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kaplods
04-05-2010, 10:52 PM
We got the oddest letter from hubby's mother today. Essentially the message was "I've noticed you (primarily meaning David) gaining weight rapidly, and I'm really very concerned about you, because of your obesity-related health problems...

I don't understand the timing. I was at my highest weight when we married (7 years ago), and hubby gained quite a bit of weight in the early months of our marriage. Now, we're both about 80 lbs from our highest weight (80 lbs DOWN from our highest weight). Most of the weight for each of us being lost in the last year.

Hubby called and confronted his mother (not a conversation that went well -we were accused of lying about or exagerating our weight loss).

I really don't get it. Maybe I'm being intentionally dense. I want to believe that the letter was well-intended, if misguided. But she does have our wedding picture displayed promininently in their home, and I'm OBVIOUSLY much thinner, and hubs appears to be the same size (he gained about 80 lbs in the early months of our marriage, and we recently were excited to find that he could fit into his wedding suit jacket).

Hubby seems to think his mom's motives are manipulative (that on some level she is aware that we've lost considerable weight, and feels it's an implied invitation for comment. The goal sabotage or to claim partial "credit" for any future weight loss - or some other ulterior motive). She lost a considerable amount of weight (alluded to in the letter).

The psychologist in me, recognizes and understands some of the possible motives (intentional and less so), but it's still hitting me like a ton of bricks. Part of me wants to justify myself and PROVE the work we've done, but that would only reward the manipulative behavior. And the fact is that our results haven't been impressive, they've been modest at best. And even though we're very proud of them, we know how easily our slow progress can be turned against us. I don't how many times I've heard from my own parents over the years, "If you were really serious about this, you'd be losing weight a lot faster."

Aaagh, sometimes I hate people.


mandalinn82
04-05-2010, 10:59 PM
Well, that's annoying.

My response would be, "Gee, thanks for your concern. We were concerned too - that's why we've both been working to lose about 80 lbs each so far. Our doctors are thrilled" or something that says "you're wrong, I'm on it, and if you think you know more than our physician, you're a crazy person".

I might even respond as though I'd misunderstood her letter...like "Yes, thanks for noticing, we've both lost about 80 lbs!" See her try to respond to that one...what would she say, "No, you misunderstand, I was saying you'd gained weight!". In which case your answer is, "Well, that's strange, because we haven't!"

glenlorie
04-05-2010, 11:02 PM
WOW! It really just seems hateful to me that they even sent that. I would take a picture of your husband in the wedding jacket, fold it up in the letter they send you, and ship it back "return to sender" style. (But I can be hateful sometimes).

I can't really wrap my mind about why they think it was even their business to send a letter, and the fact that they even sent a letter instead of a face to face conversation or a phone call sort of tells me they might be a little jealous because you all are now losing weight and gaining the attention away from that relatives weight loss.

I would do my best to ignore them and not take it to heart. Just keep up the good work, losing weight is hard enough without some outside person butting their nose in! Good luck and keep up the good work!


angelskeep
04-05-2010, 11:03 PM
HUGS to you both. I got a nasty gram from a relative over the weekend and an ugly followup call this afternoon. I just rode the crap out of my bike to "wear out" my anger and will do whatever is possible to distance myself (one more time) from this person who intruded into my life uninvited. Nobody needs to be treated poorly, and relatives have no more justification for bad behavior than anyone else we happen across in our lives.

Hang in there...you are doing what you need to the way you need to and it ain't nobody else's beeswax!

Barb

astrophe
04-05-2010, 11:20 PM
I'd be inclined toward "Thanks for your concern, but in this matter you do not need to concern yourself for my sake. My doctor and I will take care of it."

End of story.

I know sometimes with relatives and family gatherings it is not possible to just ignore the person entirely or just not see them any more.

But you can choose to not engage with this person any more on this topic.

