Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lotion, Bribery, and Ginourmous Ducks

None of this is earth shattering, I'm just venting...

So yesterday I went shopping with the MIL. In the past I have been painfully aware that when I and/or the girls go shopping with the MIL, sometimes we are nothing more than background noise, accomplices (to her love hate relationship with money and credit cards), and just there to keep her from feeling lonely.

There have also been times when she has asked us to go shopping with her, and she asks if there are places that we would like to go, but in the end our wants and wishes, sometimes even NEEDS are shoved aside... because it's not what she wants.

Each time I become angry and frustrated. Sometimes I bite my tongue, sometimes my tongue gets the better of me.... but still, how will she- *a person who is oblivious to what is acceptable and proper, mostly because these things do not fit with any scenario that would fill her needs first or at all- supposed to know when she has done something wrong, unless I tell her? But it doesn't matter because she never really listens... refer back to the *. All of which makes me more angry and frustrated.

Yesterday, this was the case. ALL of this was the case. Once again. You would think by now that I would have learned. I'm a sucker... I have this ability to either be very mistrusting or to be too trusting. Then sometimes, just sometimes, I am mistrusting, feel guilty... then trust too much. ;) This too, would be the case with the MIL. I have this hope buried deep inside of me that one day she will stop being so self centered and that one day her overwhelming sense of entitlement will be crushed beneath true compassion and love for her family. I keep trusting one day that she is going to change... and in the end I feel like a fool for putting my trust out there again.

Sometimes I can't decide whether or not to give up on a human. For the most part, I try to remember that this person is human just like me, and I try to hope that there is a chance for change. The Christian in me wants to forgive and try again. The other part of me wants to become a hermit and not interact with other people at all. I'm one conflicted individual! But you probably knew that already.

Anyway, she asked us to go, we went. She spends and hour in Bath and Body Works shopping for lotion. She finishes with over a hundred dollars in lotion, despite admitting that she has a few boxes of this stuff at home already. OK, I shop too, but after a good 1/2 hour I've about reached my maximum lotion shopping allotment. Afterwards, she announces that we will now be heading back to the bookstore to get the book light- light bulbs that she needs and exiting the store to go right to the car to leave.

Gritting my teeth, I say no- that Anna wants to go to the Disney Store, like we had talked about in the car on the 45 minute drive to the mall. And my kids are hungry, just like I had said in the car. I told her WE are going to go to the Disney store, while SHE takes her bags of lotion to her car. WE will meet HER at the food court next to the book store so my kids can eat, and THEN we could do whatever.

She wasn't too terribly happy with my version, but she relented. We decided to all have a late lunch then. I bought lunch for my girls and she surprised me by buying mine and hers. I thanked her.

After lunch we headed for JC Penney's, and she saw another lotion place I had mentioned The Body Shop, which I had said on the way that I would like make my own scented lotion. "I'd wouldn't mind looking in there too, you said you wanted to go in there."

I said- thinking to myself that yes I did mention that I wanted to go in there, but that was before spending an hour in another place devoted entirely to lotions and body wash, etc- " I really don't feel like spending another hour in a lotion place."

Pretty simple concept , I thought. In front of me I see her bristle, barely perceptible, but it was there.

"What, you don't know what scents you like?" She asked, with just a touch of sarcasm.

Ok, here we go, gloves are off. "SURE, I know what scents I like... I don't want to spend another hour looking at lotion!"

We move on to Starbucks, her irritation with me suddenly gone. We place our orders and she decides to pay again, without telling me. While waiting for our order, I asked, "Will you please take some money for this?"

"No," She says, "I just expect people to go shopping with me without complaining."

Uhhhhh. Hmph. I stood there for a moment with my mouth open, then snapped it shut. She basically said in so many words that as long as I keep my mouth shut, she'll buy me stuff. She's trying to bribe me!

Oh God, you don't know how angry this made me. At first, the human in me thought- well fine, you want to play it that way, go ahead. I just take advantage of you, @$%@&@& %#^&#%! I sat down and simmered a bit, meanwhile she once again buts in while I am disciplining my child. She's going for the gold obviously. Anna wants my Frappacino since she has already scarfed down hers without even tasting it. I say no, she's had enough. So what does the MIL do? She offers Anna some of hers. I look her square in the eye and choke out through my clenched jaw "NO. She's had ENOUGH."

The first half of my life I endured all sorts of guilt from my mother ( as in: I'm the one who made her crazy, I make her crazy, it's my fault she is depressed and the reason she wants to kill herself, and I was the reason her marriage to my step dad was failing while I was still living under her roof... etc. I could go on, but don't want to). I know that this is the reason that I am able to go from zero to witch in 2.4 seconds and still be able to start to feel guilty about hurting someone's feelings before I've even come down off of my anger high.

The Christian in me knows it would be wrong to take advantage of her like that, though it is she who believes that she is taking advantage- I say this because all of what I have suspected about her using me and my kids as entertainment and back ground noise while she is shopping is true. It is confirmed by her own statement that I shouldn't complain and I'll reap the benefits.

Shocking. But not really, nothing she does anymore is that shocking. It's all geared towards what is best for her.

The problem with all of this is that this will be something I need to discuss with her before we ever go shopping together again. We need to get a few things straight. No, I will not keep my mouth shut, and no I will not have my or my kids needs shoved aside to suit her, then be bought off. I will not allow her to continue to rationalize spending hundreds of dollars, just because she decided to throw something in for me. I cannot be an accomplice to her over spending anymore, though it is her decision and choice to spend money she doesn't have...

I think I just wont be able to go at all. On the other hand, I'm not responsible for what she spends... and I can refuse to let her pay for stuff for me and my girls when I clearly have the money to buy what I need. I can also refuse to go shopping with her unless she agrees with my terms. I'm not her puppet or puppy, and I will not be placated with doggie treats.

It's not that I am not grateful for what she does for us, I just don't like being told that I have shut my mouth and have no opinion. Sorry, the first 18 years of my life was like that. Not going to happen.

Anywho, after all the ranting, whining and complaining... This is what Emma got out of the trip, this was her doggie biscuit... her bribe. It's totally something she needs and it's not ridiculous at all.

But the MIL just had to buy it for Emma because- well, she wanted it, and it was 75% off. Fantastic! Another toy we don't need- to add to our over flowing toy boxes... a toy that wont even FIT in the toy boxes.

Notice the fake smile, folks.

And just so you get an idea... the little ducky on the right is actual rubber ducky size. This new ducky is the Godzilla of all rubber duckies. :D


Anonymous said...

First of all, let me just say that you have a beautiful daughter!

And about your MIL. Mine isn't a peach either, so I can sympathize. I just know that your MIL will never change, so I wish you luck in getting thru to her if you ever decide to go shopping with her again. I think you'll feel better being honest with her, but beyond that, same old stuff! Ugh. I just don't get how people can be SO self-absorbed. And manipulative. And SUCH a pain in my ass. In YOUR ass.

Next time you wanna go to the mall - CALL ME! lol

crse said...

Seriously buddy, sometimes i read what you write and i think that you have to be living my life in some parallel universe. Its freaking uncanny. To the point that we have that duck. Ive never seen a duck like that before and Im not positive where it came from, but its safe to say its from a family member with a personality disorder.

Its taken YEARS to get to the point where i dont react to my stepmonster. And a LOT of therapy. I have about fifty five clinical things to do tonight but Im going to try to email some stuff that helped me. But no matter what, just remember sweetie ITS NOT YOU, ITS HER!!!!

crse said...

DAMN Mamalee snuck in! I knew I should have posted my first hurrah and then posted again for the rest!

Dorky Dad said...

I have a problem dealing with my MIL ... one that is almost impossible to deal with sometimes. In other words, I feel your pain.

Not So Anonymous Michelle said...

