Post # 1
My future MIL goes through periods of slight insanity. I’m beginning to think that she bottles things up until these periods of crazy happen. Because despite her telling future hubby that she doesn’t approve of me, the wedding and other things at this time, she was really supportive before. Plus, offering to pay for everything rehearsal dinner and wanting to spearhead that doesn’t scream “unsupportive”. Additionally the birthday card I got in the mail recently would not come if she didn’t approve or like me. You don’t send bday cards to people you don’t like, right? So I’d like to hope that her insane moments are just the result of built up stress she is not properly handling. But despite that, we still have the problem of these moments happening. Now I’m currently choosing the slightly Buddhist method of handling her non-aggressively. Honestly, I don’t have the time to deal with her spazing when I have Phd dissertation work that isn’t working and a wedding to plan. But future hubs is not so lucky and has to deal with her. He says he’s not taking any of what she says to heart but days she freaks out, it makes him more down. I wouldn’t be worried if he were any other person but he’s a sweet caring guy who doesn’t want to be made out to be awful by his mother. Also he suffers from depression and PTSD associated with his time in Iraq. Her venting to him and putting him down is not doing anything for the depression. And it also doesn’t help the traumatic brain injury headaches he gets that are made substantially worse by increased blood pressure.
So Bees… what route should I take to deal with her, if she continues to drag future hubs down?
Post # 3
Maybe you and your FI can have a sit down with her and let her know the negative effects she’s having on FI and the issues he’s having because of her? I hope your FI is talking to someone to help him with his depression and his PTSD. It might even be good for your FMIL to get some help to help her deal with the stress she’s having and doesn’t seem to handle well. I think having a sit down with her will help to clear the air and get some things out in the open.
Post # 4
I think that you should just encourage your FH to distance himself from FMIL Crazy. She’s not helping his health, and he knows it. Simply stepping back for a while and letting her cope on her own would be the best. Usually you let FH deal with his family and you deal with yours, and I think that you speaking directly with her about her son may be taken the wrong way. Even if he’s present for the discussion, it’s still telling a woman how to treat her child, and that just NEVER works out well…
Post # 5
- Wedding: October 2010 - Ladder 15 Restaurant
I don’t think ignoring it is quite the route, and it may be more difficult to say something than to write a letter/email, I think it’s necessary for your fi to have an in-person (or over the phone) conversation with his mother. He needs to stand up for you and himself!
We have issues with my FILs, and I’ve pretty much stayed out of it to let fi handle it. We do talk about points we want to make to them together though and write out short little scripts to make it easier to spit it all out.
Good luck, and I’m sorry you have to go through this!
Post # 6
I’m torn between the second and last options. I think a combination of the two would be the best. If your hubby is aware of the adverse effects she’s having on his mental health, then he should be ok with distancing himself from her for awhile. And she may not be aware of how detrimental her ‘crazy moments’ are to her sons wellbeing. So she should be made aware. However, chances are, she’s going to think you’re the bad guy. But its your hubby you have to worry about.
Post # 7
Yikes, I hate FMIL drama, and i know ALLLL about it. Dont get me wrong, i love my FI’s mom as if she were my own, and she already thinks of me as her daughter…but sometimes its like someone traded personalities with her and the loving, helping, understanding MIL that was here yesterday has vanished. Like for example: we are having the recpetion and FI’s parents house. I was talking about centerpieces and my ideas. I mentioned something about candles and INSTANTLY she flipped. I couldnt hear anything else for the next 2 hours other than ” oh candles are so impractical, people will be toasting and reaching over the table and next thing you know they are on fire!! napkins will blow and thats it, everything is up in flames!!!!” FI and I were like ..uhh ok?? no candles then. Simple. I mean, its not like they are the long stick candles..they are small ones that sit inside a bowl of jelly…whatever. So the next day shes STILL on about the candles, even after i said its no big deal. And so FI had enough and was like, “whoa chill out, just let us decorate how we want to! we’ve said we arent doing candles so get over it!” anyways, she starts freaking out, ” Why do you need all this stuff?? do you think people care about what was on the table, what glass they drank out of, whether or not the table cloth was plastic or linen?!” ….anyways, long story short she freaks out and says to have the wedding elsewhere. OVER NOTHING!!!!! its like…ok i get what she means that no one will remember the small details, but its about the comfort NOW. It makes me happy to have proper table clothes rather than plastic cheap ones…is that so bad????
anyways, I know this will blow over. Im just going to have to talk to her and calm her down because FI is not very good with that. If shes anything like my MIL, the best advice i can give is just ignore it and ask your FI to ignore it too. Let her go off on her little tantrums, but at the end of the day you and your FI will still be together, and she will chill out.
Post # 8
As the fiancee of a soldier currently in Iraq, that would really push my buttons the way that she treats him, especially with all that he is dealing with emotionally and physically. Yes, it’s his mother but it would SO NOT fly with me and I would hate hate hate it, but I would have a long talk with her about how she is treating him, what it’s doing to him and what he is dealing with, and that she needs to stop. That is so unacceptable and you would think that she would be more understanding considering all that he is going through. You need to step up and be there for your man and unfortuantely, that entails having a chat with his mom. You don’t have to be mean or anything but something needs to be said. So wrong.