GL!
A.

maryblu
04-05-2010, 11:36 PM
ROFLMAO at any of mandalinn's responses, but hafta really, really vote hard for the deliberately *minsunderstand *it *one. Seriously. I would opt for that one.

I don't mean to make light of this. I don't understand for a minute the motivation behind the letter, but I do understand the hurt you feel, Kaplods. You spend a great deal of effort and thought and human capital on your issues and even more effort trying to help the rest of us. I cannot imagine what would provoke someone from your family to do such a thing. You are wise enough to know it is not about you, but about him/her. That said, as I see it, you have 2 options to invalidate it...one is to ignore and do nothing..and that is very powerful...it just is. ..do nothing to react..so, very powerful........the other is to deliberately misundertand, as Mandalinn suggests, take credit...what can he/she possibly say/do to *that?

Good luck and keep fighting the good fight!

kaplods
04-05-2010, 11:55 PM
David warned me when we married that his family was extremely manipulative (his mom essentially tried to talk me out of marrying her son. Not because I wasn't good enough for him, but I was too good for him. She listed all of the ways that he was just like his father, her evil ex).

I didn't entirely get it. My family can be horrible, but they do have the courtesy to do it directly, and to your face. I know how to defend myself against a direct attack, but this passive aggressive bullpoopy is just maddening.

I can even deal with the "buttinski" part of this, because it's how I was raised - with a family a little TOO willing to share opinions (some of you may have noticed it in my tendency to share my opinion whether it's necessarily welcome or not - though I try for graciousness, I do realize that I risk offending people when I'm "too" honest - but it's who I am to say what I think when I'm asked, and occasionally even when I haven't been).


I really don't have a problem with family members expressing concern or even downright disapproval. It sounds horrible, but I think it's actually been a great gift. Yes we got opinions whether we wanted to or not, but we were also encouraged even as small children to speak our mind, and to value and express our opinions. We were also taught not to hold a grudge. People say stupid things they don't mean when they're upset. You apologize, you forgive, and you move on.


In David's family, it was all battlefield, and mostly unidirectional. The adults got to criticise and attack, but the kids were supposed to shut up and be good, and that's the tone I got from the letter. Advice coming from above.

The condescending tone (and the fact that she didn't seem to be aware of the condescension) hurt far more than what she'd said (because the statements weren't entirely unfounded or untruthful with the exception of the weight "gain" part).

It's the motive that I'm stumped by. There's essentially two possiblities as I see it. It was as benignly intended as claimed, and she's bungled it miserably (whether out of ingnorance or insanity). Or it's some weird and cruel manipulative game.

I prefer to think it's the former, but hubby assures me it's the latter.

I'm the practical optimist (prepare for the worst, but expect the best) and hubby is the philisophical pessimist (People SUCK! is his personal motto and his close, personal friends are just people who suck less than average).

kaplods
04-06-2010, 12:06 AM
ROFLMAO at any of mandalinn's responses, but hafta really, really vote hard for the deliberately *minsunderstand *it *one. Seriously. I would opt for that one...

you have 2 options to invalidate it...one is to ignore and do nothing..and that is very powerful...it just is. ..do nothing to react..so, very powerful........the other is to deliberately misundertand, as Mandalinn suggests, take credit...what can he/she possibly say/do to *that?

Good luck and keep fighting the good fight!


I have deliberately "misunderstood" her in the past, and it drives her insane. She's the queen of the backhanded compliment, and I always pretend to take it as a "real" compliment." Then she ups the stakes by making a less subtle backhanded compliment - and I gush with even more gratitude at the wonderful compliment (at which point, she generally gives up - because the alternative is to come out and say what she really thinks, and she's just incapable of doing that).

In this particular case, I think I will just calmly and sweetly tell her (as I always do the first time I have to tell someone) that the subject is no longer open to discussion, because I don't find her suggestions helpful, and I prefer to get my support from sources I find positive and useful.

And remind her every time she tries to bring the topic up that the subject is off-limits.

