MIL Situation continued


#1

So here I sit, I've of course been praying for all of this - and it's been over three years since all of this began (acually over 3 years of not talking or limited conversation). I don't think there is anything else I can do. The SIL has finally left me alone for a few months so for want of a better way to put it, I'd li ke to just let sleeping dogs lie. I'm more concerned about his mom because she doesn't have the best of health - and even when I told him that she had had breast cancer (but it's not there any longer)-he said it didn't matter. My big fear is that I'll get a call one day telling me that his mom or dad is dead and that he'll then be angry with himself for not having tried to help this situation. I don't want to push too hard- he has enough stress in his life and I feel like I ought to leave most of this up to his mom anyway (as far as e-mailing or whatever - although for some reason he never seems to get her e-mails but he's not blocked her)- and after him finding out that his SIL not being able to respect our confidence caused much of this, there is little or no chance of that relationship ever getting fixed.
Anyway, if there is any advice or someone that has been through something similar please let me know.

God Bless
Rye


#2

What a sad story - my heart goes out to you, and to your husband and his family!

Sometimes we can't fix our own problems, but even more often we can't fix other people's problems. This problem is mostly your husband's, his mother's, and his family's - there is little you can do about it, other than pray, and treat everyone with respect.

Be grateful that it hasn't come between you and your husband. At least it's not him complaining about you not getting on with his mom!


#3

It sounds like the biggest problems here are the lack of face-to-face interaction, and the lack of conversation, and the lack of trust. Your story struck me in the number of times that someone emailed or sent a letter, talking about other people in ways that may or may not be truthful. And then everyone's feelings get hurt, which is not surprising.

I think the only way to mend the rift is for everyone involved to get together in a room and TALK about all the things that were emailed, written and said. Those who might have lied (or "spun" the truth) should be prepared to apologize and those who "talked out of school" about things they knew in confidence should also be prepared to apologize. Everyone should be prepared to forgive.

I would remind my husband that his feelings are hurt by things that were said -- but so were his mother's -- and since you know that what was said about her wasn't the total truth -- then what was said about him probably wasn't either. I agree that when his parents are dead, he may be VERY sorry.


#4

What you said is a very good idea, and I had thought about it, but if certain parties are unwilling to tell the truth then it all become nil. I believe that I mentioned about asking my SIL to go to her husband (my BIL) and explain how what she said wasn’t exactly the truth. She said that he wouldn’t believe her. When I told her I thought showing him certain e-mails would have, she said something about not having them all- I told her I did have them all and I’d gladly send some to her. She had no interest in doing that, so I had to go through with my ultimatum. I couldn’t very well call up my BIL and say “did your wife tell you that she didn’t exactly tell you the whole truth about what was said/what happened?” - he still believes were off our trolley (so to say).

And I think after all that has happened my husband (from his childhood on)has convinced him that no matter what, any contact would turn out the way it previously had and it would force him to spend energy on something he says he is fairly certain will end up the way it has every other time. I can’t blame him - his mother has apologized- but he feels that’s happened numerous times before as well. I would like to add that my parents and he have become fairly close - every year we go down for a couple of weeks or more to the beach in Florida or Orange Beach (just praying we’ll get to this year)- anyway, since he and I have known each other since the 1st day of high school he has gotten very close to my family-especially my parents. I’m glad he’s able to have that closeness but I do understand that this doesn’t make up completely for his parents - even if my parents do consider him to be a son. I am praying but I don’t know what else I can do to help the situation. And I don’t know if there’s anything I can reccomend that his mother could do. His father is pretty much just staying out of it as well.
Again, thanks for the ideas -

God Bless -
Rye


#5

Maybe you're not suppose to do anything more about the situation at this time.

I've talked a few times in different threads on CAF about my husband being estranged from his parents and sister. Its played out similarly, letters being exchanged, people being dragged into the situation that initially were not part of the problem, half truths and falsehoods, etc. DH has tried on a number of occasions to meet and work things out, just hasn't happened yet. You're lucky that you haven't been made more of the scapegoat or target than you already have.

Ultimately, it has to be your husband's decision on how he wants to handle the situation or how much if any contact he wants with his family. Maybe not being so involved in the relationships would give everyone a chance to heal, the time to decide what they want to do next. The problem seemed to start when the SIL herself couldn't ask why your husband had a problem with her. The situation became worse the more people got involved in the problem. If it were me, when and if any of them asked me about my DH and why things are the way they are, I'd tell them to ask him directly. No more third parties, no more middleman.

