Wedding Woes

Um, where is your partner? They should be managing this.

Dear Prudence,

I know as I sit here writing this that the answer is obvious, but when in-laws come into play, manners, communicating, and all the other really important stuff goes out the door for me. My mother-in-law is driving me crazy. She lost a close friend last year, and every single day all she talks about is this person and how she misses them. Everyone grieves differently, but she literally will not stop talking about them. It’s been a year. I had hoped she would get herself a bit more together by now. She specifically brings it up more when she comes around us. I know it’s been a hard year, but she’s driving me crazy. Tears every five minutes. I’m sorry, call me cold-hearted, but I would swear no one has tears to cry every five minutes for a year. It’s not normal grief, if that exists.

I’ve tried to be understanding, but it’s becoming more and more dramatic, more emotional, and to be honest, people have taken me aside asking if everything’s OK with her. My in-laws grieve very differently than I do. It honestly feels suspicious that she gets more ramped up around me. I don’t remind her of this person, so there’s no reason for her to have these “episodes.” How should I deal with this? At what point do you ask someone if they should go to therapy? How long is grieving “normal,” if that exists?

—Annoyed Daughter-In-Law

Re: Um, where is your partner? They should be managing this.

  • LW needs to mention this to the partner and see if MIL may need to seek therapy.

    Alternatively, LW needs to let this go. 

    My MIL is an emotional woman.  It's now to the point that I let things roll unless she's emotional AND loud.
  • Was friend maybe more than just a friend?

    Also the pandemic has been awful on people’s emotions. Maybe she’s ja  by ing a hard time managing a lot of stress and it’s all coming out with the loss of the friend. Regardless maybe it’s time your partner talks with their mother about getting some support for her loss. LW, you say nothing to her. 
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited March 2021
    Partner needs to step in and help MIL, but LW's attitude toward MIL's grief is kind of shitty. There's no timeline for grief, and there's nothing wrong with crying. Suggesting that her tears are fake is a lot. 

    The bolded is extremely true and I'd be very upset if someone told me I should be almost 'finished' with my grieving process for anyone I've lost. 

    But I've also seen grief weaponized.  FIL has done it to all of his kids.  SIL felt she had to hide her visits to MIL's grave from FIL because she didn't want him to want to go with her because he'd stand there and tell SIL all about how hard it is for him.  That kind of shit makes things very hard and also, it can make you lose a lot of empathy for that person's emotional state quickly. 

    It sounds like MIL is sucking up a lot of air in the room anytime she's around LW.  It's exhausting. 
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