Monday, June 18, 2012

The trouble with IL's...

Am just feeling downright fed up lately. 

Things have always been......not good with the IL's (boy is THAT putting it mildly), particularly between MIL and I. In the beginning, it was that she was trying to always teach me how to be a "good" wife to her GC son, my dh, meaning just like her - totally subservient to her man. Truly, my dh was in college when I met him yet MIL continued to do everything for him short of bathing him and wiping his ass for him. She put his paychecks into his bank account and balanced his account, she bought things for him, she cleaned his room, did his laundry, cooked for him...she even went and bought flowers for me on dh's behalf (back when dh and I were dating) and filled out the attached card!

Once dh and I got married and he moved out, MIL was extremely intrusive. If she wasn't here on one of her many unannounced visits, she was calling non-stop. Never for anything important or for anything that couldn't wait, just to 'see what we were doing'. This understandably caused great issues between dh and I since he saw no issue with it and I grew ever more resentful of his mother's constant interfering in our marriage.

Things went from bad to REALLY bad when dh and I finally got pregnant. MIL and FIL began stopping by almost daily - totally unannounced of course since it's not like we'd be doing anything more important than their need to be in our business - and would call here at least a dozen times a day. Literally. It got so bad and began to cause me so much stress that I took to turning the phone off during the day. Of course they'd just call in the evening when dh got home from work and would turn the phone back on. Most irritating of all is how they'd ask how THEIR baby was doing that day. Truly, I felt as if I were merely the incubator of THEIR child. And it didn't get better once ds was finally born either. Rather it got even worse. Much, MUCH worse. In fact, the night I went into labor, despite dh and I telling everyone we did NOT want anyone coming to the hospital, MIL had FIL drop her off there on his way to work and she spent the entire 28 hours that I wound up being in labor (until finally having to undergo an emergency c-section) sitting in the waiting room and calling NON-FREAKING-STOP the entire time. Here I am in the midst of major contractions - 26 hours of which I went through UN-medicated mind you - and dh is busy on the phone with his damn NP's who seemed not to give a damn for what I was going through or needed at that moment.

Once ds was born and we'd brought him home, my IL's were over here constantly and always putting their noses into everything, from what we'd named ds to how I cared for him. It was nothing out of the ordinary for MIL to "drop by" and stay here for over 7 hours at a time. Once, during one of her "visits", I'd been lying in our bed with dh and the baby and got up to go to the bathroom. When I came back a couple minutes later, I found MIL lying in MY place, in MY bed with MY dh and ds! I felt gut punched at the violation. Our family bed was/is a sacred place in a way and MIL had carelessly violated that without a second thought. Truly, I think if she could have moved in and gotten rid of me completely, she'd have been in heaven.

Of course this caused many problems between dh and I. We had many a fight over the issue - my wanting to limit our contact with his P's a bit and him seeing absolutely nothing wrong with their constant intrusions. Finally however, I wore dh down enough that he agreed to go over to my IL's house with me and try to talk to his P's to get them to back off a bit. Needless to say, it did NOT go well. They clearly did not give a damn about what we were feeling and it was obvious that they felt I had put dh up to this as clearly HE would never have taken issue with their constant intrusion. Finally I'd had enough and said to them - respectfully and through gritted teeth - "Look. We get that you love ds and we love that you care so much. But what you don't understand is that, for a long time, we didn't think we'd ever have a child of our own. After three rounds of fertility meds and 6 years of trying, we'd begun to resolve ourselves that we'd never have a child of our own." It was at this point that FIL interrupted me and said, "NO. What YOU don't understand is that WE'VE been waiting for this moment longer than YOU." At that point, I was done and dh and I left.

Ds is now 6 years old and the ONLY reason they've backed off at all is because NSIL and NBIL had a baby a year ago and gave MIL free access to that child. Truly, he's more of MIL's son as she is his full-time caretaker and NBIL and NSIL can't seem to be bothered to be parents...........well, at least not unless they've got an audience to put on a show for, in which case suddenly they become "Parents of the Year". But up till that point, it was a constant battle to assert myself as ds' mother. And heaven forbid anyone dare point out that ds have anything of ME in him. Oh no, to listen to my IL's, dh immaculately conceived ds all on his own, ds has only dh's family DNA in him and I was just the convenient incubator who carried him in my womb for 10 months before going through 28 hours of labor and a c-section. In fact, if I hadn't put my foot down, MIL would have been the first to hold my child before I'd even gotten a chance to!

Once SIL came into the picture, even back when she and BIL were still just dating, it was clear she was the GC who could do no wrong. In many, many ways, NSIL is a carbon copy of NMIL. Without ever coming straight out and saying so, NMIL has told me in many ways, many times how NSIL is the sort of woman she wishes dh had married instead of someone like me. In fact, once, while on our way to drop MIL off at work (I was borrowing her car that day so I could get ds to preschool), I happened to mention to her a comment NSM had made to me about how my MIL probably would have wished dh had chosen a woman like NSIL for his wife, MIL said nothing for a few seconds and then said to me, " doesn't really matter because dh chose you, right?" And the way she said it, it was clear that she agreed 100% with NSM's comment. I felt so hurt that day. Before then, it was just what I assumed MIL felt. But, after that, there was no going back. Now I KNEW beyond a doubt how she felt/feels.

