I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....

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NotFooledAnymore

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So, NMIL is, I believe, giving us the silent treatment after we didn't respond to two of her recent manipulative emails. We've kind of been giving her the silent treatment as well after the horrible smear campaign her sister, DH's aunt, launched against me in June.

We've been trying to determine how to move forward in our interactions with NMIL after this awful assault on my character. In the meantime, I decided to basically go NC because, clearly, anything I say or do is misconstrued and used against me these days. I've chosen to simply follow DH's lead and let him decide how much interaction we should have with his family. So far, he's wanted absolutely none with NMIL. I was shocked that he didn't want to respond nearly two weeks after her most recent email (which was mostly just to let us know that she's "disappointed" that our kids didn't participate in her dog-naming competition).

In many ways, I feel free of the burden/obligation to keep the family in contact with one another. I've also come to realize that, even with his brothers, our relationship with them was mostly one-sided. If we don't reach out to them, they don't reach out to us. It's only become blatantly obvious since I decided not to continue initiating communication with them. So sad in many ways.

The one thing that's really bothering me, though, is that I keep waiting for NMIL to "do" something....usually if we don't respond ASAP she's all over our case and demanding to know why we're not responding. This time, though, after the second email that we didn't respond to, there's nothing. In the past, she's gone off the rails over much smaller slights but this time there seems to be nothing. It seems too "easy". Is that it? Is she not going to talk to us anymore?

The silence has been so nice but I feel like it's the silence experienced when there's a whole bunch of kids in the house but no noise....usually, that means they're up to something naughty.  ;D

I find myself checking my email always expecting there to be some hateful, accusatory, or hoovering email in my inbox. It's bothering me that I can't just erase her from my mind. I really wish I could but I feel like I have to be prepared for something coming my way.

The smear campaign was pretty awful but, in many ways, I feel like that was only the beginning. I called NMIL and DH's aunt out on their bad behavior and blatant lies (that we caught them in) and I doubt that the narcissistic injury has healed. Ugh....I just want to be able to not think about it all anymore. :(

Any advice? Or has anyone else experienced a similar period of silence only for things to blow up again?

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Unvitation to Drama

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2017, 03:33:11 PM »
I've been through all of the above.  Enjoy the silence.  Use the time to decompress and spend time together.  Find anything else to talk about...

If the disordered can't be in your face, they'll try to find a way to be in your mind 24/7.

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all4peace

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2017, 03:36:46 PM »
Yeah, it's so hard to know if you've been discarded or if she's just regrouping for the next interaction.

Are you willing to block her? I found it very healing for me to simply block DH's entire family. That way I didn't need to fret over communication, lack of communication, intent of communication (or non). It's just blissfully silent and all of that is simply gone from my mind.

It is very sad when we let someone else take a turn in maintaining our relationship, and they don't. Seeing things as they truly are can be very painful. What I have found in stepping away from my self-appointed role as bridge between DH and his entire family, is that I have so much more peace (finally!!), joy and serenity. I have found myself laughing again, dancing, and just really loving life again. It had literally been years since I last felt this good. I took all that energy and thought space and focus and put it into relationships that give back, that aren't complicated and confusing, that are honest and kind, and basically two-sided.

Please don't take this as criticism, because it isn't and I've been in your shoes: Take your power back. Literally decide to not care what they may be saying or doing (as long as your child and marriage are protected), and focus on better people and things. The more you look away from them, in the sense of healthfully not giving them the power to fill your thoughts or ruin your day, the stronger you will become.

If someone needs to worry about what your MIL might do next, let it be your DH. :bighug:

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Doe-Eyes

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2017, 05:43:49 PM »
Only advice is get really clear on the difference between NC and silent treatment, one is passive aggressive and one is setting a boundary. The silence is nice until you realize the build up of resentment, and you described your own silence as both silent treatment and NC and the worrying over when she'll reach out makes me think it's more silent treatment than NC... which isn't exactly a healthy response, understandable, but if you're focused on healing it's not going to achieve that.

