Monday, June 2, 2014

Surviving In-Law

I'm throwing in the towel at this point. Being related to a narcissistic leaning lady creates an exercise in futility and frustration. I will just give some highlights.

"Her favorite word is NO."
When MIL-gramma asks a two-year-old the same question over and over, and the answer was no to begin with, who is the negative one? "You want to kiss gramma?" No. "You want to come to gramma?" No. "You want to give me a hug?" No. Sadly, after 5 days of practicing the "No" response, E has perfected it. Weirdly, both the Mr. and myself had managed to steer toddler conversations away from "no." But gramma brought the negativity along.

"I never had <insert whatever> that you did, and I always wanted <same thing>."
She's two, people. Perhaps the guilt trip function is so primary that she can't see how ridiculous this line of talk is for a little person. Feel sorry for gramma already.

"Boy SHE sure has a great daughter-in-law."
This one in context for her close friend talking about her relationship with her daughter in law. Said friend had spent 30 minutes talking about how thoughtful, non-judgmental, and polite she is with her son's wife. Of course people just naturally have these great magical daughter-in-laws with no work at all. My response (which caused pouting) was, "and she works so hard on that relationship! It must be super important to her!"

"So let's talk about me again, shall we?"
This visit, she didn't even pretend to pay attention to anything I said about my family. Futility and frustration. I make an effort because I do care and I want the Mr's mom to be friendly. The Mr. started to talk about how wonderful it was for him to feel Elfina move. And it took only two sentences for her to hijack the conversation back to her pregnancies. She wants so much to corner the Mr.'s attention that she even got in his face as he was tending to E and said, "um, hello, I was talking to you." The poor Mr. is about to pop. His mom wants all of the attention pretty much the entire time. So unfair.

We are still trying to buy a house. The Mr. delayed telling his mom, because, even though there is very little chance that he'll move back to the Bay Area, she seems to think it will happen any minute. She cried like someone died when he told her that we had an offer in. She moped as he gave her an exterior tour. In her mind, we are going to magically move to the outer-outer edges of SF civilization to be NEAR HER. Keep in mind that she has told more than a few stories in the past 5 days about people leaving her retirement community to live near THEIR children. Where they have jobs and lives. In her mind, we will all be getting jobs with those high-paying companies located 60 miles from Silicon Valley. (We've asked for what companies, but that impedes on said fantasy.) And frankly, after her visits, I don't see what having selfish assholes for family does for you. Living next to them is harder than not living next to them. Can we move to Australia?

The Mr.'s (bay area located) brother didn't even bother to email or call for E's birthday. All of my family, including my cousin that we just visited made the effort to wish our sweet (usually not negative) toddler all sorts of birthday love.


  1. My in-laws are normally ok, but they also totally forgot M's birthday (the first one you know..) and never said anything since to be honest. Ah well.
    I have to say, your MIL posts make always for at least a giggle if not a good laugh! And I know it's not fun at all for you but you have the magic power of turning it all into a great read!
    Your little one looks ever so adorable. Love, Fran

  2. Breathe and I'm so glad you're away from her so much of the time.

  3. Happy belated birthday, E! Sorry that MIL continues her special brand of being the center of her own universe. Good for you for doing your best not to let everyone get totally sucked into her black hole of narcissism. Definitely time for towel throwing.

  4. I had a horrible MIL the first time around so I really feel for you! She told me I was "spoiling" my kids when I held them and thought my breastfeeding them was disgusting. I'm re-married now and have the BEST MIL ever! I do not take her for granted, not for a second, because I know what it's like to have a MIL from H-E Double hockey sticks! Hang in there...easier said than done, I know:(

  5. Happy belated birthday!
    Putting the entire country between you and the MIL sounds like a very reasonable thing to do. I find mine exhausting, occasionally, (and they live half a world away), but they're completely fine in comparison to yours.

  6. Happy birthday E!! And I love the gorgeous danish modern piece in the background, too. LOVE.

    Your MIL = my mom, as we've established, and reading this has been so good for me, to remind me that I am *not* crazy.

  7. BUCKET HEAD! Happy birthday, amazing child.

    Oh, that MIL. How I detest her. I wish there were some way to fix her, or some way to convince the Mr. to set some firmer boundaries to protect you from all this shit, but in the meantime, I so admire your ability to ENDURE.

  8. Hi Misfits, how is evrything going. I hope all is ok.