2017 was a very difficult year for us. We lost people who meant the world to us, had a house fire, and had drama with my mother in law. The last thing isn’t really new. In fact, it became my normal for a long time. You see, I have THAT Mother in Law….
I have THAT Mother in Law
I want to put it out there that this isn’t a post to bash my mother in law. I will not call her my monster in law or take any jabs at her. It has taken me a long time to get to the point that I can write this so I want to be 100% genuine in what I share.
She hated me from day 1.
Mike and I weren’t dating the first day I met my future mother in law. In fact, we were best friends and I never saw that changing to anything more. When I arrived at the big party at her house, Mike ditched me to run to his room for something. I knew none of his friends and felt super awkward. So, I thought I would be nice and ask if she needed my help with anything. To say I was not welcome to help was an understatement. Her exact yell was, “Mike come get your friend out of my kitchen.”
I should have known then things would be rocky. We weren’t even dating.
Then we started dating.
I wish I could say things improved but my sweet husband was a momma’s boy to his core. He decided I should tell her we were dating. That should have been a red flag ladies! It really should have. We were all at an art festival in Miami. As I walked up to talk to her, my husband backed as far away as he could with his friends. He left me with her to address this. I told her Mike and I were dating. Her answer, “Fine. Hurt him and I can kill you and make it so that you are never found. No one will miss you.” Yeah.. That’s about as successful as you get right?
So we got engaged…
Yeah, that wasn’t received well either. I am not joking when I say she kicked my husband out of the house. When he went back for his things, she used a hose to tie the fence shut and chased him with the spray nozel on the other hose. She almost didn’t make the wedding and let’s just say she wasn’t thrilled that day either.
It’s been 12 years
Mike and I have been married for 12 years now. We have welcomed two amazing children and have a home of our own in Central Florida. It’s been a bumpy ride. Sometimes she hated me. Sometimes she tolerated me. On very few occasions she was nice to me. Now we don’t speak. Let me correct that, we text very formally. I make sure that she can speak to the kids if she wants and answer her questions about her son. However, she and I have no relationship. For the sake of my health, there had to be boundaries.
Something big has changed though.
In November of 2016, my mother in law made a comment that cut me so deep I wasn’t sure I would ever heal. She broke my heart. I will be 100% transparent. I wanted her to die because I was so hurt by what she said to me. In a lot of ways, she broke me. I really do regret feeling like that. I shielded my family from my feelings but my friends knew the core of my being. They knew I was broken and hurting.
I sought wise counsel
When I was in the middle of all of this and very broken I sought some wise counsel from my pastor’s wife. I don’t speak much about my faith here, but I will tell you that that woman is one of my biggest blessings. You see, she challenged me. She said to me, “Meagan, lead with grace.” I won’t even lie to you. I about snapped at her. She couldn’t understand the pain we were walking thru. She couldn’t understand what was said. She had to understand that this broke me. How could I show grace to such a hurtful person?
So I started small
Up until this conversation and honestly, a couple months after it, I refused to let my mother in law have any access to my children or try to bridge the gap between her and my husband. I just plain didn’t care. Then I heard the words that shook me to my core. “Grace is unmerited favor.” Don’t ask me where I heard it. I genuinely can’t remember. However, it became my motto with her. So I sent her an updated pic of each of the kids.
She said thank you…
She said thank you and that was it. I would send pictures. She would say thank you and that was the extent of our conversations. Then we fought one day. I started to get angry. Instead, I remembered my motto. Grace is unmerited favor and I chose to lead with kindness. I simply reminded her of something she hadn’t considered without any venom on my end. She and her son started speaking. Soon after she and the kids started speaking again.
It’s far from perfect.
There is still so much going on behind the scenes. I am not going to tell you some super story about how everything is remedied because we are still very much in process with this. Here’s what I will tell you. It changed me. Every time I led with grace instead of anger, it changed me. It softened me and repaired some of what was broken. Little by little, I am returning to the person who can look on her, and see her hurt instead of how she hurt me.
Are you dealing with THAT mother in law?
Let me challenge you to lead with grace. Keep healthy boundaries but remember Grace is unmerited favor. It may not change them but it could very possibly change you.
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