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Hey guys!

First off I'd like to say I'm glad to have stumbled across these forums. I live in a tech world and always thought I could google anything but never thought about relationship / family advice.

Issue at hand in a nutshell: My wife and mother do not get along.

Ok, that is really vague, and I know its probably cliche. This issue has been causing me mostly the only stress I have in this world. It makes problems for my wife who complains to me, and makes problems for my mother who complains to me.

One more thing to add before I get too detailed. All I could research on the net, has been an issue of the Son and his Mothers close relationship interfering with now his(what should be imo, new priority) Wifes relationship. I am not close with my mother in that regard. So this may be more an issue between my mother and me, but I'll let you guys judge/advise.

My wife and I live in Austin TX. My father, and my In-Laws also live in the same city. My mother and my father have been divorced since I was around age 5. My mother has had 3 total marriages one kid almost every 10 years with each husband, me included and the oldest. When I was young I had asked my mother if she was my real mom, the first words out of her mouth were "I cant believe you would think that, I buy you anything you want." My mom has never said "I love you" until recently when her daughter(kid two) moved out. My mom had asked me to lie to my grandparents when I was about 13, she told me to tell my grandparents a lie instead of the truth that she was going on a trip with a guy she met online, cheating on my step-dad who had practically half raised me. So you can see where I have lost respect for my mother in the past. She is self absorbed and in denial about it. She will smile to your face and turn around and talk to her friends and even some of our family and spin stories in her favor to pity her, or make you look bad. At 18 Mostly because I could not stand my mother for loss of respect, and other small things she would do to get under your skin or, just in general "ask" you to do for her, I left for FL lived there for 8 years, and decided I need to move back to Austin. My Mother now lives in Houston with my little brother who is 10 and her 3rd Husband(who is nice). Because of the distance and time apart, I thought everything was ok. Now that I have a new woman in my life, it seems my moms force is back and crazy just as it used to be. (btw my sister, 21, has the same issues with my mom as I did, in different ways)

I'll take the issue at hand. Even though there are a lot more examples. Because of past issues, my wife and I, while at my grandparents visiting the weekend after new years with my mother and her family decided to ask her when would be a good time in March to have a baby shower so that she could come. We have had mini issues in the past because of poor planning and trying to include everyone, especially my mother. So she said anything but the 2 middle weekends in march as they were going on a trip with my little brother for spring break to Disney World. So We asked about the first weekend in march then!? Ok! Saturday the 7th in March. I specifically remember my wife saying the seventh and even putting it in on our google calendar right there. So a month has past, we have now planned everything around this baby shower, I am working more this month to help save for my wife's time off after the baby(she gets no pregnant leave-pay) next month is baby shower, a weekend in there we are house/dog sitting for in-laws as its their anniversary, last weekend in march we planned a tiny stay-cation for our 1 yr anniversary, and every Saturday in April is a baby class. And then finally the baby early May.

-My life is now filled with these events "oh the single life". (my wife is worth it.)

I realize at this point I'm probably going on too much. I'll try to be shorter.

My mother gets in contact with me a few days ago asking what she can do to help plan the baby shower. There isnt much for her to do because she is 3-4 hours away in Houston. I tell her to get in contact with my Mother-in-law. She then finds out its on the 7th, and coming back to me saying that shes hurt and that I knew that she was going on vacay with her family to Disney. I always tell it straight to my mom, and proceeded to come back with that we had specifically discussed when we were having it, she thought the first weekend in march as in on Sunday the 1st. I know my mom, and this is not right cause she knows we wouldn't have it on a Sunday as people would have to travel(some of my wifes family from another state as well). I have cut all ties with my mother when I was 18, all ties as in she doesn't have a reason to hold anything against me(things she bought me, financially, living with her), as this is what she would do in the past. eye for an eye kind of thing. This is what my mother does, tries to spin things in her favor as to not make her look bad. So the only thing she uses against me now is "I'm hurt"

My wife is upset, my mother is upset. I'm caught between the middle of a pregnant woman and a post-menopausal mother.

To add they both are making backhanded comments on Facebook(I hate Facebook for this reason) towards either each other or about me.

I am a logical person, I try to include both my mother and my wife. My mother makes things so difficult. My wife says shes DONE with my mother. I want to be DONE with my mother too, but I don't want to hurt her, nor my Grandparents on her side, cause I know my mother will spin a story to them that makes me look like I don't care. On top of, I don't want my wife dealing with the stress.

Any advice will help.

-Thanks! Sorry for the wall of text.
 

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It sounds like you are handling everything as well as anyone can. :)

You are first supporting your wife, you are not participating in the back handed and snide remarks. You call your mother out when necessary, and you do your best to support your wife.

