It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Betrayed DIL,” who wrote last week about not wanting her MIL anywhere near her kids. Keep reading to see whether she’s re-thought things.
Oddly enough, just a day or two after I emailed you, I received flowers from my MIL. All the card said was “Thinking of You, Love Mom & Dad.” It’s really hard to stay mad at someone when they send you flowers. I was very touched and they were making a very public effort since they had them delivered to me at work. So that night, holding my hubby’s hand, I called and talked to her. I thanked her sincerely for the lovely flowers and then had a long overdue talk with her about how she made me feel. You were right on the money with the hormones, etc., causing me to overreact to things that would normally not send me so far off the deep end.
I explained to her how I felt and that it was ultimately the fact that she had never apologized for hurting me that was holding me back. I also suggested that going forward, if we have a problem or issue, we should TALK. No emails, no letters, no posts to FB (which is not an issue since I made the decision to delete her from my friends list in early January). The written word can so easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted. The feeling and emotion behind it which is pure on the writer’s end can be taken negatively from someone who is already hurt and upset.
Once I said what I needed to say, she did ultimately (after 14 months!) apologize for hurting me. While I have come to accept that she is not the mother-in-law I want, I am probably not the daughter-in-law she wants either. I have decided to take a page from the Grosse Point Blank book: Forget about forgiving and just move on. While I don’t think I can ever forgive that she can be self-centered, I have decided to put this episode behind us and move forward. We are starting with a (mostly) clean slate. I also decided not to bring up the September or December incidents since the major issue was the apology and the rest just seemed petty if she did apologize.
I am not actively avoiding them, and I would never prevent my hubby or kids from having a relationship with them, but neither am I heartbroken if I miss their calls or Skype sessions.
I thank you for your wonderful advice. I was really hoping to have a totally outside perspective which is exactly what you gave me. Looking forward to (and a little bit scared) of what the readers have to say!! — Still betrayed, but no longer angry
Thanks for the update. I’m so happy to hear you got that apology you wanted and some closure on the issue that upset you the most. Good luck to you in your final weeks of pregnancy, and please do talk to your doctor if you’re having feelings of post-partum depression after the birth, or even if you’re simply feeling overwhelmed caring for two children under two. You might even look into support groups for families with special needs children. You have a lot on your plate, and support wherever you can get it is a good thing (and may help you feel less dependent on support of in-laws who may not give you the exact kind of support you want at the right time).
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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Taylor February 5, 2013, 1:14 pm
Great update! LW – kudos to you for listening to Wendy, it’s not always easy to digest outside perspective. All the best with your pregnancy and your family =)
GatorGirl February 5, 2013, 1:23 pm
Oh what a lovely update!! Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and please take Wendy’s additional advice. PPD is a very real thing and there is no shame in reaching out for a little support/help!
Also, your idea of talking (rather then e-mail/texting) is a very good one!! People read into words a lot.
kerrycontrary February 5, 2013, 1:37 pm
This is such a great update! Good luck with the end of your pregnancy.
bittergaymark February 5, 2013, 1:37 pm
Great update and so very happy it appears to have all worked out…
That said — you wasted 14 months seething and bitterly waiting for an apology when, truthfully, I don’t see how one was fully warranted. Talk about Much Ado About Nothing… Bittergaymark, my words, you will do so much better in life once you stop assuming that everybody is out to get you and deliberately disrespecting you… A good way to avoid such feelings would be (perhaps?) to stop behaving like a dictator. This “my way or the highway” attitude only works for, well, I dunno, very few, I suspect. Listen, hormones or not — not many people go to such extremes as you did. Most somehow wisely avoid the nuclear option. Oh, and in the future? Please do all you can to leave your poor husband out of it. Your marriage will greatly benefit from the extra effort, surely.
PS: Facebook is rarely misinterpreted, instead, once people decide to be all passive aggressive, it simply becomes VERY clear. To EVERYONE. Your post there was BEYOND passive aggressive. Own it.
landygirl February 5, 2013, 2:13 pm
You should copywrite that…Bittergaymark my words ©.
AH February 5, 2013, 2:52 pm
Yes, I was a little bemused by her characterization of the MIL as self-centered…
Matcha February 5, 2013, 4:33 pm
Right you are. Never have I seen so many qualifiers in a “We resolved the problem” post.
You Go Girl February 5, 2013, 9:00 pm
Bittergaymark really loves to scold people.
parton_doll February 6, 2013, 9:28 am
BGM, it’s like you read my mind and put my thoughts on paper.
Lily in NYC February 6, 2013, 11:14 am
Yes to everything BGM wrote. I don’t think this is a such a great update because the LW doesn’t seem to understand that nothing the MIL did was bad enough to warrant her vitriol. I get the feeling we are dealing with two controlling women that are very used to getting their own way. Poor “hubby”. Gah, I hate that word almost as much as “foodie”.
Lark February 7, 2013, 2:43 am
Hm. Wasn’t the original letter the one about the poor woman whose baby died and all the disagreements with the MIL? If it is, I think the MIL behaved like an asshole. She told everybody that the baby had Down’s, even after the mother explicitly asked her not to, and then went around whining that she felt unwanted the day the baby died in the hospital. Yes, the LW did sound controlling and the fit she threw over the baby shower at the beginning was self-centered..but MIL sounded about 100x worse in my opinion.
KKZ February 7, 2013, 9:38 am
You might be misremembering another letter, the baby didn’t die in the hospital, but had very serious surgery and at one point the doctors weren’t so optimistic she’d pull through. From what I gathered, though, she did make it.
Fabelle February 5, 2013, 2:12 pm
Okay, this was cool. I was half-expecting her to blow up at everyone & begin insisting that we HAD IT ALL WRONG.
LW, kudos to you for taking the advice in stride. I’m happy to hear that you & your MIL were able to talk, & I hope you’ll continue to have an open line of communication (while ceasing to ~*expect*~ apologies & also managing your expectations a little when it comes to your relationship with her) Good luck with everything!
beelzebarb February 5, 2013, 3:24 pm
I had the exact same feeling! Every time I see that there’s an update on a really recent letter, I always think “ruh roh” b/c usually what follows is an indignant “clarification” berating Wendy and the commenters for not understanding. And most of those types of “updates” then go on to list several additional TOTALLY SALIENT facts. Anyhow, kudos LW for taking the advice to heart and I’m really happy that you were able to smooth things over with your MIL and I wish you and your family good luck. Congrats on the new addition!
iwannatalktosampson February 5, 2013, 2:20 pm
I think this resolve is the best you can hope for. I would love to get an apology from my MIL. I think the fact that you got one is a victory. Not like it’s about keeping score, except when it is. And you won.
Seriously though guys – it’s like you want me to vomit all over my computer. New OFFICIAL DW rule – no more use of the word hubby. We’re all adults. Not teenagers. YOLO, use appropriate language.
kerrycontrary February 5, 2013, 2:23 pm
The word hubby also makes me want to puke. Let’s all say it together: HUSBAND.
GatorGirl February 5, 2013, 2:26 pm
What about hubs? 😉
lets_be_honest February 5, 2013, 2:29 pm
hubs and hubbaroni are ok, i think 😉
iwannatalktosampson February 5, 2013, 2:30 pm
Don’t start with me GG, haha.
lets_be_honest February 5, 2013, 2:26 pm
Yolo is ok, but hubby isn’t?
iwannatalktosampson February 5, 2013, 2:30 pm
Sarcasm LBH, you’re better than that.
GatorGirl February 5, 2013, 2:31 pm
So is “fo shizzle” not cool any more? I said it to my fiance last night and he told me I’m like 7 years behind…please say it ain’t so.
iwannatalktosampson February 5, 2013, 2:33 pm
Fo shizzle will always be appropriate – and hilarious. That and bomb diggity.
I think this is how I’m going to filter out new friend prospects. I will just ask them if they’ve ever used the phrase hubby in a sentence.
GatorGirl February 5, 2013, 2:36 pm
haha, bomb diggity. I love it. I’m going to use that phrase the next time I’m hanging out with the boring acedemic folks. “That article on emancipation was the bomb diggity!” hahaha.
stickelet February 5, 2013, 3:51 pm
Have you heard people use ‘husby’? I hate that one too. Although I sort of like wifey. Weird, I know.
