Posted by: Hobble | 2012/11/30

Mother in Law- I just can''t sympathise.

Hi guys,

I''ve been with my husband for 11 years now, and his family is very odd. I don''t want to make the post too long (and I am so sorry if it already is) but I need to give a little background on things in order for you to understand why I feel the way I do...

I have not really spoken to or visited my mother in law for about seven years. We had a fall out over I don''t even know what, and she has held this grudge against me ever since. She told lies about me to the family, treated me like crap, frankly, before this fall out and so I am not actually all that sorry that I don''t see her.

There was a fight between my sister in law and my husband where I was not spoken about very highly by the sister. I got angry at what I read, so I sent my SIL a long message telling her where to get off. I told her she knows nothing of the situation and is hearing a one sided version and must get off her high horse and stop trying to be a know it all. Then she told me that I disrespect my MIL by doing crazy things, like walking out the shops when I see her and ignoring her when she greets me- THOSE ARE ALL THINGS SHE DID TO ME!!!! She was walking and talking to my husband in the shop the one day and when they walked up to me and my MIL realized it was me, she turned around and walked out!!! There were more things, but after hearing them I did not hold back on what I said to my SIL.

Little do they know that every single Christmas and birthday present to them I bought with my money (because my husband doesn''t have time or the knowledge of what to buy women). I don''t put my name on (except on the last presents so they could see I put in effort) because I am scared they will decline the gifts (which has happened before, when we had the fall out I got back all the gifts I had ever given my MIL).

But I did actually kind of listen to my SIL, and after the fight I did invite my MIL over for lunch. We had to cancel because my husband was VERY sick, but I don''t think my MIL minded because she told me it actually suits her because she''s got a birthday party to attend (so I wonder if she was even planning on showing up). Shortly after that I invited her to a kind of " girls day out"  thing, to which I got no reply. Then it was her birthday and I sent her a message, to which I got no reply. We were invited out to dinner with them for her birthday, but then when the night came and we wanted to get confirmation, there was no answer on neither hers nor her boyfriends phone so we didn''t go. The communication sucks, as you can see.

Sooooo to my actual point. As it turns out, she (my mother in law) may actually be a sick woman, and I cannot find it in my heart to sympathise with my worried husband. They will only get the results back today, but when my husband wants to speak to me, I try my best to be understanding when really all I want to say to him is, " I don''t actually give a damn" . I feel bad, because I do consider myself a good person, it''s just that I have been treated so badly by his family that I cannot feel sorry for her.

I don''t want to even hear about her potentially being sick, and then my husband gives me a card from her and her boyfriend for Christmas. It was a nice gesture, and I appreciate it even know it comes more from the boyfriend, who has always been nice to me, than her (it is the first Christmas present from her in seven years). I am a little upset though, because after allllll these years of being with my husband, they misspelt my name. I have an unusual name, but it''s not the hardest name in the world. It''s spelt exactly as it sounds, and honestly it does get misspelt often. It makes me upset, because a name is very important and I feel that by not spelling my name right (again, after all these years and even my putting my name after messages) it kind of shows that, ja, they''re putting in an effort BUT at the same time it''s a half hearted effort.

I don''t know if I am being petty, I did speak to my husband about it (our communication skills are fantastic) and he agrees that I have a right to be upset about it, but I feel stupid for getting upset about it.

And then there is her being sick. I am kind of feeling like this horrible monster at the moment even though I know I am kind of justified in my feelings. I just don''t know...

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Gosh but we seem to be getting more really long messages in the forum as we approach Christmas !
Interesting, isn't it how there can be really long-lasting family feuds where people remember the feud, and can't remember what on earth it was about !
And even in the more recent events you describe, so much bitter feeling and so many different versions, of rather trivial events ( compared to war and earthquakes ).
In the present situation, you don't mention whether her potentioal sickness / diagnosis is something inconvenient or something awful. I doubt that its needed for you to feel sorry for her, but to support your husband and be sympathetic towards him, and to cut the old bean some slack - its especially hard to change one's habits as one gets older. Don't expect her to apologise or to be particularly nice towards you, but don't waste your own energy on feeling bitter or hurt. If you expect nothing nice from her, anything else, however small, is a great improvement. They have apparently made some small gesture in the card ; mis-spelling your name wasn't deliberate or meant to hurt, so you need not have chosen to feel bad about it - even if you have signed previous communications to them, they probably dont keep the correct spelling in their diary !
Rather than concentrating on anything they might do wrong, concentrate on yourself doing right, being graceful and kindly. You don't have to love them to be civil. Let go i=of the long feud, and concentrate on things hat will make you and your husband happier

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Our users say:
Posted by: Milla | 2012/11/30

I don''t think your dealing with it all that bad at the moment, although considering that you can''t even remember what the original fallout was over, it must''ve been something that relatively petty and not worth holding on to nevermind causing several years of silence? ( I guess that was more due to how they treated you afterwise, but you get the idea) Wouldn''t it have been wiser to try and mend the fences for your husband''s sake? I don''t know if you have tried, and not suggesting that you should be a ray of sushine while they trample you with disrespect, but sometimes turning the other cheek and simply being the bigger person can put an end to needless drama or bitterness. So what if they ignore a happy birthday call or toss a card you sent? The point would''ve been that you had sent one with good intentions.

Even if you feel you can''t symphatise with HER at this time, do at the very least sympathise with your husband and be sensitive about the matter when he wants to talk about it, he does deserve you support afterall. I would put the petty things like fights and who is being mean to who aside for the moment.

Reply to Milla

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