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Frequent Fry HerTM
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The Straw That Broke The
Camel's Back
Age: 40       MIL Age: 82

frequent fry her - Straw That Broke Camel's Back 1 of 4 Frequent Fry Her TM. - Straw That Broke Camel's Back 1 of 4 /Posted: 4-FEB-02
This is a classic story which illustrates my MIL's gall, and the degree to which her sons are spineless.  One spring, DH and I received an invitation to share Easter dinner with MIL.  All the ILs were invited, as well, to go to MIL's small, cramped, rented apartment.  Nothing suits MIL more than to have all of her "boys" together in one room, at one time.  We went.  The dinner was actually pleasant, and I was almost going to silently scold myself for thinking she had something up her sleeve.  We were nearly through dessert, when MIL stood up and asked for everyone's attention, as she had an announcement to make.  She proceeded to inform her sons that she had decided that she had gotten tired of paying rent and the electric bill.  At her age, which was about 75 at the time, she felt it was the duty of her sons to take care of her.  She informed all of us that she had not signed the lease on her apartment, and within two weeks she would be putting all of her furniture into storage.  Furthermore, she would rotate visits between all four of her sons.  End of discussion.  She sat down with a smile.  Not one of her sons had been consulted about this arrangement, and not one of them stood up to challenge of this obviously twisted, manipulative plot.  Sure enough, within two weeks she had all of her stuff in storage, and began a 15 month odyssey of being the bag lady MIL.  She traveled from one son to the other.  From the get-go, one son opted out, because this announcement was the last straw for his wife.  She filed for divorce, and refused to let MIL set foot in her home.  That left 3 sons to share the duty.  MIL would simply show up on the doorstep one day and plop herself down with her belongings.  She'd make DH go to the store and stock up on her favorite foods and necessities.  She never let us know how long she was going to stay, or when we might expect her back the next time.  This incredible invasion of privacy ended after 15 months.  It ended only because my BIL's wife and I had HAD it up to here with the arrangement.  Both of us leaned hard enough on our husbands that they finally got together, weak knees knocking together, and told her she'd have to get her own apartment again.  She got her own apartment again, but not without raising the heat towards me and BIL's wife.  That was almost 8 years ago, and I still pay the price for that one!

        Signed - Been There, Done That, For Far Toooooooo Long!

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - Straw That Broke Camel's Back 2 of 4 Frequent Fry Her TM. - Straw That Broke Camel's Back 2 of 4 /Posted: 4-FEB-02
Before I go into the exact "incident", I need to provide history on some other relationship issues that existed at the time.  We have three children, our oldest (15) son and DH were having relationship challenges.  They would argue loudly, yell and scream, and there where times when the argument became physical.  Pushing, shoving, and wrestling unfortunately were not uncommon.  I will reserve comment on this, since it is a side issue.  I began to look at my response to their relationship.  I realized that part of their battles were to get attention or draw me into their argument (a long explanation could be inserted here, but I'll refrain).  I will also add that visits from MIL are never welcomed by anyone in our household.  DH gets tense, and usually becomes "busy" with chores in the yard, shed, garage, etc.  MIL ignores our kids, or makes derogatory comments about them to me.  They are expected to "kiss her hello" and be "respectful", but she never engages with them at all.  I, of course, get the "low down" on my BIL's wives - how much she dislikes them, what the other grandchildren are doing, and her negative opinions about their activities (great young adults, BTW, with education, nice significant others, successful careers etc.).  I look forward to MIL's visits least of all because I'm usually the one who is left with her all day!  Consequently, when MIL is expected to arrive, the whole atmosphere in our home changes, and the stress is ratcheted up many levels.  I have recently taken on a volunteer position in my community which requires a lot of extra work at home.  I had been dropping this work whenever I was "needed" by someone in the house, but before long, subtle power struggles began to pop up.  In fact, it became very difficult for me to accomplish anything without someone "needing" me for something.  On this particular Sunday, I had done a lot of preparation, the day before, for the dinner.  The house was clean, laundry done, etc., and I had announced to my family that I was going to be busy with some reading material, and that I did not want to be disturbed (in other words, I set boundaries).  I informed DH that I was going to be in the finished basement, reading, and I might possibly still be there when he arrived home from picking up his mother.  I was not going to come up until I was done.  So that sets the stage for you.  This is what the dynamics were on the day of MIL's visit.  DH arrived home with MIL.  She opened the basement door and yelled down, "Hello, I'm here!"  I said, "Hello, I'm busy with some reading, but I'll be up in a little while.  DH will make you comfortable."  I went back to my reading.  Sometime shortly thereafter, our son entered the picture, and there were words exchanged between him and DH.  It became an argument, and the argument escalated to yelling and screaming.  MIL opened the basement door, and demanded that I come upstairs to settle the argument.  I calmly replied, "This is not uncommon for them, they will settle it."  I did not get up, and she closed the basement door.  I am proud of myself for not getting sucked into the dynamics between DH and our son.  I felt that they are "acting out", trying to pull me into the dysfunction by upping the ante and fighting in front of MIL.  I also am proud of myself because I did not responding to MIL's demands.  Unfortunately, the action was elevated to the physical.  DH and son were apparently engaged in some sort of pushing, shoving match when MIL opened the door and started yelling for me to, "Get up here right now, they are fighting with each other."  Again, I did not bite the bait.  I said," Yes, this behavior is unfortunate, but they have to settle it themselves.  Stay away from them."  Of course, by now, I was not reading anymore, but I was determined NOT to go upstairs and involve myself in settling this horrible display of family dysfunction, especially in front of MIL.  The fighting and shoving stopped in a short time, and all was quiet.  Did they kill one another, I wondered?  I waited about 10-15 minutes.  I did not hear talking or discussion, nothing.  So, I calmly went upstairs.  MIL was outside, smoking her cigarette.  The smoking issue could fill up 10 pages.  Son was watching TV in the den, hubby was close by watching TV in the kitchen.  I spoke to son and prohibited him from attending a party at his friend's house that evening because of his behavior.  Hubby clearly heard me say this, because DH had a satisfied look on his face.  Son did not argue, just huffed and got up to go to his room.  Just a word here about my son.  He has a temper, at times, but is much more verbal than physical.  He is a straight A student, he gets along fine with his peers, and is respected by all adults in his life as a mature, caring, fine young man.  I went into the kitchen and began to arrange the final preparation of dinner.  I said nothing to hubby, who continued to watch TV, because I do not want to start a marital argument while MIL is lurking around.  MIL entered the house from having her cigarette.  Now, mind you, besides the exchange of words from the basement, I have not spoken to MIL.  MIL entered the house and walked right up to me.  She began to shout at me.  She spewed a litany of comments that began with how she raised four sons who never treated their father the way my son treated his father (which is untrue, because she had her thumb broken one time while trying to break up a fight between one of her sons and her husband).  She ended her tirade by commenting as to how I should pack my son up and send him to live in another state with my family (whom she referred to as "your people").  After 20 years, you'd think I'd be used to this.  But I am dumb struck.  I had no involvement in the argument.  I wasn't even physically present.  I was standing in my own kitchen, being yelled at like a child by a woman who has no business passing any comment at all, never mind suggesting that I send my son away.  DH was just sitting there.  He did not get up and come to my side.  He did not make a verbal comment.  He simply stared straight ahead at the TV and did nothing!  I felt something click in my head.  I said nothing, but my emotions propelled me to do one of two things:  1)  Reach out and physically strike this woman across the mouth or,  2)  Leave.  I chose to leave.  I would never strike her, but for the first time in 20 years, I swear that I really felt like it.  This prompted my husband to get out of his chair and follow me outside to the car.  His statement, made with an incredulous look on his face, was, "I can't believe you're going to leave the house over this!"  I told him that I was going to my friend's house, and I left.  Five hours later, DH called me at my friend's house.  The phone call was not to apologize or enter into conversation about what had transpired earlier.  The phone call was to ask when I thought I was coming home.  The reason for wanting to know what time I was coming home was not to ensure that I was coming home.  The reason for the call was to find out if I would pick up our son at his friend's house.  The same friend I had prohibited him from seeing earlier in the day after the argument with his father.  It seems that DH let our son attend the party after all, because DH didn't want to have to deal with our son by himself, since I wasn't home!  For the first time in my life, I was twice dumb struck in the same day.  DH never attempted to enter into a conversation with me over the events of that day.  I was so angry with him that I couldn't see straight for nearly two weeks.  Finally, I approached the subject with him.  I pointed out that he had failed to defend me AGAIN!  He failed to speak up for his own family.  He ate the meal MIL finished preparing for him and conducted the visit even though I was gone.  In short, he let me leave and he let her stay.  To add insult to injury, he then overrode the punishment I set for our son (because DH never sets boundaries).  I have never recovered from this incident.  DH never offered me any kind of apology for his behavior.  Six months after the incident, MIL did call to apologize for her behavior that day.  However, since the call came six months too late, I feel that she was coerced into the apology.  I do not believe, for one second, that it was sincere.  I have stopped interacting with MIL, completely.  I do not answer the phone when she calls.  I keep my conversations short, curt, and to the point, when I am spoken to in person.  All intimacy has been lost in the marital relationship.  I do not trust my husband.  And, quite honestly, I don't think I ever will again.  I believe that he has chosen his mother over me, and perhaps always has.  I stay in the relationship for financial reasons.  Lately, that hasn't even been enough for me not to consider the real possibility of divorce.  I am writing this for all those young brides-to-be.  If you are detecting an unwillingness on your DF's part to wake up and smell the coffee, gracefully back out now.  He has already chosen the main woman in his life, and sorry, it isn't you.

