Monday, August 31, 2015

A Trap I Keep Avoiding

In person and over the phone, my mother-in-law has repeatedly changed her tone and reached out with what sounds like sincerity to solicit my confiding in her/father-in-law about difficulties with my wife.

Their daughter.

There are many reasons I avoid this trap.

In no particular order:

1) This is their daughter. Complaining about her is not going to be received well. The information would likely be used against me.

2) Many of my wife's problems stem from the actions of her parents. They don't want to hear that.

3) It wasn't until after we were married and had children that anyone in my wife's family hinted at the fact that she had ongoing mental illness, including multiple suicide attempts. It came in the form of, while my wife was having an episode, her mother suggesting that maybe I should hospitalize her like they had done.

Why would I confide in people who helped  perpetrate a fraud?

4) While very sweet when sober, MIL is a drunk. Anything I tell her is going to come spilling out the next time she has an "angry drunk" stupor.

No, thank you. And that's what I tell her politely: "Thank you."

What I'd like to say is something alone the lines of:

"I've got a mother and a father, thank you. And I pay professionals to listen to me about these matters. After I had to hospitalize your daughter, I asked you and your other children to please share with me any relevant information regarding her history. None of you said a word, even though you had told me, as my wife was sitting at home descending into the madness that would prompt me to hospitalize her, that you had hospitalized her before. Of course, by then, we already had children old enough to forever remember their mother behaving in bizarre and suicidal ways. It would still be years before was able to discern more of the truth, and then another year before she would admit these truths after denying them. Heaven knows what other relevant things I have yet to learn. So while I'm taking care of our children and a woman I thought was going to be my partner in taking care of the kids, and even more so since she was so eager to be a stay-at-home-mother, I have to look after her, too, as though I'm a single father with a special needs teenager in addition to the young kids. I had to move in one of your other children and his wife to help out. So much of my life involves medical and therapeutic appointments and paperwork and bills. And it isn't because of an accident or crime. It is because of things that were entirely foreseeable, and things I had explicitly made clear I didn't want. But hey, as long as someone is compelled by law to take care of your daughter, right?"

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