Saturday, November 13, 2010

No really, I'm generally pleasant in person.



In case you were worried, I feel so much better today.

I feel like by Monday, I will be ready to handle 40 more hours of squeaky chairs and obnoxious old men with my usual grace and aplomb.

No really, I'm generally pleasant in person.

(please ignore my sisters snorts of disbelief)

In case you were worried that I secretly hate Veterans, let me assure you that that simply is not the case. I love crotchity old men (and women), and usually I am understanding, and secretly amused by their rudeness.

But sometimes, a combination of I'm-having-a-shitty-day and personal insults on their part make me want to smack them so hard, their dentures fly out.

But even then, you would never know it by my voice. My eyes probably give me away, but as we are only connected by a phone line, my death glare doesn't have much effect.

And in case you need further proof, I'll have you know that RED is my new favorite movie. I want to be that badass when I grow up.

Man, my language has gone downhill. Sorry to all my mormon friends (I'll try to do better).

On the bright side, Kurt was very understanding, and didn't even pick a single fight when I got home. Which is so very different than what I am used to (or maybe I'm the one who picks the fights? I can never keep these things straight).

If he had been a jerk, last night could have ended so differently. Who knows what would have happened.


Driving home, I felt like a pent up ball of rage just waiting to burst and consume the awful drivers around me. And, in case you are new here, even on my calmest days I tend to have a slight problem with road rage (I would like to blame genetics for this one).

But you will be EVEN PROUDER to know that I didn't explode. Not even once. I didn't cuss at my windshield, drive aggressively, or even casually flip someone off.

My secret? I called my Mother In Law while I was driving (it's ok, traffic was moving so slow, I would have had to try to get into an accident), and we had an awesome conversation. We laughed and joked and made plans for Thanksgiving.

(my sister's are probably staring slack-jawed at their monitors right now)

Relations with my in-laws have been a little strained over the past year, mostly because I am an awful person (although those who know the whole story might argue that it's as much their fault as mine).

...And that's really as much detail as I can go into without them killing me. So feel free to speculate, but don't expect me to confirm what actually went down.

However, I think things are looking up on that front.

I think maybe I'm growing up?

My secret for this miracle is actually pretty simple. I decided to accept that we are connected for life (and hopefully beyond), and I have two choices: I can either nurse grudges and add to the strain, or I can forgive, forget, and try to establish a relationship with them.

The latter option seems like it would lead to the most happiness, both for me, for them, and especially for Kurt.

I know not everyone has in-law problems as small as mine, and some things are pretty much impossible to get past. I am not telling you guys this to preach to you, or to suggest that your situation will be as easy, or even possible, to fix (not that this is exactly easy, but it is possible).

I am just telling you my experiences (which are really the only things I am qualified to talk about).

I know it won't be as simple as it sounds (or maybe it will?), but I'm hoping that I can become a good daughter-in-law to Kurt's parents. Maybe even friends with them?

But hey, at the very least I know that can turn to his mom when I am ready to throttle the next person who looks at me funny, and she will diffuse the situation with her curious nature and Finnish accent.

Anyway, I just thought I would check in, and let you know that things are looking up from yesterday. I'm not in jail, and there are no warrants out for my arrest. Also, Kurt barely has any super-glue to wash off.

(I take my brownies very seriously)


**Hey guys, Erin needs some help with her In-Laws. You can read her story below, in the comments section. Please join the conversation, and add your insights and advice!**


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23 comments:

tsonodablog said...

New follower here. Love your wit! And the cartoon was quite entertaining!

Fun!!

Thanks,
Terri

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

I stared slack jawed that you turned to MIL to calm you down. Talk about throwing out a stereotype! It's great though - good for you guys!

Tara : Damon said...

wow, way to go. i can think of only two times i've talked to my mil on the phone since we got engaged a year and a half ago. she'd called to tell me that my husband's car registration was up and ask where we would like to register the car (for some reason my hub has never changed the title though he bought the car from them 4 years ago). the second time was 30 minutes later. she'd meant to call one of her other 10 daughters/dil's. fml.

Erin said...

Ok, wait up. Just HOLD UP a second here.

I am having in-law issues. Huge ones. Like that my FIL called me a bitch back in February. And still hasn't apologized. Yet somehow is deluded that we're going to have family THanksgiving together. I say no way until there is a formal/official/proper/acceptable apology.


The fact that he has waited this long (and Turkey Day is now less than 2 weeks away) does not bode well. And proves that he is just trying to manipulate and control everything, as per usual. I'm hedging my bets that either (a) the apology won't be forthcoming/happen or (b) it happens, but it will be stale and lacking meaning, i.e. total BS.

The fact that he called me a bitch is the tip of the iceberg, Helena. I could write an even longer novel about the other things he's done. I can forgive, but not forget. And after so many fuck ups, I kinda get to a point where I have to walk away. So I haven't spoken to him since February. He thinks he hasn't done anything wrong. Hubs feels in the middle. I feel badly for that, but I'm not the one who called me a nasty word for no reason.

