Be kind

One of my all time favorite photos of my baby, The Peacemaker (Sammy). It just happens to be with the mother-in-law. Quite a pair!

Today is my mother-in-law’s 81st birthday. This would be the woman who birthed and raised my incredibly dysfunctional husband. I met her 36 1/2 years ago. She was 44 years old, had been married to my father-in-law for nearly 23 years and had a 27 year old estranged daughter (you do the math), Blue Eyes at 21 (we met when we were both 20), and an 18 year old son, Uncle D. Blue Eyes was a sophomore at college and I was a freshman. Blue Eyes invited me for Thanksgiving.

I wrote the below post about that Thanksgiving.

https://trynottocryonmyrainbow.com/2015/02/18/just-another-love-story-part-four-meeting-the-parents/

After Blue Eyes was diagnosed as a sex addict in January, 2014 and his childhood wounds were being ripped from deep inside him, and addressed, and his parents were behaving as mean as ever, he stopped contacting them. Neither of us knew if he would ever speak to them again, especially after my buried trauma was unearthed as a part of my therapy and healing, but my instincts were that he would want to contact them one day. That day came far sooner than I would have liked.

Now, mind you, it’s not like his parents were reaching out to him. They just couldn’t be bothered. They never ever took responsibility for their deplorable behavior. They chalked it all up to Blue Eyes being a really crappy, disrespectful spoiled rotten son (he wasn’t) and they went on about their lives. Because that is what mean, narcissistic people do.

For some reason that eludes me, after nearly six years of living without them and coming to terms with all the abuse and trauma, Blue Eyes decided to contact his parents. We met them for dinner in Los Angeles in December, 2019. His father was about to turn 85. Since that time I have not talked with them, not once. I have no desire and there is no need. Blue Eyes communicates with his father often, and occasionally speaks with his mother, who is as self absorbed and mean as ever. I did, however, last year on her 80th birthday, send her a magnificent bouquet of 80 roses, from our family. She made it to 80! Good for her.

A couple weeks ago MIL was rushed to the hospital with bleeding varicose veins. Apparently there was blood everywhere and they couldn’t stop the bleeding. I’m sure this scared her and no doubt there was pain involved. She doesn’t do well with pain. I orchestrated sending her a bouquet of tropical flowers. She loves Hawaii, so I thought she would appreciate the tropical nature of the bouquet. Apparently not… she called it unusual, and then chastised Blue Eyes for changing his mobile phone number (which he did seven years ago).

So yesterday I called up an LA florist and ordered a huge bouquet of more traditional blooms plus french macarons to be delivered to her for her birthday, from all of us, including the Brooklyn couple. It was a spendy venture. This is my way of trying to be kind to a woman who has rarely been kind to me, and I love flowers, so not a huge chore.

The arrangement is actually much bigger than this photo makes it look… it was not exactly what I asked for, but pretty nonetheless.
With a box of macarons, very French… MIL loves Paris

Blues Eyes received a quick email thanking him for the flowers. She actually copied me on the email, however she used an email address that hasn’t been active for many years. She merely said… “thank you very much. Mom”

About an hour later I received an email from the florist that went like this:

“Your mother in law called and said the flower arrangement is magnificent. That she has never seen anything like it. We talked for quite some time. She is nice.”

In this case, the apple doesn’t fall far from the proverbial tree. For some reason it is easier for my in laws and my husband to treat strangers better than they treat the people they profess to love. I will never understand it and I certainly will never emulate it.

I have found the following article to be immensely helpful to me in reminding me how I was raised and how I choose to behave:

https://www.marcandangel.com/2012/01/29/20-things-to-start-doing-in-your-relationships/

“Set an example. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you— not because they are nice, but because you are.” ~Marc and Angel Hack Life

Now I want to send my own mom some gorgeous flowers… for just being a kind, thoughtful, loving, giving, nurturing mother. I’m gonna do that!

Peace, friends! 🌸

22 thoughts on “Be kind

  1. Wow!!
    People often have different faces for different people. Maybe we all do to a degree, but for some like your MIL it’s a lot more extreme. I guess she played a role with the florist which worked – she wanted to be liked. That helps to confirm the image she wants of herself in her own head.
    With your own family though, you can only really be your true self. Warts and all. It seems to me from reading this and your referenced article, your MIL has many, many warts!!
    Yet still you are really generous to her. Even though she absolutely doesn’t deserve it. I’m so glad you sent your own mum some flowers. Lovely. What a lovely lady you are!!

    My MIL is also a nightmare, in a completely different type of way. My husband is amazing and I am at times furious with her because she doesn’t see it. Sometimes I want to help my husband to deal with her, but he often doesn’t let me as he knows she’ll behave badly and he tries to protect me from that.

    I haven’t spoken with my mother, evil step-father, brother or sister in over ten years. My mother and step father were abusive and I know my life is a better place without them. But sometimes I really crave contact with my mum. You only ever get one mum, and despite all of her faults, I love her and miss her. But a therapist once told me the mother I crave isn’t my mother. It’s a kind of fantasy mother I dream of. A mother my mother can never be.
    Reading your two posts, that advice really came back to me. I wondered if Blue Eyes also craves a picture of a mother he would like to have. Maybe that’s why he painted a different picture of his family in the beginning. Maybe that’s why he needed to get back in touch.

