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Lost for Words

Started by lancaster lady, January 15, 2011, 07:06:29 am

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lancaster lady

My future daughter in law and I got along pretty well .I welcomed her to the family and was excited when my first grandchild was expected .I went a bit mad buying baby clothes,equipment furniture.Also knitted until my hands were sore .then my beautiful grandchild arrived .I felt the barriers go up .I was aware or what not to say .Not allowed to feed or change the baby .not allowed to take the baby out .When I called ,they were just going out or not there at all.They stopped visiting me .I let all this slide being you can imagine just a bit hurt .Until I made a comment not meant for her ,but she took it personally and called me a liar when I said it wasnt for her anyway .It was unoffensive but was twisted to make it so .Emails followed and my other siblings got involved to protect me .We are now at stalemate
with neither party speaking ,my son doesnt want to take sides .My friends are horrified how this has snowballed out of control ....I am taking time out to cool off and lick my wounds .She reckons she is due an apology ...for what ?Is this normal ??


So sorry you're going through this. Try to take care of yourself, step back from their drama, and perhaps one day they'll come around. Read the older posts regarding grandchildren and partake of the wisdom our GPs can give. Best wishes.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Words misunderstood can do so much damage. And when explanation is rejected, they can stand alone as a barrier between two people. When others take sides, those early-on words can become a war cry.
What did you say. when and how? Around whom?

I am wondering how deep your hurt went when you DIL started shutting you out and if whatever you said could have been taken two ways.  Also, if you went overboard, she may have felt overwhelmed by that and might have been looking (consciously or unconsciously) for a way out.

I agree that you had better back off until everyone calms down. Let your son know, if you can, that you meant no harm and that you can understand how your DIL might have felt. She was the one having the baby. It was her big event, not yours. It sounds like she may have been trying to take back her authority. We have seen many such incidents here with new mothers. Sometimes they are even trying to cover up not really knowing what they're doing.

There are a lot of ways of looking at this. I hope you find something useful. And yes, read the posts under our Grandchildren heading. You are not alone.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

forever spring

Sorry to hear about your situation. It is so easy to make mistakes in this context and when all's been said and done it is nobody's fault really, just this special relationship between MIL and DIL. I have been there and in the beginning I could not understand what was happening, that two totally reasonable nice human beings could get into a situation where everything that is being said needs to be checked -  like treading on egg shells all the time.
I'm taking three weeks out at the moment and can reflect but I'm not sure what will happen when I get back. I have promised myself though, that if the situation continues, I will really back off for a while and hope that things will get better with time and absence.
Fact is, they will always be our families and families on the whole have a great power for healing.
I believe that my situation arose because DIL (who is really nice and kind) was overwhelmed with having a new baby and I didn't manage to bring to her the understanding that she craved. I always thought she should cope better than she did and now on reflection I know that was wrong of me. I should have been more patient.  However I did have a problem which is different from yours in that the baby is the second child and the first child aged 2 1/2 rejected me and I could not be of any help because he only wanted to be with his mum. For me it meant spending a lot of time on the margin, just standing round feeling really helpless or doing housework which I didn't do well because DIL has different standards.
However, I will hang in there and believe in the strenght of the loving relationship we had with son and DIL when things were not so fraught. I'm sure we will make up eventually. Hopefully one day we will be able to have a good laugh at how we behaved, mind you as things are now, that won't be for a while. But when it happens I will be the happiest person alive!
The way you describe your situation, it appears to be similar in strength of loving beackground in the past.
Thinking of you - you are not alone!  :)


That was really a sweet posting Chelmsford.. what a great attitude you have, how can things not work out for you.

lancaster lady

You are all so kind ,and it really helps for others to talk about their experiences .I can understand how my DIL  might have felt I was taking over .This wasn't my intention at all .I just wanted to help and let her know I was there for her .I suppose I was really hurt that I wasn't allowed to take a bigger part in helping with the newborn .My remark was aimed at my other siblings at letting me know what was going on in their lives ,which they took in all the humour it was meant .However as I hadn't seen my grandchild for 5 weeks she took it personally .she wouldn't accept my explanation .I have apologised to her but she is unwilling to accept the remark wasnt for her .I have asked to see my grandchild on her 1st birthday next month so will wait and see what happens .I feel this is her way of cutting me out completely ,I hope my son can persuade her I am not a nasty person .


