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Thread: My "I don't want to hear it" tantrum

  1. #1
    MissMuffins's Avatar
    MissMuffins is offline Senior Member
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    Talking My "I don't want to hear it" tantrum

    My ex husband's mother and I, after 10 years of a fractious relationship, are speaking terms.

    She is aware that her son, whom I have christened "Dork Boy" because most site filters will block Dick Head, cheated on me with the woman who later became his second wife. I refer to her not-so-affectionately as "The Skank Queen."

    My ex husband's mother is aware that this affair was the "straw that broke the camel's back" with regard to our marriage. It wasn't good, and it was on its last legs when she came along. He's just as much to blame as she is, but their culpability is different.

    His financial behavior during his affair resulted in the loss of our home, as well as our divorce. Our divorce subsequently catapulted my sons and me into poverty. You go without routine and preventative medical and dental care for 10+ years and tell me poverty doesn't have lasting effects on one's life. It affects your physical, dental and emotional health. Yeah, if you're lucky you might be able to work your way out of it, but most people don't. Leaving poverty is not an event, it's a process--a long, difficult process--and even then, if you manage to escape it, you're forever changed by it.

    His mother is aware that part of Dork Boy's abominable behavior was to permit this woman to cause considerable drama and trauma in my life, and the lives of our sons.

    After spending the better part of the 1998-2010 making my sons' and my lives miserable with her shenanigans, which include:
    screwing up every summer break 2000 forward,
    getting in the middle of our parenting and support agreement in 2005, and
    screwing up every spring break, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Mother's Day from 2005 forward,
    a year ago, the Skank Queen left Dork Boy.

    Apparently with nothing left to be united against, there was nothing to hold them together. But, boy did she manage to do some damage along the way.

    After she was done with the destruction of our marriage, she started in on Dork Boy's relationship with our oldest son, who never really "took" to her, heavily favors my side of the family in looks, and never wanted to go live with them.

    After she succeeded in conning our younger son to go live with them, she did her best via "parental alienation" to derail my relationship with our youngest son (I didn't see him on a regular basis for the better part of 5 years, and he lived 50 miles away). Our sons' relationship with each other also fell to that blade. It's something the three of us are still working to rebuild.

    During our youngest son's senior year in high school, The Skank Queen totally wigged out (escalated, like abusive people do when their targets are going to leave). By being in solidarity with her, Dork Boy put the nails in the coffin of his relationship with our youngest son.

    After wreaking 15 year a path of destruction through my life, including screwing up all of "my" holidays (she's "pagan"*, so they don't matter to her) a year ago she took off for her native turf somewhere in the midwest, and left her two children from a prior marriage with Dork Boy.

    The Skank Queen's eldest son graduated high school last spring. He isn't attending classes, was unfit for military service, and doesn't have a job. He lives with my ex husband's father. Today my ex husband's mother was raving about what a nice young man the Skank Queen's oldest son is.

    I don't want to hear it!

    Given the history of the situation, I think it's colossally insensitive on my ex-MIL's part to even bring it up for discussion!

    I think it's important to have an amicable relationship with her for the sake of my sons. She *is* their grandmother.

    Even tho' we're on good terms, there are plenty of times I don't take calls, don't return messages and can't commit to lunch dates.

    When this topic arises, I change the subject...and change the subject...and change the subject. If it's a "joint" event where members of my extended family are present, she plays right into their efforts to pump her for all the salacious information she can dispense about my ex, his second wife, and her sons. It's gross.

    I say things like, "If your own grandsons were expected to do something with themselves after graduation, what's the deal with this crap?"

    I'm not interested in anything to do with them, other than to hear they're gone from our lives. She, being a child of divorce herself, has a pathological need to have "connections" and has no discernment whatsoever as to which connections are actually worth having!

    Do I seriously just need to get some kind of headband, or T-shirt, or paper fan like they use in the South, or something that says: THESE NAMES SHALL NOT BE MENTIONED, LEST EVIL FALL UPON US.

    arg! What think you of a big card that says

    I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT!


    Am I being rude because I don't want to hear it, or am I being as "tactful" as the situation warrants?

