On letting go, part two

October leaves

While enjoying a nice respite from the shenanigans of the sister, back in early 2005, the heat was picking up in terms of Blue Eyes’ parents and his brother. The brother had started in earnest on his mission to destroy any reasonable relationship Blue Eyes had with the parents. From the beginning of time, mil had pitted her children against each other. Like a big three ring circus, she would create controversy around one and then get the other two to gang up on and then ignore the “bad kid of the week, month, year…” Blue Eyes never played the game, he just tried to ignore them all, but the other two were masters at it. In case I haven’t mentioned it, Blue Eyes is the middle child.

The brother had decided that since the sister was already on the outs with the parents, why not throw Blue Eyes to the wolves too and then the brother would be the golden child and no one would remember he was depressed, and broken, and miserable, and sad, and not functioning. He also made his first attempt at taking over their investment and retirement accounts at this point in time. The brother had some serious issues all the way around and ethical behavior was not a character trait he possessed or pursued. The brother made up so many lies about me and Blue Eyes that I cannot even begin to describe them here. Suffice it to say, nothing was off limits and no lie was too big. He started small and built. When the mil would make her weekly phone call to Blue Eyes, things just kept going from bad to worse, but Blue Eyes had no idea why. The father had turned 70 that past December, and we were the only ones to visit for his birthday. We purchased him a gift, we offered to pay for dinner, but mil had made the plans and of course refused to allow us to pay. It all went well. But now, somehow, everything had turned to shit. Mil was rude, belligerent, disrespectful, and nothing would appease her. Finally Blue Eyes stopped taking her calls, which had always been to the home phone. Soon she was calling his mobile phone, and then eventually his business line. Blue Eyes was incredibly busy, not only with business, but no doubt with his budding relationship with the other woman as he spent the first few months of 2005 becoming intimate with “Craig,” his “list,” and an older, divorced, smoking, hoarding, alcoholic woman from a questionable neighborhood.

At one point we were at our younger son’s elementary school enjoying a fundraising event. Both boys were volunteering, and the Japanese interns were putting on a talent show. It was fun and everyone was having a good time. Blue Eyes kept looking down to his phone, which annoyed the hell out of me. He said his mother had desperately been trying to reach him all day, so during intermission, he went out to the hall and called her. When he came back in to the auditorium, his face was white and he was shaking. I thought someone had died. He said we would need to talk about it later. After the talent show while the boys were busy selling food, mostly onigiri (Japanese rice balls) and kombucha (fermented tea), to raise funds for our younger son’s class trip to Japan scheduled in a couple months, Blue Eyes told me that he had had the most disturbing phone call with his mother. She started in on him about what a bad son he was. She told him they were entertaining Japanese friends and she was telling them how horrible Blue Eyes is, this would be people Blue Eyes knows AND does business with, and his father had to kick her under the table, but it took all her willpower not to tell them about what a bad son he is. He asked her what she was talking about and she started spewing out all the things the brother had made up. She even said, and I kid you not, “you know, you come here for your father’s birthday and you don’t even bring him a gift or offer to pay for the dinner and everyone thinks you are just the worst, most selfish, ungrateful person, especially your brother. None of us get you” WTF. She often recreated history, and lied to serve her own purposes, but this was just plain crazy. Blue Eyes was upset, but mostly because his brother had turned on him for no apparent reason. He told his mother that those were lies, and she knew it, but she would have none of anything her son said. She was yelling and hysterical. Not uncommon for her, but in the past, it had always been about something passive and benign. My guess, in hindsight, is that she knew her younger son was messed up and she was caught up in the dysfunction and she didn’t know what to do other than turn on her son that was behaving perfectly normal. Blue Eyes finally had enough and told her to “fuck off.” He had always been very respectful, but the walls were crumbling and he wanted out. He told me he didn’t want to speak with her, ever again. Which sounded pretty good to me, but I knew it wouldn’t last. Also, I was chairing the main fundraiser for the Japan trip, the school auction, and the brother had committed to coming to the event, and purchasing an ad in the catalog, etc… It was all so confusing. It was like the brother was Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.

Later that night, after we returned home, I made a huge mistake. I sent an email to Blue Eyes’ brother asking him why he was telling his mother lies, instigating trouble, and why was he being so mean to his brother, the brother who had so faithfully stood behind him when he was struggling in Japan and the brother who was instrumental in helping him through his bout with, as the parents liked to call it “situational depression.” I asked him what we had done to upset him so and what we could do to mend the rift. Of course I am very diplomatic and didn’t want to rock the boat of a very unstable person, one of many in that family. His response back to me was one of pure venom and hate. He ranted on about what horrible people we are, how insincere, how unloving, how disrespectful. There were no specifics, just pure vitriol. Now, I have dealt with this type of behavior with my sister. I didn’t take it personally nor believe a bit of it, but that didn’t help the situation either. After a couple months of zero communication between us and anyone in Blue Eyes’ family, I sent an email to everyone, a very benign email, telling them how the boys were doing. I copied the parents, the sister, and the brother. My intent for trying to keep contact, other than just thinking it was better than pretending like we weren’t family, was because the in-laws Bar Mitzvah present to The Pragmatist was a trip (with them of course) to Washington DC and I couldn’t imagine sending my 13 year old off for a week with people we weren’t talking with. No one responded except the brother and his response was mouth droppingly evil. Not only did he copy the family, but he added my sons’ emails as well. They were 11 & 13 at the time. He proceeded to call me and Blue Eyes mean and hateful people. He used a lot of swear words for punctuation of his points, and he went on to say that unless we were willing to apologize for all our selfish and abusive behavior towards him, he didn’t want to hear from us ever again. Thankfully he got one of our boys’ emails incorrect, and I was able to circumvent the other son’s email before he opened it. I was not afraid of what he was saying about us, our boys know us, I was afraid that he was going to ruin the relationship he had with my boys, which previous to this, was a good one. We never poison our children against other people, especially not family. We merely try to protect them from the hate and bitterness.

Years later, when things were going relatively well with the family, my sister in law would say to me, “you never should have picked a fight with a litigator.” Well, I didn’t pick a fight, just merely tried to act like a mature and caring adult, but also her brother was not a litigator, their father was… did I ever mention the sister is not the sharpest tool in the family shed? Months and months later the parents would also blame me for everything saying I instigated the brother’s behavior by sending an email. They said no one likes communicating by email and what I did was inflammatory. Um, okay???