You realize there is nothing you can do to change your mothers behavior. The best you can do is distance yourself and guard yourself to not fall victim to her shaming tactics, "I'm hurt." Well if she is hurt about not coming how hurt will you and your wife be is you change the date to suit her and now YOU can't be there? You recognize your mother is manipulative and you don't fall for that either.

I think you're doing a great job under very difficult circumstances.
 

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My tips for dealing with people like this:

1. Above all- realize that their chaos is about them, not you. Don't take it personally. Accept that the person may never understand and will always blame the outside world. There is nothing you can do about it.

2. Since you accept that there is nothing you can do if they go into chaos, don't fight verbally or otherwise with them. "We had a misunderstanding about the first weekend in March. I am sorry you won't be able to make it, maybe we can do something special later on after your vacation or after the baby gets here."

Don't bother arguing. "I am sorry you are hurt, we tried to ensure you could make it when we had our discussion. There's nothing you or I can do now though, as you have your vacation and the plans are made for the shower."

Just keep it as impersonal as possible. Since you're not in the same room or city you can leave the conversation if she won't let it go. Count yourself lucky on this one!

3. Stay in communication with your wife. Talk with her about how this is just the way your mom is. I have a person like this in my family- it is a predictable cycle. She will have a period of happiness and stability and then go off the rails. At some point, someone in the family is going to be, according to her, "mentally ill! Totally, completely wrong and out of order!" Sometimes it is me, sometimes it is other family members. To me this person reminds me of a washing machine, going through the normal cycles and eventually hitting Spin where everything goes flying around. It will end and things will be calm again. Whoever happens to be nearby will be her target until she finishes her "Spin Cycle". It is a tempest in a teapot unless you allow yourself to dragged into it.

If your wife can also see that this stuff is internal to your mom and really doesn't have much to do with your wife at all, and that your mom just is going to feel hurt/abandoned/angry/wronged (beyond what we all feel from time to time) no matter what people do or do not do, she'll have an easier time. She hopefully won't feel compelled to bite back on FB or otherwise.


3. Once the "spin cycle" is done, leave it in the past. There is no need to bring it up or discuss it again. The person's opinion on what happened won't change, it will always be a period of persecution/hurt. There is nothing to be gained by FBing back and forth or keeping it going.

4. Once you realize the cycle or her acts, arrange your lives with her accordingly. This will be very important for your wife and you guys need to be on the same page, especially concerning your little one. Thankfully my husband and I are on the same page and we have been in agreement the whole time on when this person is invited/is not invited to certain activities, what activities we are comfortable with involving her and our son, and most importantly we agree on how to handle her when she goes off.

She is family and we want her to be included, and she wants to be included; at the same time, there is extra handling that goes into it. It's worth it in our opinion.

It might turn out that it is NOT worth it to keep your mom in your life. IMO you will be really helping your wife if you can stand by her now. If you really want your mom out, then put her out. Let the Grandparents know that is your mom causes too much stress and arguments, and you will no longer be including her. This is YOU protecting your family.

Your wife's hurt> x1000 than your mom's hurt. This is especially true given your mom's personality. Your Mom hurts herself, even if she won't see it, and that will go on no matter what you do.

Best of luck to you and congrats on your new family!
 

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I would keep distance from her and tell my wife to do so too. She is not a healthy individual to be around and doesn't seem to bring any value to your life (quite the opposite).

No need to announce it, just keep distance from people that are not healthy for your life.

It was your mothers mistake for messing up the dates, so leave as is. If she shows up, she shows up.....at this point, it would probably be better if she didn't.

Personally, I don't like dealing with inconsiderate/selfish people (family or not).
 

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Stop reading Facebook. Compartmentalize your life with mom--you visit her on your terms, speak with her on your terms, etc. If she says she is "hurt," just remind her that her feelings are tied to how she thinks about things, and if she chooses to be hurt, you have no control over that. Really, practice saying it and she'll eventually stop trying to guilt you b/c she knows what you will say.

What concerns me more is that your wife is responding in-kind on FB. A mature adult does not engage in sniping in a public forum. Pregnancy is no excuse. Expect your wife to act like a grown up--although you may have made the mistake of tolerating her bad behavior too long already, since that appears to be what you expect from women (based on your relationship with your mom). Get some counseling together and explain to her what you expect from a wife and mother. If she really is a decent person, she'll step up to the plate. Good luck.
 

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So the only thing she uses against me now is "I'm hurt"
She can only do that if you let her.

Be the grownup you need to be and say "I'm sorry you didn't understand the date, mom, but it's already set in stone and everything else in our lives is revolving around that date. And besides, Houston's Spring Break is March 14-18, not the first week."
 
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