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Son and DIL don't talk to me

Started by cathybeth, March 14, 2017, 10:57:50 am

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March 14, 2017, 10:57:50 am Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 11:34:04 am by luise.volta
As I sit here alone -- visiting my son and DIL on the west coast, I remain befuddled by how they seem to be so angry at me all of the time.  Everything I do is wrong -- if I don't help with the dishes that is wrong -- if I help with the dishes I let the water run too much.  I never get a thank-you when I help.  Making matters worse, they simply ignore me.  When I try to start a conversation I get a 1-word answer. Over the weekend they had work to do -- and I get that -- but they worked all day and were silent.  I never looked at my phone quite so much in my life.  When I finally gave up and went to my room (after about 6 hours of this...) they moved from their computers and were walking around talking.  They make me feel less than worthless.  Darned if I do, darned if I don't.  Luckily I am leaving tomorrow -- and I am pretty sure I will never come back and stay with them.  My DIL has succeeded in shutting me out completely and my son is not off the hook either.  Sure -- we had a great relationship pre-marriage, but that time is gone, never to return.  Feeling sad and abandoned and I can't figure out what on earth I could have done to deserve this... :(   Support or advice is greatly appreciated...


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My take is that you haven't done anything wrong. You can't make sense out of the senseless and you also can't fix a situation you didn't create. What you describe is not just disrespectful and rude...it is abuse. Hugs to you, C., you deserve better and you are the one who is in charge of that! Find it elsewhere!
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Hi and welcome, C.
I'm sorry your visit went so poorly.  I've experienced a similar emotional distance interacting with my DIL and DS--it's frustrating and painful when it doesn't make sense and you can't do anything about it! 

There were a lot of ups and downs in raising my DS, but we were always able to work out our differences in the past.  That is no longer the case; communication progressively broke down, and any relationship between us that DIL had begrudged in the past is now no longer possible.  I hung in for quite awhile, hoping for things to change, but they only grew worse.  It felt good once I stopped hitting my head against a brick wall--it had started to take a toll on my emotional and physical health. 

I know you will find understanding from the WW here. 


Oh CB I was where you are!!  I did not leave there until I finally realized that the relationship I wanted was unattainable.  My DS had moved into another phase of life and I would not ever see that person I longed to see.  The adult in front of me was the only one I would ever see.  And to top it all off I really did not enjoy being around him.  It was more like a torture test than a visit.  I sometimes thought that they looked for ways to hurt my feelings.  Anyway once I backed off and stopped trying to be friends or to share their life, my life improved.  I started spending my efforts on planning things that made me happy and things turned around.

I sometimes think it is like they lived in a house with many doors and I was behind one.  I was constantly knocking on the door wanting to be let in.  If I was ever quiet and they came over to check the door I was always standing there waiting to come in.  Anyway when I stopped waiting at the door and started living my life and enjoying it they started coming around.  I will never have the same relationship I had with my DS before he married but then we all change as we mature and my relationship with him is improving and getting to know my DS as an adult makes me happy.

To wrap up I guess my advice to you is to stop going out of your way to be uncomfortable.  I would not make plans to visit my DS for a year or two and when I did decide to visit I would stay in a hotel and I would invite the grands to go on trips with me.  You could take them to the movies or a museum or a nature walk close to home or perhaps to a sporting event.  I would ask the parents if they want to go but I would be unconcerned with their attendance since my visit would be geared more toward getting to know my grands.  I would ask the entire family out for dinner one night.  I would make it absolutely obvious that I was only tangentially interested in the parents.  Maybe they will worry that your will might skip over them entirely.....it is not totally out of the question, is it?
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


Thanks so very much for the words of support.  I had never really thought in terms of abuse -- but you are right Luise.  sometimes it takes an objective view.  So I ended my trip and returned home as schedduled -- and I am so glad to be home! I  did have the strength to end on a positive note -- as I bit my tongue.  As I would for  anyone who provideed lodging, I got flowers for my son and DIL and put them in a VERY obvious place.  My son returned to their home and said, "Oh  are these from you?  Nice."  So that was gratifying.  When my DIL returned she walked by  them several times, even stood there with them just about in her face -- said nothing.  I said nothing.  At dinner, my son said, "Did you see the flowers?" DIL said "Yeah."  Son said, "They are from my  mom" and DIL said, "Oh."  I said NOTHING -- all I know is that she is incredibly rude.  With courage from your support I just let it go -- and I am never staying there again.  Next trip I will follow your advice and stay elsewhere.  I just have to remember that I am doing that for ME -- as that feeling of "she wins" tends to sneak into my mind.  I guess I have to learn not to think of it that way... It is hard. Anyway -- thanks so much for all your comments and support! It is greatly appreciated...


Well done! Mini-steps at first...for me it was two forward and one back for a while but there's light at the end of the tunnel...and a life! Hugs! :)
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama