Submitted by: Cathy
My first real exposure to my in-laws came when they flew to Germany to visit. It was to be a short, two week visit but turned into the month of emotional upheavals and passive aggressive venom. The kind of venom that covertly determines the way problems are dealt with and conflict is resolved. If you are familiar with covert, passive aggressive behavior then you know that the only one comfortable will be the passive aggressive himself (that old crazy maker!)
I could write 5 different posts focusing on that visit from the in-laws. For the sake of sanity and words I’ll focus on one thing at a time….hopefully.
Before we moved to Germany we decided to purchase a Volvo while there. My ex viewed himself a YUPPY, you know, I kid, one cute wife, one Volvo. Image is everything to him…I’m assuming it still is because let’s face it, a tiger DOES NOT change his spots.
Anyway, plans were in place for both our parents to come over to visit, at different times of course. My parents were schedule first. I was thinking we needed to go ahead and purchase the Volvo since the heap I was driving was none to dependable and sat two people.
The crazy maker had a different idea though. We would borrow a car from a friend to take while touring Europe with my parents. And that is what he did, we borrowed a 10 year old station wagon with no air conditioner and tooled around from country to country the week my parents were over.
You take 4 adults, one small child and all the necessary baggage (stuff) and throw it into and on top of an old station wagon and soon you look like something straight out of The Grapes of Wrath. My parents said nothing; they put smiles on their faces and went along for the ride. I’m sure by the time they were on the flight home there were wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into.
Within a few months it was time for the in-laws to visit. And time to get that new Volvo. Yep, after months of coming up with one reason or another to “wait” he was suddenly in passionate need of a new car. Needless to say, touring Europe with the in-laws we were in comfort and looking a bit “high brow!”
During our separation and after the divorce I become conscious of the fact that I did a lot of “waiting” while married to the crazy maker. I learned the fine art of patience! It could be anything from a new bra to having a plumber come in and fix a leak, if he thought I wanted or needed something he would string me along.
It’s awfully hard, when you are married, to step back and see your husband for whom he is. What’s more, it’s scary. What is even scarier is to step back and take a look at who you become in a marriage, especially one that is emotionally abusive. I can do that now, take a step back and see him and myself clearly. He was a tight wad, I was a fool!
Back to the in-laws, no more rambling off topic…I’ll try my best anyway. There we were, seeing all that Europe had to offer from the comfort of our new auto, tooling about France when my father-in-law complained to the crazy maker about pain.
Instead of stopping at a local hospital the father-in-law insisted we return home where he and the crazy maker would then travel nearly an hour to the local American military hospital. Off we sped to meet the father-in-laws needs to eventually find out that there was a fairly serious medical issue that would only be solved by surgery and an extensive recovery period. Can you see what is coming next?
The surgery took place, the father-in-law came home to recuperate and the mother-in-law decided she would tour Germany on her own during the day and the crazy maker decided he would start working 12 hours a day. Who did that leave to care for an ill, elderly man I barely new? Little Ole Me!
I kid you not. The crazy maker and his mother left the house every morning together. He dropped her at the local train station while he scooted on off to work. They both returned 12 to 13 hours later.
What did they find upon their return home each day? Me, my eyes glazed over, my emotional intelligence declining daily and a smile plastered on my face. Dinner was on the table; my patient was well cared for. I was living in the midst of a freak show and I was the damned doormat!
This went on for a little over 3 weeks. Then I decided to put my foot down and show him. I did it covertly too, I had learned how to do that from the master. I went to bed early one night, packed an overnight back and went out through the back door to the home of the only other Americans in the village and spent the night. Yes sir, I was going to show him a thing or two.
I left him to deal with the mess. Of course, I was thinking when he went to bed he would find me missing and send out a search party. I mean, I was needed, who would take care of the elderly patient if I weren’t there? Plus the crazy maker loved me, he told me every day so it only made sense that someone who loved me would be concerned for me. As you can tell I still had rather high and irrational expectations of him. That is the thing that does the most harm to us married to such me…those darned high expectations.
I was making a stand, was going to get his attention and he would realize how important I was. Hmmmpf!
Bwah ha ha ha ha! When I bedded down at our friends house I didn’t expect to be there long. He was going to come looking, knocking on doors, searching allies until he found me, the woman he love! Imagine my surprise when I woke to see day light streaming in the bedroom window. He had not come looking for me, had not called to inquire if I were there. I got no response from him at all! Something I learned would be his typical reaction to any concerns I had.
When I walked into the bedroom where he was enjoying his sweet slumber the next morning I woke him up and he said, “what are you doing up so early?” He had not even realized I was gone. How do you crawl into bed with your wife and not notice that said wife is not in the bed you just crawled into? More importantly how does a woman fail to see the insanity, continue to turn a blind eye to reality and continue to believe it will all work out?
Those are all questions I discovered answers to but not before my sanity and health took a beating. Somehow I kept on tick, tick, ticking along. Running down and winding myself back up again!
I’m happy to report that the elderly patient recovered fully. I had a meltdown, threw a plate across the room once the in-laws were gone and was from that day forward branded the “abusive wife” by the crazy maker. When you take into consideration I threw the plate at least 15 feet away from where he was standing
Kinda like him calling the kettle black don’t you think?
Disclaimer: During the marriage and after the divorce I came to realize that my in-laws were fine folks. I can’t leave this post without first saying that I grew to love them. My mother-in-law is a gracious, intelligent woman who, although different from me is a pleasure to be around and I miss not having her in my life. My father-in-law was always very respectful, easy going and he called me “Catherine.” For that alone I found it easy to share my love with him.