Monday, March 19, 2012

Let's be girlfriends: rants of a crazy woman

I hope everyone had an amazing fun induced holiday weekend. I hope it was full of green beverages, dancing Leprechauns and lucky shamrock scavenger hunts. My poor hubs got to have some wine with his pizza tonight (dinner of champions) as a way to say goodbye to our hectic weekend. I think I shouted at him "I want to start having more fun family weekends," quite a few times the last two days. That must have meant my inner self was not completely thrilled with all of the projects we had going on. It happens. But that's when you grab a piece of chocolate and power through it and find the beauty in late night laughter and total exhaustion.

As for today I was hoping we could be girlfriends and have a little venting session. Is that ok with you kind folks?! I just wanna share with you guys...cuz y'all be my homies & you're cheaper than therapy haha. I sometimes hesitate to share this kind of "downer" type posts with you guys because I don't want you to be bored with me and think I am whining. But sometimes I feel like maybe it can give insight as to who I am and I can even connect with someone through my experiences. Let me throw out one little disclaimer to any of my husbands family members who may be reading this....I'm not trying to hurt any ones feelings. Just allowing myself to vent. So please no judgement. So now that I have prefaced it let's get to my vent-worthy issue...(if anyone is still reading this haha. I sort of hope you're not haha).

The other day one of my gal pals on good ole' facebook posted a sign that said this...
Needless to say, I was cracking up. However, it did make me a little sad. It made me sad because I don't have this relationship with my in laws and in a strange way I wish I had the problem of my mother-in-law overstepping her bounds.I haven't ever shared this on my blog before but our relationship with my in laws is non-existent. This was after a lot of hurt and a lot of history that we finally chose to distance ourselves from them and decided to call it quits to avoid any additional hurt. My hubby and I will have been married for 8 years this year (together for 10) and let me just put it out there...they don't like me. This was apparent when they wouldn't give us addresses for our wedding invites, decided I was the devil for liking Halloween so much, or prank called us and said inappropriate things when they had been drinking.
I'm heartbroken that they have never visited us in the different places we have lived. They have never celebrated a birthday with me or given us tips or advice, and here is the real heart breaker...they have never met my son.

Crazy-painful right?! The blog world has seen more of our house than they ever have. Not one baby blanket, diaper, or birthday wish for our little guy. I've never exchanged a recipe with my mother-in-law or even a hug with my father-in-law. My hubby's never been congratulated for a promotion or when he bought his very first house in Baltimore. I know it may all seem so petty, but it just down right sucks (excuse my french).
It has just been gnawing at me lately, I'm guessing because of our upcoming trip to Texas to see all of my family.  I am just so blown away by all of it because I was always the kid who went to friends houses and their parents wanted to "adopt" me. I always said yes sir, no sir and thank you. I was the girl in high school who could sit at the dining room table and gab away with their parents all night about what we were all up to in our lives. I never in a million years thought that I would be the girl who was not liked by my husbands family. And the truth is I'm tired of it. Simply pushed over the edge, pull my hair out- tired of it. For years I encouraged my hubs to have a relationship with them even though they were awful to me/us. But when we decided to get preggers and have Olly I was no longer willing to sacrifice my happiness or put my son's feeling in harms way.
 I am tired of covering up how they treated us and standing by and saying nothing while everyone else in the family or in their church think we did something and that we are the disrespectful ones. I'm mad about all of it now. I'm mad that after I initially lost all of my weight my own mother in law told me how glad she was that my hubs could see past my weight on my wedding day. That destroyed my confidence for a long time. I'm mad that they visited family an hour away from where we lived in Baltimore for a weekend (when they live in Texas) but wouldn't make it by to see their own son or our very first house. I'm mad that they tricked my husband into taking a family portrait picture without me, apologized to him after saying they were wrong and then posted it in the church bulletin for all to see. I am simply tired of my hubs being broken hearted and mad that they have done that for so long.
This journey of learning to let them go over the past 1.5 years has been so therapeutic for our marriage and so necessary to eliminate the toxicity out of my sons life. I just miss having the idea of an extended family with someone other than my own. However, I must give huge shout outs to my family who have stepped up and been there for us in ways his family never have.
I just wanted to share and see if anyone out there has had these experiences? I hate wanting something I can't have and something I don't think his parents are capable of, which is being our family. Do I sound totally bitter and crazy?!
I am now going to stop venting and go do something to make myself smile, but I must say it felt good to get off my chest. I try to be as honest with you guys as possible and I want you to know my life is far from perfect even though I chose to focus on all of the positive most days. I promise that tomorrow I will be back to my old self and be chipper...but for today I wanted to be this..whatever this is....and I'm owning it. Thanks for being the best listeners ever...not one interruption...impressive. At least I have you amazingly awesome kids to keep me company. Have a great Monday and forgive my crazy tantrums...

26 comments:

  1. I've been reading your blog for months now, it's up there with my daily FB, Hotmail and Ebay quicklinks. Sometimes I'm sad if you don't post. I've been inspired by your creativity, amused by your accent (which manages to come across in text)and touched by your honesty.
    I've never posted before today, because I've never felt like you needed the gratification.
    But today what you have written has touched me, and I wanted to reach out; to give you a cyber hug, and say "You're wonderful, forget those who don't see it."

    I mean heck, if I can see it from this little blog of yours, when I'm across the world, then I don't see how they could have missed it. But somehow, there are people in this world who don't want to let the good in.

    I've been through my share of rough patches with the in-laws, and have even come close to where you are now. Thankfully the storm passed, and whilst they'll never truly see in me what my hubby does, it's good enough to be able to live in a granny flat on their property, so I should be SUPER duper thankful.

    I should share, I am a 26 yr old mum of one little mischevious 5 yr old boy, living contentedly with him and his Dad-my hubs :) Your blog is a bit of sunshine on any given day, and you can share with me/us whatever you darn well please!

    Big love from Brisbane, Australia
    xo Cassie

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  2. Although my situation with my in-laws is different, the outcome is the same. They don't send so much as a birthday card to any of my four kids, let alone remember to call their own son on his birthday. My kids get plenty of love from my parents so they don't seem to recognize the complete lack of interaction from my husband's side, and for that I am greatful. I too used to try to force the issue because it's such a foreign issue to me, but after we moved to TX 2 years ago, my sister in-law found out she was pregnant and my MIL sent an email to the whole family announcing she was going to be a grandma for the first time - completely ignoring the four she has by us, I gave up. Like you, I don't want my kids to know how little regard their grandma has for them. I don't feel sad about it anymore, it's a huge burden that's been lifted.

    Enjoy your trip to TX, the weather has been beautiful as of late!

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  3. Courtney, you are not alone.

    My husband's parents are divorced and his father's new wife of 18 years essentially pretends that my husband doesn't exist. My husband is in the Navy and has lived in Italy, England, Seattle and most recently we were in Spain. They never made a trip to visit him, while my MIL comes to visit annually. Well, they didn't visit until they adopted a new child and his stepmother finally decided to get her a passport to bring her to Spain for a life experience on the cheap. This was the first time they'd ever visited my husband in his own home as an adult and he was 36 years old! It was clear from the moment they got off the plane that we were supposed to take her to every country possible in one week. I put my foot down at taking her to Morocco. They were upset that I denied her the opportunity to set foot on another continent and get her passport stamped. By the end of their visit I blew up at my Father-in-law and told them how disappointed I was that they didn't come out to see my husband and to get to know me.