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NotFooledAnymore

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2017, 09:56:09 PM »
Only advice is get really clear on the difference between NC and silent treatment, one is passive aggressive and one is setting a boundary. The silence is nice until you realize the build up of resentment, and you described your own silence as both silent treatment and NC and the worrying over when she'll reach out makes me think it's more silent treatment than NC... which isn't exactly a healthy response, understandable, but if you're focused on healing it's not going to achieve that.

You make a very good point, Doe-eyes. I think DH and I are somewhere between NC and silent treatment and my uneasiness does come in because I feel like we're giving NMIL more of the silent treatment. I'm not sure we're fully ready to go NC but rather VLC. I feel like DH should at least respond to one of his mom's legitimate requests but I told myself I was staying out of all communication exchanges and would no longer encourage interactions if he doesn't feel the need to do so.

The hard part is that DH's family seems to operate primarily on a really dysfunctional level of denial, passive-aggressiveness, and extreme sarcasm. I hate all of that and stood up to it and it resulted in a giant smear campaign against me. So, I've backed off.

I think what All4Peace recommended is a good idea...I should block NMIL and then I for sure will not be expecting to hear from her and can truly go NC with her.

I do think your point is a good one, though. I really do need to talk with DH and decide what we're actually doing here: NC or silent treatment....healthy boundary or retaliation for our hurt feelings?

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mayaberry

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 01:14:51 AM »
I think you've had some great advice there. I'm nc with nmil as much as possible - I've blocked her on social media, I don't answer her calls to our house (rare anyway) and she doesn't have my mobile number or email address. So I only have to see her on her annual visit to our house and when the odd thing slips through on social media.
H however makes it really difficult for my nc to work. This is because his vlc is pretty much silent treatment for a while and then he caves in and speaks to her like nothing has happened. It means we are stuck on a constant cycle of silence and peace and then bam, right back to where we started. He can't bring himself to bridge the gap between silent treatment and actually limiting contact for fear he will fave a backlash. So he doesn't call her much anymore but equally he waits on tenterhooks for her to call him and will often have us waiting around for her call, in the mistaken belief that if he just deals with a fortnightly phone call then everything will be fine.
I wouldn't want you to be stuck in the situation I'm in so I think you've got the right idea about checking all of this out with your H and working out what he is actually planning to do.

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NotFooledAnymore

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2017, 10:43:13 AM »
Yeah, it's so hard to know if you've been discarded or if she's just regrouping for the next interaction.

Are you willing to block her? I found it very healing for me to simply block DH's entire family. That way I didn't need to fret over communication, lack of communication, intent of communication (or non). It's just blissfully silent and all of that is simply gone from my mind.

It is very sad when we let someone else take a turn in maintaining our relationship, and they don't. Seeing things as they truly are can be very painful. What I have found in stepping away from my self-appointed role as bridge between DH and his entire family, is that I have so much more peace (finally!!), joy and serenity. I have found myself laughing again, dancing, and just really loving life again. It had literally been years since I last felt this good. I took all that energy and thought space and focus and put it into relationships that give back, that aren't complicated and confusing, that are honest and kind, and basically two-sided.

Please don't take this as criticism, because it isn't and I've been in your shoes: Take your power back. Literally decide to not care what they may be saying or doing (as long as your child and marriage are protected), and focus on better people and things. The more you look away from them, in the sense of healthfully not giving them the power to fill your thoughts or ruin your day, the stronger you will become.

If someone needs to worry about what your MIL might do next, let it be your DH. :bighug:

Thank you, All4Peace, for your insight and advice. I really do appreciate it and am seriously considering the possibility of blocking NMIL on my email. I removed her from my social media a while back and she never actually calls or texts me so that's really nice.

I have definitely found a sense of peace and clarity after deciding to no longer be the one trying to keep everyone in touch with each other. It will be what it will be at this point. Mostly, I wanted that close connection because the cousins all really love each other and I want them to be able to remain in good relationships with them. But, geographically, we now live far away from all of them and a recent attempt to FaceTime was never returned or even acknowledged, even after the kids left a video message for their cousins.

