The Exchange

Narcissism MIL In-laws

"They're just underhanded remarks. You don't have to respond to them, or nothing. They don't mean nothin'. You can just ignore them."

These are the words that my "feminist" mother in-law spoke at me from the entry way of my home that I built with her son. These are the words that she used to describe her verbal stabs at me when my in-laws visited from the mid-west.  

Her words were her intentional minimization of her malicious objective.  She made her drive of coming inbetween my husband and I undeniably clear. 

After her sister, who was not invited into our home, but decided to come and visit anyway, made rude remarks directly to me regarding my husband and my child, I was chased into my bedroom. It was while I was sitting with my happy, but tired daughter that I realized that both she and I were made to feel uncomfortable in our own home. In our place of solitude and tranquility. In fact, these two "women" brought their disdain of their daily lives into our home, and tried to create a storm where we have built and maintained peace.  

I was not having it.  

I protect my home and my family, I would not run for more soothing spaces now. When my husband came in and asked what happened. I gathered myself with all the strength that I could muster. I was physically shaking, while I attempted to form words. Flooded with emotion, I fought back forceful tears, and without raising my voice, I spoke in a calm tone, I informed him that his aunt had been very disrespectful and that our "guests" needed to leave. 

In his own turmoil, he attempted to gather his bearings. He left the room and went to join the rest of the group. As I waited to hear him bring himself to begin the process of moving the herd back into their own shit-storm of drama and obnoxiousness (because the two women can't stand each other, so teaming up against me, only gave them something to try to feed off of later). I only heard commotion and conversation. After my daughter finished her nursing session, I returned to the group allowing my voice to enter the room before I did. "John and Jamie, and Jay and Nick, thank you all for coming. We appreciate you stopping in and it has been great seeing you, but at this time, I have been made uncomfortable, and chased into my bedroom in my own home, which is not fair to me and my family. As much as we appreciate the visit, would it be...No. It's time to go. Again, thank you for coming, but, this visit is over."

"What did we do?" questioned my father in-law, as he continued to stand in the doorway after being asked to leave. He continued to remain in our home for what felt like forever. His refusal to leave, though the situation was made clear. It was also made very clear that our relationship would take A LOT of growth and responsibility on their part.

My husband's mother continued to speak and then she stated, "I'm going to walk the dog." At this time, John continued to hound, asking questions about how the situation can get better, and what was done to create to the upset.

Under duress at this point, I answered his questions, about what I had experienced just this day. Then he made a statement that jogged my memory of how my husband's family had (in short) pressured him to feel obligated to them. When I described their action, and the position that they had put my husband in, his dad then stated, "Yes, he shouldn't feel like he has to choose."

My response: "No, he shouldn't, though I didn't say that."

He then asked again, for immediate gratification, "how can we move forward?"

Then in came Jamie...

Gasping and speaking through tears, "Are you all done. I'm ready to go..." She brings in the dog, and wipes her face. Then she begins to try to minimize her behavior. At this time, no one is moved, and I am really ready for them to go.

She speaks to me, still, as though she does not know why everything occurred the way that it did. I inquired,

"So you did not make any insinuations about my husband and I, and our parenting?"

"They're just underhanded remarks. You don't have to respond to them, or nothing. They don't mean nothin'. You can just ignore them."

I respond, "So you admit that you know that you do it."

Jamie states: "You don't have to respond to them, you don't have to react."

I ask, "Do you need to make them? Do they help anything?"

Jamie, "No they don't. You don't have to be so sensitive."

She attempts to turn the discussion around and build a case that I am overreacting.

I then speak up and voice my concerns that she has been disrespectful of my home and family. I tell her that she does not respect me as her son's wife.

She speaks abruptly stating, "I didn't try to break you guys up!"

With immediate validation of my suspicions, I respond the only way that I could, "I did NOT say that."

The exchange continues, with emotions running high and one message being made quite clear.

"So your feelings are the only ones that matter?" I ask. To which she stumbles to continue to try to make the situation about her feelings. When asked if anyone else is placed in an awkward position, ignoring her husband, son, and daughter with special needs, she again makes it about her.

John then steps in and begins to walk the family out of the door. He admits to us that without telling us beforehand, they were planning on staying for three hours. I am once again validated in my response. The issues of respect are loud and clear.

All I could do was ask my husband if he was "okay."

I look at the clock, and realize that it has only been an hour since everyone had arrived, and reflected on how quickly it all escalated. 

Now Reading
The Exchange
Read Next
Dear Mom