Post # 1
About 2 years ago my MIL and I had a large falling out. It had been rocky before that, but I ignited the spark that started it all. In hindsight, we both made bad choices and said things that weren’t beneficial for the family peace. However, after a lot of “We’re not coming for the wedding”, we all managed to behave as adults for our wedding day – which was a huge achievement. Now, a few things have cropped up since then showing that my MIL has certainly not forgotten about the episode. In all fairness, I get that, because it’s not like I’ve forgotten and forgiven either – I just choose not to voice it anymore. Her, not so much, and yesterday she decided to bring it back onto the table when my husband called to wish her a happy mothers day + tell her that we’re expecting a baby. Basically it was a few minutes of happy sounds from his parents and then his mother goes: “So are we allowed to personally congratulate Eocenia, or is she still not on speaking terms with us”.
SUCH an unnecessary thing to tell your son when he’s calling you to tell you something that he’s over the moon about. My husband called her out on it, and the conversation rapidly turned very harsh. I was actually so uncomfortable that I had to leave the room.
Now – here’s my question bees, MIL wrote to both of us this morning saying that she’s very sorry we’re still so angry at her and that she has moved on and forgiven me and she dearly hopes I can do the same one day. Do I want to reply? No, but I feel that I should behave as an adult and at least write something in return. I just have no idea what… Any ideas how I should handle this?
Post # 2
It sucks being the adult when you don’t want to. But you will do it, because you feel you should. I’d write a bright and breezy note back and focus on the baby excitement.
Post # 3
eocenia: ugh, i feel like this post could be written by me in a few years…. Commenting to follow.
Post # 4
You MIL has sent an olive branch. If you feel up to it then do the same. It does mean that you can communicate more fully. It doesn’t mean that you have to stand for any bad behaviour from her in the future. She deserves her second chance but she’s got to behave properly.
Then just concentrate on the good news.
Post # 5
LilLis: Oh it does… This morning when I woke up my husband told me there was an email waiting for me and I just really hoped it would mostly focus on the baby so that I could ignore the rest. But it feels a little difficult not to address it when that component of the email is just as extensive as the congratulatory part, and it’s directly addressed to me…
Miss-Joker: I’m so sorry to hear that, I wish you the best of luck! Yesterday evening was really quite awful; I felt so sorry for my husband having to deal with that when it should have been nothing but a moment of being happy and excited.
Post # 6
eocenia: I think a key part of forgiveness that many people do not practice or understand is that by forgiving someone you are giving up your right to throw the issue back in their faces later. I think your MIL is still working on forgiving you and isn’t all the way there yet, kind of you like you with her. I think you both need to choose sincere forgiveness for a healthy relationship to ensue. Here is what I would write back to her if I were you in your shoes,
“MIL, thank you for sending this email. I’ll admit that what you said yesterday hurt me and DH deeply and brought back the pain of old wounds. However, thank you for apologizing. I do forgive you. Also, thanks for working on forgiveness towards me for our past problems. I do hope that the joy of our new baby can be the start of a new relationship between all of us and that we can leave the past in the past. I am very excited for the baby and I hope this grandchild will be a blessing to you as well. Let’s start new. ~eocenia”
Post # 7
eocenia: Can you elaborate a bit more on what happened to trigger this 2 years ago? What was the episode about? That may provide insight into why things are so tense.
Based on the info that you’ve provided, I would reply in a manner that focuses on the future. Don’t even address the past or engage in a useless and circular dialogue. It will get you nowhere except annoyed.
I’d say, “Thank you so much for reaching out. I am so excited to share our good news with you and I can’t wait for our family to expand. Congratulations, grandma!”
It shows you’re the bigger person and so “over it” that it doesn’t even need to be addressed. This, of course, is provided you want her as a part of your life and baby’s life.
My MIL is terribly irritating as well and we have also had a falling out. It doesn’t make things easy and I’m not sure why grown ass adults feel the need to act like children. The only thing you can control is your own reaction so don’t feed into it.
Post # 8
It’s time to put this all behind you. Anger, resentment, frustration, annoyance- these feelings aren’t good for anybody. She wrote an apology note (albeit a rather passive aggressive one), so be gracious and reply back that you also want to move forward and leave any unpleasantness behind. I’m sure there’s lots of blame to go around but it doesn’t matter who did or said what, being on civil (if not friendly) terms with your in-laws is best for your own health and peace of mind.
If she is a very toxic person, then by all means never speak to her again, but if this is all because of a 2 year old argument- move on.