The hard (but necessary) part is going to be telling her this even when she is positive and giving out compliments about weight loss, because I think that's what her next move will be, and if I'm not prepared it will turn into a trap.

kaplods
04-06-2010, 12:41 AM
I realized that I identified the "relative," so I went back and editied, and changed my avatar so that I could be more blunt with less risk of hurting anyone unintentionally. If I'm going to confront someone about their behavior, I want it to be direct, not a result of someone stumbling over my emotional venting.

midwife
04-06-2010, 02:25 PM
Keep in mind I am the queen of avoidance, but I would have thrown the letter away and Never. Said. A. Word. She would have wondered: did it get lost? Was it read? What was the reaction? And by giving her NOTHING to work with, she could stew in her own curiosity and dissatisfaction.

lizziep
04-06-2010, 02:41 PM
i'm with midwife on this one- let her go crazy over it instead of you. then if she says something to your face- you already know what to do- pretend it's a compliment and drive her freaking insane! :)

you are awesome and everyone here adores you and knows how hard you've worked.

ANewCreation
04-06-2010, 04:27 PM
So many good suggestions! I really don't know what in the world she must be thinking to send a letter like that but I doubt that there is anyone who knows her better than her own son so my thought is, he's probably right about her motivation. I think you are pretty comfortable with your own solution, so I am just here to support you.

Keep up the good work and let us know what you decide to do and how it all works out.

Best wishes!

kaplods
04-06-2010, 04:53 PM
Keep in mind I am the queen of avoidance, but I would have thrown the letter away and Never. Said. A. Word. She would have wondered: did it get lost? Was it read? What was the reaction? And by giving her NOTHING to work with, she could stew in her own curiosity and dissatisfaction.

The thing is that's exactly what she wanted - she even suggested it in the letter that we not speak of the letter (unless we wanted to share our efforts and progress in losing weight). Passive aggression at it's finest, she gets to say everything she wants to say and she hoped we'd be too embarassed to respond.

What I did not know until early this morning, was that she has done this to my husband at least 2 dozen times in his life (not just on weight, but on any of the "bad choices" he was making in girlfriends, friends, jobs, lifestyle choices). Usually within a few days of she not getting her way on something else or of his having done something she didn't approve of.

When he first moved to Illinois, after he declined an invitiation for a holiday or birthday, he apparently received a long letter from his mom as to why his moving to Illinois was a terrible mistake and would destroy his future.

The letters always say how much he is hurting her, and how much her words are out of the deepest "love." He says they're deepest something, but it isn't love. He says they're hard to take seriously when she's always treated her dogs better than him. One of her dogs bit David, and instead of asking if he was alright, she picked up the dog and started cuddling it saying "Did mean David scare you?" David wasn't doing anything threatening, we were just about out the door leaving and the dog dashed and bit David in the calf. I was horrified, she essentially praised the dog for biting. And she's read all of the dog training books, so it's hard to believe she didn't know (on some level) what she's doing.

We believe what set her off this time was what we ordered at a restaurant last week, when we met for family March and April birthdays. We both ordered horrible choices for "dieting," but it had been calculated (and it was the only meal we ate that day). The restaurant is known for decadence - and her choice contained more fat and calories than either of ours). David refused dessert, but had a bite of mine, and I finished my dessert. If we ate like that every day, of course we would be gaining, not losing, but we don't eat like that every day (about once every three to four months).

What really drives me crazy about this is that when he called her, she kept telling him that he should show me the letter and I'd explain to him what she'd meant (she thinks I'd be on her side). I realize why the envelope was addressed to both of us, but the letter was primarily targeting David. He never did tell her that I had read the letter, wanting to let me respond however I want to.

I've decided that weight loss is a topic I will not discuss with her ever again, for good or bad. Even if she compliments one of us, I'm going to remind her that weight is a subject I do not wish to discuss with her under any circumstances. That will be hard, because I'm such an open, honest person who will talk to anyone about anything, even when becomes a passionate debate. I'm just not a person who keeps defensive walls up, but I'm starting to realize why my husband does (I never really understood why he liked my "mean" mom more than his "sweet" mom - now I know. She smiles sweetly while shoving a knife in your gut, twisting it while telling you why it's for your good and how much you are hurting her by making her resort to the stabbing).

