My husband and I have been married 30 years and I knew my MIL (now 86) was a manipulative personality when we married. At the time, I was determined to build a relationship and treat her like I would want someone to treat my mother. I have put up with her drama, her inconsiderate behavior, her pouting, the snide, snarky comments to me when no one else is in the room, the demanding behavior, the lies and I have struggled to handle it all with as much grace as I could. I once drove 4 hours in the driving rain to spend a weekend with her and take her out to eat and the first words out of her mouth were a few very rude comments. I should have gotten back in the car and left, but I didn’t. I would not let my husband say anything because I thought enough grace would deal with it. While I did not say anything to her, when I got home, I told my husband I was done with it all because it is just hurtful after 25 years, she never calls just to chat or to see how I am doing, she just wants to talk to me when she wants something done (usually to save her money).
This past week she called me and said she had bought 3 pairs of pants and they were too long and would I mind hemming them for her at Christmas. I told her, I thought it would be best if she had them hemmed near where she lives because I have a bad knee and the doctor has told me to take it easy. Well, unbelievably, she said she would climb on a chair. Honestly, to keep me from squatting down, she would have to climb on my kitchen table and that is too dangerous (she is not very stable on her feet)plus the sanitary issue! Well she waited a few days and called my husband wanting to know why I wouldn’t hem her pants. My husband backed me up all the way and said it would be best if she had someone near her home do them for her. She wasn’t happy and said they were going to charge her $10 a pair and bless my husband he said well that sounds like a great price. She can very well afford $30. She wasn’t concerned about my knee or how I hurt it or if I even felt like doing it while hosting Christmas for several days at my house.
So of course, my husband and I expect her to “pout” at Christmas - I have 8 people coming for 4 days. I am not in a mood to put up with the drama, the pouting or her performance as the "victim" but simply want a quiet, enjoyable, stress-free holiday (for all my guests) and handle it without losing my cool. So, just reading this back it sounds so very silly but this has been 25 years in the making. I really just want everyone to relax and have a good time at Christmas but don’t want this middle school behavior to hold everyone hostage. My tendency is just to ignore her and not participate but is that the best way to handle it?