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Fun at the Pool and BS Update

I’m still not brave enough to take both girls to the pool myself… so I got a sitter for Nadia today and Nora and I spent the afternoon ‘swimming’. We actually met a friend of mine there, so super nice to have a bit of adult conversation. Nora enjoyed the water, even liked the lazy river, and toward the end of our afternoon wasn’t even clinging to me!

Those of you who commented on my last post… thank you. The situation with my MIL has been eating me up since the day it all happened, Christmas… so for months now. I received a lot of good comments, a lot to think about, lots of different viewpoints. Ultimately, none of them really matter (no offense) except my own, right? I know Eric loves the girls and me very much, but he also loves his mother, flaws and all. And with the somewhat recent passing of his father, I think he feels a certain protectiveness for her. Without being present during his childhood, I can’t really ever fully understand how his current views toward his mother came to be. I can assume that her behavior isn’t surprising or alarming to him, simply because he is acccustomed to it. And to my knowledge, she has never physically hurt anyone. Yet. I feel like the possibility is there.

Eric often blames his mother’s own upbringing for her behavior, that fact that she Italian. Apparently Italians are vocal, rude, loud, are known to speak very negatively about others, and routinely throw items during arguments. Well, according to Eric anyway. He claims his mother isn’t going to change as she is stuck in her ways and doesn’t see anything wrong with her behavior. Again, what has always been turns into the norm I guess. Personally I don’t buy into any of the excuses. Poor behavior is poor behavior, whether you are German, Italian, whatever. And my MIL is clearly an adult, so in my opinion, the opportunity to blame her upbringing has long passed. 

In some ways I blame Eric for enabling his mother’s behavior. I feel like every time he looks the other way and sees it as ‘just the way she is’ he is admitting to her it’s okay. I’ve told Eric, ‘shame on you for allowing someone, especially your own mother, to treat you like shit.’ I personally think I deserve better from my MIL. 

Several people have told me that everyone makes mistakes, to give her another chance, to let it go and move on. This is clearly repeated behavior though. Why give her another chance when the history of it happening again and again is clearly there. Granted, this was the first time it happened in my presence, but still.

The therapist I’ve been emailing back and forth through hinted to the fact that I seem to want to make my MIL suffer consequences, and that perhaps I’m not the one who needs to impose such on her… I’ll admit I am doing that. Part of me wants to teach Liz a lesson, make it clear her behavior is not acceptable. I guess I don’t know how else to make that clear to her. My email certainly didn’t help. I’ve considered writing another, explaining to her the hurt she has caused, the tension in my marriage she has caused… But would she care? She still doesn’t believe she did anything wrong. Eric doesn’t want me to contact his mom, thinking it will just make things worse. Can they get worse? 

I feel very stuck. I know it’s not fair to make Eric choose between me and his mother. But ultimately he can’t please both of us when she and I have such conflicting needs and wants. Thus far in our marriage I truly feel as though he’s catered to his mother’s feelings, keeping her happy at my expense. I don’t know how long that can continue before I break. I don’t want to resent Eric for loving and pleasing his mother… but it that where I’m headed?

4 thoughts on “Fun at the Pool and BS Update

  1. Good grief I did not realize she was Italian. That explains a lot (no offense to civilized Italians ). Stef, there is no “middle”. He married you. He had children with you. His loyalty should be to you. Your therapist is right–HE needs to be the one dealing with her and imposing consequences.
    And for f*cks sake DO NOT write her any more letters, especially detailing how she is hurting you and your marriage–because that is EXACTLY what she is trying to do and she will double her efforts if you tell her its working. You need to block her on everything–phone, social media, etc. and refuse to deal with her. Then Eric will have to deal with her, as it should be. He wants her to have a Christmas card? He can send it. He can knock himself out. You are done dealing with her.
    And Stef just because someone loves you doesn’t mean that you are obligated to take whatever disfunctional bullsh*t they throw at you. You can love someone from a distance. You can impose boundaries and still love someone. I love tigers but I don’t jump in the exhibit at the zoo because it would be *bad for me*. But apparently Liz has Eric convinced that either he caters to her whims or *he doesn’t love her*. That is emotional blackmail. You say you only slightly worry that Liz would be physically violent, as if that is the best reason to stay away from her. But no. It is this insideous emotional blackmail that is so toxic. Your girls listening to her degrade you and learning to hush up and take it. Her telling the girls they are ungrateful/shameful/etc.every time they don’t do as she pleases, and making them feel as bad as you do right now. While their parents do NOTHING to actually STOP her. THAT is what you are up against. But if Eric was on yiur side and acting like a husband and father then Liz would not be a problem. But he’s not. He is acting like Liz’s son. By choice. He can say “But but but she’s my mommy!” WTF does that even mean? So what? He is a grown ass man. She has no say so in his life. XO

    1. Ugh… I know. I’m not disagreeing with you. God this sucks. I feel so stuck.

  2. She sees her behavior as normal and believes she does no wrong. Eric sees it as “Italian”. (It isn’t.) You see it as unacceptable.
    She Will Not change from anything you write or say to her. Being excluded will strengthen her belief that YOU NOT HER behave poorly further justifying her opinions and behaviors.
    Eric appears to be the only person who might tell her what the limits on her behaviors need to be. And, currently, he will not, for whatever reason.
    Best suggestion I have is to separate the baptism from any party. Have the baptism be only and exclusively the Church ceremony. Low key!! Maybe, if your church does it that way, do it with other children from other families. You can say this is a religious event not a party and let her be a norrmal part of the congregation if she chooses. Plan on a trip to Costco/Sam’s Club/Target afterwards than home for naps.
    Have birthday party be limited to other mothers with children the age of birthday girl only. During day while Eric is at work.
    This is really a no win situation … unless she wants to destroy your marriage and thinks she will raise your children if you two divorce. This might actually be her theory.
    One person cannot fight. They can only throw a fit. You do not ‘have to see or hear’ a grown up having a fit. Focus your attention on some profound other topic like counting to 1000 by 2’s and 5’s… then admire the nature around you and talk about the miracles and beauty God has created.
    Good wishes!

    1. Thank you… and while I like your suggestions, I do want to have a party. I just hate that having such a party means she will be included per Eric.

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