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Discussion Starter #1
Ok if anyone has any advice for me - please share!

I am happily married to the love of my life. He is a military man who is kind, honest, hard-working.. and I could go on to use every positive adjective in the book but you get the idea of the picture I'm painting. We have only been married a few years, and like any still-fairly-newlywed-couple we have had a few quirks to work out as we moved from single life to married life but we have overcome all the obstacles to brighter days every time.

Now to the in-laws. My husband's childhood wasn't picture perfect and neither was most of ours, but it was harder than a lot of ours. His dad was a hard-working country man but a severe alcoholic and his mother was a four-time teenage pregnancy turned druggie. His mother said to him every day 'don't be like your father' which yes, as you can imagine had an impact on him because today he will say 'i don't want to be like my dad'. He is nothing like his father in the alcoholic sense mind you, but that is stuck in his head because of his mother. Aside from her doing this to him and not realizing the impact it could have on him long term, she never held down a job and if she did the money she earned wasn't spent on my husband or his older brother or sisters because it was spent on her drugs, she would go missing for days at a time just dropping my husband and his siblings off at their grandparents (his father's parents - God bless them for being there), and the worst in my opinion was that she eventually abandoned the family and left my husband to care for his siblings when he was in high school because she decided to run off with another guy..and I could go on but again you get the idea of the picture I am painting.

The problem I am having is not that I haven't accepted this because I have, thanks to my husband and I's 'the past is the past so let's learn from it, move on, and make our lives better from here on out' attitude.

The issue is that his mother acts as though she has never done anything wrong to my husband. She acts as though her life was hard but all of her decisions were fine because they suited her needs, and we should continue that pattern and cater to her in her every wish immediately when she calls and asks for something which by the way is the only time she calls (she even called and asked us to reimburse her for her travel expenses to come to our wedding! don't even get me started on that), and if she does try to make any sort of conversation she pries and is negative about what she hears. She constantly criticizes me in that "I'm not specifically saying that you're wrong, I'm just making my point" attitude for things. Most recently she criticized me for taking time off work to have my husband and I's first child in which case she told me that 'times are tough and you should take that stress off of my son and get back to work'.

But here's my 'ultimate issue'.

The worst part is not that she criticizes me, because ultimately I can handle it by letting it go eventually.. The worst part is that she is negative toward my husband. As I said he is a military man and has been ever since graduating high school. My husband thought that his last deployment was, in fact, his last. However, he had an option to go again with his brigade but in a different role/position. He accepted the offer. Now I fully support his decision because although it may be difficult and scary for me, it is his decision and he is doing it for his country, his men, his family, and himself. His mother, once he informed her did not say "I'm proud of you", "Be careful" or anything you might think would be a rational statement. She said "What?! Why did you agree to go?!". He said that he knew that would be her reaction, but I simply cannot dismiss that as quickly as the rest of her shenanigans..and oh yes there's more..but again you see the picture I am painting.

What? Why? How?

I want her to stop calling only when she wants something.
I want her to stop being negative toward my husband.

I try to let everything go as it comes up, because that is what my husband does and we try not to let outside drama influence our lives. I want to continue to be supportive and keep this mindset going for my husband, but sometimes I want to scream it frustrates me so much.

How do I get this problem situated with her while not making things more difficult for my husband?
 

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It doesn't seem like his mother's negativity is hurting him like it is hurting you. I don't think you can make it worse/better for your husband...he seems to be coping with her just fine.

Fight fire with fire. Grab her butt up one day, when it is just the two of you, and let her have it. Be straight out. Tell her you are tired of her badmouthing your husband. I am so sure you can do this.

When it gets back to your husband all you do is apologize but you could not take her treatment of him any longer.

He will forgive you. And she will never forget it. :)
 

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If it doesn't bother your husband, it shouldn't bother you.

But before you blast her as Falene suggests, hint to your husband that you will do that. If he doesn't feel it's appropriate, don't do it.

Just put more distance between you and her.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Chris,

I know that it doesn't bother my husband because he has lived with it for his whole life and grown past it.

It doesn't bother me 99% of the time because my husband and I have the same attitude about drama, we don't let it impact the way we live our lives.

The 1% of the time it does bother me is when she calls and it brings up the same issues every time.

I don't want that 1% of the time to create an issue to impact the rest of our lives.

I understand that it is his mother and I don't want to disrespect her in that.

But I want her to stop disrespecting him and us.

I don't want to 'blast her' as the other reply stated necessarily, but sometimes I feel that I could if I let myself.

You're a guy, give me a guy's perspective.
 

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Clar, the guy's perspective is your H doesn't let his Mother control his life or emotions. He doesn't engage, correct? He doesn't argue with her or complain about her. He has dealt with this his whole life and he knows she is never going to change. Period!!!!

If you keep forcing the issue, you are creating the drama, not his mother. Under the surface you are putting him in a tough spot. Do you want him to stand up for himself? Or do you want him to stand up for you (against his mother)?

You can't change her. So what's left? She is a non-issue in your husband's life. But you are giving her the opportunity to become one again. Don't let that happen.

Minimize the contact with her. If she calls and your H is home, give him the phone, don't have any conversation with her at all. With your H being deployed (and big thanks to him for his service BTW), you shouldn't have to have any contact with her for a while.

If it truly is the 1% you said it is, then find a way to hold your breath and ignore it. Support him in his efforts to keep her from affecting his life any more than she already has.
 

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My mother is in denial and as much as you think telling her off might help...it won't. My mother pretends my families childhood was wonderful. It was far from that. 2 brother have absolutely nothing to do with her and all I hear is she doesn't know what's she's done. Keep your MIL at arms distance and only tell her small details of your life. She does not get it now or ever.
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Discussion Starter #7
Perhaps I am not giving the correct question or portrayal of what is going on.

I am not having trouble accepting what happened in my husband's life prior to me entering it, because the past is the past.

What I am having trouble with is dealing with the negativity she brings in our lives now.

I referenced the past to give an idea on what I know about her behavior.

You said that I should let him talk to her when she calls, etc which I do but most of the time the problem I have had is that she is negative to him and that bothers me. Eventually we both shrug it off until the next time.

The problem is taking a new turn now that he is deployed because she does call me every so often and I have to deal with her directly.

What I want is for her to stop prying and being negative because after every conversation my husband has to take time to get over it and so do I for that reason.

How do I do this?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It seems that the majority are saying to distance her and ignore it. I will do that.

How do I get her to stop the negativity and prying - basically when she calls and something she says obviously bothers my husband, which in turn bothers me?
 

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Chris,

I know that it doesn't bother my husband because he has lived with it for his whole life and grown past it.

It doesn't bother me 99% of the time because my husband and I have the same attitude about drama, we don't let it impact the way we live our lives.

The 1% of the time it does bother me is when she calls and it brings up the same issues every time.

I don't want that 1% of the time to create an issue to impact the rest of our lives.

I understand that it is his mother and I don't want to disrespect her in that.

But I want her to stop disrespecting him and us.

I don't want to 'blast her' as the other reply stated necessarily, but sometimes I feel that I could if I let myself.

You're a guy, give me a guy's perspective.
You can try to distance yourself, not answer the phone, etc... but eventually you will have to talk to her.

In those 1% times when she is bringing up the same issue again, just say "Yeah, we discussed that last time we talked. What's new in your life?" Just keep deflecting.

Eventually she will no longer get a rise out of you, which is why she does this. It will take time but you can do it.
 
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