This one takes my breath away. I'm not even sure where to start. If you want to really understand the definition of the word "mean-spirited", meeting this lady would give it to you. I've never met anyone, before or since, who is as cold-hearted, cruel, calculating, controlling, and manipulative.
I said once to my then husband and her son: "I believe that, to make this woman the way she is, there may be two scenarios that played out in her life, one or the other-- either she was absolutely spoiled rotten as a child to an extreme, or she suffered something very traumatic during her childhood, something deep and mentally life changing, such as sexual abuse."
During the course of a phone conversation, one of this woman's own sons stated: "I don't think anyone could get along with my mother."
I think the best thing to do for MIL#4 is to skip all the minute ugly details and simply start with a list of what I've learned from this woman:
- Having a child does not mean that you will control this individual's life for the rest of their life.
- Never use money as a reward/punishment tool with your children, not even (and especially) when they are adults.
- Words can be used as weapons, and once spoken, they cannot be taken back.
- Never deliberately belittle and embarrass your child in public, or ahead of their spouse or partner.
- Just because you might not understand another person's lifestyle or spiritual path, don't jump to negative conclusions, and don't pass judgment.
- Compassion, a sense of humor, and empathy are gifts that not everyone is fortunate enough to be endowed with; if you have these gifts, embrace them.
- Kindness can impact the world, and those who are touched by it, in magical empowering uplifting ways. Never miss an opportunity to spread a little kindness.
- Love your child enough to let go.
- Love your child enough to let them make their own mistakes in order to learn and grow.
- Love your child enough to trust their choices.
- Love your child enough to support them in their endeavors and daily lives.