Mayaberry, thank you, too, for your insights. I feel like we are in a similar position as you in many ways; however, DH would cut ties with his mom and never look back if it weren't for our kids wanting to be in touch with their grandmother. I think I'm the one who's having a harder time going NC, yet it really does feel more like we're both giving each other the silent treatment. I would say that on our end it's really been more about taking time to decide how we want to move forward with NMIL and not yet knowing the right way to move forward.

We did decide last night that DH will sent NMIL a short email responding to the one legitimate request she had in her most recent email but we will not pursue/initiate any other communication with her after that.

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Doe-Eyes

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2017, 11:20:54 AM »
Only advice is get really clear on the difference between NC and silent treatment, one is passive aggressive and one is setting a boundary. The silence is nice until you realize the build up of resentment, and you described your own silence as both silent treatment and NC and the worrying over when she'll reach out makes me think it's more silent treatment than NC... which isn't exactly a healthy response, understandable, but if you're focused on healing it's not going to achieve that.

You make a very good point, Doe-eyes. I think DH and I are somewhere between NC and silent treatment and my uneasiness does come in because I feel like we're giving NMIL more of the silent treatment. I'm not sure we're fully ready to go NC but rather VLC. I feel like DH should at least respond to one of his mom's legitimate requests but I told myself I was staying out of all communication exchanges and would no longer encourage interactions if he doesn't feel the need to do so.

The hard part is that DH's family seems to operate primarily on a really dysfunctional level of denial, passive-aggressiveness, and extreme sarcasm. I hate all of that and stood up to it and it resulted in a giant smear campaign against me. So, I've backed off.

I think what All4Peace recommended is a good idea...I should block NMIL and then I for sure will not be expecting to hear from her and can truly go NC with her.

I do think your point is a good one, though. I really do need to talk with DH and decide what we're actually doing here: NC or silent treatment....healthy boundary or retaliation for our hurt feelings?

Yes and it sounds just by coming here and sharing you are seeking clarity. He might still be operating under some unhealthy family patterns so it might be that if you go about blocking and setting some limits for yourself he'll follow your lead. I had a similar situation with my uNPDmil and DH, DH has a lot of fleas and over the years has gotten better at being up front and clear about boundaries but its really hard to stay flea free around people with really passive aggressive tendencies  :roll: So speaking from my personal experience this sounds like a great opportunity for you both to get on same page. For most people NC is a last resort after LC, I know that's how it played out for us with IL's.

Reading the part about the smear campaign and your response to All4peace I would also be curious how do you see NC working if your kids still speak to IL's or spend time with them? I also hang out on DWIL babycenter forum and there are a lot of good posts there about this type of situation. That prompts me to ask what message is that sending to them if they see IL's being no good to mom and still getting access to them? Or at least consider how that plays out in the long haul. It sounds like a lot of this is hinged on getting DH on the same page so just some thoughts and questions that might bring forth some conversation points with him.

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NotFooledAnymore

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2017, 08:58:45 AM »

Reading the part about the smear campaign and your response to All4peace I would also be curious how do you see NC working if your kids still speak to IL's or spend time with them? I also hang out on DWIL babycenter forum and there are a lot of good posts there about this type of situation. That prompts me to ask what message is that sending to them if they see IL's being no good to mom and still getting access to them? Or at least consider how that plays out in the long haul. It sounds like a lot of this is hinged on getting DH on the same page so just some thoughts and questions that might bring forth some conversation points with him.

So, we actually now live half way across the country from NMIL. We just moved this summer. The kids have not spoken to, nor interacted with, her either since everything escalated in June. It's not because we're blocking any interactions with her, though. They've not asked to talk to her on the phone and she has not even called us in over 2 months. She didn't even call or send a card for DS2's birthday....we were even in her town visiting FIL and she made no effort to come by at all.