So, a couple more months went by with no contact between Blue Eyes and his mother. She did send me emails (ironically) that were cold and uncaring and eventually started sending me details regarding the trip to Washington DC. She told me when the plane flights were, what to pack for my son, etc… I was pretty distraught at the thought of sending our son off with these people we weren’t on speaking terms with. It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to go, I just wanted to know that while he was gone, we would be able to reach him and that there wasn’t this huge rift between family members. Blue Eyes told me to call her if I wanted, but he didn’t want to be involved. I didn’t think that was fair to me, so we agreed to both call her, each of us on a phone extension. We called one week day morning, about three weeks out from the trip. I spoke first. I said, “mil, I am not comfortable sending The Pragmatist off unaccompanied on a plane while we are not on speaking terms…” and before I could finish my thought (i.e., so I wanted to call you and touch base over the phone, her supposed preferred method of communication anyway) she became hysterical. The first words out of her mouth were… “I KNEW IT. I knew you were going to cancel this trip we have had planned for months. I knew you were not going to let us see our grandson.” And before I could appease her concerns she proceeded to verbally thrash both me and Blue Eyes. She once again went into her tirade about how selfish we are. How we don’t care about anyone but ourselves. She told me I was an unloving person because I came from a broken home. She said I would never be able to understand the kind of true meaningful love they have in their family because my parents divorced and never gave me the things I needed. Now, before I go on with what she said about Blue Eyes, I am going to divulge a little “secret” here. Mil became pregnant in high school. She was 16. She married the father of the baby, gave birth at 17, and was divorced by 17. The product of that union is THE SISTER! The sister has never met her birth father. Mil’s family bought him off with money and a car. He signed papers saying he would never seek out or try to see his daughter. Because really, what 17 year old wants to be saddled with a wife and child when you can have a car and a few hundred bucks. Have I ever brought this up to mil, ever? No. When she belittled me for not attending my high school prom, did I bring up the fact that she had a child that she so conveniently left with her parents so she could attend her prom? No. Have I ever thrown anything in her face or disrespected her in any way? No. She left her daughter with her parents and went off to finish high school and college. When she graduated college, she changed her dating habits from fun to serious and found the most lucrative catch she could find, Fil. He had recently graduated law school. They tore the five year old daughter away from her grandparents, the only parents she had ever known, Fil adopted the girl, and they moved far away. I cannot imagine it really. As I sat there listening to her trash me and my parents, I became numb. Blue Eyes said nothing. Then she lashed out at him. She said he was incredibly unhappy because he had pursued business at college instead of engineering like his father and brother. She said she realized he probably wasn’t intelligent enough to become a successful patent attorney like his father, but it wasn’t their fault he wasn’t happy. Blue Eyes hung up his extension and abruptly left the house. I was left on the phone with her to try and clean up the mess. I will never forget that horrifying phone call. At a certain point, while staring out the window at the budding flowers in the front yard and listening to the birds chirping the arrival of the first really warm days of late spring, I gently hung up the phone while she was going on and on. I sat there for the longest time, motionless, weightless, thoughtless. I couldn’t imagine a mother being so cruel to her son.

A couple days later, she called and I answered the phone. She acted, literally, like nothing had happened. She acted like the phone call had never happened. She said she had called to have a chat about logistics and make sure The Pragmatist was ready for “the trip of his lifetime.” She was happy and bubbly and I just went with it because I was tired, beaten down, and confused. There is no doubt in my mind that, at this point, Blue Eyes was using his addiction to cope. I thought he was maturing, that he had just let it go, learned to move forward from the madness, but instead, I now know he was creating his own madness. He left me to fend for myself while he was off betraying me and breaking my heart. I spoke about this with all my therapists. About how I thought he had matured during this time. I thought he had finally put his mother’s behaviors into perspective, and so I went with it, attempting to let things slide off me. Instead, Blue Eyes was lying to me, and I was lying to myself.

The Pragmatist went on his trip with the in-laws, and then started 8th grade. I chaperoned The Peacemaker’s trip to Japan that summer, and he entered middle school. Life went on as normal except Blue Eyes no longer had any kind of relationship with his brother who was now living slightly more than three hours away by car, and he had a much more distant relationship with his parents. We visited the city the brother lived in, often. We never looked him up. We didn’t even know he had been divorced, and remarried. Our boys are two years apart, and 2006 brought with it the celebration of The Peacemaker’s Bar Mitzvah. Plans were in full swing. This boy wanted a retro arcade game theme with a huge inflatable sumo ring. My mil made it her mission in 2006 to get her boys back together in time for The Peacemaker’s Bar Mitzvah. That was one of her favorite things to do. Play her kids against each other and then orchestrate the happy reunion, preferably at a big family event. Well, this time, neither of them were having any of it. She then started in on me. I didn’t really care about a reunion. I was tired of all of them and just wanted to focus on my baby’s big day. As we started putting together the guest list, mil refused to allow me to invite any of her friends, or even relatives who had been invited to The Pragmatist’s Bar Mitzvah. She said there was no way she was going to have her friends know that her boys weren’t speaking to each other and if the brother didn’t show, she would have nothing to tell them. The whole thing was ridiculous. I called her bluff and said fine. I honestly thought she would change her mind, but she didn’t. We still ended up with 180 guests, in the end, and The Peacemaker wanted every single one of his classmates there. He didn’t want anyone left out. The Pragmatist had not had that luxury. The really frustrating aspect of all this, however, was that even though they weren’t invited, mil’s friends still sent The Peacemaker gifts. They each sent checks in the mail, lavish checks. I was so confused. I called my mil to find out what was going on. She said she had called them all individually and they are just all really nice people. I asked her what she had told them, the reason why they weren’t invited. My mil, in her sickening holier than though tone said, “I told them you were struggling financially and couldn’t afford to have them.” I couldn’t believe my ears. What a bitch!  I asked her “wouldn’t they wonder why they weren’t helping us out, since we were struggling and all?” She said, “of course they wouldn’t wonder that… it is not our responsibility to bail out our irresponsible children.” I kid you not. She is even putting us down in a totally made up hypothetical situation. I told Blue Eyes that if we were like her, and played her games, we would call them all and tell them the truth, that she had orchestrated a huge feud between her sons and because they had not played by her rules, the friends, and the Peacemaker, were paying the price.

