April 16, 2024, 11:13:49 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."

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Messages - Marina

Hugs to you.  My son, DIL, and their young kids live close by and I don't have contact with the family because DIL won't allow it nor is she willing to work on any issues between us.  I still have some contact with son because he continues to make it happen.  I have my ups and downs with it emotionally, and I'm still trying to find peace in this situation.
P.S. This video was under Resources and I found it helpful.  https://youtu.be/lPdsp1NZz-w
Dear M, I relate very much to your story and if I hadn't set boundaries early, I would be living the almost identical situation.  Setting boundaries cost me a relationship with my grandkids, but it had become intolerable to go on trying to make it work otherwise. It was obvious there was no pleasing or appeasing DIL.  My heart goes out to you.  

If you can still maintain some kind of relationship with your son (even if it's an occasional phone call or lunch), I would do it so that he knows you are there for him when he needs it.  Being married to a narcissist is very much like being in a cult.  The narcissist isolates the person from any outside support in order to control and manipulate.  If it's impossible to maintain any contact with your son going forward, then I would at least let him know you love him and your door is always open to him in the future.  I'm hoping one day my son will find a way for me to have a relationship with the grandkids, but sadly he is pretty resigned to the status quo.  He's tried, but there was hell to pay for it.  I'm doing the best I can moving on with my life.  It's a huge loss.  
That is a very good video.  I have been trying to apply that advice for a while.  In order to maintain regular limited contact with my son, I've learned to compartmentalize that part of my life and otherwise put focus on my own life and goals.  It's tough to do, but I'm doing it.  
Speaking with your father may give you some insight into the situation, or not.  It may be that your father has given up and just stays out of what seems like an unresolvable problem between your mother and sister.  I witnessed a similar dynamic with two sisters in my family that was never resolved.  It was heartbreaking, but there was nothing I could do to help the situation.  They were stuck:  one was a bully and the other could not stand up for herself.  This went on all their lives.  I believe their mother could have stopped that destructive interaction early on but never did.  I'm sorry I don't have any great suggestions to solve this problem. 
As moms, we are used to self-sacrifice and going the extra mile for our kids as we raise them.  You may have that mindset now, and it may be disorienting for you to consider letting go of the situation with your son for the time being.  Maybe you feel there is "one more thing" you can do to fix the situation.  I have caught myself doing that at times, when the next move is really on the other person.  I don't know what your son will do next, but I expect he knows you love and care about him and your relationship. 

In terms of finding an enjoyable outlet for yourself, perhaps you can think about the fun activities you already do with your children/grandchildren that are especially enjoyable for you and you could build on that.  Maybe it's time you experiment and try something new.  I find gardening is wonderful for what ails me.  As you read older threads on WWU, you may get more good ideas for self-care. 

Hang in there!  :)
Hi, Sammelluv
I don't know the specifics of your situation, so I will share my experience in dealing with the relationship difficulties in raising my son, who is now grown and has his own family.   

The teenage years were stormy and many times I felt my son was hormonal because after a highly charged argument that he initiated he looked surprised at his own volatile reactions after the fact.  After arguments, sometimes I had to ask forgiveness for wrongdoing and at other times so did my son.  At one point during his teenage years he was so consistently disagreeable (putting it mildly) that I had him go live with his father.  Ultimately, this resulted in our going to counselling and that helped a lot. 

For his 18th birthday, I joyously exclaimed that I was no longer legally responsible for him.  I said this tongue in cheek, but my son understood the underlying message.  I noticed he became much more pleasant and willing to work out difficulties between us. 

Even with all the teenage turmoil, my son and I were close.  Because of this, I felt it could be difficult for him to emotionally separate from me as an adult, and I did not know if he would leave my house by either provoking an argument or amicably.  It was amicable, but it was by my request as I saw he was too comfortable and stalling out in moving forward with school and a career.  When he moved out in his early 20s, there were no bad feelings and we liked each other.  Whew!   

The late teenage and early adult years are a time of great growth and transition, so both parent and adult child have to make many emotional adjustments and it doesn't always go smoothly.  I'm sorry for the rough patch you are going through, but it may be "just" a temporary one that you and your son will need to work through if and when you are both willing.  It may take time.  As jdtm said, it's best you focus on other, more enjoyable things in your life at this time.  (((hugs))) to you!     
Especially if you suspect abuse, I would do my best to keep the lines of communication open with your son so that he continues to feel loved by you and feels safe to talk.  If it means you only see your son sporadically, I would make it as pleasant as you can on those occasions.  With FDIL's attitude, I would avoid any confrontations and certainly would not have any conversations alone with her without witnesses.  Just take it one step at a time.   
Welcome, Hachen!

Pen's mention of the book triggered some thoughts for me.  Growing up, I was shamed as part of the abuse I experienced.  I was made to feel shame for making honest mistakes or for really nothing at all, just being "me," made to feel "less than."  This has been one of the hardest things to overcome in my life because I internalized those messages.  It is easier for me to have compassion for others than for myself.  (I now see my DIL employing shame as a control/manipulative device.  DIL has tried this on me; luckily, I can discern what she is trying to do.)

