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Abusive DIL :(

Started by SunnyD, March 12, 2018, 12:42:49 PM

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My Son came home for Christmas with his new wife and her darling 3 year old child for the first time. We had never met his new wife, but were thrilled to meet them. Untilll she got here...
She ignored us, gave us the silent treatment, broke things in our house, hit her daughter, pinched her daughter, stated a fight with our son, screamed,   And stormed out on Christmas Day, threatening my son with divorce.
And he followed her! ?
Since then, he says everything is fine and that he was embarrassed by her actions but she is a great person.  He has lied to us, will barely contact us, and of course she has made no contact with us.  We are worried and heartbroken. I don't know what to do to connect with our son to support him with an obviously very abusive woman.. and still state that we will do not accept abusive or cruel people in our life?
Thank you for this wonderful and supportive website! I've read so many heartfelt stories already.
I'm just not sure when it comes to a person abusing a man and her own child/ not our blood GC, but she was so sweet and I can barely handle the thought of this child being hurt! Let alone accept that my son is a part of it?!
Thank you!


Hi SunnyD,
Welcome to WWU!  We ask all new members to go the our HomePage and under Open Me First, to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to make sure WWU is a fit. We're a monitored Website.

My heart goes out to you.  I've faced a young adult daughter who was in an abusive relationship, and once we found out what was going on, we made a decision to stop seeing him or even hearing any more about him.  I told my daughter that I couldn't continue to give a free pass to someone who had made her life so difficult.  She didn't like it, but she eventually decided she did want a relationship with us.  There was always that "elephant in the room" when we were together with her, but our overall existence (mine and my husband's) was much more peaceful without knowing the drama that continued for four long years till she finally left him.  As much as we desperately wanted her to leave him, she had to do it in her own time.  There were lessons she had to learn, and she finally did.  She became strong and even called the police, later getting a restraining order when she was ready to make the final break. 

There was a lot of tumultuousness in her relationship with him, and it impacted her relationship with us, too.  She had a  certain amount of loyalty to him and kept trying to "save" him, so sometimes we became the bad guys, so to speak.  But we were firm about our boundaries.  We made it clear that we were not going to see him or hear about him again, that his behavior was unacceptable, and her choices were not going to affect our lives. 

Your situation differs from mine in regard to your DIL's young child.  If I were in your shoes, I would let your son know about your concerns about DIL's abusive behavior (throwing and breaking things counts) and that as an adult, he has a responsibility to keep his stepdaughter safe no matter what.  No child deserves to be afraid or maltreated in their own home.

If your son distances himself from you, know that he is probably trying to figure things out.  She may be trying to manipulate him against you.  It has nothing to do with you.  My husband and I had to continually focus on ourselves and go on with our own lives, concentrating on enjoying ourselves and being with others who supported us and brought us joy. 

All the best to you.   


Thank you so much Bamboo2,

I appreciate the insight, the caring words, and even some hope.
I think I will seek out some counseling as there is such depression, worry, and grief- for the past few months. I absolutely agree with you that we will have to move forward with our lives and pray he will seek some help too.

The little girl has since moved in with her Bio Dad, and is in a safe home.

But I realizing more and more that DIL   
Is isolating my son more and more and it sure feels helpless to watch him travel this road.
But, I agree with you and appreciate your wise words - of telling him we will not be apart of such things- but that we will be here for him when he needs us.
Again.. thank you!


Welcome, S. I, too, had to learn that my eldest son's adulthood was his path and his decisions were his lessons. None of what transpired fit my very simple, garden-variety expectations. I got stuck for much too long in trying to fix it and in self-pity because it wasn't mine to fix. Counseling sounds like a very wise choice for you. I think I would have benefited from that. We are all here for you. Hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Thank you luise.volta - I really appreciate the support and thoughts. I too have been wasting so much time thinking I can "fix" this.  I don't know why I think I should be the one fixing this when, it was the DIL who should be fixing things and repairing the relationships.  I still feel this heavy grief of the loss and the brokenness of our family - my youngest son, has been so devastated that is older brother hasn't even called home....
It is all such a shame!  I read that my mothers on here, say the same things - like - " we just don't understand , we love them, came from a good family, nice childhood.... ..." 
So, I think part of this process for me, is just not understanding why someone would be so cruel and deny a loving family.
I suppose that will take time to let go of as well. ...

Can anyone make some suggestions of things you did to learn to "let go"? 
thanks again!


     I think we took on the role of the fixer from the time our children were born, cried and we nursed them. Their survival depended on it/us. It was so hard for me to get that as an emerging adult, my eldest son's choices were his lessons. He chose a wife that brought chaos to his life and he did his best to be loyal to her and it wasn't my job to make sense of the senseless or attempt to interfere/fix.
     It felt like it was about me because it changed my life. I found it terribly hard to get that my biological job was done and 'the ball was in his court.' What I had to learn was to focus elsewhere and take my life back. For me, it was a slow and painful process.
     However, healing can be like that...and I am whole again.

