July 11, 2020, 11:28:18 am


"Welcome to WiseWomenUnite.com -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."

Why Can't I Say A Word?

Started by shiny, October 09, 2015, 04:24:04 am

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Luise, been thinking about your response and wondering why when I dialogue with a friend, spouse, etc., there's freedom to make a comment or give my opinion without any repercussions (most of the time).
Yet when I do that with DS/DIL, they get bent out of shape.
And I don't mean giving them unsolicited advice, but simply making a comment or asking a question can set them off.
IOW, walk on eggshells around my AC.
It's difficult to have healthy relationship with someone by doing all the 'listening' w/o being able to make a comment or opinion.
(Just listen, smile, and zip it)
Surely, not all parent/AC relationships are this way? Or is it just mine?


Hi Shiny, I moved your post to your own thread because it's very focused on the need for some parents of adult children to be practically mute.

As on all posts there are a lots of different takes on this issue. My eldest son and his wife took that position with me. He died of a sleep-apnea induced stroke 15 years ago with it still unresolved. He was a wonderful, successful man and would have been 67 on October 19th. If I had said 'good morning', I swear they would have taken exception to it. His wife treated her mother with the same contempt. It was awful to be around them and worse when I wasn't. There wasn't anything I could do or not do because it wasn't about me. The game was to make it about me. My part was to suffer, be confused, try harder and fail. I didn't not know that, of course, and played my part well.

It's called: Finding a Scapegoat. My son blamed me for every issue he had. He would have been beyond perfect if I hadn't messed everything up. The way that worked was he was therefore never responsible for his behavior or the results produced, it was all my fault.

If you go to our Helpful Resources category via the HomePage you will fine some excellent books that explain this game in detail. Entitlement is often listed as a source. Some of us tried too hard to be good parents...to provide, fix, soften and protect. The demands of adulthood can be harsh...maturity isn't left under a pillow by the Tooth Fairy. Who's to blame? Ah, that's easy...who is no longer the tower of protection and wisdom but just a mere mortal?

Each one of us has to figure out how to live with and around this. If we stay we suffer, if we go...ditto. That's the whole point. I pretended everything was OK and made myself as scarce as possible without making a point of it...since nothing I said or did helped.

As I have written here before, my younger son is our Webmaster. He would take a bullet for me in a New York second. His wife feels the same way. He just turned 60 and they live about 40 minutes away. We aren't in each others pockets but they come to see me together and separately out of enjoying hanging out...not out of obligation.

Some things can't be explained...

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Luise, how does one make herself scarce while pretending everything is okay?  Didn't your son and DIL notice you backing away?  Also, referring to your son as a wonderful man after years of scapegoating and estrangement shows an amazing level of enlightenment and forgiveness.  Did stepping away help you to see the admirable traits in your son? 

One thing I wonder...do the DSs, DDs, SILs and DILs who scapegoat their DMs or MILs also do the same with others?  Do they have a problem accepting blame or responsibility as a general rule?  I find that is true of my own DD.  If a friendship hits a snag, it's the other person's fault.  Same with a work confrontation, bad grade in school, financial woes, etc.  So many convenient places to put that blame.  Do scapegoaters attract other scapegoaters? 


QuoteDidn't your son and DIL notice you backing away?

In my case, No.

QuoteDo they have a problem accepting blame or responsibility as a general rule?

In my case, Yes.

The ironic part of this situation is that after a decade or so, I have gotten to the point where I just don't care.  I don't want to "make things right for them"; frankly, our son and Dil (this is the newly married one) seem to be doing just fine.  After all, they have children in college - time for "us" to officially "retire" from parenting.

Last Christmas, the gift my husband and I gave to "us" was to put "us" first.  We had never done that; not even when we were first married (catering to the parents on both sides).  What a lifting of burdens!  Oh - no one else has even noticed.  Surprisingly, everyone seems to be getting along better; of course the "close" family connection is not there (it never was after our son married); but, it is good.  As Shiny said - (Just listen, smile, and zip it).  And one more thing - I sleep really well at nights now.  And as Luise said - Some things can't be explained...


Just thought of something "why can't I say a word?" -

because I want peace and quiet and calmness (even though it might be la-la land).  At my age, I want/need to see the world through "rose coloured glasses" - I deserve it.  And I am smiling as I write this ...


I have one of each, like Luise.

Couldn't say a word or comment with the OS/DIL, but can say what I want with the YS/DIL.

Also, in answer to the other thing.  OS/DIL don't have friends.  OS used to when he was in High School, but DIL ran them all off.  And I'm not saying that out of spite.  His friends would call me and ask me to please do something.  She never really had any close friends.  Her Mother is her only close friend.  Her Maid of Honor at their wedding was a co-worker she had known for two months.

I think her attitude has ran many people off combined with if someone doesn't see things her way or do things her way, she finds people disposable.  I learned a long time ago, if you run off everyone...eventually you will have no one.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell