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 betterhelp.com 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?