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Seeking advice on DIL issue

Started by Elise, February 06, 2015, 11:25:12 pm

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It is a long time since I have posted on this site, though I read it regularly still.  After a long period of improvement between my ds and dil and me, I have been able to spend rather a lot of time with them and their beautiful 2 year old daughter at their home.  They moved close to me - 200 miles instead of 1500 miles away last fall. For the most part it has been great and comfortable for all of us I think. The last time I was with them a few weeks ago, an old humidifier in their daughter's room sparked when I turned it on, so I unplugged it. After I finished putting my grand daughter to bed, I mentioned to them the humidifier had a short and I had unplugged it.  They were watching tv and didn't respond and I said nothing else about it.  The next day, when I went to put baby to sleep I found the humidifer plugged in and turned on. My ds had not been home yet so I knew dil had turned it on and left it on.  I did not say anything and left to return to my own home a day later.  DIL did not mention it either.
In retrospect, I think I may have been too abrupt in what I said. I spoke as I normally would to my ds, and now I think I should have mentioned what happened (the humidifier sparked)and let it at that. I'm not comfortable with the passive aggressive way dil responded and am wondering if I should address what happened next time I see dil or just leave it alone.  I am not inclined to talk to my ds about this at all as the non-verbal response  was from dil. Thoughts, advice welcome.


Nice to see you, E. I would leave it alone and consider it a lesson learned. DIL is how she is and that's not going to change in all probability. You can change, that's within you province. To me, your remark was a contribution to them. I don't know what your tone of voice was. You seem to think you were abrupt...stating a simple fact. But it may be wise to do the eggshell thing...that all of us here dislike...including the DILs who have learned to walk on eggshells around their MILs. It' not natural or spontaneous but/and if it keeps the peace, we learn how to do it out of self-preservation. Sending hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Hi Elise! Oh man, those darned eggshells. Yuck. I agree, you should leave it alone and move on. Live and learn.

I'm sorry you are being treated this way. Do something special for yourself!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Thanks Louise and Pen.  Ok the eggshell two step it is. Just needed to confirm my inclination not to address the behavior.


Elise I would go out and buy them a new humidifier and give it to them saying something like "your humidifier shot sparks at me so I got you this one" and leave it at that.  Some people take any comment as criticism, even when we only want to inform them of something.  Makes things difficult but we all do it.  If someone tells us something we already know we tend to get huffy because we think they are saying we are too dumb to figure it out on our own.  Anyhow assuming that they are in a bind and do not have the cash to buy a new one but they do not want your GD to do without seems nicer than assuming that your DIL was having a  passive/aggressive reaction.   

Good luck!!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


SL - what works best for me is to ass-u-me nothing.  In my particular instance, I would never go out and buy another humidifier (they have an extra one not being used which works just fine) They lack nothing materially anyway. I never purchase anything for baby or them without sending an iphone pic to dil for her preapproval and she has told me she appreciates this approach. To do otherwise in my relationship with dil would be presumptuous and maybe even controlling.
Interpreting dil's behavior as passive aggressive was not an assumption, rather a recognition of the disconnect from direct communication. Were it not a safety concern, I would have said nothing at all in the first place.
I am sort of glad this happened as it lets me know there are more eggshells still strewn around than I realized. Although I thought my zipper was working just fine, I will re-examine it for any broken teeth!


Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


E, I think Luise's response sums it up well and would just let sleeping dogs lie!

I, too, sometimes say things that DIL takes in the wrong way, b/c she'll respond with a catty comment.
To keep peace, I ignore it, but then find myself stewing over it for days.

The next time she misinterprets my comment and has a snide remark, I'm going to respond in a kind manner and explain what I meant. And, hopefully she'll do the same!

IOW, both of us could work on communication with each other and not leave assumptions floating around!
After all, my DS has known me for thirty-plus years; she's known me for five -- and not on daily basis.


I agree letting the incident alone is best, Shiny. Thanks for your support and input. What you said about knowing our dils or mils for so many fewer years than we know our own children or parents does account for a lot.  My dil communicates indirectly with me and I prefer direct communication. I  continue to learn her style and how best to interpret what she does and says. It has taken and still takes time and effort to tune into those differences for me. I consider myself lucky in the extreme to have a lot of time with my ds, dear dil and wonderful grandbaby. Along with lots of time come lots of opportunities for miscommunication. Most of the time it is dil, baby and myself alone together as ds is away from home 12-14 hours a day for his job 5 days a week and currently dil is not working. It has become easy to like dil close up because she is a fabulous mother and she makes my ds very happy.  Whatever else, I keep that foremost in my mind.