April 16, 2024, 11:16:49 PM


"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."

Show posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Stilllearning

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: Daughter in law
November 04, 2022, 08:02:27 AM
Hi L!  Glad to see you back. I know it is not what you want to hear but most DILs don't like us MILs at first and some never warm up to us regardless of how hard we try to get them to like us.  My DIL didn't like me until she and my DS separated and they were married for 10 years.  The point is that although she is currently your DIL he will always be your son.  Your job, at this point, is to enjoy your life.  Go have some fun!  It is difficult to do, I know!!!  Here is how I managed it.

First I adopted my three mantras:
1)  What I focus on expands (So every time I thought of the things that made me unhappy I would force my mind to more pleasant things)
2)  Not my circus, not my monkeys (To remind myself that I could not change my DS's situation so I might as well use option 1 above)
3)  No news is good news (To reassure myself that everything in my DS's life was OK and also what I would reply to people who asked how he was)

When my mind wandered to what I now call "the abyss" (You know, that spiraling thought process where I ended up more and more depressed) I would pull out my mantras and say them to myself as many times as I needed to until my mind could focus on something I enjoyed.  I planned camping trips, figured out menus, made grocery lists, walked in the woods, whatever would occupy my mind in a cheerful way.  My DH and I planned all sorts of camping trips (they don't cost tons of cash) and we went out and had a blast.  Then when we called to talk to my DS I was no longer asking him questions about his life, I was telling him how much fun we were having!  Suddenly I was not a call to be avoided but one to enjoy, for both of us.

I didn't try to talk to my DIL.  As a matter of fact there was a point right after the separation when my DIL hated the sight of me so much that she would meet my DS at the end of the street to avoid me.  She has since found a wonderful therapist who has helped her to see things in a different light.  The changes in her are amazing and I am sure her life is better for it.  I am actually proud of her, which is astounding if you know where I was before.  You can read all of my posts on this forum if you want to know the rest.  It gets rather repetitive so I can certainly understand avoiding it.  Trust me, it was far worse to live it!

Hello, A, and welcome to WWU!  We ask all new members to go to the Home Page and read the posts under Read Me First.  Please pay particular attention to our Forum Agreement to be sure that WWU is a good fit for you.  We are a monitored website.  Also you need to change your screen name to something more anonymous, Luise is the only one who uses her real name.

I was exactly where you are a few years ago.  Every holiday I would tell myself that I was fine but the whole time I was thinking about how I deserved to be treated better than I was being treated.  I barely saw my DS and his wife and my grand kids because I would be cooking all day and they would take a nap after the meal.  I would smile fake smiles and try to act happy so that I would not ruin everyone's holiday.  I worked my buns off trying to make the day happy for every one else.  Then one year my DH suggested that since the weather was going to be incredible for Thanksgiving day but it was going to really stink the day after why didn't we go canoeing on Thanksgiving day and cook the meal the day after?  Such a wonderfully innocent suggestion but it made me really think about holidays.  We put so much pressure on the holidays.  Thanks to the movies and shows we see we think that everything HAS to be perfect for the day.  We think that if we are not surrounded by our loving families that we must have failed in life.  What a load of poppycock!  So now I move the holidays around to suit my schedule.  My DS and his two girls live with me now but the girls are going to be with their other parent (who decided that she was a he) for Christmas.  I am starting to plan what the three of us (DH, DS and me) can do during the time that the girls are gone.  We are really enjoying planning!

So my advice to you is to plan something wonderful for yourself.  Every time your mind wanders back to that horrible thought about how awful you are being treated pull out your plans and think about how much fun you are going to have.  If you have read much here then you have probably seen my mantras but here is one of my favorites....

What you focus on expands

Focus on your own happiness for a change, let's expand that!

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: Son-n-law
August 22, 2021, 06:47:55 AM
Hello S!!  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.

