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Neverwudaguessed posted 8/4/2014 08:28 AM

I just found out that my MIL is in the hospital. My initial response was that she is probably creating a reason to NOT come to our state to visit with my BIL, his wide and their baby which she was supposed to do this month. She is notorious for this kind of behavior and that was the first thing that came to my mind.
Two things have happened since I found this out. The first is that I have been compelled to really revisit and re-examine the depth of what she has done to me. This is so incredibly painful. The story again, is that 3 years ago, she gave my husband's ex girlfriend my husband's unpublished work number to get in touch with him, knowing that this ex girlfriend was going to divorce her husband. She did this right after we had my MIL's first grandchild. That betrayal is one that have not really processed because what came next is something that I still cannot wrap my head around. After my husband chose to have an affair with this ex girlfriend, he ended it a couple of months after it began. The ex told his mother that they were having this affair. At this point we were planning my son's first birthday. My MIL said that they could not afford to come and stay in a hotel. She could not stay with us as we had bought the family home and her husband would not have been willing to do so. I brainstormed and came up with the idea of having my BIL come stay with us so that his mom and husband could stay in his house. He agreed and they came.
The day before the birthday party, I got a call from MIL. She asked if I was leaving the house at all soon. I explained that I was cooking, and my son was taking a nap so no, I was going to be staying put for quite a while, getting ready for the party. She then asked to speak to my husband. She said that they thought there was something wrong with the car and they needed to talk to him. When he got off of the phone, he explained that no, there was nothing wrong with the car and that his ex was there and she wanted him to know. (I just found out that she actually told him, "Guess who's here?? I thought you might like to come for a visit!") She explained this behavior to me as being motivated to keep me from being hurt by going there and discovering that this ex was there. She said that she had no control over her just showing up and that she wanted her son, my husband to make sure that I did not just drop by. My husband fought with her, I thought about how she wanted him to lie to me and keep secrets, (little did I know) She left and never came to the party, bring all gifts for my son home with her. My mother later told me that she was sure that my MIL wanted my husband to know that the ex was there and that she wanted him to go to see her. I said, "no way; she just didn't want to get caught continuing a relationship with his ex. I was so INCREDIBLY naive and clueless....

The following year, when I heard that during the divorce process the ex's husband had just sent a scaring and salacious letter to everyone in her email contact list, I actually said to my MIL that I felt bad for her; to be a single mother of a young child (just a year older than my own, I could relate). I felt bad for her,as she was once a friend when we were teenagers. What the hell was wrong with me???? And to have said that to HER of all people???!!!

Fast forward to last year. When my wayward husband admitted to jut having had an EA for 6 weeks and a PA for 1 week with this ex girlfriend. During this time, he came clean about what he did 13 years ago. I was shocked. One thing that I knew was that I could not continue to have a relationship with my husband's mother. With his permission, I called her and told her that I knew what she had done, and that I could not continue to have a relationship as toxic as ours was. This would be the last time that I would be speaking to her. She denied it, blamed my husband for lying, and the called my parents (who did not know about the affair, and told them that what I was accusing her of absolutely did not happen. She continued to leave awful messages on my machine, telling me that if I ever thought for a minute that she ever loved me, etc.... I did not respond. She went on to tell her own son that he was lying about what happened, and that she never made such a call back then. He reminded her that not only did she speak to me, but she spoke to him and he reiterated what she said to him. She has since admitted having done all of this to my BIL.

So.... to the point of all of this. I a triggering hard over her hospital stay because it has brought up all of these feelings again, but 2: I woke up yesterday terrified. Terrified that I am wrong and this could be something serious. If this is the case, or whenever it becomes the case, I will never be permitted to be by my husband's side to support him through her death. I will be unwelcome obviously, which will keep me from being a support to him through a wake and funeral, whenever they may happen. That realization has shaken me. After all the work that we have begun to do, connecting and supporting each other, how could I have caused myself to lose the opportunity to be there during such a difficult time? Did I make a mistake???

hardtimesinlife posted 8/4/2014 08:39 AM

I don't see why you couldn't be there but not go into the hospital room. You can bring him food, sit in the waiting room, run errands for the family. Ya know, just general support while still keeping your boundaries. Going to the funeral to support your husband and son would not be out of the question, either, in my opinion.

