My husband’s side is fairly small – it sounds like because my mother-in-law caused or participated in a bunch of drama among my father-in-law’s family, so my FIL chose to cut off his side. I do recall one story involved her wiping an oily rag on her brother-in-law while they were arguing. So, the only relatives I’ve really had to deal with are my husband’s sister (and her husband), the parents-in-law, and my husband’s maternal grandparents.
I love his grandparents. I can’t stand the rest of them. I’ve never met a more dramatic, arrogant bunch. My SIL’s been in so many Facebook fights as a result of posting passive-aggressive insults that I can just pop some popcorn, sit back and watch it all burn. She also LOOOOVES being “helpful” and giving advice, so this usually involves her walking around my house, then giving ‘advice’ whenever she sees fit. I’ve tried every polite strategy I can think of to get her to shut up. When it comes to my brother-in-law, I can see why they married. He’s another insecure person who feels the need to prove that he’s right and intelligent and amazing to everyone he meets. It’s sad and pathetic.
They aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed, but no one cares. I’d like them a lot more if they were themselves than trying to prove to the world that they’re the best at everything.
My husband’s parents have always rubbed me the wrong way. I’ve always felt like my mother-in-law is digging at me, trying to find a weak spot in my armor. She’s tried to cause some problems between us in the past, though not too recently. I watch my back around that woman. I go out of my way to be very polite, very cordial, but I discuss nothing of my personal life with her.
Then there’s my lovely family. I have one older sibling and a sister-in-law, and my parents have been in a miserable marriage for more than 30 years. They’re completely irresponsible. My mom always did everything out of obligation for everyone under the sun, so extended family and friends thought she was a doting martyr. In reality, she was an emotionally abusive witch who routinely threw temper tantrums and took her anger out on the three of us. It was amazing how a sibling could say something to her, she’d smile and bend over backwards to appease him, then hang up the phone and explode at all of us.
My childhood involved a lot of insecurity – that bitch did a number on me. I was made to feel inadequate as a person; in my abilities; in my appearance; in my friendships – everything. I spent my formative years desperately trying to get her approval, and she’d just turn her nose up at me (she would literally have temper tantrums, storm off to her room…I’d follow her, and she would cross her arms over her chest, turn her head away, and let out a, “HMPH” as she continued ignoring me. It was amazing).
My dad supported her in everything and believed everything she said, which is why that nonsense went on. I received the brunt of it; my parents preferred my brother and it showed in the abuse. As I got older – mid – teens – my dad would join in on her campaigns against me.
She’d call my brother and go on at length about what an awful daughter I was. She’d often complain about me right in front of me, calling every relative to extoll my personal business. When I was in my late teens, I started a dating profile to meet someone – a tasteful, appropriate profile without any pictures. She told all of my relatives that I was “acting slutty online” trying to get a boyfriend.
I learned to always delete the history when I used the computer, never keep a written record of anything in my life, hide anything college-related and so on as I got older. I avoided talking to her as much as possible, which usually just enraged her; but if I did talk to her, she’d start asking probing questions and wouldn’t stop (or would, again, explode) unless I answered everything to her liking.
Nothing was safe. She’d go through my room, find my personal things, read them, tell other people about them, etc. She once went through my Facebook profile and blew up at me when she discovered a message I’d written about her to a friend (…whoops…didn’t go through my typical computer protocol that time).
Now she complains about never having any money. If my dad calls off work one night, he goes from being doted on to being a loathed monster. She calls everyone to complain about him, and has turned some of her relatives against him. She’s always shocked when that happens, then tries to convince them that he’s “okay.” She routinely threatens to leave him and to go live with one of her relatives. She’s been pulling this juvenile bullshit for years. I tune it out when I have to talk to her.
Every day is some great, big obstacle for her to overcome. She had to wash dishes and do LAUNDRY today, y’all. My God, when does it ever end?!?! When we go over there, she’ll start her pity party on my husband, who just sits there and ignores her. “Yeah, everybody has to do laundry and wash dishes…you won’t get any sympathy from me.”
She had no business ever having kids. She was a punitive, childish woman. It pains me that she baby-sits my cousin’s 7-year-old son, as he’s now being exposed to all of her crap too.He’ll cry and she gets in his face and starts mocking the tears. I’m old enough now that I usually put her in her place – since I no longer live with her, I’m an “outsider” and she can’t abuse me to the same degree, so usually she’ll comply when I tell her not to do something.
Her favorite hobby is telling stories about how “awful” I was as a kid. With anyone else, I would find this light-hearted. No, it’s all a part of her “my daughter is a horrible human being and always stressed me out SO MUCH” smear campaign. I always retort with, “Maybe if you had disciplined me more consistently, it wouldn’t have been like that.” It’s funny watching the anger brew on her face when I answer her BS with something like that.
I should add that I always did well in school, worked through most of my teens and beyond, interned several times, won awards in college, did housework, and so on. I was never involved in any kind of trouble at school or with the law. I lived a very boring, mostly-stay-at-home life. But any sign of my growing independence was a threat to her and a sign that I was “bad.”
So, when it comes to family, any of my in-laws’ downsides are nothing compared to the BS with my mom alone. I do feel for my husband marrying into this sort of thing, though neither of us see her very often…especially him.