You can't let the idea of something happening to your MIL before a reconciliation can happen dictate how involved you are in the situation. Guilt trips are one of the biggest tools for manipulation. You have to pray and let God work in the situation and trust that your DH is doing the best that he can.


#6

[quote="ryecroft, post:4, topic:204304"]
I don't know what else I can do to help the situation.

[/quote]

[quote="ryecroft, post:4, topic:204304"]
His father is pretty much just staying out of it as well.

[/quote]

The best thing you can do to help the situation is to stay out of the situation. Your husband's sister thrives on creating disorder in her life but especially in the lives of other people, not just your life but also her own daughter's life. **Take a hint from your husband's father. He's got it right.

And just in case in the future you think there might be something you can do to "help" the situation, keep this in mind: this whole situation was created by your husband's sister, and it got worse because YOU kept taking her bait over and over again.

Stop acting like a bunch of 14 year old middle school girls!


#7

And just in case in the future you think there might be something you can do to "help" the situation, keep this in mind: this whole situation was created by your husband's sister, and it got worse because YOU kept taking her bait over and over again.

Stop acting like a bunch of 14 year old middle school girls!

apollos, i think your reply doesnt take the whole situation into account. rye noted her husband has a "history" which included "violence" by his mother. she also noted her husband says things turn out like this all the time.

the SIL is just a newer player in a long-standing bad situation.

rye, i think by now, it's clear you shouldn't have ever confided your husband's painful history to your SIL unless he gave you specific permission to do so. (whether your husband chose to confide in her was his own business.) therein lies your part in precipitating this (or, more correctly, your part in re-igniting this.) from here, i would do 2 things:

  1. i'd take responsibility for the misstep. i'd really ask husband's forgiveness for having ever told his story to SIL. i know it happened a few years back, but a "complete-- no excuses-- I've learned alot from my mistake" amends is in order.

  2. ask your husband how he feels about you continuing a relationship with his mother that DOESN'T share info about him. assure him that you only seek to keep in contact with her out of conformity to the 4th commandment. (that he is unwilling to communicate with her because of past pains and present injuries is not to be judged.) if he doesnt agree to this communication, accept his directive. if MIL can't abide by the no-hubby-info boundaries, then of course you're free to end the communications with her without a lot of chatter or ado.

a few asides:

*sure you're right on this: steer clear of SIL in conversation and in company.

*i wonder if the FIL staying out of things is a big part of the problem? should he have intervened when his kid was receiving violence at his wife's hand? should he have intervened many times on behalf of his son? surely there are years and lives that add up to this whole story, but perhaps the answer is a repeated and resounding "yes. dad should have done something."

*BIL's marriage/ relationship with his own wife is more important than his relationship with his brother. i wonder if BIL isnt a weak man after his father's example? speculation. pure speculation on my part, but you did the right thing by NOT over-riding his wife's story.

finally this: your family is a blessing to your husband. thank God for that. pray **intensely **for your husband's continued healing-- that he may be ready and grace-filled when his parents die. more importantly, pray for your inlaws-- that they may be reconciled with God as they approach their elderly years. assure your husband you're committed to doing this.


#8

[quote="monicatholic, post:7, topic:204304"]
apollos, i think your reply doesnt take the whole situation into account. rye noted her husband has a "history" which included "violence" by his mother. she also noted her husband says things turn out like this all the time. the SIL is just a newer player in a long-standing bad situation.

[/quote]

No, Moni, I took that into account. Rye's husband's mother was an abuser, and his father stood by and did nothing to protect the children. Rye's husband's sister has anointed herself the savior and protector of peace in the family, which is typical in an abusive family situation with more than one child. And I'm willing to bet that this has been going on *since they were children *- not just in the last three years.

Because the abusive mother is never going to change, Rye's husband's sister is trying to do something that is doomed to failure, and the harder she tries, the worse things turn out. Regardless of Rye's husband's sister's intentions, if what she is doing is making matters worse, then she needs to be kept at arms length until she figures out that she is only doing more harm than good on account of her erroneous belief that it is somehow her responsibility to make sure everybody gets along. Since she's been playing that game for decades and *still *hasn't caught on that her behind-the-scenes "diplomacy" always creates a big mess, I don't think she's going to change anytime soon either.

Rye's question was about the here and now, not about how to solve the problem in the bigger picture. But if Rye had asked about the bigger picture, then my answer would have been the same!