I am so sorry that you are in such an untenable situation!  The problem for me was that I had to wait for my DS to make the decision to get out of his abusive marriage (it was emotional abuse but abuse just the same).  I am not sure how I would have handled it if it had been physical but I know that you should not have to put up with abuse.  The hardest part for me was pulling back and letting my DS learn his own lessons.  It hurt to be so distant from him and my grands and it hurt even more when I checked on Facebook and found out how much time the other grandparents got.  I spent 10 years watching from the sidelines and trying my best NOT to think about it.  This year he finally left her and I am loving getting to know my DS and his two daughters finally!!

Stand up for your rights!  You have the right to be treated civilly especially in your own home!  Hang in there!


Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: SIL Trucker
August 04, 2021, 01:27:57 AM
Hi T!!  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.

That male ego is something, isn't it?  He is hurt by the knowledge that his wife (your DD) is smarter than he is.  That is a hard cookie for him to swallow.  It does sound like he is taking out his insecurities on you and your DD.  That, of course, is neither here nor there and there is no way for you to "fix" it the same way that there was no way to "fix" my DS's marriage to an emotionally abusive spouse.  Many of us have had to pull back and have suffered the same heart wrenching sadness that you are enduring now.  It really stinks and it is totally unfair but I couldn't find any way to avoid it.

I finally came to the realization that I deserved better.  I have done my job and raised my children and now is my time to enjoy life.  It took time but eventually I learned how to pull my mind back from the swirling and hopeless thoughts that would pull me into the massive depression that consumed my every second (I now call that 'the abyss').  You can learn how to also.  My three mantras are on many posts and I am sure people are tired of hearing them so I will not repeat them here.  If you read very many posts I am sure you will have read them.  You deserve to enjoy your life.  Your DD's lessons are her own to learn and it is not your job to insulate her from those lessons.  She will find her own way.  Good luck!!

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!"
Oh R, how sad that you are in this situation!  I have no idea what I would do.  I would want to help my DS so much but perhaps it is time for him to learn some hard life lessons?   Is there some way you can help him get a job?  Maybe you could help him make a resume?  Send him a list of people around you who are hiring.  There are lots of folks around here who are hiring.  Good luck!!

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Abusive DS
June 22, 2021, 05:29:54 AM
Hi D!!  We are glad that 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.

I am so sorry that this has happened to you!  We try our best to insulate our children from the horrors of abuse.  Often times they see the abuse through childlike eyes and make assumptions with their very young brains that are completely incomprehensible to us as adults.  We cannot  change their minds no matter how hard we try or how reasonable we are.

It really sounds like you know exactly what we are going to say.  You deserve better than you are getting.  Your DS has his own life lessons to learn and anything you do to try to help him will only interfere with the lessons he has to learn.  You and your DDs should have the opportunity to enjoy your lives.  So go out there and enjoy!!

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: Dil
May 29, 2021, 12:14:06 PM
Welcome L!  We are 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.

OK, I admit that I am a little confused.  How is your DIL supposed to put you first when her parents are in town?  What should she say to her visiting parents to get away from them?  Isn't she is just being a good hostess by not abandoning her guests?
Welcome G!   We are glad you found us.  Please check out the forum agreement under "Open Me First" on the home page to be sure we are a good fit for you.  We are a monitored site.

Wow!  What a horrible thing to have happen to you!  Staying busy is a great way to handle it.  I would just add one caveat to your conclusion.  You should try to stay busy doing fun things.   You did your best and now it is time for you to enjoy life.  I am not saying that you should "get over this", I am saying that you should stop thinking about it.  Deliberately force your mind to think of something else.  I used to plan camping trips and menus and make lists for the trips.  Whatever will make you stop thinking about your DS and your grands.  Your life will improve if you can take your mind off of your troubles and focus on your joys.  I try to live in an attitude of gratitude and all of us have something to be great-full for as long as we are on this side of the grass!