AKchic_ February 5, 2013, 6:17 pm
No, wifey is completely out unless you happen to be a skinny, half-toothless, redneck-identifying male who wears pants that are too big and a white tank top known as a “wife beater” and sport a very poor “at home” hair cut. Tattoos, glassy eyes (from whatever substance you choose), holey socks, ratty shoes, and exposed boxers optional.
lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 9:31 am
Almost sounds as if you’re describing someone you know 😉
iwannatalktosampson February 5, 2013, 2:31 pm
Actually I don’t think that qualifies as sarcastic – maybe more smart ass-ish. Facetious?
lets_be_honest February 5, 2013, 2:44 pm
ok, ok I thought so, but wasn’t sure.
(I think yolo is funny)
katie February 5, 2013, 2:47 pm
yolo = you only live once, right? have you seen the SNL music video for that? hilarious!
GatorGirl February 5, 2013, 2:58 pm
I think my fiance and I are the only people on the planet who didn’t find that yolo short funny. LIke at all, not even in the littlest bit. I turned it off half way through because I was bored. We’re weird.
jlyfsh February 5, 2013, 3:03 pm
i just watched it because i had never heard of yolo and i ended up stopping it after about 30 seconds, maybe i’m just getting old but i didn’t think it was that funny either.
katie February 5, 2013, 3:09 pm
well its funny because thats not what yolo means at all. young people use yolo to explain really stupid decisions, so to make a video about buying real estate and properly doing taxes.. i dunno, i got it. so funny.
lets_be_honest February 5, 2013, 3:14 pm
I didn’t see it, but my little brother (14) texts me the funniest Yolo jokes, just like you describe.
landygirl February 5, 2013, 2:34 pm
Yolo is a county in Northern California and that is the only way you’ll ever see me use that word.
Paki February 5, 2013, 3:41 pm
From the bear in Ted – F*&^ Yolo, my motto is Fish, F*ck it, sh*t happens.
LK7889 February 5, 2013, 4:22 pm
This just reminded me of how my cousins in their 30’s were trying to get our pre-teen cousin to say YOLO at my grandmother’s birthday party like it was cute or something. I sort of felt physically ill.
landygirl February 5, 2013, 2:32 pm
I’m so lucky that I have great in-laws.
Lynn February 5, 2013, 5:01 pm
I might be in the minority here, but I think you’ll feel a whole lot better if you just forgive her. She didn’t commit some horrendous act toward you, so why not forgive her? Moving on is great, but I can’t help but feel like you’re going to secretly hold on to this for forever and go over the edge if she does anything in the future.
For me personally, I know I’m still holding a grudge/not over things when I haven’t forgiven them yet.
Bittergaymark February 5, 2013, 6:14 pm
You Go Girl February 5, 2013, 9:45 pm
Lynn is discussing the standard forgiveness doctrine, which is the idea that a person is angry because she chooses to be angry. If she chooses to forgive the person who wronged her, then she will feel great and everything will be alright. And if she continues to be angry, then she has obviously chosen not to forgive, and this is her fault.
This false belief, which is very prevalent in our culture, causes great harm. The LW did not choose to be angry about her MIL’s behavior, and in fact I am very sure she would rather not be angry. It does not matter that there are worse problems and more difficult MILs, because for the LW this situation is bad enough given everything else she has to cope with. Congratulations to the LW for her mature handling of this situation. She had an honest conversation with her MIL, accepted responsibility for her part of the problem, and has laid the foundation for a better relationship in the future. She and her MIL may never be best buddies, but they can now be cordial.
Lynn February 6, 2013, 10:54 am
Matthew 6:9-15. Mark 11:25. That’s my response.
You Go Girl February 6, 2013, 7:34 pm
I know the Bible does say to forgive, and I am not disagreeing with that. But I am so tired of the forgiveness thing thrown at me (I am an abuse victim) that I no longer attend church. There are a lot of people who agree with Lynn, and are quick to judge.
lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 10:59 am
“LW did not choose to be angry about her MIL’s behavior”
um, who did then?
fast eddie February 5, 2013, 7:30 pm
I love happy endings. (sniffle)