I really am fine, now. I just needed to vent and rant a bit.

angelskeep
04-06-2010, 05:11 PM
I think David and I may have the same mother.

Barb

midwife
04-06-2010, 05:18 PM
Sounds like she's somethin' else. I'm sorry, Kaplods. I'm not sure I would open any more letters from her. :hug:

junebug41
04-06-2010, 05:44 PM
Kaplods that's terrible. You know, I've had to institute a "no mail" policy with certain family members. All it took was one returned, un-opened letter and I haven't received a nasty gram since. Perhaps she should lose her snail mail priviliges as well. It sounds like David is very strong, but I think letters like that are so damaging and awful and why subject yourselves to it? Next time, return it unopened and spare yourselves.

EZMONEY
04-06-2010, 08:36 PM
COLLEEN....just send a Thank-You card and get on with your life....

life is too short to worry about that kind of garbage...as you well know...

although it is fun sometimes to "throw" it around...just like garbage....

get a good laugh...say a prayer of thanks on how far you have come and send that Thank-You card...one that just says...Thanks, you shouldn't have...and sign it with your name only....

JoJoJo2
04-06-2010, 08:51 PM
It is sometimes best to just ignore the ignorant.

You are doing so very well. Don't let things like this affect your progress.

JoJoJo2
04-06-2010, 08:52 PM
3fc is double posting. Sorry about that.

kaplods
04-06-2010, 09:30 PM
COLLEEN....just send a Thank-You card and get on with your life....

life is too short to worry about that kind of garbage...as you well know...

although it is fun sometimes to "throw" it around...just like garbage....

get a good laugh...say a prayer of thanks on how far you have come and send that Thank-You card...one that just says...Thanks, you shouldn't have...and sign it with your name only....



This made me laugh.

I already have forgiven MIL. As I said, I was raised not to hold grudges. My family is often outwardly far "meaner," but usually we argue loudly and then make up (although that has it's own problems, because food was always part of the reconcilitation process).

I can handle directness and even hostile aggression without a great deal of stress, but I'm not so good with this level of passive aggressive behavior (My family does have it's share of passive aggressive tricks - but as hubby says my parents are amateurs and his are professionals - I thought he was exagerating, but apparently not).

I wasn't prepared for this. How DO you respond when you get a pretty package wrapped in a sparkly bow - and you find a dog poop inside.

"Thank you, you shouldn't have," really does cover it, doesn't it.

astrophe
04-06-2010, 11:01 PM
How DO you respond when you get a pretty package wrapped in a sparkly bow - and you find a dog poop inside.

Me? I'd still go with playing the broken record. I don't want to have to put a lot of energy there.

You know that saying?

"lord give me strength. grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change. Courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference"

I know some moms want to still feel needed/included/in charge and so on even though their kids are grown up. Some gracefully enter the secondary grandmother role and let someone new take the primary mother mantle, others cling to being the matriarch figure in charge of everyone else.

But I have my boundaries, and my health problems are my own. I don't put up with my own mom bugging me, I'm certainly not with my MIL.

If MIL has been this way all this time, I doubt she's going to change. So variants of the broken record would be the way I'd go.

"Thanks for your concern, but in this case you don't need to worry yourself for my sake. It isn't up for discussion. "

"Thanks for your letter. I can see you are concerned. But this isn't up for discussion."

"Thanks for the letter. This isn't up for discussion, so don't expect a letter in a reply."

