Do you think PAS is a "tradition" that is handed down from generation to generation?
Let me preface this blog by saying that I LOVE my FIL. Some would think that I do not care for my MIL. I pity her more than anything. She has a really different way of thinking; she feels the world owes her. I've come to that conclusion over the last few years. Of course, in the beginning of my relationship with my DH, I looked forward to having this woman in my life. I looked forward to telling her that I could think of no prouder moment than to walk side-by-side with her son, for life. When that moment came, the response was somewhat cold. As I recall, the response went something like this: "hmph." For some time, I was confused. I could think of nothing better than to have a woman tell me that my DS is the light of her life and cannot wait to experience life with him.
Wanting to really work on our relationship, I volunteered to drive MIL's car to her annual summer vacation trip. She cannot drive long distances, but likes to have her car handy while there. So, coordinating who is bringing her is no easy feat. Two people must go: one driving her and the other driving her car. It is a 3.5 hour travel, each way. I thought that I would drive my car and my DH would drive her, in her car. WRONG! LOL
Ok.. No problem.. I can do this. Before I go into much detail, you must first know that MIL and FIL are divorced. They live in the same town and on the surface, they have a pleasant relationship.
After 3.5 hours, in the car, I learned that MIL married FIL to get out of her house(she HATED her step-father. By her account, he was a cold man, toward her), she moved to a state that she didn't like. After 13 years of marriage, she felt that FIL and her were better off living apart. The reason, she reported, was because she felt he was emotionally distant from her. She divorced him and raised her kids in a town she hated. Okay. I am so not judging anyone's reasons for divorce. What happens behind the closed doors of a relationship, is their business. At this time, I also learned that SD30 is the absolute light of her life and I was starting to detect the slightest hint that my MIL was irritated with my DH's involvement/role in her upbringing. She also wanted to have an "official conversation " with me. Oooooookay......... She wanted to go on record, with me, about her relationship with BM#1. She went on to explain that her an BM#1 enjoy each other's company, call each other often and regard each other as "friends.". She told me at i should have no problem with this. My response: "and.........". She said that BM#2(AKA troll ) hated MIL because of this relationship with BM#1.
Okay, I can understand the threat that troll had with BM#1, with regard to MIL and family. But, I personally don't care about BM#1's relationship with MIL. ( please remember this. It comes into play in future blogs). I think she was almost disappointed in my lack of jealousy, lack of response, whatever..... I don't care. I guess apathy is difficult for most people to grapple with. That's not my problem, though. Again, I digress....
After 3.5 hours, my ears feel like they are going to bleed. I need a drink. And to think, I had to repeat this, in order to bring her back. ( I have since done this 3 more times, since then. Always, with the same theme; insuring that I understand my role, and everyone else's role, according to MIL).
My FIL: he is a very calm, even-tempered pleasant man. He has a ready smile and a very easy-going disposition. Every visit, with him, comes without stress. You get the picture. My DH is his father's son.
Over the last few years, at my MIL's table, I have heard my share of digs from MIL about FIL. My FIL, after 37 years, ungrudgingly, gives my MIL money every Wed., brings her to any doctor appointments, paid the mortgage on the house, pays for any maintenance on the house etc etc. For all I know, this is part of THEIR dissolution agreement. Not my business, but I admire his complete ease and acceptance with this agreement. Sometimes, I just scratch my head and wonder why she would divorce him. Again, I can't judge. What happens behind the closed doors of a marriage is that couple's business (I, of course am not referring to abuse. You know what I mean).
So, as separate people, I prefer the company of my FIL. He is just an easy person to deal with. I don't see what MIL is referring to, but okay. However, what does irritate the living crap out of me, is her constant quips. I HATE that. She will make digs about him, when he is brought up in conversation. I asked my DH if she has always done that and he has confirmed that it has. He was pretty nonplussed about it. They just considered it "normal.". Ummmm... DH, this is PAS. I DO NOT support any PAS activity. (as a side note, my own mother has even caught on to this and has brought this to my attention. It makes her uncomfortable.)
In the beginning, every weekend, we would visit MIL (now, we may go 3-4 times a year). Sometimes, coincidentally, FIL would stop by. MIL would roll her eyes, make some disparaging remark under her breath etc. I asked my DH why we don't visit FIL, separately. I have no problem visiting MIL, but why is FIL treated differently. Sooooooo...... About 3 months ago, we decided to take FIL out to lunch, for his birthday; just he, DH and I. Out of the 3 or so years that I have been with DH, this would be the first time that we have spent solo time with him. We had a pleasant time, went home, promising that we would do it again, soon.
MIL caught wind of this visit. She didn't talk to DH for about 6 weeks. FIL had assumed that we stopped in to see MIL, after our visit with him. So, when he went to see her for their weekly-lunch-hand-over-the-alimony visit, he asked her about us coming over. She was offended that we should spend time with FIL and not her. ( we know this because she has made references to this. My FIL has never told us the content of their conversation). Okay, I get it. She is the Queen Bee to her family, but that is not something I am buying into.
In my previous blog, I have referred to a conversation about SDs, that I had with MIL, last week. During this conversation, she infers that now she knows why FIL was so emotionally detached from her. She "had always suspected, but now he has confirmed" her suspicions. I cut her off, before she starts her PAS bull crap, with me. "I am not interested in hearing this," I tell her and change the subject. So, now I think I have figured out why my DH is not really supported by my MIL. Now, I know why she did not stop the PAS campaign by SD30; to stop it, to be outraged at it, would mean that her behavior was and still is wrong. That is NEVER going to happen. My FIL has been vilified, by MIL, for years and no one recognizes it, for what it is. I think, at times, it has been subtle remarks or gestures. But, now that MIL's hierarchal structure has been potentially threatened, and my FIL may be the "top dog" in someone else's eyes. I feel the PAS engine is only cranking up. This time, my DH is not in the cross hairs, but rather, my FIL.
I love when I have epiphanies like this..... Perhaps, next time she needs a chauffeur, she can ask her other children. I am not interested.