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Son and DIL estrangement

Started by Leeam41, July 27, 2021, 03:51:38 PM

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My OS has been in a relationship with his partner for 4 years and married for one year. Everything was great between us. I really liked her she was calm, sweet and helpful. She seemed to be a great fit for my son. We let them move into the next door apartment we had for rent and helped them financially every step of the way. I was grateful for our relationship because I know all too well the stigma of the MIL and DIL relationship. When he popped the question I was determined to be the best MIL ever. We would sit outback together and have coffee and she'd show me Pinterest wedding ideas and I'd show her things I found on Amazon. We had a good friendship going. Things began to get rocky in my own marriage. When Covid hit my husband stopped working for the first time in 35 years. We suddenly had a lot of time together to work on everything we pushed down while raising kids. Then my father passed away from Covid. My husband experienced an acute psychotic episode for the first time in his life. It ended up being a combination of stress, huge life change with not working, my dad's death and funeral all hitting at once and to top it all off, we learned he might have bladder cancer. Meds interacted and pushed it over the edge. He was not making sense and having mild hallucinations and vision changes. My DIL and OS were concerned about the wedding. They didn't want to postpone it or ruin it even though we were in a pandemic and still recovering from everything else. I never asked them to but I admit I thought given the situation they would consider it. Things began to stabilize and my husband was no longer having symptoms although he was understandably beat down. We pushed through and tried to be what my son needed.
I noticed a change in my DIL shortly after things were calming down during the final wedding plans. They decided to undo our roles in the wedding prep and Her family wanted to handle everything for it and have it at their house. I said please let us pitch in but they refused help. When I gave my son a few addresses for our family members to be invited he said he would have to ask if there was room for any extra people since her parents were covering it. I was stunned. I was able to get approval for an aunt and cousin to attend. Little things happened throughout the week leading up to the wedding day and the day of that hurt my feelings but I let it go. My son was happy and he deserved a drama free day. She seemed ok after the wedding and 2 weeks later she surprised me with a positive pregnancy test and I was shocked, a little scared, but mostly thrilled at the thought of being a grandma and having a little one around for holidays and family time.
Through the pregnancy my DIL was very sick. My son worked long hours and they were grateful I was right next door if she needed anything. I would bring her healthy soup, jello and flowers. I paid for things so they could start a nest egg. I was happy to help and they were grateful for it. As the pregnancy progressed she grew more distant and seemed cold. When I'd invite them for dinner or something my DS would come over without her and always assured me that it was the pregnancy being difficult and she was too tired. I believed him. I know how hard it can be I've been there. The closer it got to delivery day the more distant and cold they both became. They were stressed and anxious about everything. My DS had a talk with me and expressed that my house wasn't clean enough and they wanted it deep cleaned before the baby came. I was hurt but I understand new parents can be overprotective and I just wanted to have time with my grandbaby so I did my best to get it in shape. Plans were made with her family for the day after they came home from the hospital. Her whole family was invited and they spent the whole day together. My husband and I were told we can see the baby for a few minutes when they get home but they need to rest so it'll be a quick peek. I was shocked. I didn't want to cause an issue so I said how about you guys get rest and we can spend some time with you guys tomorrow. They agreed. The visit went well and I was in love immediately.she was the most beautiful baby. She has my chin. I was beyond happy. My husband and I began buying toys and books for our anticipated visits and read everything on how to be a good grandparent and how to respect the DIL. We didn't see them much and I tried to give them space. I offered to bring laundry to my house, cook dinner, clean, sit with baby so she could shower or nap etc. Everything was refused. My son was overwhelmed. After his  2 week parental leave he was back to working 10hr shifts and my DIL was exhibiting signs of postpartum depression. She was in the house with the baby and curtains drawn all day every day. They slept. The baby was up all night and