So what do you do if your mother-in-law truly is an impossible person to get along with? The type of person who is always a victim. If she was caught stooping over a corpse with a bloody knife in her hand, she would still be the victim.
She...well I don't know how to describe her, except that one cannot talk with her on any but a superficial level w/out either feeling demeaned or pissing her off. Ever heard of the "Six Types of Personalities to Watch Out For"? The six types are: The Blamer, The Complainer, The Drainer, The Shamer, The Discounter, and The Gossip. She is the first 5.
I say all of the above not to put her down, as that goes nowhere, and not to vent, as that's why I use private journals (and certain public ones). I wanted to demonstrate the side of herself that she has shown me (for the past 2 years). I really do want to have a positive relationship with her, and I've tried everything I could think of (yes, including listening to her and asking her what she wants, what she suggests, etc).
You see, the majority of our conversations fit into one of three categories. The few that have turned out well coincidentally occured when she was in a really good mood.
The conversation is superficial, like talking about putting in a garden, the weather, etc. (more specifically, not personal, or important). I feel that superficial conversations certainly have their place in a relationship. But they should be supplemental to, rather than make up the majority of, a family sort of relationship.
Other conversations really piss us both off. Or she claims that I verbally attacked her (while witnesses agree I addressed the issue in a calm, gentle manner). Or one of us (usually the mil) storms out of the room, or whatever. Either way, we both end up ready to strangle someone, and absolutely nothing is accomplished.
The third type of conversation ends up with me stifling my true opinion (I make a habit of not giving my opinion unless it's asked for) after it has been asked for, and feeling manipulated and demeaned. In this situation, she usually feels like her actions were supported (usually she was asking me if she did the right thing, and I felt like in fact she acted like a weasel).
So, what do I do? I will not tolerate this unnecessary stress any longer. I am not going to sacrifice a productive, healthy life so I can "get along" with her. So obviously our conversations cannot continue with the above consequences. My latest plan of action has been to avoid when possible, and act polite, but cold when not possible.
As a side note, I do feel that the majority of my issues with her are because of how she treats others, more specifically me. I don't like blaming people, and I would never think that I'm blameless, but that is the only logical conclusion I can substantiate, as she has major issues with all other members of her family (brothers/sisters included).