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What do you 'owe' a parent?

Monday, June 28, 2010

I've been thinking of that question a great deal recently and yesterday I asked my SIL what her answer would be. What happens when your aging parent is facing the end? I was faced with that question when I was 18 years old and my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. Over a seven month period of time, I watched her handle her declining health with dignity and grace...right up to her last day. She never complained, even once, and thanked everyone for every act of compassion. I couldn't do enough for her and I NEVER felt burdened by the responsibility of being her caregiver - I wanted to help her. She appreciated every gesture of kindness and showed her thanks and love.

But, what happens when it's an abusive parent? This is what my husband, my SIL, and myself are facing with regards to my MIL's health. She yells, speaks to us in a nasty, sarcastic tone of voice, complains constantly about everyone, and says THE most hurtful things. It's probably very hard for people that have 'normal' loving parents to understand, but she tries to inflict hurt - on purpose. She's been verbally and emotionally abusive to my DH and SIL for 50 years, and 27 years to me. I've recently witnessed her verbally rip my SIL to shreds, leaving her sobbing - without ANY emotion!

My SIL lives in California and came in for a visit, and stayed with my MIL for 10 days. Despite the fact that the apple didn't fall far from the tree, and my SIL is SO similar to my MIL, nobody deserves to be treated the way she was! I watched my SIL TRY to please her - only to have my MIL complain daily about her. I tried to play peace-maker by telling my MIL that this could be the last time she sees her daughter. I also told her that I can't listen to ONE more complaint and that she should try to make the most of this visit. I suggested she tell my SIL what she means to her. What did this toxic woman do? She told her daughter that 'she doesn't even care about her' and she called her a whore!

Friday morning I had to meet the man that was installing the 'life line' that I ordered for her. It's one of those 'I've fallen and can't get up' things. She was nasty to me from the moment I got there, and was even worse with my SIL. The caregiver was there as well as a nurse doing labwork on her. I could see it in their faces every time she raised her voice - that look of shock. My SIL walked out with me when I left. She stood in the driveway crying over the fights her mother had with her while she was there. This 50 year old woman cried like a baby while I hugged her. I could feel her pain. She told me that she'll never forget what her mother said to her - for the rest of her life. She also told me that she felt NO love from her mother, only anger. THIS is her legacy!

My MIL's behavior is NOT new - she's always been toxic and mean. Even the nurses and case managers from both the hospital AND the rehab facility referred to her as 'mean and nasty'. However my DH and I think that she's getting worse - if that's possible! This is not a woman that's going to show love and appreciation to those around her. She looks at us and shakes her head from side to side, while giving us dirty looks. We picked up my SIL yesterday morning to take her to the airport, to catch her flight home. We watched in disbelief as my SIL had to ASK her to stand up so she could hug her. My SIL got choked up as she hugged her, however my MIL barely hugged her back. There wasn't a speck of emotion or even one 'I love you'!!! I was stunned as I watched this. This woman, consumed with anger and resentment, acted like an iceberg - cold!

I do understand the 'honor thy mother and father' concept. I think that it's up to each person to answer 'that' question. My SIL really did try during her visit. I told her to know in her heart that she did her best, regardless if her mother appreciated it. She told me that her mother was NEVER there for her - even as a child.

My husband and I have the same answer to my question. We both feel like handling her medical needs is the right thing to do, and since there isn't anyone else to do it - we feel responsible. We are trying to do this without feeling suffocated. Yes, I know that it's HIS mother, but we are a team and face things together. I had many talks with him about my feelings and what I am "willing" to do for her. I can 'manage' her medical needs by hiring people, scheduling appointments, etc. But It will NOT be me doing the hands on care! In order to save my own sanity, this must be done from a distance. I also had two talks with her. I told her that I will NOT tolerate her yelling, nastiness, and disrespectful behavior!! This is what I'm willing to do, the rest is up to my DH. We expect NO thanks or love in return.

When I look at her face, I search her eyes for some speck of kindness or goodness. You can actually feel the misery ooze from her and see it in her eyes! The time she has left could have been her chance to tell people what they mean to her and to make amends. I can see that it's not going to happen. I feel great sadness for my husband and my SIL. Their memories will not be like the ones I have of my mother. My mom told me every day that she loved me - and I felt it! Sadly they won't have that, and it hurts my heart for them.

Life is a gift and a blessing, and I believe in telling people what they mean to me - and not just with words, but with my actions as well. Watching all of this unfold has been a great lesson. Life is NOT to be wasted, make the most of every day! Love those around you with an open heart. Kindness is LONG remembered, as are hurtful words - choose carefully. Never neglect your own health because this isn't a dress rehearsal. Do what you think is right, without having regret. Live a life filled with love and joy - that's the best legacy!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHYGETSFIT 7/4/2010 1:10PM

    I honestly don't know how you and your DH do it Doreen! I can't say for sure what I'd do in your position but I certainly would be tempted to put her into a nursing home. Alas, though, that day will probably come. I'm glad you stood up for yourself and let her know that you weren't going to put up with anymore of her despicable behavior! I'm glad that even though SIL isn't much different than her mom that she had a humbling experience and that you were the one she turned to for comfort. Although, it is sad that she feels like her mom doesn't love her. I don't know how people like your MIL can be so hurtful and negative towards everyone her entire life. It makes me wonder what her mother was like?? I'm glad that you are helping to care for her from a distance for your own sanity! Not everyone would be able or choose to continue to do what you and your DH are doing for her when she spews nothing but hatred and nastiness. Your mom would be proud of the way you are handling things!!

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RASTUS55 7/1/2010 9:46AM

    Again your strength comes shining through....you amaze me Doreen!!! I am absolutely in total amazement at how you stick with this pitiful excuse for a human being because of the loyalty and love you have for your hubby!! He is one lucky man to have you as his wife!!! What a good person you are to the core of your being!!! I guess at this point the only thing that will keep you sane is knowing that this woman is not only physically sick but she is truly mentally sick...........VERY sick. She has needed help all of her life but no one could get close enough to help her see it much less survive the horrible treatment she offers everyone so lavishly! I think it is just horrible to watch this woman on her death bed go down and try to take everyone with her. She has to be the most miserable human being on the face of the earth to be this hateful in her final days when she should be making amends for her evil ways and setting things right with the Lord! Instead of trying to get her to see her demonic ways just stand back and shake your head at her and tell yourself that she is mentally poisoned and there is NOTHING you can do about it. Maybe this will help you to become a little more benign to her comments and actions. Unfortunately she will meet a greater Judge when she passes...that will be and exceptionally sad day for her. Hang in there sweet girl!! You know I am always here for you and always will be!