Just keep in mind you are keeping yourself away from MIL because your boundaries were breached in a huge way. This isn't about punishment or anything but about keeping yourself safe and not socializing with the enemy.

Neverwudaguessed posted 8/4/2014 08:45 AM

Just keep in mind you are keeping yourself away from MIL because your boundaries were breached in a huge way. This isn't about punishment or anything but about keeping yourself safe and not socializing with the enemy.

Thank you for understanding this. It truly was an act of self-preservation rather than punitive. I just could not do it. But I was thinking of myself in that moment, and not of the long term effects. I really have NO idea just how serious or non-life threatening this hospital visit is. I can say that it is one on MANY designed throughout the years to draw the attention back to her. However, it did get me thinking about the future and what will be inevitable. I don't know what I expect; just wish I had not closed out the option of standing by my husband's side when he will need me the most....

Neverwudaguessed posted 8/4/2014 10:50 AM

Does anyone have any suggestions for what I can do going forward? I just feel like I have no options now...

Tearsoflove posted 8/4/2014 18:47 PM

At this point, it's not what you can do, it's what your husband can do. Your husband will have to stand up for your right to support him if it's needed. Your mother-in-law colluded with the OW against you. It was deliberate and horrible. Your husband recognizes that.

I don't think you should back down on your boundaries because the dynamics of how toxic this woman was are not likely to have changed. If she is faking or if she recovers, inviting her back into your life would be unwise. To me, someone who would go to the lengths she went to will do equally inappropriate things in the future and this time, she may involve her grandchildren. Her denials and blame shifting indicate that she learned absolutely nothing.

What needs to happen now is that you and your husband sit down together and figure out the best way to handle a potential serious illness or even the death of his mother. Whether or not she really is sick now, she will die someday. Find out where he stands on this and what he feels your role should be and then you'll know how it will be handled in the future.

Neverwudaguessed posted 8/5/2014 08:10 AM

Hardtimesinlife and Tearsoflove, Thank you for responding; I think that the depth of the dysfunction and betrayal in my story scares some would be responders away; Hell; I know that just writing it down sparks something in me that makes ME want to pull away and deny...

What needs to happen now is that you and your husband sit down together and figure out the best way to handle a potential serious illness or even the death of his mother. Whether or not she really is sick now, she will die someday. Find out where he stands on this and what he feels your role should be and then you'll know how it will be handled in the future.

My husband just keeps saying that I have done nothing wrong and there is nothing to worry about. I do believe that this is a function of the way he deals will all difficult things in life, not to really look at the implication of things before they happen because we really have no control of them, and they will work themselves out, while I deal with difficulty by looking at all the angles and trying to be prepared. However, I just know that his mother has villanized me to all and portrayed herself as a woman who was incredibly wronged by her son's horrible wife, so I cannot imagine causing conflict, anger and drama during such a difficult time when the time comes, if that time is not now. However, I want to be able to stand by my husband and support him through the process if there is a way. How painful it will all be for him as there has been NO peace made between them. I think I feel angry at myself for taking away the option of being by his side, but at the time I felt desperate to stand up for myself and protect myself from this toxic person who caused such damage. It's all so sad that I am so overwhelmed....

BtraydWife posted 8/5/2014 08:29 AM

Ok but the important part of this seems to be that your husband sees through her shit and has called her out on it. It sounds as if this doesn't waver and this is huge in my opinion.