"You know, we don't reply to letters trying to engage us in things that are just not up for discussion. Thanks. "

Emotional vampires have different types and different techniques. For passive aggressives

http://www.albernstein.com/id58.htm

suggests

DEFENSIVE STRATEGY: First and foremost, never try to get Passive-Aggressives to admit to their own motivation; you will only get a headache. Remember that they hunger for approval. Tell them explicitly what it takes to please you and praise them profusely when they do it. The strategy is simple and almost foolproof, but it is seldom employed because it's hard to praise somebody who gives you headaches. Hard as it is, it's far easier than the alternative.

If you think this strategy would work, give her a "job" in her letters. Tell her you are looking for X sorts of diabetic/exchange type recipes and if she finds any to mail them.

That's got to be better in the mail than dog poop. So maybe the broken record could be

"Thanks for your concern, but we keep health details for the doctor. You could help us more by sending ___ recipes. That would be great."

Then praise recipes to the skies -- "We really enjoy geting new ideas! You are so clever and finding these!" even if you never even make them.

A.

kaplods
04-06-2010, 11:23 PM
It's funny I just gave the "job" suggestion to my sister about our mom (she recently bought a condo and is moving out of my parents home. Mom is having some separation anxiety).

My mom you can give tasks to distract her and make her feel useful. David says if we try that with his mom, she'll treat it as a foot in the door, and get even worse (probably would send us a diabetic cookbook every week, or enroll us in diabetic classes (with herself as well, so she can "help" us).

David says unless you slam the door firmly, she'll be knocking every five minutes. He's been telling me this for seven years, while I've been telling him "she can't be that bad." I think I finally do understand that he really has learned the best ways to keep her at arms length. For the last 7 years, I've been trying to play peacemaker between David and his family, pushing them together, even though David wasn't comfortable with the more frequent contact, he cooperated for MY benefit. Well, I'm not getting any benefit, and I see that David isn't either, so I think he was right all along.

Having a close family (admittedly a too-close family, sometimes) I really didn't understand the "we have nothing in common, so we don't hang out, doesn't mean we don't love each other" families. I'm starting to "get it."

astrophe
04-07-2010, 01:42 AM
That's true too -- "give an inch take a mile" types.

A.

dinomama
04-07-2010, 04:09 PM
What the heck is it ANYONES buisness what you ate, how much you ate, your wt., your medical issues,ect. my GOD how rude!!! Here is mho for what it is worth
1. stop treating this woman with endearment, if you call her some form of mom, STOP IT- she is not your parent she is your adult equal, use her christian name only.
2. I see you're a psych major and maybe you should stop thinking she could ever be your inellectual or cognitive peer as she clearly is incapable.
3.You should NEVER allow anyone to treat you/ or make you feel bad in your own home. I have ONE place on the planet I am SAFE from the cruel world and I will not allow crap to enter by any form of deliverance(mail,phone, ect.) From my OWN experience I took the high road w/the inlaws for 20yrs. and I finally had to take them to the mattresses. Ended all relations (i am still happily married though:)The first yr. was odd not having any contact and now it is pure joy, my holidays and really everyday is better because I chose to end my relationship w/all of my inlaws...I wish I had stood up to them and gave them exactly what I got...maybe it would have been diffrent .....God Bless YOU

TheTigz
04-07-2010, 05:24 PM
Well, I would write a letter back to mother-in-law, something along these lines:

Dear Mother-in-law,

Thank you for your letter expressing your concerns regarding the weightloss. I regret to inform you that our weight and the losses we have already made are actually none of your business and although you are a relative, you do not have the right to interfere in our lives.

However, if this approach is not possible, may we suggest you either see a psychiatrist about your compulsive desire to manipulate others or ask for a personality transplant as you can be a horrible person.

I hope you do not take offence at our comments as they are truly given with love and please feel free to show this letter to the psychiatrist.

Yours estrangedly


XXXXXX

And then you need to pack all your things and move and tell no-one where you live!!!!!

kaplods
04-07-2010, 05:59 PM
I have to say I love and respect all the responses and suggestion (especially the funny ones), and do want to assure everyone that neither my husband nor I allow ourselves to be abused by anyone. In the scheme of things, I knew from the moment i finished reading it, that the letter would ultimately be a source of amusement rather than pain for us, but it was just so unexpected and so strange to me (strange is not nearly a strong enough word - ALIEN perhaps?) that I responded with emotion rather than reason.

