Releasing the past in order to find myself

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


After my last post, something Kara said got me thinking more about my anger towards my MIL.   What exactly it is that pisses me off.

I've said before how much I dislike phoniness in people.  I spoke before of my BIL (her son and "mini-me", a term I hate, but actually feel is apt here) and how fake and superficial he is.  How he is all surface and, in my opinion, has little depth.

MIL is a bunch of window dressing too.  In all honesty,  I really know very little about what MIL really likes or cares about.  She projects being a devout Christian.  She projects being very connected to her family.  She loves when people envy her "close" family and point out how wonderful we all are.  She likes the "best" of things.  Not necessarily the most expensive or fanciest things.  But she likes to be "in the know".  She likes to be trendy and be the first one to know about things.  She loves to recommend restaurants and wines and resorts.  She is easily swayed by other's opinions.  If someone she respects (or even someone she feels is knowledgeable  says something, she believes it and adopts their opinion for herself.   She rarely questions something.  It doesn't matter if how she personally feels about something.  If someone tells her a wine is awesome, she will say it is awesome too.  I've seen her quickly take on my husband's opinions about all kinds of things.  If he likes a wine or a beer, she likes it.  If he is eating a food, she has to try it and proclaim how much  she LOVES it (she is often overly extreme in her descriptions of things.  Things are THE BEST.  Or she LOVES something.)  She wants to fit in.  She does very little thinking for herself.   DH and I have often joked that he could hand her a glass of rancid wine, and if he talked it up enough, she too would proclaim it to be wonderful.  She has been spoon fed her beliefs on religion by her parents and never questions.  In fact, I rarely see her question anything from certain people in her life.  She is easily swayed by those she deems authorities.   However, if someone (often me) expresses an alternative opinion, she has to prove I'm wrong.  She does not have an ability to allow for multiple opinions to be "right".  She is very, very black and white.  I used to blame a lot of this on, what I believe to be ADHD.  But it just kept being more than that.   MIL is flighty.  She flits from interest to interest (and is always, coincidentally involved in anything her kids are involved in: sports, travel, wine.  Their interests are now her interests).  I've never seen her stick with anything except church, and even then she has waffled in her "convictions" as her preacher son expressed doubts.  She even has moved churches recently, with little explanation, despite being very devoted to her church several years back.  She loves get rich quick schemes and is a dreamer.  And talent of mine she notices, she instantly proclaims that I should do that for a profession.  I know of not one single interest, hobby, or idea that she has come to in her own way.  And consequently, nothing sticks.  Nothing has been a constant in her life.

When I first met her, she was very self assured in her way being the right way.  She badgered me.  She pushed me.  In my opinion, she bullied me.  Subtly.  She has a keen ability to undercut people's character or appearance in an extremely subtle way.  She bossed me around relentlessly.  DH used to say it's because she was the mom of four boys and just was used to being in charge.  So, she just took charge of me too.  She expected me to just do what she wanted.  I was desperate to please her and tried hard to be respectful.  She didn't raise children but directed them on paths she found to be right.  She had an opinion about everything I did and did not allow for much dissent.  She wanted me to be married in the same month as she, she pushed for the god-awful veil that she wanted me to wear and then criticized the one I wanted.  She pushed relentlessly for grand children.  Despite me continued attempts to explain why I wasn't ready, she pushed.  Once, she even told me that she wanted grand children because all her friends had grand children.  Oh, well then, I'll get right on that.  Because there is no better reason to have kids than for their grandmother to "fit in" with her friends.  And she told me I was expected to have the first grandchild and told SIL she had to wait for me and DH to have that child before they could have one.  I never understood why, except that that was the way MIL wanted it to be.  Or God told her that was the way it should be.  Such crap.  She decided who was ready and who wasn't to have kids.  She pushed me to create a home and life for my kids that was the same as the one she had created for DH.  It was like she wanted to recreate DH's childhood through me and DH.   She bought all DH's work wardrobe when he graduated college.  She called him to regulate his brothers.  She put family decisions on DH's shoulders, so to avoid blame herself should it back fire.  She manipulated in whispers behind my back and DH's back.  She tried to create a hierarchy with DH in charge of the family, something that caused extreme resentment from my SIL.