When you say you can't image causing drama or conflict at this time I wonder what you mean. You aren't causing drama for your husband, he knows who his mother is. You aren't going to cause drama for her because you don't need to sit n her hospital room with him. You won't be causing drama after she croaks because she'll be gone and she's the one with the problem.

Get this twisted idea out of your head. You can absolutely support and be there for your husband. If I were you the reason I'd stay away from this dying f'd up hag would be for my sanity and protection, not hers.

Your husband seems solid in knowing his mom isn't right. This situation would be a problem if he wasn't like that but he's been ready to throw reality back at her when she bitches from before your dday. Do as others have suggested and ask your husband how he'd like you to show your support.

Once she's dead you don't have to avoid her anymore. She won't sit up and bite you at the funeral. Well unless she's really a zombie or a vampire. Just covering the bases because she sounds evil.

AprilFoolsDDAY posted 8/5/2014 08:34 AM

Dear Never,

My opinion will be a little more harsh than others...Your MIL is not a friend of tue marriage, plain and simple. Anyone not a FOM should not be a part of your life.

From what I've read, she is a master manipulator. Don't fall victim to her actions. Not to sound callous, but her dying will be a blessing to you. Yes, support your husband and be there for him. But don't feel guilty if you're not welcome. This is YOUR life and YOUR husband.

Finally, it seems as though you're worrying about things in the future, not necessarily what is going on now. Live YOUR life, distance yourself from her.

It may seem contrary to how we've been raised (respect for elders, parents, etc), but that respect is lost when she actively participates in undermining your marriage.

It is time to let go of her control. She doesn't have any power over you. She's just a bitter woman. Let her go.

Neverwudaguessed posted 8/5/2014 08:42 AM

I am so aware of just how sick she is; my husband ended an affair with his ex and SHE used me to get him on the phone to encourage him to come see her to start it up again whir she was visiting for our son's first Birthday party which I helped to make happen or she would have missed it so I KNOW I am better off with her out of my life, but I am struggling with the fact that my choice to confront her so "head on" has caused the rift to be so tangible,so concrete, that it has closed out any opportunity for me to be there for my husband in the physical way that I would normally be during dire times. Somehow I suppose I am, in a way, regretting my actions, although they were so empowering for me at a time when I really needed that empowerment. These actions had consequences that maybe I had not fully thought out. I knew I my actions were ending my relationship with her forever, right then and there, and I was ok with that. I just never thought about this aspect until now, when faced with her hospitalization...

veronique12 posted 8/5/2014 08:53 AM

The person you should be speaking to is your H. If you haven't told him all of this, tell him now. Ask what you can do to support him. That's where the focus should be. Just the act of telling him how sad you are about the way things played out (though not sorry for cutting off a very toxic person) and that you want to find a way to help him through this hard time will help you maintain a connection.

You did nothing wrong and you have nothing to feel guilty for. You are obviously a very compassionate person so please be kind to yourself too!

[This message edited by veronique12 at 8:53 AM, August 5th (Tuesday)]

painfulpast posted 8/5/2014 08:55 AM

Your MIL has some real issues beyond manipulation. The fact that, 13 years ago, she never came over to see her grandson, and left with his gifts, says she is completely devoid of anything that resembles non-selfish thoughts. I'm sure your H is aware of this.

My H's family is like this. All drama, manipulation, etc. They stab each other in the back all the time so that they can be 'the good one'. It's a sickness really. I'd bet that MIL wasn't so interested in OW as she was in getting rid of you - you were taking the prized spot in her son's eyes, and she wanted it back. The way to do that is to get rid of you.

Stay away from her - she's toxic and will never, ever, stop her attacks. She'll now hate you because you saw through her and called her on it. People like this hate that. She probably made little digs about you without even mentioning you before this happened - reminding H of all the fun they had when he was single, bringing up how all the girls loved him, etc. It's all to make him think of times before you were in his life and see them as so much better than they really were. You sound like you always knew there was a problem but just dealt with it, until this.

I wouldn't worry about when she passes. Your H knows exactly why you don't speak to her, and supports you. You can support him fully without going to that hospital room. You don't need to deal with her to support him.

Neverwudaguessed posted 8/5/2014 09:37 AM

painfulpast; yes, I always knew that she was mentally ill; she wanted to wear a white high neck, lace wedding dress to our wedding (claims she never had the chance at her own because she was pregnant with my husband so her father would not let her). At that point after having dealt with a lot of "odd" behavior around wedding planning, I tad my mother I was truly considering NOT marrying my husband. I just felt that I could not bring this sickness into my life for good. My mother reminded me of how much I loved my husband and, said, "you are not marrying her, you are marrying him." Haunting to me now. How stupid could I have been???

And yes, she was talking to my husband about things along the way, and in the first year, she told him that things should not be so hard, while at the same time, while I confided in her for advice on how to handle his emotional withdrawal, she would tell me that she just didn't know how I put up with it. She tried to alienate us from each other while my mother was promoting learning to compromise and working together as a team.
There is SO much more that has happened, so much damage that I could recount here, but its all more of the same. I don't need to remind myself of why I cut the toxic person out of my life, I live with it everyday, but this hospitalization has become such a trigger for me now. Maybe because this is the week that my husband's affair became physical last year, maybe because I realize that she will die with no resolution for my husband and I am anticipating just how painful that will be, and maybe because I sabotaged the only way I know how to support someone in their pain by sticking up for myself and the irony of that is hitting me. I don't know what it is that I am really feeling except maybe a sense of hopelessness. Maybe I just need to find new ways to be supportive when the time comes so that I am prepared for my role in a different way...

painfulpast posted 8/5/2014 09:54 AM

My H actually had to cut his family out of his life for several years. It just got worse and worse. We would fight a lot, because they would tell lies, he would automatically believe them, and we'd fight. Finally, one of them told a real whopper. They blamed me for something they'd done. Thankfully, there was proof that they didn't think of. When he got that, he finally saw the real truth. He cut them all out for over 2 years. When he started talking to them again, he made it clear that ALL of their manipulative digs were to stop, or he would be gone again. So far, they've behaved for the most part. When they start, he just tells them he has to go and hangs up, and then tells me.

Unfortunate for you that WH has never decided that MIL needed a real wake up call. I would bet she's still at it when she talks to him. He probably ignores it, but it's happening nonetheless. I would bet anything on that.

Again, don't worry about it. Don't sink to her level. Be direct and honest with your H. Tell him that this has worried you, and you wonder how he feels about it. I think that will give you the best piece of mind yet.

Neverwudaguessed posted 8/5/2014 10:09 AM

My husband has not spoken to her since October. The same day that I cut her out, she called my parents, told them what he had done to our marriage, he went to my parents and cried to them, telling what he did and asking for forgiveness, incredibly gut -wrenching to see him sob in my father's arms for 1o full minutes. We had not yet even truly come to terms with the affair and had to go deal with my parents finding out because of his mother. He came home and had a long conversation with his mother where she accused him of lying about her trying to get him to visit with the ex that birthday weekend, etc. He brought up many, many things that day, and told her that she was no longer permitted to accuse me of anything as I had done nothing wrong and that she was not to call my parents, or have contact with the ex any longer. Of course he cannot control her and while she has not contacted my parents again (to my knowledge) She has joined Facebook and is hiding the fact that she is friends with the ex. No surprise there. My husband says he is not even disappointed as he has lived with this for his entire life and expected her to ignore his request as usual. So sad that this woman is a mother. No maternal instinct whatsoever. As a mother, it is shocking to me, but as a wife, it is heartbreaking to witness. For him to have to endure the feelings that he will inevitable endure when she passes away makes me shudder. I don't feel like I should have "kept the peace" for the sake of keeping the ability to be with him through the process, but I am realizing that this a sad consequence of truly, clearly protecting myself for the first time. Maybe that is the problem: Had I done it sooner, would things have been different???

painfulpast posted 8/5/2014 10:30 AM

Had I done it sooner, would things have been different???