I did consider the move with no forwarding address, though. Not really necessary though as they don't "drop in" and we screen our calls. We'll just be screening them a bit more tightly in the future.

We have a family wedding coming up in July (AT MIL's home). Under most circiumstances, I do not find negative crtiticism (or even sincerely kind, constructive crtiticism) motivating. Tell me what I'm doing right, and I might respond positively. Tell me what I'm doing wrong when you know I already know it, and I'm bound to get angry and it will be at you, not me.

Hubby and I went out to eat today (the restaurant is a block from our house and it's so cheap it's almost as cheap as eating at home. They have $2.99 breakfast specials). I do have to be careful there, but there are a lot of diet-friendly choices.

Hubby made better choices than I've ever seen him make in a restaurant. Not that he hasn't been making progress. When we met, he always ordered appetizers, the meal and dessert and ate it all. Since we've been together he's made a lot of progress. First, he stopped eating dessert. And then started only ordering the meal. Eventually taking about 1/4 to 1/3 home

And today he took home about 2/3 of his meal in a leftover container (which I've been doing for a much longer time, but his eating habits started out worse than mine. When he met me, I had long sworn of junk food and for the last 20 years I've eaten dessert about four times a year (and I can tell you that you do not have to eat junk food, fast food, or desserts to stay fat).

Regardless, I think we both have revenge on our mine. The plan is to obviously have lost weight since her letter, and yet STILL remind her that our weight is not an acceptable topic of conversation.

Yes, it is evil. And I expect that we will lose interest in revenge long before the family wedding. It's fun as a concept though.

As has been said for nearly 400 hundreds of years (assuming it was an original idea when George Herbert said it, perhaps it's been around even longer),

Living well is the best revenge.

(George Herbert, English clergyman & metaphysical poet, 1593 - 1633)

MyBestYear
04-08-2010, 12:08 AM
I mean this very lovingly, but you've just got to let it go. Seriously, you know it has nothing to do with you, really, and everything to do with her - and that you can't change anyone but yourself (which you are clearly doing, congratulations by the way!) - so just put it out of sight, out of mind. I simply would not mention it at all.

In Gavin DeBecker's book, The Gift of Fear, he talks about stalkers and says the only way to deal with them is to completely and 100% ignore them. It is tempting to do otherwise, but it is not fruitful.

I realize we are not talking about a scary stalker (or are we? jk lol) -- but she seems to get her energy from a reaction/a rise/a conversation and even if you are scolding her or being firm with her about how it is 'not acceptible' she will still get off on the fact that you are even mentioning it.

She seems to have said not to mention the letter because she wants you to, that is obvious. She wants you to 'prove' to her that you are doing something about your weight so she can actually think for a millisecond that it has anything to do with her and that she is owed an explanation.

So, long story short -- what you said it right on -- don't say a thing about it, keep losing, keep being happy, tra la la, show up all fabulous at the wedding sweet as sugar looking fabulous, and she will be so va klempt that you aren't mentioning 'The Letter' that she will even wonder if you've gotten it and it will kind of drive her a bit crazy. When everyone is telling you how fab you look, she will get it without anyone having to say a word - and if she says 'yeah I wrote them a letter telling them to lose weight' (or whatever) ... you still won't have to say a word because anyone hearing that will likely be thinking she is tacky... at best...basically, let her do all the foot-in-mouthing and explaining, and backpeddling etc... while you live your life happy and healthy.
Good luck :)

TheTigz
04-08-2010, 06:01 PM
You know, you and your hubby are doing really well and sound very happy with each other. Also sounds like you are well set up to keep mother-in-law at arms length (ROFL @ call screening). So it sounds like you've got it pretty much sorted and good luck to you.