I hope that this will eventually work its way out but until then please find a way to enjoy your life.  Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a hospital.  Have some fun!  Hugs!!!

PS....I edited your post because we do not allow religion on the site.  Also you should probably change your name to something less identifiable and more anonymous.  Only the founder of the site uses her real name.  It makes us feel more free to share.  Hugs again!!
Welcome F! 
We are glad you found us.  Please check out the forum agreement under "Open Me First" on the home page to be sure we are a good fit for you.  We are a monitored site.

Reading (and rereading) your post makes me think you know what you need but you, like most of us, are having a difficult time taking that step.  You know that your relationship with your DD is toxic and detrimental to both your health and your emotional well being.  We spend our lives trying to cushion our children from the cruelties of life but in some cases, like ours, we find out that trying to continue running interference actually hurts us and the effort is resented by our offspring.  That is when I decided that life was taking over as my adult child's teacher.  Life doesn't give second chances or do overs very often.  Your DD has her own lessons in life to learn, on her own time with her own repercussions and there is no way you can change what she has to learn no matter how hard you try.  I am so sorry that you have to go through this and I truly cannot tell you if your DD will ever see the light and straighten up. 

Your job of teaching your DD is over and now is the time for you to focus on yourself.  I know that money is tight but that does not mean that you cannot enjoy life.  Remember that what you focus on expands so keep you mind on things that make you happy.  I went to work for a day care center.  It was like being paid to be a grandma!  The kids loved to see me and I totally loved seeing them and interacting with them and I was getting paid to boot!  The pandemic stopped that because of my age (a little older than you but not much!) and now my grands from my DS have moved in with me so I don't get paid for being a grandma anymore but since this DS is the one who was the reason for me joining this website........well I guess it is all working out in the long run (10 years later!). 

Still the thing to remember is that you did the very best that you could with your children and now is the time to focus on yourself. 


By the way if your DH did not put your name on the accounts he charged up then I believe that you are not legally responsible for repaying them.  You should check with a lawyer or one of those free legal clinics.  Might save you thousands.  Also you might consider changing your screen name to something less identifiable.  Only the lady who started this site, Luise, is allowed to use her actual name.  Thanks!
Hi IMC!!  Since you are giving your younger daughter her choice of whether to attend or not I am assuming that she is a young adult and not a teenager.  If I am wrong please forgive me. 

There was a time in my marriage when my DH would leave me about twice a year for a weekend (sometimes longer) and go on a 'guys trip' with his buddies.  I was left at home with our two children to deal with everything while he went off and had fun.  I was happy for him to go once or twice but over the years resentment built up because I never got a 'girls trip'.  When I brought up the fact that I never got to go on a 'girls trip' he would say "go ahead, have fun!" but the truth was I didn't want to go on a girls trip.  I wanted a family trip or a get away with just my hubbie.  Actually what I wanted was for him to WANT to stay at home with us instead of going at all.  The more I thought about it the more I resented it and the more my resentment affected our marriage.  It got to the point where I would just seethe the whole time he was gone.  I did the only thing I could think of to do......I asked my sister what to do.  She is brilliant with things like this and she proved her brilliance once again with this advice!

She told me to plan something that would be fun for me and my two children while my DH was gone.  I found out the dates of their 'trip' and planned a camping trip to coincide with those dates.  I don't know if you camp or not but the planning that goes into the trip is extensive and takes days to get everything properly set up.  My sons and I talked about our upcoming trip all the time.  We got the equipment out, set the tent up to air out, talked about our menus, bought food together and, well you get the idea.  We had a great time!!  When my DH got back we reveled him with stories of our adventures!  Shortly after that I started bugging my DH about the dates for his next 'trip' and we did the same thing again!  It was awesome!  It only took two trips for him to start begging off of the 'guy trips' and joining in on the family camping trips.  We built a wonderful cache of memories for years with our camping trips all over the place and it all started because I did not want to resent the fun my DH was having.

