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To think cutting people out of your life is just cruel

(308 Posts)
ThinkAboutItTomorrow Tue 16-Jul-13 09:44:42

I know I am risking a real flaming here, and I honestly do appreciate that every case is very different and I cannot judge anything without knowing each case. However I see a lot of advice on here, mostly in relationships, where the advice is to 'just walk away' or 'cut them out of your life'. Now, in many cases I can see the point BUT......

I have a MIL. She is enormously hard work. Totally selfish, manipulative, vindictive and cannot even conceive of not getting her own way, a real pain in the ass. She drives me scatty and on occasion her manipulation makes me very angry. She repeatedly gets the hump and has little hissy fits, stopping speaking to DP and I for months on end (once because DP told his grandmother the dog had died confused) then decides to make up. If you tackle her she tantrums - literally storming out screaming that she never wants to see you again. I suspect she could benefit from counselling but she won't even countenance it.

She is the mother to 4 grown up kids. 2 of them no longer speak to her and one is emigrating (in part I think to get away). This leaves DP. Oh joy. PIL are also homeless, having sold up to go travelling and when back in the UK they end up staying with us for months at a time, without really asking properly.

Anyway, sorry for length. Despite all this I see the total utter misery and heartbreak not seeing her 2 children causes her and I think they are really nasty for continuing to refuse to see her. At least part of her bad behaviour seems to stem from this misery. last week I could hear her crying her heart out (through the ceiling) and it turned out it was her 'lost' daughter's birthday (didn't talk to MIL, asked DP if he knew what was up). This is someone who ran away at 16 and is now back in touch with many others in the family but won't have anything to do with her parents.
They weren't abusive or anything, DP was living at home as an adult when she left and said at the time it just seemed like the usual teenage angst (ok, it's a bit more complicated but not wanting to out self or anyone else).

Everytime anyone asks PIL if DD is their first grandchild they just look stricken. They have 5 grandchildren but don't even know the names of all of them and have never met any but DD. Yes they are a nightmare but they don't deserve this misery.

Anyway - AIBU to think that people should sometimes be a bit more forgiving and tolerant? families can be a PITA but to just walk away because it makes life easier is just selfish and cruel.

Go on, tell me I don't know what I'm talking about.....

Asamumnonsense Sun 21-Jul-13 15:20:07

I left home at 19 to move abroad just to run away from my mum. I loved my mum but I had to put 'me' first. I could not breath! it was that or suicide. It took me about 7 years to get us into a 'normal' mother daughter relationship and we're still not over it. I am marked for life.
I do not think you should judge them for how they have decided to deal with it.
May be it is their time to put themselves first and I do not blame them.
They're not being cruel at all..They're protecting themselves and their children too I would assume.

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Sun 21-Jul-13 15:30:32

I was being flippant and self criticising when I said judge harshly! It was meant more of an admission of my mistake than to say it's ok. But just to temper it with saying even being that harsh is not something I'd do TO BIL

twinklyfingers Sun 21-Jul-13 15:32:24

Fundamentally OP I don't think you know what it is to cut someone out of your life.

It is not punishment for bad behaviour (which could therefore be negated by good behaviour).

It is self preservation.

Perhaps if you can appreciate this you might be more understanding to your dp's siblings.

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Sun 21-Jul-13 16:51:27

I can understand the self preservation point but then outcomes back to the fact that right now and for close to the last 2 years I don't seemy mil as the ogre I portrayed her as at the outset of this thread.

But ultimately it is true that she leaves me alone and I have only known her14 years not my childhood so it is just not the same as their experience.

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 21-Jul-13 18:21:53

The fact remains OP, that you judge your DP's siblings more harshly than his mother. You consider them cruel for cutting her out of their lives (which they have no doubt done out of self-preservation) but you don't consider her cruel, and are willing to gloss over her decades of cruelty to them on the basis that "this last couple of weeks I feel like MIL is improving a bit and maybe deserves a bit of time off for good behaviour." Seriously, two weeks and all is forgiven hmm?

So what if she "has repeatedly apologised to DBIL and DSIL" ? Sometimes, an apology is simply not enough. Particularly when the apologiser isn't really apologising because they still don't accept or understand that they were in the wrong, which is what you have implied ( "Though I admit [of her letters of apology to BIL/SIL] a lot of what she says is more along the lines of 'how could they do this to me' so maybe that is more what she really thinks." )

I am really struggling with how much you contradict yourself about this woman. You judge your BIL and SIL, yet you also say "Next week I will be on here ranting about my bloody impossible MIL and seriously considering walking away (after 14 years with DP we have had our fair share of times considering this option!)." You judge your BIL and SIL, yet you also say "I genuinely worry that she will drive DP and I away and then be left on her own utterly destroyed." You judge your BIL and SIL, yet you also say " I have said to DP that if she tries any of her hot and cold, not speaking for months tricks now we have DD I will run out of patience with her."

So which is it?

SarahAndFuck Sun 21-Jul-13 20:46:28

She may have changed OP, or she may not have.

For the past two years she has been better with her behaviour and that's a good thing.

But two years is short compared to the years her children lived with her and it might take them far longer than that to come to terms with things and trust the difference in her.

One word of advice. Don't say anything to anyone about how she deserves another chance.

I felt under pressure from relatives of PILs to forgive and forget, I kept hearing how they were sorry and had changed. But to me, it was just more proof that they hadn't, they were just using other people to put their pressure on me, they were still telling lies and giving half the story to other people. That's still a form of harassment you know, using someone else to speak to the person who doesn't want to speak to you.

You need to leave them all alone to do what they will and accept that they have their reasons which you may not know. And accept that change and reconciliation can take a long time, much longer than the almost two years you say your MIL has been better in.

TroublesomeEx Sun 21-Jul-13 21:16:45

The other thing is, OP, that even when if someone does change, quite often the damage is so great that people just aren't prepared to take the risk again.

That's not about being cruel or punishing someone either.

As people have said, it's rarely a knee jerk reaction, it's such a long time coming that by the time you have made peace with yourself for your decision, you have no need or desire to revise it.

It wouldn't benefit the people who have cut her out to let her back in, it might benefit her, but if that ship has sailed then that's just the way it is.

And I agree with the others, you will have one relationship with her as her DIL, and that's great. But you can't presume to understand anything about the relationship she has had with her children throughout their formative years, because you weren't there.

rabbitlady Sun 21-Jul-13 22:01:40

parents and grandparents can do terrible damage that it is not possible to forgive.
my mum is in end-of-life stage in a nursing home. i suspend all my sorrow, hurt and damage from my life as her daughter, and concentrate on the good parts, so that we can spend happy time together before we are apart for good. i can do this as long as she isn't being cruel - if she starts that, i leave and keep away for a few days. i enjoy the time when we are together, i enjoy telling her i love her so that if she has to go, she knows that she doesn't go unloved.
that's the best i can do.

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