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Sage
06-28-2007, 12:13 PM
Hello all. Been a while since I've posted a thread here. I thought this board would give it to me straight, so here's my dilemma:

I’ve been married about one year, but moved into my husband’s home about 2 years ago, after I sold my home. Until then, my MIL came twice a week to clean, cook, and do laundry for my husband, a Latino “boy” spoiled by mama. My husband has now a 15 YO boy that grand ma “Lala” helped care for once in a while before I came into the picture.

Lala continued to come twice a week after I moved in, although I was now taking care of the house and her son. I was here for the 15 YO when he visited but fully understood that she still wanted to spend time with him, so I continued to welcome her in our home with my arms wide open. But she continued to clean the house, do laundry, and reorganize furniture, papers, and stuff. I asked her several times to stop doing all that, that it was now where I lived and I was taking care of it all. I did not want her to rearrange the pictures on the wall, the contents of the cabinets in the kitchen, the shoes in the closet. I did not want her to wash my clothes mostly because she’d shrink them, or wash them with other colors… Besides, who wants their MIL to wash their undies??? She’d leave bleach stains on the towels and find it funny. She’d iron my jeans that now have a permanent crease in the front… She’d put things away and we’d never find them again. She cooked with a metal utensil in the Teflon pans and ruined them, even after I explained to her she had to use wooden utensils. She even took the role of scolding my daughter (20 YO) when her room was not clean.

Every time we go out of town, she comes to the house and cleans, organizes, rearranges even though we tell her we don’t want her to do it. She took the liberty to snoop in my daughter’s bedroom and read her journal claiming she thought my daughter needed “help” because her room is always messy. When I found out what she did, I got really upset with her and told her never to go in my daughter’s room again. A week later she told me she “found” a poem in my daughter’s room and I should read it. That’s when I told her it’d be better if she took a long-term vacation from "cleaning".

We went away several times since, and each time she comes to our house, uninvited, to make sure it’s still standing. Each time we leave, my husband tells her we do not want her to come. But she ignores us, she does what she wants to do regardless of others' feelings. She means well, I know that, but she needs to LET GO of her son and accept he’s now married and has a wife that takes care of the house. Another time we went away, my daughter stayed at the house with the dog, Lala still came (uninvited) and yelled at my daughter because she was out at 10 PM and the dog was home alone… It is not her role to discipline my child but it’s not the first time she does this, each time she claims she did not know any better. It’s getting so old… My nephew (23 YO) is visiting us and she dared tell him his room was dusty and he should clean it NOW. She stopped by yesterday morning, did not knock before entering, walked in shouting: “where is everybody” and woke up all the kids that were sleeping in.

My SIL tells me it’s her culture, that’s how it is in Argentina. Okay, I can understand that, but this is America and she’s lived here for over 40 years. I was born and raised in Europe in a very small village, where everybody knows everybody, people come and go in your house all the time, but they respect boundaries. My own mum would not walk in my house unannounced and without knocking. Lala uses the fact that her English is not good as an excuse that other's don't understand her. But her body language is definitely telling us what her lips are saying. No confusion there. She's very manipulative.

My husband is as frustrated as I am, but understands better than I do. She’s 75, but plastic surgery makes her look like she’s 55 and her wardrobe makes her look like she wishes she were 25: belly shirts, tight pants, 6 inch heels, and no-bra under spaghetti strap low-cut tops. In front of her grand child, who can’t stand it. No, she does not have the body for it either.

We banned her form coming when we are not home (my husband or me). I banned her from cleaning, doing laundry, or telling us how/when to do it. I told her she’s welcome to be here to visit her grand child and her son, but that’s it. She tells me she deserves respect. To which I tell her respect is earned, and so far she has not earned it from me yet – of course I am much more diplomatic when I say this, but I am at the end of my rope. We don’t wear shoes in the house, but she refuses to take hers off. She keeps mentioning that when “she’s old”, she’ll come and live here… HA! … and I get the same from my SIL because she reminds me often that her place is too small for Lala to live with her. I can’t even imagine that, nor talk to my husband about it because that would be a difficult discussion as he’d want to take care of her (meaning, I would take care of her) and I understand his position.

She has not accepted me as the lady of the house, and I doubt she ever will. This creates a lot of tension between my husband, his sister and me, and her. Anyway, has anyone experienced this? How did you resolve it?

ghead1
06-28-2007, 12:37 PM
yep... fought my MIL for several years as to which of us whould be topmost in her son's affections. There is only one person who can solve that... your husband. If he refuses to do so, then your problem is with him, not her (IMHO)

Have you changed the locks? If not, do it. DOn't apologize, explain or anything else. It's YOUR house. Do you need to put locks on the bedroom doors? Do it.

And start family discussions on Lala's health and need for care from family or outsiders... don't wait until a decision has to be made in a hurry.

all the best

Stariondad
06-28-2007, 01:45 PM
O god.....

Whelp - guess I can hit the pub tonight. 4WM will be busy writing an award winning flying soup can post....or posts.. lol <g>

I *thinks* she will be able to relate !

RealTime
06-28-2007, 02:23 PM
Sage -- Would changing the locks help?

Sage
06-28-2007, 03:20 PM
Real Time: I've discussed the possibility of having to change the locks on a few occasions but my husband did not agree. His dad passed away 8 years ago, and I believe that as good as he is with me, he is (and should be) with his mother. This is not a competition - at least I hope so! I would also hope that his mother should understand before we have to take such drastic measures. Believe it or not, we went to counseling before we got married, before I moved in to discuss this very subject (his mother) and his sister. Both are strong women who just wont let go of him. The sister would show up at midnight to start doing her laundry, then wake me up to tell me there was no laundry soap left or that the lint trap was broken and I should get a new one before her next laundry visit... Sigh...

Life is so good when I dont have to deal with them! I finally got the sister off my back because she's finally in a relationship (she wanted to be "free" until recently) and her BF has a good handle on her - so to speak. The mother is a constant battle. I hate putting my husband in the middle, and when I do he always leans towards my side but I see that it's hurting him. Recently, after we returned from a trip, his mother had placed a picture of her and her husband right next to our wedding picture in the family room. The picture had been in her grand son's room all along, and I really got frustrated with her for even doing something like this. I dont even have a picture of my own parents in that room! My husband felt it was not a battle worth fighting so he told me (in my 40's) that "I" was the one who may not have remembered that "I" placed the picture there while he believed his 75 YO mother claiming she did not do it. That hurt me deeply.

Sage
06-28-2007, 03:20 PM
StarionDad - Huh??

Ghead - I agree with your suggestion to discuss now about Lala's health related issues in the future. because my husband has a stable job, and is financially savvy, his sister believes we will pick up the tab for healthcare. I did remind her that Lala has equity in her condo and that we'd use that to pay the bills, the Sister did not like it because she always believed she'd inherit the condo and not her brother... Besides, she's already borrowed against the equity of the condo...

Maybe I will revisit the change of the locks issue...

Thanks for your comments! I am glad to see that it's not just me, as my SIL likes to tell me...

Stariondad
06-28-2007, 04:13 PM
Sage, my mother has been a problem. I have made some real bonehead goof-ups trying to "play the middle" and be supportive all around. Reality was I was not - although that isn't how I saw things until enough 2x4's were applied. I've learned a lot in the last couple years on this and have made changes. Some were hard - but neccessary.

Your post has startling similarities and I think 4WM will be able to give you some very insightfull and meaningfull feedback. I hope she does. This issue IMO will need resolved to make and keep your marriage as healthy as possible.

dollygirl
06-28-2007, 04:44 PM
Sounds to me like you've already talked to your MIL. She heard you but chose to ignore your requests. Time to change the locks. If your husband won't agree to it, do it any way. It's your home too. And the cultural thing is bs. She knows exactly what she's doing and you are letting her get away with it.

No need to be cruel or rude. Just change the locks and tell her that you'll be happy to visit with her when she calls and asks if it's ok to come over.

If your husband is not behind you 100% on this you'd better start some big discussion and maybe counseling. A spouse who puts his parent first is never going to be there for you in thick and thin

Sage
06-28-2007, 06:28 PM
Thanks, DollyGirl - your last sentence is certainly making me think... I have to say that I agree with it, but have always felt that maybe i had to bite the bullet because she's his mum. I would never do what she does to my own children. I dont even go into my daughter's bedroom when she's not home. It's just a matter of respect and trust.

As I said previously (I think I wrote this) we went to counseling prior to my moving in with him because of the problems I was already having with his mother and his sister. My husband supported me then, and I admit he put his foot down a few times since but she keeps playing dumb that she didn't not know and this is not how they do it in Argentina, and that she's old and deserves respect, ... I just feel so bad putting him in the middle between his mum and me... especially since she is alone... Am I a bad person for being upset with her behavior?? Because my SIL tells me all day long that this woman has only a few years left, that if I love my husband then I'll let his mother be who she is because she means well, that I need to sacrifice for him, that THAT's what love is all about, blah blah blah...

CheroCreek
06-28-2007, 07:47 PM
Buy her a one way plane ticket back to Argentina. :)

I'm kidding, of course. Or am i? :rolleyes:

ghead1
06-28-2007, 07:50 PM
of course she's old, and yes she deserves respect.

so do you.

and why in the heck are you listening to your SIL all day long? Tell her to take a hike, or is she old too? <BEG>

Sage
06-28-2007, 10:12 PM
ghead1 - Yes, good questions - why on earth do I listen to my SIL all day long..?
i think she's been sending me an average of 10 emails a day recently to try to understand what's going on, why I am so upset with her mum, and she is trying to resolve it, wanting to stop her own mother from feeling so rejected, trying to explain to her the cultural differences... but at the end of the day she wants me to be the nice DIL because she has no other family here... I feel bad for the old woman, I admit. Still not enough to give her carte blanche to do as she wishes in my home though. So, I have responded to her average 10 emails a day to get my side out to her, hoping she'd understand my point of view, and if she coud I would not be such a bad person after all...
We now have agreed to disagree, which is not too bad since she is an extremely opinionated person who never gives up an argument. So, although I did not receive her blessings, but I did not loose this battle either.

Chero - the thought has crossed my mind, more than once! :) And I have told her on several occasions that this is America and not Argentina, if she wants to experience the Argentine culture she needs to move back there.

Sage
06-28-2007, 10:33 PM
DollyGirl - "If your husband is not behind you 100% on this you'd better start some big discussion and maybe counseling. A spouse who puts his parent first is never going to be there for you in thick and thin"

I researched this a bit more - I googled "Mother In law Syndrome" and found several articles on Empty Nest Syndrome. I think Lala could be suffering this. She's been taking care of her son and his child after he divorced and his Ex did not want to get involved too much with childrearing. So she had gained her son back. And had to let go all over again once I showed up, but this time she was a widow, nothing else to do. Funny thing though, as much as the SIL tells me I should open up my house to my MIL, the SIL rarely invites her own mum in her house... Fishy...She’s used the excuse that she lives in a bad part of town and did not want to expose mum to it. Now that she’s just moved in with her BF, I notice that Lala still does not go there. I just reminded her that as a daughter, she should invite her mother there twice a week to let her clean her place <TIC>

Another search result was more biblical: I, as a DIL, must honor my MIL as much as I should honor my own mother. I am struggling with this one. What does 'to honor' mean? Does it imply we need to "show respect" regardless of the parent's actions? I doubt it. But where does the grey line start and end? I think Lala did cross the line, more than once. Do I need to forgive if she claims she did not know, but continues to be guilty each chance she gets?

I think my husband's sister gets him worked up and making him feel guilty for telling his mother she is not welcome here when no one is home. I think i need to work on the sister too...

apeman
06-29-2007, 02:19 AM
Your husband needs to side with you on this issue of course. The real issue then is you getting past any personal feelings of jealousy, insecurity... so that you end up steering both you and your husband to do the right thing by his mother.
She deserves respect.

Sage3
06-29-2007, 08:09 AM
Hi Sage. (My user ID is Sage3... don't want to confuse anyone).

<< Another search result was more biblical: I, as a DIL, must honor my MIL as much as I should honor my own mother. I am struggling with this one. >>

So does this mean you let your own mother in your home to do the things your MIL does whenever? Of course you don't... so you need not let your MIL do those things either.

I vote with those who say change the locks PRONTO. I would *not* inform MIL of this as it's none of her business. She'll find out soon enough. When she asks why just tell her too many people had keys to your place. If she asks for a key tell her no. It's really that simple.

