Being the bigger person SUCKS

So my SIL finally responded to Chloe today and said that she is coming to J’s memorial service next month.

I chose to be the bigger person and take the high road, rather than uninviting her like I planned when Chloe was crying yesterday. I also think that taking the high road is what J would want me to do.

But let me tell you: it SUCKS.

SIL is trying to stay truly neutral and there is no neutral: either she believes all the horrible things my MIL said about me or she doesn’t. She made no comment on it at all.

She’s also very problematic because she works as a teacher with troubled teens and she’s very good at her job. But it has given her a very skewed viewpoint that allows her to avoid thinking about the abuse my husband suffered, because she said “everyone has a difficult childhood.”

Not like that, not the way she and J grew up.

She said that J had lived more than half his life away from his parents, so why did I have to dig it up now?

I had to write about it because it had such a significant impact on our marriage, which was otherwise so good. Because he never got help for how he grew up, the long shadow cast by his childhood affected him until his last days.

There’s also the fact that he was trying to be the bigger man because he always hoped his mom would love him. She could never show it but he felt some obligation to keep trying.

Now MIL is painting me as a mentally ill person driven by greed who worked him to death because supposedly nothing was ever good enough for me (projection much?) And she thinks that supposedly J just looooved her and it was only my “demonic influence” that tried to turn him away from her from the very beginning. (If that was the case, then why did he move more than 1000 miles away from her when we got married?)

She says that supposedly they had “many” conversations about it, to which I say bullshit. For one thing, she rarely called him at all. He usually had to call her and she always made the conversation about herself. He used to fight with her all the time and making pantomiming faces while she went on her long tirades. In the last few months of his life, when he no longer had the strength for a fight with her, he just kept a list of safe topics in his phone to change the subject.

Also, knowing the fact that he presented a united front with me about the move down here to Amy (when he wasn’t initially happy about it himself) makes me highly, highly doubt that he would have told her, of all people, about what I was “making” him do. That just wasn’t how he operated and in fact I know the exact time and reason that he stopped trusting her with secrets and it was in his early teens.

And then there’s the issue of her misgendering two of “my” kids (as she no longer acknowledges her own grandchildren) and saying they can take care of me. For one thing, Amy helps me out a ton but she doesn’t pay my bills. Nor should she; she’s 24.

The other kids will get there but apparently she’s not allowing them any time to grieve. Hell, even I can’t keep up with my usual workload now.

It also shows how hollow and shallow her support of my trans kids really was. If J knew those were her real feelings about them, he probably would’ve cut her off entirely.

The truth is that she never really knew her son at all and now she’s trying to pretend otherwise. I know better. But apparently a lot of people don’t.

It just burns me up inside, which distracts me from dealing with my grief. On the one hand, sure, it’s nice to have a distraction but not one like this.

I know I’m giving her too much power over me but I honestly don’t know how to stop. Her accusations of me would be laughable because of how wrong they are, except for the fact that they hurt. If I was really so motivated by “an insatiable lust for money,” then why did I send $200 to a good friend just tonight because she’d run into an unexpected emergency, while I’m holding a fundraiser for myself?


  1. SH says:

    Express the anger, even if it’s never to her face. It helps the pain. It’s also asserting yourself in a mental way (against her smear campaign) and might ease depression even a bit. Anger can be fuel for energy and its not like you’re going to harm her. All you did was speak the truth of her abuse. And she’s harming you with her smear campaign.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Holly says:

      Yes, I think you’re right. I spoke the truth and she denied it of course, because she’s a toxic narcissist. But I can still vent the anger! And I’ve also written a couple more articles at Medium about how poor we really were and how when we got more money, we became more generous. I also mentioned that we never asked her for money. I think that simply by posting that, it makes my truth more clear and only the most deluded will believe her. There will always be suckers who fall for the narcissist’s lies but I can’t do anything about them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. SH says:

        I notice at least for myself that depression is “helpless anger” turned inwards. I’ve found this to help.

        Anger as a source of energy – remember you have the right to refute her attacks. You’re stating facts against her smear campaign. You’re protecting your entire family, including J.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Holly says:

        I don’t really know how to refute her attacks, TBH. She blocked me and my kids from FB. I would have to repost the stuff I took down and since that was a week ago, it would look weird.

        There’s also the fact that J’s sister is still trying to keep the peace with her mom and I’m going to be seeing SIL and her kids for J’s memorial. That puts me in a tough position.

        However, my friends on FB saw the whole thing and they all believe me. Many said that innocent people don’t act like she did and confirmed the fact that my MIL is a toxic narcissist.

        In the meantime I’m just writing stories on Medium. Anyone who really questions MIL’s side of things will know the truth from what I wrote.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. SH says:

        I think you’re doing fine refuting her attacks with the Medium articles. Or in your head. Or to friends who are safe.

        You don’t have to refute them to her face, especially as she’s narcissistic and abusive.



      4. SH says:

        Aw, I sent you 2 links on anger as fuel/transforming helpless anger and I think WordPress ate my comment.


      5. Holly says:

        No, I got them! Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. SH says:

    I was pretty depressed due to my abusive landlady. Asserting myself on my pronouns, and how she tried to exhort $ led to her threatening to evict me immediately (so, I would be homeless), and then an escalation of emotional abuse.

    I needed to “be the bigger person” and it sucked! My therapist suggested I express my anger to an imaginary her during my session. Encouraged me to swear even. It did help in some ways, and I never had to say a word to my now former landlady ❤.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Holly says:

      I’m so sorry about your abusive landlady. You didn’t deserve such treatment!

      I LOVE the idea of expressing my anger to an imaginary version of my in-laws though! I may have to try that myself. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. SH says:

        It’s a worthwhile exercise! I did it in a session but an unsent letter also works.

        For me, verbally aloud in a session helped because I was feeling scared, worried, and frozen. My therapist could offer co-regulation and encouragement, to pull me out of freeze. Later, we debriefed so I’d be able to better “close off” the anger (but not the energy), but that’s because I was still living with my landlady.

        Liked by 1 person

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