I've been dying to blog about it, but hey, it's even more fun to come over here and fill up your commments section about it.

Sorry for the novella, Helena.
;-)

Any words of wisdom (granted you do not know half the other crap he's managed to get away with, even before I became part of the family 11+ years ago)???

Helena said...

**Erin, I already emailed you, but I am going to post my answer here, as well. And you guys, please feel free to add your advice to mine.**

Erin, this sounds like one of those "impossible to forgive and forget" situations. I cannot even imagine what my reaction would be if some bastard was that respectful to me. Especially if it was my Father in Law.

I agree with your decision to boycott family gatherings until he at least pretends he is sorry. If you don't, you might as well say "No really, call me whatever you want. I don't deserve your respect. Can you pass the gravy?"

And is that what you want to teach your daughters? That it's ok for grandpa to call mommy a bitch? And that it would be ok if their future father in laws did the same to them?

Your husband might not thank me for this advice, and I am not really qualified to give it out (so please, follow your own head/heart and feel free to disregard all of this if you think it's a load of crap).

However, disrespect is one thing that I cannot stand. And when you do not stand up for yourself, you are just enabling the situation. When you let it slide, it tells the person who is doing it that it is ok for them to treat you that way.

And it's not. It's so not.

Like you said, I do not know the whole story (or anywhere close to the whole story), but it sounds like you have already given him a lot of chances, and taken a lot of crap.

You deserve better.

Especially during the Holidays.


**Now, do you guys have anything more to add?**

Tough Cookie Mommy said...

Ladies, I must chime in...I have a terrible relationship with my MIL. No matter what I have done, over the years, she has never accepted me. Basically, I just keep inviting her to events, have my sons call her on holidays and do my part so that I could put my head to the pillow at night. It really is a no win situation.

Helena said...

I am so sorry. I wonder if all the difficult mothers in law out there remember what it was like for them, when they were the daughters in law? I bet it wasn't easy. I bet they said things like "Someday, I'm going to be SO MUCH BETTER THAN HER." But somewhere along the lines, they forgot.

Or maybe they were always bitches.

Either way, I wish they could take a step back, and see what the situation is, and how easily they could change it.

And I know one thing. I am going to be a FANTASTIC mother in law.

...so try and remind me about that vow in 25 or so years, ok?

Helena said...

...and to clarify, I am not saying that my MIL is a bitch. I got lucky on that front, and our conflicts have been minor.

*Please still buy my Christmas presents?*

Chantel said...

First off, I have to say that you were dead on Helena, my jaw dropped when I read that you had called your mil and actually are looking forward to holidays with them! That's awesome.

Here's my advice Erin,

Like Helena said, I too am not qualified to give advice, and the advice I have your husband may not like...

okay, so if ever my husband feels hurt by someone in my family, I want to be the one to handle it. I will talk to them and make sure they understand how they made Michael feel so that they can fix it.

And visa versa, if Michaels family ever hurts my feelings I know that Michael will talk to them and make them understand.

So, my advice is that you let your husband know that (even though he doesn't want to be in the middle) he needs to talk to his father. He needs to let his dad know that it is NOT okay to treat his wife that way, and that as much as you guys want to spend the holidays with them, it can't happen until this is resolved sincerely and doesn't happen again.

Your husband could also stress that you want to have a good relationship with them, but he needs to let them know how you are feeling.

Maybe your husband can be the one that handles all the scheduling and conversations until you feel comfortable with his family again.

So that's it. I hope some of it helps, and I rally hope things get better.

viewfromdownhere said...

I agree with Chantel, in that your husband needs to be the one to at least try to fix the damage, if that can even be done. I'm not sure I could forgive (or forget for that matter) that kind of disrespect either. That's just hateful and not the kind of thing I'd want to be around. I say until he apologizes, you steer clear of that. You absolutely don't deserve to be treated like that. No one does.

JeanHasBeenShopping said...

I married an orphan.
Seriously, his parents died long before I entered the pic.
I only hope my parents continue to treat him with respect.

Kim @ seven thirty three said...

I agree with Chantel. Your hubby needs to step up and tell his father that it is not OK to treat his wife with that level of disrespect. My father had to do the SAME thing with his mother. My grandma treated my mom very badly and it got to the point that my dad had to say that he CHOSE this woman to be his wife and mother of his children and she was either to accept it or to not be a part of his life. Guess what she chose? She sucked it up and gave my mom the respect she deserved.

I have been lucky and have a great MIL. My SIL and I had a VERY rocky start and I still have a hard time forgetting the way she treated me at times, but we have come a long way in the 11 years my hubs and I have been together. There is hope, I swear!

the thrifty ba said...

helena you have such a potty mouth.
(youve never actually spoke with me...you have no fing idea what i say when i dont have a filter)
i dont have a problem with my mil...my husbands mil is another story. i actually dont talk to my mom or dad anymore. and guess what? life is better that way. chris never liked them too much anyways (which is weird because he is very tolerent and kind) so it isnt a big deal. sometimes if a relationship is toxic, dont bother.

By Word of Mouth said...