DH also decided not to email his mom back responding to, what I considered to be, the legitimate question (she wanted our address). He has zero desire to interact with her and I think I'm actually the problem here. I realize I "enable" her bad behavior because I always get FOGged back to her.

Like, right now, I feel guilty that we have not given her our address, but why do I feel guilty? Well, because I do not want to intentionally hurt her in any way. But, as DH pointed out, she needs to suffer the natural consequences for her poor behavior and false accusations. If we continue to come crawling back then we're just condoning her mistreatment of us.

In the past, DH and I have regularly discussed the fact that if this were a friend treating us the way she has, we wouldn't be friends and we would have cut ties a long time ago. But, I never feel like I can fully do that because she's his mom. He has no problem with it, though.

So, I'm continuing to stick to my boundary that I set for myself which is that we will only interact with his family in the way that DH sees fit. The contact will only come when he feels the need to initiate it, not me (because I'm most often the one who feels that we need to reach out....usually because I feel obligated or guilty, not because I actually want to talk to her. Right now, he really doesn't want any contact with her and I need to suppress my guilty feelings and go with it. I think we'll be better off in the end.

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Doe-Eyes

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2017, 10:43:31 AM »
DH also decided not to email his mom back responding to, what I considered to be, the legitimate question (she wanted our address). He has zero desire to interact with her and I think I'm actually the problem here. I realize I "enable" her bad behavior because I always get FOGged back to her.

Like, right now, I feel guilty that we have not given her our address, but why do I feel guilty? Well, because I do not want to intentionally hurt her in any way. But, as DH pointed out, she needs to suffer the natural consequences for her poor behavior and false accusations. If we continue to come crawling back then we're just condoning her mistreatment of us.

In the past, DH and I have regularly discussed the fact that if this were a friend treating us the way she has, we wouldn't be friends and we would have cut ties a long time ago. But, I never feel like I can fully do that because she's his mom. He has no problem with it, though.

So, I'm continuing to stick to my boundary that I set for myself which is that we will only interact with his family in the way that DH sees fit. The contact will only come when he feels the need to initiate it, not me (because I'm most often the one who feels that we need to reach out....usually because I feel obligated or guilty, not because I actually want to talk to her. Right now, he really doesn't want any contact with her and I need to suppress my guilty feelings and go with it. I think we'll be better off in the end.

This sounds like a really healthy plan, to both be on the same page with your husband and get distance by viewing this relationship with MIL in context of how you expect anyone to treat you. It sounds like the physical distance is helping but the issue is emotional distance.

I am concerned for you when you say "suppress your guilty feelings", bc I'm curious to know where they come from before pushing them to the side... I think not acting on feelings of guilt is step one in stopping the cycle, but suppressing is not healing. Even from the headline to your first post it sounds like there is pain in this lack of contact for you, and there is nothing to feel guilty about in feeling pain. If I'm reading between the lines I am picking up that the feeling of guilt comes from being the person MIL is able to get to emotionally, like she's not even your mom and she gets under your skin more than your DH and you're frustrated by that.  So if its a wound that your MIL is able to manipulate I think you deserve a life free of manipulation and the best way to get that is to identify and heal wounds. Does any of this ring true or am I totally off the mark?

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NotFooledAnymore

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2017, 10:43:06 PM »

I am concerned for you when you say "suppress your guilty feelings", bc I'm curious to know where they come from before pushing them to the side... I think not acting on feelings of guilt is step one in stopping the cycle, but suppressing is not healing. Even from the headline to your first post it sounds like there is pain in this lack of contact for you, and there is nothing to feel guilty about in feeling pain. If I'm reading between the lines I am picking up that the feeling of guilt comes from being the person MIL is able to get to emotionally, like she's not even your mom and she gets under your skin more than your DH and you're frustrated by that.  So if its a wound that your MIL is able to manipulate I think you deserve a life free of manipulation and the best way to get that is to identify and heal wounds. Does any of this ring true or am I totally off the mark?

