Hey, Naked Lady!
Hey, Naked Lady!
There's definitely been something in my life that is a huge struggle and to be honest, a soul crushing hurt that I'm having a hard time dealing with. My mom died when I was younger and my husband’s biological mother and I do NOT get along. We actually got into a physical fight at one point, it was ugly. She's a bipolar alcoholic and she has so much brain damage at this point that she doesn't recognize my husband anymore. She is not a part of our lives. His dad divorced her (with my encouragement) around 2008.(footnote: When we first moved to SC, I got to be REALLY close with my father-in-law) and immediately jumped into a serious relationship which led to marriage pretty much as soon as the ink dried on the divorce papers. I'm a big fan of love and remarriage. Hell, I'm remarried! My dad remarried...and even before I could wrap my head around it, I was insanely comforted by the fact that my dad was smiling again. I never thought I'd see my dad happy again after losing my mom. Anyway, this new relationship of my FIL's was great at first. I loved her. She loved me and told me how much she loved me "as one of her own." We have the same birthday, we used to celebrate together. She has one biological child of her own, 8 years younger than me. Her daughter got pregnant right before me with a boy...and ever since the kids were born, things have changed in a major way. It's gone from us not seeing them as often to never. I tried to call them out on it last Summer. I wrote a letter and then we met for lunch. It ended in absolute disaster. They basically told me that if I wanted to be included I had to call them and invite myself along to whatever they were doing. A). That's not how our relationship ever was in the past and B). I'm not that person. I am not at all comfortable with that and I would never call someone and beg to come visit. Things got worse after that....and after my foot surgery this January, they didn't even text to check on me, or offer to watch my son while I was at the hospital. The poor kid literally had to sit there all day with Ben. They do all kinds of stuff with the other grandkid. My son is perceptive...he notices things. And after he asked me earlier this year if the reason he didn't see Mimi & Papa anymore is because he's a bad boy, I was done. They are the ONLY family we have here, and they suck. Plus I'm more than a little pissed that I let this woman into my life and truly loved her, and I feel like she used that insider knowledge to turn my FIL against me. My FIL now has NO relationship whatsoever with any of his 3 children, it's all about his wife’s family all the time. And damnit, it hurts.
Is blood really thicker than water??
Oh, sweet lady,
There is so much emotion in this letter. I can feel how much this hurts you, and the struggle that exists between “standing your ground” and “I’m just pissed, and miss you!”. What a hard spot to be in, huh? I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m lonely, I’m strong, I’m CONFUSED!! It’s a lot for your lovely little head (and heart) to go through.
So often, we expect people to behave consistently, and in a way that feels good for us. In reality, people are NOT consistent, and very often we behave in ways that serve us more than others. Geez, human beings are kind of a mess huh? In the past, your Mother-in-law (I’m going to call her that for ease of writing) met your needs. She was what you wanted/needed in that moment. Send gratitude to her for that. The facts of what happened are that something changed, and she does not meet your needs in the relationship now. That’s it. No more, no less. We don’t know why, and we can’t speculate. I mean, we can...but all that’s doing is creating a whole shit load of stories with weird energy and no real truth to back it up. Also, it’s taking time away from doing cool shit. Coming to peace with the previous few sentences is step one. Honestly, that’s the big piece. We are trained from a young age to make meaning of things, so it’s difficult to learn to shift this. But lay it all out there and be honest with yourself. She just isn’t meeting your expectations.
The next step is yours. How do you want to move forward? You could choose to create a new relationship with her that looks totally different, share your expectations of the relationship with her clearly and meet her halfway. You might choose to proceed with a big old boundary wall. You might choose to continue to straddle the fence, so to speak. The important thing to recognize is that you have choice in this, and the ability to set the terms you want for you.
Family is a tricky thing, you know. We are brought into the world with zero say of who these people are, and who they choose to be. We get dumped into the middle of whatever back-stories and past histories exist, and are told “these are your people”, “blood is thicker than water”. Well, I call bullshit. You get to create your own. You get the choice to leave your tribe and find a new one; one that supports you and loves you and meets you in the middle. I would bet that you’ve done this already to some extent. I would imagine your world is full of people that love and support you and your family in a powerful way. Maybe they don’t share genetic similarities, but I bet they’re there. If that’s the case, it’s all about reframing. You can choose to put more energy into fostering those relationships than you do trying to pull and drag a relationship with your MIL along. You can choose to bless her for who she is in the world, and let go of any other ideas about who she “could” be. Your son will pick up on that. Fill his heart and home with love and abundance, and he will not even recognize the absence of a person that is “supposed to” be there.
You’ve experienced a whole shit ton of maternal loss. More, in fact than most people will experience in twice the time you’ve been on this Earth. I want to acknowledge this. I do that in recognition that this is NOT easy work. I might have summed this up in a few paragraphs, but the freedom from these stories takes daily work, and a lot of failure and learning. I’m sending you out onto this journey with so much love, and light and a momma watching you from Heaven seeing the love all around you. I bet she sees where that energy needs to be placed. Ask her for help, will ya? She wants to feel useful.
You are a brave soul to ask for what you need...so keep that going. Give yourself what you need, now.