It would've been easier at this time to stand up to her.  I wish, desperately at times, that I could go back and stand up to her.  Put my foot down.  But any sort of dissent on my part got her angry.  And I didn't want to get her angry.  I wanted her to like me.    I felt at the time such a strong tearing inside of me.  I was trying so hard to be myself, but I knew the more I tried to be myself, the more upset she got.  Anything I said that she didn't like was met with a snarky laugh that came off like she was teasing me, but was meant to express her anger at me.  But in a way no one could call her on.  She huffed a lot.  And most of that was lost on DH.  He didn't see then (and still struggles to see) her subtle expressions of disdain or anger.  How her huffs and eye rolls and quiet, sneaky secret whispers just out of ear shot got to me.  He told me to just let it go and ignore it like he did.  But I couldn't.

After awhile, she realized she couldn't control me.   I also believe she felt DH's loyalty starting to shift.  So, she seemed to adopt the policy of becoming like me.  Because, after all, if DH thought so highly of me, there must be something to that.  So, she started adopting my tastes, my hobbies, my talents for herself.  And that's where the phoniness came in.  She started complimenting me all the damn time.  But the thing is, the compliments where never really about me, but rather something she coveted in me.  I've never heard the woman say "Jessie, you are a really good..."  All her compliments, to everyone, begin with "I think you are good at."  Every, single one begins with the "I think" statement.  It is all in relation to her opinions on things.  Even when she's told me she is bragging to someone else about me, she says "MY DIL, is so good at...".  It drives me crazy.  She's attempting to control me by winning me over now.  She thinks that by telling me she likes my toe nail polish or the color I picked for my walls or some other trivial piece of crap, I'll think she is a nice person.  This is also how she tries to get to my kids.  She tells them "grammy thinks you are so smart.  Grammy thinks you are so athletic."   She's trying to make them think she is being complimentary to them and make them like her more.  But she's still setting them up to cater to her opinions of things.  If "grammy" likes something you do, then you get a compliment.    She compliments my shoes or my earrings, while at the same time proclaiming she's going to get some for herself.  Instead of trying to make me her, she is trying to be me.  I guess, she assumes that I'll then like her more?  It seems so stupid to me.  But I'm not a narc.

But the part that makes me angry is that she has be in a bind.  She never insults me directly.  She's never been out and out rude (although I think she's been rude a million times, it's just easy for other's to explain away.  "She didn't mean it like that") or called me names or spoke negatively about me without couching it in "I'm concerned" terms.    She compliments me.  And, although I know these compliments are fake and phony, and an attempt to control my feelings towards her, how the hell do you call someone on that?  How do you say, when you told me my toe nail polish was nice, you were being an ass?  I would sound like a loon.  And she knows that.

