My mother-in-law left yesterday after a relatively brief visit. In one sense, it was fine. There was no real melodrama, no real fighting, no anger issues to deal with. On the surface, everything seemed fine. In retrospect, however, the visit served to showcase exactly what’s wrong with her. The woman has problems, severe ones. Her worldview is…skewed, I guess is the best word for it. Reality that doesn’t fit her desired perception is changed to accomodate her and her desire to leave her head in the sand.
There were plenty of times when she would say things that were absolutely bizarre. Nothing new there, really, but this time it was much more disturbing. She seems to be following the path of her own mother, changing stories and the past to fit better in her preferred narrative, like a writer going back to edit her life. She claimed that she was hurt because me and my wife “leave every time ” they move closer. In reality, she’s left my wife’s locale every time but once: when we moved to Delaware, a move that we told her would be occurring even before they moved back. But that truth doesn’t fit her self-pitying desires; like her own mother, she now has ammunition in the War of Guilt. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t true.
It’s very hard for me to sit and listen to her saying things like that to my wife. At one point during dinner, she said that she wished my wife would “do something with her Masters’ degrees.” I really wanted to ask her exactly what the fuck that meant. I am very proud of my wife for simply answering that she did use them, that she was happy with her job, and that’s what mattered to her the most. I wanted to ask mom-in-law exactly what her question was supposed to mean, and why she felt that way. Was it for selfish reasons, so she could tell people “my daughter is an XYZ”? Seriously, I have no earthly idea what that COULD mean. Mother-in-law didn’t pay for those degrees. My wife worked her ass off for them, going to school and working full-time each. Who the fuck cares what mom-in-law wants or wishes?
Mom-in-law doesn’t think for herself, allowing her mother and husband do it for her. She’s like a Dittohead, only less self-examining. She’s the most self-centered being I’ve ever met. If she shoved someone under train tracks in order to catch a train, I firmly believe that she would say, “But I caught the train” to explain her behavior, taking zero responsibility for any action she’s ever taken. She even managed to lay a bombshell on my wife, attaching no significance to what she said, admitting that she’d pulled my wife from therapy over the therapist’s objections. That action helped scar my wife, preventing her from getting the help she desperately needed and wouldn’t get for another 30 years. It’s tough – if she hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have ever even met my wife. But that thought that my wife could have been spared decades of abuse from herself and others, debilitating nightmares, crippling self-doubt…. It makes me want to punch my mother-in-law in the face as hard as I possibly can. I didn’t think I could respect a human being less than I already did. Now I know differently.
My mother-in-law’s sheer cluelessness about her role in my wife’s life is disgusting. Her self-absorbed life is abominable. The fact that she desperately needs therapy for all of the abuse that she herself suffered but is unlikely to get it is sad. She needs help. Her behavior is an on-going attempt to keep her own self-loathing at bay, and she’s either going to end up as crazy as her own mother or breaking down completely. Her husband is strong enough and a good man, and he could help her through it, but I truly believe she won’t seek it. After all, there’s nothing wrong with her.