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DIFROMWYOMING 6/30/2010 11:42PM

    I agree with meowmamma, I don't know that I could stick with this kind of toxic person, even at the end of a life. It does make me grateful that my father, for all his very human flaws, did try at the end to be remorseful and reach out in love. It made the end easier, and I can at least have a few good memories of him. I think your MIL will leave nothing behind her but pain. She has already decided her fate. I sincerely hope you and your family can put the pain behind you and move forward. It's her loss.

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NGCHILD 6/29/2010 10:42AM

    I'm not sure how she can stay so mean for so long. Maybe her mother was the same way with her? No clue really but SO THANKFUL that Rick didn't pick up any of her traits. You both are such wonderful and loving people. I'm not sure I could be as nice to her as you have been. I would have left her nastiness in a health care facility .... as bad as that sounds. NOONE deserves her wrath. She will one day answer for her behavior and her wrath will pale in comparison!

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TRAVELNISTA 6/28/2010 8:41PM

    Just when I think Vampira can not top her orneriest she does. How can she let her daughter think she doesn't love her nor appreciate anything she has ever done for her Mother.

You and DH are saints. Vampira is only going to get meaner as the end bears. May God help you! emoticon

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PMFISH 6/28/2010 5:12PM

    You provided more clues in this blog that are important - she has always had this unhealthy personality. When that is the case the care takers are telling you the truth, it will only get worse!!! Not sure what happens, but with dementia if people were sweet, they constantly apologize for being such a bother and when they are nasty it just increases daily. I have also seen them get so paranoid the accuse everyone of stealing from them and/or trying to poison

You were smart to let her know there are limitations - they are much like little children - it gives them a sense of security to know there are boundaries. Stand strong.

I know it hurts to see your husband being stressed, but he was stressed before he knew you and keep him on board with you. He needs to have power of attorney to handle her financial matters and just tell her everything is taken care. Use her money!!! I used a lot of mine for my parents, which I did not begrudge, but the siblings (have a couple like your MIL) wanted an account of everything. When they passed it was everyone take what you had given if you wanted it back. I took the jewellery, which I had paid for 75%, but one got all the receipts (even the ones I gave her) totaled them and wanted that deducted from my share. They did not want to listen, so I said fine. The 2 sisters that are like that - 1 had a stoke 10 years ago and now is almost always in a wheel chair and the other has Alzheimer's and doesn't know what world she is in.

Try to totally turn it over to God, he works miracles. I know easier said than done.

Will keep you in my prayers thru this trying journey you are traveling.

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NOTABOUTHEFACE 6/28/2010 5:08PM

    I'm with Meowmama! :)

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MEOWMAMA3 6/28/2010 4:57PM

    Personally, I don't feel the obligation to honor anyone who cannot treat me with common decency. At least two good things will come of this. Your SIL gets to be part of a family that really does care about her, despite her flaws, and your marriage will grow stronger.

I was happy to hear that SIL had a moment of being humanoid with you, even if it was a hurtful time for her. MIL TT is very lucky that her children didn't leave her in a facility all alone with no one but strangers to take care of her. I have a pretty big heart, but I don't honestly know if I would have put myself through your ordeal.

Stick to your guns and don't doubt any of the decisions you have made regarding her. Feel very good about the human being that you grew up to be!
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ANGELLYBELLY 6/28/2010 4:16PM

    Life is full of choices, and it is certainly sad that she has chosen to the ones she has in the way she has treated her children (and you.). I've often wonder about patterns of abuse and would wonder if she also was 'nurtured' in a similar vein. People who spew hate are often the ones that were raised on it.
My mother is an emotionally distant woman (not abusive or not loving, just emotionally distant) and I make sure to tell my son all the time how much I love him and how proud I am of him for the person he is slowly becoming (he is only 10).

I've struggled a long time with my own relationship with my mother, who I actually admire and respect so I can only imagine the kind of struggle one might go through to have any kind of relationship with someone who is that kind of meanspirited.

I read something recently I would like to share and it deals specifically with how is one supposed to honor a parent who is abusive?
(I don't know how "God believing" you are, so perhaps take it in any way you think it may apply.)
The reason that "Honor they Mother & Father" was written on the same side of the 10 commandments dealing with ones relationship to God is because where we were born, in what era we were born, and to which family/parents we were born are not cosmic accidents, but are deliberate in what YOU need to fulfill your destiny. The body your "soul" is matched to is specific to the destiny you are meant to fulfill. Sometimes that destiny is to *break* a cycle of abuse etc.

For me hearing that really helped so much in my own relationship with my Mom..realizing that she is the parent I needed to be the person I'm supposed to be, helped me come to terms with the fact that she and I may never see eye to eye and that that too can be "ok".

Either way.. emoticon

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BECKYB73 6/28/2010 3:48PM

    I read this blog and a few of your others about your Mother in Law. If it's possible, your MiL may as well be my Paternal Grandmother...she's gone now, but I have thought of her more and more since I started my Spark journey. She was a bitter, nasty woman, who chose to live like a shut in, when she had the opportunity and finances to do whatever she wanted. I spent many years being her "helper" and time with her when NOBODY else in my family would. My mother told me that when she and my father got married (against her wishes), this Grandmother kept a box of index cards with all the guests names and what they gave my parents for their wedding gift. That way, when their kids or relatives got married, she could get something exactly the same in terms of monetary value.
Anyway, her style of abuse was to chip away at and diminish any sense of self worth. She was someone who would always tell me I needed to lose weight, then she'd call me in for a break when I was doing yard work and feed me a huge plate of food.
I don't know why I'm sharing all this, except maybe to say that you aren't alone with what you're having to deal with and that some people aren't owed a thing. When this grandmother died, I did not go home to the funeral, she was not worth my time off work.