I hope so too, LL... Why are people so touchy these days.. shame it sometimes takes a  catastrophic event in our lives to make us understand how much time we waste on such little silly things.  You apologized, not sure what more you can do, but this is your son's child too, he should have some say in when you get to see his child as well.

lancaster lady

thank you Laurie ,great to be able to talk about this ,as my husband is so sick of me going on !
My DIL ''to be''.also informed me I shouldn't expect the same relationship as she has with her mother ,and it's not a competition who sees the baby the most ! Well I have seen the baby for 2 hours in 10 weeks ! Hardly excessive .My son isn't allowed out with his child alone ,without her ,so he is unable to come and visit .I was told as she had carried the baby for 9 months it's up to her who does what ! So my remark is just the tip of the iceberg .The wedding is this year and I really don't want to think about it as I am not really involved ,I found out the date on Facebook .!That was before this upset .I would really like someone to explain the psychology of all this as it has me beat .!Thanks for listening ...:)


Unfortunately, yours is not an isolated problem.  Many of us have gone through the same thing, just with different people.  Like you, my dh isn't up to discussing the issue and analyzing it for hours on end like I'm capable of doing.

When these young ladies/girls/whatever we need to call them not to offend other dil's on the board, decide that they want to built a wall around themselves, it doesn't always appear to be done for self preservation.  Instead I see them doing so in order to control others and all it takes is one little slip, anything that they can grab and hold onto to try and prove they are right, and BAM, you are in the position that you find yourself in today.

Reasoning may be beyond your DIL's capabilities as she doesn't sound to terribly reasonable by stating the whole ridiculous theory of nine months pregnant thing. She seems to have forgotten that without someones sperm her nine months was not forthcoming.  Between that, the wedding/facebook bs etc.. I think  you may be dealing with a young lady who has no intention of allowing your son to have a family.  If I had a fairy wand, I'd zap these people into the future and let their own child behave in this same manner and see firsthand what hard feelings they have caused.

There are some here who have dealt with this exact same thing and come out happily on the other end.. Look for Nana, I think she would have a lot of great advice.  Meanwhile you will  most likely get advice such as take the step back.. give them space.. put on a happy face, and I will agree with all those pieces of advice.  Talk to your son, explain one more time that you are trying to understand (not that you have a clue) and tell him that you are there for him when he needs  you.  Then take a backseat. 

I know all to well how it feels to be a guest in your own child's life, while the dil's family is center stage.  The only thing I could do to enable myself to get up in the mornings and not want to cry was to set some boundaries and live by them.  It doesn't necessary change what is taking place, but it sure keeps my sanity.... Wishing you luck.. I know how much this hurts.


My sentiments exactly, Laurie!

Fortunately, we are lucky to have DILs/MILs here at WWU who are kind, reasonable, and willing to see more sides than just theirs. They give us hope that things can be resolved.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

lancaster lady

Thanks again Laurie ,I guess you have already been there ! Why do DIL 's behave like that? ,after reading many letters on this site I realise how many young girls act in this way .It could be so different ,if I had acted like a witch I could understand .I see that many of you recommend I speak with my son ,in fact that was one of her bugbears .It's nothing to do with him ,I was told .Speak to me directly ! I was  already trained not to upset her that I spoke to him instead .We are supposed to read minds too .! I will follow your advice .In fact I spoke to him and said exactly that.I will find it hard to be friends with someone that has no empathy for me or respect .How long do we wait ? Forever is a long time .....:(


Oh my, she's issuing orders is she? A mother isn't allowed to talk to her own son?

A lot of us are in a position of "darned if we do, darned if we don't." The only thing we can do is take care of ourselves and hope that someday our DSs figure it out. Mine finally did - he stood up to his ILs and his wife and told them he would have a relationship with his FOO (family of origin) like it or not. They still get most of his time and we get dribs and drabs, but at least we get something and have been validated by DS. I'm no longer afraid to text or call, but I totally respect their time and try not to do so unless absolutely necessary.