I can't not be the bad DIL, because there is nothing to point to.  What I can point to seems petty.  My NM and NSis are obviously bitchy at times.  I have clear evidence of them being assholes.  MIL hides her asshole-ery amongst "love" and "concern" and fake bullshit compliments.  She hides her controlling nature behind wanting to help.  On the rare occasion that she still snarks, it comes so far out of left field that I don't see it coming (not too very long ago, my husband was talking to her and FIL about her babysitting my niece and how my BIL and SIL had become overly-dependent on grandparents to help them care for their kids.  MIL snapped "well, I'd do babysit for you too, but you don't want me to."  We all knew the comment was directed at me.  It was accusatory and made her out to be a victim of sorts.  She also knew that I couldn't get into a discussion about her babysitting without getting into a discussion about the deeper issues in our relationship.  We were in her house, she had DH and FIL to (in her mind) back her up.  She was looking for a fight, or at the least to put me in my place and express her anger at me in a way that I wasn't prepared to discuss.  She was also looking to deflect any guilt she felt about being overly involved with my niece back on to me.  These situations come up a lot.  She turns any sort of "attack" that she feels back onto me being somehow wrong.  It makes it extremely difficult to discuss anything.  And for what it's worth, she had never once discussed being upset about not babysitting to me before this comment nor in the three years since -in which I still haven't let her babysit.  She has never, once, confronted me directly about anything.  It's either behind my back, in a snarky passive-aggressive way to my face, or she pretends that she is not upset.)  She is always shucking and jiving, to borrow a phrase from some other bloggers.  You can not pin her down on anything without her turning it back on me, stomping off and getting defensive, or ignoring it all together.  I can't confront her, but she won't confront me either.  And she also has an amazing ability to do these things when no one else is around to see it.  It's hard to prove something that no one else sees.

What makes me angriest is to see her perpetuating this phoniness onto my kids.  She has a certain enraptured smile, with half closed eyes as she rocks and hums and holds my kids (or my niece and nephew) that makes me want to slap her.  I can clearly see it isn't because she is making a connection with the kids or feeling love, but rather because she is pulling off the narc supply they provide her.  They make her feel love, they make her feel special.  She is getting her physical attention needs met.  It is not about providing loving, physical contact to the kids (hence, she often misses the cues that the kids are over it.)  Although she isn't malignant or nasty to the kids, she does try to control the relationships.  She has pushed for my son and my niece to be super close.  She labels my son as "all boy" despite knowing little about who he is.   She doesn't send him little cards or stickers in the mail the way the other grandmas do.  In fact, when she is not with him (and often when she is) she pays him little to no attention.  She can not have meaningful interactions with him.  When he was a young baby, she literally held his fingers and pushed the buttons on a toy in order to "teach" him how it worked.  She had no concern for him learning how to do it, or giving him an experience, or working within his abilities to experience something with him.   Recently, she wanted to start up a conversation with him (about something she had heard about through FIL.  DH rarely talks to MIL.  And it was clear that she didn't know what the hell she was talking about because of the way she refrenced this thing.)  I should give her credit for starting a conversation because, mostly, she talks at him or about him to us, never to him.   So, we were all in the swimming pool, my son floats by and she tries to start this indepth conversation about this toy with him.  He just said "yeah" (because all of her questions are yes/no and never open ended or asking about his opinions, shocker) and kept going.    Luckily, I don't think she's doing any harm to him, because she is such a non-entity.  My brilliant, with a remarkable memory, son often calls her the wrong name.  He sees her most often and he has NO trouble with any other grandparents' names (even ones he rarely sees) but he frequently calls her another grandmother's name.  But I'm keeping my eye out.  I'm waiting.  I'm sure it won't take long for her negativity to pop out and I'm waiting.

But the thing is, everyone else sees a loving grandmother.  A grandmother who is being denied the "right" to babysit her grand kids. (For new readers, not only do I keep her from watching my kids because I don't think she will listen at ALL to the instructions I give her, but she struggles seriously with safety issues.  She's very unfocused (ADD) and does not think ahead for risks.  I've seen it time and again with my niece and nephew.  She also has no ability to read emotional cues in my sensitive and subtle children.  She also gets defensive if I suggest how to do something or "miss-hears" me.  She struggles to listen to me in the first place and when I have asked her to do things in the past, she rarely does things the way I ask.  I'm not a control freak, but I do have some ways of doing things that I would expect her to follow.).  I believe I am seen as controlling, unwilling to let go of my kids, and bitter by others.  It has created some serious frustration for me.