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


Hi SunnyD!  I am so sorry that you need this site!  I remember when I found it and how I felt, suddenly not alone.  Fortunately for me I had been through some really bad times in my marriage.  I know that is a weird sentence but my previous emotional roller coaster left me with more tools than most to deal with my DS's choice of spouse.  I learned during my marital distress that it was wrong for me to trust my happiness to someone other than me.  It was not my DH's job to "make me happy" it was mine.  I started planning things for the weekends when he would go out of town "with the boys" and leave me home with the children.  It got to the point where I was asking him when he was going so that I could plan a camping trip with the kids.  This went on for a few trips and then my DH decided that he wanted to go camping with us instead of going out of town with the boys.  After all when he got back he had to hear stories from the kids about how much fun we had.  It really worked well for me and my marriage is stronger than ever now and it changed me from the whiny wife to an independent and fun filled spouse. 

So how did I use this knowledge when my DS picked his now diagnosed bipolar wife?  After I spent way too long trying to fix things (like we all do) I found this site and the wonderful wise women here helped me remember what I learned earlier.  They told me that I deserved better and saved me!  I started planning things that my DH and I enjoyed for the times that I formerly would have spent moping about my DS ignoring us.  We went canoeing, took long walks, planned weekend get-a ways camping, whatever we could do to keep what I now call 'the abyss' at bay.  The big thing is to realize that you deserve a happy life!  You did a great job raising your eldest and your youngest deserves to have a happy Mom!  We took our youngest on a white water rafting trip.  We scored big with him and I am pretty sure that his elder brother is at least a little jealous.

At any rate, my youngest no longer resents his elder brother's lack of contact and my DH and I are enjoying life again.  My eldest is showing up at our house more often, bringing the grands and I am enjoying the visits.  He leaves DIL at home and that suits everyone.  They still spend much more time with my DIL's FOO and to be honest it hurts a little when my grands mention it but I just don't "rent it room in my mind", I prefer to lease that space to happy thoughts.  If you have read many of my posts you know that I believe that 'what you focus on expands' and I am spending my energy expanding the things that make me happy.  I hope this helps!

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

Frustrated Oma

March 16, 2018, 09:36:18 PM #7 Last Edit: March 16, 2018, 09:52:50 PM by luise.volta
Dear Sunny D,

I am also new to this site as I have recently been through this situation with my DS and DIL.  They recently had their first child and my first grandchild.  There is a long story behind the issues but it all comes down to my DIL doesn't want my family in their lives.  I have recently just pulled myself out of what these ladies call "the abyss"  deep depression and heartache over what I feel is my DS betrayal and also trying to figure out why someone who supposedly loves my son would keep him from his family.  As well as keep her child from their loving grandparents.  I too went to counseling to try to work through the pain.  My therapist told me to continue inviting them to family functions, sending cards and gifts even though I am always turned down and never thanked.  She tells that my son will be grateful and will know in his heart that his mother is will love him no matter what.  So this is what I have continued to do although many times I ask myself if this is all worth it.  But I pull myself back up and continue forward.  The ladies here have advised me to focus on my husband and our life together. This is what I am trying to do.  Some days are harder than others but I just have to keep my thoughts away from the situation otherwise I sink fast.  I can only hope that one day my DS realizes that his family needs him.  I will keep you in my thoughts.  I truly know your pain.


She tells that my son will be grateful and will know in his heart that his mother is will love him no matter what.  So this is what I have continued to do although many times I ask myself if this is all worth it

Yes, it is worth it.  I have lived this - many years before I realized how important it was to "be there" (although invisibly).  Often, we just have to "suck it up"'and take the high road.  It will never be the same, but it can be good again.  Keep believing ....


Thank you for all the responses! I appreciate the hope Stilllearning and jdtm! and Frustrated Oma, hello my fellow newbie!
I am still in shock, but so incredibly thankful to have found other women in similar situations with shared stores and advice. 

I do have to admit, right now, I don't understand  "suck it up and take the high road"?  What exactly is the high road with an abusive person?
This was the first time we met her, so if she is emotionally abusive, verbally attacking people, breaking things,  threatening divorce and storming out on Christmas day to her husband, child and his family,  then I am terrified she is capable of much more!   I truly want no part of someone like that nor do I want to put me, my DH or youngest DS in harm's way, so how am I to be connected to our DS, without accepting her?    I will always continue reaching out to my DS,  with great hope that he knows deep down that we are here to support and help him.  I imagine he feels very shamed that his wife is abusive  :(    and probably one of the main reasons he is not responding to us now.
I will keep believing JDTM! I surely will believe, hope, and pray that he will be safe!
All my thoughts are with all of you Wonderful Wise Women!


April 15, 2018, 06:54:01 AM #10 Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 10:08:42 PM by Bamboo2
Sounds like a challenge. It must be hard on your son living 24/7 with that. I'm not sure you can do except be true to yourself, say what you think and accept what may come out of it. That's what I would have done, anyway.


Welcome, Z. We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Open Me First, to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit. We're a monitored Website.

If the User Name you have chosen is your own, please find one that offers more anonymity. Also we don't give advice or try to guess how we would have handled a situation, since we simply don't know. It is our experience that others hope to learn from, both our triumphs and our failures.

Our archives hold a wealth of sharing and caring to help you get acquainted here and when you are ready please let us know what is going on with you. Hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama