When I first met my husband I felt sorry for his mother. My soon to be in-law's were going through a nasty divorce that was, upon first glance, caused by my fathers-in-law's blatant and embarrassing infidelity. He was living with another woman while still being married to my MIL. What I have learned after a few years of inclusion in this family, is that I cannot blame him for leaving her. His choices, actions, and lack of recognition for the hurt he caused his children will never be acceptable to me, but I now understand why he couldn't take it from her any more. The woman is a Master Manipulator. The reason that I am writing is because it has begun to affect my relationship with my husband, and I need an place to blow some steam.
My husband is a good man. He is a lover, a provider and a terrific friend to me. I love him dearly and he loves me. He recognizes that his mother has weaseled her way between his siblings and their spouses by being that sympathetic garbage dump for all their problems (which she then shares with everyone else in the family). The problem, my problem, is that he does not recognize was she is doing as it pertains to me. He excuses every one of her words and actions that hurt me. I have heard him say things like "You are taking her the wrong way" "She doesn't think things through that far" "You are exaggerating" "Just get along" over and over again. I have had it with her, and there is going to be a big nasty fight soon if something doesn't give. Maybe there needs to be a big nasty fight. I have spent way too much time stewing.
I looked up the definition of the word manipulate and this is what I found:
tr.v. ma·nip·u·lat·ed, ma·nip·u·lat·ing, ma·nip·u·lates
- To move, arrange, operate, or control by the hands or by mechanical means, especially in a skillful manner: She manipulated the lights to get just the effect she wanted.
- To influence or manage shrewdly or deviously: He manipulated public opinion in his favor.
- To tamper with or falsify for personal gain: tried to manipulate stock prices. (From Dictionary.com)
Manipulators often make requests or demands by playing on your affections and your guilt. Spot manipulative comments like "If you loved me, you would (or wouldn't) do this" or the converse: "Since you insist on doing this, I can no longer love or trust you." There are no gray areas with manipulators. If you don't perform as they wish, there is something lacking in you. (From "How to spot a manipulator" on ANSWERBAG)
The definition "To tamper with or falsify for personal gain" makes me sick. This isn't a phrase that should be able to define how someone deals with family. I feel like she has tampered with me. I haven't fit what her idea of family is, and was told these words "You are married to (insert hubby's name) now. You're an (insert family name) now. This is how we do things". I don't think that my husband always sees her manipulation for what it is because she is very skillful at it.
I haven't handled this well from the start. I conceded to whining about her instead of presenting facts to my husband from a standpoint of logic. I can understand why he has a difficult time taking this from me. Maybe he does see the manipulation, but doesn't think her motive is bad, so he lets it go. I mean, after all she wants is a close family...just on her terms.