So--I divorced my MIL about 8 months ago. Since then, DH has has to step up (barely--as little as humanly possible)--and he is suddenly being treated the way she treated me for the last 45 years.
He can't handle it.
Yesterday he went to fix something for her, IDK what, doesn't matter. I guess she skipped over the usual subjects (neighbors, dogs, kids stepping on her lawn, etc) and went right for the jugular. She b4tched and moaned about ME for 45 minutes. I was NOT there. He said it was beyond horrible.
A lightbulb, 45 years too late in the lighting, went off for him. She fought with him, tooth and nail---I guess it escalated into her screaming profanities at him--all about ME--that if he was going to take MY side, she didn't want anything to do with him.
Poor guy---he went to talk to his sister afterwards--she is the ONLY person MIL allows in the house now. MIL gets groceries delivered, but only SIL can come to the house and bring them in. Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
I was out doing my own thing, DH texts me to please come home, he wasn't feeling well--so I did and found him laying in bed with a pillow over his face. He had actually been crying. (As much as he's capable of doing, but he NEVER does, so it was kind of disconcerting).
He shared with me as much as I could handle, as he needed to get it off his chest. He apologized for never taking my side and allowing this to get so bad--which is something I'd never thought I'd hear.
She is 90, and an angry, belligerent person who has NO friends, NO family she can stand (aside from SIL)...she tolerates a cleaning lady, but SIL is responsible to help her bathe, do her daily stuff. Has PLENTY of money but won't let the kids hire anyone from 'outside'.
I can't, won't and don't mean to do a single thing to help her. I cannot forgive her and then walk right back into the fire.
Now DH has to deal with her--or not. I guess she screamed at him to "go to h3ll!" as he was leaving and he said "OK, mom, you got it". I think he will now never see her again.
The GUILT is eating him up. Now that he cannot conveniently nor honestly blame ME for her behavior, he has to accept that this is the way she is and decide how to handle it.
One of the 'infractions' that she lays at my feet was that while DH and I were dating and during our engagement period, we used to study at HIS house occasionally because my home was a noisy place--4 kids still at home! SOMETIMES we would fall asleep studying and she's scream down the stairs to take me home, it was 10:30 (or 11 or whatever), She maintains that 'I' ruined her ability to sleep and she has not slept (I kid you not) in 45 years b/c of this. ALL of her health problems, every single one, is attributed to something I did or said. Pretty amazing for one little woman whose goal was to be accepted and loved, the way my family did with my DH.
If I wasn't living with this, I could not believe that it was true.
So--really, I am just venting. I have not gone back to her home since I divorced her and suggested DH do the same. That he support SIL remotely, and not see his mother.
Going to have DH see a therapist to talk this out with. I'm too close to the fire.
I need some great shorter articles on both dementia and narcissism for him to read. He is still WFH and hasn't got a lot of spare time. I think if he can read about these disorders, it may help him, I can only do so much.
Why do the seemingly meanest people live so far past their sell by date?
I think there are a lot of us out there, having been raised to be kind and submissive to our elders, no matter what.
Kind of a stupid thing to teach kids--and honestly, my kids saw upfront and personal how awful MIL was to me, over and over. And when she'd have SIL's kids over for sleepovers and special days and NEVER had my kids around, they learned pretty quickly how she really was. They are better able than I am to stand her quirkiness as she's never been overtly rude to them. Thank goodness--that would be unforgiveable for me. She doesn't acknowledge their kids and refers to the GGkids as 'great nephews and nieces' but knows none of their names.
Someone can easily say "I love you' but if that sentiment is not backed up by actions of any kind--it's pointless.
Dh has not seen his mom since Nov. He did not gift her for her birthday nor for Christmas. I don't know if she noticed or not. And I do not care.
He is still experiencing some guilt, but he is really good at weaseling out of 'feelings' and he figures he has forever to work this out. Of course he doesn't, but it calms him to think this.
She has cut DH out of her will but he is still the executor. He's looking into whether he can legally step away from that. Our son's an attorney and can certainly figure it out. Personally? I think she's blowing smoke. She hasn't left the house in over a year and she'd have to, to see her atty. Most likely her next 'fall' will wind her up in a NH--where she should be now.
Ive been with DH husband 14 years married 7. I finally divorced my MIL. I haven't spoken to her since March of 2020. It has been blissful. I actually bought her a Christmas gift and DH husband said "nope, we aren't doing the holidays this year (again)" She cried and berated him for being a bad son.
