I had cut myself off from this thread and now y'all wanna open up this can of worms again? Ya brought it on yerselfs, so I have no pity.
I have come to a conclusion about the real problem in this mil/dil situation. The author admits she was intimidated by her own MIL. She mentions several times that it's only natural that a DIL be be in awe of her more sophisticated, accomplished MIL. Really? I don't know of any DIL jealous of a MIL because the MIL is more accomplished. I know a few who are jealous because they think their DHs haven't cut the apron strings and feel DH spends more time/attention on his mother than his wife. Especially with people getting married at a later age, chances are the DIL is just as well if not more educated than her MIL and already established in a career. With 2d, 3d, etc. marriages, the DIL is just that much more accomplished and MIL that much less an authority figure. And DILs tend to have an attribute overvalued (unfortunately)in our superficial society: youth.
I think the author expected her DIL to be somewhat cowed by the author's accomplishments (college professor, concert pianist, lived in France, Parisian model, etc.) just as the author was by her own MIL, and when DIL was unimpressed, MIL was hurt and embarrassed. She (author) then possibly questioned the value of her own accomplishments and tried to bring down DIL. When you feel less than someone else, you have two options to bring equality: raise yourself up or bring the other person down. I think MIL decided on the latter.
The DIL here could be a quite intimidating figure in her own right. Here's a woman who has money and could live the life of leisure, but chooses to work with autistic children - which can be rewarding, but is very frustrating. Having money, DIL could easily have nicer clothes, jewelry and homes. Although the author is well-travelled, chances are the DIL is even more so. Many DILs might be impressed with a MIL who had lived in France, but this DIL might own a chateau there. IF (I'm making these details up for argument's sake) the author does feel belittled by DIL's superior wealth, it must be all that much more uncomfortable being a clergyman's wife.
I wonder if the author and her husband ever sought professional counseling to deal with their estrangement. As a clergyman, author's husband should be especially aware of the value of an outside, objective opinion. The only mention of them having counseling was when they were on vacation and recognized a well-known counselor. The husband leans over at breakfast and tries to solicit some free advice. The author says her husband got only a few sentences - a few sentences! - out when the well-known counselor says "It's your DIL." What kind of counselor passes judgement based on a few sentences? For the counselor's sake , I'll assume he wanted to enjoy his vacation and was trying to nip the conversation in the bud by saying what they wanted to hear. The well-known counselor's wife was there and tells them they (counselor and wife) have problems with their own DIL. So much for objectivity.
I think it's been said on other threads that there's a saying out there that 85% of people go to counseling knowing they are right and wanting to find out how to fix the other person. The purpose of counseling is to make the person realize that s/he can't control the other person, and figure out how to change their own behavior/attitude to make the situation more bearable. We've discussed how you can't change someone else a multitude of times. I never saw anywhere in this book the author accepting that AS and DIL are adults and have every right to make their own decisions, and she and her husband need to own up to their own contributions to the problem. DIL may be Satan personified, but I could find only a handful of examples of DIL's behavior being actually rude, and never so egregious that would justify a MIL writing such a book.
Hope y'all are having a nice day.