Thursday, November 15, 2007

Anyu (part 2)

Hubby never told me exactly what his mother had said about me, but I know that she accused me of being a cult leader among other things. Yes, a cult leader! After all I had brain washed her son into marrying me, through my karate teaching (I was that good an instructor!).

As time went by, things didn’t really get better between us. We would see his parents on family occasions only. One year, at Christmas, I had my hair coloured red, fire truck red (it was Christmas after all!), and while driving to a cousin’s house, I realised that my hair colour would be ammunition for my MIL; yet another thing for her to judge. I told Hubby that I was done trying, and if his mother gave me any attitude I would just ignore her. As soon as I came in, his cousin screamed with excitement at my new hair colour. My MIL was standing by the door and the look she gave me was just what I needed. I wished Merry Christmas to my FIL, skipped my MIL and proceed with the rest of the family. She did not like that. At that exact moment I knew I was “done” playing that game. My FIL asked me to go talk to his wife, to say hi to her. I politely answered that I was done playing nice. I had reached my threshold. He knew what I meant. Meanwhile, Hubby was being “talked to”, in Hungarian, by his mother. From the tone of it all, I could understand that she wasn’t happy.

One Easter, I had bought little chocolate bunnies for everyone and a centrepiece for the table, also made of chocolate. When we arrived, cousin’s wife told me to set up everything, which I did. When my MIL came in and saw the table and the little bunnies, she commented on how nice it was. Cousin’s wife told her it was from me. (She always tried to help mend things between us, but it never worked). MIL answered: “oh well”. During the meal the topic went to bad wedding gifts received. We had a received a really bad platter (with naked people on…) and cousin’s wife couldn’t get over having seen it. When she mentioned it, my MIL said: “It must have been her friends who gave them that!”. The worst part is, she was right! I didn’t answer and went into the kitchen, and started cleaning up. At some point she came in and told me I was being helpful. I bite my tongue, once again. Let’s just say that cousin’s crystal glasses are pretty sturdy because I squeezed them hard!

The following Christmas I was surprised when she gave me a brooch that said: “Cat Lover”. The fact that it was the only thing I got when I realised what other gifts they had offered everyone else became funny to me. I had to laugh (or I would have cried too often). And at least I like the brooch. Some relatives were not at ease with the situation, and would tell me about it. I would tell them not to worry about it. That was just the way it was, nothing more. With time, people started to “notice” things a little more, or, my MIL wasn’t being as careful as she used to be. People also realised that I had made many attempts at peace.

I did reach a point where I didn’t even want to see my in laws at family gatherings. It was sucking the life out of me, and was also creating tension with Hubby. I felt like he wasn’t backing me up when I needed him to. He felt stuck in the middle, helpless. He so often reminded me that despite my best efforts, it wasn’t me and it was useless to try to fix things.

While friends from out of town were visiting one year, Hubby’s ex and I started comparing notes (yes, we are one of those weirdo couples who still have contact with their exes) about how MIL was acting with me. She was doing to me what she had done to her. Hubby says that it was at that specific moment that he knew his mother was beyond help. It is also at that moment that he “closed” himself when it came to issues with his mother.

11 comments:

Monkey said...

My MIL was not the biggest Monkey fan either, but FIL had the grace to be embarrassed about his wife's behavior- how about yours?

princess slea said...

wow that really sux. you are a better woman than i. i would have not gone to the events at all.

btw. i just watched the video 2girls1cup. It's not so much a cup though as it is a glass i'd say.

Marius said...

To have gone through all of this and still have the sense of humor and lightness that you have is most impressive. You are a pillar, my lady.(although I am sure you are a well sculpted and elegant pillar)
;-)

Cyberpunk said...

i thought only us Asians had problems with mothers in law!

but, cult leader? haha that was funny

Stinkypaw said...

monkey: My FIL is a nice person, but never stood up to his wife...

princess: At first I stopped attending events, but then realised I was punishing Hubby as well ('cause he wanted me there), and in a way I realised that by not going she was winning (i.e. I wasn't there!), so I kept going.

marius: A pillar, please! I may have the shape of it, but that's about it! ;-)

cyberpunk: Welcome to my blog! I think problems with MIL are universal!

Trueself said...

Just read your two posts about your MIL. I understand a bit what you went through as I also had an MIL who didn't care for me. It isn't easy dealing with people like that. At least in my case, she did come around somewhat thanks to my efforts at bridging the gap. I'm impressed that you endured as well as you did for as long as you did.

Stinkypaw said...

trueself: My MIL only came around when she was facing her death. I'm wondering if she didn't get sick if she'd stayed the same.

Ananke said...

OMG, you're a cult leader! I knew there was a reason I can't stop reading your blog. And all along I thought it was just because I liked your writing. ;-)

Stinkypaw said...

ananke: Of course it was because of my writing! My powers don't fully work in cyberspace... ;-)

hasarder said...

It's really interesting reading about this in detail, especially having already read about the way your relationship changed as she neared death.
I've never had to deal with crabby in-laws, thank god. If I was you I would have snapped years ago and said to her 'lofasz a segedben!' (I'm sure Hubby can translate that if you don't understand it.)
I think you did a great job sucking it up for so long, and I'm glad you made your peace with each other before she died.

Stinkypaw said...

hasarder: That's the first expression I've learned! Hee. And I'm glad to that she left, at least, with that less anger in her.