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Frequent Fry HerTM
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No Ruby 4 Me
Age: 43    MILAge: 63

Blanche DuBois for a MIL

frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 1-NOV-05
My DH comes from a family that is rather vain about appearances, on both his mother's and father's side.  His parents divorced years ago, and both remarried long ago.  His dad is basically an athlete, and being trim is very important to him.  DH used to be athletic, but has become overweight and sedentary over the past decade.  He used to feel pressured to do sports in order to win his father's affection.  FIL was very competitive, even with his own children before they were teenagers.  At the same time, DH enjoyed his sports and liked being fit.  At this point in his life, like so many of us, he let himself go a bit, and he doesn't exactly feel good about it.  One holiday DH was sitting on one of my FIL's expensive velvet-covered but terribly stained, food-encrusted and generally poorly maintained mahogany dining room chairs, when we all heard it crack.  DH shot up, got another less delicate chair, and made an embarrassed, but good-natured joke at his own expense.  FIL chimed in by calling my DH "Dumbo", with a big hearty laugh at his own "charming" wit.  Not even ten minutes later, DH's brother made a comment about my FIL losing hair.  FIL actually cried, right there at the head of his own holiday dinner table.  TEARS.  About losing his HAIR.  It really hurt his vanity to have someone speak aloud of this aspect of what some might consider to be his waning looks.  The thing is, this is the same man who, moments before, called his own son Dumbo????  I know that weight gain is more of a choice, as compared to balding, but still, everyone has FEELINGS!  And, you'd think that you could count on your own father NOT to make fun of your flaws, or carelessly risk hurting your feelings in front of a room full of people!  Ugh!

        Signed - Mrs. Dumbo

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 28-FEB-05
Last year, we planned our DD's 10th birthday party the weekend before her birthday.  We let my SIL know - her two DDs are close in age to mine, and they have always been included in our birthday plans.  She told us that she wouldn't be able to bring the girls, due to a party at their athletic club that the girls were already planning to attend.  My eldest niece is a prodigy in her sport, and I understand that their sports-related events are more important than they would be to most.  So, when it came time to mail the invitations, I didn't bother to mail one to them - they already had let me know that they wouldn't be able to come.  Would you believe that SIL was upset that they didn't get one anyway?  She didn't remember that we'd asked her at first.  Anyway, that was last year.  This year, I tried to plan an extra-special something for DD, because she is undergoing some medical stuff.  When I reminded her to invite her two cousins, she grew a little somber and wanted to change the plans that we'd concocted.  When I asked why, she told me that it was because the girls (whom I've written about in Frequent-Fry-Her before - they are sometimes quite mean to my DD) might make fun of her party plans, or would brag about how things are so much nicer/better in the "city" (they live a very sophisticated urban life, while we're your pretty average suburbanites), etc.  I so wanted this to be a special birthday for DD.  I said not to worry, that I'd throw another family party so that she could keep her plans for the friend's party and still include her cousins in another party.  I also extended all the invitations to my BIL and his two little boys, and to other friends with boys who were not included in the big-girl party.  And, of course, to my SIL.  SIL informed me that the athletic club party is a standing party, and could we move my DD's party to the next weekend (which is MY birthday weekend).  I told her we couldn't, but she let us know that she will never be available for my DD's parties unless they don't conflict with this other thing that they want to do every year.  My feeling is that the girls are young, there are only a few parties left before they're grown, and that we shouldn't have to plan our once-a-year birthday parties around their social calendar.  Soon the girls will be too old for these parties, and then my nieces can go to the rest of their social/athletic club parties for decades to come.  I am trying not to be steamed, but truth is I am.  Now, I'm throwing two parties instead of one, which is costing us more than we had budgeted for this event, only to be told that attending our event is not their priority.  It was MY priority to include my nieces at all costs, even though they aren't even always very nice to my DD.  The thing that really makes this annoying is that my SIL is very much the type who is very upset and lets you know it if you should decline any invitation that SHE extends.  Heaven forbid I should want to spend a holiday with my own blood relatives - she seems to think that she OWNS every major holiday, and she let's everyone know it!

        Signed - Annoyed, Again

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 7-NOV-04
I'm curious as to what you all think about a parenting choice that my SIL and BIL made with respect to my niece (DN).  DN is a truly gifted athlete.  She's 11 now, and has been competing in tournaments for her sport for at least 4 years.  She has often beaten older, more seasoned young players, and is considered by many pros in her sports circle to be the most promising player in the field, in her time.  She is a prodigy in the true sense of the word.  She has played in other countries, and has been offered sponsorships, etc.  Most recently, my SIL and BIL sent her, an 11-year-old girl, alone on a plane to Europe.  She will compete there under the guidance of a professional coach who invited her to do so.  She is staying with this man and, I believe, his family.  I think that he has a wife and possibly older children.  My ILs are barely acquainted with this man and his family.  Though I'm sure that the situation is most likely fine, I personally believe that, where your child is concerned, you always assume the protective position.  I don't mean that a parent shouldn't let their child play on the swings or toss a football because they might get hurt; I mean that the degree of the potential downside of some risks makes it wisest not to take them.  I suppose that when a child has such a special gift, the parents would want to give that child every opportunity to make it possible for the child to achieve the highest levels of greatness that she can possibly achieve.  My DN certainly seems to enjoy competing, and they do consult her on her feelings.  I'm sure SIL and BIL must face decisions that most parents can't imagine because of the special talent their child possesses.  I respect that, and don't mean to judge them for wanting all doors to be open for their daughter's very unique, exceptional situation.  Still, they have built what by most people's standards is a very wealthy, luxurious lifestyle on a very high family income for at least a few of the past several years.  Things have been tighter for them lately (though they still have considerably more than most people), but I can't help feeling that if I were in their position, I would have scraped the money together to go to Europe with my kid, or I'd have paid for a trusted adult relative or close friend to accompany her, rather than send her to fly alone at only 11 years old.  I feel particularly strongly about this, since we are at times of heightened terrorism alerts.  By the way, I freely admit that I am jealous of their wealth.  I am not proud of this.  They work hard for their money, and they earned it without anyone's help.  Pangs of envy aside, I respect that, sincerely and profoundly, and in my heart I am glad that they've enjoyed a successful and comfortable life.  They have it because they made it happen.  Still, I feel that 11 is awfully young for a girl to be traveling across the ocean without an older family member there to watch over her.

        Signed - Is It Me?

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 16-APR-04
I just reserved a date at our church to renew our wedding vows in celebration of our 15th wedding anniversary!  I can tell you that not long ago I would not have been able to imagine getting to a place in my relationship with DH where I could picture doing this, no less WANTING, eagerly, to do it!  DH and I still do not have a perfect relationship by any means, but we have learned to nurture it, and each other, in ways that we never imagined.  I am so happy that we managed to keep our family together.  If we didn't have our DD, I don't think that I would have hung in so long, but I am so glad now that I did!  DH, DD and I have all been spared the heartbreak of a failed marriage and broken family.  We have forged new bonds, better ones than ever, based on the devotion and commitment that we have shown one another in working through our problems.  When we renew our vows, it will be a very quiet, intimate, personal affair.  It is all about the words and feelings that will pass between DH and me, and the renewed promises that we plan to make.  We absolutely do NOT want gifts - this is a spiritual event, not a bash.  We may have brunch out after, but if we do, it is not meant to be any kind of reception, just a way of celebrating our joy.  In fact, we may not invite anyone besides our DD and my cousin, who lives with us and is really part of our immediate family now.  Still, in my heart I would like to have friends come witness this moment in our lives, a couple who stood by us in hard times, made sacrifices, and took chances in the name of helping us get back on our feet.  I would wish to have my DH's siblings attend as well, but once we get into inviting family, we run certain risks.  I fear that what is supposed to be a very special moment, one that is ONLY about DH and me (and naturally, our child, since what is about us is also about her), will become tainted with other people's "suggestions" and agendas.  For example, I don't want to hear from other relatives that they were upset at not being "invited".  This is not meant to be that kind of thing.  We would like a few loved ones to bear witness to the quiet exchange of our new vows, that's all.  I am very happy with the idea of just the four of us and our close friends, that one family, but DH feels funny about having any friends there without at least asking his siblings.  Asking the siblings is pretty sure to open the floodgates, though, and if anything happens to ruin this very special and hard-earned, intimate moment in our life, it will break my heart.  By the way, my fears are based on the fact that I let my in-laws interfere and make demands concerning what they wanted for our wedding day 15 years ago.  They meant well, but the result was that I made concessions at the time to please them.  I do not regret that, but it is very important to me this time to have things just as I want them.  Any suggestions on how to handle this?

        Signed - Wants Loving Witnesses On A Spiritual Occasion, Not Disgruntled "Guests" At A Party

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 24-MAR-04
Want to have your mind blown?  This is part of my Frequent Fry Her series of stories.  It's about my FIL.  I mentioned in a story that I posted on May 28, 2003 that FIL has to put DH down despite the fact that DH has been trying to overcome a period of tremendous emotional difficulty in his life.  DH continues to do remarkably well, in fact (such gratefulness for that).  The point of that post was that FIL doesn't understand that criticism weakens, and kindness strengthens.  This failure has been a pattern in his life and his relationships, including with his children.  So, to get on with the mind-blowing part, his youngest daughter is in the Peace Corps.  She is finishing up her Master's degree, and has focused her life on helping oppressed people, in particular, helping abused women.  This comes directly from having grown up in a home with a father who was full of constant criticism, put-downs and ridicule.  He had a violent temper, was neglectful and showed complete selfishness.  In the past two years SIL has cut ties with her father, my FIL.  This is because she believes that if she is going to dedicate her life to taking a stand against abuse, she must live by her values in her own life.  She believes that you must cast abusers from your life if you want to be healthy and whole.  This is what she has done with FIL.  Mind you, she is cordial to him if she sees him, but she does not engage him.  She has no plans for any communication with him, if that communication can be avoided.  Ironically, FIL has been coming to DH for advice about the situation with SIL.  DH has gently tried to tell him that he has to be willing to hear and accept what SIL has to say about how she feels that FIL has harmed her, and that he has to be willing to accept her reality and apologize for the hurt that she feels he inflicted on her.  How did this play out?  FIL wrote a letter to SIL, who is on another continent, and told her that he feels their relationship was doomed because he didn't really want another child, but felt that he owed it to his second wife to let her have one.  He also said that he feels that, since she was breast-fed, he didn't have a chance to properly bond with her the way he did with his other 3 kids from the prior marriage.  They all have problems with him, so that bottle-bonding doesn't seem to have made much difference.  He also warned SIL that, one day, when he is on his deathbed, she may regret not having made amends with him, and he is worried about that for her.  Can you believe that this was the approach of a man who claimed to want to reconcile his relationship with his daughter?  Not only did he do the exact opposite of what my DH, at his request, advised him, but he managed to say more hurtful and abusive things to SIL in the guise of making amends.  Puke.  DH has been freshly injured by this situation, because he is appalled that his father disregarded his loving advice.  And, worse, he turned around and inflicted more emotional injury on his baby sister.  He was feeling peaceful towards his dad, but this has ripped the scabs off old wounds.  Sigh.