She's just slippery, I guess, and I'm frustrated.  This is a woman who offers to help me clean up a party that I've cleaned up (while she sat and watched).  A woman who apologizes to my husband when she's wronged me.  A woman who loves to look like a loving grandmother, but it is all loving in one direction: towards her.  Everything she does with the kids is to get them to love and care for her.  She compliments me on phony things and when I credit someone else for the things the thing she complimented me on, she suddenly looses interest in washing me with her praise.  She appears good and kind and thoughtful and helpful.  I appear mean and bitchy and grudge-holding.  I appear to be bitter and holding onto typical DIL bullshit.  I appear to be denying her her grand kids, her son, and the close family.  I am to blame for the turmoil in the family because I insist on being different (or difficult, depending on who you ask).  I am the one choosing to not be in the family, rather than her pushing me out as punishment for not conforming.

Not seeing her is not an option.  DH is not willing to lose his relationship with his father or extended family.  Calling her out right on shit causes a scene.  Although that's where I am at with her (and even then I think she senses this and has started "tiptoeing" around me like I am some ticking time bomb).  Any suggestions?  Any thoughts?  How do you pin a snake down?  How do you deal with such underhanded passive-aggressiveness?  How do I maintain my sanity?  How do I not deck her when she gets that smarmy, "serene", ah look my whole family is together look?

And as an after note:  When I first met MIL, I thought she was a bit rude and mean.  I thought she was thoughtless and flaky and unfocused.  I chalked it up to her having ADHD.  Clearly, she just misses social cues, I thought.  She speaks before she thinks.   She is unfocused and doesn't mean to be thoughtless.  I bought DH's excuse that, as the mom of four boys, she just had a more "masculine" approach to things (despite being raised with four girls and the fact that my grandmother, who also raised four boys wasn't like this).  The teasing and making fun of people and the family picking on people was "normal" with boys.  That's just how they were.  I bought the family excuse that she was just scattered and having to corral four wild (and ADHD) boys made her controlling and bossy.  I kept assuming she didn't mean to hurt my feelings.

But things never fully added up.  When she was told she hurt someone's feelings, she didn't apologize.  She didn't change her ways (and thanks Kara for recently pointing this out on your blog).  She just kept doing it.   And so many, many things couldn't be explained away by ADHD and mothering boys.

When I found the 25 Characteristics of NMs, I was reading it in relation to my mother.  What I found was that I kept saying, oh, that's MIL!  Many of the criteria applied to her.  So much so, that even DH couldn't deny it.  He did say that my NM was more "obvious" and that his wasn't "that bad" (because he misses her subtle nature).  I doubted myself for a long time about her being a narcissist.  But I just can't find any other way to explain her than with this: she is an emotional child, self-centered, and self-absorbed who can't put anyone else above herself.  She is a narcissist.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Letter to MIL

Things have changed from one year ago.  Things are better than they were when I started this blog.  I have so many things I want to write about, healing things, changing things, ways that I am better (if not the situation.  Which I've come to decide will never be "better".  I can only hope to manage it.)  It's not easy now.  It's not without strife and pain.  But I'm not on the floor.  I'm not on the edge.  I'm not ready to jump off.

I have lots to update on.  Lots to write about my NM and Nsis.  I need to just to a "facts" update to catch everyone up.  But that will be later.  I am in a place of more peace with my NM and NSis.  I think I'm managing with them (which in a lot of ways because I am managing without them.)  They are not different, but I am.  I have worked through some issues with my father.  Well, not with him, but some issues within myself with him.  Again, it's a work in progress, but there is an, overall, progress.  Maybe not linear.  Maybe it's back and forth.  But I think the overall direction is forward for me.

But there is one person (well one and my association and enmeshment the family related) who I'm still struggling with.  Whom I still can't seem to let get under my skin.  I don't know why she annoys me still so much.  Why I can't figure out how to manage my feelings about her better.  Why she still just plain pisses me off.  So, I'm going to write out this letter to my narcy-MIL.  A letter I will never send, but if she should ever ask (and hell will most likely be frozen over) why I dislike her so much, why we have such a strained relationship, I'll have worked out my thoughts before hand.  (I apologize in advance to any readers, the letter will most likely be disjointed and disconnected).