Now that NSIL and NBIL are married, whenever we have to get together for family get-togethers, it's like I might as well not even exist. NMIL and NSIL ignore me almost entirely. If I attempt to engage them in conversation or join in to what they're doing, they often stop, look at me like a disgusting three-headed insect and then go right back to what they were talking about. It's nothing for them to walk off and not acknowledge me at all.

This was the case just last Thursday. Ds had been playing t-ball with the local parks and rec league and had games Tuesdays and Thursdays. Because of my anxiety and panic attack issues, I wasn't able to attend all ds' games but as Thursday was his last game and I knew they planned to award certificates and trophies to all the kids, of course I had to be there. A few minutes before we were to leave, NMIL calls and informs us that NSIL is tagging along. Great. Normally when I'd go, at least NMIL would talk to me a little bit which would be enough to help with my anxiety somewhat but, of course, with NSIL there, I knew I might as well be there alone. And since it was a particularly bad anxiety day for me anyhow, I was really pissed.

As expected, the entire time we were there, NMIL and NSIL barely spoke two words to me. In fact, I got stuck taking care of NSIL's kid - who, while I know is innocent, admittedly I have something against because of his parents and generally don't like being around - while NMIL and NSIL sat there enjoying themselves and chatting away. Well, until a few of the other women there took notice of the baby at which point, having an audience, NSIL stepped up and had to play mommy.

Generally, now that NMIL always seems to have to babysit NBIL and NSIL's brat, ds only gets to see NMIL on Saturdays when he goes over there to visit. Ds loves to go over there because he never gets to see his "nana" anymore now that the new baby is here and because they live in the country and have a huge yard. Dh and I usually use that time to do certain errands or just to spend some time alone together. Then, on Sundays, NMIL will usually come by to visit with ds for a couple hours between morning church and evening church (yes, she goes TWICE on Sundays) but of course she has to go home and feed NFIL first lest he call her nonstop whining that he's hungry until she relents and goes back home to feed him.

Of course, selfish NSIL and NBIL enjoy free time what with being so tired from having NMIL take care of their kid all the time and often walk over, ring NMIL's doorbell, shove the baby at her and tell her they are off to wherever and will be back whenever. This especially upsets me because a) ds counts on having that time with his nana and papa since he never gets to see them hardly anymore and b) dh and I need that time to ourselves to re-charge and whatnot. They also tend to plan all their stuff on the weekends, thereby making it impossible for ds to go over there to visit with NMIL as well. A perfect example was this past Saturday.

NSIL and NBIL's kid's bday was last week. The entire family, save for dh was off Friday and dh gets off work at noon on Fridays. Could they have had the party on Friday? NO, of course not, they had it Saturday and right in the middle of the day so that it made no sense for ds to visit with his GP's. More annoying, at least to me, was that they had to make a HUGE show of it. They rented out this kids play place - ds was the only 6 year old at the party, all the other kids were around 1 year old as well - and had this huge affair, including a specially made cake from some high-priced bakery that NSIL is always raving about. Dh looked it up online and it was $300 merely to rent out the place. That didn't include all the food, cake and party favors that they bought for the affair. To each his own I suppose but, to me, it was all a big show designed to show off and make themselves look like the wonderful parents they aren't.

I, of course, did not go - much to all of their delight, I'm sure - because it was further out than I can travel currently with my anxiety issues as well as being a loud, crowded, noisy place which is a huge trigger for my panic attacks. More to the point, not one of them asked why I wasn't going or tried to persuade me to go. In fact, I might as well not even have existed at that moment for all they seemed to care. I'm sure NMIL, as always, was glad to have her entire perfect family, sans me, around her all day.

But the final kicker for me was yesterday when NMIL gave dh a Father's Day card with a gift card in it for him. What's the big deal you say? Well, let's see...for Mother's Day, I got a card that was simply signed by NMIL. No gift and no special note of caring written within like dh's card. More than that though, was that for my bday last year, I got a hastily written "Happy Birthday" on my Facebook wall, written at the very end of the day no less, whereas dh and NSIL - whose bdays happen to fall on the same day - got a special dinner, a balloon each, a card and a small gift each. My next birthday will be in a couple of weeks and I'm dreading it because of the huge NON-event it will be made out to be. If NMIL at least treated NSIL equally with me, I could handle her making more out of her son's bday. But to do so much and acknowledge NSIL all the time only to ignore me and single me out is just so very hurtful.

I told dh the other night that I'd HAD it and was done. I was going to limit my contact as much as possible with NMIL and NSIL. I wouldn't go full NC - though I'd like to - but I wasn't going to go out of my way anymore for any of them. If dh chooses to acknowledge their bdays or whatever, that is now fully on him. I want no part of it as I am sick and tired of being treated like shit, disrespected and treated like a non-entity when I'm around them.

I think what hurts the most is that I'd really hoped and expected dh's family to be the family I'd always wanted and never had. I'd hoped to find a mother-figure in NMIL and to have a sisterly relationship with NSIL. For a while, things seemed to be improving and I dared to have hope. And now it's clear that, much like my own NFOO, dh's family doesn't give a shit about me either. And why? For no other reason than I am who I am. 

It hurts so much to be hated simply for being yourself. It's so unfair. :o(