    Big mistake. In their minds I am now the spawn of the devil. For 18 years my husband hasn't had a relationship with his father beyond a phone call at Christmas because his stepmother resents a child from a previous marriage and suddenly I'm the problem? We've also been together for ten years and the last two have really sucked. Every effort I make to make contact is met with hostility. My husband just tells me to forget about them because he was also disgusted by their behavior. I still send their daughter postcards and gifts because it's not her fault. But, at Christmas they emailed and demanded to know what the wrapped presents were so that they could screen the gifts. I guess they thought I was going to send her the Anarchist's Cookbook or something (it was actually a paintable tea set and some herbal teas). It's heartbreaking.

    Anyway, now that I'm starting to rant and ramble...I just wanted to tell you that you aren't alone. You have made a good decision to protect your family from toxicity. And, you have plenty to be proud of because being a military spouse and an awesome blogger who brightens our day is something to say, "yay!" about.

    Take care!

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  4. I am glad that you shared this, and glad that other women have responded and know that they aren't alone. If there is one thing that I have learned in my life, it's that we have no control over what other people think about us. Even if we want it. But it sounds like you, and others (myself included) here have discovered that it doesn't matter what others think. It's a learning process to get to that point. But in the end, we are only responsible for ourselves and how we treat others. One lesson that took me a long time to learn, and forgiveness was a big part of this, is that we really do need to love everyone. In a way where we want them to be happy and don't truly want harm to come to them, regardless of their behavior and opinions about us. But that doesn't mean we need to like them. Those are two different concepts completely. Thanks for your honesty! It is so good to hear, especially in the blog world where we tend to judge ourselves by the niceness/cleanness/originality of other women.

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  5. I do not know what this must feel like but I am so proud of you. I know how hard it is to express your feelings and put things like this out there for others to see. It shows you are growing and allowing yourself to move past things. You go girl!

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  6. I am lucky to have a good relationship with my in-laws, but there is another person "close" to me who has spread lies about me being the bad guy, and just been plain awful at times and all I can say is: they will end up getting reaping what they sew. And more people than you think know the true them--people like that seem to believe they have every one fooled but are extremely transparent. I think you and your husband are courageous and wise to put this all behind you for the good of your relationship and your family and just try to move on, and I can't imagine how that must hurt to have to come to terms with a parent(s) being so awful. You have a beautiful little family and your son will be better for the brave decisions you guys have made and the loving family you do have around.

    As always, I love reading your blog whether it's the creative or the personal :D

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  7. I just want to send words of encouragement to you- I love reading your blog, it is like a little ray of sunshine! If others don,t feel that way then so be it. There are people out there that don't even know you "in real life" but enjoy you and your family. Thank you for sharing your life! :)

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  8. Ugh - in laws are the worst. Have been really concerned that I eventually will turn in to a dreaded mother in law - hopefully by being aware I can prevent it. Stay strong! Unfortunately when you pick the man you don't have a choice in the family...

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  9. Courtney, I hear you! When my MIL-to-be found out I was Catholic, she stopped speaking to me the rest of our weekend getaway. She and I don't see eye to eye on a lot of things and that can be a straining relationship. She doesn't want her son to get married ("it's archaic") but still had a list for me of people I had to invite. Sigh.

    But I also grew up with missing grandparents. My dad's mom remarried and her husband wasn't such a fan of my dad. Which meant I never got to know those grandparents. It makes me a little sad, but also helps me see who matters to me. So many other relatives have stepped up to fill missing spaces. I am blessed! So never feel like Olly has missed out. He has amazing parents who will ensure he is not disappointed by those who do not care about him.

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  10. I am so sorry about the "non-relationship" you have with your in-laws. Believe me it is most certainly their loss and not yours.

    I have a strained rlp. with my in-laws as well. It got to a point where my MIL banned me from her house for being "disrespectful", now I have never not once said or done anything disrespectful to her mind you & she couldn't even articulate to my husband how I was being disrespectful either. With out going into everything let's just say it drove a HUGE wedge between my husband and I for a long time.
    Finally he put his foot down with them and things seem to be going better. There are times when I wish that I had a better relationship with them because most times I feel downright uncomfortable in their presence, but I just count the blessings of having my own family.