my son was exhausted getting up at 5am for his long work day. He would come home and get the house cleaned and cook dinner and then collapse and do it all again. I was watching him endure so much stress and not taking care of himself. He refused to let me help with anything. Then they started staying at her mom's house and said it was because she needs help during the day. I understand that she is more comfortable with her mom. I was glad they were taking support from someone, didn't matter who. Easter Sunday was approaching and DS told me that they were spending it with her family and we should just plan to float holidays for our family to the following weekend because she has a bigger family and it's more of an event at their house. I was hurt. I felt like we were the substandard family they were obligated to see around holidays. I let my son know I was hurt but ultimately grateful for any time I could get so we agreed to do Easter and every other holiday the weekend after to accommodate them. The day was fun and we tie dyed shirts and grilled food. My DIL was clearly unhappy. I tried to sit and talk to her and got short answers in monotone. Again I assumed she's tired and not to take it personally. Ultimately it was a good day. That  following week I didn't hear from them until the AC broke in their apartment and they went back to her mom's. We asked them when we could have access to the apartment to put in new AC and they weren't sure stating they were very busy. My husband, feeling odd that we didn't have a key to begin with, texted DS and asked him to drop off keys and we can handle it for them. He refused saying they aren't comfortable with anyone being there when they are not home. I was angry. We were being disrespected and I was not going to let it slide. I let him know I thought it was absurd but if that's what he feels then we will respect it. DIL then proceeded to complain to others that we still hadn't fixed their AC and they were "forced" to stay at her parents because of it. I was shocked again. Then 3 days before mother's day I get the call. My son proceeds to tell me a list of things my husband and I have done that have made DIL uncomfortable. He said they were pretending to be okay with us but really my husband's ordeal a year prior has affected her too much she can't be okay with him ever again.  He said it was  the hardest thing he's ever done but he has to cut my husband out of our family plans because DIL doesn't feel safe. It didn't even sound like him.  He wouldn't explain further. I told him I was not going to tell my husband, the man who raised my son with me since Kindergarten and was not a threat whatsoever, that he wasn't welcome around holidays because she was not comfortable. I pointed out that we've had a year of gatherings and interactions that have been totally fine and the situation is not ongoing. I suggested family therapy. He said he would try to work it out and convince her to  try therapy with us. He said he would still come see me on mother's day. I messaged him the next morning and told him I was hurt and had a hard night. I was up thinking about everything and feeling so confused. I had more questions and he never replied.  Then mother's day came and went no call or text. A few days later I get a note in my mailbox with keys telling me they moved out and not to contact them. That I hurt them and he will do anything to keep his new family from an uncomfortable situation. Shocked again. They left my DILs broken down car on our property and left me with an $800 electric bill. It's been 4 months and my son won't speak to me. My grandbaby doesn't know me and she's growing rapidly. I missing it all. First smiles words and steps. They led me to believe I was going to be an involved grandma. I don't believe this is happening. I sent him a father's day card and gift telling him we love and miss him and still nothing. Her car is still here and I can't even get her parents to reply or return our call about their daughters abandoned property. I'm so hurt. I cry every day. I don't know how this happened. It just looks like she's insecure and controlling only wanting her family involved. She's slowly taking everything away from him. He doesn't have any of his family or friends anymore to be in his corner and now I heard from his brother ,my other son, who works with him that he's thinking of leaving the job he loves and going to work at her father's company. It seems like she's isolating and brainwashing him. I don't know what to do. I'm supposed to mind my business let him be a grown up but I'm afraid for his mental health and I'm essentially allowing these grown people to use and discard me and keep my grandbaby away from us behaving like kids. I'm not sure how to handle it. I want my grandbaby to know I didn't give up on her. I don't want her to think she wasn't important enough to fight for. All I want is an hour a month. An occasional picture. I can't believe this happened. I'm devastated.