In the end, the brother did the right thing and showed up for the Bar Mitzvah ceremony of his nephew. He only had the two. He opted out of the evening events, however, the entire party got the absolute thrill of seeing sister’s brand new BOOB JOB as her huge new breasts threatened to topple her 4’10” frame as they popped out of her low cut prom style dress she most likely purchased at Forever 21. So appropriate for a 50 year old {{sarcasm}}. Neither of her daughters showed up… one had a homecoming dance, or something.

I realize I am writing this with a facetious tone, but the truth is, after d-day and my world came crashing down around me and I realized how literally Blue Eyes had abandoned me in so many critical situations, especially ones dealing with his family, I realized they had been planting the trauma seeds all along. It just took a simple phone call from the other woman to make me realize how desperately I was being abused by the same system that had failed my husband.

We don’t plan any future contact with these people.

18 thoughts on “On letting go, part two

    • Sorry, I am reading comments in order… yes, BE’s parents will never admit any culpability no matter what he says or does. However, I still think it is important for him (they will never change) to be able to stay in a room with them, no matter what they dish out, and not crumble.

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      • Although I can see your point, about wanting him not to crumble, there is something to be said for being healthy enough to recognize dangerous people, and protecting yourself by avoiding all contact. In hindsight, my husband and I wish we had disengaged years earlier than we did instead of trying so hard.

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        • I agree, we also wish we had disengaged years earlier. I started my process of no contact way before my husband, but until we both did it, with the entire family, there was still plenty of room for manipulation and abuse. My comment about him being able to stay in a room without crumbling is more a hypothetical that he will some day, in his recovery, be strong enough to do something like that. My husband has no plans for that, and I doubt it will ever happen.

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  1. Kat, that is a heart wrenching story.

    I think one of the things I’m learning to forgive myself for is that for too many years I allowed MC to use me as a human shield with his Mom.

    On D-day that all stopped forever more. Part of our recovery has been him facing potential conflict, saying his truth authentically, even if it is scary to do it. Oh yes, his Mom has not taken well to this change in him. It is strange, it seems that now that controlling him is not something that she thinks is possible, there is nothing left for her to say. And, we are just fine with that.

    I know with my Mom and I know with MC and his Mom, we each had a hope that they would change, that there could be a loving relationship before they die. I stood up to my Mom. It may have been messy and aggravating, but I do think it was healthier. Why the difference between us on this, why did he have a crappy relationship with his Mom and cheat? Why did I have a crappy relationship with my Mom and never cheat? I think how we learned to cope with our Moms says a lot about how we learned to cope with life.

    I now think it is, at least, a red flag if a husband uses his wife as a human shield to protect himself from his mother. Seeing MC stand-up for himself, for me, for our kids has been a healthy thing for his self-esteem and for my sense of safety. It is the difference between allowing someone to keep you as a little boy versus insisting they relate to you and with you as an adult.