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STARINTHESKY 6/28/2010 3:44PM

    Wow. I am so sorry your family is going through this! As far as your toxic MIL goes, I think you are doing the absolute right thing. You stood up for yourself and you are caring for her the best way you know how. Good for you! You are especially right about letting your husband and sister in law fight their battles with her. The only thing you can do is be there for them to cry it out and lend them a shoulder. I don't think it's wrong for you to do this for his mother. When you married, she became your "mother" in law. So, she technically is also YOUR mother. How God awful that this woman has lived this way for so long. I can't imagine the pain I would feel if my own mother treated me this way! I do think that perhaps your SIL should seek counseling so that she can disassociate the way her mother treats her with how she really is. Anyhoo, I pray that you all get through this!!

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TAYLORCRAFTBC65 6/28/2010 3:19PM

    It would help if I understood all the abrieviations to figure out who was what to you. My biological progenitors abused me horribly, but back in the fifties, nothing was done about it. In 1965, when I was 15, my male progenitor died. I didn't shed a tear at the funeral. Six months later, ON MY 16th BIRTHDAY, my female progenitor had me thrown into the County Children's Shelter because I beat my younger brother in a snowball fight that he started. Six months later, she pulled me out, saying, "Sorry, I guess I over reacted". I joined the army when I was 18, (1968), and have been all over the world at taxpayer expence as a result. Two months ago someone in the Sheriff's Department who is a friend told me the the female progenitor died back in 2004. "Who cares" I told him. If you want your kids to love and care for you when you are old, don't beat them almost to death regularly for the way they were born. Brie

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Enough is enough!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ah, clarity! Lessons some times come when you least expect. The past 4 weeks have been stressful and draining, as I've tried to handle my MIL's medical needs. To say that the woman is THE most ungrateful person I've EVER encountered - would be an under-statement. Nothing, and I do mean nothing is EVER enough! Not only doesn't she show a shred of appreciation, but she's getting nastier by the day and raising her voice and yelling. Instead of being appreciative to her family and friends for what we're all doing for her, she doesn't think that it's enough. and demands more and is abusive! How can she face the end of her life being SO mean and nasty?

Since I have her medical AND general power of attorney, I've been busy making sure that her medical needs are met. She was in the hospital for 2 weeks, followed by a 2 week stay at a rehab facility in an attempt to get her moving more and doing more for herself. However some things will NEVER change, as she demands to be waited on and catered to constantly, without doing ONE thing for herself. My SIL came in for a visit and is staying with my MIL for 10 days since last Thursday, when we brought her home from rehab. I lined up some home health care, SOME being the operative word, because despite the fact that the woman can afford anything she needs or wants - she won't spend the money and expects us to take care of her 24/7. I had to push her to agree to 4 hours a day, plus the social service director wouldn't release her from rehab unless I had home health lined up. She fought me tooth and nail, but after an hour of both myself and the director from the home health company pushing her, she VERY reluctantly agreed. I went to a medical supply store with my DH to pick up what she needed for home, as well as orchestrate the rental of a wheel chair and the delivery of oxygen, with the help of her case manager. All of which she fought us over!

I kept telling myself that I was doing the right thing - for a VERY nasty person. My SIL and I went to pick her up from rehab after a morning of non-stop running around. We went to the farmstand for fresh produce and the grocery store, and stocked her fridge. I also put dinner in the crockpot and met with the medical supply person that delivered the oxygen. She didn't even pack ONE thing when we arrived at rehab, she expected us to do it. After getting her settled back at her house, she didn't even appreciate how good her house looked after my DH and I, along with a woman that I hired - cleaned her disgustingly dirty house! Not ONE word of thanks!

I headed home for a few hours leaving her with my SIL, with the understanding that my husband and I would be back later for dinner - which I cooked. Two of her friends planned on stopping over for coffee and dessert later that evening. She gave me her credit card one month ago when she was admitted into the hospital, which I used to purchase items needed for her house and groceries - which I told her FIRST, 'before' I used the card! The MOMENT that I walked back into her house, with food that I prepared AND paid for, she was nasty. My DH carried a large plastic tote into the house for me. AS I started to unload a salad, dessert, homemade soup for them for another meal, and cut up fruit - she started on me! In a VERY nasty tone - she demanded her card back! Not ONE word of thanks for the meal we just brought in or anything we did to get her house ready. My DH didn't hear the conversation up to that point, but came in to see me toss her card onto the table and say "fine". I then told her that I asked her BEFORE I used the card, to purchase items for HER! Her reply - she demanded to see the receipts! So much for gratitude!!!

Despite the fact that I asked her about 6 times BEFORE I went shopping, what she wanted to eat - she complained to my SIL and ALL of her friends that I bought what 'I' wanted - NOT what she wanted! I watched her drink cranberry juice DAILY while in rehab, so I bought cranberry juice...only to hear her complain that she doesn't like it and that I NEVER asked her what she wanted! Liar!!!!!!!!!!!!

Everyone has a breaking point - and I reached mine that night at her house when I made dinner. As we sat at the table with her friends and had dessert, she was acting like a nasty bitch. I cut the cake and made coffee - only to hear her complain that 'nobody asked me how much cake I wanted' in a pissy-@ss tone! With that comment, I walked over to the table and picked up her plate...and literally dumped the cake back into the box - and picked up a smaller piece of cake, and slapped it onto her plate, and put it back in front of her and said "there you go"! She glared at me - TOO bad, you nasty, toxic witch! She started yelling at my SIL and my DH and I stood up to leave. She asked me 'have you had enough'? I replied "yes I have, and I'm NOT sitting here listening to you raise your voice for another minute". My SIL later told me that my MIL was embarrassed by MY behavior!! Are you freaking kidding me???

In the car with my DH, I told him that I'm DONE as I sat there and cried out of frustration. He told me that he doesn't want me to do another thing for her, that he will handle her. My attitude was 'well about time'! He HAS put his foot down with her regarding how she's treated me, more times than I can count - and he HAS done it firmly, but it doesn't change her behavior. From the time he was a child he tried to tune out to her screaming and nastiness, in an attempt to save his sanity. As for my SIL, who happens to be a lot like her mother, she takes ALL of the verbal abuse and screaming my MIL dishes out - in silence! My MIL's friend witnessed her toxic behavior that night and said that 'her abuse is a terrible thing to see'.

