Friday, September 22, 2006
You AND the Horse You Rode In On
I suppose there are arguments to be made that my mother-in-law has never treated me civilly... that since before Willem and I got engaged, she has been passive-aggressive and underhanded and therefore even when she was polite on the surface it wasn't a genuine thing so it doesn't count. But I was willing to accept surface niceness before. She would act polite, I would act polite, and then we'd go snark about each other and everyone would be happy.

Since my father-in-law's death, and a bit before then, she has just apparently lost all ability to even pretend. We had one phone conversation in which she sort of vented and dumped a lot on me, which was okay and I was comfortable with that - I went into Therapist Mode and we got through it just fine. As part of it, I had told her, "Whatever I can do to help out, like to plan the memorial service or anything, just let me know." And she said, yes, she wanted help addressing envelopes and sending out invitations to it. So, wonderful, right? We're finally reaching a point where she's willing to accept that I might be something other than slightly below minimally competent, right? She's letting me do something for the family... right?

Hah. She emailed the list of people to Willem, and has continued to talk to him about it and refused to acknowledge that it was (a) me that offered, and (b) me that did it.

And aside from that one pseudo-human phone call, she has been frankly uncivil. If she calls and I have the audacity to answer my own phone, she immediately says, "Oh, can I talk to my son?" And sometimes, like last night, I'll ask Willem and he'll say, "No, I have to do work," or just, "No, I don't want to talk to her." And if I relay his unavailability to my mother-in-law, I am greeted with instant icy anger and a panicked rush to get off the phone now now now, and being polite about it just isn't necessary.

I think she has this vision of me tying him up and leaving him writhing on the couch, desperate to talk to his mother on the phone because, really, what is more fun than listening to uninformed whining and guilt trips about a will that he didn't write and never read before his father's death? But I won't let him talk on the phone, and in fact being as horrible a person as I am, I won't even tell him that she called.

So, she can bite me. Not that this is a new development or a new sentiment... she and her horse-riding, guilt-tripping, melodramatic self can take a flying leap.

I hate feeling this way about family.