        Signed - Sorry, It Isn't You

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - Straw That Broke Camel's Back 3 of 4 Frequent Fry Her TM. - Straw That Broke Camel's Back 3 of 4 /Posted: 4-FEB-02
Here's a great story to further paint the picture of my MIL.  BIL was getting married to wife #2.  They picked a wedding date that happened to be the same day as my DH's birthday.  It was a very small civil ceremony with just the very immediate family from both sides in attendance.  My MIL had offered to purchase and bring the cake.  The wedding was over, dinner was over, and out came the cake!  It said, "Happy Birthday DH"!  She's a piece of work!!!!

        Signed - MIL Offered To Bring The Cake

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - Straw That Broke Camel's Back 4 of 4 Frequent Fry Her TM. - Straw That Broke Camel's Back 4 of 4 /Posted: 4-FEB-02
I was 7 months pregnant with our second child.  MIL invited DH and me over for lunch.  We were advised to leave our 3 year old son with BIL because she wanted to share some private time with us as a couple.  Big red flags should have gone up here, but they didn't.  At this time in our marriage, DH and I had very little precious time alone.  So, to go to this woman's apartment on a mutual day off, without our son, was a major sacrifice.  We rang the bell, and she greeted us at the door.  This was unusual, since she usually just buzzed us in.  I noticed that, as we walked up the stairs to the apartment, she locked the door behind us.  She served us lunch.  There was small, insignificant chit chat all through the meal, and I was wondering if this could possibly be all she wanted - a real lunch with DH and me.  WRONG!  She served tea and cookies.  Out of nowhere, she looked straight at me and said, "I think it's very ugly of your mother not to invite me to her Tupperware party."  I tried to behave calmly, and I said, "Well, you should call her and tell her that you'd like to be included next time."  I was really thinking, "This woman is a total loon bag."  She then launched off into a diatribe about my family.  DH didn't flinch or raise his voice to defend me.  Now I'm feeling doubly hit upon.  First, by this wacko woman, who is my MIL, second, by the fact that the man who is supposed to love me, is sitting there as a spectator.  After realizing that nothing I would say would stop this verbal whipping that I was receiving, I got up and headed for the door.  It was locked, and I couldn't get out.  I yelled for her to unlock the door, but she didn't move.  I yelled louder, and she still didn't move.  Finally, I started pounding on the door, and I was crying, "Let me out."  She didn't move.  DH finally got up to come to me.  He told me that I should calm down because I might "hurt the baby".  I told him to $%#@ off and let me out of the God #$@% apartment!  By this time, I was definitely behaving like a caged animal, because I felt like one.  He finally started to yell at MIL to get the keys and open the door, which she finally did.  I left the apartment and began walking away in a blind rage, very pregnant and crying.  DH went back into her apartment and closed the door!  He actually let me leave, and he went back to her!!  So much for worrying about "his unborn baby".  My BIL's wife, who had my son for the afternoon, finally pulled up next to me in her car, and brought me and my son home to our house.  I guess telephone calls were exchanged after I stormed out, and she knew where to find me.  This incident happened about 12 years ago.  At the time, I was still blaming MIL for all the problems.  I should have kicked DH out on his @ss for that one, but it actually never occurred to me.  Hindsight is always 20/20!

        Signed - Hindsight Is Always 20/20!

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

 


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