Author Topic: forgotton  (Read 5869 times)

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Onlooker

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2010, 02:21:40 AM »
I'm new, yep, though I've been lurking for a little while. Just for background on my point of view: I'm not a mother in law. I get along fine with my MIL-equivalent. I don't have kids. I don't get along with my mother. I'm very, very big on boundaries.

So, that said:

> I never imagined when I rocked my son and told right from wrong
> that someday he would forget me and leave my life so empty.

If there's emptiness in your life, that isn't something that your son can fix.  When a child grows up, he can no longer be the center of his parents' life. If your life is empty without your son, he was the center. And that's something that needs fixing. You need a new center; an adult who isn't your spouse cannot be the center of your life. That's just too much for you to demand.

I understand that you may feel that I'm over interpreting, that of course you have other things in your life. But when you say that your son's departure leaves your life empty, that phrasing says to me that you're more dependent on your son than a parent should be dependent on an adult child.

I know that you invest a lifetime of love and care and worry in a child, and then that lifetime walks out the door and makes their own choices. I can understand that that could be disorienting, frightening, hurtful - that it must produce all sorts of overwhelming emotions. But the child leaving the nest and making their own life is normal.

> Why
> is this happening to me?  My neighbor has her sons kids all the
> time, not me.  When my friends invite me to thier kids weddings
> and baby showers, I cry. 

I'm not clear on why you cry. Were you completely excluded from your son's wedding and baby showers?

> My son is so lost to us it is as if he
> is in a cult.  Why does my grown son punish us to please his
> wife? 

I think that it's unwise to assume that this is all about his wife. If your son is applying boundaries, that is _his choice_. Yes, his wife no doubt had input, but it's not all about his wife.

Whatever you do, when speaking to him or his wife don't use the word "cult", don't accuse him of "punishing" you, don't blame his wife. If you have done these things, stop now. That will just hurt you.

A man's wife is the most important person in his life. Don't attack her. He loves her. If you attack what another person loves, that other person is going to be angry with you.

You may say, "But he's supposed to love me. Why isn't he angry when she attacks me?" I don't know. But I do know that a man's wife, not his mother, is supposed to be the most important woman in his life. If you're both attacking each other, a man who's properly bonded to his wife _will_ take her side. You cannot afford to attack her. You simply can't. Forget whether you feel justified; strategically, it's the worst thing that you could possibly do.

> I aks him that and he tells me because I never listen I
> never learn what they expect from me.

This sounds like a pretty clear answer. I know that you probably don't want to hear what he expects from you. It must be upsetting for the tables to be turned, for the child to tell the parent what the child thinks is right. But the child is now an adult. You are now equals, and he has the right to set expectations and boundaries. No, you don't have to follow those boundaries, but if you don't, he doesn't have to give you access to himself or his family.

Again, I understand that it must hurt, I really do. But that doesn't change the situation. You are negotiating with another adult, not with an obedient child.

> What about what I expect?
> I raised him up and paid for his college what for? 

Raising a child is what a parent is supposed to do. I'm afraid that there is no reward in terms of obedience in adulthood. You raised an intelligent, independent adult. You can be proud of that. But now that he's an adult, you can't expect him to obey you, to "pay you back" for raising him, to spend his life, his career, and his money as you direct him to.

He needs to move on to have his own life, his own career, his own family. He can't make you the center of his life; that is as unhealthy as you making him the center of yours. His wife and children are now the center of his life, and that's the way that it's supposed to be.

> He uses the
> degree I paid for to support a wife that only works part time and
> buys her everything.  My son works about sixty hours a week so
> she can wear the best clothes and make up and she drives around
> in an Escalade with a tv in it that she claimed she "needed" for
> the baby.  I am ready to go into the nuthouse over this stuff.

Again, I know that it's hard to let go of a child that you raised, but there are things in your son's life that are no longer appropriate for you to criticize. Those include how much his wife works, what car she drives, and what clothes she wears.

I know that you feel that she's taking advantage of him, but you don't live inside their marriage. Maybe his career requires that many hours, and they figure that they may as well have the luxuries, since they don't have the time together. Maybe they want the baby to spend more time with parents and less time in daycare, and that's why his wife isn't working full time. Who knows? But that's inside their marriage, and it's their decision to make.

If you criticize these internal decisions, you set yourself up for anger and resentment from your daughter in law. _Even if_ your son makes the huge mistake of complaining to you about her when they squabble, it's very, very dangerous for you to take a position on these matters. The wisest thing, if he does complain, is to change the subject.

> She could not wait to come over here and show us the pictures she
> took of the two of them in Paris and then showed me all the
> photos her mom took of grandson while she watched him for a
> week.  It broke my heart.  I have never had such oppurtunities.

Focusing on the opportunities and privileges that you want is not going to help. It's just going to make them feel guilty, and pressured, and frustrated, and angry. It's going to make them close the information flow, so that you don't get to see pictures of them in Paris, you don't get to see pictures of your grandson. It's going to make them avoid you, because they don't like the guilt and pressure, because they don't like you treating his wife like the enemy.

Again, I know it hurts. Complain here, complain out loud when you're alone, scream into a pillow, do whatever it takes to express your hurt, but don't express it to your son, his wife, or anyone who will pass your complaints on to them. They are adults and they can set the boundaries that they choose. And the more that you press on those boundaries, the more extreme they will become.

> I am going to compile a long list of all the things I have "done
> wrong"  and post it here and I want you all to tell me the truth,
> was it wrong?  And how can I fix it now?  Is it too late?  Is my
> son gone forever?

To some extent, it doesn't matter if other people think it's wrong. Your son and his wife have a right to set boundaries. To improve your relationship with them, you need to hear their boundaries, understand them, and respect and follow them.

Your relationship with them is not going to be as you direct, or as you envision. But if he's telling you that you don't listen, if he's conveying complaints to you, that means that _he hasn't given up yet_. It means that if you can listen, if you can change, if you can cooperate in their vision of the relationship, you can still have a relationship.

How do I know this? Because I've given up on my mother. I no longer complain about her behavior, and that's because I have concluded that she will never, ever hear me. I'm still adjusting to the fact that I have given up on ever having a real adult relationship with her. If your son is still complaining, he hasn't given up yet. Please, _hear_ him before he does give up.

I know that it must gall to obey their boundaries, but (and I know I'm being repetitive here), they are adults. Their vision of how things should be matters as much as yours. They can decide what's a dealbreaker, and they can enforce it. So you need, however much it galls, hurts, upsets you, to hear and respect their dealbreakers.

If you refuse to hear and respect their dealbreakers, you are deciding to give up the relationship. And that, I think, is what you need to think about. Is expressing yourself about her part-time work important enough to make you give up the relationship? Are _any_ of the behaviors that they complain about important enough to you, that you'd rather give up the relationship than give up the behaviors?

I'm sure that it feels like it's not fair. But it's not about fair right now. It's about whether you want to work to keep this relationship. If you try _hard_, if you truly listen and truly change some of the behaviors, I suspect that they'll be more likely to tolerate some slips in the things that you truly don't quite "get" yet. But I suspect that they do need to see you trying, wholeheartedly trying, to hear them and make things better.

Onlooker

One last comment: If they commit to having your daughter babysit, and then change the plan at the last minute, it's perfectly appropriate for _you_ to set the boundary that your daughter will not be babysitting for a while. Maybe they don't know how to say no. Maybe they are being insensitive and don't understand how upsetting the change of plan is. I'm not clear on what's going wrong. But you can short-circuit that whole mess by saying that the babysitting will simply no longer happen. Not to punish anyone, and _absolutely_ not in an angry way - that will just make things worse. But calmly, civilly say that it doesn't seem to be working out, and it's best to take a break from the babysitting idea for a while.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 02:30:21 AM by Onlooker »

MLW07

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2010, 08:39:49 AM »
I agree completely with Glitterati also!

Offline Pen

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2010, 08:41:09 AM »
I'm feeling as if words are being taken out of context and twisted around. I also feel as though many DILs here are not able to look at these issues from any perspective other than their own and are pouncing on women who are in pain, confused, hurting, and rejected.

As a former DIL to a mean MIL, I get it. As the daughter of a woman who dealt with a truly horrid MIL, I get it. I understand the frustration, anger and hurt some DILs feel due to horrible treatment by their MILs. Some of the stories are really heartbreaking, and I am so sorry for those of you who are dealing with it.

We know that adults, our children and their spouses, have the right to treat us any way they choose. They are breaking no laws by shutting us out. We get that! What we don't understand is why those of us who have not been awful are being pushed aside and treated with rudeness and scorn. I've even read some posts here, directed at me and other MILs, that reflect those rude, harsh attitudes, even though Luise has said over and over that the purpose of this site was understanding and kindness.