I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with this and please thank your FI for his service, I hope things get better for him.
Post # 9
Hmm.. my first thought is that usually when people (especially family members) freak out like this it’s for attention and trying to reason with them always backfires because they use that to start a fight. Usually, when people go ballistic on me, I give a calm, rational response and repeat it over and over in a calm voice until they calm down.
For example, my Mom is bipolar and was having an episode during the winter months when the snow wouldn’t stop and she had 2 feet outside the house. The dog wouldn’t go to the bathroom outside b/c it was too cold and she couldn’t get anywhere in the snow. My Mom called me up screaming saying she was giving the dog away (a dog she loves like crazy BTW) and I had to say calmly over and over “Mom, I don’t think that’s really what you want to do. I think you’re just stressed about the bathroom situation and cooped up inside with a hyper dog” I had to repeat that literally about 10 times before she slowed her breathing down and came back to planet earth.
When your FMIL freaks out, FI should be the one to have that conversation with her. He should wait at least 24 hours after receiving the comment or message then say to her in a calm voice: “Mom, what you said hurt me and FI adn I don’t think you mean it because X. I know you are much more reasonable than you are acting right now” Hopefully that will calm her down and get her to see the light. Also, pretending like you are really considering her point of view might help too.
Post # 10
I wanted to say hang-in there. You sound like a really amazing person and both you and your fiance are dealing with a lot. My parents often acted the way your FMIL is acting. My fiance did the right thing and stayed out of the mess, so my advice would be to encourage your fiance to deal with his mother. While I wouldn’t suggest this route, getting emotional worked for me. At one point during a typical night with drunk parents, I disinvited them from the wedding. For whatever reason, that got through to them. They realized how much there “off-hand” comments hurt and that I was serious about not having them there. I think chronology matters, too. My parents freaked most about the wedding between 4 and 8 months out, and then around 2 months they became a dream. Hopefully your FMIL will get better…
If you’re brave, you could call or take your FMIL and let her know your concerns regarding your fiance and her comments. You sound like a calm person, so she may appreciate knowing how much you care about her son, but also that you care about her and want to help her handle her stress.
Post # 11
My FI also has PTSD from his time in Iraq and his mother is one of his triggers. Actually, when he left the PTSD clinic he had to sign a contract stating that he would never live with her. Ever! It’s not that she’s bad, she’s just kind of nuts.
You’re a very strong woman and are handling things very well! What we do is distance ourselves when we can and immediately talk about the situation after every phone call. It helps to take the edge off 😉
Post # 12
Whatever you decide to say, your FI should say it to his mom directly. If she even remotely doesn’t approve of you, if she thinks you’re trying to get between her and her son, it’s not going to make her like you any more. And that’s the last thing that either of you need. Tough situation :/
Post # 13
I’m so sorry you have to deal with this, it’s such an awful situation to be in, and trust me, you sound like my twin. My fiancee is also dealing with PTSD as a result of his tour in Afghanistan and his mother is the most unsupportive person I’ve ever met and I often want to scream at her. Just last night she told him that she thought it was stupid he was seeing a psychologist,asked him “aren’t you embarrassed?” and that only “crazies” (her words) see them. He was so hurt so I stood up for him then and politely (it was hard trust me!), but firmly told her that seeing a psychologist doesnt mean someone is crazy, it means that they are being responsible and improving their situation and that she should support him in that decision. She looked a little shocked but it made her stop talking.
I wouldn’t recommend sending her an email because then it becomes a you against her thing and it could get messy. But I would maybe try to sit down together and calmly explain to her why her behaviour is wrong and hurtful and set some ground rules for future conversations. She won’t be happy because she probably won’t like being told she’s wrong but if you discuss it all together then he won’t feel so stressed because he will have your support there too.
I hope she calms down though, because neither of you need to be dealing with her crap right now and she needs to be a lot more sensitive to that!
Post # 14
Thanks for all the advice so far! I totally agree with all of you who have wrote that sending her a letter about her son will most likely not go well. The fact that it might make her never speak to me again has kept me from doing so. This wasn’t her first crazy storm and obviously wont be the last but unlike the past, I don’t think he shook this one as well as the rest.
I also agree with the talking to her in person possibly with future hubs but she lives 4-5hrs away in dc. And we don’t have the time to take a trip down plus she rarely makes a visit up… so a face to face may not happen. Plus future hubs might want to avoid confronting her as he sees it as her normal several month freak out.
As for him defending me, my honor and such… He’s done quite well with that each time she’s freaked. She goes off mad for a while then comes back like nothings the matter.