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    • You make very valid points, TL. I am letting BE take the lead on this. I like the human shield analogy, but it wasn’t often like that for us. Because of my personality (and my mil’s) I took that responsibility all on my own. There were definitely times when BE just walked away from it, but there were also times he stood up to his mother on our behalf, but I know now that took a very big toll on him. This really is about them healing from the inside out.

      I kept the relationship going. I wanted to be on speaking terms with my children’s grandparents. I never wanted my children not to have a relationship with them… I just wanted to make sure the children were protected. BE’s parents are very overt with their behavior. BE has chosen no contact for what he thinks will be the rest of their lives. That is his position, but I try to live day to day. His parents are tyrants and BE is a passionate, non-aggressive person. Actually you and other commenters have prompted me to write a little more on this subject. To show how BE reacted to his parents and their treatment of him between 2006 and no contact. To show how narrow the margin is between the guy who started a business from the ground, CEO of his own company, traveling the world and meeting with heads of companies, the life of the party, a pillar of strength and “moral decency,” friend to many, enemy to none, to… the truth.

      Personally, I think BE would get a lot of satisfaction from getting to a point where he could be strong enough to stay in a room with his parents and not collapse under the pressure, not go running for the door and some kind of protection. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t go back to his addiction, he is more enlightened now, but I do believe there would be other serious fallout, namely more physical ailments. His system just wasn’t built for that kind of pressure. His two childhood immune deficiency illnesses and continued issues bear that out. I don’t need BE to stand up to his parents for me or the kids, I would want him to be able to do it for himself. I take responsibility for how I let them manipulate me and for not stopping the madness for myself sooner. It just really took d-day to open my eyes to the pain they had caused me. I never acknowledged it.

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      • I learned that whenever I stood up to MC’s mom, it was taken by her as evidence that I was “turning MC against her.” I too so wanted our kids to have a relationship with their grandparents. My parents are both dead and it does break my heart that they will never have the love of grandparents in the same way as I did growing up.

        I think MC’s mom sees our kids as the last way to manipulate MC. She asks the kids, “why won’t your parents let you visit us?” And, yet, when we are there she really wants very little to do with them. It is more MC that she is after. It’s a very weird dynamic. And, so with all of these factors, it really does need to be him to set the boundaries with her. If I do it, it just fans her flames. If he does, she is in such shock it shuts her up and she now goes into pouting mode, as MC no longer stands for her temper tantrums. She thinks silent treatment and refusing to be in the same place as us is punishment to us. It is not AT ALL. In reality it is punishment for FIL, who loves his grandkids and actually does enjoy being around them. It makes us sad for our kids and for his Dad, but FIL does what MIL tells him to do and we have to understand that is his choice to make.

        Listen BE has some serious health issues that are aggravated by stress. Both mental and physical health for you, for BE, for your kids are priority ONE. I admire both of your abilities to look at that situation and make the choices you need to make to be healthy. I look forward to you next installment.

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        • Honestly, TL, it is so much easier now that the kids are grown. They are 22 & 24 and have their own relationship with the in-laws. I believe they are strong enough to handle the MIL. Our older son just gets more exasperated by his grandma’s ignorance, racism and both of their elitist attitudes. I am so proud of my boys. They turned out great. MIL knows she can only manipulate BE, but with no contact who knows what she does or thinks. She has gone long periods of time not talking with just about everyone in her family because well, she is a very dysfunctional narcissist. She has a lot of friends that she manipulates with her money and her lies. No contact has mostly been very very productive for both me and BE. And… the best of all for my kids, my parents are fabulous grandparents. They just visited our oldest in NYC and both my mother and step father felt honored that our 24 year old son spent so much time with them. They invited him and one of his roommates (that they know from home) to go to dinner with them for their 45th wedding anniversary. They went to museums and all sorts of fun things. It makes my heart sing to know my boys have that wonderful experience with kind and generous and loving grandparents who adore them. I cherished my grandparents. I am so sorry your children are missing out on that. Hopefully there are other older people in their life that can fill that void? 😦

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          • It sounds like your kids have some wonderful grandparents on your side, that is such a blessing. They are so fortunate and that was a beautiful story!