I have a very full life, but there's a big empty spot shaped like DS. One day he was here; we talked, we laughed, we enjoyed spending time together (not a lot - he's a busy guy) in a relaxed, non-critical atmosphere. The next day it changed. Suddenly, with no warning. As DS says, "It's not you. It's her problem." Even DIL says that! DS has come to us confused and hurt by DIL's attitude, and we've said, "You need to work it out with her. She's your wife." We know we haven't done any of the things the nightmarish ILs have done - quite the opposite. Not even a drop-in. She just doesn't want us in the picture at all. We're supposed to be like salmon - spawn, produce, go away.

I can't believe that those of you who are so protective of your children and nuclear families now would be able to handle the hurtful treatment some of us are getting if your sons should marry a woman who is determined to shut you out (I truly hope it doesn't happen to you, but what if it does?) Please think about it honestly. Do you think you'll be able to walk away like you never gave birth and nurtured your children? Really? Try to put yourself in the place of these sad moms for just a minute. Maybe we can all understand a little better.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

MLW07

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2010, 08:41:17 AM »
I'm new, yep, though I've been lurking for a little while. Just for background on my point of view: I'm not a mother in law. I get along fine with my MIL-equivalent. I don't have kids. I don't get along with my mother. I'm very, very big on boundaries.

So, that said:

> I never imagined when I rocked my son and told right from wrong
> that someday he would forget me and leave my life so empty.

If there's emptiness in your life, that isn't something that your son can fix.  When a child grows up, he can no longer be the center of his parents' life. If your life is empty without your son, he was the center. And that's something that needs fixing. You need a new center; an adult who isn't your spouse cannot be the center of your life. That's just too much for you to demand.

I understand that you may feel that I'm over interpreting, that of course you have other things in your life. But when you say that your son's departure leaves your life empty, that phrasing says to me that you're more dependent on your son than a parent should be dependent on an adult child.

I know that you invest a lifetime of love and care and worry in a child, and then that lifetime walks out the door and makes their own choices. I can understand that that could be disorienting, frightening, hurtful - that it must produce all sorts of overwhelming emotions. But the child leaving the nest and making their own life is normal.

> Why
> is this happening to me?  My neighbor has her sons kids all the
> time, not me.  When my friends invite me to thier kids weddings
> and baby showers, I cry. 

I'm not clear on why you cry. Were you completely excluded from your son's wedding and baby showers?

> My son is so lost to us it is as if he
> is in a cult.  Why does my grown son punish us to please his
> wife? 

I think that it's unwise to assume that this is all about his wife. If your son is applying boundaries, that is _his choice_. Yes, his wife no doubt had input, but it's not all about his wife.

Whatever you do, when speaking to him or his wife don't use the word "cult", don't accuse him of "punishing" you, don't blame his wife. If you have done these things, stop now. That will just hurt you.

A man's wife is the most important person in his life. Don't attack her. He loves her. If you attack what another person loves, that other person is going to be angry with you.

You may say, "But he's supposed to love me. Why isn't he angry when she attacks me?" I don't know. But I do know that a man's wife, not his mother, is supposed to be the most important woman in his life. If you're both attacking each other, a man who's properly bonded to his wife _will_ take her side. You cannot afford to attack her. You simply can't. Forget whether you feel justified; strategically, it's the worst thing that you could possibly do.

> I aks him that and he tells me because I never listen I
> never learn what they expect from me.

This sounds like a pretty clear answer. I know that you probably don't want to hear what he expects from you. It must be upsetting for the tables to be turned, for the child to tell the parent what the child thinks is right. But the child is now an adult. You are now equals, and he has the right to set expectations and boundaries. No, you don't have to follow those boundaries, but if you don't, he doesn't have to give you access to himself or his family.

Again, I understand that it must hurt, I really do. But that doesn't change the situation. You are negotiating with another adult, not with an obedient child.

> What about what I expect?
> I raised him up and paid for his college what for? 

Raising a child is what a parent is supposed to do. I'm afraid that there is no reward in terms of obedience in adulthood. You raised an intelligent, independent adult. You can be proud of that. But now that he's an adult, you can't expect him to obey you, to "pay you back" for raising him, to spend his life, his career, and his money as you direct him to.

He needs to move on to have his own life, his own career, his own family. He can't make you the center of his life; that is as unhealthy as you making him the center of yours. His wife and children are now the center of his life, and that's the way that it's supposed to be.

