Well, it's been an enlightening first 24 with the MIL.
She's her normal not- or fake- cheerful self, but she hasn't criticized me yet. She's reserving all that for the FIL.
Apparently, they got in a fight on the way here, and he isn't speaking to her. (Oh joy). But, when we were all in the living room last night... (Sitting. Because all they do is sit.).
I asked what they were fighting about and the FIL tells a long story about the GPS in their car, and her not following it. It soon became clear this wasn't a fight about the GPS.
Then he said, "This fight is really about her always having to be in control. She's always been that way. She always has to be in charge. She always has to be in control, and she's treating me even worse now that I'm getting weaker."
(He has parkinsons, and yes, she does stomp behind him huffing about everything he isn't doing 'right.')
I sat there kind of stunned, but also felt like I saw it all so clearly suddenly.
Backtrack to our doomed family trip to AZ, when MIL's sister pulled me aside and apologized for the MIL, then told me "she doesn't know how to have a relationship unless she is the one in power, and she is in charge."
EUREKA!! All the criticisms. All the butting in and trying to tell me how to live my life, the staying in my house and taking over every single part of my house and life like it's her life...
(Don't get me started on The trust she set up and put a rental property in--and made us manage it as trustees-- even though we told her we didn't want a rental property, but thanks to the trust, we're now legally obligated to manage it...But it's a gift, she says..)
It's all a manifestation of her control issues. No wonder she doesn't know what to do with me. I don't respond to control freaks. I'm my own person.
The worst part is, MIL turned to FIL after he said she was controlling, and said "It doesn't bother me, so I'm done talking about it. "
Uh yeah. I wouldn't say that to the man I'd been married to for 50 years. My bossiness is only your problem?? Really??
I also read this last night and it made me feel more secure in my game plan.
Also, DH finally grew half a spine. As I mentioned before, he specifically told them to arrive Dec. 23. We had house guests leave a couple days ago, and needed the time between to clean up to catch up on all the work we need to have finished before Christmas. All while juggling the two kids wrapping up school for 2016.
So, of course, the MIL emails me and says "Oh, we will leave Wednesday (the 21) IF there's bad weather." So, there is no bad weather. We get the call at 4p.m. on the 21st that they are at a hotel two hours from our house. (TWO DAYS EARLY!).
DH was livid. He actually yelled at them, and reminded them they were supposed to come on the 23rd, and we weren't ready, we just got our house guests out and had work to do, and told them not to come before noon on the 22nd. The MIL was surprised and offended that DH was upset.
Then, when they actually do show up. At noon. A whole day early. DH tried to make a joke in the vein of "What were you thinking? We told you to come the 23rd and you're here now."
And the MIL looks at me and said "Your wife clearly forgot to tell you I said we were leaving on Wednesday the 21st."
To which I said "You said you were leaving on Wednesday if the weather was bad. The weather isn't bad."
Then she huffed at me and pouted while looking very angry. She seemed galled that we had the nerve to be upset. Mind you, they have a long history of ignoring our wishes, and coming whenever they damn well please, and staying as long as they like (three weeks one time!)
All of this, I realize, is part of her control issue. She wants to drive and arrive when she damn well pleases, and she doesn't care what we think about it.
And if her attitude to her own husband is "It's not my problem." Then I can pretty much assume she feels the same way or worse about us.
I feel, in some small way, empowered by the tidbit of information the FIL let slip. I'm not going to let her come in and run my house.