BTW, your SIL is pretty smart... she knows that keeping you seeped in guilt will keep her mom as your problem - and away from her.

zuzuzu
06-29-2007, 08:40 AM
IF you want to use biblical reference, you can consider that a man will leave his mother and father to cleave to his wife. I think it is pretty clear that the spouse needs to come before the parents, in a marriage.

I also agree with anyone else who says to change the locks. It is your home and you have requested some boundaries. Your MIL chooses to ignore your requests; this is HER problem. I think it is your husband's responsibility to deal with his mother but, if he chooses NOT to do so, that you can step in. Be sure to ask your husband to address this with courtesy but with a firm hand to establish your privacy in your own home. Then he can tell mom that the locks will be changed, since the requests for her to honor your privacy are being ignored. The MIL has a choice. She can respect your wishes; given that she chooses not to, you and hubby don't really have much choice.

Thus, changing the locks is reflective of a lack of respect on the part of your MIL. This is simply your reaction to her failure to honor her own son and his wife, frankly. It isn't a "blame" game but it's not as if you and hubby are being disrespectful to MIL. The MIL is laying a foundation of intrusion and I believe it is fully appropriate to set the boundaries for your marriage, for the future.

I also think that if hubby doesn't step up to make it clear to his momma that his wife takes priority in the marital home, that there will be other issues along the same lines..... The house is one arena but teaching MIL to leave her son to manage his life is an important lesson for the sake of your marriage. I hope hubby will do this for you.

2ndWind
06-29-2007, 08:58 AM
BTW, your SIL is pretty smart... she knows that keeping you seeped in guilt will keep her mom as your problem - and away from her.

So true! And your husband probably feels the same way (although he may not be aware of it consciously). This is a family that doesn't participate in direct communication. Talk about triangles! Good luck, and remember that they've spent a long portion of their lives behaving this way.....you can only do so much.

Sage
06-29-2007, 09:02 AM
Apeman - You said "The real issue then is you getting past any personal feelings of jealousy, insecurity... so that you end up steering both you and your husband to do the right thing by his mother. She deserves respect."

There is really not one ounce of jealousy towards my MIL. I am not even sure what I'd be jealous for. And I am sure there's no insecurity there either. My MIL would not break my marriage, or take my husbabnd's time away from me, or ... whatever. I actually remind him most of the time he should call her or go pay her a visit. Not sure where you are going with this.

She simply believes this house is only HIS home and continues to do as she did before I came into the picture. What do you mean by "doing the right thing by his mother?" Having a spotless home? Having no laundry in the hamper? Reading my daughter's diary? So, do you believe a MIL (as a mother) "deserves" respect regardless of their behavior? This means I'd deserve respect from my children if I did these same things to them: drop by their house unannounced and walk right in, go to their house when they are not there and snoop around? Act like a parent to their children (if they had any kids)..? Tell their visitors their bedroom is dusty and they should put their laundry away? I don't think so.

This has been going on for a coupe years. I've been patient, I've tried to explain to her that she was crossing the line and I hope she's understood - and when I felt she did not understand me I'd ask my husband to explain it to her. There's no jealousy, or insecurity, or wrong doings on my part. So far... :)

2ndWind
06-29-2007, 09:29 AM
I have told her on several occasions that this is America and not Argentina, if she wants to experience the Argentine culture she needs to move back there.

LOL. My ex's best friend was born and raised in Argentina through his teens, at which time the whole family moved here. While they are an extremely enmeshed family, his mother does not do what your MIL does. I think this is more of a family dynamic issue, not a cultural one.


My maternal grandmother, who was from Chicago (now deceased) used to come out to L.A. for a MONTH to stay with our family when we were growing up. She drove my mom nuts, since this was far too long for anyone to stay with a family of six. Why did my grandmother do it? Because that's what her own mother did. She thought that was normal.

Sage
06-29-2007, 09:39 AM
2nd wind - There is absolutely no communication between the 3 of them. The SIL feels she is the one who is keeping the family together. My husband is not the most talkative person, and he gets frustrated with his sister quite easily. She emailed me yesterday (again, see below).

She said:

"She is our mom, has been a good mom and we need to remember she is all we got left. Nothing is more important than that. I dont want us to blow it like we did with my father. We did not give enough with my father. We are older now...I hope we have learned something about what it means to lose a parent. maybe my expectation of working things out is because of my capacity to do so and maybe you are right...maybe not everyone 'has that inside of them'...

Everything else is just your ways versus her ways which as you know I spent two weeks now talking to her about it and my brother happily not having to do it . Now its up to you and her to decide what happens next. To me it's about how to make life good for my mom in her final years. I am sure if I said those words to my brother or anyone with a mom-- they would understand.

If you love my brother -- she is his mother-- and I guess I think that says it all. I think that is how I relate to the true meaning of 'love'...to sometimes sacrifice your needs for the love of another."

She dumps all this on me. I know I dont have to read her emails (at least she stopped calling me) but if I dont she calls her brother and gives him ideas and then I have to deal with that. Unfortunately, my husband does not like controversy and will bless just about anything as long as everybody is "happy" - I know, some will say that he needs to grow a backbone, but with these strong women in his life (MIL, SIL, ex) he's not been given much of a choice so far. I am still helping him work on that, and he is learning to deal with it. I know that he'll get there, it's a work in progress. He's actually recently told his mother and sister to bug off, something he had never done before. So, as some said he needs to put his foot down, it'll be a while...

Sage
06-29-2007, 09:40 AM
zuzuzu - yes, you are absolutely right! I need to work with that! :)

2ndWind
06-29-2007, 10:02 AM
2nd wind - There is absolutely no communication between the 3 of them. The SIL feels she is the one who is keeping the family together. She emailed me yesterday.....

But with triangulation there wouldn't be any communication between the two of them. That's why they bring you in; the triangle occurs because they CAN'T (or won't) discuss it between themselves. Triangles come up because the stress is too high for the two people who should be resolving their own issue. The issue is between your SIL and your husband (not you). They pull you in because they can't deal with it.

Check out Phoebe's thread about family matters; see what reeling posted. Murray Bowen was the psychotherapist who originated the theory of triangulation in the 1950's. His work in family therapy changed much of the way therapy was done. Many others borrowed his idea (e.g. I'm OK, You're OK; can't think of the author right now) but it's basically the same theory, just re-named something else.

dollygirl
06-29-2007, 11:37 AM
sage - I've seen quite a bit of this "culturally" based intrusion behavior with some members of my husband's family. It's pure bunk. It's all about mama wanting to control her children. And there seems to be some cultural phenomenon of mothers not liking DILs for whatever reason. Personally, I think it's kind of basic. There can only be one hen on a nest. Two hens make a fight on a nest. So you need to tell her to get back to her own nest.

If you want to get Biblical - when you two were married, I assume the mother was there. She stood there and witnessed a commitment before God. She is the one in violation. She is supposed to do things to support your marriage, not tear it down. That's what you need to tell your SIL. You owe your MIL respect - make sure that she has food to eat and a roof over her head. You owe her kindness and compassion. You do not owe here free reign on your nest.

My second marriage was filled with father in law issues. He visited for weeks and weeks at a time, taking up all my husband's time. All I did was cook and clean for them while they went to baseball games, worked on a boat, etc. My husband refused to tell his father not to come "But he's my dad, I can't do that"...It wasn't the entire cause of the marriage failure but it was a big part. I never felt like I was first.

Respect for your mother in law does not mean total capitulation of your lifestyle. And if your SIL complains, tell her she needs to go talk to a priest (or rabbi or whatever).

CheroCreek
06-29-2007, 11:47 AM
As to her argument about how she (the MIL) is doing things as she would in Argentina . . . one must understand that customs are not the same everywhere.

For example: there are certain things I could do or say in the general society of this country that would cause insult or injury if I did the same on most any reservation. The reverse of this is also true - there are things I could do on the rez that would likely be insulting to some in modern society.

What she must learn is to apply the old saying; "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." When I am on the rez I do as the people of that nation do. when I am in Mexico I di not expect them to operate their businesses or customs to match what I am used to in the USA. The same goes with any country I've ever visited.

Thus, she needs to understand this principle very well and then apply it to herself. No one is too old to learn how to act in the society in which they live regardless how differently it mat be from the society they were raised within..

4Wardmarch
06-29-2007, 12:03 PM
Sage--My MIL has boundary problems as well. She assumed that we were going to be a family of 8, not a family of 7, and we needed her to raise the kids, run our household, decorate our house, and pretty much were incapable of so much as reading the newspaper without her input. Whenever someone would try to curb her behavior, she collapsed into tears, rolled out the guilt, and if that didn't work she was on the phone with sob stories trying to recruit other family members to take us to task. It was very tiresome.

The solution is very simple: you decide on boundaries and enforce them. Every time. Even if she cries. Even if she throws a temper tantrum. Even if other family members are unhappy about it.

>>>...I know she means well...<<<

If she does something over the line, she may indeed mean well. If you tell her not to do it (provided it's something within your jurisdiction like disciplining your kids or entering your house), and she does it again, she probably doesn't mean well. If you tell her yet again and she does it yet again, that's proof she definitely doesn't mean well.

Nor is it 'help' if you don't want it; it may be helping her fulfill her needs, but it's not help if it doesn't fulfill your needs.

>>>...that's just the way she is...<<<

And she can be just however she wants in her own house; but in yours, she better not be the type of person who goes into other people's rooms and reads their personal diaries. Or maybe you need to visit with her in public places, at least until she understands that she is going to have to respect the boundaries of your household.

There is only one way to resolve it: you do have to set very clear boundaries. If you tell her not to come by when you aren't home, and she does anyway, you change the locks and put up an alarm. Some people don't mind drop in visitors, some do. But it's the homeowner who makes the decision, not the visitor.

Try to be generous, but figure out the main things you cannot tolerate and then leave it to your husband to enforce them. His mother, his problem. Why should she want to please you, a stranger to her? Presumably she does want to please her son. If she'd rather alienate him than modify her actions, well….

However, a lot of what bothers you might seem puzzling to him and not worth making a fuss about (Hey, I thought you didn't like doing laundry, so why not let mom do it...).

But how would he feel if your father just came in and took off with his prized golf clubs and you said, “But honey, you haven't played golf for three years”, or started switching around your investments to improve your stock portfolio (But dear, my father is only trying to help or went to his business and tried to negotiate a raise with his boss (but that's how it’s in the old country)?

It's probably clear to you that your MIL is doing these things to meet her own needs whether it's empty nest syndrome like you saw on the inet or co-dependency or to cope with loneliness or whatever. She's not likely to change easily because she would then have to deal with the problems she's trying to avoid. Expect when you first enforce boundaries for a backlash. Starion's mother became frantically pushier, then switched her 'helping' over to his brother's family. His brother put a stop to it, and she finally went into counseling and does now for the most part respect the autonomy of our families. But it took a couple years.

zuzuzu
06-29-2007, 12:08 PM
There is a wonderful phrase to deflect virtually all excuses (such as "but that's the way it in the old country").

It is "THAT MAY BE, HOWEVER, ......" This phrase allows you to re-direct the conversation back to what you need to express. It is tremendously useful in virtually any conflict or situation. It allows you to avoid arguing about differences and say what you need to say. Try it ..... you'll be surprised how often you begin to use it!!

4Wardmarch
06-29-2007, 12:20 PM
"She is our mom, has been a good mom and we need to remember she is all we got left. Nothing is more important than that. I dont want us to blow it like we did with my father. We did not give enough with my father.

"What do you mean by 'we', kimosabe?" (remember the old joke about Tanto and the Lone Ranger being surrounded by hostile indians and the Lone Ranger says, 'Looks like we are in trouble'; and Tanto says, 'What do you mean by 'we'?")

You can point out she's not YOUR mom, but you agree heartily. SIL needs to spend more time with her mom. In fact, the next time MIL comes over, you'll explain to her how bad SIL feels about not seeing MIL enough, send MIL over to SILs. :D

ghead1
06-29-2007, 12:28 PM
whoops, where did my post go?

anyway...

It sounds to me like you have a SIL problem, not a MIL problem :-) Tell SIL that she should feel free to have HER mother over to do housework, visit, whatever, but YOU will have people to YOUR house as you see fit. Yes, it is also your husband's house, but you and he should work together to ensure that the two of you are happy in your home. It is not up to YOU to remedy whatever this family did to the father, whatever it is SIL is referring to.

Respect does not mean allowing someone to walk all over you.

2ndWind
06-29-2007, 01:30 PM
When I am on the rez I do as the people of that nation do.

