November 20, 2012

What Do You Call It?

In an effort to not be judgmental, or critical, or rude...I'm asking some questions to make sure I'm not stuck in old patterns and bad habits...

We are visiting my in-laws for Thanksgiving...we're here for another week (5 days already).

And I find myself observing, keeping my mouth shut, listening, trying to help as much as I possibly can.   I know that my MIL has health issues that make it difficult for her to be on her feet for long periods of time, my FIL is hard of hearing.  They are both very set in their ways, and our disruption to their lifestyle is also tough on them.  So I'm trying to make sure that we keep things tidied, neat, picked up, to a very, very dull roar.

It is difficult to keep 3 children quiet without having them watch TV nonstop.  It was beautiful when we arrived - clear skies, dry, sunshine...and when we woke up Friday morning, it was gray, blustery, and it started raining right after breakfast, and it didn't stop until about 5 minutes ago...

I've observed, in light of recent conversations with BB (wherein I was told I was selfish), that my MIL seems to structure every thing around her desires, her tastes, her.

We eat the foods she likes, prepared the way that doesn't upset her tastebuds, served when she is hungry.  We sit at a table positioned so she can watch her favorite shows.  The thermostat is set at a temperature which keeps her comfortable - 63F.

Our holiday meal will be her favorite dishes, prepared the way she enjoys them, served at the time she thinks we should eat.

Normally, not such an issue - she is our hostess.  We are her guests.  I suppose I'm just used to my own mother who plays with the kids, rather than shushing them, who talks to them and finds out what they love, why they love it, and then finds ways to bring those things into her own home, prepares things in new ways, asks what we'd like to have served...

It is hard, and I wonder what occurred in my MIL's life that has caused her to be this way - because BB's grandmother (MIL's mom) is the polar opposite - warm, welcoming, loving, kind, giving...and only gets mocked by the others in the family.

And so I ask, what do you call it when someone acts as my MIL?

For the record, I'm handling it much more gracefully than in past visits...

2 comments:

Penny said...

I call you a saint!! hang in there!

Inkling said...

It's narcissism pure and simple. You can read more about it at this link: http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/. Granted, that link deals more with daughters of mothers who are like that, but I think you may still find it helpful.

Sounds like we both get to have that experience, just in different ways. I'm sorry you had to deal with it, and am super sorry you were told that you were selfish. I can relate, and wish we lived closer so I could just swoop in and take you out for a girl's night.