Is my mother-in-law bat s--t crazy, or do I need to change my worldview?

Okay, so, I came across this email that my MIL sent to my wife not long ago. What do I do? She sends these emails regularly, they're tearing apart my marriage and my wife and I have a baby together. My comments are in [brackets], names are changed, Mary is my wife.

To Mary
From Mary's Mom

Mary,I just realized what the Bay thing is this week end. Darlene [my mom] is also jealous that you take her sons to the beach with your sibblings and have fun. She views this as your pulling Dave [me] away from his family and her control. Like the mother of a 4 year old, she is now planning her kids play times. She invited Dave's cousins to the bay and all her babies so that everyone will have just “SOOOO much fun at their bay house. She is competing with something that doesn't even exist. First the grandmom visit jelousy and then the bay house competition with our beach house. It is really sick that she has to provide the entertainment for her children in their thirties and they just act like they are in elementary school and say yes mommy. Dave needs to tell her to make her own entertainment plans (or maybe you should)—he is a married man now and can do his own planning. I don't think Christy [my sis-in-law] even realizes what is going on as this is motivated toward controlling you and being one up, not Christy (yet). This is really sick. Maybe you should just plan something so Dave can't go to the bay or he has to make a choice and YOU win—heck you might have to fake kidney stones [i had kidney stones not long ago, excruciating].

I have been thinking about our conversation. I truly believe that Darlene was jealous that Dave went to YOUR grandparents and she is yanking Daves chain not once but twice with her b-day and mommom's place for her “party” guilt. She is truly a repulsive individual and a woman that I can't even consider to deserve to be called a mother. No mother would expect or demand such self acknowledgement for a stupid 63rd b-day.
That being said—I can totally relate to the “TOO MUCH” family depression. I just counted that if you had to spend every holiday at both places and all birthdays—it comes to 29 obligations a year—34 after everyone is married and that's not counting the nieces and nephews birthdays to come. I see your fathers family maybe 3-4 times a year and that is more than enough for me. I understand your position. The fact that it is a Tuesday night in New Jersey [we live 20 minutes from jersey] is even more demanding. It is a good thing that you don't feel the least bit competative with Christy as she has some aggression issues and needs to be #1. That is why she brings up stories about the past, it is her way to have something over you with Dave. I think you should tell Dave you would like to leave now when they do that again. NOt a big deal—just say, I”m really tired and would like to leave now. Christy will soon get the hint that you are not going to allow yourself to put up with it and you will have the control to leave AND with Dave!!

If you truly do not want to go to the birthday, this is what I would do—certainly not what you have to do. I would send her a card(something generic) and say something like—I hope you have a nice 63rd bithday. I however will not be going to New jersey on a Tuesday night. Please tell Grandmom that Dave and I will be visiting her together.

Short, sweet, and to the point with no explanation. It is none of her business why you wouldn't be going and Dave can choose to tell her whatever he wants. I'm sure he'll lie—that's what they have been taught to do but that is their issue. I think saying you would be visiting his grandmother will make it quite clear that you won't be needing Darlene to be there too as you and Dave are a unit together and not you, Dave, and Darlene.

I don't think you can expect Dave to change overnight. He's lived 31 years with her guilty mothering and demands. You know she set up the bay thing too—I agree, she will definitely show her face there at some point. This is just the beginning of demands I'm afraid. She will not be happy until you cave into her demands or she ruins your marriage in which case she will claim it is YOUR fault. I really think counseling even if you do it alone for awhile may be helpful in managing this problem from the grass routes and not waiting till the crap is piled on way to thick to handle. I also think you have to learn just to ignore Dave when he pouts. Find some activities to do when he's like that and do them. read, sew, paint, visit sisters, whatever, but don't allow yourself to stay around him when he's like that or even try to talk as he won't listen and will just make matters worse.
I also think that you need to think things through when Dave asks you to do these family demands. Think them through—if you don't want to do it and you think it is fair reason (too much demand, too tired, have your own things you want to do)—then don't give in to him after you choose your no's as he will pout and sulk EVERY time thereafter. Stand your ground and be firm with your chosen no's. It's like the baby that cries every night cause mommy always comes in eventually. If you stop going in—they learn crying won't get them what they want and they sleep through the night. Yeah—men are babies in more ways than one. Treat them as such and you'll be fine.

ok—I'm tired now—good night.
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