My ex-husband got one of those letters once from his mother because we hadn't visited her on mother's day. She lived over an hour away and we sent a card. We also didn't see my mother that mother's day. Anyway, the letter said lots of hurtful things and was all worded to make him feel maximum guilt (his mother is a master manipulator and even arranged for ex-hubby to be beaten repeatedly as a boy by his father) and she finished the letter by saying, "Just think of me as being dead". So that's what he did for the next 6 years and they were great. Ex-hubby was a lot less stressed. Unfortunately, it did not change the fact he was an a$$hole and I woke up to that eventually.

My point in all this is: As long as you let her be in a position to manipulate, she will. Keeping her at arms length sounds like it might be a workable compromise.

Good luck.

kaplods
04-08-2010, 09:35 PM
My husband warned me before we married that he was a "master manipulator who had learned from the best," and he's right. I didn't know how right he was.

He's just very lucky (or I would leave him) that he works hard to fight the urge to manipulate, and when he loses the battle with himself, I point out when he's doing it (which he denies, but then begins behaving again, so I know he does recognize it on some level).

He's a sweet guy, but he's got a very strong, BIG personality (luckily mine is an equal match).


MIL sent a "sweet" email to me today inviting me dress-shopping for SIL's wedding. I'm not sure whether it's an olive branch (as it would be if it came from my mom) or feelers to see if I'm offended too.

I don't want to punish SIL though by refusing to go. I asked hubby what he thought, and he said that was entirely up to me.

I'm giving it some thought, before I decide. I don't hold grudges, it's just too far against my nature, so my instinct is to accept and just refuse to talk about weight or the letter or any other divisive topic. I can have a good time with the devil himself (I truly enjoyed working with most of my probation clients when I was a probation officer), but I don't want to reward crappy behavior, either - or hurt hubby by anything that might look like "siding with the enemy" right how. I think I'll ask him again what he would prefer me to do. I really think I need to let him take the lead with his family, even my involvement with them. I've meddled too long, and he's been so sweet about it (learning about these letters I'm surprised he has contact with his family at all - and for 7 years he didn't. He really only reestablished contact with them shortly before meeting me).

The email may be a genuine olive brancy, but in the back of my mind, I'm thinking it's a fishing expedition for information. She suggesting that we look for an outfit for me in the wedding, which probably means she'll offer to buy me clothes (another olive branch or more manipulation?) I suspect this is her way of finding out if I've really lost the weight hubby says I have.

I hate even suspecting it, but I have to be realistic. I hate most that her behavior has changed mine. I like taking people at face value. I like not suspecting ulterior motives, and I really don't like to have to "work" in a relationship to decifer truth from manipulation.

Forgiving is the easy part, it's the moving on from there that is so difficult. Forgetting never works out very well.

The funny thing is that I decided to tell her that I can't shop for my wedding outfit until the last minute, because I don't know what size I'll be (the wedding is in July), but darn it that violates the rule I'd already decided on to not discuss weight in any way with this woman. Even saying I want to wait to make sure my dress fits properly (still implies weight loss). Maybe I'll just tell her I already have my dress planned (which is true, it just isn't purchased yet).

LovebirdsFlying
04-09-2010, 03:03 AM
I've got one of those mothers too. Just about every conversation we've ever had has been steered around to diet and weight loss. I've nearly had to stop talking to her entirely. As my therapist puts it, "She tears you down even when she thinks she's building you up." And I just can't take that any more.

I was going to go into personal detail, but I don't want to hijack your thread, so I'll start my own.

TheTigz
04-09-2010, 12:48 PM
Wait a minute.... Is your mother in law Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond? LOL

Thighs Be Gone
04-09-2010, 12:57 PM
Kaplods,

If there is any woman on this entire friggin' board that can think this one through and know exactly what to do about it IT IS YOU! I am supportive of whatever decision it is you have made or are going to make to handle this. Please keep us abreast of the situation.