            I moved in with some of my mom’s family when I was in high school. I was closer to them than any other non-immediate family members, but not fully a daughter if that makes sense. A bit of a wall was there because my mom accused them of stealing me from her. I kept hoping and trying to win their love and approval, but that wall, oh that wall, nothing I could do would break it down.

            When my mom died, that wall crumbled. They are the closest thing I have to parents and the kids have to grandparents. They have their own children and grandchild who are in their life on a day-to-day basis and who are their top priority. My kids and I are a close second, but still a second. Still, they do have some type of grandparent-like influence in their lives. And, I do have some kind of parental base in mine. Their kids are like siblings to me. And for that I am so grateful. The kids and I are actually closer to this family than to my sibling, who cut all ties with the family years ago. My sibling and I still have contact and occasional visits, there is a certain distance to limit interaction with any of our other family members.

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            • Family dynamics can be interesting. My father was abandoned at five months old with his 70 year old baby-sitter. My father’s young and unmarried parents never returned for him. Even though there were other family members in the area, the baby-sitter ended up adopting him, but had to put indoor plumbing into her house to accomplish it, can you believe that? Anyway, the lady that adopted my father had a family of her own with children and grandchildren and even great grandchildren. That family is the only family my father has known. He ended up being very close with one of his adoptive mother’s granddaughters, who would have been my father’s mother’s age. Anyway, technically by law, this woman I called “nana” and who was older than my own grandma (on mom’s side) was actually my father’s grandniece? If that makes sense. Family, you know it is really about the feelings and not the blood tie. It is nice to have caring loving nurturing people in your life, regardless of what you call them. ❤

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  2. Kat
    Like my family your family puts the fun in dysfunctional family!! Seriously I could write a whole litany of crazy from my narc mil..

    My husband hated his mother while we were dating. He moved out of their home the day he graduated from high school. I was 2 years behind him in school and 2.5 years younger. Hating his mother doesn’t even begin to describe his feelings to her. I was so young and innocent and I came from a very loving and humble family so I couldn’t relate. At such a young age I felt her dislike of me. Would hear her and the father ridicule their son liking and dating me. But he adored me so what ever hate spewed from them or total ignoring me had no bearing. We get married once my husband graduated college and she wants nothing to do with the wedding. She’s mad my husband didn’t marry an attorney friends daughter, he’ll he never even dated her, whatever right?

    But here’s where I went wrong. My husband decided I should be the liaison between him and his mother. I was the one who called her. I was the one that did things for them. I was the one that hosted all the family events and invited them along with my family of whom she hated and was extremely jealous of. Then our children came along and all hell broke lose but I still played the roll of liaison because I was the only sane one in the bunch. Big mistake on my part but I was truly an innocent. I believed if I was a perfect wife, perfect mother and all around good person and was kind to them they would like me. I made myself a doormat to them. But no I kept going back being kind and including them in family functions when they were either dismissive or horrible. My bad. I own that now. Looking back with such clarity I see my innocent ignorance. My husband threw me in with the wolves and they tore me apart and he allowed it. I should never have tried to form a relationship with these narcs and co dependent so but I was to innocent to know that.

    Fast forward 40 years later, no contact unless absolutely necessary. And like you my husband was in business with his father until he retired and still are in a business rental partnership which supports his retirement. They are fucking life sucking, mean ass, selfish leeches. They go to FL for the winter and she called me out of the blue to ask if we would come to FL in January when my husbands cousins will be there. I said sure just to get her off the phone and also hoping she would forget 6months later or even possibly die. Enforce that date as she is in very bad health. Besides I was fine going to FL in January as it’s miserable here after Christmas. She wanted us to stay with them but I adamantly insisted the only way we’d go is if we stayed in a hotel room. She finally gave in and accepted that but only because I insisted. Anyway I tell my h and he’s ambivalent about it but starts to show interest as we have many friends that go to the same area in the winter and he starts making golfing plans.