> He uses the
> degree I paid for to support a wife that only works part time and
> buys her everything.  My son works about sixty hours a week so
> she can wear the best clothes and make up and she drives around
> in an Escalade with a tv in it that she claimed she "needed" for
> the baby.  I am ready to go into the nuthouse over this stuff.

Again, I know that it's hard to let go of a child that you raised, but there are things in your son's life that are no longer appropriate for you to criticize. Those include how much his wife works, what car she drives, and what clothes she wears.

I know that you feel that she's taking advantage of him, but you don't live inside their marriage. Maybe his career requires that many hours, and they figure that they may as well have the luxuries, since they don't have the time together. Maybe they want the baby to spend more time with parents and less time in daycare, and that's why his wife isn't working full time. Who knows? But that's inside their marriage, and it's their decision to make.

If you criticize these internal decisions, you set yourself up for anger and resentment from your daughter in law. _Even if_ your son makes the huge mistake of complaining to you about her when they squabble, it's very, very dangerous for you to take a position on these matters. The wisest thing, if he does complain, is to change the subject.

> She could not wait to come over here and show us the pictures she
> took of the two of them in Paris and then showed me all the
> photos her mom took of grandson while she watched him for a
> week.  It broke my heart.  I have never had such oppurtunities.

Focusing on the opportunities and privileges that you want is not going to help. It's just going to make them feel guilty, and pressured, and frustrated, and angry. It's going to make them close the information flow, so that you don't get to see pictures of them in Paris, you don't get to see pictures of your grandson. It's going to make them avoid you, because they don't like the guilt and pressure, because they don't like you treating his wife like the enemy.

Again, I know it hurts. Complain here, complain out loud when you're alone, scream into a pillow, do whatever it takes to express your hurt, but don't express it to your son, his wife, or anyone who will pass your complaints on to them. They are adults and they can set the boundaries that they choose. And the more that you press on those boundaries, the more extreme they will become.

> I am going to compile a long list of all the things I have "done
> wrong"  and post it here and I want you all to tell me the truth,
> was it wrong?  And how can I fix it now?  Is it too late?  Is my
> son gone forever?

To some extent, it doesn't matter if other people think it's wrong. Your son and his wife have a right to set boundaries. To improve your relationship with them, you need to hear their boundaries, understand them, and respect and follow them.

Your relationship with them is not going to be as you direct, or as you envision. But if he's telling you that you don't listen, if he's conveying complaints to you, that means that _he hasn't given up yet_. It means that if you can listen, if you can change, if you can cooperate in their vision of the relationship, you can still have a relationship.

How do I know this? Because I've given up on my mother. I no longer complain about her behavior, and that's because I have concluded that she will never, ever hear me. I'm still adjusting to the fact that I have given up on ever having a real adult relationship with her. If your son is still complaining, he hasn't given up yet. Please, _hear_ him before he does give up.

I know that it must gall to obey their boundaries, but (and I know I'm being repetitive here), they are adults. Their vision of how things should be matters as much as yours. They can decide what's a dealbreaker, and they can enforce it. So you need, however much it galls, hurts, upsets you, to hear and respect their dealbreakers.

If you refuse to hear and respect their dealbreakers, you are deciding to give up the relationship. And that, I think, is what you need to think about. Is expressing yourself about her part-time work important enough to make you give up the relationship? Are _any_ of the behaviors that they complain about important enough to you, that you'd rather give up the relationship than give up the behaviors?

I'm sure that it feels like it's not fair. But it's not about fair right now. It's about whether you want to work to keep this relationship. If you try _hard_, if you truly listen and truly change some of the behaviors, I suspect that they'll be more likely to tolerate some slips in the things that you truly don't quite "get" yet. But I suspect that they do need to see you trying, wholeheartedly trying, to hear them and make things better.

Onlooker

One last comment: If they commit to having your daughter babysit, and then change the plan at the last minute, it's perfectly appropriate for _you_ to set the boundary that your daughter will not be babysitting for a while. Maybe they don't know how to say no. Maybe they are being insensitive and don't understand how upsetting the change of plan is. I'm not clear on what's going wrong. But you can short-circuit that whole mess by saying that the babysitting will simply no longer happen. Not to punish anyone, and _absolutely_ not in an angry way - that will just make things worse. But calmly, civilly say that it doesn't seem to be working out, and it's best to take a break from the babysitting idea for a while.

This a great response.

cremebrulee

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2010, 09:16:36 AM »
I'm feeling as if words are being taken out of context and twisted around. I also feel as though many DILs here are not able to look at these issues from any perspective other than their own and are pouncing on women who are in pain, confused, hurting, and rejected.

