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...wish it didn't all make me feel like a rotten, selfish person

Are the others in your family feeling the same? Are there others outside your family who have observed her behavior? (This second group is important to ensure your immediate family has not just talked together so much that you all have the same feelings.)

I want her to butt out. If I had my choice, she'd live a lot farther away, and we'd be in charge of our own family -- we'd make our homeschooling decisions, along with the kids' mom, and she'd just be grandma. But that's not realistic at the moment.

Why isn't it realistic? A blunt, non-emotional discussion will change things. You and your husband should write down and practice what you plan to say, how you think she will respond, and what your counters will be. Remain unemotional and factual regardless of how dramatic she becomes. Trying it out on a friend who is familiar with the situation wouldn't hurt either. This is 2009 in the US--your mother-in-law (or mother) only has as much say as you allow.

It took a major emotional/legal issue for me to recognize how controling my parents were. My parents still refuse to acknowledge that, aside from "one minor mistake" (their interpretation), they are less-than-perfect parents/Christians/community members/etc, and they still try to make me out as spoiled, selfish, and unforgiving. Truth is, my father is the ultimate in spoiled and selfish.

Because of our ages and the circumstances involved, it is unlikely there will ever be any reconcilliation with my parents. It sounds as though you all are young enough that there is time for a restructuring of your relationships to be worked out if you start now.

Something else to note. If your husband agrees with you but can't bring himself to initiate the conversation with his mother, there is nothing wrong with you doing it. As long as he is willing to back you up on what you say (which is why the practice and writing it down are important) it will be fine.

Start planning your discussion today. Life is too short to put up with that kind of stuff.
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