Making My Own Misery
December 5, 2011 3:04 PM Subscribe
I need some wisdom to get the chip off my shoulder.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (54 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
My husband loves his parents very much. He likes them and enjoys being around them. Parents live out of our state half of the year. They live right up the street from us in the Fall and Winter months.
My in-laws love my kids. They love my husband. They want to be with us (them) all of the time. My MIL calls my husband daily. She visits him at work. (He has a job that is open to the public. It's not like she is visiting his office.) She invites us to dinner weekly and goes to all of my kids' sporting events and concerts.
It annoys me to no end that we get continuous invitations to her (MIL) house and elsewhere. She is respectful of us. She doesn't butt in. She doesn't tell us how to parent. She has never trash-talked me to my husband. But, she is subtle like a sledgehammer -- she wants what she wants and isn't afraid to ask for it and ask again in a manner that makes you feel pressured and on the spot. She is not the type of person to let you off the hook. She's not the type to say, "Oh, it sounds like you are very busy, that's okay, we'll do it another time." She does not acknowledge any difficulty you may be having, she just wants what she wants. I know it is up to me/us to create boundaries and tell her no and we do. It just pains me that she cannot acknowledge the fact that we are not always available and that we may not want to spend every Saturday night at her house, and that we have kids and homework and all of the other craziness that goes with having kids and jobs and lives. When we go to dinner at her house (weekly at least) she is inviting us again before we get out the door. Lately, we have been eating dinner (and sitting on the couch watching TV) with them every other week. On the in-between weeks we drop the kids off and go for a date. I am reluctant to do this because I still think it's too much.
Here is the real disturbing problem: Because I have become increasingly annoyed I am very quiet around my MIL. I don't initiate conversation. I am not rude. I'm pleasant as I can be in these situations but I only speak when spoken to. This is so weird and obvious and immature. I don't talk with her like I used to. I don't invite them over (she makes subtle digs at my cooking and it's insulting. My cooking is fine and gets rave reviews from plenty.)
I judge her harshly. We think pretty much the same when it comes to politics. I think she can be mean-spirited when it comes to politics and I judge her for it. I am irritated that she buys us expensive Christmas gifts but is so frugal she won't buy herself anything new. I am irritated that we have to exchange Christmas gifts with them and they look to Christmas as receiving gifts that they are too cheap to buy for themselves. One year she told us that FIL could use some new swimming trunks. I did not buy swimming trunks. Buy your own swimming trunks. FIL is sixty-years-old with an income. She volunteered this information. I didn't ask what they wanted and never do. I'm irritated with how she speaks. She is always so "pleased". I am so pleased Cousin Jane is moving to Mayberry. I am so pleased Nephew John doesn't have same genetic disease as Nephew James. Oh really? You're pleased? I'm sure they weren't trying to please you.
I have become so irritated by her that I can barely sit next to her and have a casual conversation. Because of this I did not attend my son's' last game because I knew they (in-laws) would be there. My son had a great game -- best of the season so far -- and I missed it because I have this thing against my MIL. I know it is petty and I know that I am being unreasonable.
I resent her self-assuredness. She is so confident that we want to spend time with her. She is always asking. Always wanting. I think it's a bit nervy but this is because I am more cautious when it comes to always inviting people. I have this big thing where I never want to inconvenience anybody and she doesn't. She doesn't look at it as an inconvenience.
How I am behaving is not productive. It's not nice and it's only causing me greater stress. They are not terrible people. What is going on and how can I be more mature and get past this and talk?
Thank you very much for any advice.