        Signed - Absolutely Repulsed By the Breast-Feeding Excuse

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 9-JAN-04
OPINIONS REQUESTED.  The scenario is this:  Two sisters, ages 11 and 10, and their cousin, age ten-and-a-half, spend a week together at the sisters' house.  They also have a 3 year old brother.  Cousin is an only child.  She loves staying at their house and being around her cousins.  From ages 1 to about 6, cousin used to be closest with sister1 (the 11 year old).  However, sister1 is truly excessively bossy, and even sneaky, and used to insist on games that would leave sister2 out or would always give her the starring role, leaving cousin and sister2 the supporting cast, at best.  The last straw was when cousin had a dance recital and reception to which the sisters and family were invited, and sister1 hocked her from the moment she arrived, BEFORE we even got to the recital, that it would be HER turn to wear the recital costume as soon as the recital was over (cousin's mother put a stop to THAT, though) proceeding to attempt to seize any opportunity to try to assume the limelight from cousin.  Cousin had been to sister1's recital not long before, and never even thought to ask to wear her costumes or try to steal the attention.  She was so devastated that sister1 would do this to HER on HER big day.  Cousin, who once idolized sister1, began to gravitate towards a closer relationship with sister2.  Usually, when cousin spends a couple of days or so at their house, sister1 has been away at camp or has had other plans.  Sister1 is a gifted athlete and often travels to be in competitive tournaments.  The last time cousin spent time at their home, however, sister1 remained at home, too.  Sister1 seized the opportunity to rally sister2 to her side, basically, to tease, poke, push, even kick cousin, all repeatedly, to wake her up when she was asleep to make fun of her, and even to try to get little brother to hit cousin, too.  The three-year-old actually refused, bless his heart.  Sister2 was so thrilled to have sister1's attention and favor that she was easily manipulated into the role of sister1's partner in nastiness.  The opinion I seek is this:  I know that kids can be cruel, but is this behavior within the "normal" boundaries of kids just being kids?  Do 11 and 10 year old cousins hit and kick each other and try to get their younger siblings to do the same?  I am the mother of an only child ("cousin" is my DD, as you may have noticed), and my brother was 11 years older than me, so I am honestly not sure how siblings might act or team up together among other kids their age.  The other part of the scenario is how much to push the issue with aunt, the mom of the sisters.  She is my SIL, of course - DH's sister.  If I were her, I would WANT to know all of what happened, because I would want to speak to my child and take a strong hand to steer her towards kinder, better behavior.  However, when I told SIL only one small piece of what went on, she became VERY defensive, suggesting that sister1 is always left out by cousin, and may have been acting out of that frustration.  SIL seems to have TOTALLY forgotten that my DD used to worship sister1, but that sister1's abuses towards both DD and sister2 finally turned my DD towards being closer with sister2.  In case you're wondering why neither SIL nor BIL intervened on these antics, sister1 is always very sure to do her deeds when the adults are not likely to notice.  Not only that, but it is VERY clear that SIL and BIL, who of course can't be totally blind to all of this, tend to turn away from these things and blow them off rather than have to engage the difficult work of disciplining their children.  At gatherings, they are MUCH more interested in socializing and their own good time (even when the kids are doing what they've been told by the hosts not to do, are getting rowdy and demanding attention - the sisters often burst into a room and shout over the adults, who are in mid-conversation, literally to yell, "PEOPLE, I need your attention!").  They then want to put on a show or sing a song, which is often cute in many ways.  But, the way they feel free to demand notice from the adults when and where they want, at any time, comes across as very bratty and rude.  I can't imagine that the parents ever try to redirect this behavior, as it happens every time there is a family event.  The last time they put on a "show", it was an abbreviated musical.  It was clearly orchestrated by sister1, who of course, was the lead.  Both sisters sung a total of maybe 5 solos between them.  Cousin seemed to be more of a background character, no lines, and only sang when the three sang together.  Don't get me wrong - cousin was quite happy just being in the show.  And, in the end, that's what really counts.  Still, SIL commented to me that she wasn't sure what part cousin - my DD - seemed to be playing.  I couldn't help myself.  I said that I thought it must be the part of a deaf-mute!

        Signed - Kids Being Kids, Or Kids In Need Of Discipline?

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 23-DEC-03
I started out with MIL with an open and willing heart.  When we met 15 years ago, we were comfortable with one another right away, chatting like old girlfriends.  After marrying her DS, I would call my MIL at least once a week, just to chat.  We were pretty close, and I was so happy about it.  Of course, this could not last.  Once I had married her son, I was doomed to slowly become an easy target for whatever frustrations she may have had in her relationship with her son.  Over the course of over 10 years, my relationship with MIL disintegrated to virtually nothing worth having.  Since the last time MIL visited us in our home, about three summers ago, I have ceased to call MIL for any reason, and she me.  At that time, she said nasty things about my DH and me to my DD, who was only 7 at the time.  It was, for me, the last straw.  Following that incident, the only contact that we've had has been when she called for DH, and I happened to answer the phone.  After this time, MIL was aware, through the family grapevine and through occasional update calls with DH, that we were having extraordinarily hard times.  Even with the distance between us, she managed to get across her perception that I was to blame for any failures on DH's part.  Barf.  Anyway, this Thanksgiving, on a whim, I had the surprising impulse to call MIL and wish her a happy Thanksgiving.  DH and I have come so far, and our lives are so much better now, that I guess I just wanted to take this hard part of my heart, the one with MIL's name on it, and gently let it soften.  Well, MIL was so thrilled.  She actually made mention of the fact that she knows that she has been defensive of her children, and that she has, at times when they've struggled, tended to wrongly blame others.  She also said that she realizes I'm well-suited to DH, and she's glad he has me.  This is the closest thing to an apology that I have ever heard MIL give ANYONE.  It felt very good.  Mind you, I didn't delude myself into thinking that MIL wouldn't turn on me again in a heartbeat.  But, it was still nice, this once, to hear her admit that she had wronged me.  I'm sure I won't be calling MIL again any time soon, but I'm glad that I did on this Thanksgiving.