    CYBER HUGS & KISSES TO YOU!

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  11. Oh, my! Well, I can just tell you right now Courtney that you are one of the most inspirational people I have ever encountered and for his family to not see that is their loss. I admire you for being a military wife and also going through the weight loss journey that you have!

    Now, my boyfriend and I have been together for almost 4 years. His mother had past away a few years before we met and he is estranged from his half-sister. So that being said, he just has his 'step' family (a stepfather, stepbrother, and stepsister), but they are his so-called family. He grew up with them. Well, about a year ago they decided they wanted nothing to do with me (long story, but his stepbrother and I got into it about something totally ridiculous) which is fine with me, but they also took it out on my boyfriend. So now they don't talk to us and proceed to talk 'crap' about us from time to time (except for the stepsister, she is semi okay). So we just decided to have nothing to do with them and cut all ties with them because it wasn't fair for us to care when they didn't. We have my side of the family and my boyfriend is considered part of my side of the family. My parents treat him as if he is their son-in-law.

    Anyways, lesson learned is that sometimes you just can't control the kinds of things people do. People do absolutely stupid things in this world without thinking or caring about other people. Its their loss that they aren't involved in ya'lls life and they will have to live with that for the rest of their lives. They'll realize one day how selfish they've been, and it may be too late or it may not be, but I strongly feel they will. In the meantime, stay positive and know that you have eachother and you will get through it. You have your family (like I do mine, bc we are very close) and as long as you have them and friends you can get through anything!

    Stay positive!

    Kayleigh
    @ The Gotta Have It Girl

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  12. "they have never met my son." = kill.me.now.

    I'm so sorry Court.

    I know this post resonates with a lot of your readers but that doesn't make it any less painful, unfair or disappointing on the part of your in-laws.

    Sometimes family is just a word and nothing else.

    Sending you a BIG cyber hug all the way from Canada.

    xoxo
    Sara K {SaigeWisdom}

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  13. Courtney,

    Bravo for expressing your feelings. I hope that your post and subsequent supportive responses have helped you process some of those feelings. You are not alone. I don’t have kids, but, my husband is an only child and I think deep down his parents have always been extremely jealous of our relationship.

    I understand what you mean when you feel you are a good person and your in-laws don’t feel that way. I understand what it’s like to have lies spread about you and the truth twisted into something not even close to reality. I also know that my in-laws wouldn’t know unconditional love if it walked up and hit them in the head. I know they will never like me and they will always blame me for things that I am not responsible for.

    My in-laws have done some extremely horrible, life altering things to us. I’ll spare the gory details, but, after ten plus years of their ridiculousness, we have been estranged from my in laws for about three years. Although it has been difficult, I am thankful that I never see those people again and glad to be rid of their manipulating presence.

    A book that was extremely helpful to me is Dr. Susan Forwards’ Toxic In-Laws. I recommend it for some help in understanding the motivation behind behaviors and for setting healthy boundaries. Remember, you can’t make people change and expecting people to change isn’t helpful because usually toxic people don’t.

    Courtney, you are a special, very talented, highly creative person. Everyone who reads your blog can see it. Your husband and son see it too. Keep letting go, don’t waste energy & expectations on negative people, it’s not easy, but it will keep you sane!

    I love your blog! I enjoy seeing your projects and reading these type of personal posts. Thanks for being you. ---Amanda

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  14. Courtney,

    I am Ryan's Aunt (married to his Uncle Charlie). We had no idea that this situation existed even though I started to wonder at Raymond's wedding. We have four boys of our own which keep us very busy and we aren't always at family functions and usually don't hear any of the family issues.

    I have been following your blog for a while and recently joined...you are extremely talented and have a beautiful family. I enjoy your posts and your projects are just incredible. You have a great eye! I have been showing Charlie your family pictures and Olly is absolutely precious.

    At some point if you ever make it to Fort Worth, we would love, love, love to see all of you! And know that we are watching your family and Olly grow!

