Need advice on MIL's behavior - Is my interpretation jaded?

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Ok, so this month a lot has happened.  We are NC with Dh's parents (Dh decides if voicemails or text deserve or warrant a response from him).  Dh has not responded to anything in over 6 months.  So technically Dh talks to FIL maybe twice a year, I guess I consider that NC.   Over the course of 6 years now, Dh has had very sporadic contact - again maybe 10 voicemails/text in 6 years.

So anyway Dh never sends birthday cards, or holiday cards or calls his parents on holidays/birthdays - not for 6 years.  So there would not be any expectation that we or he would send one now.  This month is Mil's birthday, obviously Mother's Day and Dh's birthday.  Dh's birthday has always seemed to be more of a celebration of his parents than his own special day - I hope this makes sense, basically, all holidays and all birthdays are about my MIL (something probably all of us are familiar with?).  So anyway this is a milestone birthday for Dh - and with MIL's birthday and Mother's Day I figured maybe they would contact - but in the past, they haven't been consistent about it - I believe they are giving us the Silent Treatment in their mind.

So starting with the beginning of the Month we get a drunk phone call from FIL disowning Dh for the most part.  It was vulgar, slurring and late at night.  Dh did not respond.  The voicemail disowned Dh over Dh's thoughtlessness in not sending MIL a card or calling on her birthday.  Dh hasn't actually talked to MIL in any form in over a year.  So then MIL text's on Mother's Day and get's all mushy - again late when we'd be asleep.  Basically, it was how MIL will love DH forever and he can't stop her.  That they all miss him - which I know isn't true - Dh is dead to his siblings (clones of my MIL- really they are the mirrors of her emotions - her FM who will attack at will).   So very mushy text and then a bit on how time is running out and they are wasting it not being together as a family.  Then MIL said she "KNOWS" dh and that their family values and core are solid - and then she shames Dh for not acknowledging her on mother's day - basically shifting all the blame to DH for the wreck that is their family situation. 

So a day later DH decides he will give her one last text and just be completely honest about what he sees and where the blame sits.  Very honest, not angry text but the gist of the text was:
All the blame falls with MIL and FIL
That his decision to walk away is something he will never regret and is proud of
That Dh isn't mad and he forgives them and doesn't expect anything from them as in acknowledgment or them taking responsibility.
He says that he doesn't owe his mom a Mother's Day call or card.
He tells her that her manipulating and shaming him will not work with him anymore.  Again forgives them and is done.
Dh also said MIL has caused pain to herself and Dh and us as a family and it was her choice to behave in that abusive way.

The reply was nothing short of the nicest MIL ever texted back but with a slightly more critical eye, I believe I have found all the cracks.  Please stop me and tell me I'm crazy if I am just really bitter and jaded towards this family - operation. 

So in a nutshell MIL's text:
  • She "appreciates" Dh's "interpretation" of her text.
  • She is sorry. (She has never said sorry.  And the statement was "She is sorry."
  • Does Dh think we could work through our issues together?  Would we be willing to meet?
  • Then Mil goes into a monologue about how "not all of the times were bad to remember the good times we had.
  • MIL never mentions anyone but DH but says when she says she loves him she means all of us -(meaning me :) - yeah right!)
  • Then she says we will leave the innocent children out of it

So here is my interpretation:  No acknowledgment of the truth about what DH said - no acknowledgement of his feelings.  The word "interpretation" seriously bothers the crap out of me.  She has literally always dealt with everything that DH or I have said as our "interpretation" - meaning we are wrong and not right interpreting this cold, abusive horrible woman right.  Like Dh said "it was her nicest text ever"  - this is after a disowning voicemail, after a shame on Dh for not acknowledging MIL on Mother's Day and at the same time saying the distance or NC between us is entirely Dh's fault.  A blanket apology after 6 years of basic NC MIL say's "I'm sorry."  I want to yell "What the hell for you crazy ****!" 

I am restraining myself at this point at texting this woman back and engaging in a no-win battle.  But the text she wrote once again trys to paint her as the victim, she is trying to put the ball back in our court by giving a general apology and trying to tell us there were good times - WHICH THERE WERE NEVER!  And tell us were are wasting time "holding on to our INTERPRETATION" of who she really is and what her horrible abusive behavior really means. 

MAN can this crazy horrible woman get under my skin and I've been no contact this whole time!  Can you guys please tell me how you'd respond if you'd respond and if I'm just plain crazy?  If there is anything I believe this woman a master of it's playing the freaken victim, only acknowledging lies and driving me completly crazy.  I am tired of her holier than thou attitude.  Oh and I forgot to mention MIL said she is "right with the God she worships" - because she knows Dh and I are religious.  I do know mil has made God out to suit her needs so basically idol worship and pride is her God, she doesn't know God but this woman kills me!!  Help me, please.



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Re: Need advice on MIL's behavior - Is my interpretation jaded?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2019, 12:14:26 PM »
Wow, what an emotional rollercoaster!  I am so sorry you're having to deal with this.  I'm new on this site, and probably don't have the amazing insight that some of these other members have on the forum.  However, this sounds very similar to my MIL.  "there isn't much time left."  Classic shame statement to guilt you into reestablishing contact.  My MIL actually lied about having cancer to try and get me to break NC.  Two weeks later she recoiled and said no, she didn't have cancer, the "lab just mixed up the results with someone elses."  yeah right.  Anyway, it's shocking the lengths these people will go to try and con you into letting them back in. 