    MM

    *Oh, and the reason I said "pagan" is because people who truly practice Paganism think she's just as much a joke as I do.
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  2. #2
    pinkunicorn's Avatar
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    MM,
    It's hard to be tactful and neutral when your feet are being held so close to the fire!

    You are perfectly within reason to let this woman know that you will not be her audience as she talks about her other former daughter-in-law. What she has going on with Skank Son is between her, Skank Queen, and Dork Boy. Keep in mind that Skank Son was also her step-grandson for almost 15 years, which is basically his entire childhood so it's only natural that she has a relationship with him. But that has absolutely nothing to do with you and she really has no right to make it have to do with you.

    Perhaps you can try to redirect the conversation to your sons? If she insists on talking about the other woman's child and changing the subject won't work. Then politely bow out of the conversation. If politely bowing out of the conversation doesn't work, then remove yourself from the scene using whatever means necessary!

    What I'm getting at in answer to your question: you are handling the messed-up situation perfectly!
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  3. #3
    Mebel's Avatar
    Mebel is offline OWYM AG 29 yrs
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    I don't want to hear it!

    When this topic arises, I change the subject...and change the subject...and change the subject. If it's a "joint" event where members of my extended family are present, she plays right into their efforts to pump her for all the salacious information she can dispense about my ex, his second wife, and her sons. It's gross.

    Am I being rude because I don't want to hear it, or am I being as "tactful" as the situation warrants?

    MM
    .
    Hi MM, Yes to me you are at your end of being tactful! I have to share a secret, my mother does almost the same. She can speak about things that carries some "function' to her, I do not know what ? .. I have come to think her fysiology needs to make verbal sounds sometimes in forms of strict opinions just to release herself. She wants to hear her own sound perhaps only?

    No, this is not because she is an older lady nowadays.. she did speak out all her life about 'what she thinks has reason . I tried to figure out ''what' kind of reason", and for "what" reason? for whom? and, is there a reason in it, or sense to me in it? etcetera..
    So what to do.
    I tried everything as you did, from walking away, closing ears, ignoring, changing the theme, and I said, endlessly often, to her that i DO'NT WANT TO HEAR THIS or that.Even speaking with louder voice etcetera. All this did or does not work.
    Ok, not all she says is non sense to me..she is a smart &clever lady. But if her conversation nowadays goes the way like in your example and starts hurting my feelings I have changed!
    I simply start being very direct to her. No matter if there are other people in the room. I tell her what you wrote above in red!
    Confronting her by telling her it is gross and what her speaking does to my feelings! Not that it will work, but it helped me cope with her nonsense.
    Last edited by Mebel; 12-02-2013 at 07:08 AM.
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    trolleycar is offline I still play with trains
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    I find it very interesting to hear how uncaring some people can be.
    After hearing the problems that MM and Mebel have had in there lives.
    And they are not the only one that I have heard about, even in my own town there are people the love to make waves.
    I must consider my self very lucky that in my life I have not had such people that enjoy being self centered when it comes to other peoples feelings.
    I was bought up by my folks if I could not say something nice don't say any thing at all.
    And I can never say I ever heard my mom & dad fight or even have a load discussion.
    Mom and Dad were always together. One thing that always struck my funny about my dad he was a very shy person. and when we would go on trips in the car. mom had her camera and when you got two people with camera were taking photo
    one of the people would ask the other person what f stop and shutter speed are you using and when they would start talking about talking cameras and photography. And when mom would stop talking the other person with the camera. Dad always asked mom who was that you were talking to. He could not bring him self to start talking to someone that he did not Know. Dad ofter said I can not see how mom can find people to talk to the she does not know.
    As they say it takes all kinds of people to make up this world.
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  5. #5
    MissMuffins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebel View Post
    Hi MM, Yes to me you are at your end of being tactful! I have to share a secret, my mother does almost the same. She can speak about things that carries some "function' to her, I do not know what ? .. I have come to think her fysiology needs to make verbal sounds sometimes in forms of strict opinions just to release herself. She wants to hear her own sound perhaps only?
    We have an expression; perhaps you have it, too. In "proper" language, it is expressed: She likes to talk just to hear the sound of her own voice. In "familiar" language, it is: She talks just to hear herself rattle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mebel View Post
    No, this is not because she is an older lady nowadays.. she did speak out all her life about 'what she thinks has reason . I tried to figure out ''what' kind of reason", and for "what" reason? for whom? and, is there a reason in it, or sense to me in it? etcetera..
    So what to do.
    I tried everything as you did, from walking away, closing ears, ignoring, changing the theme, and I said, endlessly often, to her that i DO'NT WANT TO HEAR THIS or that.Even speaking with louder voice etcetera. All this did or does not work.
    Ok, not all she says is non sense to me..she is a smart &clever lady. But if her conversation nowadays goes the way like in your example and starts hurting my feelings I have changed!
    I simply start being very direct to her. No matter if there are other people in the room. I tell her what you wrote above in red!
    Confronting her by telling her it is gross and what her speaking does to my feelings! Not that it will work, but it helped me cope with her nonsense.
    Oh, Mebel, it is the same! It is not something new, because she is now a little older...my former mother-in-law has ALWAYS been this way.