I like this better than the one about the Romans. :D

magic-cat
06-29-2007, 04:54 PM
You to Hubby: "Darling, I don't want to putyou in the middle of this, but this is OUR home, and I am the female here. Your mother is intruding, and whether your used to like it or not, I don't want it going on anymore. So you, as her son, need to tell her to stop. Cease. Desist. That she cannot under any circumstances come here to do any of these things any more. Will you do that?"

Hubby: "I can't. She was always there for me."

You: "You can, or I will."

Hubby: "But whyyyyyyy? She only thinks she's helping."

You: "You can or I will."

Hubby: "Well, I'm not going to."

You: "Fine. I will."

Then you change the locks. And you refuse to let her in when she shows up. You take down the picture she put beside your wedding picture. You flat out, straight out tell her "NO MORE."

If she continues despite this, and if hubby allows it.... Divorce him.

I'm really serious about this. Mama showing up to do all that is just plain WEIRD, and a husband who allows it to continue is a Mama's Boy and he is not going to change. So you can either expect to spend the rest of your life with oddly bleached towels, jeans with creases, and the constant, unwanted, unwarranted and crazy-making intrusions of your MIL while you seethe with anger... or you can get out while it's still possible.

Rocky
06-29-2007, 05:39 PM
Hi, Sage! This is a real stinker. I have some ideas, but they are just silly stuff in order to cope.

Let her come. Let her clean. Follow her around and tell her she is missing spots. Reassure her that it's OK. At her age her eye sight is limited. You understand. Every time she does something tell her that it isn't the way your husband wants it done. You, of course, can do it the way he wants. Then vary what he 'wants' on different days. Just when she thinks she has it down, change it again.

Yeah. It's rotten, and I'd never do it. Can you tell I had my own MIL issues? As a matter of fact, you may recall that she came to the farm when we were moving and began to reclaim gifts that were given over the years. She spent a great deal of time demanding to know where the toboggan was that her son borrowed. I didn't know where the heck it was. I didn't borrow it. Later my son told me that he and his dad accidentally broke it, and nothing was said to anyone. She was very good at it tossing a smile while twisting the knife. My friends thought she was so nice. sigh

Another thought, invite her over for an "Everyone Loves Raymond" marathon. Laugh and point out the relationship between Debra and Marie. Remind you of anyone you know?

Rocky
06-29-2007, 05:43 PM
What to actually do...............

just what Magic-cat suggested.

Life is too short to be a prisoner in your own home. At least you'll know where your marriage stands. You will be putting your husband in a position to choose, so be ready for what you hear/see happen.

Sage
06-29-2007, 05:48 PM
So many great replies! Thanks everyone!

4Ward - I loved it when you said "Nor is it 'help' if you don't want it; it may be helping her fulfill her needs, but it's not help if it doesn't fulfill your needs." I believe that's so well said, and so true. And I can surely remember it next time MIL wants to help me. She does say she wants the family to get along. And I believe her. But as many said, it's all about the way she wants it to be, or none.

>>> ... Try to be generous, but figure out the main things you cannot tolerate and then leave it to your husband to enforce them. His mother, his problem...<<

I have been generous and have tried to "wean" her slowly. It's been 3 years since I took my husband to the counselor (he had never talked with a counselor and this was a big step for him) to discuss his mother and sister. Three years ago, I told him that I would not be able to live this way, with his mum and sister dropping by all the time, any time of the day and evening. we came up with a "plan" and it worked with the sister (actually, I have a big fight with his sister (long story but she wanted him to bail her out of her financial mess) and told her she was not allowed to come for 6 months, and my husband backed me up by enforcing it). Maybe I need to do the same with the MIL??? (TIC).

The plan with the MIL was to slowly get her to understand that she was no longer needed to take care of the house - I agreed to have more compassion for the MIL than the SIL and started my plan - which is still in effect (obviously). I've been guilty of being too generous and too compassionate.

>>> ...However, a lot of what bothers you might seem puzzling to him and not worth making a fuss about ...<<<

Yep, that is true, but isnt it because this is his mother and he understands her better than I would? Has more patience because she's been there for him all his life? I tell him I dont want her here all the time, that I want privacy in my own home, and he says she comes to visit her grand child and I can't take that away from her... So, I roll my eyes and walk away.

>>> ...But how would he feel if your father just came in and took off with his prized golf clubs and you said, “But honey, you haven't played golf for three years ...<<<

I have the perfect situation. My dad's visiting for a couple weeks and he's a smoker - we are not (can't stand smoke). Maybe I'll ask him to smoke in the house..? God, if my Husband saw me type this he'd be so upset.

>>> ... Expect when you first enforce boundaries for a backlash ...<<<

I wonder if that's what's going on right now because it sure has been H*ll the last 3 months.

>>> ... But it took a couple years... <<<

Gosh, I dont know that I have it in me...

Sage
06-29-2007, 06:04 PM
zuzuzu - another great idea! I'll def. try this one as well, on the SIL too! I sometimes have a hard time just saying "well, this is America..." because I dont want to seem rude. This may be easier for me to say... :)

4Ward - YES, YES, YES! What's all the "we" stuff? I believe the SIL's fight is to help her feel better about how she mistreated her dad before he died. Has nothing to do with my husband. BTW - MIL does not even have a key to SIL's place!!! I am sure that when I bring it up, there will be excuses such as "Mum does not know where we live in the city (they just moved to a new place and Lala has a difficult time driving around in town)"

ghead - i do have a SIL problem as well, but she is only a pain via email - I can ignore them easily when I get tired of her. MIL's problem is one I can't unplug. SIL justifies MIL behavior, that's for sure. And SIL calls my husband to try and make him feel guilty about how I treat MIL but he gets frustrated with her most of the time. SIL used to have more "control" over him and she does not like the fact that he now has another person to bounce things off.

Chero -

>>> ... When I am on the rez I do as the people of that nation do ...<<< LOVE IT! And I try to implement is as often as I can, or get MIL to implement is as much as I can. I dont mind eating ethnic, listening to tango music once in a while, but I chose to live in America, and my husband does not even consider himself hispanic. We live the great 100% American life in this household.

Sage
06-29-2007, 06:33 PM
magic-cat ... Been there, done that. Told him he needed to call him mother and tell her to STOP disciplining my child, STOP rearranging the household, STOP coming when we are not here... He did, I was pretty upset with her for all thse things she's done. But she has continued to do it. So I have mentioned that I wanted to change the locks. He was very upset about it, claiming that she has a key in the event she needs to come to the house to take care of the grand child (who is now 15 and really does not need a sitter anymore). So, I need to re-visit this. Many on this board have suggested this option, and I think it is time to put it on the table again...

Rocky - Nice to see you! yes, I recall some MIL issues... Like with your MIL, per SIL apparently I am the ONLY ONE who does not get along with MIL. Of course, I am the ONLY ONE whose house key is on her key ring. She's outgoing, happy go lucky, everyone loves her... And I do love the Raymond shows. Unfortunately, she does not get it, because her english is so poor. She watches and listens to these Spanish versions of Jerry Springer trash shows all day long and believes everything she hears. One day, she changed our bedsheets and perfumed the clean sheets with cologne to give it a "mood" because she thought I was too "stiff" (I am with her) and she thought her son needed some excitement in his life! Imagine that??? I got such a headache from the strong smell in the bedroom we had to change the sheets, and it was still so strong we had to sleep in the guest room that night! And there sure was no action in bed that night, i was way too upset! :(

I just dont want to put my husband in a position where he'd have to choose... My ex asked me once to choose between my kids and him and well, that one was a no brainer... But that's not why I would not want to have him in a choosing position, I just don't want him in that position, that's all... It's just not fair.

ghead1
06-29-2007, 06:59 PM
oh...my...god.

she changed your sheets and perfumed them? Because she didn't think her son was getting enough spice in bed? I'm sorry, this woman doesn't even have a CLUE about appropriate behavior.

Maybe it's just me, but that is just too freaking wierd.

I say again, if your husband has a problem with changing the locks on the house, then put locks on every interior door. If that doesn't give him some idea about how freaked out you are getting about her interference, then he also must not have a clue.

(I realize I might be overreacting here. maybe. but I doubt it.)

Sage
06-29-2007, 07:31 PM
Oh, ghead, this is not the only weird thing she's done... She suggested we get silk bedsheets, telling me it was more romantic. She buys us mood candles. Kinda like on Raymond's show when Marie bought all these lotions for Robert to try to get more grand children... ;)

4Wardmarch
06-29-2007, 07:44 PM
>>>...And SIL calls my husband to try and make him feel guilty about how I treat MIL ...<<<

You need to learn two phrases; teach one to your husband and use the other yourself:

"SIL, that is between MIL and me. If MIL has a problem with me, I'm sure she will tell me herself." Repeat as necessary. Send it back as sole response to her emails--10 times a day as necessary.

The one your husband needs to use with his sister is: "That's between mom and us. If mom has a problem with us, she will tell us herself." Repeat as necessary. Do it a couple hundred times and SIL will butt out.

One nuisance down.

4Wardmarch
06-29-2007, 07:47 PM
>>>...I am sure that when I bring it up, there will be excuses such as "Mum does not know where we live in the city...<<<

You: "Let me give her your address. I'll print off instructions and a map for her."

>>>...they just moved to a new place and Lala has a difficult time driving around in town...<<<

Call a cab or teach her how to find it.

Be 'helpful'.

ghead1
06-29-2007, 07:52 PM
sez the voice of experience (4WM). good ideas.

Sage, I must say... you must have been the picture of patience if you are still there with that kind of intrusion into your personal life. I realize everyone has a different tolerance level , but I can't imagine anyone being THAT tolerant.

I think I'd even offer to drive Lala to SIL's home, just so she knows how to get there. Before leaving her off, make sure she has her own key.

4Wardmarch
06-29-2007, 07:59 PM
You to Hubby: "Darling, I don't want to putyou in the middle of this, but this is OUR home, and I am the female here. Your mother is intruding, and whether your used to like it or not, I don't want it going on anymore. So you, as her son, need to tell her to stop. Cease. Desist. That she cannot under any circumstances come here to do any of these things any more. Will you do that?".

Hubby: I did tell her but she came anyway. What am I supposed to do, spank her for not listening?

You: The next time she comes uninvited, I change the locks and she will not get a key. How you prevent her from coming over uninvited is your business. You're first string in this; I'm second string. If you fail, I take over. If you don't like my solution, you implement a better one. I don't care what the solution is as long as it's effective. It's been three years and you haven't come up with an effective method of keeping your mother out yet. Time for plan B.

apeman
06-29-2007, 08:05 PM
House cleaned, does laundry, cleans and irons the linen and scents the sheets. Damn, send her my way.

Sage
06-30-2007, 12:08 AM
4WM - >>>...You need to learn two phrases; teach one to your husband and use the other yourself: "SIL, that is between MIL and me. If MIL has a problem with me, I'm sure she will tell me herself." Repeat as necessary... The one your husband needs to use with his sister is: "That's between mom and us. If mom has a problem with us, she will tell us herself." Repeat as necessary. <<<

I think the problem here is the language barrier. SIL feels she needs to translate to MIL because MIL says she has no clue what I say most of the time. I think she understand more than SIL believes, but SIL likes to control and to know everything. I have talked about this to MIL - i.e. fired her when she snooped in my daughter's room for the second time - and I felt at the time she understood everything I said but she kept coming and continued to do her thing, so I don;t know... Yes, I need to regain control and stop expecting SIL to translate everything and facilitate this miscommunication - or triangle. You are correct, this needs to come out of my husband or me. No more SIL.

Love the cab idea... :)

>>> ... How you prevent her from coming over uninvited is your business. You're first string in this; I'm second string. If you fail, I take over. If you don't like my solution, you implement a better one. I don't care what the solution is as long as it's effective. It's been three years and you haven't come up with an effective method of keeping your mother out yet. Time for plan B...<<< BIG SIGH... Yes, I need to repeat this to myself a few hundreds of times.


ghead - I am at the end of my rope - that's for sure! And this recent bombardement of emails from SIL because MIL is depressed and has high blood pressure... blaming me, indirectly of course... I HAVE HAD IT! Sigh... There - I finally shouted it out loud! ;)

Apeman - She's on her way. Just need thorough directions because she could not find her way out of a paper bag.

Gosh, I ignored a call from her this afternoom and just got the strength to listen to the message now. She announced she is coming tomorrow to visit with my dad who is in town. She apparently was invited by my husband's ex who lives near by and said she'd stop by after the party if she has not had too much wine - or was that if she had too much wine and can't drive home.. Knowing her, she'll have too much wine - my lucky day... We won't be home, so I need to implement my Plan B tonight to make sure she does not show up when no one is home.