#9

Not particularly thrilled about the “middle school girls” comment-that being said, I’ve already seen what happened whem my SIL tried to “help” the situation. - (although I’m not sure I"m completely ‘down’ with her saying she did this to help-I will note that later on a couple of times she did come to me saying 'I know I did wrong and I’m sorry, I just can’t seem to help myself and I get nosy and want to try to ‘fix’ things-of course later on when I wanted her to tell this to her husband, she told me he ‘didn’t believe her’ -. I will also note how involved she can get -she got on this forum a while back and somehow figured out that I was on here and was asking advice about the situation - without “knowing” for sure it was me, she began criticizing and telling me that I ‘didn’t get it right’ or wasn’t getting it all and leaving parts out and also got to the point of calling me a liar - she did eventaully regrert doing this especially when some on her let her know she was 'cyberstalking’me- which I agree she was. She later apologized for this and swore to me she wouldn’t come on here again-of course I later found out she did get another name at least 24 - 48 hours prior to telling me she wouldn’t come on here again…but I checked and she hasn’t been back on here in months-she also found me on another site, again, not sure how and it was one where I was asking advice about a pregnancy - she went and told the MIL -but by the time I found this out, I had already lost the pregnancy -so she literally had been looking for every post I made!) I’m not trying to make the SIL out to be nuts or anything - she has problems we all do - and I really believe that at heart she probably is a well meaning person who has been through a lot.
I wasn’t trying to act like a middle school kid - it’s hard hearing how she’s sorry and would like for us to be able to meet our neice. I guess I thought if this could go ahead well that we would be able to have contact with our neice and even possible his mom…

Just so the readers know, most of what I told her was done on the few days we were down prior to the wedding and when she would call afterwords- my husband was aware of much of what I told her - but he also knew the questions that were asked and that we had both told each other things in ‘confidentiality’ - just a not, if we had been middleschoolish acting, we would have thrown up in their faces what she talked about to us in confidentiality-instead we believed that since we said it was in confidence we felt it was our job to honor the confidentiality instead of breaking it like she did. I agree that I shouldn’t have gotten so involved with the SIL but when you don’t know someone and they’re about to be a member of your husban’ds family, you want to answer as many questions as you can and want to make her feel as welcomed as possible. I admit fully that I shouldn’t have told her anything in confidenliality even with my husband knowing something about it.

God Bless you all for your help and comments!
Rye


#10

[quote="ryecroft, post:9, topic:204304"]
Not particularly thrilled about the "middle school girls" comment ... I wasn't trying to act like a middle school kid ... just a not, if we had been middleschoolish acting, we would have thrown up in their faces what she talked about to us in confidentiality

[/quote]

I teach middle school :-) and Rye, their drama is every bit as complicated as yours. The comment was meant to sting a little, I admit. But Rye, hon, come on, you are an adult and are old enough and smart enough to see through all this.


#11

[quote="Apollos, post:10, topic:204304"]
I teach middle school :-) and Rye, their drama is every bit as complicated as yours. The comment was meant to sting a little, I admit. But Rye, hon, come on, you are an adult and are old enough and smart enough to see through all this.

[/quote]

I understand what you're saying - but then I think of what Jesus said about forgiving someone"70X7 times..." (perhaps I have hit 490...) anyway, she comes back, apologizes says shell "never do thst again - and I really mean it this time..." and then I find myself confused and perplexed. For some reason, my blcok of her e-mail would not stay on as I had tried to block her - never quite sure on that one. I spoke to a good friend of mine about this situation and we came up with what I had mentioned about until she clears up how what she told her husband wasn't quite truthful- she said she did and he wouldn't believe her - of course then we came to my saying "well let him read some of the e-mails..." she didn't seem to like that idea and wouldn't do it-that's why I broke off contact with her. And at the end of that she was saying it wasn't her fault-of course also the e-mails saying "how many times do I have to apologize - I'd like our children to be able to play together one day - don't you want that?..." Now that is one of the ways to really get to me. I hate it that when I go shopping for Laura (one of our God children who is only a month different in age from our neice-we didn't even go to the Christening because of all of this!)- I can't buy stuff for our neice. Don't get me wrong, I'm greatful that we still have such a wonderful family and that my family has accepted him with wide arms (ironically, my mother was trying to get me to date my husband in highschool so they've known each other forever just about). I guess, perhaps I just need to let this go and realize that nothing but a miracle from God is going to change my SIL and help this situation - again - a big worry is what will happen to my husband when his mother or father dies. I don't know if he'll still be thinking that not reconciling was such a good idea. I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm whinning - I'm just so perplexed and confused. Thanks for listening and for the prayers.
God Bless,
Rye aka Annie


