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Help for a confused potential future daughter in law? (CPFDIL?)

Started by isitme?, November 18, 2009, 10:16:14 am

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I think some people have a "my way or the highway" attitude and some people don't understand that "compromise" means that everybody might have to make a sacrifice - not just one person.  What's wrong with USING the word "compromise"?  When we get attacked this Thanksgiving for not doing EVERYTHING the way FMIL wants, I'm just going to say "I'm sorry that's how you feel but we thought this would be a good compromise."  I"m giving something up by agreeing to spend ANY time with people who make us unhappy, and FH is compromising by limiting the amount of time we spend with his parents and being open about the fact that he should also be spending some time with my family.  This is the compromise we've reached and this is what we will present to his mother if/when she gives us trouble.  I don't know why it's so difficult - we all need to learn to be more flexible and accept change!


Thanks Anna - I wish my FMIL could be more like you!  I think so many of us are struggling to deal with unhealthy family relationships - it's taken me more than a year to see that about my boyfriend's family and realize it's not me, it's them!  Now we just need to figure out how to handle the situation with some respect and understanding (I think some courage is definitely in order as well...).  DON'T let your DIL make you feel like you're good for nothing!  You have so much to share with your friends and family - not to mention the fact that you have helped at least one unhappy FDIL feel a little bit better  :-*


it's one thing for us DILs to just "disengage" and not have anything to do with people you don't really care about.  It's much much different I"m sure, if "disengaging" from a toxic person also means you have to stay away from those you love, like your own children and grandchildren..           

You said so much here..very nicely written and thought through.
It is so hard for us moms because we do have to give our sons and grandchildren up in this process. A man will naturally keep peace with his wife and avoid confusion in his home.

What's so sad is when hearts start to harden because of all this. I am to the point ( after 10 yrs + ) that I don't want to argue anymore, hurt anymore, cry anymore or even try to figure it out anymore. There was just no reason for it.

I have lost trust and now it's hard for me to be close to anyone.. fear, fear, fear of being hurt again.

I do hope things get better for you, you sound like a good person.


I understand, Mom  Here's hoping good things for all of us  :)


A man will naturally keep peace with his wife and avoid confusion in his home.

I think you are exactly right on this.  And I have to admit that this has always been in the forefront of my mind.  When DH and I first got married he wanted his parents to see him in a certain light.  Now that he's 40 he's not so worried about that anymore.  He's established and our relationship has grown and solidified since we have been married now for 12 years.

As I became privy to his mom's dislike of me I knew that it would be no competition at all.  I knew that we had a good solid relationship and are happy and I knew that he would never give that up to please his mom and dad.  Because I provide something that his mother could never provide and he knows that.  Now if I had found out about her attempts at damaging our marriage early in the marriage then I would have felt much more worried and concerned.  Being on this board has really helped me work out my freaked out feelings as well.  I no longer think about it constantly because I've realized that he's not going to leave me or disapprove of me just because his mom does.


It is rewarding to read of healing taking place at times on our site. It feels like love and understanding are often present here and being shared back and forth. We have surrogate MILs and DILs present. Often nothing can be changed in our existing situations...but our hearts can be filled. I'm giving thanks, as Thanksgiving approaches...for all of you. What a beautiful extended family! 
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Luise that's very sweet.  And I'm glad that you're posting again.

Your site is very helpful and I glad you created it!


I provide something that his mother could never provide and he knows that.  Now if I had found out about her attempts at damaging our marriage early in the marriage then I would have felt much more worried and concerned
Yes, all you said is true and I believe the same way but I would also think that after that length of time the dil should be able to accept the mother in her husbands life ( especially if she feels like she is on safe ground ). I know the wife can provide things a mother can't but on the other side of the coin, only a mother can fill a mothers place in his heart ( a wife can't do that ).

Just like your husband no longer expects his parents to see him in a certain light, parents are the same way; we don't have any desire to have a 30 yr. old son sleeping our couch and being dependent on us for his every need.

I know there are in laws who do try to break up marriages but I was never that kind of mom.


Yes, all you said is true and I believe the same way but I would also think that after that length of time the dil should be able to accept the mother in her husbands life

And I did accept her from the very beginning.  I was only 22 when we married and was naive to much of this stuff.  I had no idea how she felt and my mom accepted our marriage and my DH just fine.  There things throughout the marriage that made me raise an eyebrow, but I thought they were just exclusive people that had a hard time allowing others into their circle.  I thought they accepted me but in fact I believe they were only tolerating me so they could continue seeing their son and potential grandchildren.  I later found out they criticizing me for stupid things.  My job, how many shoes I have, how much we eat out, how much we vacation, that we play tennis in the heat, that we moved  to my hometown, I haven't put flannel sheets on the bed yet etc....  you would probably have to read my initial story because I've explained in detail about this, which was before you were on here though.  She slams me for small things.  I think because she very much wants to damage me in the eyes of my DH.  That's just my opinion.


