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Joanna501 Mon 05-Aug-19 13:48:35

I would like some advice about my mother in law. For a few years she has made unnecessary sarcastic remarks about my brother either to me or to him, he’s never done any harm to anyone.
My brother is only 48, and 4 weeks ago he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, his prognosis is 2 years without treatment or 3 years with treatment. I have a very close relationship with my brother, he never married and hasn’t had any children, I cannot describe the pain I’m going through wondering how he’s coping, fortunately he lives close to me and I see him every week.
I haven’t seen my mother in law since my brothers prognosis, I feel very angry about her past hurtful comments, the issue I’m having is that I don’t want to see her and doubt that I ever will. How can I get past this, she’s my husbands mother, I don’t want any false sympathy from her, as she clearly doesn’t like my brother. I don’t know how to cope or if I’ll be angry with her when I do see her. I wish I didn’t feel like this. Times moving on and soon she’ll wonder why I don’t want to see her. I just want to focus on my brother and make some special memories with him. My completely heartbroken, I also don’t want this hostility at a time like this, I’m trying my hardest to try to forgive her but I can’t seem to 😢

gillybob Mon 05-Aug-19 14:02:14

Well without knowing why she has directed sarcastic remarks towards your brother it is hard to understand what you should do however if I were you...…

I would make a point of telling your MiL about your dear brothers prognosis and wait to see what she says. If she even makes the slightest hint of nastiness or sarcasm I think you should stay very calm and tell her in no uncertain terms that whilst you respect her because she is your husbands mother, her comments have hurt you very much and you will not be confiding in her again. or words to that effect. tell her you love your brother dearly and cannot put up with derogatory comments against him.

You might be surprised and she might be very understanding. I'm sure you will pick up on any underlying tones of sarcasm/nastiness from her.

I am very sorry to hear about your dear brother Joanna501 He is so very young. flowers

Joanna501 Mon 05-Aug-19 14:13:47

Hi Gillybob, thank you for your reply.
My dh has told her about my brothers prognosis, she was sympathetic when she was told about the news from what my dh said.
I did mention to her about 3 north’s ago that my brother could possibly have a tumour but we weren’t aware at the time how bad it was, she said, “well he should have gone sooner” but with the type of cancer he has, there are no symptoms until it’s it’s too late.
I’m still upset at past comments, I’m unsure why she made them, I don’t think she has the right to

Joanna501 Mon 05-Aug-19 14:24:50

Every Christmas Day I have my in laws and my brother for dinner. Gifts were bought for everyone except my brother. He couldn’t afford much but always gave them a card. We lost our parents suddenly when my brother was only 28, I feel that she could have been more nurturing towards him knowing what he’s been through. I feel like crying all the time when I think of all this 😢

MissAdventure Mon 05-Aug-19 14:31:49

There's no doubt your mother in law has been unkind, but make today the day that you stop putting up with it.

She isn't at all important now, so treat her as such, and if she starts with her comments, then politely put her in her place.

I do think anger is a classic response to grieving (which is what you're doing, really) so its understandable that you keep replaying things she has said in the past.

Joanna501 Mon 05-Aug-19 14:45:01

Thank you Miss Adventure.
Yes anger is what I’m feeling right now. But I do think she’ll be careful of saying anything nasty now she knows my brothers condition. I’m going to Christie’s hospital tomorrow with my brother, maybe I could also get some support at this difficult time x

gillybob Mon 05-Aug-19 14:50:14

Oh the wonder of hindsight Joanna501 . Of course any of us with any health issues "should've gone to the GP sooner" But how can we go before we have reoccurring symptoms? I know from the prostate issues my DH has it has been a very long process of tests and more tests then it got better for a while and then worse if you see what I mean.

Saying that he should have sought medical help sooner, is no help whatsoever.

MissAdventure Mon 05-Aug-19 14:52:01

I think there are six stages of grieving (or five?) and anger is one of them.
Hopefully your mother in law will now learn to keep her opinions to herself (if she knows what's good for her!)

It might do you good to try and find someone to talk through your feelings though.

I hope tomorrow goes as well as it can for you and your brother. flowers
Stay strong; I know you will.

Joanna501 Mon 05-Aug-19 14:53:56

Thank you both so much xx

Namsnanny Mon 05-Aug-19 15:28:55

Just want to focus on my brother and create happy memories

If you have to say anything to your mil can you use your own words (above) to illustrate how you are feeling?

It is the truth anyway.

As misadventure said grief has stages and it’s been a shock for both you and your brother.

Wishing you and your brother all the very best through this difficult time thanks

crazyH Mon 05-Aug-19 15:38:41

So sorry to hear of your brother's prognosis. He is your priority at the moment. Ignore your m.i.l.
Have you mentioned this to your husband? I doubt he'll be very impressed with his mum.
Your pain is so palpable. I hope you and your brother make some beautiful memories. Wishing you both all the best flowers

Joanna501 Mon 05-Aug-19 15:42:09

Thank you namsnanny,
I read an article earlier and it does say it’s normal to feel anger at people or a person who did wrong by those affected by terminal illness’s.
My dh has told his parents that I need some space, I’ve had no contact with them now for just over 4 weeks, and I have no desire to.