Post # 9
Supersleuth: I honestly don’t feel up to it, but I think this is one of those times when I have to bite the bullet and do it. Seeing my husband so sad yesterday was just too awful, and I cringe thinking about how my poor FIL was sitting through that conversation. Apparently he didn’t say a word through the entire fight, so I guess he felt about as awkward as I did about all of it.
And there has been numerous chances in the past, but I guess that if anything warrants a new one it’s a baby!
howtobeawife: I think a key part of forgiveness that many people do not practice or understand is that by forgiving someone you are giving up your right to throw the issue back in their faces later.
I read those words and I feel like you managed to capture all my feelings in one eloquent sentence. Thank you so much for that, I will make that my starting point, and use your suggested email as a base for my reply.
Post # 10
I think you should find the courage and compassion to forgive her and let go of your anger. A fresh start for your baby. It truely does not serve anybody to hold onto grudges- certainly not yourself.
ask her to lunch and make peace. Apologize and say youd like a fresh start. She’ll apologize too. Then let it go!
Post # 11
eocenia: I’m glad to be of help! Best wishes!
Post # 12
somethingblue04: I don’t want to dwell on it, but in short, I went up to their place to help out with a big family event, MIL invited DH ex and then they spent the afternoon making fun of me. I lost it and vented about it in very non-friendly terms and my MIL heard about it – next, EPIC DRAMA. Your point about the “circular dialogue” is a very good one, I’ve been in that situation with her before and I just don’t want our fight to be the focus right now – I want it to be the baby! Perhaps I can use that as a starting point… As for wanting to have her in our life, well… had it only been up to me, no. However, it’s a different ballpark as she’s my husbands’ mother and regardless of how bad things are that will never change. I also don’t want to be the reason why someone else cut their ties to their parents and why my child won’t spend time with the grandparents.
canadajane: A number of things have happened over the years that lead up to the breakdown 2 years ago, and a bunch of things have gone down since. All that aside, I had hoped, and thought, that yesterday would be… well, a day when all that was cast aside and a day of joy! This fiasco honestly took my husband and I with total surprise. I really don’t want to use it as fuel for the fire; I just want to move on from this point with as much dignity as possible.
MrsBuesleBee: I’m afraid lunch is totally out. That would be incredibly awkward – she’s a very verbal person and I’m very Swedish, so direct confrontations is a personal nightmare of mine. I think it’s just best for me to follow up on her email and hope that we can leave it at that and move on with our lives.
Post # 13
From a Mom’s point of view, why did you not both get on the phone and give her the news at the same time? I really don’t see where she said anything wrong that would have turned your announcement into a battle. If you clearly were not on speaking terms, and he chose to tell his parents the good news himself, why was what she asked so terrible? I’d have been shocked if just my daughter called to tell me she was expecting without involving my SIL and would have asked to speak to him too.
If your relationship with her is completely strained, I get why he did it himself, but you shouldn’t have been so surprised and upset by what ultimately happened. She’s reached out now and all you can do is accept it or let things continue on as they have been. I think nobody will be a winner in this scenario.
Post # 14
- Wedding: September 2014 - Villa Celeste
As you said in the original post, you have both treated each other poorly and made bad decisions. To be fair, that’s life and things don’t always work out storybook as we would hope so. That being said, at this point I think it’s time to bury the hatchet. I understand that you may still harbor resentment towards her. Would it be possible for you to have a one on one conversation with her, and try to talk some of these issues out? If not, I think the best you can do is to call it water under the bridge and move on with your life. She is going to be your child’s grandmother, and I think that moving forward in the relationship will be better for everyone involved. You, your MIL, your husband and future child.
With all due respect, I don’t think that your MIL was being rude when she asked your husband that. Perhaps it could have been worded a bit differently, but I think that’s appropriate to ask when you haven’t been on good/speaking terms with her. Understandably, she doesn’t want to cross that boundary.
If it were me, I would move forward. I don’t know what happened between you two, but at this point you’re both only hurting yourselves by holding onto these negative feelings.
Post # 15
ItWasntMe: I can see your point. I mean, ideally this is something you do face to face, but I’ve simply been in too rough shape (morning sickness) to allow any type of car trips that are longer than within the city. So I figured he would tell them and once the initial excitement had settled I would have had no problem talking with them about it. It’s a lovely subject to use as a bridge and it’s not like we have not interacted at all in the last 2 years, we were both civil for Christmas for once. I guess we were both surprised because we really thought this would be a time when all previous issues would be put aside.
Anyway, I’m planning a response for this evening once my husband is back home so that we can discuss the email I formulated. He obviously knows her the best, so I don’t want to send anything before I get his feedback.