Sounds like a wonderful MIL! hehe! That's a bunch of crap she is so manipulative and you're right, you don't need to deal with that kind of stuff when you had quite a mother to deal with as you grew up! Yeah sure it's nice having someone buy you and your kids stuff, but not in the way she's trying to do it! Plus, the whole thing with the frappuccino (I think I spelled that wrong)...that was totally wrong of her to do that.

Carrie said...

Ugh! That totally sucks!

I actually saw those giant rubber ducks in Bath and Body Works yesterday. I thought "oh, those are kind of cute" to myself, then started to think how they would take up half of the entire bath tub, and where the heck would one store them? No wonder they were 75% off!

Sorry you had a bad day. I'll be thinking of you as you have to either set rules, or refuse to do this.

We have some of our own issues right now in the same dept with a passive, aggressive MIL that minipulates, but it's in a totally different way. It's not fun either though.

So my thougths are with you.


Karmyn R said...

An hour looking for lotion? Not only could I not have handled that - my kids would have lost it after 5 minutes. ack -

Your MIL needs some serious personality/thoughtfulness training.

Slackermommy said...

I think I'd have to stop MIL shopping trips out of fear that I would bitch slap her. Good for you for keeping your cool. Your daughter is a doll baby.

Pamela said...

if you just need to get it off your chest... then you did a good job.

but... If you want input...here it is. Don't go shopping with your MIL. Try to find something else that she likes to do, that could include the girls and you in a positive way -

Zoo? Park? childrens theater? I'm just popping corks here.

kailani said...

Well, you know how I feel about my MIL! LOL!

That duck is huge! I know what you're going through since someone recently gave GG a huge Dora stuffed doll. Now where the heck am I going to store that monster? Do you want it? hee hee

Mert said...

Mamalee, Dorkydad,Carrie- WOW, I'm surprised at how many of you guys admitted that you have MIL problems too. That's kind of sad! It's an epidemic! I wonder what is the common denominator? A history of passive-aggressive behavior, of the development of that sense of entitlement because age= rank in their minds.

I know in the bible it says to honor your elders, but I think everyone deserve the same amount of respect, respect should not be demanded... because then it wouldn't be respect that is given, only resentment...does that make sense? There should be mutual respect.

CSRE, yay! You were the first commenter! I think we should burn those ducks in effigy.

Thanks Michelle!

Karmyn, we have tried to tell her in a calm manner when she does these things, but it never changes. One big problem we encounter is her interrupting us all the time. It's turned into a pet peeve for us because to us interrupting = lack of respect.

Pamela, we have invited her over for dinner and invited her to come with us different places... but in the end she was always too busy, most of the time. Too busy cleaning her apartment, too busy feeling depressed and sorry for herself for one reason or another , or too busy because "her shows were on". We have stopped asking her over because she always says no, well 9 times out of 10. She has a tendency then to tell people she never sees us, insinuates that she never gets to see her grand kids because we are never home- when in fact I have said that all she needs to do is tell us that she wants to come over and we will stay home (at least a hour or two notice so we can change our plans if we have any)... but it's as if she expects us to sit around waiting for her to show up.

Then you know me, I have spurts where I feel bad and feel like I should try again, and then she's too busy again or says something like "well, I guess I could come over", like she really doesn't want to. It's all very frustrating, especially since she only lives 2 blocks away. John is to the point ( they have a rocky relationship, stemming from childhood)that he doesn't even want to see her anymore.

Mert said...

Kailani, no I don't want your Dora! Would you like to throw it on my burn pile with the duck?

Or maybe I could just grill them! ;D

Bunny said...

Sorry the MIL is so insecure and bitchy, but the child and the duck - too freakin' cute! My 2-yr-old would wet her pants (okay, she does that anyway) to get a duck like that.

Daddy Forever said...

Lucky for me, my inlaws and I speak different languages. We say hi and how are you, but that's it. Thanks goodness!

What is it with kids and toys? No matter how many toys they have, they always want more. They play with for it a day and then ignore it. Love the fake smile by the way.

wolfbaby said...

awww she is to cute for words...

just send her and the duckie my way i dont' mind..

I flat out refuse to go shoping with my MIL i just say no. I can't do it thank you very much.