Speaking of nightmare mothers-in-law, here’s another:
– She behaves badly when things are not about her or do not go her way. She had a wedding tantrum when she felt she was not being treated specially enough as MOTHER OF THE GROOM. In every photo of her she is scowling. Whenever she talks about the wedding week, she refers to her side trip to the Grand Canyon as the highlight of her trip.
– She is a manipulative crier and will start crying when she feels she is being “attacked” (i.e. anyone trying to speak to her about her behavior).
– She is incredibly self-absorbed and controlling.
– One day before the wedding, I was at a jewelry store with her and she was fawning over a necklace but it was more than she wanted to pay. I offered to buy it for her as a wedding gift. She happily accepted and seemed thrilled. She took it off halfway though the wedding and when my MOH asked her where her pretty necklace went, she said, “Oh, well Jane bought it for me but it’s not really my style so I took it off as soon as I thought no one would notice.” WTF?
There’s more, but to get to my question:
We live in close proximity to her and my FIL. She does a lot of things that make me angry, but I limit how much of it I share with my husband, because as much as he “knows how his mother is,” he will still go into defensive mode if I bring up too much stuff about her (I think he is also a bit embarrassed by her behavior).
So whom do I vent to when I need to talk about how I’m feeling? It feels like a betrayal to him when I vent to my friends about her, and yet I don’t want to be constantly talking about my issues with her to him. Getting a therapist just to vent about my MIL doesn’t seem healthy either.
Learn to just suck it up? My other concern is that we will be TTC soon, and after the very entitled “I AM MOTHER OF THE GROOM” behavior surrounding the wedding, I am already dreading “I AM THE GRANDMOTHER, I AM VERY IMPORTANT” routine. She already has baby rabies and is constantly talking about her future grandchildren.
If this is already causing an issue so early in your marriage, even before trying to conceive, let alone actually having a child, I don’t think the idea of seeing a therapist is unreasonable at all. I also don’t see why you feel it’s a betrayal to vent to your friends about your mother-in-law. Your husband would probably prefer you complain to someone other than him anyway. You could also vent — and seek advice — right here in the forums. Or write in a journal. Or get out some aggression through exercise or creative pursuits.
But if what you really need are some tools to help you create and stick to boundaries with your MIL, as well as some direction in communicating with your husband (like knowing what to bring up with him vs. what might be better to simply vent about with friends or an online community), a therapist can certainly help in that regard. There’s nothing “unhealthy” about getting guidance about family tension before it becomes a bigger drama than you can handle on your own. In fact, it’s actually healthy and proactive.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.