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newhorsemom 08-14-2009 08:17 PM

I need to vent!!
Another small "discussion" with my MIL over my difference in horsemanship. My horse is sensitive about her ears but she is fairly patient when I try to rub and fuss with them. I really don't work with her that much on her ears though. Anyway, my MIL decided today that while we had Lily in the cross-ties she was going to BRUSH the inside of Lily's ears whether she likes it or not. MIL was very abrupt and in-your-face about it. Lily started to get upset and pull away, of course this made MIL more irritated and forceful and Lily started to get scared/freaked out and pulled harder, whites of her eyes showing, etc. I didn't want this to turn into WWIII so I said "I'm not sure this is such a good way to go about this" and MIL went off on me! She told me that "FINE, FINE, go ahead and do it your way" and that I'm going to have to start winning and not letting this horse get away with anything. I told her that I'm not out to fight with the horse and I really don't mind taking time to work with issues (yes, I was a little miffed when I said it :-x). She then stomped off to the tack room.

Now my 8-year old daughter says "maybe I can do it". Lily was still a little upset and wouldn't let us near her head. I told my daughter to use her fingers to scratch and rub the top of her neck and move towards her ear. Sure enough within 3 or 4 minutes she was letting both my daughter and I play with her ears for a few minutes at a time. Now MIL is really pissed when she sees this and says "Yeah, you got one didn't you?!" and proceeds to tell me how her horsemanship is very different than what I call horsemanship. She was so irritated that she left the barn all together.

Arrrggggg!!!!! I will admit that she has many years of experience on my but sometimes she treats me like I know nothing and she is so controlling about it!!! Why does everything have to be a fight? Why does she think that everybody is fighting her? MAKES ME CRAZY!!!

I feel a little better now. I just need to rant, rave and let a little steam off!!!

themacpack 08-14-2009 08:24 PM

What a pickle. Please know that I very much agree with you on this one - but, think of it this way. When we think we are good at something and someone else bests us at it (as you did with your approach vs. hers) it can bring out a very unpleasant reaction. Reacting the way she did is one way people often try to save face when they realize that they were not necessarily right.
On issues where it isn't really a matter of life and death, try the, "Thanks for the tip" (not said in any sort of tone) approach which gives the other person the satisfaction of being heard but doesn't obligate you to actually TRY what they are suggesting. This is a great way to avoid things becoming fights.
Something I like when it comes to arguments/fights is this, "How many people does it take to have a fight?" Answer - two. It can only be a fight if you engage with her - if you don't, she's just talking to herself.
Chances are she would right exactly what you did above, just from the other side of it. That doesn't make what she said or did right (or wrong, for that matter), but when we take the step back and realize that, it can help us figure out the best way to approach the situation to keep things from blowing up.
Kudos to you for taking the gentle approach

shesinthebarn 08-14-2009 09:59 PM

I feel your MIL pain....not for horsey reasons, but still, MIL's can be a pain in the you know what. Mine is a real treat about my baby boy. They can get under the skin, KWIM?

Walkamile 08-14-2009 10:08 PM

Something you wrote stood out to me. She feels that everyone is fighting her? That is a very broad and loaded statement. Do you suppose she feels not needed? Just playing devil's advocate here.

While I deeply sympathize with your situation, I just wonder if she were to hear that you consider her a valuable "resource" that you can turn to when you need to. However, it is important for you to "figure" it out for yourself. Would she understand that and not have her nose so very bent out of joint?

If not, than stand your ground. I guess sometimes I wish my MIL wasn't so uninterested in everything in my life. But , maybe it's a blessing , eh? :lol:

newhorsemom 08-14-2009 10:54 PM

Thanks for all of the kind replies. You are all so helpful!!

I definitely could have handled the situation better. I let my MIL get under my skin. When I sense a situation coming I really try to react by being to be kind and non-offensive. Today I tried to be very gentle when I said that it might not be the best way to work with Lily. I had been waiting to see how far she'd go with the horse and I really didn't want Lily to go into a panic and she was on her way. My MIL just gets defensive no matter how gentle you approach and then she gets kind of nasty about it. Then I get a bit defensive because I try to stand my ground. She is very controlling and very abrasive so I get my hackles up and I find that I fight back. Not very productive.

Yes Walka, she really does think that everyone is against or fighting her, she has no friends, fights with her neighbors and offends more people than she befriends. And I'm not at all exaggerating. She had a good heart but I think that you are right - she does feel unneeded and insecure. She constantly tells people how it is, kind of a know it all. If you don't agree you are an idiot. If you give her an inch she will take over. And you cannot tell her anything. With horse care she really feels like she has to prove herself and if I don't completely agree with her she will either take complete offense (ie today) or lie to me (ie usually about horse care as my horse lives in her barn - "no I never give her grain" (I asked her not to - makes Lily hot) and then she gets busted when she tells the vet what she is giving my horse when I'm standing there!). I think she tries to make herself feel better by putting others down and I usually take it personal and react poorly.

She does have a kind heart and I should try to see that before I react. It's just so hard to do. I'm finding that venting helps though!! :twisted:

I'm also seriously considering moving my horse close to home for the winter. It will cost us money but it might also be best for all of us.

riccil0ve 08-15-2009 12:15 AM

All these abbreviations confuse the heck out of me, and it makes me feel like an idiot when I figure out what it means, lol. What is a "MIL?"

I do empathize, but for both of you. I totally understand why you were upset, I would be too. She could have totally ruined the progress you have already gotten with your mare by her actions. I also understand why you reacted the way you did, I probably wouldn't have handled it with as much class you as you did though. I have quite the temper, especially when it comes to my babies. =]

I do feel bad for this "MIL" though. It really is unfortunate when someone is so damaged and hurting that all they can do is make enemies of everyone they interact with. It is also unfortunate that there really isn't anything you can do about it. o_O

Jessabel 08-15-2009 12:31 AM

That really bites.

My trainer is kind of like that in the sense that she likes to feel needed. But she won't go off on a hissy fit when someone knows something that she doesn't or if I already know how to do something without her help. She'll admit when she's wrong (which is not very often. She's got three decades more experience than I do). Maybe you should look for a new trainer? Her reaction was kind of uncalled for. And immature.

boxer 08-15-2009 12:33 AM

I was going to ask that too riccilove. What is a MIL? I thought I didn't know because I'm from Australia.

riccil0ve 08-15-2009 12:37 AM

Yeah, I never understand the abbreviations. Like, shesinthebarn wrote "KWIM." I just see "swim" spelled wrong, haha.

boxer 08-15-2009 12:52 AM

yeah I don't know what KWIM is either lol

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