Dear MIL,

I know you feel that there is tension between us.  I know you think I am a difficult daughter-in-law.  I know that you worry and fret and stress because you just don't know what to do.  I know you have expressed concerns to family members about me.  Their words to me, although not direct, make it clear that you have been discussing me.

From the beginning you were never interested in getting to know me.  You were never interested in a relationship with me.  You never wanted to grow and bond and learn about each other.  You were not interested in developing a friendship with me.  Or making memories together.  You were interested in having a relationship but you wanted it to be instantaneous.  Automatic.  A nicely labeled partnership.  You were interested in keeping me under wraps.

You spent a lot of time telling me about your family.  I got a lot of "lessons".  History lessons about you, your son (my husband), his brothers, your life, their childhood.  You rarely asked about me.  Even to this day you rarely ask about me.  And if you do, it's all gushy and phony and I know you won't remember a damn thing about it.  If I told a story, you topped it.  "OH, you danced?  OH, (DH) one a dance contest ONCE."  (emphasis mine.)  Everything wrapped back to you.  I felt like I was being read the "welcome" manual.  Like the list of things I needed to know to be in the family.  But you didn't want to hear about me.  You never listened, you never asked.  You often spoke about me to DH in third person, as I sat there.  "OH, (DH) is that shirt Jessie is wearing from that winery you and I were talking about."  (This was a double wammy.  Not only was she talking about me as if I wasn't standing right there, but also making sure I knew he had been discussing things with her.)  You made sure I understood how your family acted, the rituals, the expected behaviors.  How to "fit in" with the group.  You weren't interested in welcoming me.  Or making me feel comfortable.  You wanted to convert me.  You never appreciated my discomfort at your family's loud, brash ways.  And if you did, you implied I was somehow "weird" for behaving with manners and respect.  Making me a black sheep.  Implying both to your family and me that I was somehow "foreign".

After family lessons, you worked on converting me.  Since you didn't know me, it never occurred to you (or you simply didn't care) that I may have done things differently.  That I had different feelings and view points and thoughts.  I think I'll learn towards the side of you not caring about my viewpoints.  Because if you respected and cared for them, you wouldn't have been concerned with changing me.  You wanted me to be Christian.  You pushed your views on me.  You sat me down and told me God had sent you messages for me.  That he was talking to me through you.  At the time, I was young and vulnerable and wanted so badly to fit it.  I remember fidgeting nervously at my reflection in the mirror before I met you.  I wanted so badly to have a family, to fit in.  To be liked by you.  At the time, I felt touched that God was even reaching me at all. I had felt so lonely and abandoned and desperate after my family broke up.  I wanted to be loved and it felt like love.  It felt like love that you wanted to Baptize me, even if it was clear that you wanted your son's wife to be baptized before she married him.  You pressured me to say I accepted beliefs, despite knowing I felt questions, to slap a label on me.  To make me worthy.  And you insinuated over and over that I wasn't worthy enough.  You made it clear that you thought my SIL was amazing:  Christian, an athlete, blond.  All things I am not.  You made it clear that I was not Christian enough.  You made it clear through many mean and public comments on my chest size.  You made it clear every time you criticized me in those first years.  You had taught your family that "teasing people" was a bonding thing.  So you "teased" (read picked on people for physical attributes like being fat or skinny or having no boobs) people.  There is a whole separate post on how I am angry about how you set up your disabled son as the scapegoat.  Or how you made your other son such a momma's boy he can't do anything without you.  Lots of things I've seen you do to others.  But this is about me (and frankly the post would be WAY TOO LONG to include it all.).  So you teased me.  Criticized me.  Got angry when I didn't take your suggestions about my wedding.  You badgered me.  You've harassed me about having "your grandkids".  You've pointed out my flaws, in a subtle and "loving" way to me and my DH and god knows who else.  You wanted to change me.  To make me one of you.  How in the hell is that supposed to make me feel?  It makes me feel like I was never good enough for you.  Like who I was, was unimportant, not valued and wrong.  Even today you do not know me at all.  You would struggle to tell me the name of my step mother.  You know nothing about me or who I am.