I had not ever hovered or said anything to cause the "takeover" of DS by DIL or her FOO, it just started happening without warning after the wedding. My heart was broken and I was devastated. My DH was overwhelmed, sad, and sick of my tears; I know how you feel, LL.

The wonderful women on this site helped pull me through. I was on my way to feeling centered again, with or without DS & DIL, when DS stepped in and set his wife and her FOO straight. I'm still working on healing since things will never be the same...but I'm hopeful we're progressing. My DIL seems to have done a 180 degree turn. I know it can't have been easy for her, which makes her newfound tolerance of us all the more special.

IMHO, backing off from our children's drama and moving on with our lives does wonders for us and for them. It gives them a little space to reconsider, and in many cases encourages them to come around. At the very least we will have created interesting, fulfilling lives for ourselves. That sure beats wallowing in a pit of misery. You can still miss them, but you've got a life to live, missy! Don't let DIL's control issues define you!

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


Hi Lancaster Lady,

I don't think you need to speak to her directly to say that you're trying to understand and that you're there for him if he needs you. You're just telling him the truth. That really has nothing to do with her at all, I don't think (maybe the part about understanding does, but that's pretty minor anyway). I think you can and are entitled to tell your son that.

You apologized (and it sounds like personally to her, so you did EXACTLY what she asked), so I don't think you can do anymore than that, especially when the statement wasn't even about her anyhow Sometimes we just need to realize that people talk just to talk and not everything is loaded with hidden meaning; I think that is a huge insecurity thing...even if the statement is meant to be read in between the lines...ignoring it shows enormous restraint, maturity and self confidence, and I think would lessen the use of statements like that in the first place! By the way, I don't think you intended the statement to mean anything other than what you said, I'm just saying her reaction to it was poor regardless.

If another issue comes up, absolutely, address it with her first, since she asked you to, but for now, no way. That issue is over and done with. Speak to her directly about issues that involve her, absolutely.   There really isn't any telling how she'll react until you try it (Good luck!). The other thing is,  I think you should ask the same of her: if she has an issue with YOU, she needs to address it with YOU, not make DS the middleman. It works both ways!

As for the Facebook posting about the wedding date, I think that is how it goes now. Everyone has to know at the same time now; and we share our news with the world. I think social online media is changing how we do things. (I did this with the sex of my baby; I was just too excited to wait until I drove to someone's house to share the news that I was even pregnant, I meant no harm by it, but my family wasn't on Facebook THEN, so I'm not sure how they'd react if I did that now). I wouldn't worry about that, as long as you are told about it (or next time, leave a comment on her Facebook about it too, like a "friend" would do, something like, "How Exciting! Can't wait!"...showing her she's not getting a negative reaction out of you, maybe?).

Good luck, new baby, new mother, new wife and new soon-to-be DIL/MIL make for many, many role adjustments for everyone. It's hard enough as it is!

lancaster lady

Thanks holliberri....we have to start talking first ,but I appreciate your input .
what I hate is the fact we MIL 's have to roll over and submit !
The DIL has the power of my son and grandchild hovering over me ,and it seems to me she relishes that fact .If she doesn't agree for me to see my grandchild then she has won .My son is a gentle giant and is bewitched .I don't want to come between him and his partner ,all I wanted was to be part of my grandchild's life . As the months went on this became less and less until I snapped I suppose .I objected to them spending Xmas and New Year with her family .Big mistake ! I was supposed to accept the crumbs that were given . So I am supposed to sit and wait until the all power deems to throw me some more crumbs ....I might just starve waiting .!
Thankyou ladies for letting me rant .It alternates with the tears ...I hate being weak !


I just wish we could divide Holliberri up and give a little piece of her to all the MIL's here. 

Holliberri.. I know that things are not perfect with your own MIL, but I do appreciate how much of yourself you're putting into trying to understand and make things work. I love how you express yourself while leaving out your emotional side.. did you say that you're in law school? 

Over dinner our conversation was  about  parental weight, 9 mths vs sperm... general  consensus was that a woman who would use her pregnancy as leverage would probably be the same one telling a judge one day that the sperm donor should pay a higher percentage of his salary for the welfare of the child, if the couple were to separate.  Came down in our conversation that  unrealistic people were often unrealistic while straddling both sides of the fence.