Wish me luck...

Sage
06-30-2007, 12:19 AM
Just received this from SIL:

"It is very important that you and my mom 'find a way' because she will always be in your life too especially as she gets older. She will spend many days in your house when she gets older and I will also take on that responsibility (only that this home is tiny one bathroom and we are not moving for at least 10yrs. BF and I are just starting while you and my brother are like almost able to retire I think. ;)

Theres no way out of this when you have a husband so I hope in the next 2yrs you will come to understand my mom's child like innocence and 'naughty' behaviour comes from a good place even if she doesnt do it in a proper way.
When you 'know' someone's soul it is easy to understand them.

I know it's going to be hard to know her better at this stage in her life but she might (and I hope) live another 20yrs. She is with us, one way or the other. She's been a wonderful mother and doesnt deserve such a terrible ending of conflict. I am sorry she has upset you so but she has made 99% of the world HAPPY."

So, I guess I will be the caretaker so that SIL and BF can have a great life togetehr in their tiny home. I may be looking for a tinier home pretty soon... :(

ghead1
06-30-2007, 01:46 AM
I assume Lala's language is Spanish? Does your husband not speak Spanish? Let him translate. Disinvite your SIL from these little gatherings.

Buy a CD, learn Spanish, or whatever. Maybe a little sign language for SIL. One fingered salute. ;)

I think 4WM's recent post does give you some idea of how this chat with your husband should go. Do it soon while you still have the strength to stand up for yourself.

(((Sage)))

carolynjune
06-30-2007, 07:07 AM
how hard is it to change the locks on the doors and then not give her a key?

zuzuzu
06-30-2007, 07:50 AM
Just received this from SIL:

"It is very important that you and my mom 'find a way' because she will always be in your life too especially as she gets older. She will spend many days in your house when she gets older and I will also take on that responsibility (only that this home is tiny one bathroom and we are not moving for at least 10yrs. BF and I are just starting while you and my brother are like almost able to retire I think. ;)

Theres no way out of this when you have a husband so I hope in the next 2yrs you will come to understand my mom's child like innocence and 'naughty' behaviour comes from a good place even if she doesnt do it in a proper way.
When you 'know' someone's soul it is easy to understand them.

I know it's going to be hard to know her better at this stage in her life but she might (and I hope) live another 20yrs. She is with us, one way or the other. She's been a wonderful mother and doesnt deserve such a terrible ending of conflict. I am sorry she has upset you so but she has made 99% of the world HAPPY."

So, I guess I will be the caretaker so that SIL and BF can have a great life togetehr in their tiny home. I may be looking for a tinier home pretty soon... :(

Actually, you and your husband have CHOICES. No, it has not been pre-determined that your MIL will be living with you or have free rein to your home. While it may be a dramatic departure for your hubby to set a limit with his mom, that seems to be what you need (personally, I agree with you that a wife manages the marital home with her husband).

I suggest telling SIL that you and your husband will decide what is best for your own household, and ask that she respect your privacy as a married couple. Chances are, she won't respect your privacy, but you can at least start in the direction of setting boundaries by letting everyone know.

I believe this is truly in your husband's hands primarily, and then in yours. If this was not something that was ever discussed prior to marriage, then I suggest you seek joint counseling to address the issue of family member invovement in your marriage. If you and hubby cannot agree on a path forward, then it seems your desires might often come as secondary to those of your MIL and/or SIL. Is that what you can accept without resentment?

What YOU want in your marriage is crucial; communicate clearly with your husband by using "I" statements and what you would like to achieve together. Ask your husband to support you and be specific about what you want. Give him the opportunity to support you and see what he does. Be prepared, however, for him to defer to SIL to maintain the status quo so that he doesn't have to confront his mother to claim his own adult life for himself. It seems he may not want to do this and lets the others in the family cover for him (he's such a good boy, that way .....).

This issue might bring you and your husband closer together, and more united in marriage. It also has the potential to split you apart if your husband aligns with his mother. I"m sorry you are in this position and I wish you peace with whatever occurs.....

Sage
06-30-2007, 08:08 AM
Carolyn - It is hard because she is my husband's mother. And because I try to have compassion for people, try to see it their way. And once in a while, I can see it her way (she's lonely) BUT she never attempts to see it MY WAY. It's always about what she wants, when she wants it and how she wants it because she sees herself as Mother Theresa. It's always about her saying "I no understand". For heaven's sake the woman goes to see every new movie that comes out on the big screen! I know she does understand.

ghead - yes, i could learn to speak the language and I actually have done that. Now, MIL feels even less inclined to understand english (I am not that good with it and still needs her to try) to "help me" 'espeak behter espaanish'. But I understand it pretty well, and understand the conversations she has with my husband; I can attest that he is trying to get her to see it our way.

My husband has had many of those discussions with her: stop coming when we are not here, stop perfuming the sheets, stop reading other people's diaries, stop walking in because you had nothing better to do... But he loves his mum and honestly, if she did not come, he'd never see her. So, you ask, is that a way to show your mother you love her by never initiating anything or never visiting her..? And you are right to ask. I ask that same question all the time. And he has no answer to give other than she also comes to see the grand child. So, you say, they BOTH could go visit her. I have mentioned that too. His answer is that it's easier when she comes. The grand child is bored at grandma's house, so is he... He works late, she likes to come here, it gives her something to do... Yeah, i just realized, who cares - better them getting bored than me getting walked all over by her! We are going to discuss this today before she comes here again when no one is home. Not easy with my father, nephew and niece visiting for 2 weeks.

I forgot to say, last year when I "fired" her (which didn't last too long) I told her we'd give her some play money so she could go out and shop or have fun with her friends instead of coming here. Every week, we send her a $100 check hoping she'll spend it wisely, or at least while having fun. And what did she do with it? She offered SIL the breast implants she'd always wanted... And now she NEEDS the $$ we send to pay off the boob fund.

Sage
06-30-2007, 08:53 AM
I have always been such a strong person. I read this thread and can't believe this is coming from ME! I suppose when things creep on you like this, you don't notice as much. Yeah, the scented bed sheets should have been a clue! :o

My husband is so much like the absent-minded professor. A loving, generous, caring person in his own little world (I think as a result of a lifetime with his mother and sister - he pretends nothing happened, and maybe it'll go away. That's how he gets rid of his mum and sister). If it wasn't for MIL and SIL everything would be wonderful. He struggles with confrontations and the MIL and SIL are providing more than anyone should have to deal with in a lifetime. The reason why I am this patient is because MIL, SIL and Ex have been telling him all his life what to do. He's juggled all three for years, doing just enough to keep them all somewhat happy.

I dont want to be one more woman telling him what to do. He does have a backbone, and I've seen him use it with SIL and Ex, and a little with MIL. I want him to fight for me because he wants to, not because I am asking him each time. He's come a long way. And he has a long way to go. I think this current issue is going to make him grow a little faster than he's ready for, and that's okay. Okay for me who is not afraid of confrontation. But terrifying for him.

I know it is difficult for a man to push away his mother - well, let's say I've read about it, I don't kow for sure. if my mother would put herself between my husband and me, Id put her back in her place. She'd be upset, but eventually she'd come around. I had to do it to her when she was trying to tell me how to raise my children, how to maintain a household. And she's not American! :)

Rocky
06-30-2007, 09:22 AM
ssSage, Honey, if I didn't know you are a living, breathing person I'd think you saw one too many Dr. Phil's. I'm not sure how you have tolerated this as long as you have. You're probably right about it sneaking up on you and the cognitive dissonance.

You are in the midst of some very dysfunctional family dynamics. Mom has trained her daughter well. This is a two-headed monster with twin thinking!
How did MIL get along with your husband's first wife? It doesn't really matter. I'm just curious.

Perhaps if you do a serious sit down with your husband and explain what you will and won't tolerate he will hear you. If he is unable to act from fear and conditional training, try counseling. You probably won't get anywhere with him until he is willing to accept that he truly has choices. Maybe if he hears it from a disinterested third party he will understand.

Write down a visitation schedule that is workable for you. Going from an 'all' to 'nothing' situation will cause more grief than is necessary. I'm sure you know that already, but putting things in writing may help. Work on it with your husband until you come to a place where you are both able to find comfort and agree. Then stand firm and united.

Just like a child needs structure, this woman needs structure. She may even come to appreciate a schedule. She'll have free time to find other interests.

btw, SIL has no input or vote. She makes her own choices regarding her mom. She will keep 'talking' about this as long as she thinks someone is listening. I bet she'll move on to confront her brother on a regular basis if she thinks she's not getting to you. Hope he can take it.

This guy feels powerless no matter if it's his mom, his sister, or you. He's a great guy because he's learned to survive with a passive aggressive mom and sister. At some point he needs to discover his own backbone, and everyone will be happier. Especially him! (Well, not at first. There's gonna be at least two snarling women until Mom and Sis understand the boundaries.)

No more excuses. Culture. Age. The Mom Card. Nope. A truly loving mother puts her children first. Her behavior is selfish....I don't care where she's from. 40 years in this country and doesn't understand basic English?!? BS!!!!!!!!

Money for SIL's boob job!!!?????? What a pair of wackos!...and I don't mean SIL's boobs.

Sage
06-30-2007, 09:59 AM
Yes, Rocky, I am starting to feel the same way: a pair of wackos, but I picture Jerry Springer rather than Dr Phil in the background!

MIL and SIL did not get along with Ex either. Until I came into the picture and suddenly Ex is sweet as can be with MIL so that the Grand Child can be told "I" am the one who is changing the rules, who has no patience, who does not care, who fired Lala who is such a sweet old lady (that she could not stand), blah blah blah... Ex has a problem with her kid liking me.

I sent SIL a reply to her email stating that she could decide where MIL goes as long as it's her house, but not this one. I am sure she'll have a fit when she reads it, go to my husband, ignite the bomb, and watch it explode. But I am ready for this one. I hope my husband is ready to hear what I have to say. Regardless, even if she'd end up here, i'd be the one doing all the work, there's no way he can expect that out of me.

Rocky
06-30-2007, 10:39 AM
Sadly, it's probably better to confront all this now rather than a few years down the road when his family's expectations are firmly in place and there is a crisis situation for health care and living arrangements. All eyes with turn to you, and your generous nature will kick in.

Internal resentment will explode, and the situation may cause you harm.

It's sad when families have this sort of thing.

Even knowing it's sad, and I wish you didn't have this to deal with....change the damn locks. No matter what language you speak to your MIL she won't hear you.

I hope your husband understands how seriously this can effect the love between two people. You don't want to put him in a situation to make a choice, but isn't that what he's doing to you? He's doing it passively.

Sage
06-30-2007, 10:59 AM
Someone in the begining of this thread said his/her MIL thought the marriage included 6 people while the family was only 5 people. This hit it hard for me. MIL is coming tonight to visit after all, she claims she wants to see my dad who's only here for 2 weeks. She'll be here tonight when we are home, so really I have nothing to say about her social call. But I have learned to hide the wine, she seems to stay for shorter periods when there's nothing to drink. How sad... Often I've told my husband she should not drive home after 3 glasses of wine, how silly of me as that would mean she would stay here. But he lets her go and she always makes it home. Sometimes I feel like I am the one actually babysitting the whole family!

zuzuzu
06-30-2007, 11:07 AM
No, it is not true that your hubby would never see MIL unless she has no boundaries. The idea is to arrange MUTUALLY when it is a good time for her to visit. If MIL refuses to agree to a time, then she is manipulative and punishing her son if he doesn't agree fully with her. Is your hubby going to be manipulated into guilt by his mother, or is he going to lovingly set firm boundaries? Saying "NO" doesn't mean being disrespectful. He is actually being respectful to YOU when he negotiates (note, not saying no to her completely or indefinitely) with MIL.

willowtree
06-30-2007, 11:11 AM
Wow, Sage. I've been reading this thread and feeling so much compassion for you. But - you REALLY need to decide how much you can accept comfortably, and then make a stand against anything past that comfort level - no matter what it means.

You are still being way too accomodating, and it's going to eat you up and destroy you. You MIL is coming to your house tonight, so she can hang out with YOUR Dad? "No, sorry, we have plans tonight. MIL and Dad can get together on their own."