You've long been jealous of me. You set that up from the beginning.  From the first year or so, when you sat me down and told me about your SIL who never allowed your MIL to see her son.  Who horrible it was.  How sad MIL was.  How awful SIL was.  An awful bitch who keep MIL from her grandkids and son.  You repeated this story.  How SIL never tried to be part of the family.  All you son's felt the same way about their aunt.  You told me how fearful you were of that happening to your sons.  How you never wanted to be "that MIL" so you would do anything to keep them close.  To you, you thought that meant a "good MIL".  But that was your version of a good MIL: one who never said no (but resented people taking advantage of her), held her tongue (but complained to everyone else), and stayed out of the way (but really inserted herself every chance she got).  You attempted to manipulate me and everyone around me to keep this from happening.  You're jealousy and your fear have driven almost every interaction with me.  You have been so fearful of "losing your son" that you attempted to control everything about the situation.

When your attempts to convert me started to quite working, you worked on sabotaging me.  You bad talked me.  You set me up to have incidents with family members.  You've gossiped and talked badly about me. You gossip about everyone.  Everyone.  You invaded my privacy.  You walked in on me several times in my bedroom without asking.  You spread information I told you to other family members.  You talked about personal parts of my body.  Then you implied I was uptight.

When that didn't work, you decided to become me.  You copied me.  You did everything I did.  You flattered me and talked me up to everyone, especially DH.  You exclaimed how wonderful I was.  I often tell DH I should just write you a manual, as you've tried so desperately.

You have tried to control me and DH.  You've pushed us (especially DH) to back you up, or to speak your words as if they were his own.  You badgered me about grand kids, and when to get married, and pushed your family traditions on me (so it could be like DH had it growing up!).  You had to be informed of everything.  You loved to rub it in my face when DH had talked to about something personal.  You acted as if it was a victory.  Consequently, he doesn't tell you anything any more.  He knows you have a big mouth.  You've never been a confidant, a supporter, a listener for him.  You've always used knowledge about others to make yourself important.  You want to be on top, that's why you have to be controlling.  You want to be the sun and have other's orbit around you.

I'm angry with some of the ways you've raised your son.  You never taught him to feel emotions or even allow them.  Consequently, he struggles with anger at times.  He sees every negative emotion as anger, and that is not allowed.  He is defensive.  It has taken a lot of hard work for him and me to work through that and teach him to handle things better.  It has been a struggle.  I hate that your attempts to make life easy for your sons, meant you did a lot of things for them.  You taught them that mothers just did it all, all the time.  You didn't teach him or his brothers to recognize other's emotions well.   You taught him to give in to his spoiled, selfish side.  (For the record, the boy I met that became my husband is not the same person now.  It has taken many, many years of work for us to get to a healthier state.  And I wasn't there either.)  You taught your sons to sell someone out if it meant looking good (moral, kind) to someone else.  You taught them that family ALWAYS came first and that all requests of family HAD to be granted.  You've never accepted that we are now 5 separate, but related families, but expect us to still function as one unit.  You have never allowed your boys to grow up, yet you agonize when they are too dependent on you.  You have never encouraged individuation or appreciated uniqueness in your kids (or DILs).  You value sameness and oneness.  To you, being different is being wrong.  So if we like to be different than you, you see it as being wrong.  That is probably why you've tried to be me.  Since you couldn't convert me, you figured being like me would make us the same again and there fore, right.  You have tore at every boundary any one has tried to put on you.  You demand that no one has any boundaries.

