Friday, July 6, 2007

Speaking of Freedom....

I have freed myself from the bondage of my mother-in-law. I know some of you have heard the many, many insane stories of my MIL. (thanks for always listening, Michele, Sherry and Tammy....or rather, for letting me dump on ya and always taking my side!)

Anyways, I know people often say, my MIL is the devil or I have the worse MIL ever, but seriously, mine is REALLY BAD. Not that she can't be good, because she can, but unfortunately she has some untreated mental issues that often cloud her judgment and in addition, she likes to be in charge and she likes to get her way. (but, who doesn't ?... the difference is, she takes it to the extreme! Such as stalking, hanging up on you or even throwing a fit, like a 2 year old...and she's 73!)

Ok...for you to properly understand this story...we have to go back.

(Go to the restroom, grab yourself a chair, a coke and some popcorn and prepare for the show....)

When I first came into Ike's life, it was only a few weeks after I had been raped. I was, as I have said before, very emotionally unstable. I was fragile. I was a mess. I no longer knew who I was...I was angry and I was confused. But, no matter how hard I tried to push him away, he would have nothing of it. He stood by me and persevered. He was awesome.

In those early weeks of dating, he decided he wanted to marry me. But, I was way too skittish. I was downright scared and I was convinced he must be nuts to take a chance on damaged goods like me. He believed in me, but I didn't believe in me.

So, anyway, when I met Ike's mom the first week of dating Ike...she was nice to me. I had tied some pink and green balloons left over from sorority rush on the doorknob of his apartment. (for some reason, she thought this was sweet and found it entertaining...) But as the next few weeks went by, at some time Ike announced to her that he intended to marry me...and that's when it all changed. Any girlfriend he had was good and fine, until he got serious about them. (Just ask me about the time he took "A" on a family trip to North Carolina to see his sister...and the disaster that was to occur because of his insane mother!!!!)

Ok, ok....I know you're gonna want to know this story.... When Ike took his girlfriend, "A" to NC w/ his family....well, while they were there his mom got her crazy on and was convinced that "A" was "hitting on" Ike's dad. She accused of this. She got pissed and she and Ike's dad (at Ike's moms orders...left and went back to Oklahoma w/out Ike and the girlfriend) So, then Ike's sister had to get plane tickets for them to fly back to Oklahoma. THIS SERIOUSLY HAPPENED!

a) you don't go 1/2way across the country and leave your kid and his girlfriend there, even if he's w/ his sister. You just don't do it.

b) he had no money...sis paid for everything!

c) ummmm...a young, hot girl would not be "hitting on" Ike's dad.....can you say gross?

d) can you say....delusional, crazy woman
(see, she doesn't just save her crazy for me...she acted like this before I came along!!)

Back to the story....... So, at that point, she decided she didn't like me and began to try to run me off....

And I have put up with her abuse for 16 years now. I am exhausted with it...and I am DONE.

Now, I know you are thinking, abuse is a pretty strong word, but it's actually accurate. This woman is an abuser. She physically (and emotionally) abused my poor husband when he was a child. And she physically (and emotionally) abuses her husband, and he is her enabler. Can you say, co-dependent? It's seriously messed up. And, although she has never physically abused me, and though she's denied it...she had emotionally abused me for the past 16 years.

She has done and said some really mean, emotionally abusive things to me over the are a few examples:

  • On the day before our wedding, she approached Ike and asked if he was sure he "wanted to do this." She then offered him a trip for he and his best friend anywhere they wanted to go for the entire summer, if he would just walk away and not marry me. Can you believe that? That is an attack on not only me, but a complete disregard for the $12,000 my parents had spent on our wedding.
Now, I didn't know this immediately, but when he finally told me what she had done....I was FLOORED! I could not believe how mean this woman could be!!!!