    Usually, it's something that "only" causes private trouble, such as personal upset or sparks disagreements between individuals within the family. Upon occasion, it has been tremendously embarrassing. Once she was "discussing" a young woman...within earshot of the young woman's mother...who confronted her about what she was saying!!! I was certain a fight was going to break out!

    I have begun to employ a new strategy: I bring a woman friend. My former MIL is never offended by that, and it keeps her on her best behavior.

    MM
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    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  6. #6
    Mebel's Avatar
    Mebel is offline OWYM AG 29 yrs
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    We have an expression; perhaps you have it, too. In "proper" language, it is expressed: She likes to talk just to hear the sound of her own voice. In "familiar" language, it is: She talks just to hear herself rattle.

    MM
    Haha, yes, thanks for learning the right expression, in dutch language we would say ; Zij hoort zichzelf graag ratelen.
    ( also from rattlesnake, called ratelslang in dutch).

    ps it must be a very international common problem with 'moms ', because in german they call it ratel too!
    Last edited by Mebel; 12-03-2013 at 09:06 AM.
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  7. #7
    fiorinda's Avatar
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    MM, I'm curious why you still meet and have lunches with your ex-mother-in-law? How old are your sons? Could they see her without you? Do you really need to see her at all? Doesn't sound like it's much fun! Hopefully, apart from if/when either of my kids gets married, I won't ever have to see my ex-MIL again (and the same goes for my ex-husband once the house we jointly own is sold!! Yay!). My own mother is enough of a handful, and my soon-to-be new mother-in-law (who is younger than me!!) can be difficult too, I certainly don't need any hangovers from my previous marriage! x

  8. #8
    MissMuffins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebel View Post
    Haha, yes, thanks for learning the right expression, in dutch language we would say ; Zij hoort zichzelf graag ratelen.
    ( also from rattlesnake, called ratelslang in dutch).

    ps it must be a very international common problem with 'moms ', because in german they call it ratel too!
    Mebel,

    Is the plant sansevieria trifasciata a common houseplant in your country? We have it here...one of its common names is "mother in law's tongue."

    It is also called "snake plant" or St. George's Sword.

    MM
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    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

  9. #9
    Mebel's Avatar
    Mebel is offline OWYM AG 29 yrs
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuffins View Post
    Mebel,

    Is the plant sansevieria trifasciata a common houseplant in your country? We have it here...one of its common names is "mother in law's tongue."

    It is also called "snake plant" or St. George's Sword.

    MM

    Yes. and I have them too! Called "Vrouwentongen" translated just femaletongues. It cleans the air and sphere around my pc.
    Very funny that you call them especially from mother in law, and have you ever see women with such long tongues?

  10. #10
    MissMuffins's Avatar
    MissMuffins is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebel View Post
    Yes. and I have them too! Called "Vrouwentongen" translated just femaletongues. It cleans the air and sphere around my pc.
    Very funny that you call them especially from mother in law, and have you ever see women with such long tongues?
    No...but I *have* known women whose tongues were that sharp!

    MM
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

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