Even now your emotionless-ness amazes me.  You have an uncanny ability to not be able to see anything from someone else's perspective.  You are cold and dry in difficult moments.  You never said a word, not one word to me on my wedding day to your son.  On the day we buried your MIL, your calm, almost serene face made me shiver.  You never seemed sad or caring towards the pain of your husband.  Even DH said you seemed like you were at a wedding, not a funeral.   But for you, the process of her death was difficult and you were, clearly, glad it was over.  And while that was understandable, it blinded you completely to the feelings of others.  You've always put your feelings first.  You've always worried about your discomfort, or excitement, or happiness first.  At weddings, at funerals, at the births of grand children, your obliviousness to anyone else around you was...saddening.  DH used to describe you as just "the mother of boys", like you were just tougher.  But I've seen that emotionless-ness on my own NM.  And I see it in you.

I see it now with my kids, your "precious" grand kids.  The kids you hold ransom by promising a toy at the end of the meal, knowing full well that it will keep the kids by your side.  The kids that you are so oblivious to the feelings of that you think the baby was laughing and not crying (not that you checked to tell).  The kids that you demand to be around but never actually invest in.  You don't get to know them, or chat with them, or really play with them.  You sit near them and talk at them "Grammy just thinks your the best!" over and over.  She talks about them.  But she doesn't send cards or gifts or do special things.  Only if it benefits her.  She would never give a toy that she couldn't personally hand over (although she tosses the toy to the kid in the walmart sack, not bothering to help them open it.)  She misses emotional cues and boundary clues with them.  My son was long been overwhelmed by her.  She grabs them and demands they sit on her lap and grabs at their food.  She expects no boundaries.   She demanded kisses from my son, despite his obvious discomfort.  She likes being a grandma, demanding my son take pictures so she can show her friends (seriously).  She likes showing them off and talking about them to people.  But she hasn't invested at all in them.  It is clearly all about getting her needs met.

You've been rude, inviting others to things you shouldn't have.   You've taken liberties you shouldn't.  You find subtle ways to criticize me or imply that I don't measure up to you.  You take opportunities to belittle my accomplishments ("Well, this is good lasagna, but I make really good spaghetti.")  You buy my ridiculous gifts in efforts to impress me, but clearly know nothing about me.  You have blamed me for all the problems in our relationship and I've seen little that you've changed, other than you've changed tactics.  You compliment me (to DH), you apologize (to DH) when you've wronged me (but not me), you gush over me and tell DH how much you like me, or like what I do.  You've sent FIL to be your flying monkey and get your way.  You've made it look like you are trying.   You may have fooled others, but not me.

I wish I could say these things to your face.  But the FEW times I have tried to talk to you, you have gotten defensive and stormed away.  You've said some very mean things or childish things when confronted.  You never accept responsibility and you've NEVER apologized for anything.  I mean, every mortal fuck's up once and awhile and says they are sorry, but not you.  You continue to play this surfacy game of everything's OK and refuse to have any confrontation at all.  You run away.  You pretend we are one, big happy family.  You sweep it all under the rug and play the part.  You've never had a real interaction with me in all these years.  You act like a child if anyone teases you, or says anything less than flattering.  You never once admit you have flaws or things to work on.  And god forbid anyone say that either.

It upsets me that I have to be the "bad one".  That I take all the responsibility.  But in reality you set me up from the beginning.  I tried, desperately, to please you.  I went on family trips, I bit my tongue when my feelings were trampled on or beliefs laughed off.  I tried to get along.  I did the things I was suppose to.  I just couldn't sell me soul.  I couldn't be something I'm not.  And I know that you will never, ever accept that. But you are my husband's mother.  And I have to accept that you will always be around.    Your fear that I would take your son was created by you so that you would always look like the good guy.  But in doing so, you made me the bad guy and your enemy.  I was never your enemy and it pisses me off  that you were damned determined to make me that.