        Signed - Thankful on Thanksgiving For A Rare Moment of Fair Play

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me
Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 2-NOV-03
Suggestions welcome!  My DD spent a week at my SIL's recently.  SIL's two girl cousins are 14 months apart, and DD is roughly in the middle of them in age - all are around 10 years old.  My nieces have a brother, who is about 3.  In recent years, DD was closest to the younger of the two girls, who is in her same school grade, whereas the other sister is a year ahead of them.  This is the third summer in a row that DD has spent a week at SIL's, but this is the first time that my older niece has not been away at camp.  Long ago, when the girls were around 5 and 6, my DD was closer to the elder sister, who I will call DNC1 (dear niece 1).  DNC1 has always been a bit overbearing and demanding of attention, honestly, since she was a toddler.  Even at that age, DH and I observed that DNC1 often was manipulative, bossy and intimidating in her treatment of my DD.  DNC1 would try to get DD to do her bidding in their "games", purposely making DNC2 (her younger sister) the "bad guy", the "baby", or leaving DNC2 out of their play entirely.  DNC2 would just go off and do her own thing.  As my DD got a little older, she began to resent DNC1's bossiness, and gravitated more towards DNC2.  It has been that way since.  For the past three summers DD has been invited to spend a week with SIL.  Usually DNC1 is away at camp during the visit.  DD and DNC2 get along fine.  They also play nicely with little DNP (dear nephew).  This year DNC2 didn't go to camp, and the week was very rough for my DD.  DNC2 continually solicited DNC1 to join in with her to tease my DD, push her, and once, even to kick her.  DNC2 was so happy to have her sister's favor and to NOT be the one being victimized by her older sister that she pretty readily went along with it.  She actually remarked to DD that she and her sister got closer during DD's visit, which seemed to be something that she had longed for.  All of this coincides with patterns of their younger years, where DNC1 tried to recruit my DD to leave DNC2 out.  Other nasty things happened.  My DD told me that she confided her crushes to her cousins, who then used this to wake DD up from a sound nighttime sleep to tease her, claiming that DD had been talking about these crushes in her sleep.  DNC1 and DNC2 apparently go to bed whenever they choose.  They sleep on a different floor from their parents.  My DD is used to going to bed at 9:30 or 10 PM during summer, which I think is late enough at this age.  She didn't really want to stay up until 11pm or midnight every night, so after a day or two she tried to go to sleep earlier than the girls.  Apparently, this bugged them.  During the visit, after they teased my DD, and she had to ask them to stop because it hurt her feelings, they made sure to tell my DD, "You're not the nicest person in the world, you know."  At one point DNC1 and DNC2 were sneaking up behind their little brother and giving him "nookies" when he wasn't noticing them.  Then, said that it was my DD who was giving the nookies.  They used this to coax him to kick her in retaliation.  Bless his little soul, he refused.  Apparently, he was more intuitive about right and wrong than his big sisters.  Also, DNC2 confronted my DD with the fact that she seems to like DNC1 better than her.  Though this is true, DD tried to be polite, as much as one can expect from a young girl.  DD simply insisted that they are both her cousins and she loves them both.  DD then asked DNC2 if DNC2 liked HER.  DNC2 said, "Well, you're my cousin.  I guess I have to."  DD pressed on and asked, "If you weren't my cousin, would you like me?"  DNC2 said, "As a person, no."  In short, very mean stuff.  DD did NOT speak to my SIL or their mom about any of this, because they kept accusing her of being a tattletale.  She called DH and me at our offices a couple of times after being upset by DNC1 and DNC2.  But, the worst stuff came out only later.  I had encouraged DD to just go in another room to read a book, watch TV, whatever, and to try to work it out with her cousins.  But, if she really wanted to come home, DH or I would come bring her home.  I knew it would probably cause a family feud if this happened, and I wanted DD to try to work it out in her own way if possible, with my support.  After the visit, we talked it all over with DD.  We asked her if she wanted us to talk to SIL.  She said that she'd prefer it if the only thing that we mentioned was the comment that DNC2 made about not liking her as a person.  I told DD that her father and I would consider her feelings about it, but that we would have to decide, ultimately, how to handle it.  I did confront SIL about it - but only the comment about DNC1 not liking my DD as a person.  To my astonished hurt and anger, SIL's position is that my DD must have provoked DNC1 in some way for her to have said such a thing.  Yes, it's true that DD and DNC2 have left DNC1 out when they've all been together, but that has evolved from a history where DNC1 was so bullying, both to DD and her own younger sister that DD couldn't take the meanness anymore, and gravitated away from DNC2 to DNC1.  I am very tempted to tell SIL about all the other things that the girls did to my DD during this visit, but I know that this has the potential to create a rift not only between the adults, but the children, as well.  At the same time, I feel that DNC2 has some very serious issues that concern me as her aunt, issues that I feel her parents choose to remain blind to.  DNC2 is still only a young girl, and it hurts me to see her become so attention-seeking, mean-spirited, sneaky, underhanded, etc., without any constructive intervention from her parents, who should be dealing with this and helping her to find better ways to relate better with others, and to better handle her own feelings.  Mind you, SIL once felt free to suggest that MY DD should see a counselor because she was hesitant to sleep in their basement with her cousins.  To me, my DD's incident of basement fear pales in comparison as a matter for professional intervention to DNC2's long history of bullying, manipulative ways.  SIL AND her husband are very quick to find fault with other parents and their children, while remaining willfully blind to their own family imperfections.  DH and I have agreed that there will be no more sleepovers that last for more than two nights in a row.  After this visit, even DD said that she thinks a week is too long for a visit with both girls.  Still, the issue remains that part of me feels that my SIL and BIL should hear the full details of how my DD was treated at the hands of their daughters so that they can, perhaps, face and deal with the truly disturbing behavior that seems to be evolving on the parts of my nieces.  Note that DNC2 has said and done other mean things over the years, which have, at times, been responsibly acknowledged by SIL and BIL.  This time, SIL's response was that DNC2 "doesn't have a mean bone in her body".  This shocked me, because it contradicted past situations, and there was even one time a couple of years ago when SIL confided to me that she was worried about the fact that DNC2 can be very mean sometimes.  Apparently, she has totally forgotten this, and has revised history.  It is clear that she doesn't remember these things.  The blatant withdrawal into denial by both parents in this situation shocks and frightens me.  So, again, my dilemma is:  Do I speak out and risk alienating our two families, which would not only probably filter out to the extended family, but will surely hurt the children and their chances for fondness and closeness as cousins, or do I remain silent for the sake of family peace, in spite of the fact that it would probably be a good thing for SOMEONE to try to help them realize that DNC2 may have some serious problems evolving?  Forget talking to the family elders in this case; my MIL and my FIL are less mature, objective and constructive than the kids.  DH and I are trying to talk it all out together to figure out what to do, but I'd sure like to hear what others on the "outside" might have to say.  Thanks!

        Signed - In A Terrible Dilemma

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me
Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 23-OCT-03
OK, this is petty minutia, but it is a pet peeve of mine, nonetheless.  SIL called today, and I answered the phone.  She immediately said, "Hi, is DH (her brother) home?", without another personal word to me.  She used to do this quite often in the early years of my marriage - call my home and then dismiss me without the courtesy of a simple "how are you?"  MIL has a habit, too, of sometimes calling and directly asking for her son, as though I were a stranger.  There has NEVER been emergency news following these thoughtless calls.  SIL and MIL just, in that moment, couldn't be bothered with me or any courtesy that I might deserve.  This phone thing has always irked me.  What does it take to say, "Hi, I wish we could chat, but I wanted to talk to (DH) right now, and we will talk another time."  Anyway, when SIL did this today I didn't even say, "OK," or, "hold on a sec."  I just called DH to the phone and handed it to him without a word to SIL.  It's petty, I know, to stoop to SIL's level of rudeness.  Still, it was a long time coming, and I have to say that it felt just a little good to finally give her a dose of her own medicine!

        Signed - What Am I, A Stranger Answering Your Brother's/Son's Phone?

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me
Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 16-OCT-03
I am writing this on our 14th wedding anniversary!  We have made it through three very hard years that have tested our marriage beyond anything that I could have imagined.  Nor did I think that it could survive this.  Here it is, though, marked by the series of Frequent Fry-Her stories that I've posted at this web site over the past many months.  There were many times when it was not clear that DH and I would be together to celebrate this day, but we are, and I am SO glad!  DH has been steadily employed for many months now.  After selling our house, we have paid off most of our debt and are financially stable for the first time in years.  Though I am sad to have lost my pretty house, we are living in a nice rental house in the same town.  It is spacious and comfortable, and we have made it our home.  DH has worked very hard to go from being a partner who seemed distant and unconnected with our family life, to one who not only shares the work and responsibilities of our life together, but does so willingly, pleasantly and sincerely.  He is an amazing testament to the fact that people CAN change some things about themselves if they really, really work at it and WANT to change.  I, too, have changed.  I'm learning how to express my wants, needs and disappointments openly and honestly, gently, constructively and without anger, criticism and destructive words.  There were many times in these past three years when it seemed that it would be impossible for us to see this day together.  I think that both of us just kept believing that we could do better with each other, and so we could never quite give up.  Of course, a driving force has been our daughter.  We both wanted to do anything and everything positive within our power to keep our family together for her sake.  She loves us both so much, as we do her, and having her live apart from one of us would have broken all of our hearts because it would have broken hers.  I hope that, despite the fact that our DD has seen us struggling and making mistakes, that from this she has learned that it's OK not to be perfect (we are only human, after all), it's OK for a marriage not to be perfect, and ultimately, that there are very few problems that you can have, or mistakes that you can make in life, that can't be overcome if you really work at it.  I hope that she has learned that a woman, who is a wife and a mother, is still a person, and that her needs are as important as those of the family she tends to and loves so much.  I hope that she has learned that respect and compassion are the key to any enduring, successful relationship, whether it's between a husband and wife, siblings, cousins, friends, or any people, and that it is OK to ask for the respect and compassion you deserve.  I am also glad that my cousin, who lives with us, has seen the flip side of the coin.  Her parents didn't make it, and I think it was good for her to see that sometimes a troubled marriage can survive, that a husband can learn to be a fair contributor in the home, and that couples and families can overcome dysfunction and work at making their relationships better and healthier if they really try.  I feel very fortunate (and a little proud) today to be celebrating my 14th anniversary - happy anniversary to us, and I hope that there will be many more!  And, thanks to the women here who have offered encouraging, positive words.  They mattered.

        Signed - Feeling Very Fortunate

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me
Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 3-OCT-03
My DH just had another scary childhood memory.  We were with friends who were talking about some neighbors of theirs who seem to neglect their children, letting them run noisily and destructively into the yards of other people on the block without reprimanding them, habitually "forgetting" to pick them up after school, etc.  Suddenly the color drained from DH's face.  He told me that hearing this story was making him feel anxious, and then he realized why.  When he was about 5 or 6 and starting school, his younger sister was about 4 and his baby brother was maybe 18 months.  Apparently, his mother would leave baby BIL in the crib, alone in the house, ushering little SIL into the car to go pick up DH from school.  When they would come home, baby BIL would be crying frantically in the crib.  Surely that poor baby realized that he was alone in the house for half an hour or so every day!  I can only imagine that he might have cried himself sick and choked on his own vomit, or climbed or fallen out of the crib and gotten out of the house or into something dangerous inside it.  I shudder to think about it.  This must have traumatized my DH to some extent, given the way it affected him just to remember it now, nearly 40 years later.  There is no question that today, my MIL would be in jail for some of her parenting deficiencies.  FIL was little or no better.  He left their home, and they divorced when the kids were young.  He was dutiful about weekend visits with the kids, to his enormous credit, but he knew that those children were not in safe hands with his ex, my MIL, and he managed to drop them off at the end of the weekend and leave those three kids to a woman whom he knew was not always adequately well-equipped to handle their basic safety and well-being.  He has admitted, in recent years, that he had concerns about their safety and considered trying to take them in, but he was afraid that it would completely unhinge MIL.  So, the kids had to suffer.  The sad thing is that neither my MIL nor my FIL are "bad" people, and they certainly never meant any harm to their children.  They were the victims of their own childhoods.  Sigh.  There is no question that MIL and FIL still periodically do and say enough misguided, unwittingly damaging things here in the present that I don't need to be worrying about what they did to DH many years ago.  I hate finding myself dwelling on the past, and here it's not even my own past, but DH's that I'm stewing over!  I see how this all has affected DH even now.  I feel that it has hurt our family, and I feel angry.  I want to let it go, and I think it's important that DH and I both let it go so that DH can heal and get past these experiences, but we seemed trapped sometimes in the damage caused by so much "benign neglect".  Yes, we both have counselors; I guess it just takes time, true commitment and HARD WORK.

