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So, she didn't want to buy gifts for her grandchildren or in-laws. Unusual, but ok. Maybe just suggest that it's time to stop with the gift giving for all the adults. What I find much more disturbing what happened next. She responds by deciding to punish everybody by cancelling the celebration at her house, affecting not just you and your wife but the entire family. Not only that, she leaves town and cuts off all contact. Sure, if she's not hosting it could make sense to go on a vacation instead, but the full-radio silence makes it seem more like she was sulking and making sure you all felt as miserable as possible about the current situation. The way your sisters ended up in tears and "begging" her to come back and let things go back to the way they were, and the way you're feeling like this is all your fault makes me wonder how many times your mom has successfully used this tactic in the past to get her children to do what she wants. Her response is to hold back and make it known that she considers all of you a problem. The results as they stand are that she not only gets her way, but she also has everyone falling all over themselves to apologize to her, and has succeeded in getting her daughters to do her dirty work for her since now she can just sit back and watch them dump all of the blame and all of their anger on you. And all of this was because she didn't like the fact that her daughter-in-law said not getting a present hurt her feelings.
My cousin was abused by his step-mother. Incidentally, one of his punishments was also being locked outside in the winter. He tried confiding in an adult once. The adult went straight to the step-mom to talk to her about it. I shudder to think what probably happened next. What I do know is that soon after that they had moved to a different house in a more isolated location.The abuse continued until he was 13. That was when she finally went to far and ended up killing him. She decided to punish him by making him spend the day tied up behind the house on a day when there was a severe heat advisory. He had asthma, so I don't know if it was dehydration or heat stroke or an asthma attack.
A lot of girls and women have gotten into very bad situations that started with "he was a lonely old man and I felt sorry for him." Reading your update, I'm glad your sister is ok. The fact that she was willing to stay in a situation that was making her uncomfortable because she didn't want this to cause any problem in your relationship shows what a kind person she is. The problem is that predators pick up on that combination of kindness and young naivete and exploit it. That little comment of his that "I'm sure your too busy with your man for me" was designed to dump guilt on her for hurting his feelings by neglecting him. Major red flags. Thankfully she has you and the rest of your family there with her.
Mom lying to her aside, that sounds like extremely strange behavior to someone that claims to love cows. She loves them so much that she refuses to eat them. Logically it would seem that if she found out she had been unknowingly eating them she would be somewhat upset about what she had been doing and happy that someone let her know the truth so that she could cease and desist immediately. Instead, this person is angry because she would rather you had just kept her in the dark so she could have continued happily eating her beloved animals in blissful ignorance? Huh?
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