Author Topic: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151  (Read 33350 times)

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Slartibartfast

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #210 on: May 03, 2013, 09:46:58 PM »
Good for him!  I do think the two of you would benefit from another conversation - this time about what HE wants/feels.  Does he feel like you and/or MIL set him up to be stuck in the middle?  Is he upset at his mother, or is he just resigned that "that's how she is"?  What are his priorities here - does he see this as a major turning point in his relationship with his mother, or does he think you're over-reacting?

Your relationship will be healthier if he can learn to look at things from his own viewpoint first, then from yours, and only then from his mother's.  It's going to be an adjustment, because he's so used to just looking at his mother's view first and foremost and only taking his own comfort into account if there's a serious reason to say no to his mother.  You also would be better off if he learned to say "Let me talk to LadyL about it and call you back!" instead of agreeing to anything on the spot.  Even for things he's pretty sure you won't care about.  It will be a good exercise in helping him discover his own point of view, and will be essential in helping the two of you decide what things are worth taking a stand over.

NyaChan

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #211 on: May 03, 2013, 09:47:37 PM »
((HUGS))  Hang in there LadyL!

Firecat

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #212 on: May 03, 2013, 10:05:17 PM »
I am trying to get some sort of code word approved for "you are being horribly fleeced by your dysfunctional family" that I can just yell REALLY LOUD next time and he will listen and we don't need to have 20 conversations about how and why it's dysfunctional before he begrudgingly agrees. But I know it's not going to be that easy and am keeping an open mind about couples therapy if it isn't at least a bit easier next time.

Yes, I think learning to talk to him about this is a better idea for having a code word you yell when you're displeased.  It's his life too, and he clearly loves his family, even though you think they're dysfunctional.  If his "spine" is only to enforce what you, personally, want, it's not truly standing up for himself, and it's not going to work well in the long run.

This is about more than LadyL being "displeased." I think this response is very snide and dismissive.

Firecat

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #213 on: May 03, 2013, 10:08:13 PM »
Good for him!  I do think the two of you would benefit from another conversation - this time about what HE wants/feels.  Does he feel like you and/or MIL set him up to be stuck in the middle?  Is he upset at his mother, or is he just resigned that "that's how she is"?  What are his priorities here - does he see this as a major turning point in his relationship with his mother, or does he think you're over-reacting?

Your relationship will be healthier if he can learn to look at things from his own viewpoint first, then from yours, and only then from his mother's.  It's going to be an adjustment, because he's so used to just looking at his mother's view first and foremost and only taking his own comfort into account if there's a serious reason to say no to his mother.  You also would be better off if he learned to say "Let me talk to LadyL about it and call you back!" instead of agreeing to anything on the spot.  Even for things he's pretty sure you won't care about.  It will be a good exercise in helping him discover his own point of view, and will be essential in helping the two of you decide what things are worth taking a stand over.

If nothing else, LordL saying, every time, that he needs to talk with you first will emphasize that you and LordL are your own social unit, without having to actually say that in so many words.

*inviteseller

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #214 on: May 04, 2013, 01:35:42 AM »
I have been in those trenches.  My ex MIL was such a boundary trampler that bulldozers bowed to her.  Let me tell you how married life will be if this woman is not reined in.  You and LordL will make a decision about your life, she will decide that is not how it should be, so she starts whispering in his ear that he should really think about it, that isn't a good decision, mom has never steered him wrong and BAM she has him dancing like a marionette.  You two argue, he comes back around to the original decision, she starts all over, but with a little more force..he pushes back because he does love you, so she backs off.  But only to regroup and decide her next step.  She won't stop, she will just change tactics, be it PA behavior, tears and threats, fake illnesses, and outright lies about you.  She has been that voice in his head for so long and she will.not.give.that.up.  It isn't you, it is her losing power over her son.  But this will cause constant issues for you two and he will feel pulled in both directions instead of standing up to her, because that is just how it is done.  We all do it mommy's way or we all suffer, but while she is happy LordL is miserable because he loves you both but can't figure out who he should be siding with, and you are miserable because instead of being a family unto yourselves, you have an interloper running things.    I cannot stand my ex MIL, and now that her precious boy, who I finally gave back to her because I couldn't be the other woman in that threesome any more , has passed away and our DD is almost 18, I no longer will deal with her at all.  Please look into couples counseling, but phrase it to him as "We need a way to work together as a team in our life" instead of "We need to deprogram you from whatever hold that woman has on you".  It is wonderful when the man you want to spend the rest of your life with loves his family, but when you play second fiddle to them and let them have a say in your marriage, it is an unbearable life.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #215 on: May 04, 2013, 02:07:28 AM »
So LadyL, are you and your DF going to the reunion (and just agreeing to a toast), or not going at all? (I wasn't sure from your update).

If you do attend the reunion, I think you need an escape plan, just in case your MIL forges ahead with the shower. If she starts trying to turn it into a shower, I think you (and your DF) need to leave, right away. Or at least go for a long walk, until she realises the shower isn't going to happen. If your DF won't leave with you, you should leave the venue by yourself.

Rusty

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #216 on: May 04, 2013, 02:47:21 AM »
Winning one battle doesn't mean a war has been won.

LordL now knows that LadyL is going to be as difficult to deal with as his mother is.   He has been taught all his life to give in to his Mother and that's how he deals with her.  I also believe that LordL doesn't hold as firm views over the "toast" as LadyL does, he just wants to go to the reunion, see the relatives and have a good time.     

I think counselling would be a wonderful start to your life together if you want to avoid future pitfalls.

