This morning, my lovely postman delivered me a very interesting letter.
When I picked up the envelope, I instantly recognised the handwriting as that of my ex-mother-in-law. My heart sank. The last few unsolicited letters from her have been unexpected, unprovoked, unwanted and deeply unpleasant. Actually that’s not strictly true. Her letters have been deeply offensive and threatening.
I had a dreadful ‘sinking’ feeling as I opened the envelope. It seemed to contain reams of paper. She has a bizarre habit of sending me printed copies of the e-mails that she has sent to my ex-husband, accompanied by offensive letters addressed to me.
I am fully aware that my ex-husband has all but moved his new girlfriend into his flat. By all accounts, she is nice to my children and my ex’s behaviour is much better towards the kids when she’s around. I have no desire to meet her, but I have positive feelings about her. But more significantly (given their behaviour) I am aware that she has been introduced to my ex-parents in law.
Throughout the time I spent with my ex-husband, I was subjected to some exceptionally bad behaviour by my in-laws. Being objective about it, it seemed clear to me that the abuse was not personal to me (they barely know me, as we have spent so little time together). Their problem was that they saw me as the woman who had ‘stolen’ their son - as as such, I was the object of their hatred!
So when I heard that the ex had introduced his new girlfriend, I did wonder how long it would be before she become the new focus for their dreadful behaviour. And I wondered whether they would then leave me alone and focus their venom on the new incumbent.
And so, back to the letter…
Just as predicted, they have decided that they don’t like the new girlfriend. They have sent their son a letter outlining their reasons for disliking her and told him that she is not welcome in their home.
He has replied in defence of her and told them that conversely, she thinks highly of them (that bit made me laugh out loud!). He has also told them that he will not tell his girlfriend what they have said, as he does not want to tarnish her view of them (he doesn’t need to, they do that very well by themselves!).
All of this private correspondence has been printed out by my ex-mother-in-law and posted to me with a covering letter, apologising for anything she has ever done to hurt me. Absolutely bizarre!
Having expected to get one of her abusive letters, I had a real mixture of feelings about what I had read.
Part of me felt great pity for my ex-husband. He did not choose his parents. He can do nothing about their behaviour – and they are unbearable. I also feel great sympathy for his girlfriend. Whilst the ex-MIL did outline some rather odd behaviour on her part, there was nothing that she did that warranted them barring her from their home and making unpleasant personal remarks about her.
I also felt a huge relief that, as predicted, the burden of their dreadful behaviour has been lifted from my shoulders.
But this was all tinged with a bit of sadness too. To read my ex-husband’s defence of the woman he has known for such a short while, whilst knowing that he did not do the same for me, is undeniably hurtful and distressing.
I was then stumped about what to do. In the past, I have always told the ex when I have received unpleasant letters from his parents. But I don’t know what good would come of telling him about this latest letter. How would it make him feel to know that I had read such personal correspondence. No one expects a private letter, written to their parents, to be sent to probably the one person above all others that they would hate it to be sent to (in this case ME!). What would it achieve? Absolutely nothing but his distress.
And so, I have decided that I should allow myself a smile and a chuckle. I think I deserve that, having been the object of their venom for so long.
I now feel officially ‘divorced’ from the in-laws… and let off the hook. I feel sorry for the ex – but I feel great for me.