They are grownups. You're gonna have to be the beatch. I know it sucks. It's an uncomfortable place to be for those of us who are people-pleasers. But you either have to put yourself in an uncomfortable place now, and consistently be the beatch until MIL finds a way to get her needs met elsewhere, or you will have to live with the results. Whether the results are that YOU learn to accept her, or that you go crazy... that I don't know.

Change the locks. Stop the "boob fund". Fire Lala. Tell SIL to start thinking about buying a bigger place because unless Lala "gets it", she won't stay a night in your place, let alone live with you. And mean it. If you cave, you are back to square one.

It's gotta be awful for you. But moaning with no consistent action is not going to get you anywhere. (not that I don't understand your need to moan about it!) Best wishes.

lizzie
06-30-2007, 11:29 AM
Why don't you just hire a maid so mama doesn't feel that she has to wait on your family hand and foot. It sounds like she resents it anyway but doesn't know how to stop.

So because you, a woman, has moved in, she doesn't have to clean. What about baby boy cleaning up after himself. Why should a woman's job automatically be assumed to clean his underwear. Eeew. Glad I didn't marry into that culture.

4Wardmarch
06-30-2007, 11:34 AM
Just received this from SIL:

"It is very important that you and my mom 'find a way' because she will always be in your life too especially as she gets older. She will spend many days in your house when she gets older and I will also take on that responsibility (only that this home is tiny one bathroom and we are not moving for at least 10yrs. BF and I are just starting while you and my brother are like almost able to retire I think. ;)

Theres no way out of this when you have a husband so I hope in the next 2yrs you will come to understand my mom's child like innocence and 'naughty' behaviour comes from a good place even if she doesnt do it in a proper way.
When you 'know' someone's soul it is easy to understand them.

I know it's going to be hard to know her better at this stage in her life but she might (and I hope) live another 20yrs. She is with us, one way or the other. She's been a wonderful mother and doesnt deserve such a terrible ending of conflict. I am sorry she has upset you so but she has made 99% of the world HAPPY."

So, I guess I will be the caretaker so that SIL and BF can have a great life togetehr in their tiny home. I may be looking for a tinier home pretty soon... :(


"Since you understand your MIL's soul so well, she will simply have to rely on you. I can recommend a very good builder for an addition to your house. I am pleased to hear that she has made 99% of the world happy; I'm sure the world will reciprocate. Best regards, Sage"

4Wardmarch
06-30-2007, 11:45 AM
Seriously though, Sage, you are going to have to talk to your husband. And it sounds like this afternoon is the best time.

If you can't get a firm commitment to keeping her out of the house, and you aren't on the same page with regards to her role in your lives; then you may want to rethink the marriage. Without changes from him in definitively enforcing boundaries, the problem will continue as is (if you are lucky) and threatens to worsen. That is a reality. At that point you either decide the marriage is worthwhile enough for you to have her in your lives on her terms or you decide that her overinvolvement is such a drain on your life that the marriage is not worth it.

If you decide that you want the marriage even though she's going to dominant your life for the next 20 years, then you have to change your attitude, or you will end up angry and distrustful and with a shabby, second-rate marriage for all your 'sacrifice'.

Either your husband changes or you change, of neither of you change and you divorce. Because MIL is not going to change.

4Wardmarch
06-30-2007, 11:56 AM
Saying "NO" doesn't mean being disrespectful. He is actually being respectful to YOU when he negotiates (note, not saying no to her completely or indefinitely) with MIL.


BTW--"No." is a complete sentence.

lizzie
06-30-2007, 12:23 PM
Seriously though, Sage, you are going to have to talk to your husband. And it sounds like this afternoon is the best time.

Oh, I think this afternoon is way too late. I think that talk is not the word I would use. In fact, I might just do it - change the locks to the door and not give him a key unless he is willing to promise that he will not give a key to the mother-in-law from hell. And if he can't keep that promise, I will be finding another place to live.

All the talking in the world is not going to change the situation. Mainly because your husband would have changed it had he wanted to. So you change it and let him live with the consequences.

Sage
06-30-2007, 12:29 PM
Lizzie - yes, "cleaning" is Lala's excuse for showing up. Apparently she loves to do this (so I am told), it is thus a perfect excuse to drop by. Then her excuse was that she wanted to clean her grand child's bedroom only. How could I, only the step mom, forbid her from doing this for her grand baby?? I usually answer that he should learn how to freaking clean his own bedroom, so that his wife won't have the same problem I have. I joke around and tell him I am helping him save his future marriage. But MIL, SIL and husband all try to shame into thinking this way.

Willow - I can't stop the boob fund - she would not be able to reimburse the loan. Changing the lock with be shocking enough as it is. You are right, moaning with no direction is getting me no where. I wanted to hear from you all to confirm I was not a horrible DIL for feeling this way. I actually just had a discussion with my dad about this, and he's as shocked as you all are. Which makes me feel better too... Time to take the beatch out... Sigh.

4Ward - LMAO! I guess 99% of the world should be enough for her - she does not need that remainder 1%... I expect a mass of emails from SIL when she return from her trip (she loves to travel which is another reason Lala would be parked here). I was ready to suggest she starts planning to find a new home, but an addition is an excellent idea!

"NO" is indeed a complete sentence. I need to learn to use it.

I know, why on earth is she stopping by to pay us a visit today... I guess in Argentina, MIL and DIL's fathers socialize. Honestly, that would be okay if everything else was okay in my life. But here we go once again, her dropping by wanting to steal the show. I have to talk to my hubby...

Sage
06-30-2007, 12:32 PM
Oh, I think this afternoon is way too late. I think that talk is not the word I would use. In fact, I might just do it - change the locks to the door and not give him a key unless he is willing to promise that he will not give a key to the mother-in-law from hell. And if he can't keep that promise, I will be finding another place to live.

All the talking in the world is not going to change the situation. Mainly because your husband would have changed it had he wanted to. So you change it and let him live with the consequences.
Good point, Lizzie. As usual. I've done some talking for quite a while, although I have not put my foot down as hard as I could have. Yet there's always a reason to postpone, like now - why would I do this with my 12 YO niece in tow, my dad and 23 YO nephew?

magic-cat
06-30-2007, 02:41 PM
Hubby: I did tell her but she came anyway. What am I supposed to do, spank her for not listening?

You: The next time she comes uninvited, I change the locks and she will not get a key. How you prevent her from coming over uninvited is your business. You're first string in this; I'm second string. If you fail, I take over. If you don't like my solution, you implement a better one. I don't care what the solution is as long as it's effective. It's been three years and you haven't come up with an effective method of keeping your mother out yet. Time for plan B.

(DITTO!!!)

Hubby: You can't do that! She's my mother, for cryin' out loud.

You: I can and I will. We are not living in a sitcom, and none of this is funny. It's not cute, it's not endearing, it's not helpful.

Hubby: It's also not that bad.

You: Oh? Well, here's the deal... You want mama to keep continuing this way because then you don't have to deal with forcing her to stop. Mama insists on being here and interfering, because she lives in a delusional state where it's okey-dokey to barge in and do all this according to whatever seriously misguided notions she has about her right to be the "Mama" in our house. Three years is more than ample time to have attempted to ween her from being an actual intruder in our home and family. She wants to be "Mama". You want her to continue being "Mama". And since there's room for exactly one "Mama" in every house... if she's the choice, then I'm moving out.

Hubby: WTF?

You: I'm gone. And when I am gone and living elsewhere, I will have a key to my own home, and it will not be shared with anyone else. So I want you to think about this right now, and think about it carefully. Our home -- this one -- has two keys, and they can be shared by either you and I... or you and your mom.

(or, the alternate dialogue, which might drive home the point a bit better)

Hubby: But darling, she's my mother.

You: She might be your mother, but she acts as though she wants to be your wife. And that's pretty twisted. Comprende?

magic-cat
06-30-2007, 02:44 PM
For the viewing audience, 4Ward and I are jointly working on a stage play currently titled, "Sage's Life". (Our alternate title is: "A Justified Use for Rat Poison")

Sage
06-30-2007, 03:04 PM
Had "the talk" which ended up in him saying "Man, you are cold" and walking away. He took off with his car, not sure where. I am leaving tonight for our beach house, he said he'd think about whether we wants to go as well.

It felt weird for me to put my foot down this way and to hear him say that I am cold - no one has ever said this. And of course, his story stayed the same: she means well, she does no harm, she's old, it's her right as a grand mother, ... I told him if she ever comes here one more time when we are away I change the locks. Sorry, ladies, I could not just "do it" (change the locks).

He tried to end the conversation a few times, I kept bringing him back in it telling him that it' been 2+ years and I still feel as though nothing's been resolved. Thus we still have a problem. Sometimes I think he's clueless, does not hear me out, is not in tune to my emotions... How on earth could he not know, be surprised I am this upset?

I also told him that we need a plan now for how MIL will end her days - specifically where. He said that "here" was a very likely option, and I reminded him that if that is the case he better work part time. That I would not be the nurse taking care of her. That's when he said that I was cold.

Sage
06-30-2007, 03:09 PM
Oh Cat - You gave me a good laugh, and I needed it! :)

ghead1
06-30-2007, 03:38 PM
ah Sage, the "cold" thing eh? That sucks.

I am glad for you that you talked today, as it appears that there a LOT of unspoken assumptions being made by your husband and his family... mostly involving you and your role in caring for the whole happy lot. Best that they realize now that you are not their solution.

I imagine it will be tempting for you to find your husband if he doesn't call soon, and encourage him to come home and negotiate. Take a few minutes to meditate, then re-read this whole thread, and THEN decide how flexible your position is.

I'd like to send you a PM if it's OK. I'm not on a lot on the weekend, but I'll try to check in.

Best of luck. Don't lose yourself in this dilemma. I think there is a lot of room for discussion, but first your husband's family needs to quit thinking they live in Argentina, or any matriarchal society. Lala deserves respect, but not subservience.

Rocky
06-30-2007, 04:01 PM
Sage, I'm sorry to read that his reaction was so negative. This isn't about his mother's motives. It's about your comfort and privacy. You have every right to state how you feel, and you have every right to ensure that you have a personal comfort level. You are the only person who can make the quality of your life what you want it to be. His family certainly isn't going to do it. Doesn't sound as if he is willing to budge even a little.

Perhaps your husband is one of those people who would have no problem with a member of your family taking over his home. If your father came to live with you in his declining years, would your husband be willing to change his entire lifestyle to care for your dad?

Frankly, I simply can't understand how he can possibly not be able to absorb what is happening here. It's as if he knows he's pushed you into a corner and then blames you.

You cold? No. You have stated personal boundaries. You made clear what would be in the best interest of everyone...including his mother. *He* seems rather cold and calloused........... totally disrespectful to you. Old game. When you can't make a valid point, label the other person, then run away.

Mother is behaving like a willful, spoiled child. How is it in her best interest to indulge that behavior?

Over the years some of us have come up with a common denominator in regard to the men we married. If they were emotionally distant, poor communicators, tend to objectify women....they often seem to have moms who were pushy, over protective, but emotionally distant. Their love for their sons was conditional. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. One more thing to blame on "Mom".

Enjoy your beach house trip. I hope the two of you can find common ground very soon.

Lizzie is probably correct. Talking isn't going to resolve anything.

Rocky
06-30-2007, 04:03 PM
Hey...your beach house isn't in MD or DE is it???

Sage
06-30-2007, 04:22 PM
From SIL:

"Just to let you know that I have placed your last 2 emails in a 'to read' file (my new thing as of this past week) :) its because I developed a very bad migraine (which headaches are not my thing so I knew it was bad tension. so im going to let this headache pass before i continue this subject.
I also think its wild that my brother and I are not having these conversations
but some day we will , in person in spanish with my mom so he can see her
face and respond directly into her eyes."

-> Migraines can be so convenient with her. I just happen to have responded to 3 emails of hers with a tough attitude! One about NOT wanting Lala here when "she gets old" - the one 4WM initiated when she answered "What do you ean "WE"?? - and the third one telling her that if she messed up with her dad just before he passed away, I should not be paying the price for her mistake ...

She knows that my husband will never say NO to his mother when he looks into her eyes... A familly discussion is good plan, but she's planning the set up pretty well. My husband has NO CHANCE.

"All this middle stuff can becoming so crazy and mostly with you (my emails
to you) are to explain more about my mom, her life, her upbringing, our
upbringing because the history of something or someone is so important."

"So i'm going to call a family meeting some day, and my brother and I will
speak to my mom EYE TO EYE. Like they did in the days of no phone and email. ;) Meanwhile--I am starting my life with a man. First time for both of
us...first possible marriage that we hope to plan next year. And if his job takes him to a new city or country (if his company grows) that may even
mean that I move for a while..."