    So ok mil believes we are coming to FL ostensibly to see her and his cousins but guess what happens now? My husband reserves an apartment on the opposite coast for a date he doesn’t even know if it coincides with the cousins arrival!! When I questioned him on this he says he’s doesn’t care about seeing his cousins and we will go wherever we like. Makes no diff to me which coast but his mother is going to fucking flip. She’s been talking about this trip and planning this family get together for months!! And worse he hasn’t told her about our plans. His idea is to go over to the other coast for 2 extra days! She is going to be furious. I’m staying out of it but secretly I’m laughing my ass off. In the past I would have been the one taking care of everything for all of them. No more. Done and over. Don’t care anymore. Matter of fact they don’t want to leave until at least after thanksgiving. I’ve got news for them. We won’t be here for thanksgiving :). Screw them. I’ve cooked over 30 thanksgiving meals and was totally disrespected and ridiculed by them for it. They can eat a TV dinner for all I care.

    And like you my h was cheating and acting out during this time. His mothers narcissism def has played a role in my husbands psyche of lies and betrayal and infidelity. I only wish I had been as smart then as I am now:)

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    • Me too, tryinghard. I wish I had learned my lesson sooner, but to be honest with you, it wasn’t until d-day and the truth about my husband’s secret life being revealed that I could fully metabolize what had happened over the past 30 years. I literally was trained to keep the peace, to try and keep the crazy contained. I rarely paid any attention to my own needs, I considered focusing on myself and not wanting to deal with it all, selfish. There were so many needy people in my life. My husband didn’t exhibit any negative behavior towards his mother. My husband had convinced himself that he had a great family. I was so confused. I guess I didn’t realize it was like Stockholm Syndrome. He thought he had loving and nurturing parents and a great childhood. He had created a fantasy world in his head. He never would have said he hated his mother… he was living in a delusional land of make believe and until he cracked that open, he was under her spell. I still worry about him. He still isn’t strong enough to be in a room with her, in my opinion. I guess the key for you now, is that you don’t care about the outcome. Being able to distance ourselves from the emotions, from the guilt, from the feeling of obligation, that is key. Old habits do die hard.

      Even though we haven’t dealt with his mother and Thanksgiving for years, I chose to go to a restaurant last year for Thanksgiving Dinner even just having to deal with my family. It worked out great. No one got stuck with the dishes. Before kids we did Thanksgiving with his family. I hated it, but it was easy and I didn’t have to do anything. We often went to a fancy LA hotel restaurant with a bunch of the in-laws friends. But then when we moved to our home town and had kids, visiting them for Thanksgiving became a huge burden, busiest travel holiday of the year. We switched to visiting them during Passover, then that became difficult when the kids went to school because Spring Break never coordinated with Passover. So we switched to New Years. Then, when the kids were older, high school, etc… they didn’t want to be with their grandparents on NYE. Every time we switched things up on my mil, for totally practical reasons, she threw a bloody temper tantrum, called us names, threatened to disown the grandkids, etc… Crazyville. My in-laws are originally from Florida, Coral Gables. They moved to California when they got married. My mil supposedly had the best relationship with her mother (her mother had passed before I entered the family) and yet she moved all the way across the country as soon as she got married. Nothing she says ever makes any sense. Most likely her own issues stem from childhood. My in-laws live in LA and have their second home in Palm Springs, because you know, when it gets down to 70 in LA, they must move to warmer climate. My mil visited us here in the Pacific Northwest in October one year… it was 58 degrees and she was wearing a full fox fur coat. Ugh.