        Signed - Wants To Move On

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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 20-AUG-03
Something I read here just made me think of something that my MIL did to me many years ago.  My SIL, her daughter, was scheduled to have outpatient surgery to remove a small mass inside her mouth.  MIL flew in to stay with SIL.  I happened to develop "walking pneumonia" only days before SIL had the surgery.  For anyone who doesn't know, "walking pneumonia" doesn't mean that you can get up and walk around - it just means you don't have to be hospitalized.  I was, by far, the sickest I have ever been, and I rarely get sick.  For about a week, the pressure of the water in my lungs made it impossible to get out of bed, except when DH had to help me get to the bathroom.  This was the only time in my life that I was so sick that it scared me.  Anyway, after SIL had the lump removed and came home, I literally couldn't get out of my own sickbed to go see her.  Of course, DH went and sent my love and best wishes for her speedy recovery.  MIL has thrown up to me, at least three or four times over the years, that I didn't go to see my SIL after her surgery.  Each time that DH or I reminded her that I was very ill myself, she gave us looks or said things to indicate that she has NEVER bought THAT story!  The thing is, I have ALWAYS been a "dutiful" family person - this was the one time I "missed!"

        Signed - Not Allowed To Be Sick If An IL Is Sick At The Same Time

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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 28-MAY-03
And another thing (added to my last Frequent Fry-Her post about MIL making insanely inappropriate comments to my DH under the guise of being "helpful")!  DH's father has helped us financially through recent times of crisis.  This was very, very generous, indeed, despite the fact that he's pressing us to pay him back and we haven't even closed on the sale of our home yet, even though he KNOWS that we will have NO MONEY until then.  Regardless, we would not have made it this far without FIL's help, and we are deeply grateful for his generosity.  It's the emotional support that is sorely lacking.  Recently, he and DH were chatting on the phone.  FIL asked how our DD was doing.  My DH went on to boast joyfully about DD, saying how terrific she is, etc.  DH told FIL that he had met one of DD's teachers in a local supermarket, and that she went on and on about what a wonderful student DD is.  What did FIL say?  "Not like her father."  This was a dig about my DD's getting mediocre grades in college and being an underachiever.  It wasn't good enough that DH attended and graduated from an Ivy League school, and went on to get a postgraduate degree.  FIL's comment wouldn't be quite so bad if not for the fact that DH is just recovering from some serious emotional challenges, and FIL KNOWS THAT.  Why do he and MIL, his ex-wife, insist in cutting DH down before he is even standing strongly?  DH was very upset by the comment.  It really hurt him.  What kills me is that it was SO needless.  Arrrgggghh!

        Signed - The ILs Don't Seem To Get It - Kindness Strengthens, Criticism Weakens!

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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 27-MAY-03
OK, so if any of you have ever read my other posts on Frequent Fry-Her, you'll know just how insane this is!  To summarize, my DH had a period of serious problems.  During that time, he became unable to hold down a job for long, causing us to accumulate debt that we can't afford, forcing us to sell our home.  We're all moved into our smaller rental home, and amazingly, our marriage has survived.  We're all doing OK.  In fact, in some ways, my relationship with DH is stronger than ever - we have both desperately tried to learn something from our mistakes.  DH has been holding down a job that he accepted in December.  This is the longest that he has kept a job for some time, and it looks like this one may last.  You could pretty much say that we're just about out of the woods.  MIL has been uncharacteristically quiet and non-intrusive throughout our ordeal of the past many months, basically, since DH lost the last job before this one.  Up until that point, she managed to blame me for DH's problems.  The last job lost was the one that finally made the ILs realize his problems COULDN'T all be me!  Well, we are barely out of the woods, and what did MIL do?  She started hocking DH about his weight.  DH is overweight, yes, but she has focused on this as though, if he were to lose weight, all of his problems would be solved!  GAWD, if he was standing on a chair with a noose around his neck, trying to decide whether to kick out the chair from under himself or remove the noose and climb down, would she only think to say, "You might want to lose some weight"???  This man is turning the corner from a period of serious emotional difficulty, and all MIL can do is insult him in the guise of being helpful.  Ick.

        Signed - Thank Goodness DH Came Down From the Chair - No Thanks to MIL!

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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 2-MAY-03
Here's one about FIL.  FIL has helped us financially, very generously, through recent hardships.  Thanks to him, we managed to avoid bankruptcy and foreclosure, and are able to sell our home and help dig ourselves out of debt without trashing our credit.  There is no question that his help will have a significant impact on how well we survive this crisis, and I do deeply appreciate that.  A little background:  FIL and his second wife are both high earning professionals, who have each inherited a significant amount of money.  They have lived a very comfortable life for decades.  When DD and his siblings from the first marriage were young, they went around with too small winter coats, and holes in their shoes, while FIL and his second DW took the daughter they had together skiing in the Alps.  When they went to their DD's estate for Thanksgiving dinner, they were told that they had to rake before they could eat - though this was not required of the child from the second marriage.  These things are not horribly abusive, and are somewhat understandable, but, regardless, they DO hurt.  A couple of days ago, FIL called, and he and DH were chatting casually.  DH got to talking about our DD, telling his dad how well she's doing in school, and how well her teachers speak of her.  What did FIL say?  "So, my granddaughter's a good student - NOT like her father."  Where does something like this come from, if not a black, bitter place in FIL's heart?  He KNOWS his DS, my DH, is emerging from a mental/emotional crisis that hurt his professional life and his family life.  He KNOWS that DH's confidence is in the toilet.  It is wonderful that he helped us get through this with his money, but can it be that he feels this entitles him to say cruel, destructive things to his son?  My heart aches for my DH over this.  DH has two degrees from highly nationally-ranked, highly accredited schools.  He completed 8 years of higher education.  It is true that DH has been an underachiever in his professional life, and that he has had to face some hard things about his own flaws, but he did NOT deserve this cheap shot by his father.  FIL was always like this.  Always.  His youngest daughter is currently in the Peace Corps, and does not speak to him exactly because of this type of thing.  How much damage people can do with a few ill-conceived words, and how sad it is that it could be so easy to do the opposite - to create strength, beauty and well-being with a few kind words!

        Signed - Angry at FIL

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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 2-MAY-03
I made my SIL cry last night, and I feel terrible.  She had called to offer to have my daughter sleep over at her home next weekend.  Getting DD there would be, for us, a three hour round trip there and the same amount of time, the next day, to bring her back.  She knows that we will be busy unpacking, following our move from our house, which we can no longer afford to keep due to DH's frequent unemployment over the past three years.  SIL's sleep-over offer was partly intended to be an occasion to celebrate her own DD's birthday, too.  My DD and hers are roughly the same age.  I told her that we didn't have time to drive our DD there and back while busy with so much unpacking, and she was fine with that.  I had hoped that she would offer to come pick up my DD, but she didn't.  My SIL has had my DD sleep over a few times in past months, ostensibly to help us while my DH (her brother) and I were trying to get through some tough times in our lives.  Largely, I do appreciate that.  We did the same for her and her family when they were moving and such.  There is one difference, though, and I guess this is what bothers me.  When we offered to keep her DDs for the weekend during their move, we also offered to drive out to get our nieces and return them the next day.  I feel that when you really want to help, you go the extra mile.  We took the extra time out of our short weekend so that they would have more time in theirs when they needed to be doing stuff at their home.  I guess that I feel that SIL's offer to "help" us was more designed to fit her own situation, and not really ours.  But, I feel guilty feeling that way, so of course I didn't say anything about it to her.  My SIL then asked me how the move was going.  I told her about a little wrinkle that we're worried about in connection with our closing, and she proceeded to give me her usual pep talk, telling me not to dwell on negative things, but to focus on the positive.  This is always her response to anything that I tell her about my life that isn't carefully painted in rosy colors.  I honestly was not even complaining, mind you.  I was simply telling her what was happening with the closing, because she had asked.  Somehow, when these pep talks come from her, they come across to me as a lecture, with an implied criticism.  This is partly because her mother has criticized me in this way for nearly 14 years.  MIL takes it to the next step by letting me know that she feels that I am a negative person who has been toxic to her son.  She has this opinion, I think, because I had a brother who died of AIDS from IV drug addiction that arose from being a teen in the 60's, a kind, but tragically mentally ill, partly incapacitated mother, and a father who died of Alzheimer, not knowing his own name.  This all was such a burden on her poor son.  My family is all gone now, no longer anyone's "burden".  It is true that I was always a worrier, but I have never asked anything from anyone.  I have always tried not only to listen, but to help (sometimes at the expense of my own convenience) when others have come to me with their own worries.  So, when I started getting the lecture from SIL, I grew silent.  SIL noticed immediately, and asked me what she had said that was wrong.  I told her that I feel like I have heard this from her before, and that at 43 years old, I really don't feel I need this type of lecture.  She was offended at first, telling me that she had rough things going on in HER life, and that she doesn't need this from me right now.  Then, she broke down and said that the last thing she wants to do is hurt me when she knows how hard it has been, and she only means to help.  I apologized profusely, and I was and AM sorry that I hurt her.  I told her, and this is how I honestly feel, that I know she always means me only well.  We smoothed it over.  I love my SIL.  I would not have chosen her for a friend, but I do have sisterly feelings towards her.  I don't want to hurt her, and I do know that she doesn't mean to hurt me.  I feel terrible that I did, but I still can't seem to help feeling that her offers of help and support are always limited by what is comfortable for her to give, regardless of what we may we really need.  I know that it is NOT her job to give us what we haven't been able to manage to do so well for ourselves.  I just wish she wouldn't throw words at me that are supposed to sound like support, when the support really isn't there.  I don't mind the limitations - I do mind the emotional dishonesty.  Does this make sense?

        Signed - We Both Mean Well

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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 27-APR-03
I've done plenty of complaining about my ILs.  I want to take a moment to express appreciation for a wonderful discovery that I have made in recent months - my BIL.  When my DH lost his last job (before the one he has now), we realized that we would have to sell our house or risk foreclosure.  Still, after so many career problems, DH was having problems facing yet another round of job-hunting.  Considering our longtime financial difficulties and the fact that we were coming to the end of our financial resources, I was terrified and at wits end, because it seemed that DH might not manage to pick himself up from the latest fall.  I called my BIL, in desperation, for help in supporting and getting through to my DH.  BIL made it his business to drive 2 hours to our home, more than once, to spend caring time with his brother and to help ready our home to show to prospective buyers.  And, he even offered to help us raise mortgage money until we were in contract to sell the house.  BIL called me regularly to see if I needed any help trying to keep DH from falling into a deepening depression, and to help build his confidence so he could face the prospect of trying to find yet another job.  He also called sometimes just to see how I was doing, which touched me very deeply.  I have known my BIL for 13 years, have always liked him, but until recently we have never really been personally close.  In fact, I have always felt that he was influenced by the things his mom said about me to the family, things that, more or less, made me out to be a domineering, selfish, demanding, complaining wife; not very good for the morale of her dear, sensitive, brilliant, complex son.  MIL had blamed me for DH's professional problems until he lost the last job.  At that point, even she had to face the fact that the hardships we were falling into couldn't ALL be my fault.  Well, in our last crisis, BIL was so supportive, so embracing, so willing to try to help, that his caring really helped me through what were some of the hardest days of my life.  BIL realized that helping me was also being helpful to his brother, and he was determined to do both with a willing, ready heart.  I respect him so much for understanding that part of helping his brother was to support me while I was trying to keep our family together.  I know that my DH's problems have been unsettling to his siblings, who grew up in the same dysfunctional surroundings DH did.  I know they realize that the problems their eldest brother, my DH, has had could have happened to them, and that DH, in some ways, had the worst of it because he was the oldest.  I know that all the hard parts of their family history and the damage it has done to DH makes them uncomfortable.  I'm sure they would like to forget the past, but DH's problems have made it clear that it isn't always that simple to leave behind.  All the more reason that I love and cherish my BIL for putting his own discomfort aside and being there for us when things were most unpleasant.  By the way, lately, I occasionally get little e-mails from my MIL with accolades for working out these past few years so that my family has remained together and is now getting ready to move into a decent rental home.  This was no small task.  It is a fact that I pretty much single-handedly managed the sale of our home and finding a decent place to rent.  Though, to DH's credit, he has been more helpful and cooperative in the matters affecting our lives than ever before.  The cheerleading emails from MIL do irk me.  I could have used that support and those kind words three years ago when things started falling apart.  She could have been encouraging my DH to face his problems, instead of blaming them on me and giving him excuses to ignore them until they really blew up.  Instead, she cut me down and made me feel that I must be the cause of all the problems in DH's life, which only made things worse between me and DH.  It was hard learning not to resent DH for the fact that people in his family blamed things on me that he had some responsibility for, and that he seemed to agree with them.  But I am overjoyed to say that I think that's past both of us now.  We move on Monday, and our closing, hopefully, is next Friday.  We are looking forward to a new and better phase of our lives, and we are deeply, deeply grateful that we managed to make it through - together, as a family!  I plan to embrace all the good things that I've learned through the trials of these three years - including my new, delightful relationship with my BIL.  Most of all, I will hope never to allow myself to take my the sanctity of my family life for granted.  It is something, I have learned, that must be nourished constantly and effortlessly, with an open and willing heart.

        Signed - Grateful for BIL (Among Other Wonderful Things)
       ( here is my story )

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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 10-APR-03
Thanks to all the wonderful women who responded to my posts on January 10 and January 13.  I really appreciated the insights, even the ones that took a tough stand.  They all touched me in some way, and I am grateful.  I especially liked the response to my Jan. 13 story where I was reminded that it is my problems with my husband and his unemployment, not the James Brown doll, that are the real issues.  We do recognize that there are deep, complex problems surrounding the issue of DH's chronic unemployment, and we are trying to be positive and productive about coping with them and getting appropriate help to do so.  I did want to tell the person who asked why I took on my 19 year-old cousin, and why I have done so, even though our family has other things to worry about.  My cousin was working 3 jobs to support her mother, her mother's beer-guzzling boyfriend, and her then 15 year-old sister.  She couldn't save for her own needs because she was paying rent and grocery bills for everyone.  She had tried to attend college, but it was too much to support a family while going to school.  She was falling apart emotionally, and she had the wisdom to recognize this.  Also, her mom left her dad less than three years ago.  The dad basically abandoned her.  Finally, just two weeks before she moved in with us, her mother told her that her father, this man who had been her dad her whole life and then just dropped her when the mom left, was NOT her biological father.  So, she had been abandoned by not one but TWO fathers, had had to support two adults and a minor from age 17 to 19, and it was taking a toll on her emotionally.  She knew that she was not ready to be on her own, emotionally, and she knew that the way things were going, she was never going to make it to college.  She was sucked into her family's problems, and she reached out for help.  She is doing wonderfully, getting good grades, helping around the house, etc.  She picks my 9 year-old up from school every day and stays with her until I get home from work.  They do a lot together, and have become very sister-like with each other.  Cousin is training for a new job at the charitable social service agency where I work, and she has volunteered to contribute rent as soon as she gets her first paycheck.  My husband, my daughter and I are happy we have opened our home to her.  At times it has added to our pressures, but it has been much more a blessing than a disturbance.  We are especially happy to show our daughter, by example, what it means to truly give of yourself, unselfishly, out of sheer love and kindness.  Also, our daughter is very happy that she now has a "big sister" to talk to, to play with, to cuddle with, and to love.  When I was cousin's age, I worked to buy clothes, school books, and to pay rent to my folks while going to college.  And, we had serious problems at home with my brother that made my teenage years very sad and troubled, and made it impossible for my parents to devote their time to worrying about me.  So, I just did what I had to do, kept out of trouble, and cried quietly in my room out of everyone's way.  At times it was hard.  Just because I had it hard doesn't mean that my cousin should have to, also.  I am glad to make it a little easier for her.  The love, help, respect and support I have gotten from her in exchange makes it more than worthwhile for me, personally.


        Signed - Grateful for the Wonderful Women Who Have Offered Their Support

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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 10-FEB-03
Something I read that was posted by another DIL on this site reminded me of a cr@ppy little thing my MIL did to me some time ago.  We were visiting her and SFIL down south one December, and we had all gone out to dinner.  My DD was maybe 5 at the time.  I knew that MIL wanted to light Hanukah candles when we came home.  So, when we walked in the door, I announced, not once, but twice, that I just had to go to the bathroom really fast, and then I'd be in the dining room for the candle-lighting.  DD, who was very attached to mama when she was young, followed me into the bathroom.  I took maybe 3 minutes.  When I came out, the candles were lit, and MIL had a fearsomely bitter look on her face.  She said that she was upset that I took DD and purposely avoided being there when the candles were lit.  I told her that she was absolutely mistaken, that I had SAID that I only had to use the bathroom quickly, and that I had said so to EVERYONE.  She clearly did not believe this, even though DH had heard me.  I'm sure that she went around and told the whole family that I don't respect their family's traditions, and that I am keeping DD from embracing the religious aspects of her heritage.  MIL has insinuated this type of thing for years.  The funny thing is that I went out the first year that I was married and bought a Menorah, dreidels and other Hannukah decorations - the only ones we own.  DH could not have cared less if we didn't have these things.  Most years, if we aren't doing a little Hanukah visiting with the ILs, I make latkes at home.  I do this because I want to honor both my DD's maternal and paternal family traditions, and my DD and his family.  I do it out of love and respect, with honest joy in my heart.  MIL refuses to admit to herself that if I left it to my DH, we wouldn't do ANY of these things.  He couldn't care less about celebrating Hannukah!  No, once again, I am the evil witch DIL who has turned her son away from her.  And it has NOTHING to do with the fact that she tries to shove her will down his throat - or anyone's that she can.

        Signed - Geeze, I Just Had To Pee!

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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 13-JAN-03
OK, so this is petty, but here goes.  We had Thanksgiving at my SIL's beautiful $2,000,000 home.  She had a gift for my husband for a past occasion, and this is what has me irked.  It is a 3+ foot tall, and nearly 2 foot wide plastic caricature likeness of soul music artist of the 60's, James Brown.  To give you an idea, it is about the size of a baby.  You press a button and it sings "I Feel Good", while gyrating and mouthing the words with its automatronic body and jaw.  It's funny, cute for a momentary chuckle.  But, apart from that, it's little more than a big, gawky piece of junk that would inevitably will wind up in a closet, basement or attic.  The thing is this:  We are in the midst of selling our house under dire financial, and thus very unhappy circumstances.  DH is unemployed for the 6th time in 3 years, and we can't afford to keep our home - the home I'd hope we would grow old in.  We anticipate, based on our current financial capabilities, moving with my 9 year old DD and our 19 year old cousin, into a two-bedroom apartment.  We just spent hundreds of dollars to rent a large dumpster to get rid of much of what we own in preparation of our move, and we will have to get rid of more stuff just to fit into wherever we wind up.  WHAT on EARTH could she have been thinking when she picked out this gift???  We are having SERIOUS financial problems - it would have made SO much more sense for her to get her brother something more practical, this year of ALL years.  I realize that SIL probably was trying to lighten up what has been a somewhat dark time for us, but I can't help feeling the silliness of this gift at this time in our lives is appallingly inappropriate, insensitive and ill-conceived.  My SIL knows that we will be moving into a much smaller place.  Can she honestly think that we will want to put this out in plain view?  And, if not, that we will want to use what little storage space we might be lucky enough to get to have to store it?  We can't even keep things we own that we WANT because we are downscaling!  The most galling thing of all is that she has made disapproving comments on more than one occasion when I have, in the past, given gifts to my nieces (her girls, who are roughly my DD's age) that I sincerely thought they would like.  These were gifts like games or dolls.  She and her family were living in an apartment themselves at the time, and they made it clear that they felt imposed upon to have to be bothered finding places for more dolls and toys.  I am really irritated that she has turned around and given DH a huge, noisy doll now, of all times, when she KNOWS we are trying to scale back on needless possessions.  And, I really feel like saying something.  By the way, she keeps her house like a real showplace.  She is an artist, and considers herself to have impeccable taste.  I have heard her be critical of things that were given to her (that she would be expected to keep on display) that she felt were less than beautifully artistic in some way.  If we EVER gave her some big plastic singing gag gift, I am as SURE as I can possibly be that, even without similar circumstances she would have looked at us like we'd each grown second heads!