As a former DIL to a mean MIL, I get it. As the daughter of a woman who dealt with a truly horrid MIL, I get it. I understand the frustration, anger and hurt some DILs feel due to horrible treatment by their MILs. Some of the stories are really heartbreaking, and I am so sorry for those of you who are dealing with it.

We know that adults, our children and their spouses, have the right to treat us any way they choose. They are breaking no laws by shutting us out. We get that! What we don't understand is why those of us who have not been awful are being pushed aside and treated with rudeness and scorn. I've even read some posts here, directed at me and other MILs, that reflect those rude, harsh attitudes, even though Luise has said over and over that the purpose of this site was understanding and kindness.

I have a very full life, but there's a big empty spot shaped like DS. One day he was here; we talked, we laughed, we enjoyed spending time together (not a lot - he's a busy guy) in a relaxed, non-critical atmosphere. The next day it changed. Suddenly, with no warning. As DS says, "It's not you. It's her problem." Even DIL says that! DS has come to us confused and hurt by DIL's attitude, and we've said, "You need to work it out with her. She's your wife." We know we haven't done any of the things the nightmarish ILs have done - quite the opposite. Not even a drop-in. She just doesn't want us in the picture at all. We're supposed to be like salmon - spawn, produce, go away.

I can't believe that those of you who are so protective of your children and nuclear families now would be able to handle the hurtful treatment some of us are getting if your sons should marry a woman who is determined to shut you out (I truly hope it doesn't happen to you, but what if it does?) Please think about it honestly. Do you think you'll be able to walk away like you never gave birth and nurtured your children? Really? Try to put yourself in the place of these sad moms for just a minute. Maybe we can all understand a little better.

Pen, that was very heartfelt and I can really feel the concern in your words...me, I've had very little in my life...matter of fact, I've been told and promised so many times, that, I learned not to get excited about anything until it happens...do you know, I had one birthday party in my entire life, and that was when I was 13, I think my mom could only afford to invite 6 kids....my point is, that, I'm able to do without, and except the crumbs I get thrown at me....I never ever get excited about a vacation, unless in in the rental car driving to the cottage I've rented...I don't plan vacations with anyone, b/c so many times in the end, people have said yes, but have had reservations about spending the money, so they back out....and it causes me a lot of hardship b/c now if I go, I've got to pay double, plus, the disappointment...so, in that I guess in a way I'm lucky...I hear and feel your pain Pen...and yes, it's so very difficult...I think of my son and how close we used to be...how he'd share most everything with me....and I miss that...however, I do know now, that he has a wife, to share those precious moments with, doesn't make it any easier...but I do miss quality time with him...hearing his stories...hearing about his life...what he loves to eat, what pisses him off....however, in reality, my job is done and I have to take what I can get now...and look to other things to give me pleasure...happiness....andn when he calls, I'm there...and glad to hear from him and we've had some very productive talks....but I do miss him as you miss your son...however, I know, it will never be the same again Pen, it can't....he's an adult now, and he has swam upstream...that is life and the natural order of things...there are some families who carry on the tradition of being close....and can be close...I've seen it in Italian families...however, there are also times when children need they're quality time, alone...with they're wives...they're very busy, very tired...working full time jobs, running the kids here and there....it's not us, they're avoiding, what it is, is, that they now have thye're own lives and they're trying to do the best they can, and do spread themselves pretty thin....

Does that make any sense or help? 

Offline Pen

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2010, 09:29:51 AM »
Dear Creme, I'm not wanting to be DS's "mommy" anymore...I'm done childrearing and love being free to do my thing. What I am hurt about is the sudden rejection by DIL that has changed our relationship with DS. Honestly, I'm not a cling-on. Don't want the kids to move home, don't even want to be considered for full-time GC sitting when the time comes. I have more hobbies than time, still work part-time, etc. etc.

I can visualize a scene where we're all sitting around the firepit in the patio, drinking wine, looking at the stars, talking over current events or books or whatever, or getting DS's opinion on the things he's learned in college. Doesn't that sound nice? It's not going to happen with us anymore because DIL thinks we're losers and hates being around us. That's all.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline Pen

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2010, 09:36:10 AM »
Thank you, FS!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Laila9

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2010, 09:43:02 AM »
I can visualize a scene where we're all sitting around the firepit in the patio, drinking wine, looking at the stars, talking over current events or books or whatever, or getting DS's opinion on the things he's learned in college. Doesn't that sound nice?