He has gotten better with his boundaries and tells her "I love you to Ma, I gotta go." He hangs up. He still tried to call her once a week but she would not return calls for weeks on end. I pointed out she is punishing you with the silent treatment. He finally decided that he would not call. She returned his call after a few weeks of no phone calls.
I have printed narcissism articles and he actually has started following my lead regarding not putting up with verbal abuse or mind games. I refuse to do anything for her ever again. He did ask me if there was any hope of reconciling. Thats a big fat NOPE. She has always been dismissive and petty to me. Plus she was bleeding us dry financially staying at our rental for the past 10 years. Whole other story...sigh. She is out of the rental since March 2020 and I feel a huge weight was lifted regarding trying to "get along."
Husbands uncle is still in the rental and he is a low level Narc. I no longer bring him meals or do anything for him. He is 83 and I will not be yelled at regarding putting more holes in the rentals walls. The rental he pays $1000 per month BELOW market price. I said to DH and Uncle "y'all are now going to see what a world without Lisa is like" I have stuck to my guns. I occasionally refer to the forum to reassure myself I made the right choice :)
Kuddos to you for not putting up with abuse.
Yes, he is an engineer and they are a peculiar breed :)
He actually is knocked down enough that he will probably find something in those articles that will help. Feeling very humble and open to talking these days. Only took 68 years.
Might help that his OB is a Psychologist--but he can put things in ways DH can understand. But they are not current speaking, so that's a no-go.
I did remind him (and I do this ONCE in the holidays) "Your mother's birthday is on the 7th of Dec. You are responsible for both that and Christmas. I won't 'save you' this year and I won't remind you again".
He said "I am planning to do absolutely nothing. She told me to go to H3ll and I don't think the malls there are quite to her liking".
I usually 'save him' but I am not going to this year.
He is not going to "like" reading articles that say "If you are the son of a narcissistic mother, the effects might be A, B or C.
If he complains that it isn't "science", don't despair or get angry with him. The varied effects of being parented by a narcissist have to do the with variability in resillience and vulnerability, both physical and psychological of the person on the receiving end of the abuse. Also with the social millieu and with the other parent.
Many variables are present that have an effect on the outcome.
Chatting with Dh this am as he was WFH and I was doing my morning routine of bill pay, etc. I showed him the links to the articles you'd mentioned. He said "would you print those out for me?"
I didn't react with the joy I felt, but said "Yep, I'll do that".
A huge step--hopefully in the right direction.
He's been SO SICK as he has a sinus infection that has gotten into the bones of his sinuses and needs surgery to clean it out and scrape the bone. (I am alternately intrigued and horrified). He just went for a 2nd CT scan at the ENT's. He was super sick when he saw his mother on Sunday and she knew it, so her being so awful was really cruel. He's probably not going to feel much better for weeks, IDK how this surgery will go.
He did ask me, as I was putting some comments on AC if I ever encountered Narc moms and I laughed and said "Probably the most talked about thing on the site". He said "That's why you know so much." Well--I have a Narc mom too, she's just not nearly as mean as his.
Anyhow--thanks for the articles. I'll get them printed out and give them to him.
Met this one today: pushing 90, upset with her daughter for being mad with her. "Apparently I was confused & called her at 3am. She's asked me not to call her in the night again! How dare she be mad with me over that! SHE answered the phone!!"
I suggested she simply apologise. Oh no. Just "Humph!!". 😂😂😂
Only card she ever plays is the Victim Card. Poor poor me with an angry daughter.
I know I have talked a lot about my MIL, mostly as a cautionary tale of what can be if you don't cultivate relationships, forgive, accept and love.
She's 90 now, probably will live 5+ more years. She's just that stubborn.
I hadn't thought of my exiting the scene just set DH as being the 'whipping boy'. She really has gotten much, much worse over the past 15 years as she has seen all her friends die off and she didn't have a lot to start with. She divorced my FIL 31 years ago and he died 16 years ago--but she talks about things he did as if it happened yesterday.
Yeah--the claim that she can't sleep in 2020 because I made her stay up past midnight in 1975 is pretty hard to swallow. And she sleeps plenty. DH says he has gone to her house at random times for the past few years and usually has to 'break in' to her house because she's sound asleep--sometimes in the middle of the day--which is FINE, just don't blame ME for it.
DH is still really sick, but it seeing a dr this am to hopefully find some relief. I think his mom shot herself in the foot. He won't do anything for her for the foreseeable future, perhaps never again. He can be supportive of his sister, who is frustrated and sad---but he can no longer 'do' for his mom.
