Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Mother in Law- some can't live with them and some definitely can live without...

I recently had a friend of mine share a story with me about her mother in law and I just had to share it. I know...I know, automatically all of you are moaning; half because you can sympathize and the other half  because you're heart goes out.

Why is this?

Well, sadly it's because half of us do not get along with our mother in laws. It's true...we don't. This is why we hear a lot of those mother in law stories.  But first I want to say not all mother in laws are awful. I know quite a few  who have a great relationship with their mother in law.

So what's this story A.D.?

Well, it's not an endearing one, but nor is it that awful. is a little because two people got hurt in this little story. The daughter in law and the mother in law.

Ok, now your thinking...just tell the story A.D. and then explain how both got hurt afterwards! Gosh...sheesh!

Ok...ok... here it is...

Once upon a time there was a gal named Susanne, let's call her Susanne (I'm not giving real names, that would be wrong) who  had a mother in law she loved, but didn't like. can you love someone and not like them at the same time?

You can, it is possible.

You can love a person because as a whole they are a good person. You've seen it, if only those few times. You love them, you just don't like them because most of the time that person isn't so...good. They are insecure, angry, mean, bitter and sometimes you don't like them.

Back on track now...

So... Susanne loved her mother in law very much, but she just didn't like how she was to others; especially to her. Somehow it was really easy for her mother in law to be mean to her. Susanne would look deep into herself many of times asking what is she doing wrong. What is she saying wrong?  Is she  just being a little too sensitive?

Well one day, after ten years, yep ten years (so you can't say she didn't try) Susanne woke up and realized there was nothing wrong with her. Nothing at all. She wasn't perfect, but there was nothing wrong enough to get treated the ways she was. The problem was her mother in law.

Walking on eggshells, turning the other cheek, playing dumb hadn't helped things once, not once and it never would. Only Jackie could fix the problem between the two, not Susanne (we're calling mother in law that...pretty name). The problem was Jackie and the problem she had with Susanne. Whatever it was, it wouldn't go away until Jackie chose to let it. Jackie had to realize that Susanne wasn't her enemy and really look into herself and ask "what is it really that bugs you about Susanne?"

So that one day, Susanne had had enough. She wrote an email (cowardly...maybe, smart...definitely) telling her mother in law, she needed to stop (that's the short version, there's more to it, but that's really the jest of it and that is all that is needed to know).

She was tired of the bitter words, the knives that had permanently taken residence in her back and she was tired of watching others receive the same treatment. Susanne had children and as their mother, she needed to protect them or in this case, keep away an unhealthy influence in their life.

These bitter words, incidents had sometimes happened around the kids. This wasn't healthy and this wasn't the greatest example. What message was being sent? If Susanne allowed her mother in law to mistreat her then why shouldn't her children treat her the same way? Or worse...why should they stop another from mistreating them?

So five years go by...yep sadly five years (She did send Christmas card every year) and birthday cards suddenly start to arrive for the family. Susanne thought this was a nice gesture, but this didn't mean everything was going to automatically go back to the way they were before. A trust was lost. It's so easy to lose trust and so hard to gain it back. There is also a small back story.

Real it is...

Two years prior Susanne's mother in law had made quite a spectacle of herself to other family members and resulted in causing a rift. Susanne had stayed out of it, avoided it because this was how it almost always was. There was always a rift and always a spectacle and sometimes Susanne had been apart of it too. She wouldn't now. See Susanne grew up. She learned that fighting amongst family is pointless and wasteful. It is also very hurtful. No one really ever wins.

Why is it that others want to hurt others so much and why do others allow those others to hurt them?

I don't know?
 I believe us as human beings should be better than that. Are we not the walking image of God? Isn't he a good person? So shouldn't we be and always strive to be? You know, follow that good example.

So Susanne strives to do just that. Be the better person, but also not allow anyone to mistreat her. She does this with everyone. Tactfully...there's no boxing gloves guys...

Back to those cards...