    For me it’s like I have to fight a constant battle. A bit like an addiction – not to go back and bring her into our lives again. In my brain I know she is very, very bad for us. But my heart wants something different entirely. I, myself am a nice mum. And I would love to have a mum who who just loved me unconditionally.

    Writing an article like this makes such an impact. Thank you for posting it.

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  2. I love this from beginning to end Kat. It shows the quality of person you are. You are an amazing example to your sons of how to be strong and true to yourself, while also being kind to those who honestly do not deserve that kindness.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Kat… I got to this sentence “For some reason it is easier for my in laws and my husband to treat strangers better than they treat the people they profess to love” and whew!! That hit home. For me, less with my in laws (I’ve had blessedly little contact) but definitely true for my husband. I can’t count the things he did that he knew would hurt me, all to be accommodating or thought well of by some acquaintance or stranger. It’s so bizarre.

    I went and hugged my (good, kind, loving) mom after this. ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    • That struck home with me also. Over the years, my husband coached the kids sports teams and at the end of the season he always wrote a special card for each player complimenting their strengths and learning over the season. Not once did he write on to our kid on the team. Despite calling him out on that over and over he could never find it in his ability to say something sincerely nice to our kids. Ugh

      Liked by 2 people

    • Same. His behind my back cruel behavior still astonishes me and hurts my heart.

      And, I’m glad you hugged your mom. My mom loved the flowers and chocolates I sent her “just because.” She called me practically in tears within minutes of receiving them! I feel so lucky! ❤️

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  4. Oh my. I am grateful that the woman who birthed and raised and screwed up my husband is dead and gone. I understand how she ended up being such a narcissist given her own life/childhood but you might think that people would observe other mothers and perhaps see how they could improve. She was inappropriate with him and abandoned him over and over as a child. To make it worse, he was her favorite. My MIL was a very cunning and hateful person to me when nobody was watching or listening and I talked about that over the years with my spouse. In hindsight I wonder if my anger at her fueled his addiction because it raised his stress levels and he needed relief. I will never know. My MIL was fond of sleeping around with whomever happened to show her attention and I often referred to her as a whore. Little did I know that hubby was seeking out whores too. By the time my MIL was in hospice care I really did not care and to the very end, like the day before she died, she would wake up from her coma, see me and say vile things. Ugh. I am so, so glad she is gone. I regret that others have to deal with people like that however you have developed some really good skills and understand that her importance in the world is in her mind. She is such a gnat on the tree of life. Why welcome that kind of evil into one’s life? We are adults and are capable of withstanding whatever it takes to maintain our own sanity. You are one stable and strong woman Kat. Thanks for always sharing your strengths and occasionally your sadness.

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    • I am so glad your MIL is gone too, Marie. In my case, a lot of the disrespect dished out by my MIL was right in front of people. I never understood it because I had never been treated like that or seen anyone be treated like she treated me, nor could I understand how no one in that family voiced any concerns for how she behaved. She was very two-sided with her own children, between glorifying them (mostly to outsiders) and belittling them. She’s a narcissist and I honestly think, with my husband, that she had a form of Munchhausen by Proxy. She absolutely lived off of his illnesses flipping between blaming him, mistreating him, and talking about how his illness messed up her social life, and yet, according to her, he was so lucky to have her as his mother because she devoted everything to him. It’s really really sad, and awful. I actually think my husband could rationalize some of his disrespect for me (not overtly, but in his secret SA behavior) because he watched his mother behave so poorly and he emulated some of her totally selfish behavior. I will not miss her when she is gone. ❤️

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  5. It is funny that you still got to know your MIL’s reaction to your bouquet – even thought it came through the florist! Even more since she probably wouldn’t have called had she known that the flourist would call you after 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t spoken to my mother, a raging narcissist, in 25 years now. She is 83 and suddenly flipped into dementia (could be Alzheimer’s, could be “normal” dementia, nobody cares) last year. She went through a period, which turned out to be brief, of civility toward my brother, SIL, and their kids. That ended suddenly and she reverted to her nasty, mean, demanding, vile behavior via phone calls and texts. They can’t get her out of her home but they did take the car after a neuro exam. All this and yet she apparently presents as “normal” on facebook and to non-family members. Forum shopping to the end…like your MIL, whose perfunctory email to BE and you is soulless bullshit.

    All her recent behavior has reaffirmed my reasons for staying away all these years. No way could I ever have created high enough or thick enough walls to protect myself from her. I would have ended up dead or in jail. My brother has shown her kindness all these years despite her ugly behavior toward him and his family, but it has taken a toll on him and his ability to be happy. Dealing with a narcissist when you are an empath is very, very tough.

    Nobody will miss her when she is gone. Nobody.

    Hope you are finding something good in life every day under these horrid circumstances ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am, B. Three humans and three pets, finding fun things to keep us busy, reading lots of books… the Brooklyn kid arrives on Wednesday for another 6-week stay. Even with snow & ice storms and loss of electricity, we have just about made it through another February. I miss travel so much though. I’m currently planning a birthday getaway, for May. Not too far away. Planning is part of the fun. 🤗

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