    Wishing you only the BEST! Tell Ryan hi for us!
    Ellen

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  15. Awww...{{{{{{{{{{{{{{HUG}}}}}}}}}}}}
    It is brave and strong of you to share the truth and pain of your situation. How sad that your In-laws cannot see how fabulous you, your son, and in essence your hubby, their own flesh and blood are. Obviously a few people around the world know how much value you have!
    I am blessed to have wonderful In-laws, but it is my own paternal side of my family that I have strife with. My parents divorced when I was 2 and it has been a struggle for my dad to put anyone but himself first. after my grandma, his mom, passed away when I was in 9th grade, my relationship with that side rapidly deteriorated. Constant battles and all but my aunt leave it up to me to contact them. My own father has seen my son only twice (3 times if you count 2 minutes through the nursery window of the hospital). It hurts, and while I know they love me and my son in their own way, it is so hard to understand how you cannot want to love on my little guy, like the rest of our family does.
    I pray your heart heals and that there can be change, peace, and reconciliation, if your in-laws are willing and able to change. Sometimes the only change we can ask for and count on is the change God works in us, and gives us the strength to be a better person. I hope their choice to be this way does not harm your sweet son! At least you all have given him such a rich and loving environment and family to grow up in.
    Blessings, Heather

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  16. so sorry to hear about your family situation. I can't imgagine how hard that can be. I'm a follower of your blog, and I think that you are talented, creative and a wonderful mother and wife. and having the name courtney is not bad either ;o) (my middle name is Courtney.)

    {{{{hugs}}}} from Chicago!!

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  17. Hi Courtney!

    I follow your blog and really enjoy reading about your decor ideas and projects, and seeing the pictures of your beautiful family. I am quite a bit older than you (almost 46!), but I can definetly relate to you. We have not spoken to my husband's side of the family for years. The details of the break are too gory to mention. Let's just say we had to end the relationship to ensure the emotional health of our child. At first it was very painful, having to find out how other family members would react and just dealing with the loss of such a big part of our lives. BUT, life is sweeter. There isn't drama, or stress anymore. We are happier for it. Pray for them, and live your life. It's their loss!

    The good news is, you will be a more sensitive, sweet, mother in law!

    Thanks for sharing with us!
    Lori

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  18. I love your blog, I have read every post since you started it, my friend Alyssa emailed it to me when you started it. I am getting married in 2 months and am excited to use many of your projects in my own home and love seeing what you are doing with the rental.
    My fiance, Dave's, immediate family is close, but they do not know one set of their grandparents or aunts and uncles. I know that something happened but the kids don't really seem to know. As someone who comes from a huge supportive family, who shared every birthday with cousins and aunts and uncles, it is really hard for me to wrap my head around.
    Dave's family is also military, and they have surrogate grandparents and family that they have gathered around them over the years. It says a lot when you in-laws are not even willing to reach out to your baby, and that is tough, and I think protecting him is really important. You seem to be a great mom and wife and it is their loss. They don't get to share in the love of your beautiful little boy and his mom, and that is truly their loss. Hugs and prayers.
    Kate

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  19. I was surprised to read about the situation with your in-laws. How could they not love you and their own son and their grandson? Amazing. But you have to realize that the problem here is NOT you. Some people need something in their lives to hate...something to bitch about and to talk negatively about. You were there. They chose you, and by association, your husband and now your son. I think you're awesome and amazing and talented. So do all the other people who have seen your work. I understand that it hurts because you want that family connection that you so RIGHTLY deserve...but you're not going to get it from them. You could'nt choose them, but you CAN choose people who WILL cherish you and bring you into their homes and hearts. Sometimes friendships are just as strong as family ties. Keep your chin up. You have everything you need already, so don't let them win by thinking about them another SECOND!!!