So, one by one those cards arrive, nice, cute, pretty cards with nice words and a thoughtful gift card included. Surprisingly even a card arrives for Susanne (no gift card, not that it was expected). Susanne's starting to think Jackie's  turning over a new leaf. The good Jackie is coming out again and to her! That is so great! Susanne's husband's birthday arrives... and no card shows up. Not before or on his birthday.

Oh my! Susanne is worried now.  she thinking "Oh no, no Jackie please no...this was supposed to be turning over a new leaf! A nice Jackie, not one that would be bitter or spiteful or vindictive as to hurtfully not send her son a card!"  ( Jackie had been angry at both Susanne and her hubby when Susanne had taken the stand. Susanne's hubby had stood with her.)

So here is Susanne worried that Jackie is acting just like she always had and was doing it to her son. It was heart breaking.
But guess what! The following day a birthday card arrived for him. Hey! There is nothing wrong with being a day late!
"Yeppie!" Susanne thought. "This is great..."

Later when the birthday card was opened; a nice card with nice words and a nice gift card included....Susanne was happy...all was well...

Wait! What? A gift card?!

Susanne's heart dropped.
A gift card had been included in her husband's card and every child and not hers.
Susanne had to laugh. Same ol' Jackie. A very clever Jackie.
Nothing had changed. Five years later and the same hurtful mother in law was at it again.
After five years of no son, no daughter in law (probably cool with that) and no grandchildren because of that behavior, what did Jackie do.

Jackie sent birthday cards just to hurt her daughter in law. Susanne weighed the possibilities, other reasons, other ways to look at it.

She came up with two:
1. Jackie went out of her way to send these cards, to remember every birthday,to make sure everyone got their card, even her daughter in law, just so in the end, the patiently awaited long end, her daughter in law would see a gift card was purposely withheld from hers and get hurt and Jackie would get her jab.


2. There really is no other reason, it was just mean and uncalled for either way...any way.

 It really does looks bad any which way you look at it and by doing that, any chance of a reconciliation just went out the window.  Whether Jackie put a little or a lot of effort into this, she did it to get her jab. And guess what?

This is where that part comes into play when I said both got hurt in this.

See, Susanne got jabbed. It did hurt her a little to think her mother in law  went to any trouble to do such a thing. It was purposeful and intended to hurt. Five years had past... of no talking to her, no looking at her, no bothering or anything... and nothing had changed. Jackie still wanted to hurt Susanne.  And yet Jackie couldn't understand then or even now why Susanne wanted and continued to  keep her away from her family (at least the kids, hubby's a grown man).

Go figure?

So Jackie got her jab. She hurt Susanne, but Susanne got over it. It wasn't really all that surprising to her and alas, sadly nothing new. Right? Jackie however got hurt the most out of this. Jackie hurt herself more than she hurt Susanne.  She lost that chance of reconciliation and she sent herself right back to those five years ago.
All for a jab.

It's a sad, heartbreaking story, especially to Susanne (I know this because she told me). She isn't the bad guy and really does love her mother in law. She just doesn't like the way Jackie is to her family, her friends and especially her... She also doesn't want it rolling into affecting her children or them to see it.

No grandparent should look bad to their grandchild. So the cards are nicely opened and read. The gift cards are happily spent and a loving thanks in their hearts to their grandparents.

May all you daughters who have amazing mother in laws appreciate them more.
May all you daughters who have mother in laws who treat them like Susanne, remind yourselves you do love her and over all she is a good person...but it also doesn't mean you have to take it :0) Be kind and tactful though...

To all mother in laws...appreciate your daughter in laws. Some daughter in laws are just as bad as those mother in laws, but not all of them are.

As for my own mother in law...I love her.

Thanks for dropping by!


  1. Sounds like my ex-MIL: always passively-aggressively "jabbing" at others. She was impossible and no one could please her. I told my ex-husband he ought to tell her off and give up, but he just set himself up for her nagging, whining and complaining all the time.

    Fine with me. That's him.

    I now have a husband who knows how to stand up for himself... and a darling mother-in-law. :)

    1. Thanks for your comment Wendy... it is frustrating...I would think at times like these...patience and a great thick tall wall would help :0) I'm gald your new hubby and mother in law are gold medal one deserves to be mistreated :0)