        Signed - Can't Afford to Rent a Third Bedroom for James Brown


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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 10-JAN-03
SUPPORT NEEDED!  I've posted enough times that I registered under Frequent Fry-Her as "noruby4me", so you can see some of the history of my situation there if you want.  The current situation is this:  DH lost another job about 2 months ago.  He had been taking a common antidepressant medication, and with a doctor's help, he decided to wean off of it (without my knowledge).  Shortly after he stopped altogether, he was gripped with disabling panic attacks.  To make a long story short, he couldn't work, and, understandably, since he was only at his firm less than 3 months, his employers let him go.  We have had 3 years of financial problems, prolonged periods of DH being unemployed, and a nightmare of a challenge to the survival of our marriage and family life in the face of DH's instability.  The one thing I desperately hoped to do was keep our house.  We were going to declare bankruptcy, but realized that we would not be able to avoid foreclosure regardless.  As soon as we realized that the only sane thing to do would be to sell our home while the market is high and we have a chance to make back enough to pay off our credit cards and other lenders, and start from scratch, we put the house up for sale (we came to this painful realization on my birthday).  We have an incredibly talented realtor, and after a week on the market, the sale is in contract, pending attorney review.  After DH lost this last job, I made a decision and have not turned back since.  I decided that keeping my family together (DH, our 9 year old DD, and my 19 year old cousin, who is living with us for 2 years while trying to get her nursing degree) is more important than my disappointments.  I have been determined that I would let go of my anger towards DH, and focus on safe passage, healing, and a more stable future for my family.  I have done a pretty decent job of this.  Last weekend we began looking at apartments, and this is where my courage now is failing me.  We want desperately to remain in our county so that we don't have to make my DD change schools (on top of all the other dramatic changes in her life).  The places available in our price range (what my salary can carry) are DUMPS.  It is so hard, coming from a beautiful, upper middle class home, to look at tiny two-bedroom apartments that have stained carpets and cracking, lumpy, dirty walls.  And all are on noisy streets.  We will have to get rid of most of what we own just to live in any of these places, another heart-wrenching loss.  What is hardest, very much hardest, is worrying about how it will all affect my DD.  Also, we welcomed my cousin to come live with us because she was in an unstable, unhappy home situation.  And, now, it is breaking my heart that we are unable to give her the things I had hoped to!  Well, we found a decent apartment.  Our wonderful Realtor tried to push a lease through, but the landlord does not accept children, period.  I know this is probably illegal, but I have too many problems to start up law suits to fight an 87 year old man who just doesn't want us to live in his house.  I am crushed.  The other places I saw were SO bad!  I just can't believe that this is happening!  My DH has 8 years of higher education, and I have 5.  I am a career professional.  I make a decent salary in a new career.  I used to be in finance, and even though I could probably make a little more in the corporate sector than I can in human services, I feel that I have found my calling and desperately want to remain in this job.  My boss wants to give me a raise and a promotion, and I am prepared to work part-time at home, as I have done in the past, to help supplement our family's income.  DH has the potential to be a six-figure earner.  Between us, we are well-educated, skilled people, with the potential to earn a good living doing very worthwhile work.  I say this not as a matter of some false pride or silly prestige, but because I am stunned that two people with our potential have somehow come to a place in our lives where all we have to offer our DD is a run-down dwelling-place that will surely lead to unflattering comments among her schoolmates.  We are raising our DD to think beyond what other people say or think, but it is only natural that she will see the great difference in our lifestyle and be hurt/confused by it.  And, comments from her peers, especially at her age, will hurt.  We are raising her to believe that love, support, and loyalty among our family is more important than any four walls that surround us.  I am absolutely determined to set a model for my family of hope, strength, courage and calm as we figure out what to do and where we will live.  But, inside, I have had many moments of despair.  I am deeply grateful that DH and I have been helpful and supportive to one another through this terrible crisis.  Strangely, our marriage is stronger than it has been in some time.  If nothing else, DH and I are desperately trying to learn from our mistakes, and to make something good come from them.  This was my greatest dream - restoring my marriage so I could offer our precious, innocent, deserving DD a stable, loving family life - and I count my blessings that we are finding our way to realizing this dream.  Now, to the IL part of all of this: since DH's episode with the medication withdrawal, of course, he has been getting professional help and help from support groups.  What themes keep coming up?  The instability of DH's parents individually, the family instability that existed during their marriage, and then as a result of their divorce, and the particular things they did as imperfect people with some particularly bad flaws - all these things DID scar my DH.  FIL was a doctor living with a new wife (who had been one of his mistresses) and her child in a MANSION.  But, he could not get it together to make child support payments on time for the 3 children from his first marriage.  They went around with torn clothes and holes in their shoes, while their father took his new family skiing in the Alps.  As children, DH, SIL and BIL lived in a falling-down house among neighbors who took out on THEM the fact that their mother (MIL) couldn't get her act together well enough to find a way to keep their house clean or their sewage - their feces and used toilet paper - from backing up into the back yard.  The neighborhood children picked on DH, SIL and BIL unmercifully.  It's understandable that the neighbors may have said unkind things about the people living in the house that was bringing down the value of the neighborhood, but it wasn't DH, SIL or BIL's fault.  Still, kids called them names and threw rocks into the windows, leaving them broken (and without money to have them fixed).  MIL was emotionally limited, and spent most of her mornings in bed - door closed, consuming coffee and cigarettes, while her children, from the time that they were ages 4, 6 and 8, tried to make themselves breakfast and get themselves off to school.  Sometimes, this led to kitchen fires, and, of course, charred walls that never got repainted.  When she was able to "deal" with the children, she typically made DH, the eldest, her confidant - the man of the house.  She even discussed her love life with him (puke).  Yes, DH is a grown man now, and he MUST take responsibility for his life, his actions, his future.  He is trying so hard, and in many ways he has done a profoundly moving, inspiring job of trying to be a person that he, himself, can be proud of.  Yes, I made mistakes that made me fail in my supportiveness as a wife and friend, and I must take responsibility for them and make good on them.  I am trying with all of my might.  It is also true that the past did scar my husband, and that it did play a part in the troubles in our lives.  DH's support group is FULL of men who had mothers who overstepped the boundaries of appropriateness with their sons, and, in effect, tried to make them the "man" in their lives.  The group is full of men who had cheating fathers and overly-sexual mothers.  The group is full of men who witnessed violence between their fathers and mothers.  The group is full of men who were alternately inappropriately embraced or otherwise rejected/abandoned by their mothers and/or fathers.  These are all things that my DH experienced as a child.  Each of these men have acted out in ways that have hurt their jobs and families - all that they hold dear.  Mainly, they hurt themselves.  Yes, they all must "grow up", but the obstacles that have stood in the way of this were all very real.  Once again, I appeal to mothers and fathers everywhere to be careful not to let your impulses, your unfulfilled needs, translate into inappropriate relationships with your children.  I believe in my heart that most parents do truly love their children and want only the best for them, but that, often, their own unfulfilled needs blind them to the consequences of their own actions.  If you really do love your children, you MUST open your eyes to what THEY need, what is TRULY best for THEM, no matter what your own needs are, and no matter what your suffering is.  You must give them a chance to have healthy, fulfilling relationships, and to form relationships with people who will one day be their spouses (and will be parents with them to the next generation of your family).  Today is Thanksgiving here in the U.S.  Believe me when I say that, more than ever, I am counting my blessings.  To all people everywhere, a safe, joyous day filled with love, today and all of your tomorrows!

        Signed - Counting My Blessings

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 26-DEC-02
DH came up with a two-word phrase for what he now believes occurred in his relationship with his mother from the time that he was about 5 years old (when her marriage to DH's dad began to fall apart) until he left home at age 18 (and in some ways, many times since, even up to present).  The word is EMOTIONAL INCEST.  DH feels that he has come to understand through therapy and twelve-step support groups that his mother, without consciously meaning to, emotionally incested him.  She tried to turn DH into the man of the house, her confidant, and her main companion, as her marriage failed, and for many years afterwards.  I feel that DH and I are still dealing with the aftermath of this terribly dysfunctional situation.  I am deeply grateful that we have progressed to a place in our lives where I now have high hopes for DH.  He is trying so hard to understand himself and to become a more stable, productive, responsible, trustworthy, mature adult, husband, and father.  And, I have high hopes for the recovery of our marriage and a more emotionally healthy future.  I feel that I have learned many valuable lessons from our difficulties.  Even though we are facing the loss of our home, after three years of he!!, because of all the financial problems that have emerged since DH began manifesting problems, DH and I are very much supporting and helping each other in the way I always wished we would, but never seemed able to do.  We are both trying to make good on our mistakes by learning from them and trying to be better people for our lessons.  And, we plan to keep trying.  We know that DH and I must both make peace with the past in order for him to fully "grow up" and get on with a better life.  And, he is trying so very hard to do so.  He honestly did not even know these things from his childhood were haunting him until he started to do self-destructive things that were destroying his career and his family.  It is not that we want to look back and blame his parents, my ILs, for all of our troubles - we are adults and have made our choices and are responsible for their outcomes - but the past does sometimes make us repeat our mistakes until we face and come to terms with them.  Do any of you DILs relate to this experience of having your husband harmed by seriously inappropriate MILs and/or FILs, and being left to pick up the pieces?

