Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Proud AF Spouse
New here, in desperate need of advice... WRT Bipolar...
I'm a 34 y/o female, who is (almost) happily married to a wonderful husband. The one thing that has come between us recently is his mom's bipolar, and I don't know how to handle some of the issues related to her behavior.
We currently live far away from our home town (we grew up 3 miles from each other). My MIL's symptoms didn't come out until a few years ago, but I think she has always had bipolar disorder. She's can be a very nice woman, but other times she's downright vicious. Some of the things that she has done to me specifically:
- once when I gained weight (I am a smaller person), she would buy me clothes three sizes too big
- she gave money to my husband on my birthday and told him not to spend on me
- she told everyone that I have a gambling addiction and that I spent all my husband's money (I do have a gambling addiction, but it was not something I want shared)
- she demanded a paternity test on both children
- she told me that if my husband were to die that my son and I did not deserve his life insurance policy (my husband was in Iraq at the time).
- my son has autism and she told me that I was making it up to get attention from her and her family, and I was trying to take away sympathy from my nephew who also has autism
I have never confronted her about these things, I would go to my husband, and every time he would tell me that she just didn't mean it that way. She was diagnosed with bipolar, and I just stacked those things up to her having a mental illness. It didn't mean I forgot them, or forgave them, I just now had a reason.
She has been significantly better since she has gone on medication. Recently, she has started working with my mom as a helper in her daycare one day a week, as part of her theraputic regimen. And there is one thing I really can't stand, she is manipulative and a liar. She has told my mom several out and out lies. I learned a long time ago, never to confront her, because she'll twist things and change them into a conspiracy that I'm out to get her. So I have my husband confront her. Problem is she and he have a very bizarre relationship, almost like she's in love with him in a non-motherly way. She's obsessive about him (for example, I showed her pictures of a house we were going to buy at our next duty station, and she hemmed and hawed about her "insert disgusting pet name here" having to mow the huge lawn in the Louisiana heat), he can do no wrong, he is the perfect everything. He's completely blind to it, because it feeds into his over-abundant ego, he grooves on her thinking he's perfect. Anything positive for me, means it's negative for him (example: We sold a house in another state, part of the proceeds are going for a newer car for me, she had an absolute cow that I was getting a new car-- I'm not, I'm getting a *newer* car, because my current car has 200K miles, and I need reliable transportation to take my son to his autism appointments). She's incredibly jealous of my relationship with him, his relationship with my mom (they are close), and my relationship with my mom. Recently, she has started lying to my mom and my husband, to pit them against me. She has taken something as innocent as a trip to Disney World and has changed it into WWIII between my husband and I.
We invited her to come to Disney World with us to celebrate my son's Golden Birthday next January. She at first was excited, because my parents were coming too, and it was going to be fun (her words). Then about two weeks after we asked both of them, she told my mom that "my husband no longer wanted to go, and that she didn't want to go unless it was around Christmas." I didn't know my husband didn't want to go, so I asked him if he was considering not going, and he was surprised, and said, "I wonder why my mom said that, I haven't talked to her about it in several weeks." So he told me that there was no way his mom would say that, and that my mom either misheard her (which is not true, my mom repeated the same quote several times, and my dad was there and heard it too), or that my mom and I are liars. He called and confronted her, and she told him, "that's not what I meant, I meant blah blah blah. (which was completely opposite of what she told my mom)." Then, it turned into that my mom and I are out to get her, that we really don't like her, that we are just twisting words around, and I'm looking for a reason to hate her (my husband's words). I honest to God do not want to hate this woman, I don't want to dislike her, I want to like her, I want her to be like another mother figure to me (not quite as close as my mom, but I want to love her). And I just can't do this. I can't deal with the constant manipulation, the lying, the villainizing. Every time I talk to her, she turns my words around on me, when I tell my husband about what she says, she denies it, and he believes her, or she says that I misheard her, or am miscommunicating what she said, or that I'm not understanding her, not interpreting what she says. I was an English minor, I have a pretty firm grasp of the English language. I feel so alienated. I feel like she's trying to tear us apart. Is there a way to call her on it, without being cruel? I'm sorry, I understand she has a mental illness, my son has autism, I deal with a lot of issues with autism, but I still expect him to be responsible for his actions. Just because he has autism, doesn't mean he can be awful to people. Just because she has bipolar doesn't mean she shouldn't be held responsible for her actions either. It just feels like she's the poor mentally ill woman, and I'm some evil cow for expecting her to take responsibility for what she does and what she says.