That's good you're restraining yourself from texting back and starting a battle.  I have the same issue, but then I have to sit back, take a deep breath, and realize it will get me nowhere.  That the repercussions of doing so are NOT WORTH IT and make it so much worse.  The fact that her and your FIL caused so much drama over the b-day/mother's day issue, is the exact reason you should continue NC.  Her "nice" text to your DH is a hoover method to suck you back in.  Obviously things have not changed.


Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Need advice on MIL's behavior - Is my interpretation jaded?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2019, 04:06:21 PM »
This was all over text? Dang. How does your DH feel about just blocking her? He’s been very clear he is done, now time to back it up with actions. Any further engagement fuels the fire.

This is classic PD though. “Mom and Dad, this is all your fault and I am done.”

Gaslight, DARVO, fauxpology, word salad! POW! KA-CHOW! +1! I will throw every tactic at you EXCEPT what would actually have a prayer of leading to the reconciliation I say I want! :pissed:



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Re: Need advice on MIL's behavior - Is my interpretation jaded?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2019, 09:26:31 PM »
  • She "appreciates" Dh's "interpretation" of her text.

Minimizing to the core...  You have every right to bristle with a remark like this.  On the other hand, this shows you how low she will go to hoover your DH back in.  She is failing to see and acknowledge what his read is on her behavior.  An apologetic normal person would beg for forgiveness...she does not even come close to doing that here.
Why work so hard to have a relationship with someone that does not care the same way as you?

No PD is going to tell me what to do.

Born into a dysfunctional family and married into a dysfunctional family.

People who don't bring joy, let them go.



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Re: Need advice on MIL's behavior - Is my interpretation jaded?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2019, 01:42:31 PM »
I imagine these kinds of scenes being like a tornado of emotions, words and other stuff. I imagine myself trying to pluck out the 1-2 things that are actually meaningful, and sometimes they are not there to be found.

Only you and your DH can know what you're looking for. Is it acknowledgement of harm done? Is it a description of how they are working to grow emotionally? Is it a respect for your boundaries? Is this relationship so broken that you cannot fathom anything they could say or do that would restore trust?

For me and my parental relationships, it varies. For my dad, if he could acknowledge the harm he has done, and step into the role of a father in which he actually tries to have contact with me, his daughter, my heart would melt. For my mother, I have quite literally asked God to let me know if and when she is safe, as there is no part of me that trusts her. It doesn't matter what she says or does, I simply cannot and do not trust her, so only God will let me know if she's ever safe and in the meantime I respond to her with the distance and politeness I would give to any human being.

You and your DH may not be in the same space. Me and my DH aren't with his parents. I truly hope he could have some restoration of relationship with his parents, for his healing, but I don't believe that I ever will. I will be polite, kind and distant.

This is complicated and tough, and when people are behaving as your MIL it can really stir up a maelstrom of emotions. Still, there are foundational things that you can look for, decide on, and keep. My best to you!



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Re: Need advice on MIL's behavior - Is my interpretation jaded?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2019, 05:46:48 PM »
I recognize this as a hoover move.  For myself personally,  I've always been very susceptible to the hoover.  I would not respond.  If you or your DH do respond I would not react emotionally or jade.  Just keep it very matter of fact of what your boundaries are and leave it at that.



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Re: Need advice on MIL's behavior - Is my interpretation jaded?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2019, 11:17:29 AM »
Love, I am so sorry you have to deal with this nonsense- it is such a drain. These types of people just never tire of creating chaos and drama. The thing is, their behavior is somewhat predictable. It is desperate, controlling, infuriating... and it usually works for them. They KNOW it bothers you and gets under your skin.

The trick is getting to the point where it doesn’t get to you. How? That is something that happens to each of us differently, in our own time. The fact that your H sees through them is a major win for both of you. NC holds great power and that drives PDs absolutely crazy.

Sounds like a definite hoover. And  power grab. Plenty of subtext in her words to you.

-  . “Interpretation” = minimizes that your DH makes his own, well thought out, calls about what he will not tolerate. It is an incredibly disrespectful and diminishing way to put it.

2.  “Sorry.” PDs love to use this as an opening to make you think they care, have changed, want to meet you halfway. They don’t. They want to suck you back in. A real apology includes what they are sorry for. Not “I am sorry IF...” or “I am sorry but....”

- “Not all bad...” again, very telling language. Most likely means that you are the problem for seeing any fault in their actions. Also used as a manipulation to get you to overlook their malfeasance. And the whitewashing of the past - using nostalgia to warp your brain and make you feel nuts.

- Willing to meet. Ha. Her request is something I would be very wary of. If she really respected you, she would communicate in a more humble way, by saying she respects your boundaries and accepts your choice to decide for yourselves whether the relationship is healthy. Can you imagine? Me neither. If they have never said a since “sorry,” they’re not sorry. They feel rejected (their worst fear) and realize their time-tested jabs no longer work.

Finally, there is no justification for bringing your children into this. Subtext is pretty clear here- they are innocent, you and DH are not. You have perpetrated some heinous wrong against her. Other thing I glean from the word innocent is that she knows they are malleable and her chance to get them on her side.

Using “her” God. Self-righteous indeed. Only her selective religious beliefs are correct.

Let me guess- does she also make others’ illnesses about herself?

Keep up the NC. Do not engage. You will maintain your self respect. One thing that works for me is to remind myself of how small and desperate PDs are to keep their false narrative afloat. Once you view them as small and insecure, they lose their power.