Post # 1
Hi everyone, I have been keeping my feelings on this to myself and I just need to vent. Please tell me if I am being insensitive. be honest I need perspective!
I was engaged for close to 4 years, he proposed after just one month of knowing me and I moved from Asia to the US to be with him. It was a tough move and everyone encouraged us to wait to get married and since I had just graduated and he was still finishing his BA. We waited until we were more settled and got married this January. We live in Asia now due to some obligations I had. My MIL was always very supportive of us, or appeared to be so. She spent alot of time taking me around, teaching me to drive on the right side of the road etc… when I was in the US. I have loved her beyond her being my MIL all these years.
Two months before the wedding, she told BIL on a visit (he and his family live in a different state), that she was suicidal and that she planned on doing it after our wedding. Then a month out she confessed the same to my DH. Obviously this cast a big shadow on us during the planning but she never mentioned anything to me except that she was depressed and I tried to be there for her by calling her almost everyday and involving her in wedding plans.
She arrived here a week before the wedding and did not show up at our house when she was scheduled to meet my mother (who also flew in for the wedding), acted pouty or was drinking excessively at all the pre-wedding events. She did insist on hosting a rehearsal dinner for us which was a lovely relaxed poolside pizza and beer affair. But she avoided contact with me as much as possible.
She completely broke down at the wedding and did not congratulate me or tell me I looked nice, she spent alot of the night in the prep area crying. This is a woman who has been almost as close ot me as my own mother for 4 years! I didn’t let it get me down that day but now I can’t help being hurt and avoiding her.
When she returned to the US she checked into a facility to get help and I hope she will get better soon, I am trying hard to be there for her but I feel like the wedding was not a happy occasion for her and I resent that. Does that make me a bad person? She told me that she is glad he found the perfect partner but she feels like she no longer has any value in the world because both her sons are happily married and live nowhere near her and she has nobody now.
I have tried reaching out to her but she keeps burning me each time I do so I avoid her now. I keep telling myself she has serious issues and it is not about me but I feel so hurt because we were so close. I just thought since she supposedly liked me so much the wedding would have been a happy occasion for her. I just want things to go back to the way they were! please help me figure this out as I don’t feel comfortable putting this on DH who is dealing with his mother being in the hospital for depression from a continent away.
Post # 3
Actually, I think your husband should talk to her. I can see how she has a sense of loss and since it deals with her "losing her son" I think he needs to reach out to her. I’m sure he has, but maybe in a more "I’ll always be your son" type way?
Also, as someone who has suffered through serious episodes of depression my whole life (being a depressed 7 year old sucked) medication is going to be essential. AND compliance with it. Your MIL needs a lot of help and it’s going to take a while before she feels better and becomes mentally stable again. She will need a good psychiatrist and therapist when she leaves the hospital. Does she live alone? Is there anyone she can stay with when she gets out?
Depression is her problem and it’s unfortunate that it’s affecting you all now and at your wedding. But try and remember that you didn’t anything wrong – depression is crippling and there’s often very little the person can do at the time. Just keep reaching out and trying to be there for her as much as possible. She’ll probably rebuff you again – but I guarantee that she’ll come around once the depression lifts. At my worst, I brushed away everyone, including my own dear parents. Luckily they understood and were still there when I got better.
Post # 4
pinky, she does sound depressed. i do have to say it’s a little strange that she announced her plans to commit suicide, though. that gives it a manipulative twist that makes your resentment more jusitfied, in my opinion.
please don’t mistake me – i’m not saying that depression is not a serious illness and that suicide/suicide attempts aren’t tragic, horrible things. but i’m saying that announcing to someone that you intend to do it around one of the most important days of their lives gives it an extra manipulative step, so please, do not feel bad about resenting her for that. i think you are justified.
that being said, i think you are also justified in reaching out to her now, understanding the depths of how sick she must feel. i’m so glad that she is getting professional help and i hope that she benefits from it. like jen said, you haven’t done anything wrong; people who are so depressed lose all perspective and motivation. all that you can do is continue to be patient and loving while understanding how crippling such hopelessness can be.
good luck, and i echo jen when i say that when the depression lifts, she will be glad that you are there. i doubt that she’s herself right now.
Post # 5
It is a good thing she is getting help and she is very lucky to have the love and support of her DIL. It is often as hard on the family as on the person who is ill in this type of situation. Perhaps it would be productive to hold a family meeting – BIL, DH, SIL, etc.- and discuss with her therapist things that might help her with her selfworth issues as well as her depression. Perhaps having her move closer to BIL or even to asia near you and DH would be beneficial. Also, discussing the fact that she will potentially have grandchildren who will need her. Maybe the family could get her involved in chairity work with disadvataged kids so that she can have soemthing to look forward to and be needed for when her treatments are done. Of course it is a good idea to speak with her therapist before doing any of this.
Post # 6
I think that she hit the nail right on the head – she’s feeling "worthless" because her sons are now happily married and no longer need their mother.
She obviously isn’t worthless, she’s obviously been a great mom to them and will continue to do so even now that they are married.
I think it’s a common mom thing to do when the last, especially the baby boy marries and moves away. Empty Nest Syndrom. Combine that with flying half way across the world, not being treated for depression and I think that she just reached her limit.
However it does seem that her case is a bit more severe then I normally hear of and the fact she’s checked in somewhere is good.
What she needs is support, and love right now and the caring helpful staff of the place she is. Keep in touch with the theripist for her progress and to find out what really might be going on in her head. Send her cards, pictures and love as much as you can and make sure that BOTH boys let her know that she’s a great mom all the time and that they still need her.
Since she’s getting the professional help she needs, I don’t see a need for you to reach out and try to dig deeper, because a professional is doing that and you don’t want to reverse anything he may have done – or at least check with them before breeching any tough subject with her. I would just make sure you’re there for her like you always have been as a friend and a DIL, as much as you can with being in Asia.
She is lucky to have you in her life, you’re very well rounded about this situation and I have to admit I may not have taken the high road like you. I may have very well thrown a fit and yelled at her if this was my MIL, whom I’m very very close to as well.
Hang in there!
Post # 7
Thanks for your words guys, it’s nice to have my feelings validated.
I know I need to put my feelings aside for now and be there for her however I can. She has great professional help so we will do our best from a world away.
Post # 8
I know it is incredibly hard not to take it personally, but it sounds like you have realized that it is the illness making her behave this way.
I have to disagree with the poster above about her mentioning suicide. I think it’s a blessing that she did instead of just going and doing it. It was a cry for help and it looks like she is getting some good therapy now and that is a wonderful thing.
I would also make sure that you are taking care of your own emotional health. It can be very draining to deal with someone who is severely depressed.
Some good resources for information and support:
You did the right thing in reaching out. Support is the KEY to recovery for the patient AND the family.
Good luck and hang in there!