Wow! Yes! I've been wondering why I even feel guilty after the way she's treated me. We've been married 14 years and it's happened this whole time but escalated the more I stood up to her. I think it bothers me that others, who experience and are aware of her manipulations, continue to have a relationship with her. I'm saddened that being an empathetic, inclusive, and compassionate person has made me the bad guy (I even feel self-centered writing that statement). I can see that she's been hurt and I've tried to be empathetic to that. I also try to picture my own kids distancing themselves from me someday and that would hurt, too. So, I can see where some of her behavior comes from but I certainly hope I never behave that way.

I have such a wonderful relationship with my own family and it boggles my mind that the more I try to have a good relationship with DH's family the worse it gets. The more I try to explain how she's done things to drive a wedge between us, the more she turns it against me. I am not sure why I feel guilt or sadness....it's the death of a "dream" I suppose. I always wanted her to feel loved. I was the first daughter-in-law and she has no daughters. I invited her to dress shop with me and be a part of all that, but she found a way to make me out into the "bad guy" by telling her sons I bought the most expensive dress I tried on. I went to Bridal Mart, for crying out loud. Nothing in there was more than $600! Anyway...

I think I feel bad at the thought of her being alone without anyone to help her. I just don't like for people to feel rejected (probably because I felt that way a lot growing up....always the new kid at school) and I hate that this seems to be the only way...to shut her out of my life. I have to tell myself that it's okay to put myself first in this instance because, by doing that, I'm actually protecting our kids, our marriage, and our family from further harm.

Sorry, I'm rambling. I appreciate your feedback and am finally beginning to feel okay with stepping away from this toxic relationship.

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daughter

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2017, 11:33:04 AM »
Is your MIL "super-upset" by that cross-country move?  Could this be trigger-cause for the recent uptick in bad behavior?  My own malevolent NBM "went ballistic" when we moved a mere 20-minute drive from their neighborhood, initiating stepped-up inexcusable bad behavior on her part, reliably enabled by NF, to point I finally "went NC" for first time in my life.  And root-cause was a house-move merely several suburbs away; you've moved out of "frequent contact" range altogether, so MIL's may be "on attack" regardless of issue or situation, no matter how "nice" and "sweet" your demeanor towards her.  You've likely been "safe target" all along, where the facts don't matter, because your designated role is bad guy and scapegoat: If it rains, it's your fault too, right?

I would relinquish all "MIL contact responsibilities" to DH, quietly block her on all your devices, and "tune it all out".  I'd be supportive of DH's on detachment from MIL, his own OTTF process of disengagement, and not encourage further face-to-face contact visits with her beyond the minimal that DH feels appropriate.  MIL likely will never be a "good grandparent", it's time to acknowledge this too.



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NotFooledAnymore

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2017, 07:48:39 PM »
Daughter, I'm not sure if this is what did it but we up until June, lived about 2 1/2 hours away from her for the past three years and she always found excuses to not come visit us when we'd invite her. She would even literally drive past our town to get to one of the other brothers homes for a visit and still not stop over and see us or even meet up with us somewhere.

Yet, she'd tell people that she didn't get to see our kids and blame our schedule as the reason why.

In my opinion, and I know this sounds weird, but I think she was secretly happy when my father passed away after battling a horrific disease for the last three years. I think she didn't like the "attention" he got because of it (how twisted is that?) and then was jealous of all the wonderful stories people shared about my dad after his death. At his burial, which was at the end of May in Arlington National Cemetery, she and DH's aunt tried to make the several days surrounding it all about them and that we needed to spend time with them. We kept reminding them that it was not about them but that we would try to spend time with them but couldn't commit to anything specific.

I think what did both of them in was when my dear friends flew in to surprise me the night before the burial as a way to support me through this tough time. I went to dinner with them and DH's aunt and NMIL couldn't handle it. That's when they turned me into public enemy number one and berated me for not ditching my friends to spend time with them instead. They then lied about staying in the same hotel as us (claiming they weren't going to be there nor be available anymore to spend time with us). We literally caught them checking out of the hotel and I confronted them and asked why they didn't tell us the truth.