The next morning my MIL called and tried to start on me again. I NEVER raised my voice, but I let loose on her and told her that I was DONE!!! I said that other people may put up with her nasty, sarcastic tone of voice, and her raising her voice and yelling at them - but I won't tolerate it! I continued despite her screaming on the other end of the phone and told her to be quiet or she won't hear what I am saying to her. I then said that she is the MOST ungrateful person I've ever met, despite everything I've done for her - she doesn't appreciate a thing! I told her that she treats me in a disrespectful manner, as if I'm some kind of slave girl without a life of my own. I told her that there's no pleasing her, that it's never enough. I also asked her WHY she appointed me her general power of attorney if it's SO obvious that she doesn't trust me or anyone else. I found out that she had the husband of one of her friends read over the admissions paperwork that I signed for her - behind my back! She denied it and I found it to be extremely insulting, as I wouldn't do anything dishonest!

My DH told her that I'm done as well. Since I stepped back my DH has stepped forward regarding her needs. And I can see the stress on his face, along with the hurt of how she's abused me. It's not an easy situation and I worry about how the stress of dealing with her has harmed my health and the health of my husband. Since there isn't any other family, just my DH and myself here, I know that we're in for a bumpy ride before the end of the road. She has a very aggressive type of lymphoma, which has spread to multiple organs. Chemo may buy her some time, but she's not the type to handle things with grace - she's going to make sure that everyone else's life is miserable. She also has SOME dementia, which can NOT excuse the 27 years of toxic behavior directed at me, or the 50 years of abuse dumped on my DH and SIL. Her case manager has told me that both of these conditions will get progressively worse. Since I have more time than my DH, I can still manage her care, but from a distance. I can hire people to care for her, but it will NOT be me at her house caring for her.

Enough is enough! I will not give in. By 2:00 this afternoon there were SEVEN phone calls from both my MIL and my SIL - so far! My blood pressure is through the roof and my DH is going to tell her yet AGAIN to back off, or we won't EVEN handle her care! To see this sweet man, with the kindest disposition stressed to the max, hurts my heart! We feel that we can't walk away totally because there isn't anyone else. My SIL complained after ONE day, yes I did say ONE day - that SHE wants her life back! Maybe the silicone from her over-sized breast implants traveled up to her brain! She goes back to California on Sunday and has no plans on coming back anytime soon. We need to find a way of taking care of our health FIRST, setting boundaries with that insane, toxic lunatic, and getting control of our lives back!

PS: I'm sorry that this was SO long, but once I started typing - I couldn't stop! Thanks for letting me vent, I'll keep you posted.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEOWMAMA3 6/25/2010 2:24AM

    Well Dor, afraid to say I saw this coming. I'm SO PROUD of you for pushing back and stepping back. Now you need to unplug the phone and let Rick deal with the messages. I don't see how you could possibly do one more kind thing for this witch. Leave it to the professionals and DO NOT FEEL GUILTY over it for a second. You're a much better person than I am. I'd have handed over the responsibilities and the headaches to Rick and BoobGirl a long time ago. There'd be no clean house, homecooked food or health care coordinating. As far as I'm concerned, you are Saint Doreen and it's time for you to spread that goodness and love on yourself! Hang in there girl and vent away! emoticon

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CATHYGETSFIT 6/24/2010 6:00PM

    It's good to vent! So vent away...that's what we're here for! Glad you decided you'd had enough and let DH take over. I know it's hard when you can see the stress on his face from dealing with her. You did your best for as long as you could take it which is admirable considering what you had to deal with. She's trying to drag everyone down with her until the very end. Why don't you put her in an assisted living home or a nursing home. I know it's a sad thing to do but she has brought it upon herself. I'll be glad when the two of you will not have to deal with her anymore however that comes about. Sending lots of hugs and positive thoughts your way!!!

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ANITAWPG 6/23/2010 8:04PM

    tell her you want off the POA

I feel for your DH, but he and his sister do need to be the ones to deal with this.

I know your compassionate personality is going to have trouble doing this as you are a kind helpful person, however, all that does in situations like this is make it easy for someone to take advantage of you (MIL and SIL - NOT the DH)

hmmm - can you ship the MIL to the coast with the SIL?

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FLYINGB16 6/23/2010 6:58PM

    Here is my two cents on the subject. I have read your stories for six months and I am horrified at the way you and your DH are treated. First I think you BOTH need to take your names off of her POA and medical POA. She can appoint her daughter or she can pay a stranger to take care of the responsibility. She has created a situation where you are both her prisoners and servants. Once the paperwork is changed I would say your goodbyes.

She has money, she can't take it with her...so she needs to spend it. She is not the type to repent or reflect on her life and she doesn't want to go peacefully. She wants to do as much damage as she can on her way out. Don't give her that ability. For all you know a miracle could happen and she could be cured. Don't put up with the BS just because you think she is almost out of time.

I am not a heartless person but in this case I would just walk away and close and lock the door behind me.

You are both in my prayers and I am so sorry that you have to deal with this tortured woman. I have no idea what made her that way but at this point she ain't changing for anybody.

Much love is being sent your way.

~Bonnie

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RASTUS55 6/23/2010 3:44PM

    This woman is going to be vile to the bitter end isn't she. She had better be thinking about making things right with her Maker or she will live eternity in hell for her actions. Enough IS enough sweet girl. Just because she is dying doesn't mean she has the right to try to kill the rest of you. Back off and let caretakers do the job forget about trying to please her cause you know that just AIN'T gonna happen! You two think of yourselves and your happiness and don't let this womans temperament pollute you or your relationship. She lived her life unhappy and miserable and she will die the same way...there won't be one single thing you will be able to do for her so don't let it wear either of you down. I hate to say it but it will be a blessing to have her gone from the earth so maybe you can finally have a life of your own in complete happiness!!!

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TRAVELNISTA 6/23/2010 3:15PM

    Wow and did you ever need to vent! I am soooooooooooooooo sorry for what you are going through and you are a better person than I. I would have hired an inhouse nurse or nurses aide to be with at all times and just manage her from a far. Or just put her into a nursing home. If she can't play nice and wrecks havoc with your health and DH's I would have her packed so fast for a nursing home. I know it is not a nice place but she is not a nice person. You reap what you sow.