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  20. Courtney I just saw this and wanted to give you a virtual hug and say I understand. While my relationship with my in-laws is fine now, it was HORRIBLE in the beginning. My MIL is the passive agressive, "Oh everything is fine honey" type of woman. She..and my hubby's two sisters...sat me down the day before our wedding and told me that they thought I was white trash ( I came from a moderate-poor family...and there's is VERY wealthy) and that I was going to ruin their son and his chances at a bright future. And that I was probably just looking to get into a rich family so I'd be set. Well despite my best attempts to explain who I was they didn't listen. It was an awkward wedding day to say the least but has gotten progressively better over the years. They didn't trust me in the beginning but we've given them 2 beautiful grand children and they are great grandparents thank God. I will be praying for this situation. Being estranged from family is SOO hard. Brutal in fact...and it just eats away at your heart. You are a treasure! I have never commented before but you are FREAKISHLY talented and adorable and funny! They would be BLESSED beyond belief if they took the time to get to know you and your adorable personality...not to mention your gorgeous son! Stay strong friend...and keep us all posted the next time you need to vent! :)

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  23. I'm a little late to this post but I can relate. I'm not married so it isn't an in-law situation with me but I grew up without my Godmother (my dad's sister) in my life due to something her and my parents didn't agree with. At 29 I still don't really know (or care) what the issue was, all that mattered to me was why she didn't love or care for me. In the more recent years I have forgiven her for not being there and come to realize that she never will be. But the good side of this is (as I read your family is doing) my mom's little sister stepped right into her place and has been the best Godmother, friend, confidant, and person I could ever ask to have in my corner. I'm a new reader so I'm not sure how much or little religion plays in your life but I believe God put me in that situation growing up so that I would never do that to my Godchildren (I'm lucky to have 3, 1 blood related and 2 not). I also believe that everyone in your life is there for a reason and to teach you something. I'm sure your son will be a stronger and more loving person as he grows because of this and more aware at how his actions directly affect others. I know it might be hard to think of it that way when you're living it, but as someone who has lived it trust me when I say I believe you're doing the right thing for your son and that while you were venting you showed all of us just how selfless you are. Hang in there, chin up and continue to rock!

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  24. @Margaret
    Your words were so sweet and touching. Thank you, thank you, thank you. ;.)

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  25. I came here somehow, via Pinterest.
    You are so not alone.

    I married the Golden-Haired Boy, in-law's youngest. He could do no wrong and really subtly chose them over me/us frequently, because I was "understanding." He took care of his mom, kept her in her house, after FIL died, and she had a million illnesses due to lack of self-care. We supported her for about 7 years. She never lacked for his company, and he could look himself in the mirror and say, "I did all I could."

    The bottom line was, that that they were jealous. Plain and simple. One SIL hated the ground I walked on, because I "took" her brother. We lived 2.5 miles away, but I "took" him. They were jealous of any time we had together. They looked to him for decisions, medical advice (Huh?) financial assistance (I found out later), big-purchase suggestions, finding vehicles (stop me) etc.

    Sometimes the only healthy thing you can do is remove yourself and your family from ugliness. Truly, since these people have definitely shown you their true colors, would you want their influence on your children? Or on DH, since he was "convinced" to take a family picture without you. He had a choice and you know darned well he could have stood tall and waited for you. It sounds like he was trying to please them, in order to keep some kind of weird peace.

    They're small people and just jealous of the fact your DH chose to create a life with someone he loves. Strange, isn't it? We raise our kids to be independent, thinking people, who can get out there and live a good, stand-up life on their own. Then parents (statistics show it's usually mothers/families of sons) lose their tiny minds and out comes their lurking, evil twin. Hurtful and ugly.

    Rant away, because it might help someone else, somewhere. Simply to let them know that they are also not alone. It's probably not them. Unless they're only reporting 1/2 the story, it's not them. But in one's heart, one knows what's going on.

    Obviously this old post of yours struck a nerve here. I haven't read more of your blog yet, but think I need to look 'round.

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