It would have been difficult but I would have tried not to have even acknowledged receiving it actually. People do some crazy crap and this one definitely deserves taking note. I think the letter says NOTHING about you or hubby. I think it says EVERYTHING about the mother. What does she want? Applause for having lost weight--or some constant reassurance saying, "Yep, we're fat and you're skinny?" I say to definitely consider the source above all else. Is she someone your hubby and you have a deep, intimate relationship with--someone you implicitly trust and know has your best interest at heart? If not, issue a cease and desist order to the old bat and move on. :)

The letter pisses me off and I am only reading about it!

kaplods
04-09-2010, 02:03 PM
LOL, of course you're right. More than anything this thread has been me thinking out loud. It helps me so much to get others opinions when I think I might be overreacting (or underreacting for that matter).

TheTigz - no MY mother is Marie (meddling, but ultimately loving and loved tossed with a bit of frustration and martyrdom on all sides).

His mother is more Beverly on Rosanne (more meddling, and even heavier on the martyrdom).

In the scheme of things, I've forgiven people a LOT worse, and been able to move on quickly and enjoy the relationship for what it can be - in this case, a superficially friendly one.

I'll no longer "trust" her with personal information, because I see how she can use it against people.

I did go ahead and accept the shopping invite (and didn't mention the letter), but kept it very short. Usually my emails are as long as my posts, so if she were a perceptive person she would have realized that she shouldn't "push it," but what does she do?

This is HILARIOUS (and I won't be telling hubby), but she sends me a SPAM prayer (I get so much prayer and cute-sappy spam from her that I usually don't open any that I can see has been forwarded), but I opened it without thinking and it's spam about "appreciating people and things before they're gone."

the spam starts with


One day a woman's husband died, and on that clear, cold morning, in the warmth of their bedroom, the wife was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't "anymore". No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat, no more "just one minute." Sometimes, what we care about the most gets all used up and goes away, never to return before we can say good-bye, say "I love you."



I was too stunned to be horified, and before the shock wore off, I saw the humor in it and started laughing. I'm sure not the reaction SHE expected, but it was just so macabre. She sends us a letter about how David is going to die (and how cruel it is for David to kill himself slowly before her eyes) and then she sends me a piece of sugar wrapped crap about a woman's husband dying and appreciating what we have before it's lost.

I finally realized just how sick this woman is - and I mean that in the clinical sense. I suspect there's some borderline personality or bipolar issues going on. A person in their right mind wouldn't have done that. Talk about the poorest of timing.

The sad thing is I think she really does desperately want to "connect" with me. Because I'm a very open and unguarded person AND almost impossible to offend (although if anyone has taught me that I can be offended, it's she), I think she sees me as a person who loves and respects her deeply.

I'm not saying I have no affection for her (it's just been a very weird ride). She's not evil. Her heart really is often in the right place, she's just really messed up.

She's the person who almost has the right thing to say (and if she learned to shut up after the first few sentences, I think she'd be fine). Even the letter started out very caring, but just as you thinkg "how sweet" there's an evil spin put on it. Whether it's intentional or not, it's ultimately about control (which I do sense from my mom too, the "I'm still the mother, and I know what's best for you).

Both my mom and David's have essentially the same life view. "The world would run a whole lot smoother, if everyone would just realize that I know best, and they'd just do what I told them to."


My mom is just a whole lot less subtle. You see it coming and it's not hidden in sweetness (so it's a lot easier to just roll your eyes and move on). David's mom is able to hook you in, thinking "this woman really cares" and then WHAP you're hit in the head with a big, slimy, stinky ol' fish.

junebug41
04-09-2010, 02:15 PM
Everytime I hear a reference to Beverly from Roseanne I think of the episode where she fell and broke her hip while getting it on and they started calling her, "craftmatic adjustable Bev".

(back to regularly scheduled programming)

bex
04-11-2010, 09:03 PM
You are so wise and strong Kaplods.

I would be a crying mess if I was in your situation.

Keep up the great work!!! xxx