You my friend are a saint. emoticon

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NOTABOUTHEFACE 6/23/2010 2:37PM

    I'm glad you got it out. I'm ecstatic you're stepping back and sorry that hubby has to take it on. You know I don't wish bad things on people but I will just say I will be happy for the day the two of you can be free...however that comes about.
Love you girl!
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Just when I think I'm out...

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

I keep thinking of that line in the movie 'The Godfather' - 'just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in'. As my spark friends know, and others that have read some of my previous blogs, my MIL is toxic to say the least! She has taken emotional abuse to a whole new level, and finds pleasure in doing so. Over a month ago I decided that enough was enough and limited my contact with her, out of self preservation. It was going well until a few weeks back.

She called to tell me that she found a lump in her neck. Since she's been like the boy that's cried wolf for YEARS, most people don't believe her because she's fabricated similar stories for YEARS! I told her to call her doctor and have him check it out. Shortly after she was scheduled for a needle biopsy. Since my SIL is in California and my DH couldn't get off from work - I took her.

My DH and I had a vacation coming up, our first in THREE years. We were going to Hilton Head for a week and my MIL was telling her friends that she didn't want us to go because if she needed us for anything we would be 6 1/2 hours away. Selfish woman!!! I KNEW that she would pull something and I was so certain, that I waited to pack. I've been down this road with her for 27 years, so when I say that I knew it - I could have bet money that she'd pull something!

While I waited with her for the biopsy the nurse checked her vitals. When the head nurse came in, I knew that something was up. She is supposed to take Lasix EVERY day to help get rid of excess fluid, but just like the FOUR previous times - she didn't take it for OVER a week!! As she was told that she was in congestive heart failure - yet again, she wasn't upset by the news at all. Her biopsy was cancelled and she was admitted into the hospital. Being the master manipulator that she is - she asked me what I'm going to do about our vacation NOW!!! She then said 'see, that's why you can't make plans'. Instead of being upset about them cancelling her biopsy, she sat there and looked VERY pleased with herself. I felt both angry and numb at the same time. When I called one of her closest friends she said 'I knew that she would pull something to ruin your vacation'.

However she didn't count on what happened next, which surprised us both. They ordered a chest x-ray, followed by a CT scan. When the head nurse wanted to see me in the hallway, I knew that it wasn't good news. There was a mass that showed up on her x-ray and CT scan in her right lung. The needle biopsy was eventually done on the mass on her neck and proved to be large cell lymphoma - a very aggressive cancer. Upon speaking with various doctors, I was told that it's also in her adrenal glands and in multiple spots in her liver. Her prognosis isn't good. One doctor said that it's late stage cancer and suggested hospice. However her Oncologist suggested chemo. He told me that it won't cure her, but it MAY buy her some time. She decided to try chemo.

I knew that she appointed me her medical power of attorney about five years ago. Despite how she's treated me, she knew that I would do the right thing regarding her medical care. I've been down this road since I was 18 and my own mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. So I became well versed on the subject, out of necessity and have learned what questions to ask. She knew that I would be better able to handle this over my DH, and she probably thought that my SIL would tell them to pull the plug if she thought her mother even had a cavity!

She was in the hospital for exactly two weeks and received her first chemo treatment. I suggested an after care facility to her case manager at the hospital, with physical therapy, in an attempt to get her back up on her feet. I then got her docs on board with the idea, and got the ball rolling. I spent two weeks talking to case managers, meeting with various doctors almost daily, spending hours on the phone dealing with all of this, touring rehab places, and visiting her. My compassion did kick in, and I tried to do the best thing - for her. She tried to fight me on the after care facility with physical therapy, but since I had the docs with me - she was going to go.

You would probably think that after all of the verbal and emotional abuse this woman dished out, that I would place her in the nastiest place I could find - I didn't. I chose a nice rehab facility that was clean, beautiful, and with a very caring staff. However nothing is ever easy, and I was told that they wouldn't accept her because she was on chemo. I spent an entire afternoon on the phone fighting to get her in there. The case manager from the hospital was not helpful, so I went over her head and called the administrator of the rehab directly and gave it my best shot. They had some misinformation regarding her chemo schedule and the medications given to her for the first five days after her treatment. Numerous phone calls later, the administrator called me back and told me that I got her in. When I got to the hospital the case manager told me that one of the hospital docs wanted her to go to a different facility because he was on staff there. By this point my patience was pushed and I told her that I really don't care where HE wants her to go! Followed by 'I toured that other place and it's disgusting - I wouldn't even let my cats go there'. She didn't seem to appreciate my honesty. When we went to visit my MIL, my DH told her that she should thank me because I spent HOURS fighting to get her in there. She said...nothing!

She was transferred there last week and is getting physical therapy, and NOT very happy about it. The initial shock of her diagnosis has worn off, and she's back to her nasty self. My SIL is coming in for 13 days to see her mother, and then going back to California - leaving us to deal with this, despite the fact that she's NOT working all summer! Some things NEVER change! This is only PART of the story, and to be honest, I feel burnt out and DONE with this mess for today. I'll get into the rest in a day or two - I just don't have it in me now. I'm trying to figure out the best way for my husband and myself to deal with all of this, without it consuming our lives! I'm going to approach this like I'm managing her care - from a slight distance, since I'm hearing that she's complaining about us - yet again. I'm working on managing her care without neglecting myself! I'll keep you posted.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ISLANDGIRL2013 6/21/2010 9:03AM

    You are a good and honorable person.
Kudos to you for not sinking to her level.

Think of all the good Karma you're creating in this world!

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MEOWMAMA3 6/12/2010 2:17PM

    The leopard ain't changin' her spots. Don't expect her to. You've been pretty damn wonderful to her, Rick knows this and you do...that's all that matters. Stay focused on your mental and physical well-being now. emoticon

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TRAVELNISTA 6/10/2010 3:18PM

    You are a saint is all I can say. emoticon emoticon

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RASTUS55 6/10/2010 1:52PM

    I know your trying to spare her feelings but maybe she needs to be told that it just might be the perfect time to take God into her heart to help her handle the rest of her life decent and less hateful! I am sorry but she has been a hateful and evil women and just because she has this condition doesn't make her less vial. Maybe her Karma has finally caught up with her! Doreen....Don't lose yourself or your hubby in this ordeal she is drawing you into. I swear she would play this evil act of hers to her last breath! Hang in there...you know where to find me!!

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SHAKENMA 6/9/2010 9:16PM

    I feel that you should tell them (family)you need help with this. You shouldn't have to shoulder all of this. Good Luck!

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DIFROMWYOMING 6/9/2010 8:41PM

    You are a wonderful person and I admire you for hanging in there.
But make sure you take care of YOU and your husband during all this manipulation and upheaval. The whole situation sucks and I know you're handing this the best way you can.
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MT-MOONCHASER 6/9/2010 8:35PM

    Good luck with this tribulation...

It sounds like you went above and beyond.
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BUCKHOLDT 6/9/2010 6:26PM

    My two cents.
You are great.
People abuse those they can get away with abusing. I think it is a form of venting. They don't know how to vent. Try to get her to say what she feels (if you want to).
Talk to your husband.

Do what you can to cultivate friendship and collaboration. If others get involved your load will be lighter.

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NGCHILD 6/9/2010 1:49PM

    You are Rick are your priority. It's nice that you are helping her .... you are doing more than I would do. I'm here if you need to vent!!

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PMFISH 6/9/2010 12:54PM

    Not unusual when things of this nature happen. The nicest person gets s*it on if you allow it. I allowed it to the point I got cancer myself back in the 1980s. Decided then no one was important enough to wreck my health. Speak up and tell her daughter she need to be more help. Tell your MIL if she is not satisfied with your care, she should have her daughter manage her health care. Learn from my mistake, that cancer and treatments have effected me up until this day. My life quality has gone down hill for the last 25 years and this is not what I imaged my "golden years" would be like.

I still have much to be thankful for and am, but if I had stood up for myself, stayed healthy it would have been much different.
I feel your pain and sorry you are being faced with this. Trying to be the best wife, good DIL and great person does not mean putting yourself in danger. Talk to hubby, after all it's his MOM.

Hang in there!!

Pat


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TAKINGCAREOFKIM 6/9/2010 11:53AM

    Yes, do take care of you and hubby. You have done a good job and done all you can. She is in a good facility, lovingly chosen by you after lots of work so if she cannot appreciate that, it is her loss. She has lost out on a lot of great opportunities with you across the years, this is just another. Keep your chin up, I'll be praying for you!!

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NOTABOUTHEFACE 6/9/2010 11:35AM

    *Biting my tongue*

Take care of YOURSELF. That's all I gotta say about dat.
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Thoughts of diving headfirst into a vat of chocolate!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

This is the first I've been on Spark in about 2 weeks and thoughts of diving into a vat of chocolate are swimming through my head! I AM only kidding - kind of. The last two weeks have been pretty terrible and I will write a more detailed blog in a day or so and really explain everything, but for now here is the condensed version. As my friends know, my MIL has been a thorn in my side for almost 27 years and I recently limited my contact with her out of self preservation. However something happened exactly 2 weeks ago that caught my DH and myself off-guard. She was diagnosed with a VERY aggressive type of cancer and her prognosis is not good. Despite the abusive way she's treated me, she knows me well enough to be certain that I will do the right thing regarding her medical care, so she appointed me her medical power of attorney. And since there seems to be something 'off' with her mental clarity recently, I did step in and take charge of her care. For those of you that know how she's treated me, you're probably thinking that I would be tempted to pull the plug if she had an ingrown toenail - but I'm a do the right thing kind of girl.

I've spent the last two weeks meeting with various doctors and case managers, making numerous phone calls daily, touring after-care facilities, as well as being at the hospital almost every day to see her and talk to her Oncologist. I've felt as if I've been on automatic pilot for two weeks now and I feel totally drained. My reminder to take care of myself came in the form of a migraine early yesterday morning. I have a tendency to put my own needs NOT at the top of my priority list when something like this happens, and I need to change that NOW! So tomorrow morning I WILL be back on my bike for an early morning ride, followed by my usual healthy breakfast. I will jump back into Spark with both feet once I can get a handle on of all of these balls I'm trying to juggle. So as temping as that vat of chocolate seems when I'm feeling stressed, it's not worth ruining all of the hard work I've done so far!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHYGETSFIT 6/7/2010 4:32PM

    Oh my gosh Doreen! I do know that you are the "do the right thing" kind of person! But why is it your responsibility to do this and why would she appoint you as her medical power of attorney? Your MIL and her daughter are two of a kind and don't understand why she isn't in charge?! It seems to me that she would want her own daughter to be in charge unless she's afraid her daughter won't do the right thing?! At any rate, I hope that you do take the time to take care of yourself!

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Cathy

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RASTUS55 6/6/2010 11:26AM

    You are the kindest and the most unselfish person I have ever met in my entire life! God is working through you in so many ways. I know how your MIL is such a thorn in your side but yet I am not shocked at you being the first to come to her rescue. That is why I love you so much my friend!! Maybe this will help your MIL come to grips with her wicked ways and give her a chance to redeem herself. Sometimes it takes a horrible wake up call like this one to bring the obvious into clear view for people like her. I would never wish cancer on anyone at all but I just hope she asks for forgiveness for all she has done and take the Lord into her heart! God bless you sweet girl!! Don't forget about yourself although I know how you are!! I am here for you ALWAYS!!
Ruth emoticon

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TRAVELNISTA 6/5/2010 8:56PM

    Wow talk about coming out of left field. I know you will do the right thing because that is the kind of gal you are. I just hope she finally starts to show the respect you deserve. She really must think more of you than she lets show. She gave medical power of attorney over her daughter. That my friend says alot.

May God be with you because I know she will make your life a living hell. emoticon emoticon

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DIFROMWYOMING 6/5/2010 10:31AM

    Oh Doreen I'm so sorry to hear about your troubles! Of course you would do the right thing by your MIL, anyone who knew you at all would have known that. Your true spirit always shines through, and it obviously did to her, too. I am glad you are going to take a little time every day for you, to keep yourself strong and rejuvenated. You are always in my thoughts. Hugs, Di

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FLYINGB16 6/5/2010 7:54AM

    Wow, I am so sorry to hear about all of this. Talk about mixed emotions. Of course you will/are doing the right thing. I do understand how difficult this is for you since my situation with my MIL is similar. Please know my heart and prayers go out to you and your family as you navigate this stressful and sad time.

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Bonnie

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MEOWMAMA3 6/4/2010 11:12PM

    Wow Doreen, this is a real humdinger of a turn. Where is the daughter in all this? What about Rick? Men are usually no good at these situations, but don't try to shoulder it all yourself. You are a real rock for your family. You will get through this and be much stronger. Work it out or just let it all go while you're out on your bike rides. Play with your kitties to relax. We're here for you in Sparkland if you need us.
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ANITAWPG 6/4/2010 12:50PM

    So sorry to hear this.

It will be hard for you, however, after reading your blogs for the past months, if anyone can put aside their feelings for the toxic witch, it will be you. I know you will make the right decisions for her medically, and at some point when it does become time to stop all but "keep her comfortable measures" I am sure you will judge the timing of that carefully and only make the decision when it is appropriate.

as for the vat of chocolate - you actually can dive into it head first - you just have to keep your mouth closed. But you can relax and soak in the chocolate all you want

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TAKINGCAREOFKIM 6/4/2010 12:00PM

    I figured there was something major going on. I am sorry to hear this but know you are gracious in your willingness to put all the negativity in this relationship aside and do the right thing to help her. I will be praying for you all. Know that you are loved and we have all missed you! Take care!

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NGCHILD 6/4/2010 11:36AM

    Oh gosh Doreen -- you are a trooper to say the least. You are such a great person. Rick is a lucky man.

I am here if you need to vent, cry, spit, or unwrap your chocolate!

LOL

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Comment edited on: 6/4/2010 11:36:41 AM

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NOTABOUTHEFACE 6/4/2010 7:21AM

    Okay, I'm commenting again. Where is her darling daughter in all of this?? I hope she's planning on coming over to live with/take care of her for awhile after treatment. Did she say anything about her putting you in charge of her care or is she relieved because she feels it negates her of any responsibility for her?

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JERSEYGIRL1950 6/4/2010 4:23AM

    Wow Darlene ,,,what a story ,this is the lst thing I were of thought of reading your blog....this will be a doosy of emotions for you,,,be strong girl,,I know exactly what your going through sounds like my last few months...don't let this take away from all the work you have done on yourself,,even though there will be times where you feel there are pieces of you all over the place...Big Hugs

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PONYFARMER 6/4/2010 1:46AM

    You are a much more giving and caring person than a majority of people. That being said, you have to take care of yourself first or you cannot be there for her for long. So, take care of yourself.

Keep you in my prayers. You are at least thinking enough to know that the dive into chocolate is so not the way to go. Good for you for not taking that route to making yourself feel better.

THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

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TNLONGHORN 6/3/2010 11:24PM

    Keep your head up, Darlene. Sometimes, you'll laugh to keep from crying.

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MT-MOONCHASER 6/3/2010 11:17PM

    WOW!!!
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Just when you thought you'd get some relief from the evil MIL this has to happen...

I guess it is really a back-handed compliment that she trusts you the most with her medical care decisions. Make those decisions like you were making them for a cherished loved one so that you won't have any regrets in the future. (I know that you already have been doing that, just keep on with this course of action.)

I don't envy you for what the next weeks/months will bring you, but just keep on as well as you can with your Sparking and if ever you need to give out a good primal scream, you know where to come.

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p.s. -- Watch out for the back stabbing SIL.

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WINGSOFCHANGE 6/3/2010 11:15PM

    She wanted to try chemo, so Hospice isn't a consideration - YET. However I did meet with them to get the info. The chemo MAY buy her some time, but the prognosis is bleak. Without chemo - maybe ONE month or two. With chemo, IF it works, IF she can handle multiple rounds (which her docs doubt), it MAY buy her six months or so. She has slipped mentally in the last two weeks in a big way, but she wanted to try chemo. Since it IS her life, it's her decision. The after care place is to try and get her back up on her feet with some physical therapy, and to give me a chance to get home health in place and get her house ready for her 'new' needs. We're taking it one day at a time.

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NOTABOUTHEFACE 6/3/2010 11:01PM

    Chocolate won't help but you know that. ;) Just try the best you can to get through this and know we're here if you need someone to lean on. So the after care places, is that hospice or does that mean a place to go after her treatment to recover?

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I just got the drive-by bitch-slap!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I'm sitting here feeling hurt, stung, and ticked off! I will NEVER understand how someone can hurt another person on purpose! Writing this blog is my way of blowing off steam and getting this out of my head... or at least trying to. My SIL just called me and gave me what can only be described as a drive-by bitch-slap! She is just like my toxic MIL, only a younger version. Her manner of attack is to catch me off guard by having a normal conversation for a few minutes, and when my guard is down - insult me and quickly get off of the phone before I can even wrap my head around what she just said to me.

Two of her last 'zingers' were: That I'm lucky that I don't have the desire to be perfect! And after changing my hair style she told me that her boyfriend says that's how all overweight middle aged women wear their hair!

The first couple of minutes today were fine, just normal chit chat, but as soon as I relaxed...WHAM! This is how it went:

SIL: My mom actually said that you looked good.
Me: Well that's surprising.
SIL: Yeah, but I know that she REALLY didn't mean it because of the way she said it and her tone of voice. I asked her WHY she thought that you looked good. If you were wearing a cute top or something?
Me: I really don't care what your mother thinks of how I look!

WHY did she feel SO compelled to call me and repeat that conversation? WHY say such a mean-spirited thing? Before I could gather my thoughts any further, she quickly got off of the phone. I stood there holding the phone, feeling dumbfounded! She was here last month for a 6 day visit. She never once acknowledged that I lost weight or had one positive thing to say to me.

My DH calls the two of them RAPTORS because they always tag-team me with their insults. She refers to herself as 'smokin' hot'! Every time we got together with her, she had to tell us how 'men stare at her constantly everywhere she goes.' Maybe it's because she inflated her boobs to match her inflated ego. She had 960cc implants put in and she looks like she's trying to smuggle a watermelon under her shirt!! They are SO big, that if she ever tripped and fell - her face would never hit the ground!