Hello there
Loved your Follow blog that was tweeted about today and have to say that I love my mother in law! She is a dear friend and stays with us twice a yr for 6 weeks at a time and we really have fun, unusual to be sure! Back to your Follow blog - right on the mark with the responses that get left. Sometimes I wonder if they even remember which blog they are on, with what is typed! Thanx for stopping by on mine btw ... I am going to start leaving messages on peoples blogs saying
Hi, since you may not be back, I need your vote TODAY!!!
(it will be like election flashback)

Jenn said...

As to Erin's situation, I think everyone's pretty much right. Chantel and Kim @ seven thirty three are dead on. I don't have major issues with my in-laws (compared to some), but Erin's husband should definitely start mediations with his family on her behalf. I don't know what Erin has done so far as to getting her FIL to make an apology, but if she's just avoiding contact with him in general, and hoping he realizes that he reads into her silence as a sign that he has offended her, she might be waiting indefinitely...he obviously doesn't have very good discernment anyway. ;) K@ST also has a great point of Erin's husband needing to draw the line with his family. He chose to marry Erin, and his priority/family is her. Not that he doesn't love his parents, but he didn't make vows to them ;) I hope things can be mediated, and that FIL can get his act together and treat her with respect, so that they can start a new, positive relationship with them. Otherwise, I say cut them out of your life if they can't abide by the rules.

As a side note, something to think about is whether you (Erin) would really be willing to forgive him, should he apologize. This is something I struggle with. You mentioned that he has done a whole lot of other horrible things to you in the past, and that this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want him to apologize for everything (not just this incident), make sure your hubby brings up the other unpleasant situations as well, when giving examples of what sort of behavior toward his wife won't be permitted anymore. If his dad is really able to apologize, and attempts to change, the hardest part (IMO) will be not holding past "transgressions" against him.

I really hope things get better for you, and wish you a stress and insult-free holiday!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I'm glad the super glue was not needed.

I got on well with my MIL until her dying day so I have no decent advice on that subject.

MiMi said...

I clicked on the link that was for your mormon friends...LOL! Love that teeny lil post.
Also, I have talked to my inlaws ONCE in 12 years. ONCE. So I have no advice because clearly I am the devil.

beka said...

Just so ya know..I LOVE your picture. Ahem. It's great.
I know several people who have great in-laws....I'm only hoping I'll be so lucky someday!! Heheh.

Kathleen Boland said...

Sometimes family is toxic. Sometimes it's your own. I only speak to my "parents" once a year. It's for the best and I'm over it.
Breathe deep and just go about your regular happy family business without them.

Lauren said...

Hey! Cool blog. I'm your newest follower. x

MommaKiss said...

I have family issues with my own damn sister. Someone said toxic. That's the truth. So for me - we choose not to be near each other. Helps that she's a bunch of states away.

I agree - without putting the husband in the middle - boycott until you're apologized to (or it's even acknowledged). Not easy. Hope it works out.

Susie said...

Erin,

This answer is for you. Sorry but it is going to be long.


I believe everyone has to have their self respect and I do believe that our kids learn from our behaviors more than our words.

I will say this. Honestly, I think the only person that is really hurt from holding a grudge (maybe that's not the right word but can't remember another one) and from holding onto the hurt is the person holding it.

It weighs you down.

I don't know if it helps but try to remember that everyone sees life and events through their own unique filter. I am sure there was something going on in FIL's head when he called you a name. Whatever it was made some kind of perfect sense to him through the filter he saw the events. (Does not make it right.)

A simple technique in situations like that one (had you been able to think straight instead of steaming at the ears like I would have been) would have been to immediately say "those words really hurt my feelings. It seems like you are angry at me."

At which point he would have responded yes I am angry, or no I am insulted that you did... Either way, at the time it happens it is important to check against the person insulting or hurting you, what their intention or view of the situation was.

I know that in at least 8 out of the ten times that I reframe the words and tell someone how their words made me feel and ask if that was their intention and why, the answer is completely different then the one I am expecting.

I think the best lesson you can teach your kids is to deal with issues head on. Family is family and in this case they are important to your husband.

The point is not to be right, but to figure out how to get along in a respectful way so your kids can see how to deal with world's imperfections.

Would you not come out the better person to approach fil in letter or in person and say, what you said hurt me. It also hurt me that you havent apologized. Because I love my husband I want to make peace. I also expect you to treat me with respect and if you are upset about something, I would like for you to talk it out with me privately instead of hurting me publicly.

It is not easy. It is easier to hang onto your anger and sense of being right. The question is if that really helps you.


Please email me if you want to chat about this.

Then let bygones be bygones and judge his behavior form this minute onwards.

Susie said...

One more thing (lol cause my other comment was too short)

Point your point finger of each had so the tips are facing each other. The slide your fingers so they are touching (the whole length of your fingers) and rub them back and forth. It causes friction.

Now do the same motion but without touching the fingers together. No friction.

That is how you need to live your life with FIL. If you accept him for what he is and calmly assert your own self respect, that will be the relationship, no friction because it takes two to make friction.

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