No - they wouldn't, in any way. She still would have put ex in front of your H, and he, because whatever was broken in him was broken, would still have had the A.

The only way away from the truly toxic people and their effects is to cut them out. WH has not cut her out, and asking him to cut his mother out is NOT something I'd recommend. That is where you start to get blamed for things that aren't your doing. Asking a person to remove their own mother from their lives is not a position I'd put myself in. As long as they have contact, she can continue her games. Sadly he's used to the drama, the manipulation, the lies and the twisted truth, so he just 'goes with the flow'. As Rhett Butler said, "Apparently, even a bad mother is better than no mother at all."

BTW - her wanting to wear a wedding dress to YOUR wedding? If that doesn't tell you what spot she wanted in her son's life, nothing will. That wasn't about her wanting to wear a wedding dress - she could have done that on any halloween or tried to ruin someone else's wedding. That was about wanting to be the star in her son's wedding. I'm not saying she wants some weird sexual relationship with him, but I am saying she wants to be the #1 female in his life. For the beginning of his life, she was, and she's never stopped trying to stay in that spot.

BtraydWife posted 8/5/2014 10:41 AM

After reading more of your responses it doesn't seem like not being able to comfort your husband is what this is really about. I could be way off the mark but this is what I'm hearing from you.

You keep glossing over responses to not being able to support your husband in her hospital room. You don't have to do that. And besides, really how much is he going to hang out there, especially if she starts spewing her crap.

He can love her and not agree with the way she lives her life. And you can absolutely support him without being in that room. As others have said. Your husband knows the situation and agrees with you. Talk with your husband and share your fears. Ask how you can best support him.

What I think is really going on is that her possible death is reopening the wounds she caused you. The idea that she will leave this earth without doing the right thing or admitting she was out of line. That she will take her lies to the grave and never stop defending them. That takes a cold person. That reinforces why you cut off your relationship with her. She is nasty and cruel, and she makes no apologies for it.

Have you ever done IC to work through this trauma she inflicted on you? It really sounds like this isn't something you've completely worked through for yourself.

I have cut my father from my life. I know without any doubt that when he passes I will feel relief, not doubt or guilt as you are feeling. I'm confident I made the right choice for my mental health. Some people have expressed that my stance seems cold. I dismiss their views because they don't know the real situation. They don't know the truth. When he passes it will mean he will no longer burst into my life and cause undo trauma and pain. I won't have to keep looking over my shoulder wondering when the next hit will come.

I made peace a long time ago (before my WH cheated) and I needed the help o f IC to get there. I know my father will not change. I know he has zero interest in changing despite how he bitches about problems his behavior cause him. He's not well and he will die this way. It's not my fault nor is it my job to fix him. I don't owe him anything.

Can you get into (maybe back into) some IC for yourself. Guilt and doubt is the last thing you should be putting onto yourself for cutting her out. It was her behavior and her attitude that made the decision a requirement for your mental health. Her dying doesn't change that. I think you are being too hard on yourself.

I'm sorry that you have to face this now. I'm very thankful that your husband knows what kind of mother he has. If he didn't, this whole situation would turn into another mind fuck and trauma for your marriage.

Ellejay posted 8/5/2014 10:44 AM

Your MIL sounds like she needs serious psychiatric help. What she did to you and the way she tried to meddle in your marriage is beyond belief.

You need to understand that the stance you took at the time was absolutely and totally the right thing to do. What kind of miserable existence would you have led if your MIL had been allowed to run roughshod over your marriage for all this time without you standing up for yourself and your family?

Your MIL's actions have brought her to where she is today. That is her Karma. You may at some point decide to forgive her and that is your privilege should you decide to do so. That doesn't mean that you have to own any guilt in regards to what is happening in her life now or the fact that your H will have to handle some of it without you standing over him to offer a safe place to fall at all times.

