To continue the story of my first encounters with my MIL, we follow our small family to Holloman AFB, NM. About 6 months after we'd moved and begun to settle in, I made one of the best decisions of my adult life. I went over to what was then called Life Skills and asked to speak to a counselor. And during my first appointment with Dr. B, I was very frank and even said, "I need to know if there is anything wrong with me because I don't want to be a danger to my daughter."
Now, to fully understand this whole situation it's necessary for a bit of background information. The previous blog entry In the Beginning explains many of the problems I was experiencing with my MIL and why I was beginning to doubt my own sanity. Because the MIL's entire family to include her son (my husband) enforced the idea that she could do no wrong. Add to this the fact that bipolar disorder runs in my family (both my father and his mother were given that diagnosis.) So here I am, wondering what the hell is actually happening because everybody in my husband's family was telling me what I was experiencing was not what was actually happening. So I go to see this counselor with the secret terror that I could actually not be viewing my life correctly because there was something wrong with me. (Because this is what I'd been told in not so many words.) And do you know what he said? I remember this because it made such an impact on me. "There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. The only thing that might apply is adjustment disorder." I cried tears of absolute relief in that office.
I continued therapy with Dr. B for quite some time, over a year in all if I remember correctly. Many things happened in my life while I was seeing this wonderful therapist. One of the many things that happened was the emergence of the name Borg Queen (at least in my head.) I was really funny the way the whole thing came about. I was venting about the MIL & her family and how anytime I was myself around them and displayed anything other than what they wanted shown around them I was basically put down or punished passive aggressively. I said something like "They just want you to be how they are, or they don't want you to be at all." And Dr. B said "Oh that sounds just like the Borg! Resistance is futile...you will be assimilated," he went on to say in that low, monotone Borg voice that any Star Trek TNG fan knows. It was possibly the most awesome thing that ever happened in therapy with him, with the exception of him telling me there wasn't anything wrong with me. And it honestly is just a good portrait of the MIL because just like in TNG mythology, she honestly believes that everything she does benefits the universe. The Borg Queen absolutely believes that uniformity and bringing every living humanoid into the Collective is the best thing for the Universe. The MIL believes that everything should fit the nice little fantasy world she lives in and she will do whatever she feels is necessary for that to happen. And hey, it's a humorous way to deal with a non-humorous situation. And who doesn't love humor?
Another sequence from film that I use to help myself deal with the sometimes useless feeling of trying to keep my uniqueness in the face of the MIL's absolute need for conformity to her fantasy is from Labyrinth (the Jim Hensen movie.) It's close to the end of the film when Sarah is confronting Jareth to rescue her brother. The script goes something like this:
"Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great. You have no power over me."
Because that's what it really boiled down to: her power over me. Because until I started seeing Dr. B and talking to someone who wasn't dazzled by the MIL, I had lost my personal power. And by having a very good therapist and working through so many of the issues that happened during that time, I was able to gain my sense of self and my personal power back. And I will be forever grateful to Dr. B for helping me find myself again.