        Signed - Trying To Move On

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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 23-DEC-02
Remember me?  I posted on August 13, 2002 to unburden my heart about the mounting professional and emotional problems that my DH was having that were catapulting us into bankruptcy.  Well, we are selling our house.  We bought this house with the modest inheritance my mother left me when she died seven years ago.  It is a lovely house in a really beautiful location, a place I dreamed of growing old in.  Since my post on August 13, DH has lost two other jobs.  In the last instance, I think it's fair to say that he has suffered some sort of an emotional breakdown.  I am sticking by him, and I have been kind, supportive, and loyal, even though my heart is breaking at the loss of this house.  I have decided that if we are to set an example for our DD, if she is to learn how people can be kind to one another, help each other, and stick together in times of difficulty, and if she is to learn how to accept even unwanted, unhappy changes in life with grace and dignity, it has never been more important than now to set an example.  When we first told DD that we would have to move, she cried and was clearly scared.  DH and I have assured DD that home is not necessarily these four walls, but anyplace where we are.  This really seemed to help.  She has been helpful, brave, and cheerful through all of the hustle-bustle of trying to get the house ready to attract buyers, which has been exhausting and sad.  I am not complaining.  We chose to sell the house rather than file bankruptcy, because we believe that we can make enough money on the sale to pay off our credit cards and start fresh in a rental until we get DH well, and become financially stable again.  We are very lucky in this respect.  Now, for the MIL twist to the tale.  For these three years, as DH was self-destructing over and over, MIL said and did things that made it very clear that she blamed ME for somehow ruining her son.  She said that I was too demanding, and that I didn't understand his delicate, artistic soul.  She said that I didn't give him enough space to be quietly brilliant.  And, I had the nerve to expect him to spend his precious time doing things like mowing the lawn once in a while.  Anyway, DH and I had a good laugh over the fact that after his mother found out about his losing this last job, which was the best opportunity to have come along in three years, and with great benefits, she had NO recriminations for me.  It took this much, but she seems to finally get it that I did NOT, all by myself, ruin her son!

        Signed - She Had NO Recriminations For Me

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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 26-NOV-02
OK, this is about my SIL, DH's sister, as a future MIL-from-he!! in the making.  She has three children, two dear nieces (DNs) and a dear nephew (DNeph).  DNeph is her youngest, and is only going on 3.  SIL dotes on DNeph to the extreme, so much so that it is uncomfortable at a gut-reaction level to watch.  A little background:  My MIL, DH's and SIL's mom, came from a family of 4 girls.  MIL made no bones about the fact that she clearly would have preferred boys.  She was always just a little flirtatious, even with her daughters' boyfriends/husbands, in ways that seemed vaguely inappropriate.  She also was known to occasionally prance around in sheer pantyhose - WITHOUT underwear - in front of her young and teenage grandsons.  Not only were the females in the family demeaned and held in lower esteem than the males, but the boys were treated as though they were almost godlike, which has proven an impossible standard for them to live up to.  This male-female disparity has become a family phenomenon, and it has messed up both the girls and the boys of subsequent generations, DH included.  To make it worse, FIL left home when DH was only 7 (and SIL was 5).  He always treated SIL like she was stupid, annoying, and intolerably needy.  And she, in turn, has always been desperate for his, and any male's, approval and attention.  Of course, she married a man not unlike her father.  BIL is very sexist, and has certain attitudes about women that I would describe as condescending, disrespectful, and downright disturbing.  Without being outright abusive or habitually demeaning, he manages to treat his wife and two daughters in ways that, as a woman, I find objectionable, and feel have to be damaging to their egos and self-esteem.  And, so, this brings us to how this translates into SIL's relationship with her son, DNeph.  It is almost shocking to watch SIL in action with DNeph.  SIL is virtually obsessed with this adorable little tike.  She coos at him and fusses over him almost in ways that remind you of a woman acting more as a lover than as a mother.  She has made him totally dependent on her, and she is totally dependent on his attentions.  To say that she smothers him is an understatement.  This is underscored by the contrast in the attention and patience she shows with her daughters.  I feel badly for them, too.  They have to be getting this same, terrible message that has been passed along through generations of my ILs' family - that women are less worthy of love, respect and admiration than men.  MIL acted inappropriately with my DH when FIL left home, while DH was young, by making him the "man of the house" at the tender age of 7.  She confided in DH about inappropriate things like her romances and such.  My gut tells me that SIL is following in these footsteps.  Just as MIL turned to her sons for male attention and approval, SIL is now turning to DNeph.  It is easy to picture that when this darling boy gets to school, he will be the one the kids taunt as a "momma's boy".  It hurts me to think about this.  Once again, to all the mothers of sons who may turn to their male children, perhaps without even realizing it, for male affirmation and attention, PLEASE think about what you are doing to your sons!  Positive, nurturing, maternal love CANNOT be that selfish!  Your selfishness is SURE to do harm to the sons you love!

        Signed - Still Glad I Have No Sons to F$#2K up!

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frequent fry her - noruby4me Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me /Posted: 20-NOV-02
I was reading an entry about a crass IL family's embarrassing shenanigans at a restaurant, and wanted to share my own story.  When my ILs get together to eat, they get right down to sticking their forks and fingers into the food on each other's plate, without even asking.  I swear, you have to keep your hands and arms tightly close to you, otherwise you might get a fork in them!  Even the adults eyeball the serving platters before they hit the table, and start demanding to have the nicest-looking piece of meat on the tray ("I want THAT piece!"), the crispy piece of skin on the turkey, the pizza slice with the big bubble on the crust, whatever.  Maybe it's me, but I find this so ANNOYING!  It's like everyone's afraid that they won't get something they feel they deserve or are entitled to - it's actually STRESSFUL!  They reach over each other and take however much they want of anything they fancy, regardless of whether anyone else has had a decent portion, etc.  They all talk over each other, make jokes at each other's expenses, try to outdo each other at being "witty" and "charming," and so on.  This, in itself, might ALMOST be tolerable, if not for the fact that they almost all very openly think they are BETTER than other people because they wear designer labels and have housekeeper-cleaned designer homes!  They look down their noses at honest, hardworking"common" folk, and think they are somehow above them.  They don't understand the difference between genuine class (which you can't buy) and put-on class.  Is it me, or don't you think that you don't have to wear fancy clothes and drive fancy cars to appreciate art and literature, or to conduct yourself with grace and dignity?  Some of the "classiest" people I've known have been far from privileged by wealth or prestigious possessions.  At my SIL's engagement party (which they notified the local social columns about), a young boy, about 12 or so, who was listening to all the pretentious, oozing ooos and ahhs as the showy gifts were being opened, said, "How come everybody keeps saying everything is fabulous!  I've never heard the word 'fabulous' so many times in one place before!"  I thought I'd die trying to keep from laughing out loud!  My MIL is the worst about food, by the way.  Whenever there are chocolates out for the holidays, no matter whose house she's at, or who else is there, she not only pinches every single piece (I do NOT exaggerate here - EVERY piece, unless someone snatches it first), she takes tiny bites out of most of them and puts the remainders back on the plate (or even into the box!).  I SWEAR, this is her way of saying F-U to everyone else!  And, this is a woman who sticks up her nose when she passes a trailer park!

        Signed - You Can Dress 'Em Up, But You Can't Take 'Em Anywhere!

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me, 1 of 4 needed Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me, 1 of 4 needed /Posted: 1-AUG-02
NOW, OUR MIL IS DRAGGING OUR 8-YR-OLD INTO HER INCOMPREHENSIBLE HEAD-GAMES!  My MIL just left after a short 3-day visit.  She came up north to meet her new grandson, my husband's brother's second child.  After that visit, MIL spent a couple of days with each of her sisters, children, and grandchildren.  This all sounds very nice, and on the surface, it certainly is.  All intentions were good, clearly.  However, she has left each place she has stayed at in turmoil, and with bad feelings (which is how her visits usually go).  I try not to anticipate the worst, but something always happens (and not just with me and my family, but with everyone with whom she spends time).  At first, DH and I were reluctant to have her stay with us, but she really seemed to want an invitation.  She said that if we didn't have her now, she would fly up again in August.  We know money is tight for her, too, and didn't want her to have to fly up again.  However, DH is out of work for the third summer in a row, and I just started a full-time office job for the first time since my 8-year old was born.  Things have been stressful here, and DH and I both know how MIL tends to say all the wrong things when others are dealing with pressures.  Still, since she seemed to really want to come, and we don't have the $$ to go visit her, we did invite her.  We were excited that she agreed to come.  I know to expect MIL to do and say things that other people know enough to keep to themselves, but my daughter was thrilled that her grandmother was coming, and I was determined to make it a good visit.  Well, on day 2, DH got an unexpected opportunity to go on a job interview.  I had to be at work, so MIL was going to stay with our daughter for a couple of hours until we both got home.  That was fine.  We all had dinner, and everything went very reasonably pleasantly and smoothly.  The following day, DH drove her to her other child's house, hubby's sister, so she could visit with SIL and SIL's DH/kids.  DH later told me that during the ride, MIL reported to him that our 8-year-old had called her an old HAG!  He was so shocked - this didn't sound like our daughter.  He asked MIL if she was sure that was what she had said.  MIL demanded, "Are you calling me a liar?"  DH explained that he was just shocked because this was so unlike our daughter (who certainly can have a mouth with us at times, but to my knowledge, has otherwise ALWAYS been very respectful of family and other adults), and that he planned to ask her about it.  MIL then said to DH, "If you confront my granddaughter about this, I will NEVER speak to you again!"  Well, of course, DH and I felt that we had to understand what could have happened, so we did ask our daughter about it.  She was VERY reluctant to "tattle" about the conversation she'd had with her grandmother, but did admit to calling her a hag.  I pressed on a little, as I felt something must have prompted this comment - it was truly out of character for my daughter.  She finally told us that her grandmother had been saying bad things about both her daddy and me, suggesting that I act crazy around the house, and that her daddy is stubborn.  DD made the hag comment because her loyalty to her parents was affronted, and being only 8, she didn't know what else to say to make her grandmother stop upsetting her with this kind of talk!  Incidentally, it has become obvious to both DH and I that while he was on the interview and I was at work, MIL actually went through some of our personal belongings, particularly in DH's upstairs office.  And, she actually went into his briefcase!  Two books that DH had upstairs (one was in the briefcase) were in the downstairs family room when I came home.  One was a personal book, with personal journal writings that were private to DH (and I'm sure they are not anything I would want shared with her either).  As intrusive as MIL can be, this terrible violation of our personal space was certainly a new low.  I know my MIL has problems that make her say and do things like this - things that cause trouble among loved ones for no apparent good reason.  I know that whatever makes her do this must be some kind of sickness that must cause her significant unhappiness, since she is compelled, over and over, to alienate those she claims to love - those I would think she hopes will love her.  Still, the fact that she would impose on an innocent child (her own grandchild) with twisted comments about her own son (the child's daddy) and the mother of the child is hard to swallow.  She was willing to tell my husband about my daughter's poor behavior (calling her a hag), but she did NOT mention what drove her to it.  And, when DH said that he would talk to DD (which would be bound reveal the whole story, and her part in it), she threatened never to talk to DH again.  Many times through the years, MIL has caused these types of insidious, sly disruptions, pitting her own family against one another.  She asks outrageously personal questions (i.e., "How is your sex life?", as if I would tell HER).  She pumps people for information with transparent (almost laughable) questions that are designed to manipulate.  But, they tend to backfire on her pathetically.  Personally, I've tried all ways of responding to these things, from expressing my upset gently, to trying to explain firmly, but respectfully, how it hurts when she does these things.  I've also been painfully honest (while even still maintaining a modicum of respect for her as my hubby's mother).  And, finally, I've just laughed it off.  She does not want to learn or change, so it is foolish to do anything but try to vent my feelings, as I am doing here and now.  I am just thankful that she doesn't live nearby.  This way I can go on to focus my energies on more positive aspects of my life.