So now for the advice to you.......maybe your youngest daughter needs to plan something that she loves to do to occupy her during the wedding.  Maybe she could get a friend and do a 'spa day'?  Maybe she could visit some town she has always wanted to see or plan a nature hike.  Surely there is something she would adore to do that would take her mind off of the wedding and give her some incredible memories so that when the wedding is brought up in 5 years she can go....."No I didn't go to the wedding but I went _______.  I had so much fun!"  The possibilities are only limited by your pocketbook and your imagination.  More planning is better than less because the wedding is going to be the center of conversation and she will be able to retreat to her thoughts about what her plans are.  This thought also adds that you can stay for the reception (if you want) and enjoy your relatives who will be there.

Another thing, you are going to need someone at the wedding that will understand how difficult this is going to be on you.  My DS's wedding was incredibly difficult.  I was supposed to be happy but I knew it was a mistake.  People came up to congratulate me and I wanted to cry or scream.  It took every bit of my emotional fortitude to get through that ceremony and reception.  My heart goes out to you.  Just remember that it is not over, marriages only start at the wedding.  Your eldest DD is young and has a lot to learn.  Life is an unforgiving teacher, she may need you later so try very hard not to slam any doors but don't stand at any doors knocking either.  Go out and enjoy your life.  You deserve happiness, go get it!!

Hello Imc!  I am so sorry that it took me so long to reply but I was on Spring Break.  I know that you must have read some of my sordid story but if you want to go back and read the posts when I was where you are you might find yourself with a more kindred spirit than you think.  I thought I was going to loose my mind.  I tried to talk my son into waiting to get married and they moved the wedding up.  I was absolutely determined to fix things.  It was all I ever thought about and the more I tried to fix things the worse they got.  I finally had to stop trying.  I had to give up, throw in the towel, bow to defeat.  I couldn't fix it and what's more, all of my trying had just made it worse.  It was the wonderful women on here who helped me get on with my life.  They told me that I deserve to be happy and then they told me how to accomplish that happiness. 

Think of something that makes you happy.  Whenever your mind wanders back to the horrible thoughts about your DD you have to force your mind back to things that make you happy.  Plan trips, include your younger daughter.  Have some fun!!  When your DD decides to talk to you you need to revel her with stories of all the fun you and your youngest are having.  Stop trying to get your DD to join in, go do things without her!  It doesn't have to be expensive, you can join a gym with your youngest and talk about how well you are both doing in your classes.  You can go camping, haunt estate sales, make Goodwill an adventure.  I made a trip to an Oriental store an adventure yesterday.  I am going on a nature walk this morning.  There are so many inexpensive or free things that you can do to have fun!  A picnic, go pick wildflowers, hunt for blackberries, try a new recipe.  I am learning how to cane chairs with the 7 step method.  There is so much fun out there to be had but I just got so stuck in the abyss (my name for the chasm my mind falls into when I think about my DS and his horrible wife) that I could not see any way out. 

I have since learned to look around me and see the good things I have and not focus on the things that I feel I deserve and am not getting.  So here are the three mantras I try to live by now:

1)  What you focus on expands (so focus on the good things you have)
2)  No news is good news (what I say to anyone who asks me how my DS/DIL are doing)
3)  Not my circus, not my monkeys  (When someone tells me something about my DS/DIL that is happening and      
       they are concerned about it)

The truth about the matter is that I have been relieved of duty as the teacher in my DS's life.  I did my job and now he has the reins and life is his new teacher.  If it helps any my DS has gradually drifted back into my life and I have gotten the pleasure of getting to know him as an adult who makes his own decisions and takes credit for his good decisions and does not try to shift blame for his mistakes. 

I know that while in the midst of the horror that was consuming my happiness it was exceedingly difficult to refocus on things that made me happy.  It took lots of practice and many times I found myself deep in the abyss.  The ladies here gave me a hand up.  Hopefully I can return the favor.

