November 30, 2023, 10:12:13 AM


"Welcome to -- 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."

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Messages - Marina

One day after posting my comments, I now realize why I was so unprepared and emotionally affected by being asked about my GC:  It shows that I have been effective in disconnecting emotionally from my GC by stopping any thoughts about what my GC is doing these days.  That question about my GC stunned me, hurt like heck, but I'm okay, and I will be better prepared to field any questions about family during Thanksgiving.     
I know my focus needs to be on counting my blessings, during Thanksgiving, December and starting the New Year.  I will pray for DS, DIL and GC that they--especially GC--will be safe, healthy and happy.   
I'm doing my best to take care of myself, especially as the holidays are approaching.  As I work on staying no contact with my DS and DIL, I have cut out checking their news and photos on social media.  It is way too painful, and not where my thoughts and emotions need to be as I try to make a new life without them.  I have managed to skirt questions about DS and DIL from people by vaguely stating that they are fine, but I haven't been in touch with them lately.  That usually satisfies people.  I have even told people we have had a falling out and I don't want to talk about it.  Everyone so far has been respectful with that response.  I have even had a couple of people sympathetically say they understand because they know of others who have had that experience.   

What I wasn't prepared for was being asked specifics about my GC.  Had GC started school?  I had to say I didn't know.  I got a very puzzled look, and I would have followed up with "we have had a falling out..." but our conversation was interrupted.  Once alone, I felt this question hit my gut--I don't know if my GC has started school!  What is my GC interested in, what can GC do athletically, etc. etc.  I don't know.  I have sweet memories of times spent with GC, but the GC are frozen in time for me.  It hurts so much.     
Before I could move on and start to focus on taking care of myself and making adjustments to my future plans, it was really important to be validated in the reality of what was going on and how I was feeling.  Validation was hard to come by because (1) you can only share this kind of info with people you trust and (2) most people can't truly understand how a loving parent can be rejected by the child (unless there are drugs involved, etc.).  I found this forum to be a good place to find that validation. Thank you, ladies.   
Muminlaw, I miss those warm hugs from my own DS; it's been a while.  I'm not sure if what I say here will help you, but I'm working on coming to terms with the way things are.  I would like to think the situation will improve in the future, though I have no reason to believe so. 

It took me years to start to understand the dynamics of my estrangement from DS and DIL.  Pre-wedding, our relationship seemed rosy and joyous.  After the wedding, they made rules unilaterally, limiting the how and when of our interactions.  It has just gotten worse with time, no matter how much I have tried to work things out.  It is their way or the highway.  Her FOO gets the lion's share of their time and attention, and I, the crumbs.  The hardest thing to accept was that my DS was going along with it; I was in denial because I just couldn't believe that DS would treat me this way--surely, he didn't understand the hurt I felt!

I finally came out of denial to understand it was their JOINT decision-making (even if DIL was the one instigating the "rules") and that DS fully knew I was hurting.  At that point, I was very angry with DS for betraying me this way, though I couldn't afford to show it.  Narcissistic DIL enjoys the game of being in power, even more so now that there are GC.  (Jump, jump, higher!)  I have withdrawn from that rigged game. 

DS acts mystified about my withdrawal.  DS has nebulously stated that DIL and I have a problem "for some reason" (shrug, shrug).  In this way, DS has conveniently excused himself of any accountability in the relationship. 

Yuck!  Even as I write this, it is hard to grasp emotionally.  I DO feel much better keeping my distance from them, sadly.   

Thank you, Luise, for this website and all your hard work.  I appreciate all the hard-won insight and wisdom here. 
I re-read my posts, and I think I sound like I have a lot of resolve.  In reality, I'm feeling a little weak kneed, mainly because my GC is being dangled before me again.  I went no contact with DIL/DS for good reason, and nothing has changed.  And yet I am questioning myself again and feeling confused. 

I think the reason must be because DS is not acknowledging the situation and my feelings (problem?  problem?  what problem?), as if I never gave him my reasons for the cut-off.  I think the correct term for this is being gaslighted.  It really messes with your mind and makes you question the reality of a situation.  I guess that's why validation is important--as well as staying away from people who gaslight.  I feel a little better realizing this.

If I don't stand my ground at this point, I will be in for a whole lot of grief and I can't afford that right now.  It's important that I take care of myself. 
Thank you, Pen.  I have read enough of your old posts to understand your apprehensions about potential GC and how the situation will be handled by your DS/DIL.  Although my DS seemed very sincere in making sure I would have regular contact with my GC, DIL very quickly sabotaged it by creating drama out of a benign comment I made.  She made herself out the victim, set me straight (!), and embellished it with lies and mean spirited remarks.  This was truly fabricated out of nothing, but it was set up as an opportunity for DIL to hurt me.  It was a new low for her and quite bold.  I guess she felt quite powerful.  It was abusive, I explained that to DS, and I decided I had reached my limit and cut contact with them.  I was done being DIL's little circus animal, with my dangling GC as a reward.  (I didn't say it like that to DS.)       

Where was my DS in this?  He was back at square one, as if the incident never happened, as if clueless, why didn't I want to see GC?  I guess that is how DS has learned to operate.  I really don't want to get caught up in their bent reality.   
While last year's holidays were extremely painful and confusing to me because I got left out of DS/DIL's plans in favor of DIL's clan, I have a much different take on it this year.  I have processed enough emotionally since then to appreciate that I don't even WANT to be included by them this year.  I find it really uncomfortable being with them, must walk on eggshells, face some sort of fabricated drama, and have my feelings disregarded--who needs that?!

Although my attitude is quite different this year facing the upcoming holidays, I think it's important to have something planned ahead of time, in case I get immobilized emotionally.  I already know I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with a large community group, many people who also won't be celebrating with family for whatever reason.  It's a happy supportive group.  Looking forward to that!  (BTW, I  am a little sensitive about being a "pity" invite to other families' gatherings, but this community group is not like that--or we are ALL "pity" invites together and happy about it.  :))

Christmas has less importance to me, but I know I will have church that day and maybe I will visit a friend afterwards.  I have learned not to feel very festive around Christmas because family members have often ruined this holiday for me over the years.  Maybe now that I am no longer expecting good cheer from people who won't give it to me, I will be freed up to enjoy it more.  I hope. 

One thought comes to mind:  I have often had to cancel holiday plans with others because of illness (like a cold).  My immunity could be low at these times because of stress and depression.  I hope that changes, too, or at least that I can make the best of it regardless. 
Siggy, I believe my DIL also has a jealousy problem that has undermined what used to be a close and loving relationship I had with my DS.  Now her jealousy seems to extend to my relationship with my GC.  DIL seems very immature, though in her 30s and quite smart.  My DIL is not overt in her manner but very manipulative and passive aggressive.  As I learned about personality disorders, the crazy, hurtful stuff I was dealing with started to make sense and I was better able to protect myself.  I think my DIL is likely a malignant narcissist, possibly sociopath?  (She is C.O.L.D.)  Once I learned DIL was telling lies about what I had said and done, I decided it was not safe to be alone with her.  Over the years I've gone through a lot of emotional minefields with DIL and DS, and I am no longer willing to put effort into trying to keep some remnant of a relationship with DS and GC.  It's too much.  DS is no longer the caring son I knew, and I'm still working on accepting this situation.