I AM TOAST!

"We dont know if I will have my fathers disease. What if in 10yrs I need dialysys or a kidney transplant? Then BF will be doing what my mother did ..taking care of me. So this is why I dont know what the future holds. I just know that my brother needs to take a stronger role when it comes to my mom and her well being because 'its time'."

I AM SO TOAST...

Although I agree my husband needs to have a family discussion about his mother's future, I know he will be influenced by his sister and mother before it even starts. There's no way she'll want to go to an elderly care home. My husband reminded me earlier that I could not decide where she would go, but I told him if the solution was this house he could not decide without me. I guess SIL is assuming we're staying put. .... So, I'll be on the net tonight looking for a home in Australia or New Zealand ...

Sage
06-30-2007, 04:23 PM
Rocky... We're in Ocean City, MD. Where's yours? :)

Sage
06-30-2007, 04:39 PM
Oh, I think this afternoon is way too late. I think that talk is not the word I would use. In fact, I might just do it - change the locks to the door and not give him a key unless he is willing to promise that he will not give a key to the mother-in-law from hell. And if he can't keep that promise, I will be finding another place to live.

All the talking in the world is not going to change the situation. Mainly because your husband would have changed it had he wanted to. So you change it and let him live with the consequences.
You know Lizzie, before I committed to sell my house, move into his house which is now OUR home, and marrying him, when it was still time to walk away (and I actually did walk away for several weeks because of his sister's poisonous hold onhim), I asked him to go to counseling to discuss these 2 women in his life. At first he refused stating he'd never done that and that it never really works (if you've never done it, how do you know if it works or not??).

We had several sessions with my counselor although I offered him to choose another one if he wished. We discussed family relationships. And he was told his immediate family was about to be redefined as it would only include our children and the 2 of us - no one else. He had a hard time with that concept then, and I am sure he still does.

So, indeed I had a conversation before, and I thought he "got it" because things changed with his sister. Somewhat - not as much as I hoped for, but they did...

I get so frustrated because his mother is still very active, young looking, and she goes out quite a bit. Several men have expressed an interest in developping a relationship with her but she continues to say she wants to stay free. And yet both her children tell me she is lonely!!! HELLOOO! ANYBODY HOME??? That's how she wants it, to stay in control of her kids... They say she will never ever have anyone else in her life other than their dad who died 8 years ago. And I answer that there's a price to pay for that. She doesn't have to love another man as much as she Loved him, but there's always room for more love, companionship, close relationships, spending afternoons together, whatever...

Rocky
06-30-2007, 05:05 PM
Sage, My place is about 15-20 miles north of you....depending on how far down you are in OC. :)

I'm not there now, and I haven't been there much in the last year. My son and his wife are living at the house. I am currently living in the Poconos.

If I were down there now, we'd hook up and have a Margarita at Tequila Mockingbird. Girlfriend support is so much easier in person. ;)

CheroCreek
06-30-2007, 05:28 PM
1 tequila, 2 tequila, 3 tequila, floor!

Sage
06-30-2007, 06:02 PM
Dang, I sure could use a few... :)

Not sure if I'll have inet connectivity at the beach - i usually piggy back on my neighbor but not sure if she's there this week. I may try an inet cafe, you guys have been so supportive, I may need to check in. Thank you by the way, to everyone! You all have helped me see things from several different angles. It's been good. :)

4Wardmarch
06-30-2007, 06:39 PM
>>... He said that "here" was a very likely option, and I reminded him that if that is the case he better work part time. That I would not be the nurse taking care of her....<<<

Ask him if he intends to be the ones changing her diapers and cleanng poop out of her pubic hair? Is he quitting his job so he can give her baths? When he does make sure to wash under her boobs, a lot of sweat and dead skin can get trapped under there. Is her going to feed her the baby food and administer her medicine and message her muscles?

No?

Man, is HE cold. His OWN mother!

Name calling. This is telling you two things: 1) he never intended to change a thing and did expect you to live with it, 2) now he's going to bully you into submitting.

You are not wrong and you are not cold. This has nothing to do with you and nothing to do with how he really views you. He knows if he doesn't give Mommy what she wants, she's going to launch an all out attack that will include crying, yelling, guiltizing, sulking, withdrawal of approval, and health scares. She will bring everyone in the family and everyone into the fray. She will twist things and cry and be pitiful and goad them into pressuring him into giving in to her. His comfortable oblivious little life is about to come to an end. It's much easier to save him the trouble and bully you back into submission.

Unfortunately, his approach is just going to polarize you, him and her. It's a dumb, dumb, dumb approach that will result in him pretty much having to choose her or you. What he is saying is that to stay with him, you are going to have to accept mistreatment from his mother, himself and his sister.

Here's a link into the type of behaviors you can expect. It's about how passive-aggressive people get their way and end up looking so pure in the end and so pitiful and make the real victim into the bad guy.

http://www.rickross.com/reference/brainwashing/brainwashing11.html

4Wardmarch
06-30-2007, 06:43 PM
A quote from the site:

"...The tactics manipulators use can make it seem like they're hurting, caring, defending, ..., almost anything but fighting. These tactics are hard to recognize as merely clever ploys. They always make just enough sense to make a person doubt their gut hunch that they're being taken advantage of or abused. Besides, the tactics not only make it hard for you to consciously and objectively tell that a manipulator is fighting, but they also simultaneously keep you or consciously on the defensive. These features make them highly effective psychological weapons to which anyone can be vulnerable. It's hard to think clearly when someone has you emotionally on the run..."

reeling
06-30-2007, 11:37 PM
You are about to find out how much he does or does not care about you. It must be scary, because there's a liklihood that after all you invested in him, he does not value you enough. I'm hoping this turns out well for you. But if it doesn't, it's better to know now before you've invested any more.

Sage
07-01-2007, 07:46 AM
4WM - Honestly, my husband would not hurt a fly. Which is why he is this way with his mother. He honestly cannot see it my way, because he's never had to try and see it that way. What he's experiencing with the MIL and SIL is all he's ever known, that's his normalcy, his day-to-day experience. That's his life.

I do not believe he intends to hurt me, he’s only guilty of not wanting to see it my way and it will take a while because he’s never questioned this before (my use of "only" does not imply it's a not a big deal). With the ex, she was so much into her own family that they rarely did anything with his, so MIL and SIL had to come over or they would not see each other for long periods of time. And that’s what they continued to do when ex left, and my husband’s home became like Grand Ma’s house where everybody always drops by and stays over for dinner. It was the house they’d always wanted (they each have an apartment in town, this one is in the suburbs and has a nice yard/deck).

I remember while we were dating, he went out of town and I had planned to go there to mow the grass for him – SIL called me to tell me I should not come over, she had taken over the house and did not want anyone there to bother her, she wanted peace and quiet, a mini vacation as she called it. I told her she should go get earplugs then, because I WAS coming and too bad if she did not like it. That's when it all started between us... Like a pissing contest I guess. I haven't stopped having to remind them this is my home. And when I tell my husband, he asks me why I've held on to this for so long - he is so forgiving that he never looks back. He just cannot see it my way. When I complain about anything, he always tries to get me to see as if it's old news, let's not waste time discussing old issues. Past performance is usually a pretty good indicator of what the present and future hold. But he does not care MIL or SIL have done it 50 times, because that's water under the bridge.

So my task is to try to change the way he's been taught to react to them, the way he's been taught to live today and forget yesterday, the way he's taught himself to not bother them otherwise it's gonna be a long night of talking, talkting, talking. His sister just does not shut up when she wants to make a point, she wants to disect everything, questin everything and pressure you to see it her way (as you've seen in her emails). We've always joked we should have put her in the same cell as Hussein and he would have killed himself. :p

I’ve often heard that a woman should never move in the house that her man lived in with his ex. Maybe these women think this is their property… I asked my dad yesterday if he’d ever just walk in my home and he confirmed he would never do that. And he did have a key of my home before. Of course, it was more a symbolic key as there’s an ocean between us.

I was thinking about something else during my long drive last night. So SIL says MIL has always done this for her son, how could she suddenly stop? When you turn the tables, I’ve not had my mother “drop by” my house for 30 years, since I’ve been in this country. How could I suddenly accept this behavior? I need to put this one in my goodies bag…

Sage
07-01-2007, 10:12 AM
reeling - I sure hope I dont have to find out he's not who I thought he was. I could not handle that...

2ndWind
07-01-2007, 10:41 AM
I don't know that his reaction is a demonstration of how much he cares about you. He's spent his whole life being dominated by two really powerful women, and at whatever age he is now, it's unlikely he'd know how to change even if he could. From what you've described, he doesn't appear to have passive aggressive traits. He just doesn't know any other way to be, and after doing it his way all these years, he looks at change as an intrusion. The fact that you've tried counseling, and a new way of seeing this situation was pointed out to him, most likely means that he doesn't see this as a problem. I wouldn't waste any more of your energy trying to make him see this. I guess I'd just figure out how much you can tolerate and work around that.

(and I know I'll get nailed for this one.)

reeling
07-01-2007, 11:43 AM
Sage, he doesn't have to see it your way or understand your point of view. What he has to do is RESPECT your point of view whether he understands it or not.

It's your house, not SIL's or MIL's, thus your point of view reigns supreme, not theirs.

He doesn't want to understand. If he understands he will have to act, and that means upsetting his mother. He'd rather upset you than his mother.

By the way, saying it's all under the bridge and what's the matter with you for bringing it up all the time (especially when she is still doing this crap) is manipulative in the extreme. He's not playing fair.

Just change the locks without his permission. Tell him when SIL gives MIL a key to her house, you will consider giving MIL a key to yours. Better yet, give her a key that doesn't work and tell her she's not to use it without prior permission or in conjunction to calling 911 in an emergency.

But do set up a schedule to invite her over.

reeling
07-01-2007, 11:49 AM
I guess it's like if you were a vegetarian and he isn't. He doesn't have to understand or approve of why you are a vegetarian; but as a husband it is his responsibility to support it. What he's doing right now is telling you my MIL says you can't be a vegetarian anymore, you have to eat her meat-ladened cooking; if you don't you are mean.

Your husband is really, really out of line. I would tell a husband of mine that I intended to live in a house where people just didn't invade and take over at their whim. If he wants to live in it with me, I would be happy to have him; but if he wants to give unlimited access to his family, he's going to have to live somewhere else.

zuzuzu
07-01-2007, 01:32 PM
So my task is to try to change the way he's been taught to react to them,

So SIL says MIL has always done this for her son, how could she suddenly stop?

First, Rocky and Sage, I think it is time for another BayFest (the original was in 1997, I think, at Dewey Beach .....)

Sage, no it is not your task to try to change him. Failure is guaranteed since he is not asking for your help and shows no interest in helping. All you can do is change yourself, how you express what you need and your choices that reflect what you learn as you go forward. You know what you want and need. You have asked for this from your husband. What now? What can you accept and what is not tolerable? What are you willing to do to change how you react to this situation. What if you change the locks? What is the risk of doing this to give yourself what you need, given that nobody is going to help you accomplish this? Consider your choices and explore how you will feel in various outcomes. Then recognize that your energy needs to go into changing YOU, not him.

The second question seems so simple. How can MIL stop after 30 years? The answer: MIL is to stop when the son gets married. Period. The length of time of her caretaking is irrelevant. MIL has a position within your marital unit that you will not accept. That is your position, is valid and healthy, and there is no need to explain it further. Your husband is the one who is allowing your marriage to be undermined. I am sorry that he won't put YOU first in the marriage, as he can only be loyal to one woman. It used to be his mom; now it's suppoed (MHO) to be you. If you and he don't agree on this,then I fear that you will never respect and trust your husband, as he is not stepping forward to be your protector and to honor you (as partners are supposed to do for one another).

I know you can't change him. All you can do is understand yourself, communicate what you need, ask respectfully, and then deal with the outcome. Hubby gets the same deal. {{sage}}

Sage
07-01-2007, 03:24 PM
I don't know that his reaction is a demonstration of how much he cares about you. He's spent his whole life being dominated by two really powerful women, and at whatever age he is now, it's unlikely he'd know how to change even if he could. From what you've described, he doesn't appear to have passive aggressive traits. He just doesn't know any other way to be, and after doing it his way all these years, he looks at change as an intrusion. The fact that you've tried counseling, and a new way of seeing this situation was pointed out to him, most likely means that he doesn't see this as a problem. I wouldn't waste any more of your energy trying to make him see this. I guess I'd just figure out how much you can tolerate and work around that.