        Signed - Tired Of The Games

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me, 2 of 4 needed Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me, 2 of 4 needed /Posted: 13-AUG-02
The past three years of my marriage have made me stressed, angry, and upset in ways that are just too embarrassing to discuss with friends/family.  So I thought I might get some of it off my chest here.  After a very bad professional experience that almost cost him his career and blew apart his self-esteem, my DH took to "escaping" through addictive chat-room cyber-sex.  I experienced this as if it was the same as infidelity, and still do.  What is worse than the unfaithfulness, disloyalty, lying and deception that went with it, is that this was not just cyber-sex, it was "S&M" stuff - sort of like Gothic "role-playing", where some of the people are "dominators" (masters) and some "submissives".  I know DH had to be low to try to find some self-esteem this way, but still, the notion of S&M just goes against every value I have as a woman and as a human being.  It offends and disgusts me.  We have a young daughter, which has made my outrage even more painful to bear.  I hope she will never find out about what happened.  But, it is very hard to know the pain she sees in me, and the anger she sees that I have towards her dad.  And it is hard to know that she will never really understand what pain HE caused me that made me so sad.  After the terrible professional experience, we were left in bad financial straits.  But, hubby was lucky enough to land a job very quickly.  However, he basically threw that job away by chatting in his office when he should have been working.  He has had a hard time getting his career on track since, and has been out of work as much as he has been working.  We are about to file for bankruptcy.  I have taken a full-time job, DH is taking in work on the side, and we are now just focused on struggling to make our mortgage payments so we don't lose the house, too.  In the meantime, DH has faced his addiction, and has entered a 12-step program.  He has been "sober" (not cyber-sex/S&M chatting) for almost a year.  He has stopped trying to rationalize away the ugly, degrading nature of the kind of chatting he was doing, and has shown some real remorse for the damage he has done to himself and his family.  I have never seen anyone try so hard to change.  I am deeply moved by this, but my trust has been so thoroughly violated that I'm not sure our marriage will survive what it's been through.  We continue to try very hard.  If we didn't have a child, I think I would have run away from all of this long ago.  But, for her sake, and because DH is trying so hard, I feel I have to try, too, and I am.  I have not been a perfect wife, and this is my chance, too, to learn to be a better person, whether our marriage survives or not.  Here's where MIL comes in.  Between his experiences in the 12-step program and in private therapy, hubby has come to realize that from an early age, his mother encouraged him to be the man of the house, and to stand in where his father had left (when DH was about 7).  FIL was a philanderer and prone to violent outbursts, though he has been more sedate and faithful in his longtime second marriage to one of his mistresses.  After he left, MIL made my husband, her eldest child, her main confident.  She discussed everything with him from her boyfriends to her abortions.  She was, and is, a terribly inappropriate woman.  And, most of the family agrees that she is emotionally ill.  And, she has been for most, if not all, of her life.  To this day, she asks inappropriate questions directly or indirectly about our sex life.  When hubby and I were having our worst problems, she actually asked him if he is still attracted to me (and claimed we misunderstood the meaning of her question when we expressed outrage at her inappropriateness).  When she visits (she lives quite far, so visit are usually a few days), as she's getting dressed, she prances around half-dressed, knowing hubby could walk in any minute (as if I want to be awkwardly trying not to have to look into her naked 60+ year old breasts as she jabbers away at me anyway).  She hand-washes her panties and leaves them out on door knobs, or hung over shower curtains.  Most of her inappropriate behavior is not related to sexual things, it's just plain childish and irrational.  But, since the events that have unfolded in my life, I have come to be more sensitive to those that are related to sexual things, including her underwear.  In his 12-step group, hubby has encountered many men who are struggling with different types of sexual addiction.  So many of them can look back and see that their mothers did or said inappropriate things to blur the sexual boundaries between them and their sons.  Clearly, it is a form of abuse.  These men have lost jobs, families, and all they hold dear.  The damage this has caused just in my own little circle to my hubby, my child, and to me, is mind-boggling.  I don't blame MIL (or FIL) entirely, but I do see that they had a hand in the problems that have emerged in our lives - problems that have nearly broken two adults and a child, and have nearly destroyed a family.  To all the MILs out there who think they are just being loving, involved mothers to very special sons:  Please, PLEASE be careful not to let your selfish desires for the attention and affection, that grown men have somehow failed to give you in your life, cause you to make demands on your young sons that will damage them for life, and ultimately cause them (and one day their children) great unhappiness.  Once a parent has nurtured and protected their child to the point of young adulthood, the most important thing they will ever do for that child is to let them go when it's time for them to make it on their own.  Hanging on can only cause damage, unhappiness, and terrible loneliness in the end, perhaps for everyone.  Apologies in advance for the bitter sign-off, but you can call me.

        Signed - Glad I Have No Sons to F--K Up

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me, 3 of 4 needed Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me, 3 of 4 needed /Posted: 9-SEP-02
OK, so one thing I keep seeing in these stories is that very often, DH seems to be nowhere to be found when things get hairy between us DWs and our ILs.  To all you soon-to-be or new wives out there (and to the rest of us who've had to learn the hard way), I have a little story to share that might be something to help you avoid some stress down the road.  For the first few years of my marriage, DH always wanted to step in on my behalf whenever there were rough spots with the in-laws.  If they looked at me the wrong way, he was all over them.  Get this:  I asked him NOT to keep intervening for me.  I wanted my ILs to like me and to develop a relationship with me independent of DH.  I also didn't want them to resent me for having DH being my "guard dog".  Well, what a mistake THAT was!  MIL has long since noticed that she doesn't have to answer to DH anymore for what she says/does to me, so she has only gotten much, much worse.  Now, years later, I've told DH that I think I made a mistake.  I've told him that I'd like him to step in when things get really bad, but he's out of the habit of doing so, and it's just not the same.  As for the "relationship" I'd hoped to develop with MIL, it's probably much worse than it would have been if I'd let DH be my spokesperson.  She has abused me so many times that I've taken to zinging her back.  I get some satisfaction out of not letting her walk all over me, but I don't feel especially good about all the nastiness, and about being part of it.  A few years ago, I lost my own mom, who was basically a very loving, supportive mom.  I think part of me really wanted MIL's acceptance and love all the more after that.  MIL seems to have sensed that, and has sort of used it against me, growing ever more critical of me and more inappropriately personal in her subtle, nasty ways.  When she makes references to my dead mother, my skin just crawls!  Of course, all of this has left our relationship in tatters.  Anyway, I now see that wanting MIL's openhearted love and respect was doomed from the start.  She is a twisted, bitter, emotionally ill woman.  She cannot help herself from looking for scapegoats to avoid responsibility for things that happen in and around her life (including problems that arise in her grown children's lives).  Her children-in-law were destined to become the perfect scapegoats.  The sad thing is that MIL and I have had some very pleasant, close moments, mostly long past.  We might have been pleasant, casual friends if we had met in a situation where our relationship had with nothing to do with her son.  Being an IL to her family, though, most surely has brought out the worst in her and the sickest of her ways.  She's pretty awful to her other children-in-law, too.  By the way, she isn't much better with her own family.  She can't get along with anyone, and it's NEVER her fault.

        Signed - Miss My Guard Dog

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

frequent fry her - noruby4me, 4 of 4 needed Frequent Fry Her TM - noruby4me, 4 of 4 needed /Posted: 4-NOV-02
Yesterday, my DD got a $10 check in the mail from her granny (for her birthday, I think, though it's almost a month early), plus a printout of what appears to a forwarded e-mail story about a lodestone.  The story is some sort of obscure allegory.  It talks about how this lodestone exists in a drab, oppressive village, but one day it begins to shine and create magic that helps brighten up the village.  The lodestone gets zapped of its energy and burns out, and the village goes back to being sad and dull.  The lodestone unexpectedly shines brilliantly once more, but then burns out for good.  It went something like that.  Now, realize this:  THIS IS A STORY MIL HAS SENT TO HER 8-YEAR OLD GRANDDAUGHTER, without any explanation or other note inside the envelope.  All she sent was a $10 check and the story about the poor, depleted lodestone.  DH and I figure that the story is either about her "mistreated" self, or that she is suggesting to our DD, in her bizzare-o way, that they are kindred spirits, oppressed by people like DH and me.  Poor, abused, misunderstood MIL - she is forever feeling sorry for herself over the fact that the people she abuses have the NERVE, sometimes, to get fed up and stand up for themselves.  Also, it would not be strange for my MIL to identify with an 8-year old.  Now, what could she possibly have intended to accomplish by sending this story to an 8-year old?  MIL has tried to zing us with thinly-veiled insults and criticisms many times before, but we were all scratching our heads over this one.  DD, of course, said flat out that she has no idea what the story is supposed to mean.  Incidentally, I looked up "lodestone" on the web.  Lodestones are sometimes used in wiccan rituals.  This is very comic, because, while I'm sure MIL does not practice witchcraft, she IS a wicked witch in my book!

        Signed - Lodestone for a MIL

( I want my own Frequent Fry Her TM Page )

 


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