Your H has unfortunately given his mother the power to exercise her narcissistic tendencies by indulging in the affair in the first place. He must now leave you out of it and live with the fact that you have to protect yourself no matter what. You can still give him your love and support by being there for him and allowing him the space he may need to spend time with her.

In my opinion, if you race around being all things to all people including his disrespectful mother and carrying the guilt that should be worn by her only, then you will simply encourage everyone else to treat you like a doormat. She will have learnt nothing even if she does leave this world at this time. Perhaps that is her journey.

My advice to you is to be gentle, be kind, but keep your boundaries well and truly protected.


Neverwudaguessed posted 8/5/2014 12:36 PM


What I think is really going on is that her possible death is reopening the wounds she caused you.

I think you are right; this has been one large trigger for me. And several of you have spoken about guilt. That is a lightbulb moment for me. Somehow I think that I feel like if I had not take that definitive a stance with her the day I found out what she had done 13 years ago, my husband might not have had the follow up conversation which led to his cutting her out of his life as well. I guess in a way I feel like I made the decision, and do I have the right to make that decision with regard to someone else's mother? If she were mine, it is cut and dry: I get to decide to cut her out, but by choosing to cut my MIL out of MY life, what position did I put my husband in? I don't know, I do understand that I did not cause all of this but somehow I am left with this real sense of guilt. My IC just told me that I cannot keep looking at what she did and trying to make sense of it because I never will, and each moment I stay in that space it takes away from all the good that has begun in my marriage. I know in my heart she is right. I think I am traumatized by what this human being has done, and I just can't get past it yet... I was so naive.....

ElleJay, thank you for sharing your experience with me. I think what you have done is such a huge step towards your healing and for self preservation. That is truly important for peace. I wonder if your husband had already cut ties himself from your father if you would have worked through the process in the same way, and would you have felt like you had control? I do tell my husband that whatever he needs to do for his own healing around his mother is ok with me. I don't want him to resent me or feel forced into cutting things off as well because it would be too difficult not to now that I have done what I have done. But he just says he is not ready to deal with her in any way....

hardtimesinlife posted 8/5/2014 13:02 PM

I don't want him to resent me or feel forced into cutting things off as well because it would be too difficult not to now that I have done what I have done. But he just says he is not ready to deal with her in any way....

He made the decision to cut her out of his life back in October.
I agree that your guilt is what you are having a problem with.

You have given him "permission" to resume a relationship with his mother if he chooses. He clearly stated that he is not ready to deal with her in any way. You said so yourself.

So maybe you need to have one more conversation with him with regards to making sure he doesn't blame you once she is gone. He really doesn't have grounds to do so but I understand the fear. Death is so final.

I am hearing some codependency, too. I am very codependent so I can pick it out in a heartbeat. His relationship with his mother is his job. His decision. I think you wonder if you could have somehow shaped it to be different, better. Let go of that. They both (your H and his mom) made decisions that impacted you and actions have consequences. Step back and know that your job is to protect yourself since neither one of them were protecting you during the infidelity and its aftermath.

Not.the.Big.Easy posted 8/5/2014 15:31 PM


Do what is right for you. After my XWGF tried to emotionally destroy me, her stepmother had the nerve to actually say "Well, look at what YOU were doing!". I was depressed, anxious and abused. That's what I was doing.

I never spoke to her stepmother ever again. During MY attempts at R, when the XWGF told me that her stepmom was dying of cancer, I replied "Good, serves the b**ch right." I still hate her and I revel in that hate. She is the only person that I've ever truly hated.

So, your MIL was an incredible b**ch to you, tried to destroy your marriage and your sanity. She had the nerve to deny it to the very people she was manipulating. My take on it is this, she may be dying right now, but you have plenty of time to forgive her before you do.

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