(and I know I'll get nailed for this one.)
2ndwind - you have nailed him perfectly. My husband does not like change, does not like confrontations, and does not like controversy. He's happy all the time, his mood never changes, and does not understand there’s a problem – because that would accept something needs to be changed or done.

“Figure out how much you can tolerate and work around that” – I’ve done that for 3 years now. And it led me here. I never thought about divorce as a solution to this problem. I joined DOL in the late 90’s, can’t remember when but I remember people were bold yet supportive, to the point, had probably experienced something similar or knew someone who had, would provide ideas… And I am receiving exactly that, thanks to everyone’s input. From this, I’ve realized that “it ain’t gonna get better” and either I put my foot down or live with it. There’s a middle ground too; I did that with my ex for one year and ended up needing to be spoon fed (literally) from being destroyed emotionally and physically (the famous divorce diet). Not going there ever again.

So either I do something or I shut my mouth. I am not going to be quiet either. I am here aren’t I? I am frustrated, at the end of my rope, got the ball running… I have to finish this or … (sigh) or I need to think about plan B – or plan C (I think 4WM already designed a plan B - :))

Sage
07-01-2007, 03:40 PM
Sage, he doesn't have to see it your way or understand your point of view. What he has to do is RESPECT your point of view whether he understands it or not.

It's your house, not SIL's or MIL's, thus your point of view reigns supreme, not theirs.

He doesn't want to understand. If he understands he will have to act, and that means upsetting his mother. He'd rather upset you than his mother.

By the way, saying it's all under the bridge and what's the matter with you for bringing it up all the time (especially when she is still doing this crap) is manipulative in the extreme. He's not playing fair.

Just change the locks without his permission. Tell him when SIL gives MIL a key to her house, you will consider giving MIL a key to yours. Better yet, give her a key that doesn't work and tell her she's not to use it without prior permission or in conjunction to calling 911 in an emergency.

But do set up a schedule to invite her over.
Reeling – “he doesn't have to see it your way or understand your point of view. What he has to do is RESPECT your point of view whether he understands it or not.”
yes, again, you are right (I feel like such an idiot not thinking these things, I usually am the one telling people to not take the abuse. Boy, do I understand more about how abuse can sneak up on you!).

>>> He doesn't want to understand. If he understands he will have to act, and that means upsetting his mother. He'd rather upset you than his mother. <<< I agree with your comment yet again. And I don’t know what to say about it… My counselor once said that kids will hurt the parent they know will forgive them… :(

I could change the locks… See, I am thinking about it for the first time… I am slowly moving into this intersection and pretty soon I will have to make a decision as to which way I need to go.

A schedule – yes, I need that.

Of course, when I was arguing with my husband yesterday (did I say this was our first ever fight?) his son was on the other side of the door listening in on everything I had to say about his grand mother. I am sure today, his mom (my husband’s evil ex) knows everything and is planning to use it against me.

>>> By the way, saying it's all under the bridge and what's the matter with you for bringing it up all the time (especially when she is still doing this crap) is manipulative in the extreme. He's not playing fair.<<< Amen to not being fair. But I never pictured my husband as manipulative… Need to visit that.

Sage
07-01-2007, 03:45 PM
I guess it's like if you were a vegetarian and he isn't. He doesn't have to understand or approve of why you are a vegetarian; but as a husband it is his responsibility to support it. What he's doing right now is telling you my MIL says you can't be a vegetarian anymore, you have to eat her meat-ladened cooking; if you don't you are mean.

Your husband is really, really out of line. I would tell a husband of mine that I intended to live in a house where people just didn't invade and take over at their whim. If he wants to live in it with me, I would be happy to have him; but if he wants to give unlimited access to his family, he's going to have to live somewhere else.
I like this analogy. A lot. In my goodie bag... :)

apeman
07-01-2007, 04:02 PM
OK, but what if that picklle she was eating was his mother?

This is family, his family. One doesn't throw them out with the trash because she's nosey. One limits access. It's super simple.

Sage
07-01-2007, 04:06 PM
Zuzuzu – dang, girl, you like to get me thinking, don’t you? I didn’t want to CHANGE-change him, I just wanted to help him realize something (is that the same? ;) ). But I know, he probably won’t… can't make him do anything he doesn't want to do.

“How can MIL stop after 30 years? The answer: MIL is to stop when the son gets married. Period.” Yes, that one I’ve been trying to get SIL to see too, because she’s somehow gotten in between MIL and me, translating everything for her. I may need my own translator. Husband will never tell her that. The issue at stake here is that she supposedly comes to visit with her grand kid. So, yes, we need a schedule. Did I tell you that his Ex banned SIL from her house???

When I brought up the locks issue, telling SIL that I want MIL to knock on the door before she comes in, because she very well could walk in on me in the shower and scare the heck out of me, or me in my underwear or worse us having sex, it was like: “so what if she catches you guys having sex..? We’re open-minded. You think we don’t know you have sex?” I’m pretty open-minded too, but these are a buncha weirdos.

Sage
07-01-2007, 04:11 PM
apeman - you do make a good point but that's what I've done for the last 3 years. I don't call reading my daughter's diary "nosey" - more like lacking respect. ESPECIALLY after I found out, told her I was pissed t her for doing so, and she did it again! That's defiant. Not nosey.

I have tried limited access (not changed the keys yet) but she ignored me. Comes to the house when no one is here... That's not just being nosey.

yeah - the locks need to be changed... working on my husband to do that.

apeman
07-01-2007, 05:34 PM
It sounds to me like all you've done is complain. Limit access. Problem solved. My guess is you'll really miss not having the house clean for free.
That will then lead to much discussion and gnashing of teeth over how to keep the house clean, who's responsiblity is who's, whether or not to hire
a cleaning lady, pay for cleaning, ...


Why oh why do people want to get remarried????

4Wardmarch
07-01-2007, 05:41 PM
One limits access. It's super simple.

Super simple until her husband refuses to limit access and then starts calling Sage names because she has the audacity to want privacy in her own home.

apeman
07-01-2007, 06:28 PM
Calling her names? Why she even there if he's abusive that way? Wierd.

CheroCreek
07-01-2007, 06:31 PM
Far too many feel trapped or not worthy to leave an abuser, Apeman. It is sad but true.

2ndWind
07-01-2007, 07:09 PM
I also told him that we need a plan now for how MIL will end her days - specifically where. He said that "here" was a very likely option, and I reminded him that.......That's when he said that I was cold.

Deal with one thing at a time if you possibly can. This is obviously too much for him and he's not able to respond rationally. Work with him ONLY on a schedule for MIL's visitation to your home. Forget changing the outdoor locks for now. (Maybe you could try for locks on the bedroom doors as a personal "privacy" issue, and see how that goes.)

People who are conflict averse do not like confronting issues, especially something of this magnitude. Don't overwhelm him. One step at a time.

apeman
07-01-2007, 07:57 PM
It seems like a pointless discussion and rather like advising someone how to treat a hang nail after they've just been diagnosed with treatable cancer. A nosey mother in law is nothing compared to an abusive spouse. I'd be adios amigos.

Sage
07-01-2007, 10:52 PM
Apeman - I don’t know you or your story (at least I dont think I do), so I don't understand your angry posts. But it seems you've been the one here doing all the complaining...

I guess you don't trust I am capable of keeping a house clean... My house is clean – It probably would not pass the white glove test, but the floor is clean, the dishes are always done, the laundry is folded and put away, and I cook for the family. Last week, in my free time, I even shampooed all the carpets. This is between my treatments and trips to the doctor back and forth. I can give you a detailed list of what I've accomplished just last week, and make Martha Steward jealous! And I have ME to thank for, not MIL. :) The price for MIL to clean the house was never "free", trust me!

apeman
07-02-2007, 12:25 AM
People on this thread mentioned that your ex calls you names, and that he is abusive. In that light the thread isn't interesting anymore. You can change the locks, but if your ex is abusive he'll continue to be so. Keeping the MIL at bay won't help you.

zuzuzu
07-02-2007, 09:21 AM
Pehaps the broadest issue is a lack of respect for sage and for her desires. A failure to treat a wife's needs with respect shows a lack of respect for that person. Abuse is a more obvious lack of respect at a deep level. There are both emotional and physical elements that deserve respect, although it is easier to point to physical abuse than emotional abuse. Both can be equally damaging.

MIL lacks respect for her DIL's physical space and privacy, and hubby is accepting this. In a way, the MIL is being abusive as well. It doesn't surprise me that hubby has elements of abuse, both physical (failure to protect his wife from his mother's invasions) and emotional (not giving her needs respect).

There are extremes, of course, but there seems to be a fundamental lack of respect for sage, showing in different ways by different people. Sadly, I believe that when one has to fight for respect that it is a battle that might already be lost. If your hubby doesn't respect you, why should your MIL?

Do YOU have the courage and confidence to know what you need is valid and important? Do you have that self-respect?

reeling
07-02-2007, 10:38 AM
. Work with him ONLY on a schedule for MIL's visitation to your home. Forget changing the outdoor locks for now.

The problem as I understand it iws that MIL HAS been told not to come when they aren't there and only when invited--but she does ANYWAY. MIL's not listening, hubby's unwilling to enforce and now that Sage is pushing for a resolution, he has JUST started by calling her cold and by using emotional manipulations, probably to try to get her to back down because he doesn't WANT to do anything more and is showing her he does not care how she feels about this.

A schedule would just be one more thing MIL doesn't listen to and Hubby will not enforce.

Next step is to take matters into her own hands (and change the locks). However, Sage is hesitant because Hubby is giving off signals that he will react badly about it.

I disagree with handling the future (MIL's care when she is elderly) before handling the present (MIL invading the house whenever she wants and running the household and the child rearing and even her son's sex life). If you take care of the present problems now--her invasiveness--the future will likely take care of themselves.

Sage
07-02-2007, 10:40 AM
People on this thread mentioned that your ex calls you names, and that he is abusive. In that light the thread isn't interesting anymore. You can change the locks, but if your ex is abusive he'll continue to be so. Keeping the MIL at bay won't help you.
My ex does not call me names. Some may have interpreted that him saying "You are cold" was name calling. Considering I was just telling him his mother was not welcome here unannounced any more, and that I would not take care of her in her old age (something he had never thought about i am sure, but assumed would happen), I think his response needs to be taken into context.

So you say that since my husband is not abusive, this thread is not interesting anymore? Man, YOU are cold!

still mamom
07-02-2007, 10:43 AM
I hope you check in soon to let us know how the blow-up resolved - did you & your husband both go to the beach house? Are things patched up?

FWIW, I ditto 2ndwind on the advice that now is not the time to discuss the long-range plan for your MIL. I think you need to separate out some issues, and take them one at a time. The first (and perhaps most significant problem) to resolve is your MIL's failure to respect your privacy and the sanctity of your home. You don't need to explain this to SIL - it's none of her business. You don't need to convince your husband that you're right and MIL is wrong. It doesn't matter. All that matters right now is that you take back control of your own home. You've laid down the law and given an ultimatum - now you just have to stick to it. If she makes one more unannounced entry, you change the locks - without further discussion.

I think the rest of the issues will evolve from that change. Maybe your husband will finally get the message about how important this is to you. Maybe he'll realize that his mother can't be trusted, and that he has to support you, even if it means going against his mother. Or maybe he'll turn around and give her a new key, which would also speak volumes about your relationship. Maybe MIL & SIL will get the message and realize that if they have any desire to rely on you to participate in MIL's long-term care needs, MIL better shape up and change her act before it's too late.

But for now - deal with one simple problem that has a pretty simple solution. MIL won't come to your house and do stuff when you're not there anymore, because MIL won't have a key.

Phoebe
07-02-2007, 02:43 PM
Interesting.. my ex was a momma's boy. My ex is worse than your husband.

First off, tell your SIL that you will no longer discus "MIL" issue with her anymore. Its none of her business how your family treats or handles your MIL. Make sure your husband understands this as well and he needs to tell his sister to butt out.

Secondly, explain to MIL your rules of your house. If she cannot abide by them, she is NO LONGER welcome. All the visiting will be done at the condo or in public places. Make sure this actually happens a few times. See how she behaves after that. Your husband must be on board with this as well.

This really sucks what your going through. I feel for ya!!

apeman
07-02-2007, 02:52 PM
No Sage. My point is that much of the advice you've received here is operating under the assumption that your ex is abusive. That is incorrect. Therefore the advice is marginal (at best), or just plain bad.

