV where one of the characters was the victim of a horrible crime that resulted in post-traumatic stress & panic attacks. He was miserable & couldn't get past what had happened to him. The perpetrator had been cough & arrested & this character thought that confronting the criminal to let him know how he feels would help him get past his anger & anxiety. He goes to the prison & meets the criminal only to find out that the criminal doesn't care how this character feels & continues to play head games with him.

That's exactly where I am. I keep thinking that if I have the chance to say how I feel, things will change. That somehow, Grandma L will realize how much trouble she causes our family & she'll stop. But, she knows exactly what she's doing & doesn't care one bit. She especially doesn't care about how her actions make me feel & the truth is, she never will. Sending my email might make me feel a little better momentarily, but I won't get what I really want out of it, which is acknowledgment of hurt.

I'm still stuck in a conundrum, though. Since it's clear that she will never change, I can always expect a certain level of disrespect at every single visit. Then, the more I override her judgement, the more disrespect I can expect to receive. The easy answer is to not let it get to me. But how can you tell someone not to flinch when ripping out their toenails? Not letting this get to me seems almost impossible. I am human. I have feelings. I don't deserve to have every single holiday ruined by subjecting myself to Grandma L's behavior. It's not fair to my kids to have a super stressed out mom during all of the family visits.

So, since she won't change, then I need to decrease my exposure to her. Really, I want a cut-off. I don't want her in our lives at all. We are much happier without her & I don't think that my kids will benefit from having a relationship with her. They don't deserve to watch their mom get treated the way I do, they don't deserve to have an unhappy home for days after the visit while I try to recover from the stress.

It's just not worth it to have her in our lives anymore.

1 comment:

momto1 said...

My dads parents weren't very nice to my mother...ever. So, when my mom had enough, she stopped inviting them over. Anytime we saw them, my dad made arrangements to take just us kids to see them--usually about twice a month. They lived less than a half mile away...right by my elementary school. Now, they never put us in harms way (like your in-laws do with your kids) but they were really quite mean and judgemental about my mother--who served on the PTA, was a Girl Scout leader, gave us piano lessons, dance lessons...and plenty of love and attention. Us kids weren't idiots either--they had a preference for my cousins, and it showed. Maybe having your husband arrange visits (no matter how infrequent) would be better than having to "welcome" them into your home. And, for the record, I'd want to send the email- but wouldn't have the guts! I think it is great that you are able to speak your mind!