I think that sounds perfect! And a perfectly reasonable (and lovely) hope or even expectation from a happy family.

I would love the same relationship with either my MIL/FIL or my parents but sadly can have neither.

RedRose

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2010, 10:03:04 AM »
I'm feeling as if words are being taken out of context and twisted around. I also feel as though many DILs here are not able to look at these issues from any perspective other than their own and are pouncing on women who are in pain, confused, hurting, and rejected.

We know that adults, our children and their spouses, have the right to treat us any way they choose. They are breaking no laws by shutting us out. We get that! What we don't understand is why those of us who have not been awful are being pushed aside and treated with rudeness and scorn. I've even read some posts here, directed at me and other MILs, that reflect those rude, harsh attitudes, even though Luise has said over and over that the purpose of this site was understanding and kindness. 

I can't believe that those of you who are so protective of your children and nuclear families now would be able to handle the hurtful treatment some of us are getting if your sons should marry a woman who is determined to shut you out (I truly hope it doesn't happen to you, but what if it does?) Please think about it honestly. Do you think you'll be able to walk away like you never gave birth and nurtured your children? Really? Try to put yourself in the place of these sad moms for just a minute. Maybe we can all understand a little better.

Thank-you Pen...and I agree with you.



bettylou

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2010, 10:15:11 AM »
Wow so many good responses, in some ways it is hard to read that I am to blame but I guess this is the call that I needed.  I needed to see in black and white that sometimes I have overstepped my boundaries, sometimes I have been the one that is not in the right.  It was hard but I thank all those, especially the daughter in laws who spoke to me kindly eventhough I probably raised some anger or hurt in them.  I am sorry if I did that.
Well I guess I will start this way, here is what I have wanted in a relationship with my son and daughter in law, I have wanted an open line of communication where daughter in law can say things to me like "I don't think that is a good idea or I do not yet feel comfortable with that, or this is the reason I took offense."  Instead it is always the same pattern, they leave here and my son calls complaining and then it is a three ring circus where she won't take my calls or speak to me to hear me say I am sorry and to treat me like I am an adult too just like her.  If we could just talk it out without son I think it could work better but she will not do this.  When I try she says she does not want to talk about it again.  I can not force anyone to communicate when they do not want to.  I wanted a daughter in law that could come over anytime to visit with me with or with out her husband and baby.  I wanted us to be friends, to have a bond.  It seems I have messed up so royally how to get there now?
  I just need to know how to move forward now, how can I fix it for my self and my family?  I just want to get along and love eachother.  I do not want to mother my grandson I am too old to raise a baby and I do not want that, I do not even want to be the full time sitter, I am busy, but I want to go to to granparents days at the schools and I want to have him come see us, not to take over, I hever gave any parenting advice to them because I know that hurts and they need to find out what workds and doesnt on their own.  I have said sorry so many times, when will it be enough to move ahead?

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2010, 10:18:31 AM »
Pen, My husband and I have that kind of relationship with my parents (except my father drinks beer) and that was the kind of relationship I envisioned having with my Mil and Fil.  The kind of relationship where it's; equal, comfortable and well, friendly.

I get exactly what you are saying, you are mourning the loss of the adult friendship you expected to have with your son and his wife.   I actually get along quite well with my Fil and probably could have that kind of relationship with him, it's just my Mil is still clinging to her role as a mother of small children.  I understand too as her husband, it's my Fil's role to form a united front with his wife, like you have talked to your son, we have talked to Fil.  If anything he is the one "stuck in the middle" here.

To that end I wonder sometimes why he doesn't just tell her, stop trying to control them, they are adults now?  Maybe he does and she won't listen?  Do you think your Dil will ever come around? I still hope my Mil will.

Offline Pen

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2010, 10:25:27 AM »
Betty, best wishes to you. I feel people should always get a chance for redemption, but I guess it's up to your DS & DIL. I hope you can find the way back to them :)

PS, thank you. I really appreciate your kind, thoughtful assessment and support. You sound like a wonderful DIL! You, too, Laila. The next time the firepit is lit, you all are invited ;)