#12

rye, forgiveness is demanded of us by Jesus. but forgiveness and reconciliation are 2 different things.

forgiveness mean to grant pardon to (a person) or to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one's enemies.

to reconcile is to settle (a quarrel, dispute, etc.) or to bring into agreement or harmony; or to restore communication.

your SIL wants your forgiveness and she wants to reconcile. you're bound by God to forgive her. but you're bound by loyalty to your husband to only proceed with reconciliation with his blessing.

if you can be with SIL and be kind, gentle, polite, then seek husband's blessing. but if you can't be around her without getting sucked into the vortex of chatter, don't ask him for something that will harm you both. we are obligated to avoid occasion of sin and gossip is a sin.

if you proceed, expect the best. ask for God's graces for you and SIL, but do not share anything about yourself but the most mundane inforation, "I bought it at Kohl's. Isnt it cute?" expect the best but dont be surprised to learn that the mundane info is used against you. "all rye does is shop, shop, shop! she's a shopaholic. no wonder they have money trouble...."

in the end, rye, your husband is free to choose to avoid the damaging family tangle. he's been choked by it too many times. if he chooses to proceed with little or no contact, commit to it for a year. see what some real space does for the whole situation.

if he chooses no contact, write the grand finale email, "I'm abiding by my husband's wishes while he sorts this out. please respect this."

then make sure all the email blocks are intact.

then be certain to pray ernestly for every member of his family every single day.

rye, you and your husband could be caught up in this every week/ day/ hour/ minute for the rest of your lives. your husband knows this because he's lived it. respect his perspective and follow his wishes.


#13

[quote="ryecroft, post:11, topic:204304"]
I understand what you're saying - but then I think of what Jesus said about forgiving someone"70X7 times..." (perhaps I have hit 490...)

[/quote]

Seriously? Where did Jesus say, "Victimize thyself, and let other people use you. For blessed are they who fail to take a stand for what is right"?

I really don't get some people's versions of Christianity. How did being nice become the highest calling?

anyway, she comes back, apologizes says shell "never do thst again - and I really mean it this time..." and then I find myself confused and perplexed.

Are you trying to be funny? Because that totally proves my point, Rye.

Now that is one of the ways to really get to me.

See what I mean?


#14

[quote="monicatholic, post:12, topic:204304"]
rye, forgiveness is demanded of us by Jesus. but forgiveness and reconciliation are 2 different things.

forgiveness mean to grant pardon to (a person) or to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one's enemies.

to reconcile is to settle (a quarrel, dispute, etc.) or to bring into agreement or harmony; or to restore communication.

your SIL wants your forgiveness and she wants to reconcile. you're bound by God to forgive her. but you're bound by loyalty to your husband to only proceed with reconciliation with his blessing.

if you can be with SIL and be kind, gentle, polite, then seek husband's blessing. but if you can't be around her without getting sucked into the vortex of chatter, don't ask him for something that will harm you both. we are obligated to avoid occasion of sin and gossip is a sin.

if you proceed, expect the best. ask for God's graces for you and SIL, but do not share anything about yourself but the most mundane inforation, "I bought it at Kohl's. Isnt it cute?" expect the best but dont be surprised to learn that the mundane info is used against you. "all rye does is shop, shop, shop! she's a shopaholic. no wonder they have money trouble...."

in the end, rye, your husband is free to choose to avoid the damaging family tangle. he's been choked by it too many times. if he chooses to proceed with little or no contact, commit to it for a year. see what some real space does for the whole situation.

if he chooses no contact, write the grand finale email, "I'm abiding by my husband's wishes while he sorts this out. please respect this."

then make sure all the email blocks are intact.

then be certain to pray ernestly for every member of his family every single day.

rye, you and your husband could be caught up in this every week/ day/ hour/ minute for the rest of your lives. your husband knows this because he's lived it. respect his perspective and follow his wishes.

[/quote]

You guys are right - I guess it's easy for me to get turned around with the whole forgivenss and reconcilliation. I have forgiven, I think or at least I've tried. It's very difficult to forgive when someone asks forgiveness and then repeats the same action that caused hurt/strife in the first place over and over.