My first thoughts were to call her back and tell her that what she did was very mean-spirited, but I haven't done it.. yet. Do I want to give her the satisfaction of knowing that she 'zinged' me? On the other hand, do I want to let her get away with bitch-slapping me - yet AGAIN?? Any suggestions on how to deal with this would be appreciated.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOTABOUTHEFACE 5/14/2010 2:08AM

    You know my feelings on both of those b!tches. Cut out all contact with them. The hubby doesn't make it a requirement that you speak to (aka- get demeaned and insulted by them) as a condition to a happy marriage. I don't mean this to sound harsh but by continuing contact knowing what the result will be is like people who gripe about elected officials when you don't vote, ya know? Read some of your old blogs when you were at your happiest. Love ya mama!

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MEOWMAMA3 5/13/2010 8:14PM

    Sorry I missed this one Dor, I say buy the bitch a scratching post and just keep on being fit and fabulous and screw her, her idiot boyfriend and dear old mom. I'm not you, but if I was you I wouldn't speak to them at all and they'd never stay in my home again. In-laws or not. I don't let people into my home that can't respect me. You have too many great things going for you to let this crap get under your skin. They're idiots, plain and simple. Nothing you say or do will ever change that. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CATHYGETSFIT 5/6/2010 7:19PM

    I'd say that your SIL is definitely jealous of you and I believe your MIL is too! Don't give her the pleasure of knowing that her comments hurt you. You need to block those toxic people from calling you ever again. Rip them out of your life altogether. If your DH wants to be in contact with them he can but don't have anymore interactions with them whatsoever. Thankfully your husband knows how mean they are to you and is on your side. Depending upon your provider there is a service available in some areas called Selective Call Rejection. It allows you to input a list of numbers you do not wish to receive calls from. It may be free or for a nominal charge. Other than that I think you can buy a phone that will block certain callers. It would show on your caller ID if you have it and the other side just hears ringing.

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DIFROMWYOMING 5/5/2010 11:24PM

    Tough situation. I'm not sure I would be willing to totally not take calls from family...even toxic family. I do think it is possible to truly not let what they say about you sink in so it hurts. I also think it is possible to learn to call them on their sh*t right then and there...like "why exactly would you think it is appropriate to say something like that to me on the phone?" or "if this is the direction the conversation is going I am going to hang up now and you can call me again another time" and let it go at that. People who are like this do it because they need to do it to make themselves feel better...and also usually because they get away with it. I know you can handle these petty people...you are MUCH stronger than they are. Hang in there! Hugs, Di

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RASTUS55 5/5/2010 9:32PM

    Turn the phone off to all calls from those evil witches....cut off all communication with them because they are just plain rotten to the core! But if you ever get a chance to say anything maybe you could slip in this line before she bitch hangs up...."I may be heavy but I am losing weight....you my dear, on the other hand, have a personality of a rabid dog and only euthanasia is in order for such a condition....find yourself a vet! " LOLOLOL That would put a sock in that ugly pie hole of hers! LOLOL! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MT-MOONCHASER 5/5/2010 9:12PM

    I think Sandy5882 has a great idea if you happen to have a conversation with them. On the other hand I think using caller ID to screen out their calls would be a great idea. Just don't answer when they call...
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SANDY5882 5/5/2010 7:30PM

    My standard response for unwanted, unappreciated, nasty comments is: "Thank you so much for your concern!" What can they say after that? You say this enough times they'll stop because it's getting them nowhere near the satisfaction they are looking for - inflating themselves at your expense. Try this statement a few times and see if they don't back off.

Your new mantra: "Thank you so much for your concern." Over and over and over - after every statement. Never anything else. Believe me, they'll hate it! And you have done absolutely nothing nasty, so they can't even complain about that!
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TRAVELNISTA 5/5/2010 6:53PM

    emoticon Doreen! Everybody pretty much said it all. If you do not want to change your phone number I think there is something the telephone company can do internally to totally block their calls. The calls will not even come through.

Keep the faith!

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TIGGER2908 5/5/2010 5:24PM

    I agree with everyone else - but them out of your life. If your husband wants to maintain a relationship with them (why?), well then, let him. Don't forget, though, that he calls them Raptors. Doesn't sound like a loving son/brother to me. Good riddance.

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MUDMOUSE 5/5/2010 5:06PM

    I had those people in my life. I gave them up in the divorce..

Hang in there - it just plain hurts, doesn't it.

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KIRSTEN 5/5/2010 3:47PM

    Wow, Doreen, sorry you had to go through that. Who needs that crap in their life? My suggestion would be don't even answer the phone when they call, let them leave messages on your phone or answering machine from here on out and your DH can listen to them later when you aren't around. And if they complain about it, too bad. There is absolutely no need for you to talk to them if they can't be nice. Just pretend you are are busy, which is true, you are too busy being a nice human being to talk to those beaches. I mean ladies. I agree that your SIL sounds very insecure (c'mon, giant boob job? really?), and is one of those lovely folks that has to put everyone else down so that she can feel better about herself. You yourself used the word TOXIC. Stay away.

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MRE1956 5/5/2010 3:42PM

    I TOTALLY agree with JERSEYGIRL1950 ..... cut your emotional losses ASAP ...... if hubby has an issue, well, let it be and remain HIS issue ...... does not need to be yours any longer merely on the basis of your saying "I do".....



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DANIELLEG1280 5/5/2010 3:31PM

  Wow, sounds like both your MIL and SIL are extremely jealous of you! Try to ignore them- at least you have your husband's support! emoticon

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PARKERB2 5/5/2010 3:24PM

    I would stay as far away as I possibly could and avoid them like the plague. You have enough going for you to where you don't need that. emoticon

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JERSEYGIRL1950 5/5/2010 3:06PM

    I have one question....is it because of your husband you still acknowledge these two..cause family or not..I would throw them out of my life and cut the cord...you deserve so much better than this Doreen..change your phone number..get hubby a cell and let them call him..and get rid of this toxic waste in your life.

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OZARKMARY 5/5/2010 2:50PM

    Hang in there. They are your cross to bear. I agree with JLGGLASS, they must be pretty insecure to feel the need to talk to you that way. Ignore them as best you can because you only lower yourself to their level when you banter with them. emoticon emoticon

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JLGGLASS 5/5/2010 2:38PM

    TRY TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK AND TELL THEM BOTH TO KISS IT. THEY MUST BE PRETTY INSECURE THEMSELVES. YOU'VE DONE A REALLY GOOD JOB SO FAR, KEEP IT UP.

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