As for her seeking help, I think she is already going to a doctor bc when she brought up my mental stability last year, he turned it right back around on her. (I was on prozac for 6 months when I succumbed to anxiety induced depression…xanax and my great doc now keeps me from getting so anxious that it leads to lack of sleep/depression)
I like your idea moderndaisy. I don’t know what she has but from what future hubby recalls from their conversations, it does sound like she isn’t rationally thinking during her freak out moments. Her first ‘sode I experienced was last summer is a perfect example. When I sent her an invite to come dress shopping. She spazed on him and he put her in her place. I came to find out from the most recent ‘sode that she was upset that I wasn’t going to come to DC to go dress shopping. I nearly fell on the floor laughing..asking was she serious! All my family and friends that came shopping with me are here in the burgh! They wouldn’t want to drive 4 hrs to go dress shopping. And as my totally straight brother brought up, I would end up paying more for a dress in DC just bc it’s DC!
For the time being, I’m just going to try and let this all go (as this is the first that i’ve noticed it bothering him). If the next storm of crazy hits and he’s still not handling it well, then I may do as some of you suggest and get him to tell her first. Although I’m sure he’s probably doing something like that already but better safe than sorry. Then I may talk to her. But we will see what the situation entails. Either way it goes I’m going to use kid gloves with her and as I told future hubs this weekend…I’m gonna kill her with kindness. =)
For those of you with FI that are current and past soldiers (mrsmurraytobe and MissHelen) Thank them for their service for me! And MissHelen, I’ll have to try to do the talking about it after the conv. Usually I can get him to discuss a day or so after but at that moment he tends to be too tense with the stress induced headache. And what you said about your FI having to sign a form that he wouldn’t live with his mom… that’s wild but understandable. During one of future hubs mom’s episodes, she complained about whey he didn’t move to DC when he was discharged. She couldn’t understand that he moved her not only to be with me but because all of our families and friends are here as well.
Post # 15
@summerlove22 I’m sorry you had to go through something similar as well. But you’ve handled it quite well. Luckily for us, our families are rather accepting now of seeing docs for mental health issues (when my mom was diagnosed with depression in her 20’s her mom thought she was making it up).
I think future hubs mom tends to take just a piece of the picture and fixate on it. For instance during this last ‘sode part of the rant was about our future financial stability. She thinks we are totally screwed as both of us currently don’t have “real” jobs. But I’m getting a stipend while in grad school, will have a Phd when finished and plan on teaching undergrad. He’s transferring to pitt this summer and has a work study lined up for the fall and while he’s in undergrad we will be getting the GI bill housing allowence. By the time he graduates, I’ll be working while he looks for a job or gets his physical therapy degree. She’s just sees him not working now (bc he couldn’t get into school spring semester or he’d have the work study now) and freaking thinking I’ll be roaming around looking for a job abd doesn’t grasp that I am the headstrong type that won’t graduate without finding a job first.
Post # 16
Update… I had a good conversation with future hubs this afternoon and he’s going to tell his mom when she starts this again how adversely it’s affecting him. And if she chooses not to listen, then he will just start ignoring her. We also joked about possibly bumping up our city hall wedding just so she can’t say she doesn’t like the idea of the wedding anymore as we’d already be permanent by the time the wedding came around. But he brought up the point that she would most likely say “There’s always time for an annulment!”. One thing that did bother me that came up in conversation is how she is poisoning his grandmother against me. Apparently when he was visiting his grandma over the weekend, she said something about me being controlling. *Pause…rewind… WHAT!* By no means am I controlling… Yes, I do control the money as his army retirement check being 1/4 of what he made in the army led to lots of overdrafts and me covering those which had to stop. But other than that he does what he wants when he wants. If I were controlling, I’d have made him get a job for the last several months until he started school. But I understand that he needs time to acclimate back to society from the demands of the army. At anything, I was expecting her to say I hadn’t pushed him enough to find a job. But controlling? Maybe she just sees his new found sense of responsibility and not dropping everything on a whim to go on a weekend trip with her as some kind of band influence via me. But if she would take a step back and look at the situation, she’d realize he doesn’t have the money for weekend adventures. And that we have lives that don’t revolve around her. We make plans on our own with friends and family in the area that have schedules and plan ahead rather than on a whim. Her son is not being controlled but is growing up and being responsible. *sigh* I think I need to start reading “the art of happiness” by the Dahai Lama as the more I find that she’s doing, the more I find the need to pop xanax for those panic attacks. That book always imparted some real sense of peace and enlightenment to me. =) What’s really sad is she’s turning in to her ex-MIL, who pulled the same stuff when she was marrying future hubs dad. But when FH tells his mom that, she gets mad and hangs up on him.
It’s funny that earlier, I was rather calm about this all thinking she was just bad mouthing me to him and getting nowhere. Now, I’m starting to worry about the rest of his family. I’m met the other relatives on multiple occasions including his maternal step-grandma and they all seemed to like me just fine. His maternal grandmother is the only one I haven’t seen much and so her being swayed by her nutty daughter is always possible. Hopefully the rest still like me for me and don’t believe her gossip.