Just so I'm clear, we live at least 8 or 10 hours away from MIL, FIL, SIL, BIL and neice. I guess I should also mention that we have not had any contact with SIL and BIL in quite some time - no phone, no replies by e-mail or snail mail with SIL, BIL and FIL. There has been the limited e-mailing with the MIL - but just chatty e-mail- but she has made it abundantly clear that she has apologized and that my husband is being stubborn. Again, thank you guys for the advice.
God Bless
Rye


#15

Just out of curiosity, if you've found the peace you seek and your evil SIL is out of your life, why are you dredging all of this up now? Leave sleeping dogs lie. If your SIL is so awful - just be glad she's gone. She's probably realized that nothing she says or does will be taken for what it was meant to be and that it's easier to back off.

Why put up with her betrayal and trechery again? She's obviously destroyed your family with her sinful lying and backstabbing. If you're happy, don't rock the boat. If you want a relationship with your MIL and your DH is willing to reinstate a relationship with her - that's great. If it's only going to open old wounds and start all of the cycle over again - you have to ask yourself if it's worth it.

By the way - your SIL might still be on the forum and might not appreciate having what she thought to be a closed matter dragged all out again, and having perfect strangers dissecting her motives when they have no idea what the situation is or her being there to be able to respond and defend herself. Just a thought. :shrug:


#16

It's difficult for me to follow all the details of the relationships and events here. I just wanted to address this overall part:

There is no species as relational as we are. You can have reached other milestones in your life, and have tried to resolve -- or bury -- painful episodes in your past, but sometimes one cannot be successful at that: they remain open wounds. Nowhere is this more true than relationships that evolve as a result of marriage. (Which is one reason why divorce can be so painful: a web of developed or developing relationships is interrupted or dissolved.) If you are a sincere person, you mean genuinely to try your best at loving your newly extended family that becomes a branch of your marriage once you make that commitment. Some of us when we get married hope consciously or unconsciously to be accepted and even embraced by our new family -- to the extent, naturally, that we also are welcoming and accepting to them. I know I wanted that. I naively assumed that because I loved my husband so much, and loved his parents, and cousins, and tried to love his sister despite her despising me, they would all eventually reach out despite whatever rocky roads there were in the process. I gave almost as much to these relationships as I gave to relationships in my birth family. But ultimately, my SIL turned on me out of jealousy and destroyed my relationship with her parents. I had a deeply affectionate relationship with my MIL, which my SIL succeeded in derailing (while cutting off all communication between us). The final crushing blow was my SIL's refusal even to announce her mother's death to me or my children. Four months later, after the funeral to which we were not invited (!), one of my children was notified of the death, through a juvenile relative, can you imagine? My child was naturally perplexed and dismayed, not understanding what she had done to deserve such rejection herself, and at this point having very little respect for her aunt.

My conscience is clear, as I never interfered in anyone's relationships, but my SIL was clearly jealous, and showed it often, of her mother's affection for me. So this was her revenge. I am still not over it; I doubt I will ever be. I was told by a priest recently that the rejection was partly cultural/ethnic/religious. (Mixed marriage) I think he thought that telling me that would make me feel better. It didn't. Rejection is rejection. It's just more of an ache when you have given so much of yourself to a relationship. It's also extremely cruel to refuse to include someone who has a legitimate need to grieve with you in community: those kinds of situations make it hard just to walk away and move on. A grief event is an opportunity to bond and grow closer; they have always been for me and for anyone who has grieved with me -- at their event or mine.

I don't know whether I did some reading recently, or whether some kind poster on CAF PM'd me about this, but at least I do understand intellectually that it will probably be a permanent pain that will never be healed in my lifetime and is a mystery. The only way I deal with it is in prayer, and by avoiding my SIL with every fiber of my effort, and also protecting my children from her still-periodic attempts to manipulate them (against me, naturally).

Regret, sorrow, anxiety about relationships is not childish or selfish: it's natural. But I do believe that in one's full lifetime there is not always a mutually satisfying resolution to those unfinished or disappointing relationships, and that we must bring them to Christ in his Passion, to Our Lady of Sorrows, to whatever saints with whom we identify in grief.

Sorry for the rambling reply, ryecroft. It probably doesn't give you much consolation. All I can conclude from my own experience is that sometimes the best communication in the world does not convince someone who chooses not to be convinced. You can protect yourself, but often you cannot do more than that in terms of persuading others about what you did want or do want to communicate. God is the Just Judge. Your Father sees what's in your heart, whether you did or didn't make mistakes. Sometimes we have to be content with that and just bring that to prayer, and ask for the grace to do only what is humanly possible and leave the rest to him. God bless,
:hug3:


#17

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