If We Were Having Coffee on Halloween….

Jack Mug Halloween coffee share

If we were having coffee, I would be using my Jack mug. No other other mug would be more appropriate today. I would ask about your week and your plans for Halloween. Are you dressing up? It’s so much fun. I haven’t done that in a while though.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you Hubby and I are heading to his mother’s place for Halloween festivities. She usually has a Halloween themed buffet for everyone. This year, “everyone” is just her, Hubby and I. The rest of the clan has either moved away or is away on business. We’ll have a nice dinner and watch some vampire movies. My MIL is very picky about her Halloween/horror movies. Vampires have been approved, so we’ll bring our set of Underworld movies with us. She hasn’t seen any of them. I lent her “The Witches” last week, a movie based on Roald Dahl’s book of the same title. I’m looking forward to hearing what she thought. It was a favourite of mine as a kid…once I got over my fear of the Grand High Witch and figured out that real witches weren’t trying to kidnap me.

Have you seen it? Read the book?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I still get chills whenever I see Angelica Huston. She played the Grand High Witch so well. I have a clip below, but before you watch it, you have to know a little about real witches. They hate children, they can’t bear to be around them because they are disgusting and smell so bad. Children are taught to spot witches by a certain set of characteristics. Witches have no toes, they have stumpy square feet and must always wear square ended shoes. Witches have purple irises. Witches are also bald and always wear wigs.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have gotten over the frustration my MIL caused me last week. She wanted us to go out to visit her last weekend, she was lonely. We didn’t want to go because we were strapped for time and knew we would be spending a lot of time with her this weekend. Hubby felt guilty not going because his father was away and his sister had moved out recently. I came up with a compromise. She could come to dinner with us and my parents. This way she would get some company and Hubby and I would still have the rest of the day to run around get stuff done. Hubby thought this was great and called her to invite her. He gets off the phone and it turns out she was thrilled for the dinner invite, but she has also invited herself over to our place for the day. Not only can we not get anything done (which was the purpose of this plan to begin with), I have to get up extra early and make the place spotless before she comes over. *face palm* I was frustrated. Hubby lets his guilt get the better of him sometimes. In his defense though, she doesn’t listen. Her hearing isn’t good, but I think this is more of a selective hearing issue. She doesn’t hear “no” most of the time.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how frustrating DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) has been. In group I told them the MIL story and how I handled it. I thought I did a good job, but apparently not. They keep saying that I need to think more before I speak or act. I understand this and I think I evaluate the facts and my emotions before I do or say anything. If I spent anymore time doing so, I would never react to anything. I know they are trying to help, but they label me. It isn’t fair and it is not helping me with my issues. They assume I have borderline personality disorder (BPD) and assume that I react a certain way to the events I tell them about. Me telling them how I actually react seems to make no difference. It actually feels like those scenes in the movies where the character is sent to a psychiatric hospital and the more they insist they do not have a psychiatric disorder, the more they get treated as if they do. I suppose I could just smile and nod to whatever they say. It would help the others in the group that actually do have BPD, but it doesn’t help me. Isn’t that what I am there for though? Help?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about the emerging theme I see here. Between my MIL, the DBT and my supervisor, it seems no one is listening to me. Considering there are three different situations, I would think the problem would be me. Maybe I am not being assertive enough? This is usually the problem. Since I am aware of this, I am consciously pushing myself to be more assertive than I usually am to get the message across. Maybe I am not being clear enough? What I say to them makes perfect sense to me. I have told my husband and a friend I work with about what I’ve said in these situations. They seem to understand the message I am trying to get across. So it is not that I am inarticulate. I suppose I could just stand firm and keep repeating myself, or say the same thing in a different way for them to understand. This is what I did with my supervisor. She is starting to listen now, but that took a year. A whole year! Ridiculous! Sometimes I feel like the only way to get people to listen is to be rude, aggressive or just yell at them. This is not the way I like to handle things. It creates resentment and in the DBT case, it would only reaffirm their labeling of me. I would like to give them all the benefit of the doubt and say it is not that they are choosing not to listen to me, but I don’t know what else to do. What do you do when being assertive is not enough?

If we were having coffee, I would say thank you for the chat. It helps to get my thoughts out of my head. I’m going to try to forget everything for the rest of the day and enjoy. I hope you will too.

Happy Halloween!

This post is part of a weekly link-up hosted by Part-Time Monster, join the fun!

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. trentpmcd
    Oct 31, 2015 @ 11:08:32

    I love the Jack mug! I need to get myself one. Actually, I think you handled the MIL situation perfectly, it just backfired on you in an unexpected way. Your compromise should have worked and it isn’t your fault it didn’t. I mean, did they (DBT group) think you should be a total jerk to your MIL? On the other hand, I think you’re right that if you’re too assertive at the DBT people will just nod and think, yep, just what we thought. No clue what you can do. Oh well, but I do love the Jack mug šŸ˜‰ I hope you have a great weekend!


  2. Corina
    Oct 31, 2015 @ 15:34:23

    I like the mug. I’ve never seen the movie. I just know the characters because my kids were into it years ago. I actually have the dvd here, unopened. Every year I say I will watch it and it hasn’t happened yet.

    I hope the weekend time with the in laws goes well.


  3. Robin Rivera
    Oct 31, 2015 @ 15:50:18

    Sounds like a hard week! I’m sorry. : ( I sure hope things start to improve for you. Sending good vibes your way. Happy Halloween!


  4. Beaton
    Oct 31, 2015 @ 16:32:00

    dope mug!!!! happy Halloween



  5. Rose F
    Oct 31, 2015 @ 20:50:55

    Therapy groups in general tend to over-think things and assume every behavior is pathological. Your compromise was well thought out. Unfortunately, your husband’s responses to his mom were emotionally based. That’s outside your control. I don’t see anything you could have done differently.


