Hurtful relatives and kids...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Hurtful relatives and kids...
26
Thu, 01-08-2004 - 2:40pm

This would be a very long post so I am going to outline it and, if you need more information, please let me know.


I have several issues with my MIL and I am trying to decide if I should allow her around the kids since she is so...so...insane and toxic.


My Issues:


1. Devin's illness was all about her. She sobbed over him and kept saying, "How can you do this to me, Devin? I have always loved you best and you can't leave me."


2. She is overly critical of Zak. She has told me she resented Zak being born because he was born when Devin had his first brain surgery. She said she felt like God was replacing Devin and she has told other people that Zak looks too much like a Galligan and it brings back bad memories of Devin's father and their marriage.


3. She was late to Devin's visitation by one and a half hours. When she got there, she never acknowledged my children's exisitence or mine. She never told the kids she was sorry about their father.


4. She stole several items from the house when I was in the ambulance with Devin. His engraved hairbrush is missing along with a picture of Devin with the Olympic Torch. I am upset but I don't want to fight over petty crap so I have said nothing. I did ask her if she had seen the brush since Devin wanted Alex to have it and she said she would have one made for Alex.


5. When I told Zak Daddy died, one of his questions was if KK (my MIL) would be coming to the house anymore because he does not like it when she is at our house. How pitiful is that....


Now, she has called and she wants to give me money (her method of controlling people), she wants to come visit and she wants to take Alex out for the day. I tried to reject the money because I don't want it but she overrode me. I don't want her in my house and how I am going to get out of this? I haven't called her at all because I am so angry and disgusted with her. I always put up with her because Devin hated conflict and he was a good barrier for me. People have told me to unhook but she is their grandmother...


"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)

      &nbs

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-1999
Thu, 01-08-2004 - 3:15pm
I'm going to preface this by saying that I HATE that you're dealing w/this on top of losing Devin. Impossibly cruel, IMO. So...if it were me (and I've done this in regards to my own monster-in-law), I'd level with her and tell her if she doesn't shape up, she's going to lose contact w/Devin's sons. Seriously. I'd even tell her what Zak said. Open her eyes and show her how she's hurting you and the boys. And if she doesn't shape up, cut her off. Yes, she's their grandmother, but IME, that whole blood relative thing is overrated anyway (remember, I'm adopted) and if she's toxic, she's not doing the boys any good. And she certainly isn't doing you any good.

I had an ugly situation w/my MIL when I was about 7 months pregnant and laid it all out on the line for her and she's been much more bearable since then. And I made it crystal clear that she may be DS's grandmother, but I was his mother, and if I cut her off--she wasn't going to see DS EVER. End of discussion.

Of course, I'm (admittedly) a bit of a witch (otherwise known as starts w/B rhymes w/witch), but, that's what I would do.

GL and hang in there. Hugs, Christi

Avatar for 1969jets
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 01-08-2004 - 3:21pm
I do not believe that we are required to keep toxic people in our lives just because we are related to them (or married into the family). If your MIL was a good grandmother I would advise you to tolerate her because of your kids. But since your kids don't seem to have a close relationship with her I would advise you to cut off as much contact as you can. I realize that you probably won't be able to completely avoid her, but I would try as much as I could.

Additionally, I would try to limit the time she spends alone with your kids. Even though you don't care for her you should probably try to accompany her on any visits your kids do have with her. You are all grieving right now and I would hate to have her poison your kids against you just at the time they need to be close to you.

My heart breaks for your family.

Jenna

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2003
Thu, 01-08-2004 - 3:27pm
I am sorry, MY mother is completely toxic. I won't let her near my children.

{{Now, she has called and she wants to give me money (her method of controlling people),

I tried to reject the money because I don't want it but she overrode me.}}

The money giver can't control you if you don't let her. If she insists, place the money in an interest earning account for the boys.

{{she wants to come visit and she wants to take Alex out for the day.}} She can't take Alex out alone, period either you go with or he doesn't go at all. Lord knows what she will be telling him if left alone. Reverse the plan on her, tell her you were planning to take Alex(love that name BTW) out for lunch and the park, she is welcome to join you. Beat her to the punch.

