October 14, 2019, 04:47:45 am


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Started by holliberri, November 24, 2010, 08:59:41 am

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I've read so many stories on here over the last month or so, and I am just wondering what changes a DIL might bake to alleviate some of the conflict? I ask because I am a DIL with conflicts of my own, and while I try to change my behavior, I'm not sure what to change, and I don't know that it is all that easy to articulate changes you would like to see amid a conflict. To be honest, I'm also a member of dilsociety (just a reader, not a poster), but asking for help from people who are in the same boat as myself doesn't seem the best option. Regards, and Happy Thanksgiving!   :)


Welcome. It seems to me that you have already made the most important one...you are open and willing to address and resolve your issues. At one time or another, most of us have gotten stuck in being right. Many here are choosing, instead, to be happy. What makes your heart sing...that you can share with kith and kin? Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Hi Holliberri, and welcome.

I'm a DIL on year 2 of this journey.  I think one of the things that many DIL's trip over is trying to get involved in DH's relationship with his FOO.  Reminding him to call, to get a gift for the next holiday, reminding him to return calls or emails.  I think we women try to fix a little too much and we need to just stay out of it.  Think about it, how many DH's call your mothers, remind you to get her a gift etc?  I think I took on way too much in trying to manage DH's relationship with his FOO and besides I was never going to get it right.  So how in the heck did I get put in the position of being responsible for both of their relationships and blamed for when neither side got what they wanted?  DIL's, save your own sanity and let your husband be responsible for his own relationships.

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


FOO is Family of Origin. LOL! Have you found the abbreviations that have mushroomed here under "Resources?"
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I would say that some marital therapy always helps! This can help you and your DH understand how to build healthy relationships with each other (the most important!) his FOO and your FOO. It also helps if DH is having trouble setting up healthy boundaries (as many men have trouble with!). It also might help you understand where your MIL is coming from in certain situations. Good luck.


Thank you everyone, for the fast responses! To Luise, I appreciate your insight to this; it doesn't seem like all of that much of a step to me, but I guess in comparison to the conflict over the last half a decade or so...it is at least different than other paths I've chosen, so I hope you're right. I knew what FOO meant; I was on fertility boards for years (finally have a DD of my own, 5 mo. old!) and they use the same lingo!

Pam, you may be right about meddling in my DH's husband with his FOO. I had to remind him to call on his Dad's birthday (which I got the birthday wrong by the way-1 day late.   :( ); and I chose the Christmas gifts for this year. The problem is, I feel terrible if he doesn't take care of these things as I see fit, I also worry about being blamed if he doesn't (his parents do get upset about not being remembered, etc.).

MrsKitty, we did try marital therapy until the baby was born.  I have to say, it helped me manage my feelings better, and the therapist was encouraging about setting up boundaries. Unfortunately, the boundary setting (mainly just respecting that my when my DD gets out of control and is crying and rubbing her eyes, she is dead tired and needs quiet, not more activity), really upset his mother; she was crying and said she'd never touch the baby again.  It wasn't something I put him up to, he decided to do that all on his own (I think for DD, I don't think it had anything with how I felt, really). DH and I felt terrible afterwards...and I think we're afraid to set anymore boundaries now.


I think that it is really important that if the parents start blaming you for your DH's unthoughtful behavior you should just say flat out that you cannot be responsible for his relationship with them. Just tell them that you would not dream of getting in the middle of their relationship with their son (it is not your place) and that if they are upset with his behavior--they should talk to HIM not you! You are not his "boss" you're his wife! I also think that it was rather manipulative of your MIL to cry and act a mess just because you told her to let the baby sleep/rest. I think when someone has an over the top reaction like this one--the best thing to do is to call their bluff. My father used to pull this trick all the time. I would gently ask him not to do something a certain way that made me uncomfortable and his reaction was, "Well, I just won't ever visit you again, then!" Very childish. Finally, when he had crossed a major line (he behaved very rudely at a lunch with my in laws) I told him again not to do the behavior that bothered me. He tried his normal manipulative comeback and I told him that it was his choice if he never wanted to visit again and that he would be the one missing out--not me. Needless to say, my father can be VERY difficult. After I called his bluff once, I never had to do it again. I think the best reaction to your mother in law's assertion that "she'd never touch the baby again" would be: "Oh, ok. You'll really be missing out on being a hands on grandma. But, I suppose that's your decision to make, not mine." Good luck and get back to therapy so you learn to set up healthy boundaries. Other people will test your boundaries and you have to keep them firm in order for them to work.


It's hard to speak generally about specific MIL/DIL relationships, but there are a few things we can all do, according to these articles. Not every bullet point will speak to all of us, but there are some good suggestions:


Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Pen, thanks for the links! They have some very good pointers....haha...most of them deal with checking my ego at the door; something I struggle with!

MrsKitty, I agree with you and Pam. I think I will start letting my DH handle his business with his family. I am just creating more work for myself and I can't live up to expectations. It is my feelings I need to grapple with, which with therapy, I do think I can get a grip on. If they are hurt, it is between them and him. That's is some solid advice.

Also, thank you for giving me pointers on how to handle that situation. I *hope* it  doesn't happen again, but since I was left unable to respond other than, "We're sorry, we hope you'll be involved with the baby..." and the like, I felt like the issue took on a whole new form. It was no longer about DD at that point.  I think your response suggestions would have been a little more effective at making sure the conversation stayed on track.


While I understand the advice of letting your husband deal with his own family, I feel that at times this can be taken to literally.   There is nothing wrong with having a calendar marked with upcoming birthdays and gently reminding your husband that one of his parents birthdays are approaching if you were to realize it first.  And using Christmas as an example, there is nothing wrong with jointly looking for gifts that you both feel would have some special meaning for his parents as well as your own.  After all you are a blended family.  I mean wouldn't it be horrible if a step-parent took that view towards her/his spouses child? I believe that knowing when to step back is the answer.

As a mil, the only thing that I could possibly ask of my dil is to love my son, and be honest with him above all else.  To allow him to be his own person and to allow him to have a relationship with his FOO.  To understand when it's not just about you as the dil.  Most importantly is to have the same respect for your in-laws as you do your own parents and yes check your ego at the door.  All this of course also applies to the mil as well.  Now I'm also assuming that all parties are mentally sound individuals who can participate in the balance of a relationship.

Welcome to the boards.. I love your holiday festive name


Welcome Holliberri.  I echo what Laurie said.  If you have a sensible MIL (and I am guessing here) then just including her, every once in a while, in your lives will let her know that you care. 

And I am also with Laurie on prodding hubby sometimes.  I think if you are having issues with the MIL (like in the baby situation), then by all means, your DH should handle that situation.  But I never had a problem shopping for Christmas gifts or Birthday gifts.  My Ex was a horrible gift purchaser and never paid attention to hobbies or such with his family.  He didn't have a clue.  And terrible with dates.  He would forget when he needed to be somewhere, let alone his Mother's BD.  I never felt bad about doing those things, because he was just that way.

But trying to fix his family problems or issues is totally different.  I do think we take on took much of that and try to fix everything instead of saying, "Hey you deal with that."

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell