There is a power struggle going on, in my small little family. Not between me, The Beef, The Twins or Big Bro. No, the elephant in the room is my mother-in-law. Well, I say mother in law because it’s an easier way of explaining my relationship with her. Me and The Beef, aren’t married, so technically she’s just my boyfriend’s mother. Oh. Yeah, and she happens to be The Twins grandmother – that too, and that is where the swords are drawn and where the stand-off exists.
At first things were great. In the same way that The Beef took Big Bro under his wing, and treat him as if he was his own son, so did his mother treat him as if he were her grandson. Everything was fine, we were all happy, she didn’t much take over and we were left to our own devices.
Then I found out I was pregnant with twins.
She got a little too eager, wanting to pay for everything, making sure she took Big Bro off for holidays so I could have a break. She was nice to me, she seemed genuinely caring. Every day I would have messages from her, asking how I was, how I was doing – to hold on in there because it wouldn’t be long. Once, she even said that she thought of me as a daughter and I believed it.
When the twins arrived, things changed almost overnight.
She stopped messaging me. She stopped making conversation with me. If I was left alone, in the same room as her, there would be one-word answers. She stopped taking Big Bro to her house for breaks. Slowly she started commenting to The Beef about me not going out much, asking if he was OK. Did he need a break? Did he want to go to her house with the twins for a week and get away from it all? On Christmas Day last year, she finally expressed her feelings to me, cornering me in the back garden. I had just found out the news that my mum had died fifteen minutes ago. I was smoking a cigarette to try to keep myself together for the kids, and she cornered me, going on about how The Beef did an ‘awful lot’ for me and that she thought I was using him.
Naturally I was distraught!
I took it on the chin thought, like I usually do and got on with things. The comments over the months, starting coming in faster – she’d dig at me indirectly, so that only I knew what she meant. She started taking over with the twins when she visited, leaving me feeling invisible, with no say in anything.
It now feels like it’s come to a head.
In the beginning of November, it’s the twins first birthday, and she promptly announced that she has planned it all – the cake (which I didn’t want), the banners, balloons, big elaborate presents (which I also didn’t want). It’s all been planned. I’m really pissed off by this because I want to be the one, along with The Beef, to create that special first birthday memory. I let it slide though, I don’t want a fight on my hands. I just want people to get along.
She was opening savings account for the twins, so they have something put aside, along with their older brother, for when they turn 18. I was pleased about this, until she refused to give us the account details, so none of my family can contribute to their fund! She then drops the bigger bombshell – their account has a limit of £1,200 a year each, and she is giving them £100 a month each – making it impossible for anyone else to contribute. I’m angry because she’s done this in a very sly way, with the result being her alienating my side of the family. What I’m more angry about though, is that I can’t afford to put that amount into Big Bro’s account – so when they are all older and finally have access to their money, he is going to have drastically less than his younger brother and sister.
I’m trying to raise my children to be thoughtful, kind, selfless, with a love of each other, yet this woman seems to want to drive a wedge right through our efforts. She has deep-rooted misgivings about me and I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve that kind of negative attention. The arguments that have sprung up, with their beginnings being something that she has done, or said, are heart-breaking, because me and The Beef never argue about anything else other than her.
I’m in a dilemma ladies and gents. I feel too vulnerable right now to stand up to her. I don’t have the strength to make my voice heard. To her I’m the one stereotype that she despises – a fat, lazy woman, who sits on her arse all day. The Beef’s efforts are fruitless too. He confronts her – if somewhat timidly, and is immediately shouted down – she will do what she wants anyway.
I’m of two minds. Do I leave it all be and allow her to treat me like filth – let her shower praise on the twins and her precious son, and yet allow her to verbally abuse the person who apparently she “thinks of as a daughter”, and ignore her “adopted grandson”? Or do I grow a pair of proverbial balls – the balls that The Beef doesn’t seem to have, and give her an ultimatum? Show her what she is doing to me, to my son and to mine and The Beef’s relationship?
My third option is to rise above it. Ignore the comments. Prove to myself that I am better than her, in that I can walk away and not rise to the bait. Think of all the stupid things she’s said such as her firm belief that ‘The Sun’ is not a star…it’s ‘A Sun’. *face palm* Do I make something of myself and show her that I can be better than she is, that I’m not going to be the person she wants me to be and that no matter what she does or says, my relationship with her son, is too strong and grounded for her to break so easily?
My sister (who is also beside herself with anger at my treatment), once said something to me that, I think I may use in my M.I.L‘s case. She said, “Whenever I’m really pissed off with someone, or I don’t want to listen to their shit – I try to imagine what they would look like naked. In a purely non-sexual way. They could be right in my face, screaming and shouting and I’d be there, laughing inwardly at my imaginary version of themselves.” I tend to think she could be on to a winner here.
Let’s face it, how could you be angry, pissed off, or even stressed out with someone, if in your head, you’re looking at them in their most vulnerable state?
What are your thoughts on this? Do you have a M.I.L who you just don’t get on with? What elephants are in your room?