If your GD endured this type of shaming growing up, it may be particularly hard for her to face any poor decisions she has made, her past drug use, or any lack of "success" in her jobs, living situation or relationships.  If GD continues to have contact with her mom, it may be reinforcing bad beliefs about herself and confusing her.  Hopefully, your GD has access to psychological support to work through her issues, maybe as part of her recovery from drug use.   

Just mentioned this in case it applies to your situation.     
I'm so sorry for the pain you are going through.  I agree there is no point in asking your DS about what he wants for your relationship.  DS probably doesn't know and it could change anyway.

It took YEARS after my DS/DIL's wedding for me to realize DIL was intent on undermining my relationship with DS and GC so that I would have no importance or influence in their lives.  As painful as it was, it helped my sanity to finally understand the reality of the situation.  Your FDIL has shown her true colors.  You will need to let go of your very reasonable expectations and not blame yourself.  FDIL will make you "wrong" no matter what you do.   

Just take it one day at a time.  Take very good care of yourself.   (((hugs))) 
If I remember correctly, the mother of your GD is mentally ill and abandoned the family before the GC were grown.  I relate to your situation because it appears my DIL is also mentally ill (narcissistic personality disorder seems likely).  My DS lacks insight and is coping the best he can, but I worry about the emotional damage DIL is causing in my young GC as they grow.  Along the same lines as Pen said, I am keeping contact with my DS and throwing out a lifeline of love and caring to him, with the hope he will grab on when he needs it.  This cycle of abuse is multi-generational and it pains me to see it continue because I thought I had ended the cycle when raising my DS. 

Dealing with depression from childhood abuse, I spent my 20s learning about myself and healing emotionally, keeping my FOO at a distance.  It took a LOT of work and energy to come to terms with some painful stuff.  Because of the inner work I was doing, I did not have spare energy to excel in school or to pursue a demanding career.  Perhaps this is some of what your GD is going through right now? 

It's difficult to stand on the sidelines, but I think the best you and I can do under these circumstances is to continue to express our love and caring and be available when/if they turn to us for support.  In the meantime, we can pray for their well-being.  My heart goes out to you.         
It sounds like you are missing your GD and starting to worry.  GD may just be very busy/preoccupied because she is trying to make her way into adulthood and its responsibilities, which is normal at her age.  But I also understand you have concerns about her mental health.  Instead of handing a gift or card to your DS to give to her, could your GD's upcoming birthday give you an opportunity to celebrate the occasion in person with her?  Is there some activity or gift that would entice her to make contact with you?

Getting no response from a good friend or my DS drives me crazy, too.  Something that seems to work is asking:  "Are you okay?" or "Just want to know you're okay."  I usually get a response to that, albeit a short one usually with an apology or explanation.  Then I can be more patient waiting to hear from them. 

Although it would be nice to get some reassurance your GD is doing well, you may need to make peace with the situation for the time being if she isn't willing to communicate.  Hopefully, GD has others in her life whom she can turn to for support if she needs it.  If you had a fairly good relationship with GD in the past, you can hopefully build on that in the future, when GD is ready.

Hang in there.   :-*   
Suzhappy, I'm sorry for the difficult time you are going through.  I agree that taking care of yourself and not allowing abuse are important.  It certainly doesn't sound like your daughter is open to working anything out.  If you feel she is unpredictable, protect yourself by not answering the door to her and call the police if she does not leave.  If your daughter is threatening you, then record those interactions (if it is legal to do so in your state/country). 

I hope as the situation quiets down that you will feel a sense of relief and peace.  Reading older posts on this website may also help you feel less alone in what you are dealing with.  Hugs.   
Pen, thank you for sharing the happy news!  I hope all goes well.

Bamboo, I went back and read your original thread.  It seems your DD is quite capable when she makes her mind up, and you seem to have a lot of insight into the situation.  Even so, it can be difficult to stand on the sidelines and hope DD makes the right decision to finally be done with bad BF.  I myself am having trouble being patient waiting for a tangible improvement in my situation, but I know it will take time.  (sigh)  I believe your DD is still quite young so her judgment may continue to improve as she matures.  She must know that she has you to turn to if she needs the support. 
Welcome, Mummybear
Please don't hesitate in asking for support here for your situation.  When I first came to this site, I mostly needed validation for the hurt I was going through in my relationship with DS/DIL.  In reading the many posts here, I gained a better perspective and came to the decision that I needed to step away from DS/DIL in order to heal.  My emotional and physical health had been affected by the abusive situation.  Eventually, I went to therapy and recently reconciled with DS.  The relationship is far from I would like it to be, but it is healthier and I'm more (guardedly) positive about the future.  It's been a hard road, but I have grown from it.  I learned I could go on, and find peace, even if I no longer had contact with DS and GC. 

I say all this to give you hope.  Please take care of yourself.  We are here for you.