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"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."

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Topics - Marina

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Bad Counseling
July 30, 2017, 01:13:11 PM
When I started counseling recently in order to reconcile with my DS after estrangement, I knew it was not going to be easy because DIL would be present and her agenda is to keep us apart.  With the opportunity to talk, DS and I have been able to clear up some misunderstandings between us.  That was very good.   

For the final counseling session, DIL gave quite a performance, being very teary and hurt by the way I had rejected her during the only time we ever met alone (no witnesses).  My heart did not melt for her as she told her sad story because I knew she was lying about what happened.  It didn't matter how many endless times in the past I had reached out to her for a relationship or to discuss problems (these were labeled as "demands" that I was making--can't win!), she sounded victimized over this one made-up incident.  I responded I had reached out to her afterward to discuss it with her and she refused to do it.  More tears and outraged hurt, enough to convince the therapist I was a cold you-know-what for not acknowledging DIL's deep hurt.  It was awful to end this way, and DIL staged it purposely.

I went into counseling with DS/DIL with my eyes open, but I feel traumatized again by this abusive behavior.  Of course, it was made worse when the therapist invalidated me and my feelings.  I didn't have the choice of a therapist and early on I could tell she was labeling me as difficult.  After this, I need to spend time building myself up emotionally again.  I may have regained some kind of relationship with DS, but it was at a cost.  I don't expect to see GC again for quite a while because this will be DIL's punishment for my standing up for myself.  I did a lot of grieving this past year and I know I won't break over this.  It just hurts a lot right now. 

It has helped to write this out, but I could also use some words of support.   :( 
Grandchildren / Alienated Grandparents
June 14, 2017, 05:53:04 PM
Just wanted to mention that today is National Alienated Grandparents Awareness Day in U.S.  I don't have much to say except I'm glad this issue is being brought to the public's attention.  A lot of grandparents are hurting who have been unjustly alienated from their dear grandchildren, and this is a hurt that is generally hidden. 

A quote from Pen in a previous thread:
I'm finding that my DIL treats  me with more respect when I approach her from a position of "power" meaning I'm not groveling or weak ("Why don't you like me? Here's a gift, please like me!") but confident and strong ("I'm fabulous! If you don't like me it's your loss. I'm off to my next adventure!") My husband still grovels a bit but I'm over it.

If I had to do things over, I would be sure to take on a confident and strong demeanor 
Estrangements are awful from people you love.  I just got news that a relative had a stroke and is not expected to survive.  She is older, but has been vital over the last few years.  She is my last close tie to my FOO.  I wish we had had a chance to talk more, but I know we both had hurts and trust issues that resulted in an estrangement between us some years ago.  We had moved past it but were keeping a certain emotional distance--although there was no doubt we loved and cared for each other.

I'm realizing I won't be able to ask her the remaining questions I've had about her life and our shared life with FOO.  I've emotionally processed a lot over the last few years, and growth came through painful times.  The reality is I may not have gotten the answers I wanted/needed from her. 

At this painful time, I wish I had a time out from my estrangement from DS so I could share my grief and talk.  I know it would likely bring me more pain than comfort if I reached out to DS at this time, so I won't.  Actually, I would so much want to talk with him if I weren't facing my relative's death.  It's just a reminder that I can't.  We love each other, but it's not enough to bridge the gap between us.  I feel raw.       

My Christmas with a group of friends and acquaintances was (surprisingly) peaceful, fun, and satisfying.  I planned to go to this gathering to just stay out of the dumps emotionally, but it turned out to be a lot better than that.  I thought I would miss being with family (DS/DIL, GC), but I did not.  I think that speaks of the healing I've been experiencing as a result of cutting off the relationship with them this past year. 

My problem is that I feel that I'm being drawn in again by invitations to family gatherings.  I cut off the relationship with DS/DIL because my feelings and desires were not considered and instead DIL was getting more and more hostile and hurtful towards me (GC being used as pawn) and DS was looking the other way.  Now DS says he wants to patch things up, but he doesn't know what the issues are!?!  --even though I had previously explained myself in writing and he discounted what I said out of hand without discussing it with me.  My mind says give it another chance, explain better, etc.  But my gut says don't do it.  I feel utterly tired thinking about going through this again and not being validated and cared about.  There are real issues that need to be worked out, but by DS not "knowing" what they are seems like he is in total denial and that talking won't do much.  Over the years, I've brought up concerns and they were ignored.   

I am feeling very reluctant about engaging with DS and GC at this time, even if it's without DIL.  I don't want to be drawn in again emotionally when I have no confidence that anything has changed.  I think it will set me back emotionally when I feel I have been making strides in detaching.  But how will I know that my DS is sincere in reaching out to me to work out our problems?  He had been sincere in assuring me that I would have regular contact with GC, but DIL made sure to sabotage that by playing mind games and DS did nothing.  I would really appreciate some feedback on this from WW.  I need some clarity in taking a stand.