Oh M, I am so sorry that you are in this situation!  How did you stand it for so long?  I went to counseling with my DIL and it turned out horribly.  She was already in counseling so we just used her counselor.  It turned out to be two against one.  The counselor made me acknowledge how difficult it was for my DIL to share her feelings and never once was I asked about how I felt.  That visit did do one thing for me.  It made me so mad that I swore I would not put up with any more of my DIL's antics.  It has turned out that once my DS was not required to stand up for his spouse he had the time to assess her behavior for himself.  As I stepped out of the picture the two of them no longer had to present a united front against a common enemy (me) and my DS is finally coming to his senses.  Talk about messed up....my "DIL" has now decided that she is really a man.  Who would have figured?

Anyway my DS and I are finally getting to know each other as adults and it is working out pretty well.  Don't give up all hope, just spend your time doing things that make you happy.  Enjoy your life and anytime that your brain starts to spiral into the abyss of hopelessness remind yourself of all you have that is wonderful.  Kiss your DH and the two of you plan something you both enjoy.  Your DS has his own lessons to learn and now life is his teacher, not you.

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: Jealous SIL
December 02, 2020, 02:57:16 PM
Welcome B!  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.

I have thought long and hard about how to reply to your post.  As a mother of sons I can only tell you what it was like for me when my DS married.  Marriage is a huge step in life.  It signifies not only adulthood but the willingness to assume the responsibilities for not only your own life but also the life and happiness of your spouse and any possible offspring.  It signifies flying out of the nest and no longer holding onto the edge and flapping your wings without risking that jump. When my DS took that leap he no longer wanted my advice or counsel.  I was suddenly locked out of my DS's life.  He had to prove himself to the world and he could not do that by running home to Mommy for help.  I went from the inside to the outside of his life in very short order and it hurt like heck.

You can go back in my posts and find out how I thrashed around and how unfair I thought it all was.  It was but that matters not at all.  The truth is that my DS is married and what happens in his marriage is none of my business.  It has taken years for me to come to terms with this reality and now I realize that this is the way things are actually supposed to be.  I don't remember it all but the words "and forsaking all others, cleave only to him" used to be in the wedding ceremony and that was exactly what my DS was doing.  I had to adjust to being an outsider in his life, oh well.

As I understand it daughters do not necessarily have the same reaction to the vows as sons do but I would be willing to bet that what you are interpreting as "jealousy" is actually your SIL reacting to what he believes is you interfering in his marriage.  It would probably benefit you to approach the problem from a different point of view.

Perhaps someone else will chime in and give an opinion?

Hi V!  Glad to meet you and very happy some of what I said resonated with you!  Hopefully you have read the posts under "Open Me First" and understand the rules of the website.  Sure looks like you do! 

I have one more thing to add to your particular situation.  My father got cancer years ago and came to live with me and my DH during his chemo in case he needed help.  He was a wonderfully stoic man who hardly ever complained even when he was the sickest.  Having the stress of dealing with a cancer patient was not nearly as bad for my marriage as the stress it put on my DH when he had to live with his FIL's daughter.  I know it sounds silly but when we are adults we still act differently around our parents than we do around our spouses and to be honest my DH missed his wife.  He got irritable with me and I was overburdened with trying to take care of my Dad so I didn't understand why he was irritable when he should be supportive so I got irritable and it turned into a horrible mess.  I know some spouses tolerate their in laws better than my DH did, but that could be because their significant others handle being around their parents better than I did.  My brother had the same problem when his MIL moved in.  He finally told his wife that he missed his wife and was tired of living with his MIL's daughter.  My dad was so anxious to move out of our house that he slept on the floor the first night just to get away from us.  Not my finest hour and I wish I could have done things differently but he forgave me and so did my DH.  Anyway if you tell your DD that you are worried about how your relationship with her may be interfering with her marriage she might be more willing to take you home (if you think you are ready).