  • during a fit where she didn't get her way of having her "baby" (Ike...she didn't give a crap about me) stay at her house. Every time we came to town, we stayed at her house and not w/ my parents. So after 3 months of this, I suggested to Ike we spend Friday night of Labor Day weekend at her house, then go to my parents house for the next 2 nights. Ike understood and he was happy to do this. Well, this made her mad. And once we went to my parents house, she called their house over and over, yelling and screaming at Ike about him "letting that fat little booger run his life" and topping that off with saying, "she's just a whore and she had sex with that guy and made up the rape story to make her look better.) YEP, she screamed this and Ike, me and my parents heard her yell it loudly thru the phone. Poor Ike, was embarrassed by her behavior and could only say, "Mom, don't say that." It was hard on him....I mean, who really thinks that when they get married....they would be forced to choose between their wife and their mother. That's just wrong...and she's just so darn mean.

So...I think you can start to get the picture from only those two examples....

When I began to learn just exactly how mean and hateful she could be....I began building up a wall to try to protect myself from her. I was afraid of her and what she could do to me. But for some reason... I was still seeking her approval. In my mind, she should like me and I thought she eventually would. I didn't know it then, but I was wrong. She would never fully accept me. She would just do enough to get by.

Early in my marriage, my mother (the smartest person I know) recommended to me, that I never make Ike choose between me and his mother, so I have done my best to not do anything to make him feel a need to do this over the years.

Also, there have been times that they have "helped" us financially in the past. For instance, when we were first married we were both in school and both his parents and my parents helped us financially until we graduated from college. Also, when Ike didn't have a job, they helped us financially. And when money was tight, they helped us financially. But, no matter the circumstance, even though we offered, we were told we did not need to repay them. But any "HELP" did not come for FREE. There were always strings attached. Unspoken things that were expected of us. Such as....weekly Sunday dinners, no matter what. Such having to do things on their schedule, no matter what. Such as feeling they "deserve" certain things (like time with grandkids) whenever they request it. Everything comes with "conditions" that control the way we live our lives.

So, I think this kinda bring you up to speed....

So, here's what happened that was the "straw that broke the camel's back."

Readers Digest version....Gma and Gpa (my dad and stepmom) had wanted to have the big boys come to their house for a week. So, we chose that they would go home with them after Logan's party and stay that week. (then my brother invited L and J to go to church camp from Sunday to Tuesday w/ their cousins...and so we all decided that was a great idea, since the cousins are moving away next month)

Well, Ike's parents found out the kids were going to Oklahoma for the week (actually....Griffin told them....he was excited.) And even though their house is badly trashed (by the renters from this past year) and they have no furniture....the insisted on taking the kids while my dad had them. (can you say jealousy reared it's ugly head?!) They had been in town for nearly 3 weeks and never once mentioned a visit from the kids, until they found out about my dad and step-mom having them.

Eventually, I told them that we didn't think this was a good idea because of the condition of their house. They insisted that they had done enough work and it was clean enough. So, after some thought, Ike and I thought....maybe we should just let them go. So, I told them they were "busy" with my dad this week, but they can come on Sunday and you could have them the next week.

Well, this wasn't good enough. We heard 1000 reasons why this wouldn't work and that it had to be now. I said, "I'm sorry, but my dad/Janet had planned for this week. They have things planned. Janet took off of work." Well, this made her furious and they continued to insist that it had to be now. I was mad. I tried to give them what they wanted, but ultimately, this was about "taking them from my dad and Janet." So, I finally just said, "I'm sorry, but if that isn't going to work for you...then I guess we'll just have to do it another time."

(I tried to give them what they wanted and they were unwilling to make it work.)

Well, this pissed them off. They immediately emailed Ike (although, I had already told him what happened) and "TATTLED ON ME!!!"


I was so angry. He and I talked about it and made the decision together. I called and told them our decision and they went behind my back, because they didn't like my answer.

Anyway, I finally had enough. I told Ike that I thought her behavior was ridiculous, starting with the rude departure from Logan's party and then the jealous plot to get the kids away from my dad and then refusing to have them over when I offered a different time to do it. It was too much. So, when she made my Father-In-Law call me to do her dirty work. That was it.