  6. roweeee
    Nov 01, 2015 @ 06:27:35

    I struggle with people respecting my boundaries too…especially my kids. I would recommend you and your husband reading the Boundaries book. I think it’s Christian but it was very good. I would recommend helping your MIL to find some new interests and re-establish herself so she’s not relying on you so much for company. Maybe set a regular time that is her time if you can so she knows she’s going to see you. Sounds like she’s needing to find her feet again now that she’s an empty-nester.
    Group dynamics haven’t been my thing and I’d probably bail on that one.
    Thanks for the coffee xx Rowena


    • Somber Scribbler
      Nov 01, 2015 @ 12:57:26

      Great tips. Thanks. I’ll see what we can do about re-establishing the MIL. A hobby would definitely be a good thing!


      • roweeee
        Nov 01, 2015 @ 17:56:17

        You’re welcome. My grandma was at a bit of a loose end for a bit. She’d put a lot of energy into her kids and the Church and when she wasn’t so mobile, didn’t have a lot to fall back on. Perhaps a dog wouldn’t be a bad idea either. I walk my dogs at the beach with a few retirees and the dog gets them out of the house and you meet people and get some exercise.

  7. Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm
    Nov 01, 2015 @ 08:47:31

    Good morning! I do hope you had a lovely Halloween and that your weekend is offering you the respite you need after the week you had!

    It’s so hard to manage dynamics between people, isn’t it? The only tidbit I can offer is to remember that while you cannot control anyone else’s words or actions, you can control your responses to them…so breathe, find your center, and approach each situation (whether with you MIL or your group or anyone else) from a place of authenticity and calm. The rest, you just have to release šŸ™‚

    Also, yes, I do love your mug. TNBC has been one of my all time favorites since it came out. Pure magic!

    Hope you have a fantastic week!


  8. Carrie Lynn
    Nov 02, 2015 @ 05:02:53

    Belated Happy Halloween! Your mug is so perfect. I love it! And I have not read that book yet. Will see what I can do about it. I think you did a great compromise by inviting your MIL over though your husband went over and let her stay for the day. I can totally understand him as he is reacting mostly with his emotions. I hoped your MIL had fun as she was with family and people to talk to. Just my two cents, maybe you could direct her to a hobby she could enjoy or a group she could join into and be part of so feelings of loneliness is reduced. Old people tend to be clingy with their children who live near them. Enjoy her while you can though boundaries are good to be established. I miss my MIL who is in America and I do not have a mother anymore, so enjoy her especially her wisdom. Also, maybe you could re-evaluate the purpose of your group therapy, there is not use staying with the group and sharing if they do not listen to you and or thinks that one solution can solve all problems. I hope you had a great Halloween weekend.


    • Somber Scribbler
      Nov 02, 2015 @ 07:45:58

      Excellent advice, thank you Carrie. I think a hobby and some new friends are definitely in order. Hubby and I agree, having my mom hanging around is very easy, but when it comes to his mom, there is a lot more tension, judgement and requirements. I wish it could be as easy with the MIL as with my mom. I thought she would mellow with old age, he doesn’t seem to think so. We’ll see.


      • Carrie Lynn
        Nov 03, 2015 @ 02:09:58

        You’re welcome. I bet if my Mom were alive, she would be friends with your MIL. I’ve lived with tension, judgement and requirements for a long time to know what you are referring to. My MIL is in the US and just visits every now and then so no worries in that department. I can prepare myself, my mind set and the home way ahead of time. Tell your Hubby, they don’t get to mellow with age. With sickness, yes. That is why we as their children should learn and be a better version of them.

      • Somber Scribbler
        Nov 03, 2015 @ 08:06:16

        Good point. I think you may be right about the mellowing part too. My grandmother (Dad’s mother) didn’t start to mellow until Alzheimer’s kicked in. Before that, having her and mother in the same room was rough

  9. Mental Mama
    Nov 02, 2015 @ 08:40:20

    DBT takes awhile to make sense, but don’t give up on it. And for heaven’s sake, do not just nod and smile. You’re there to get something out of it, get it. It seemed pointless and rather cruel to me for the first half I was in it, but it has helped. I still have difficulties sometimes, like the whole end of the relationship with D, but I know for me that it would have been a ton worse if I hadn’t gone through DBT. And even if you do have Borderline, it’s not a death sentence. Some of us manage to keep it together even with that rotten label. ā¤


    • Somber Scribbler
      Nov 02, 2015 @ 09:06:05

      It is a rotten label isn’t it? I never realized how differently you get treated once you receive that label. I just feel that by labeling me, they are trying to treat me for issues that I do not have and by doing so, the issues I do have are not being addressed and I am getting frustrated. I need to learn how to live with myself and with depression. The group is focused on treating me for impulsiveness, hostility, abandonment issues and lack of empathy. If anything, I have the opposite problems, but that seems irrelevant to them.
      I am glad you have learned a lot through DBT. I do think aspects of it make total sense. Wise mind is one. Mindfulness is definitely something I need to work on. I think I could benefit from DBT…but only if they really listened. šŸ˜¦


      • Mental Mama
        Nov 02, 2015 @ 09:42:06

        Are you working with an individual therapist in addition to the group? I would bring up your concerns with that person. S/he should be able to help you get them addressed. And truthfully, I don’t see you as having any of those issues.

      • Somber Scribbler
        Nov 02, 2015 @ 15:21:25

        I don’t think I do either, I don’t know why the group leaders insist that I do. I am seeing an individual therapist. She is pretty great. I told her the last time I saw her that I was getting frustrated with group. We’ll see if there are any changes. I go back tomorrow…ugh.

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