I appreciate that nobody suggested my kids step up to bat. She won't allow the great-grands in the house, b/c they won't stand still on a throw rug. She doesn't acknowledge our 14 amazing grands as being related to her, she calls them 'nieces and nephews' and simply ignores them. They don't even know who she is.
SMH--life is just too weird sometimes to be believed. She told DH that her greatest fear is that I will find the spare key and break in to her house. WTH? I actually know that DH CARRIES her spare key and if I am driving his car, I have the key to her place. I have NEVER been in her house w/o DH being there. I was helping move some furniture and had the drawer with her bank statements in it. After I left, she hid them all in a different drawer. DH told me this and I think that was the 'aha' moment for him. (It happened 20 years ago).
If I had not lived this---I couldn't make it up.
But--I am a wonderful MIL and my boys all love me to pieces....and they TELL ME they love me. I have been compensated a great deal with the love of these four fine men.
Thanks again--I'm starting to ramble, so I gotta stop--you guys are great!!
I remember you talking about the RIDICULOUS claim by your MIL that she hasn't slept in 45 years because of you. Then, and even now I can't help but LOL over that because it is SO bat-s**t crazy!!! However, I also know she has been and is a nightmare, and what she has done to you and DH is far from funny.
No contact, at least for now, seems to be the only option.
I wish your DH well Midkid. Thankfully you were there for him when he needed that cry.
Hug to you both.
I am so very sorry you have been to hell & back - many marriages seriously would not have survived her attitude & behaviour.
While I am glad your DH has had his eyes opened, I am sad for the pain it is causing.
Slightly similar to a family friend. The MIL was atrocious to her new DIL. He (eventually) sided with his wife & but was so very hurt. Therapy did help him. In some way now, he is glad as he saw the truth. He could then start to become his true self with his mother, not her 'good boy' due to F.O.G.
Remember as Alma says, it is not GUILT but GRIEF. He lost the Mother he thought he had & will grieve that. Now he can make a relationship (or NOT) with the current Mother he has.
She is healthy--did have a UTI about 9 months ago which landed her in the hospital as she kept falling--but now SIL knows what "UTI behavior' looks like and will address it ASAP.
She did take a pretty good knock to the head during that time and had several small strokes, which the Drs. felt she completely recovered from. So--while I think she MUST be having TIA's or something going on, this 'new' behavior isn't 'new' at all. She just didn't have ME there to chew on. She's mad her favorite target is now gone.
DH is really sick with a massive sinus infection and he had no business being anywhere near her when he was so ill. But in the end, I am not sorry that this all went down. She had finally understood that I am never returning to do anything for her, and she is so angry that she feels people don't UNDERSTAND how awful I was/am, she needs validation that her anger is justifiable.
DH told me that the worst part was that her behavior brought back all the memories from childhood---a screaming rant, followed by a beating. Who beats a 3 yo? Our 3 yo is a little skunk, but he's 3!!!! This is the time to gently guide and lead, not beat the crap out of a small child, no matter what he's done. NOTHING an under 8 yo child does requires physical abuse. NOTHING. Sheesh, I dug a 'swimmin' hole' with my older sibs and filled it with water and dropped our baby brother in it to see if it were deep enough to swim in. We were 3, 5 and 7. Of course we retrieved our baby before he could be really hurt--but all that happened was a very stern talking to and we had to take baths in the driveway in an old wash basin because we were so muddy. If DH had done that, MIL would have killed him.
I will make sure he knows he's loved and I also will make sure he follows through with some counseling. His old psychiatrist 'graduated' but I got a recommendation for another one who is older and a man and more likely to stick around :)
I've fussed him all day, he is in so much pain--he needs a surgery to open his sinus and drain it, they can't get to it from the root of the tooth involved. He was so sick I called the docs for him and got him in to an ENT tomorrow. Minimally he'll get something stronger for pain and hopefully a more effective antibiotic. He doesn't do sick very gracefully--but after tomorrow, he'll feel better--for one thing this joke of an election will be over and we can go back to some kind of 'normal'.
I hear him talk about how his mom acts and I see in his eyes the sad, scared little boy he was, and KNOW why he's grown into such a defensive, closed off adult man.
I think maybe he will begin to heal---I hope.
Yes, he needs to process this with a therapist; glad you were able to get him an appointment. He may shut down after the first session or he may ask you to join him. Either way, please be gentle with him; he has a LOT of history to work through.
Another thought; if this is a sudden change in mental status for MIL, has anyone considered that she might have a UTI or might be experiencing some other kind of medical event that has caused her "usual" bad behavior to worsen suddenly?