It's so bad it's laughable. I can just picture your husband coming home from work one day only to find his key doesn't work in the lock anymore. Uhg. That's bad.

willowtree
07-02-2007, 02:58 PM
I don't see anyone's advice based on the assumption her ex is abusive. If her ex was abusive the advice would be to leave the marriage immediately, not stand firm with Lala.

zuzuzu
07-02-2007, 05:20 PM
ape, one would think that sage would be sure to give her husband a new key..... the problem would be if he then copies it and gives it to MIL, after sage specifically changed the locks to keep MIL out!

sage, consider this outcome and whether to let your hubby know that this is a boundary that you need with his family. If hubby fails to support you, then I think the issues are bigger than the house key ....

reeling
07-02-2007, 06:50 PM
[QUOTE=Sage;10038]My ex does not call me names. Some may have interpreted that him saying "You are cold" was name calling. Considering I was just telling him his mother was not welcome here unannounced any more, and that I would not take care of her in her old age (something he had never thought about i am sure, but assumed would happen), I think his response needs to be taken into context.[QUOTE]

Instead of discussing the merits of letting her come uninvited versus invited, he changed the topic of conversation to your character and found you defective.

Had you called him a momma's boy, would he have 'taken it in context'? After all, he was giving his mother more say in who had access to your home than you. I'm guilty of this too, but women really screw themselves over when they are too nice and too understanding. Usually it means they don't want to look at the hard fact. And the fact is, he changed the conversation from the issue that concerned you to your defective character. It was non productive and mean and it hurt your feelings.

Did he ever apologize for it?

I think you two need to go to counselling--maybe to the same person that you went to before the marriage, and if he won't go, you should consider going yourself.

CheroCreek
07-02-2007, 06:59 PM
In response to your standing on your rights and boundaries he goes into a form of character assassination. Hmm . . . sounds like a bit of an abuser as they always turn their discomfort into a reason to blame someone, anyone else.

At best he is a mama's boy in the worst light of the phrase. I wonder if he ever talks to his mother that way.

Administrator
07-02-2007, 10:52 PM
OMG... Sage... if I didn't love you the way you know I love you, I'd be ROTFLMAO right now. I don't think I've ever read a thread anything like this. WOW!!!! Good luck!

Admin

CheroCreek
07-03-2007, 09:26 AM
OMG... Sage... if I didn't love you the way you know I love you, I'd be ROTFLMAO right now. I don't think I've ever read a thread anything like this. WOW!!!! Good luck!

Admin


Quite a topic endorsement coming from Admin as it is. :)

Tiddly
07-03-2007, 10:43 AM
I jumped in to the bottom so I have not read the responses. CHANGE THE LOCKS immediately and do not let her have access to the home. That should stop it as she cannot get in.

That would drive me bonkers!

Great to see you again!!! Wishing you the best and congratulations!

Tiddly
07-03-2007, 10:52 AM
Going through other people's private things is not being a "good person" it's being a nosey person who wants to use things against you. I would never trust her to be in my house without me there.

Rocky
07-04-2007, 09:44 AM
Sage, I've been thinking about you. I hope things have improved for you and your husband....or at least started to move in a more positive direction.

I'll be out of the country for a couple of weeks. We are heading to England, Scotland, and Ireland. Good timing, huh!?!?!?!? :)

Take care.

magic-cat
07-05-2007, 08:42 AM
No Sage. My point is that much of the advice you've received here is operating under the assumption that your ex is abusive. That is incorrect. Therefore the advice is marginal (at best), or just plain bad.

It's so bad it's laughable. I can just picture your husband coming home from work one day only to find his key doesn't work in the lock anymore. Uhg. That's bad.

I never assumed her ex was abusive in any way, and nothing Sage has posted about him implies such a thing.

He's a mama's boy, and the whole thing has a vaguely incestuous feeling to it. Mama wants to be a part of her son's life to the extent that she's helping add a little spice for him in the bedroom? And he allows this with the proverbial Shakespearean wink? (For those who are aghast, that simply means he's acknowledging and allowing and indulging what shouldn't be happening).

That's seriously creepy.

So which part of the advice given here is "marginal (at best)", ape?

The part where we suggest there's something wrong with the picture and mama should be locked out if the marriage is to survive?

What would be your advice? To continue to let her come in, clean house, intrude, go through drawers, sprinkle the bed with cologne and act as though she's THE woman of the house -- sans the sexual relationship?

You would allow this with your mother, would you?

steamy
07-05-2007, 08:52 AM
MC~ "So which part of the advice given here is "marginal (at best)", ape?"

This line stand alone just cracked me up :0)

Administrator
07-05-2007, 06:46 PM
People on this thread mentioned that your ex calls you names, and that he is abusive. In that light the thread isn't interesting anymore. You can change the locks, but if your ex is abusive he'll continue to be so. Keeping the MIL at bay won't help you.

Apeman... here's a tip... READING IS FUNDAMENTAL. You appear to be in more of a hurry to post your comments than you are to listen to those of others.

apeman
07-05-2007, 07:55 PM
That was ancient history from 7/1. On 7/2 Sage clarified to all that her ex isn't abusive. The thread is interesting, but wouldn't have been so if indeed her ex was abusive as had been suggested. If you don't like me personally or my interpretation of what I read your free to move about the cabin.

Administrator
07-05-2007, 10:49 PM
That was ancient history from 7/1. On 7/2 Sage clarified to all that her ex isn't abusive. The thread is interesting, but wouldn't have been so if indeed her ex was abusive as had been suggested. If you don't like me personally or my interpretation of what I read your free to move about the cabin.

Excuse me?

Did you forget who owns the cabin?

apeman
07-05-2007, 11:00 PM
I have no clue who owns it.

CheroCreek
07-06-2007, 09:46 AM
Try ADMIN and LE and their associates, Ape, as they do own, operate and maintain this board.

When in the woods it is always a good idea to know where the bear sits. When in the jungle it is best to know where the lion lays. And when on a message board like this it is always good to know who controls and owns it.

I tell you this in the spirit of good fellowship.

Blessings and Peace

4Wardmarch
07-06-2007, 10:33 AM
It may be that he's not abusive, but that when forced to deal with somethng he doesn't want to deal with he used an abusive tactic: diversion and name-calling and character assassination.

Abuse is such a strong word and has very negative connotations. It connotes a pattern of behavior which doesn't seem relavant here. However, in this case it seems more of a tactic to get you to back off about his mother and put you on the defensive. And it seemed to work. You did back off; you are now more hesitant to pursue the question.

Whatever the correct adjective, it wasn't very nice of him. You are not wrong to want privacy and security in your house, to arrange your household your way, to keep you MIL out of your bedroom and drawers and closets, to raise your own children in your own imperfect way (no slam on you, we all are imperfect parents and have the right to feel our own way through parenthood even if outsiders are critical). MIL is going to have to figure out something else to do with her time.

Your husband is wrong. Your feelings about the matter are more important than hers. You might ask, are they more important than his feelings on the matter, after all he apparently wants her there.

Does he want her there or does he just not mind her being there? There's a difference. If he wants her there, the question is: does he want her there more than he wants you there, since her being there makes you unhappy. If he's just tolerating her being there to make her and SIL happy, he needs to explain why their happiness is more important than yours. They after all do have their own homes and can sprinkle their own sheets with cologne to their hearts content if necessary.

There's the third alternative, that he's afraid of his mother. No man will ever admit he's afraid of his mother. Some women can have such overwhelming and unpleasant reactions to being crossed that they will mount a covert campaign of backstabbing, guiltizing, gossip, lying, manipulation, blaming, and relentless never-ending angry complaining that involves recruiting everyone in the family ganging up on the offender--and they can do it all while playing the victim. It can so not seem worth it, especially when the alternative is that by ignoring your wishes, you are just merely on occasion angry. Look at Phoebe's situation.

I'm not saying that's what is happening, only that there's apparently more than meets the eye. Sage, ask yourself why you don't just make an appointment with the locksmith to come and change the locks. What's stopping you? Is it perhaps the intuition, based on nothing solid, that it will cause a whole lot more problems than it will solve, that it may blow up in your face and what serenity in life you do have still will be jeopardized? Perhaps that's the feeling he has when he thinks about enforcing boundaries with his mother, just the intuition that it will blow up in his face and he will lose what peace he has.

But where does that leave you? Unhappy, frustrated, and invisible. Is that what you got married for? And it leaves the kids violated and attacked. Is that the kind of family you wanted? Is this something you are willing to live with until the woman dies?

willowtree
07-06-2007, 11:00 AM
I think it's too late, Chero. He's banned.

CheroCreek
07-06-2007, 11:09 AM
Sort of like the old Ray Steven's song . . .

. . . I hollered out "Don't look, Ethel!" but it was too late - she'd already been mooned. . .

2ndWind
07-06-2007, 11:15 AM
Sort of like the old Ray Steven's song . . .

Obviously you didn't mean "Everything Is Beautiful."

CheroCreek
07-06-2007, 11:17 AM
LOL! Obviously not.

It is "The Streak!"

jatss
07-06-2007, 01:37 PM
This is the issue that broke up my marriage. Except it was my mother.

Well, actually it was me. I didn't do anything but try to keep everyone quiet. Let mom do what she wanted, that kept her quiet. Gave my husband a hard time, so he kept quiet. And pretended everyone was happy. I knew it was wrong, but honestly didn't know how hurtful and how obnoxious her behavior was. I'd grown up learning that permitting this was nice, good people allowed this and if you didn't like it (and I didn't), you were mean and you were trampling on other people's feelings. I truly didn't understand that you don't have to hug and kiss aunt Prudence if you don't want to no matter how much Auntie wants it--even if she cries. I didn't understand autonomy. In fact, don't really understand it enough now to explain it.

So I decided on my own without my husband's input that I was going to decide how much intrusion mom could have (less than she wanted) and how much intrusion my husband would put up with (more than he wanted). I thought it was compromise and 'nice' and reasonable and anyone who didn't appreciate my guideline was messed up and I let them know. I felt besieged by my husband and my mom and exhausted from balancing their 'rights' (duh--mom had none) and wishes. I felt unappreciated and resentful that they were 'doing' this too me. I thought acknowledging that mom was a nuisance was the same thing as doing something about her. I decided for my husband that peace was the most important virtue, more so than privacy or autonomy. He wasn't allowed to have any imput--I felt I knew best because I loved them both and knew them better than they knew each other and because denial had worked for me, therefore it should work for them.

And after many years of trying to live with it, my husband left. And I was devastated. Horribly devastated. I just couldn't understand how he could let my mother ruin our marriage.

And then I learned, he hadn't. I had.

I wish my husband had taken a stand and put his foot down and forced the issue. I wanted to be an ostrich. Then maybe the marriage wouldn't have silently rotted from the inside. He thought he was saving the marriage by putting up with my mother because I insisted; but marriages are two people. Insecure neurotic mothers simply have to find their own lives. I wish he would have made me choose. I would have chosen him; mom would have thrown a huge perhaps never ending tantrum. But we could have ignored it. We could have kept our marriage.

I think you should tell him that next Saturday the locksmith is coming to change the locks.

magic-cat
07-06-2007, 01:41 PM
That's a great post, jatss.

willowtree
07-06-2007, 02:38 PM
Fantastic post, jatss. Makes perfect sense. I'm sorry you had to learn the way you did, but thank you for sharing that so maybe some of us can "get it" before it's too late.

Phoebe
07-06-2007, 03:01 PM
I used to be afraid of my mother. I am not anymore, I grew up. There is no words to express that fear of your mother, the way she threats, the way she acts as if your whole world will be taken from you. My mother was alot like jats, she couldn't handle problems. She tried to be the peacemaker but made darn sure I knew my place and by no means, lets me know where I stand with her. Its a horrible way to live.

Could you ask your husband how he really feels about his mother? Tell him that you will support him if he can support you too.

Jats, I am sorry for your trouble.

ghead1
07-06-2007, 03:48 PM
"Some women can have such overwhelming and unpleasant reactions to being crossed that they will mount a covert campaign of backstabbing, guiltizing, gossip, lying, manipulation, blaming, and relentless never-ending angry complaining that involves recruiting everyone in the family ganging up on the offender--and they can do it all while playing the victim"

wow 4WM, you HAVE met my SIL!

jats, that was a great post... one I'm sure all of us should heed at one time or another.

steamy
07-06-2007, 04:50 PM
Jats~

That was a great post. I was an ostrich too, I wanted everything to be good and I believed if I believed in it enough it was.

:0)