In-Law Laying Down The Law

| Related | May 14, 2013

(My fiancé is a Marine. We are arguing because of a poorly worded statement about the worth of civilians. We both have tempers; his causes him to deny the problem exists, and mine causes me to go cry and go non-verbal at times because I don’t know how to express what I’m feeling through words. His mother is in the room, attempting to mediate.)

Fiancé: “Why am I always the bad guy?”

Me: “I never called you the bad guy! I told you that you said something that could be interpreted as f*****-up. My problem at this point is that you refuse to take ownership of it!”

Fiancé: “There’s nothing to take ownership of! I didn’t say anything wrong!”

Me: “You insinuated that I was worthless because I’m a civilian, and made mistakes. How is that nothing to take ownership of?”

Fiancé: “I didn’t say it about you, so I didn’t do anything wrong! I’m not apologizing because I’m not in the wrong here! Maybe you should learn to listen and ask questions before you jump to stupid conclusions.”

Me: “God, you came back from boot camp and you suddenly think your way of thinking is the only right one!”

Mother-In-Law: “Easy now…”

Fiancé: “Well, maybe I should go to [USMC base in Japan]! I’ll be with military people with the same military mindset as me, and I won’t have to put up with people making me into the bad guy for nothing! How’s that work for you?”

Mother-In-Law: “Oh, god! Don’t be silly!”

(My temper flares, because he has brought up something he knows will hurt me; him going overseas and leaving me behind.)

Me: “You… I…”

Mother-In-Law: “Honey…”

(I grunt in exasperation and stomp my foot.)

Mother-In-Law: “Use your words, honey.”

Me: “Go fu—”

Mother-In-Law: “Not that one!”

Me: “You… hurt… me. I spent years trying not to feel worthless, and what you said to me made me feel worthless.”

Mother-In-Law: “Keep going…”

Me: “What you said hurt, and you don’t care because you’d rather be right than sorry. It doesn’t matter if it was an accident; it still hurt. Why doesn’t that matter to you?”

(I burst into tears. My fiancé stops and stares at me for a minute, then pulls me into a hug and apologizes over and over. His mom smiles, and starts talking to him.)

Mother-In-Law: “Son, you were in the wrong here, not because your statement had malicious intent, but because you refused to acknowledge that you hurt her. You felt that her complaint wasn’t valid because you didn’t see a problem with your statement, and you didn’t want to be wrong and admit you’d hurt her. You need to understand that your reality isn’t the only one; different people experience things differently. You two are talking about spending forever together, but forever’s a long time to spend with someone who can’t see the other side of a story. You need to take accountability when you hurt one another, even if it’s an accident.”

(We both nod, and his mom pulls out his baby book. We spend the rest of the night cuddled up, laughing at pictures and discussing where the comment went wrong until we both fall asleep. I don’t think I can ever properly thank my mother-in-law for what she did, because I’m almost certain the relationship would have ended that night had she not brought me down.)

This story is part of our Mother-In-Law roundup!

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