I don't think our DIL will come around. Her family is pretty enmeshed, very wealthy, and you know the power that can hold. They talk about us disparagingly which doesn't help. I'm gearing up for FGC (very future, none planned yet)...DIL had made it clear we are not worthy to be around them, although DS has assured us he'll make sure we get to see them. Creme has it down, but I'm not there yet.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2010, 11:41:36 AM »
> Well I guess I will start this way, here is what I have wanted in
> a relationship with my son and daughter in law, I have wanted an
> open line of communication where daughter in law can say things
> to me like "I don't think that is a good idea or I do not yet
> feel comfortable with that, or this is the reason I took
> offense."  Instead it is always the same pattern, they leave here
> and my son calls complaining and then it is a three ring circus
> where she won't take my calls or speak to me

It appears that for whatever reason, she doesn't want that, or she doesn't want it right now. Maybe she fears that you'll take what she says badly? Maybe there have been unproductive circular discussions between you in the past? Maybe your son is angry with her if she upsets you and she doesn't want to take the risk? Maybe she's just uncomfortable with conflict?

Whatever the reason, she's made it pretty clear that she simply does not want this to be a discussion between you and her, and I think that you have no choice but to accept that.

So I'd recommend that you accept the information from your son, and try to act on it. If you make changes, making it clear that you do want to hear and act on the issues, then perhaps eventually your DIL will be more willing to discuss these things with you directly.

And I'd recommend not arguing against the boundaries. For example, if your son says that you need to call to ask if it's OK before you come over, don't start with, "What, I have to make an appointment to see my son?" Don't call as you're already driving over. Don't try to circumvent or lawyer the rule.

It should be fine to try to clarify what's expected, in a non-argumentative way. So if your tone isn't argumentative, it should be fine to ask, "Is a few hours' notice OK, like calling in the morning if I'd like to come over in the afternoon? Or should I call a day before, or a few days before?"

If he snaps at you, "Mom, it should be obvious! Why are you always trying to argue?!" try to tell yourself that he's frustrated too, and try not to snap back. Yes, if you're honestly trying to get the information that you need to follow his rule, it's unreasonable of him to snap, but if he's expecting you to try to get out of the rule instead, he may not be able to be receptive yet.

And if you don't get your answer, in this scenario just go with the "few days" rule for a while, and see if the complaint about not calling goes away. If you're not sure, err in the direction of respecting their boundary more than they might be demanding. Once you've demonstrated that you will respect their boundaries, then it might be safer to ask if a less stringent interpretation is OK.

Yes, this all sounds like a horrible hurtful touchy miserable process of endless negotiation. And it will be a long series of blows to your pride and your feelings. But clearly, things have already gotten horrible and hurtful and tangled. So fixing them is going to take a lot of work and compromise.

And I'm afraid that the hurt feelings will have to be aired and eased somewhere else, with someone else, someone that you can trust not to take the information back to your son and his wife. Your son and his wife simply aren't going to be the ones to make you feel better, and letting them see your hurt and resentment at their boundaries is going to make them frustrated and angry and guilty, and more likely to just avoid you.

> to hear me say I am
> sorry and to treat me like I am an adult too just like her. 

She may not be willing to hear apologies. If you have apologized before, but not understood the issue or changed the behavior, the apologies may not have value for her.

I'm not saying that your apologies were insincere, but if _she_ perceived them that way, then she's not going to be willing to hear them.

> If
> we could just talk it out without son I think it could work
> better but she will not do this.  When I try she says she does
> not want to talk about it again.  I can not force anyone to
> communicate when they do not want to.  I wanted a daughter in law
> that could come over anytime to visit with me with or with out
> her husband and baby.  I wanted us to be friends, to have a
> bond.  It seems I have messed up so royally how to get there now?

I wouldn't go for this goal right now. I would make your current goal one of reducing friction, not making friendship.

I realize that this is hard with family. I'm sure that if your DIL were a coworker that you had to get along with, but didn't "click" with, it would be much easier, because the stakes would be lower.

For example, if the coworker made it clear that she didn't want you touching anything on her desk, not even to help her, you'd probably shrug and move on. You wouldn't have a lot of complicated feelings of hurt and fear and wanting to be loved and appreciated by the coworker, because people don't expect their coworkers to love them. They don't seek love, they'd like friendship, but all they really need is civility.

For now, I think that it's best to lower your expectations in this way with your DIL. Don't think about what her actions are signalling in terms of love and family or even friendship. Just try to get along, to respect her preferences in your words and behavior even if you can't yet respect them in your thoughts. I guess I'm suggesting the "fake it until you make it" advice - when you can't feel respect, pretend to feel it, and maybe eventually it will come.