The comment about compromise made me think of something I learned back at one of the management and negotiation workshops I have to attend for my job.  People are willing to sacrifice small things for a bigger goal.  This is a compromise, and while it doesn't create a true "win/win" for people, it creates a positive outcome.  But to be able to get the other side to compromise, you have to make them believe in the bigger goal.  So to apply this to the MIL/DIL relationship, if the DIL doesn't want a relationship, or to see us on the holidays, or whatever the "larger goal" would be, then she's not going to compromise the smaller things (letting things slide with the mother-in-law, willingness to host the holiday a different way or at a different place, etc).  We, on the other hand, are willing to compromise because we have a larger goal that we want....to see our child and grandchildren.  While I usually think those seminars are full of junk, that one has actually helped me out in life. 

One thing that I think helps me is the ability to go with the flow and the lack of expectations.  I don't expect my son and DIL to come to every holiday on the day (or my other kids for that matter).  I don't expect them to include me in their new life together.  I don't expect them to entertain me.  And interestingly, because I'm not expecting it, I'm not disappointed if it doesn't happen and often they're wanting me to be included in those ways because they don't feel like they have to, they feel like they're doing something nice for me.  And they are.  I appreciate the time and energy they give to me and do what I can to give that same positive energy back to them.  Which makes them want to be around me, which makes them want to compromise a bit.  I don't know if these ramblings make sense, but I just thought it might help some folks who get worked up because things aren't going a particular way to think about relaxing and just letting life happen for a while. 


LoV - thanks. I found that useful. What you describe is one of the reasons my DH and I moved to a Senior Community. We have total support here, a full life and an incredible extended family. As a result our adult children don't feel the weight of obligation and do what they do from the heart. The only expectation we have had is that (until this year) a "sort of" daughter and her hubby always came for all of the holidays and we ate wonderful, traditional spreads in our campus restaurant. This year, they are in the process of divorce and opted out but another "single, sort of daughter" is coming. We feel so lucky.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Some of you seem so strong..I wish I was strong.  Because the DIL wants to come to town and stay with 'close' DIL and she doesn't want them to, close DIL will try to hurt me in some way by saying something like: "they are staying with XGX, her friend".  She wants to blame me for them being inconvenienced.

This is a nightmare that I'm dealing with.  I have no idea how to get out of it.  It seems much crazier than the rest of your situations.  One of the DILs uses me when she needs something and the other one just ignores me.

I talked to my friend who is 86...much, much older than I and a lot wiser.  I told her how I don't feel like I belong anywhere. I've never seen anyone so shocked.  She couldn't then, or now believe it.  I seem on the outside like I have it together but I don't.  I am at their mercy all the time.  I have tried to prepare for every scenario so it won't hurt so bad.  No family!

How do I get out from under this?


  I know how you feel, Chickie. Some situations are more complicated than others. No matter which way you turn, the craziness blindsides you. You know I'm thinking of you and all those here who have heartbreaking situations to deal with. Keep listening to your wise therapist since she seems to have the most loving, reasonable take on your problem. For now, treat yourself with kindness.
   LoV, thanks for the take on compromise. It applies most definitely in our case - DIL had a reason to compromise before she got what she wanted - DS, help with expenses, transportation, help with a legal matter, help with moving. She has all that now, so we're not needed. All the compromising I can do isn't going to work. (It makes me laugh to think that we're seen as such disgusting people it's a compromise for her to be around us.)
  Expectations are hard for me to avoid, though I do try. We were part of lively, loving, family gatherings so I unconsciously expect that tradition to carry on. Advertisements and glossy magazine holiday spreads don't help, either. In our case my DS is on board, but DIL only wants to gather with her family and not ours. Traveling to one of our extended family gatherings is out because of DDD's living situation. Inviting friends to join us is out because if DIL does decide to show up, she hates our friends.
   When I first married I loved to entertain inlaws/family, even though we were struggling students/new parents living in funky digs, so I was a little puzzled when it came clear we were never going to be invited to DS/DIL's (unless of course it's the hottest day of the year and they need us to help them move.) I don't expect it now (d-uh!), but it still hurts.
  Even if expectations are reasonable, they're still expectations and since we can't control how others behave, we may (will) be disappointed. Story of my life from stepmom on. Got the bumps on my forehead (from banging on wall) to prove it.

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



I don't get around on this forum all that well  yet so I am sure there are a lot of original posts I have missed ( wish there was a section listed ' original posts '  just for the rest of us who take awhile to find things.  (  It does sound like your mil simply tries to pick at you for stupid things ! you have to feel sorry for someone like her because she will never be happy.

When I said that by now a dil should be able to accept her husbands mother, I really was referring to mine who has been married now for over 10 yrs. ( I wouldn't expect you or my dil  for that matter, to accept anyone that is abusive to them. That's why I am not around son and dil very often ( my choice)  because I shouldn't have to be treated that way either. I really didn't mean to sound as if I was questioning your situation and hope you didn't think that.


I don't want J2b to feel badly towards me either. The very fact that she is on here, makes me know that she has done everything she can.....you are a good person. J2b...