That was the last straw. DH's aunt when on a tirade and smear campaign against me telling everyone I was childish, argumentative, and that I abused her when I called them out in their lie. She went on to tell every family member in an email (that DH and I were not included in but it was shared with us later) that she believed me to be an abusive person and wanted to make sure everyone knew it and that I was sure to do it again to someone else.

NMIL stayed "silent" through all of this but, through her actions, made it very clear that she agreed with DH's aunt (or at least supported her over us). I'm almost 100% certain NMIL fed DH's aunt a whole bunch of lies about us prior to the explosive confrontation because it certainly came out of nowhere. We thought we had a good relationship with DH's aunt all the way up until confronting her in her lie....at my father's burial.

Because of these accusations, we've decided to stay away and have basically gone NC with NMIL and definitely with DH's aunt.

It's a big confusing mess and I don't know where it all came from. So much hate for me that honestly destroyed me a bit inside. Still reeling from it all and heartbroken that NMIL and DH's aunt have created this outlandish lie about me simply because I stood up to them and didn't allow them to get away with their lie....that we literally caught them in.

Why I even feel sad about the loss of these relationships is confusing to me.  :stars:

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NotFooledAnymore

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2017, 07:54:28 PM »
Oh, and about the whole thing with my dad, NMIL and DH's Aunt seemed to resent the fact that I regularly went down to be with my parents over the three years that he battled ALS. My mom was his primary caretaker and the further the disease progressed, the more difficult it was for her to care for him alone. So, I tried to go down there every two months to help relieve and assist her.

NMIL and DH's aunt would passive aggressively comment that it was hard to coordinate a visit with us because I was too busy visiting my parents all the time. In three years, I probably spent a total of 4 months down there.....there was plenty of time to visit when I wasn't at my parents but they hardly ever came when invited.

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PinkDress

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Re: I wish I could just move on and not give NMIL another thought....
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2017, 09:36:25 PM »
Oh, and about the whole thing with my dad, NMIL and DH's Aunt seemed to resent the fact that I regularly went down to be with my parents over the three years that he battled ALS. My mom was his primary caretaker and the further the disease progressed, the more difficult it was for her to care for him alone. So, I tried to go down there every two months to help relieve and assist her.

NMIL and DH's aunt would passive aggressively comment that it was hard to coordinate a visit with us because I was too busy visiting my parents all the time. In three years, I probably spent a total of 4 months down there.....there was plenty of time to visit when I wasn't at my parents but they hardly ever came when invited.

Just stopping in to comment on your past two comments on this thread. Yes, it seems to me like your MIL has done quite a bit of background work with AIL, ensuring anytime you confront MIL, she will defend and play YOU to be the bad guy. I suspect my own NMIL has done this same sort of thing, surely if people actually knew her tone of voice, strange stuff she's said and done...they'd confront her too-or at least recognize how crazy she is. I remember my MIL once being in conflict with a family friend and complaining to me saying she was worried what this friend would say to the pastor they were trying to mediate with-I said something like, "Oh I'm sure the pastor can discern the truth so I wouldn't worry about it." Looking back after my problems with her, Im wondering if she said stuff like that because the family friend knew things about MIL she didn't want out...things that if exposed she could play off as a lie if she did the work necessary beforehand with family members. I think PDs do this sort of thing, always always manipulatively covering their tracks to avoid being found out. I take comfort in knowing God sees it all though. Your AIL accusing you of being abusive for confronting them on wrongdoing is superrrr creepy, it seems like she was doing her background work within the family as well-ensuring all of the family got that email, likely leaving out what they'd done. Creepy. lol that's all I can say.

My heart just hurts for you, but I am so so thankful your H is on your team, that's helps tremendously.
"In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit." Anne Frank

"God sees people as His own treasures, so be careful how you treat them."

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