Please follow your instincts on this one. She is going to play your guilt for all it is worth to get her way. I have toxic parent, it is tough to stand your ground, but you are pretty tough.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Thu, 01-08-2004 - 4:12pm
Ditto what everyone else said. You're going through such an awful time in your life, and I really hope you can find the strength to limit the amount of pain this woman inflicts on you and your sons.

Why does she want to take Alex out, but not Zak? If it's because she doesn't like Zak, then I wouldn't stand for it. Overt favoritism is one of the cruelest things you can do to kids. If it's just because Zak will be in school, then that's another story.

I can't *believe* she stole things from your house. How unbelievably obnoxious, especially when she knows Devin wanted Zak to have the brush. I'd tell her to bring it (not a replacement, but the real brush) the next time she visits, or it will be her last visit. I don't think that's petty at all. Someone's got to hold her accountable.

One thing: you said you didn't want the money but she overrode you. She can't override you. You get to make this decision. If you think the money would help you, or if you want it even slightly, then you should take it. But if you truly don't want it, then you really, truly, don't have to take it. She can't force it on you unless you let her.

A great book for you would be Toxic Inlaws. You'll read so many stories like your own, and learn how other people either managed the toxic relationship, or cut the toxic person our of their lives. It sounds to me like your MIL has narcissistic personality disorder. That's something you really can't talk someone out of. So I do think you should trust your instincts and limit the time she spends with the kids.

Congratulations! I'm so happy to hear it. I just heard the good news and popped back over, just in case you were still checking in.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-18-2003
Thu, 01-08-2004 - 4:20pm

It sucks that you're having to deal with this on top of the rest of the fallout.


Here's my advice .. don't even know if its worth two cents ...


Make it all about the kids. Whatever you decide, to kick her to the curb or open the door, do so because its what's best for the kids. If you keep her away, do it because you think that her toxicity is contagious; do it because her preferential treatment of Alex really hurts Zak; do it because the boys aren't having a positive experience. If you open the door to her, do it because Alex and Zak's life will be enriched by her presence; do it because the boys get a piece of Devin when she's around.


I'm not saying that *your* wishes don't play in here, but ultimately its about the kids.

Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color.  Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 01-08-2004 - 4:21pm

I am so glad

"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)

      &nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Thu, 01-08-2004 - 4:31pm
I agree with the others that right now, you have to take care of your family which is you, Alex, and Zak.

Your MIL must be going through * a lot * also, but it really seems that her way of "dealing" (or not "dealing") is to lash out and you guys are getting the blunt of it, which is just not right. She needs to find another way to deal with the her grief. Do you think she will go for grief counseling?

Edited to add: I also wanted to say that I agree with the others in that as toxic as she is, I would not let her spend time with your family.


Edited 1/8/2004 4:33:05 PM ET by iaudrey00

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-27-2003
Thu, 01-08-2004 - 4:49pm
Kristi, I'm so sorry you have to go through all of this! I think that if the kids are not comfortable around MIL, then you should keep her away from them. Remember, your only responsibility is to yourself and your kids. It's not about what your MIL wants. You need to do what is best for your family. Your family is in my prayers.
Megan
Megan
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Thu, 01-08-2004 - 6:11pm
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See, if she wanted to show love for her son, she would respect the people he loved and chose to spend his life with. I feel very sorry that she's going through such an awful thing, but she really shouldn't be doing this to you.

My MIL is a lot like yours, right down to how she acted when DH was on life support and not expected to live last March. It was all about her and how she was being victimized. She made some "mistakes," like forgetting to ask his condition or prognosis when I told her the news, that showed how little she cared about what happened to him.

I tried to get her to like me for years, but then I finally realized that she wasn't going to like me no matter *what* I did, so I might as well stop bending over backwards to please her. Like you, I get conflicted because I feel very sorry for my MIL -- she's so terribly unhappy and angry.

Good luck, and if you do decide to keep MIL around, no one here will think the less of you. Only you know what to do, and maybe MIL will shape up when she's not so grief-stricken. I wouldn't bet the farm on it ;), but you never know.

Congratulations! I'm so happy to hear it. I just heard the good news and popped back over, just in case you were still checking in.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-1999
Thu, 01-08-2004 - 7:15pm
Yes, she lost her son, but you lost your husband and those boys lost their daddy. You were ALL robbed, but this isn't just about her. Her lack of regard for her grandsons makes me sick. I don't know how you do it.

Hugs, Christi

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