My DH is 66, his mother is 87. They have a VERY rocky relationship. He has one older brother (100% MIA) and a younger sister (thank goodness!) who is wonderful. All his life DH was told he was a loser, a terrible child, a trial, a brat, a juvenile delinquent--and beaten on a daily basis--I don't mean a swift gentle spank with an open hand--but a wooden spoon/belt/stick/hairbrush beatings. His older brother told me that in today's climate he and my DH would have been removed from their home and taken into foster care--that's how bad it was. ( His brother is a clinical psychologist, so he is pretty knowledgeable). His parents married way too young (shotgun wedding) and stayed together, for 42 miserable years. I never saw any love or affection pass between them. On our first date, DH told me he knew his parents would eventually divorce and he wished they'd just get on with it (weird 1st date conversation).
Over my own worries that this man could receive and express love b/c of how he was raised, we did get married. His mother hates me. Verbally, has expressed this many times, so I believe her. DH and I have 5 fabulous kids--which she pretty much ignored in favor of her daughter's kids. OK, we rolled with that. MIL is a negative, never-forgiving soul. She can remember in excruciating detail EVERY SINGLE TIME she was maligned, ignored, tormented--whatever. A chronic victim. She's still mad at ME b/c when I had our first baby the nurse wouldn't hand her over to grandma until I had held her. How selfish can one mama be? To want to hold her own brand new baby!? That's what she STILL says about me, 41 years later. I'm intolerably selfish. I could go on and on, but you get the drift.
My DH is so depressed, all the past has come crowding down on him lately and he is feeling very down. He FINALLY started seeing a psychiatrist and that has helped, some. Recently he took lunch in to MIL for Mother's Day. He fed her aging, sick dog a tiny piece of bacon. The dog got much sicker a couple of days and died this morning. She's blaming DH, not the fact the dog was 18, and had been attacked several times, resulting in brain damage. It was the bacon from 12 days ago. At this last visit, I guess his mother became very belligerent and began blaming my DH for ALL the crap she'd dealt with in her life. Said she had to stay in a horrid marriage b/c of him, he was a horrible child and teen and "shredded her nerves and now they'll never heal"---just crazy talk, but this time it really hit him.
Finally he told her he couldn't take her toxicity any more--she kicked him out and said to never come back. He left and came home--and I think if my DH was capable of crying, he would have. In my heart, as bad as I feel for him, I think this is a HUGE breakthrough. He has often treated me the way he treats his mom--very offboard and dismissive. I'm nothing like his mom, and he agrees, but the "female figure" in his life gets short shrift. Therapy has been helping with this. I doubt he really will stop talking to his mother, altogether, but a definite change has occurred. I said to him "Just a thought--when you see Dr G again, bring up this fight with your mom. It's really what is at the core of what's eating at you." He looked at me like I'd grown a 2nd head. "That has nothing to do with ANYTHING." Well, I can't talk to his psych doc, but I am hoping he does bring it up.
He's been really, really down about this. It's like the thing he didn't want to ever lok in the face---he was forced. He said "I was never wanted, never loved. I am really a cruddy person." This, in spite of so much love he's gotten over the years. For one thing, despite MANY health issues and his very introspective and "protective" personality" he has accomplished so much. He's had a great life. I have stuck by him through all the "stuff"--and I can say most women wouldn't have. Our kids are fantastic! So sad, you think by retirement age, you'd have figured somethings out. He's still pretty clueless. My relationship with his mother is that of one person who knows another person but may not make an effort to say "hi" to them if they run into each other in the store. I chose to step out 20 years ago. I don't talk to her, only small talk and when she starts in on me, doing the negative dance--I walk away. Literally and emotionally.
My ?? How do I support my hubby in what I hope is a huge turn about in his relationship with his mom? I don't care if they ever speak again, but I do want him to have some healing--she did SO much damage. I'm not worried she's going to die and he'll be all bereft. She's never going to die. I don't care for her at all--I want my sweet hubby to find happiness and joy with the people who DO love him. In all of this, one thing came out well--he FINALLY believes me when I told him over and over how vicious his mother was to me. He thought I was being "over sensitive".