Joyfulnanna Mon 05-Aug-19 15:57:52

That's hard.. Youre obviously are very hurt by this news being so close to him. Work on building resilience so you can help your brother. You could create a bucket list together.. You need some positivity in your life, so does he.

M0nica Tue 06-Aug-19 11:49:18

Joanna501, my deepest sympathies are all with you. My sister died in a road accident when she was 46, I did not have your agonising experience of having her living but dying, but I understand the wave of emotions that are affecting you now and will over the next few years.

Your MiL should never have made negative remarks about your brother in the first case. Does she do this with everyone or did she criticise him but not other people? If she is always criticising people she knows and other family members, then ignore any criticism, if she is understanding and sympathetic long term to you and your brother. Her criticisms are just an aspect of her personality, not a nice one, but none of us are perfect.

If she criticises only your brother, it is very different. What does she pick on? His being single? Is she homophobic and suspicious of men who do not marry, did he have a series of relationships with women and does she disapprove of that. Or is she getting to you by criticising your brother, is it a case of no woman is good enough for her son and while she won't risk criticising you in her son's presence, she considers your brother a good alternative target.

I think for the time being, not seeing her is best. Your excuse is that your distress at your brothers diagnosis makes it difficult for you to cope with socialising. This is also a good reason for not having a family christmas for the nxt few years.

KatyK Tue 06-Aug-19 14:01:22

Joanna I'm sorry about your brother. For those who say 'they should have gone to the doctor earier' as you quite rightly say, there are usually no symptoms with prostate cancer. My husband has prostate cancer (thankfully in remission). He had no symptoms and only went to his GP after a campaign on TV.

Joanna501 Tue 06-Aug-19 21:06:27

Hi Monika,
Been to Christie’s today and it went as well as it could go I suppose.
I think she is targeting me through my brother, she can’t say the things she’d like to to me so she makes sarcastic remarks about him or to him, luckily my brother either answers her back or ignores it.
But it hurts me very much 😢
He’s only had two relationships with women, he’s happy in his own company and with his friends.
I don’t want to see my mil for the foreseeable future.

Joanna501 Tue 06-Aug-19 21:07:48

You’re so right. I’m so pleased your husbands cancer is in remission x

M0nica Tue 06-Aug-19 22:19:25

Joanna501 It is strange how some people pick on others, just because they do things differently. My DD decided when she was quite young that she didn't want to marry or have children, and she hasn't. Some people find this very difficult to accept, and constantly look for some reason, that she wants to hide from people.

I think you are doing absolutely the right thing. How can you feel happy faced with what faces you, and your brother.

Over the journey ahead, do come back to us when you need to, we will always support you.

MissAdventure Tue 06-Aug-19 22:41:41

I wonder if there is an element of jealousy at seeing people happy in their own company, and not tied down in the 'traditional' way?

I had an uncle that would always ask me "aren't you going to ever settle down?".

I think with a mortgage, a job, and a child it was fair to say I was settled.

BellsandWhistles Tue 06-Aug-19 23:25:33

Joanna I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. Were you able to look at a therapist for you?

Re mil, ignore her for now, I would need all the space too. Guard your space, and only see her once you are ready. If you feel pressure from your husband, remind him that this time and space is to attempt to salvage any chance of a relationship with her in the future. I get the sense that if she were to come on too strong, or say anything at all that you might go nuclear and refuse to ever see her again.

Joanna501 Tue 06-Aug-19 23:42:39

Thank you all for your support.
Bellsandwhistles, you’re right, I will go nuclear if I see her anytime soon.
I’m extremely worried that I’m going to snap her head off when I see her, maybe I should have retaliated at the times mil made the comments because now I’ve got all this pent up anger towards her.
If my mother was alive she would not have got away with saying those things, my mum was very protective as i am too
I’m going try to get some support for me too. X.

Joanna501 Wed 07-Aug-19 00:00:04

I thought I’d explain briefly on the things mil said.
My brother bought a present of sweet treats for my granddaughter for her birthday, mil was in the same room when she got her gift from him. An hour later mil said, oh what’s that, pass it to me, which I did, she said what a load of rubbish.
Another time he said he was tired and hadn’t slept well, she replied...what a pity.
I brought an old antique item from my parents home to show her, she said oh don’t show that to your brother...accusing him of stealing?
My brother is not a thief.
My brother stayed at with me for 2 months, during this time mil bought my dd some of her favourite jam, mil said to dd, this is for you and no bugger else? Bugger? Charming of her.
These are just some of the horrid things she’s said.
This is why I do not want to see her anymore x

GabriellaG54 Wed 07-Aug-19 11:05:00

There are people on here who are a lot more snippy than your MiL.
I thought the remarks were not warranted but certainly nothing to get worked up about.
You're letting her get to you.
Perhaps it's time to take up kick-boxing or other exercise to release some of your festering anger, it can't be good for your health.
I wish you luck in finding a way to let off steam without a showdown.

Joanna501 Wed 07-Aug-19 11:17:07

The (festering anger) is probably due to finding out my brother is dying of cancer.
Maybe I’m overly sensitive, however don’t think anyone has a right to make sarcastic nasty remarks about anyone, accusing him of being a thief and saying his gifts are rubbish.
You’re entitled to your opinion, unfortunately I don’t agree with you.