> I just need to know how to move forward now, how can I fix it
> for my self and my family?  I just want to get along and love
> eachother.  I do not want to mother my grandson I am too old to
> raise a baby and I do not want that, I do not even want to be the
> full time sitter, I am busy, but I want to go to to granparents
> days at the schools and I want to have him come see us, not to
> take over, I hever gave any parenting advice to them because I
> know that hurts and they need to find out what workds and doesnt
> on their own.  I have said sorry so many times, when will it be
> enough to move ahead?

Clearly, sorry isn't working. I've mentioned my mother; sorry doesn't do it with my mother any more either, because her behavior never changes.

An apology only counts if you really acknowledge that you were wrong, acknowledge _how_ you were wrong, promise not to do it again, and you don't do it again.

For example, if they ask you not to call before 10am, and you call at 8:30am because you're afraid that they were swept away in the tornado the night before, there are several ways to apologize:

- "I'm _sorrrry_, I didn't _realize_ that the rule applied to natural disasters. I'm a bad, bad person for caring whether my grandchildren are dead or alive. I _said_ I'm sorry, what more can I do?"

- "Oh, dear, I'm so sorry." Followed by doing exactly the same thing after next week's thunderstorm, and then next week to make sure that they know that Obama's giving a speech at 9am, and next week to make sure they got home all right from the concert, and next week...

- "You're right. I was wrong. I told myself that the weather was an excuse, but I was just rationalizing, and not respecting your rule. I know that I've broken this rule so many times that saying I'm sorry doesn't do the job, and the only way to demonstrate that I'm sorry to stop breaking it, permanently." And then you stop breaking it. And after a period that's several times as long as the frequency that you usually broke it, they will hopefully believe that the change is real and permanent.

Again, I know that this will all be a series of blows to your feelings and your pride. But I think that this is the work that you're going to have to do to save this relationship.

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dirtyglassgrl

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2010, 11:54:47 AM »
I think the other poster that said change your goals for now was right, it looks like alot has happened over time that caused hurt and then some resentment on both sides, that's a shame it happened.  Sometimes though unless behaviours and communications change sincerely and drasticly people do not want to hear sorry, actions speak louder than words maybe not tell her you are trying to do better show her.  Maybe not ask for anything from them for a bit, sometimes when I am slightly annoyed by people and they ask for anything even well meaning like a visit it comes off as pushy or demands.  Ease up a bit and go with the flow.  You have tried calling and it did no good so try just chilling out on that for a bit.  Maybe leave your daughter and her hurt feelings out of it for a while too.  I understand any mom hurts when her kids hurt but any issues between the two of them are not up to you and not your problem eventhough you are getting the fall out from it when your daughter complains.  Tell your family you can not "go there" for now, that your own feelings are too fragile right now to deal with their hurts over these issues.

Offline elsieshaye

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Re: forgotton
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2010, 01:26:16 PM »
"I wanted a daughter in law > that could come over anytime to visit with me with or with out > her husband and baby.  I wanted us to be friends, to have a > bond.  It seems I have messed up so royally how to get there now?"

You may never get there, not because you did something wrong, but because your DIL may just not want that kind of relationship with you and may not have a personality that craves that kind of interaction.   That doesn't mean she doesn't care about you, but that she has a different relationship style and expectations of what a MIL/DIL relationship is like.

I'm not the most social person, and I prefer my relationships to grow slowly, and then only with certain people.  It's not that I don't like other people, it's just that I prefer to be a little more reserved.   And, honestly, even with people who are really good friends, I don't drop in at their houses or talk on the phone for a long time (drives my best friend nuts, lol, and she's known me for 27 years!).  I liked my XMIL and XSILs just fine, but I didn't necessarily expect to - or want to - hang out with them and be close friends.  As it happens, I did end up good friends with one XSIL, but not so much with XMIL or the other XSIL, purely as a function of our individual personalities.  If any of them had pushed me,  insisted that we become closer or spend more time together than was comfortable for me, or told me that they were hurt because I wasn't spending enough time with them, I would've felt trampled on and probably stayed away from them even more.

I think a lot about what kind of a MIL I'll be, and I have a feeling that a FDIL's complaints about me will be that I'm too reserved, and not warm enough, because I'm likely to be the person who communicates mostly via email and facebook, doesn't call much, and rarely visits unless specifically invited.  That's just me, and doesn't mean I won't love my DIL or GKs.  I hope that we can come to some kind of understanding about what each of us expects from the other, and how far each of us is comfortable accomodating that expectation. 
This too shall pass.  All is well.