Hi L!  I am glad you found us!  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 for you. We are a monitored Website.

It took 10 years and an arrest before my DS came to his senses.  So many occasions lost and so many times that I resented the other parents for having all of that contact with my (eventually) two grands.  If you look at my posts through the years you will see the ways I tried to fix things and the times I tried to get my DS to wake up.  I tried using guilt on him to get him to contact me.  I tried everything!!  Nothing worked.  I finally gave up.  I had to use my mantras every day.  You are more than welcome to use them if they help you:

1) No news is good news
2) Not my circus, not my monkeys
3) What I focus on expands

The first one is the one I used to say whenever anyone asked me how my DS was doing.

The second one was the one I used whenever someone told me what my DS was currently doing (like your other son who told you your DS was thinking of going to work with his in laws).

And lastly the third (and most important) one.  I used this one whenever my mind peeked over the edge of what I now refer to as "the abyss".  The abyss is that spiraling thought process where I would wonder what I could do to make things better, think about the things I had already unsuccessfully tried, how could I do it differently, why that wouldn't work, how my DS must hate me to allow me to be hurt this way, what could I do to make it better.....round and around and around.  I never got anywhere with that thinking, I only got more depressed.  I eventually learned to think of happy things to pry my mind away from the abyss and avoid the depressions.

So it went until I finally reached the point where I knew that I had to stop.  I stopped asking, pleading, cajoling, calling, texting, communicating.  Sometimes I think about it like he was in a room with multiple doors all leading to someone.  He could open any door he wanted but every time he opened mine (where I was waiting and knocking) I hit him with complaints.  Who would want to open THAT door? 

It took him a long time to realize that I was no longer knocking but eventually he opened the door on his own.  I did my best to tell him about all the fun stuff my DH and I had been doing (camping, canoeing, hiking, visiting friends etc.) and not complain about anything.  He started getting in touch more but we never got back to where we were and we never will.  We have both changed.  He had his lessons to learn and I had mine.  Until this happened to him (my eldest) I never really treated him like an adult.  I was always trying to do things to help him and by helping him I was actually keeping him dependent.  That is something I have learned to avoid with my younger son.  He has to ask for my help before I give it to him.  So what have I learned?  I have learned that some of life's lessons are horribly painful.  Hopefully life will not present me with another that is more difficult than this one was.

As for your situation, I would contact my DS by what ever means I had, and give him a deadline on how long his car can stay there (certified letter in case they try to take you to court?) and at the end of that period I believe you can change the title to your name and sell it as your vehicle because it has been abandoned on your property.  Check with the government office that titles autos in your county or state to find out exactly how to do that.  Re-rent the apartment and be ready to praise your new tenants when your DS calls.  Get busy doing fun things that you can talk about to him if/or when he calls.  Be sure your DH is involved so you can talk about how much fun the two of you are having but mostly go out there and have some fun!!

We dedicate our lives to our children while they are growing up and once they are gone we feel like failures if we are not a constant figure in their lives.  Why is that?  If we do our job as parents properly then our children no longer need us.  It is our time now.  We deserve to have some fun!

Good luck!  HUGS!!!!

PS.....watch what you wish for, my DS and my two wonderful grands moved in with us this year.  The emotional problems that the two grands have are proving to be real challenges.  My DH is walking around saying "What golden years?"  Like I say..... "Life.....never exactly what you expected!"
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


Thank you for your help.

Since my post I've sent a few gifts for the baby and the car was picked up by a tow truck while we were sleeping. I've still heard nothing from any of them.

He quit his job and is now working with her family just as I predicted. I think he's being manipulated and isolated by her. His last connection to our family was his biweekly fishing with his brother and that has stopped too.
He is now only involved with her and her circle of people who support her narrative.
I rented the apartment to his friend that has been close to our family since grade school. Through his social media he showed me posts from her themed with only wanting to be with her baby and husband 24/7 and how much she's disappointed in the friends that encourage them to hang out.
It's obvious what she's doing is coercive control.

I'm going to take your advice and focus on me and my family that is around me.
I'll continue to send cards and gifts.

Thank you for your time and response.