He called and asked why I wouldn't let the kids come see them. I calmly replied that they had plans with my dad and Janet, but they were free to come on Sunday and could stay with them the next week. But, he said it wouldn't work. But they gave no reasonable explanation why it wouldn't work. He just continued to argue with me. I finally said, "Now Wayne, if you guys had the kids for a pre-planned week and I called you at the last minute and said my dad was coming to get them today, you guys would be very upset and angry." He says, "No, we wouldn't."
Now that is not true. My MIL would be so mad and we would pay the consequences. So, after over an hour of arguing with him, I finally said, "Well, if you don't want them next week...then we will have to do it another time. But, of course, that wasn't good enough!

So, they called later and continued to cause problems about this issue and finally, I had enough. I decided to email her, because she has a habit of hanging up on you when you say things she doesn't like.

So, with my husbands blessing, I wrote an email to my mother in law explaining how frustrated I was by the whole thing. Well, when I started writing....things just started tumbling out of my mouth. And when I started realllly reading what I had written, I was surprised by how much I had to say. Once I started, it all came spilling out. ALL sixteen years of it.

Well, for speaking the truth. I received 4 really HATEFUL and THREATENING phone messages, followed up with a couple of scathing emails. I was called the meanest person ever. (, that title is yours) She called me a liar. (which isn't surprising) But, when I got reallllly mad is when she denied several major things and called Ike a liar 3 times. Now, that I have a problem with. She can call me a liar all she wants. It hurts my feelings, but I will live. But to call your own son a liar, especially about these certain things is inexcusable. So, I really laid into her.

Well, when all was said and done, we are no longer speaking. And Ike chose to totally back me up, even though I told him he could do whatever he wanted to in relation to his parents. And we haven't spoken to them in over 2 weeks.

And I feel like a HUGE burden has been lifted off of me. More than I ever realized!

Not only that, but in sharing this w/ my therapist, she was floored with how I let her treat me over the years. I told her how I felt like my MIL's opinion of me, really hurt me. She pointed out that many of my mother-in-law's behavior were much like my rapists. (the controlling, the emotional torturing, the name-calling, etc.) Wow. I had never thought of it in those terms before!

Now, I won't say I am 100% innocent in all this...but some things I've done, have been done completely in response to how I've been treated by her. And yes, I wish it was different, but it's not. But, I have never in my life had to deal with a person like her. And I don't know how to deal w/ her bs. And I don't want to. Anymore.

The worst part is I feel so guilty, although, Ike made his decision on his own, I know he did it to support me. And I appreciate that. But, it still makes me feel bad. Darn it.

But, I had to do it. It was tearing me down as a person and I'm trying to do what I can to "fix" myself and to become better and stronger.
But, that doesn't mean it was easy. And I'm sure it's not over. We'll see.....

Anybody have any advice for me??


FlipFlop Mom said...

Ok..I KNOW that I don't have a brother.. but this sounds like my parents soooooooooooooooo much.. manipulative... putting blame on you.. things can only work on their time.. etc...

The $ they gave you should NOT have come with strings attached if they truly wanted to help you.. that's just MEAN... and your therapist is 100% correct... abusers tend to have a hold on those they abuse... I know I lived with it for 25 years!!! I now have NO relationship with my mother... and father.. and I am 100% happy about it...

The bible says to respect your parents.. and I had to work through this... cause the bible also states that we do NOT have to be abused.. and demeaned...

Your responsibility is to your husband and your children... Your husband is 100% AWESOME in supporting you.. and I think you are absolutely FAIR about letting him deal with his parents...

It's taken me a very long time to realize that my expectations of others around me.. always fail.. I wanted my MIL to be a mother to me.. and she isn't.. she's barely a mother to her son... and grandkids.. well.. she's to "young" for those.. well.. maybe except for one...

I've given up trying to PLEASE all these "different" family members.. and just focus on my immediate and learn HOW I want my future family to be.. when I'm a MIL I want to act how I wanted my MIL to be... but then again.. the underlying truth is... we can only be who we are!! Who God has asked us to be.. and no more...

I think you ROCK.. I think you did the right thing.. I say hold your head up.. and keep moving forward!!! You need to be WHOLE to keep your family COMPLETE.. and that's what they want from you.. Your kiddos are blessed to have a STRONG mommy.. and your friends are Blessed to have an honest relationship in their life!!!

did I talk to much.. LOL LOL???

Stacy Armstrong ~ Come on in, The Studio is Open ~ said...

You always seem to amaze me Roxio!!I guess the bottom line is "your kids are YOUr kids and your husband is YOUR husband." So sorry you have a crazy MIL. (mine secretly hates me too :) )
I think you made a wise dicision to discuss everything with Ike first. At least he doesn't feel like YOU made him choose between you or his mother. I'll be thinking of you!

karen said...

Wow, we have so much in common. My MIL is so horrible. She treats me like garbage...the only difference is my husband DOESN'T take my side. He always takes hers or he takes both and wants to remain neutral. It has come so close to blows so many times. I am not speaking with my MIL right now because of our last trip up north in April. Despite the names she called me and the evil things she told everyone about me, she expects me to buy them gifts and send cards for their birthdays/anniversaries. She says it is my job. She also has a husband with cancer that she throws at me constantly. That is the reason she feels we should spend more time with her. She has hurt me and my family so often that I seriously considered getting out of my marriage. Can you believe the power these women have? My is horrific. I want Brian to read this and see how you are going through it too. Maybe then he will see how Ike supports you. I think it would give me the strength to survive her. I know the only escape for me is going to be telling her off...and I will use your experience as my strength. Read my below post - I used it as my therapy session.

the real ~Roxann~ said...

FlipFlop....I think in a weird way, my hubby probably feels freed too. I hope I haven't dissapointed him, but I had to do it. I could not take it any more! Sorry to hear about your family...that sucks, but I am happy to hear you have risen above it! are so sweet! You are always my staunch supporter. I am truly blessed you are my friend.

Karen....bottom line, in my opinion Brian needs to stand up to his mom in your defense. It's BS if he doesn't. If he truly loves you, he will. He can't have it both ways. Either his mom respects you and he makes it happen or he needs to cut ties w/ her. Period. In the beginning it was hard for Ike to stand up to his mom.....but I put my foot down and told him (about 2-3 years into our marriage) that HE HAD TO STAND UP FOR ME or I was outta here. I would not put up with her talking bad about me and calling me names. And everytime there was a fight after that....he took MY side. And his mom started seeing a trend there. She still tried her BS, but from then on...Ike ALWAYS CHOSE ME. Does that make sense?

I think your website is a good idea. It's good for you to get it out. BUT....bottom line....BRIAN MUST STAND UP FOR YOU. He needs to cut the cord and be a man. Yes, I feel very strongly about this!!!

And you, KAREN, are WORTH IT!!! And if he doesn't see THAT......then he's an idiot!!!! AND YOU DESERVE BETTER!!!!


Karen said...

Thanks Rox...he just doesn't want to deal with it...and pretends it is all ok once time goes by. I brought your blog up to him and asked him again about confronting her and he rolls his eyes and changes the conversation. I need more advice.

RickertsZoo; Summerfield, NC said...

You know, I have always played the party game..."who has the worst mil story?" and I usually win! The party game is really fun! WE ARE NOT ALONE!

Since moving to NC I decided to interpret and thus obey the commandment of though shalt honor the parents...

I do honor her wish by NOT being a part of her life and NOT talking to her....and now we get along fabulously!

We haven't spoken in 4 years. I believe that I have received two emails in that span. I've probably sent her two a year.

I also feel like I honor her by not bad mouthing her to my kids and letting them form their own opinion!

But as Michael Jackson sings...She's out of my life....OUUUTTT of my LIFE...

And my presents have been better than ever!

Anonymous said...

Roxann, this is so sad. Wish there was something that could be done or said to turn her around. However, some things just can't be changed. I think of you, Ike and the children, often, and am proud of all of you. - Love from an elder sorority sister.

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