AvidReader

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #217 on: May 04, 2013, 08:16:14 AM »
There is only one way this can end with a boundary lesson for F-MIL.  You and DF not going to the reunion.  As PPs have said, if you go, she will  up the ante the next time around...vacation scheduling, being in the delivery room, etc.   If DF goes without you, F-MIL will have successfully wedged herself between you and DF irrespective of the embarrassment to her of throwing a bridal shower without the bride present. 

Can you just imagine DF driving home with a carload of gifts?  Ack!  I'd want to toss them all.   In the end, whether the two of you go or not, you will end up with all that stuff. 

Maybe I'm off base, but there is a part of me that thinks that perhaps DF is a bit naive about the wedding-industrial-complex and so it has been easy for him to blowoff or compartmentalize the idea of a toast or a bridal shower at the reunion.  Whereas for us women, it is a huge symbolic boundary indicator.

You will ultimately have to decide if you want to marry LordL and his mother or LordL.  The suggestion for couples counseling to explore the question of boundary-setting and deciding things as a couple is a good one.  If this horror show keeps hanging fire or gives birth to spinoffs, then I'd go so far as to postpone the wedding for 6 months while you and DF engage in counseling.  The loss of wedding-events deposits will seem like small potatoes in the rear view window against years of separate h*lls for you and DF and the cost of a divorce. 

This has left me wondering if DF is an only child or the only son?  There are certainly lessons here for all of us.

suzieQ

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #218 on: May 04, 2013, 08:36:33 AM »
After 30+ years of marriage to a kind man  who cannot say NO to his family and friends, and always puts our social unit (to borrow OP's phrase) at the bottom of his obligations list, I would suggest, OP, that you think long and hard about the next decades of your life.  I have yet to find a polite way to convince him that we should be allowed to draw boundaries in our life. For example, I have yet to find a polite way to convince his family that they do not have the right to schedule our vacations, because everytime they do he agrees with me to say no, and then gives in to them.  It will not help if you have grown a shiny spine, and he only agrees with you until they have his ear again.  It's very hard to be polite when you know every effort you make will be undermined.

POD. If my MIL hadn't died when she did, DH and I would probably not be together right now. The only way I "won" this situations was by outliving her.

LadyL

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #219 on: May 04, 2013, 08:59:35 AM »

Maybe I'm off base, but there is a part of me that thinks that perhaps DF is a bit naive about the wedding-industrial-complex and so it has been easy for him to blowoff or compartmentalize the idea of a toast or a bridal shower at the reunion.  Whereas for us women, it is a huge symbolic boundary indicator.


We are not planning on going. We are considering showing up unannounced several days earlier so he can see his grandparents, and/or making a separate visit entirely, not sure yet. He agreed to take a trip to visit the relatives he hasn't seen in a long time separate from the reunion.

I also think this above is part of why I come across as having stronger feelings that LordL. He must have said to me 15 times, "I don't even know what a shower is!" So I explained it to him and had him read Martha Stewart's guide to a polite shower where it mentions hosting, gifts, games, etc.  His response was "Yeah, I definitely want no part of  that." But I don't think it has the same degree of symbolism to him. He eventually realized that his parents were using his lack of knowledge  to their advantage to "play word games" as he put it (i.e. change it from "shower" to "a toasting" but still list us as the GOH).

Also, I should mention that in the past LordL did set boundaries in a sense, just not in the most effective way. After any incident like this with his mother he would cut off contact from her for anywhere from 3-6 months. But he wouldn't tell her why, he would just do a temporary cut direct with no explanation, so whatever she learned from it never stuck. I pointed out that while the current form of boundary setting is more direct and emotional, hopefully it will prevent the need for periods of estrangement (because I do want him to have a relationship with his family and I don't think the behavior is cut direct worthy).

Sophia

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #220 on: May 04, 2013, 09:04:24 AM »
Boundary setting has to be effective, otherwise it is worse than none.  Ineffective just teaches the other person that after enough pressure you will eventually cave.

rose red

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #221 on: May 04, 2013, 09:28:22 AM »
A PP said LordL seems to agree with whoever he spoke with last.  I have to agree.  Now he's agreeing with the OP, but what will happen when his mother call in the next few days?

weeblewobble

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #222 on: May 04, 2013, 09:39:06 AM »
I said it before here but as bad as I feel for Lordl he can't have it both ways. He can't expect Ladyl to accept MILs interference - even in its watered down state - and then be hurt that she won't just "play nice" and go to the reunion and play happy fDIL for the relatives. If he wants to attend the reunion that's fine. She has other plans. Anything else rewards MILs manipulation

Hmmmmm

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #223 on: May 04, 2013, 09:57:54 AM »
A PP said LordL seems to agree with whoever he spoke with last.  I have to agree.  Now he's agreeing with the OP, but what will happen when his mother call in the next few days?

I agree.

And I also wonder if LordL is wishing they were having a larger wedding with more family in attendance. It sounds like he would enjoy some type of family celebration for his marriage. It a shame his mother has ruined that opportunity for him.

julianna

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #224 on: May 04, 2013, 10:24:29 AM »
Hugs to both LadyL and LordL.  I can tell you from experience that while it will help LordL to have you as a voice of reason, it probably will not be enough.  If there's any way you can encourage him to see a therapist, it would really help him -- it's simply too hard for him to recognize all the dysfunction, since he grew up considering it "normal."  Also, I spent a long time biting my tongue when MIL treated DH poorly, because I thought it would make him feel worse to have me point out how crappy his mother was being.  I only realized in the last couple of years that he was so used to her behavior, he didn't even notice it (not consciously, anyway.  Subconsciously I think it took a real toll on him.).  So now I make an effort not to react emotionally, but I do try to calmly point out when she's being irrational, controlling, or hurtful (or all three!).  Best of luck to you both.