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  3. I’m absolutely floored by this story. Thank you so much for sharing. Family dynamics play such a big part as to why we are the way we are. I’m so sorry you have to deal with such hatred.
    I recently had it out with my mil ( second time in almost 17years, we actually have a good relationship). I was so sick and tired of her constantly putting her two cents into how we raise our girls. I had enough. I had already years ago put my own mother in her place in regards to her opinions. When she stopped my mil took over the bashing. My husband is her only child, but he was far from a momma’s boy. I found out recently from my husband that his mom cheated on his father. (I was told dad cheated on his mom) He remembers meeting up with his mom’s “boyfriend” when he was five. This man became husband #2 and proceeded to beat the crap out of my husband on the regular as a kid. Treating him like shit. Mom never defended him ( her guilt eats her to this day). She sent him to go live with his dad in high school where then he was berated by step mom and forced to babysit his step brother and half sister. My husband never got to have even close to a normal childhood. Dad and step mom cheated on each other and my husband saw all this. No wonder. He probably thought that’s what you do when your bored and frustrated with life; cheat on your spouse.
    That day my mil and I had it out I told her I knew how much guilt she felt putting her only child in the situation she did and that’s why she never told my husband what he was doing was wrong when he went to her and told her he had met someone and was wanting to divorce me. She didn’t defend me or her granddaughters in fear of her son cutting her out of his life for good. Her and his father just told him to make sure that’s what he really wanted. Even though they had both had affairs and knew the damage they cause.
    I’m still here with him, muddling through this mess he made in our marriage and trying everyday to heal that little boy’s heart.
    Hugs to you…

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    • Wow. It is just shocking the stories of abusive childhoods and continued patterns. I have always said I thought typing and therapy should be required subjects in school. Both extremely practical in my opinion. I was really self aware as a child and have always lived in my reality, making choices that wouldn’t hurt people. I never realized many of the choices I made to protect others and their feelings were actually hurting me. As I read through the comments, it prompts me to keep writing out this story, because it didn’t end there. I hope your muddling through is paying off… I hope your husband understands how much you love him and it is okay to love himself. This is what Blue Eyes struggles with, loving himself after so many years of neglect and being told by words and actions that he just wasn’t good enough. 😦

      Many hugs back! ❤

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      • I think he struggles with loving himself and always has. Especially after what he did to his us. He’s always in my eyes seemed strong and confident. Now because of his affair and they way he treated me over the years ( I didn’t realize he was seriously putting me down to make himself feel better in a “joking” way of course) I now see him as the insecure little boy who didn’t feel loved, who felt thrown away and abandoned. It breaks my heart. I blame his parents so much now for making my husband who he is. Is that wrong???

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        • I don’t know if it so much wrong, as just human nature. We all have to take responsibility for our own actions as adults, but it does put things into perspective. As children we mostly just respond to our surroundings the best we can. Sometimes that translates into reinforcement of negative and hurtful behavior, and hiding and lying… usually stemming from low self esteem. Blaming them for your husband’s brokenness is natural, but it won’t solve anything. He just needs to take responsibility for himself and heal. If he blames someone else, he will never take full responsibility for his own actions. As far as you blaming them, well, they are never going to change, so best to let it go and focus on a loving relationship with your husband, in my opinion. I know, easier said than done, but a healthier approach?

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          • I know what happened to him as a child but he won’t delve deeper and let me in. He said he’s pushed some things down so far that if he pulls them up it will change him forever. I’m scared to even think about what those dark secrets are. And what really happened to that boy. I so wish he would go into therapy for himself, but that’s not going to happen. 😕 I just focus on telling him I love him, that he’s a great dad, provider, my rock, my best friend.

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            • You never know. Life and circumstances change people. I am thankful for the timing in our situation as my husband had been to therapists before and he still never spoke the truth of his childhood. He hit rock bottom when the other woman called. I think he had been wanting to change, but just couldn’t. Those demons kept him in an unhealthy place. He did eventually get that kind of therapy and it has changed him. In some ways he is much weaker, and in some stronger. Hopefully your husband will get to the point where he realizes he must go there to really heal. Fear is a strong emotion. I hope he is at least now proud of his actions and can say he loves and forgives himself. ❤

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