June 02, 2023, 10:00:53 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

M, I can't disagree with the take of jdtm and Raindrops regarding how the talk may go, and it sounds like you already know what you may be in for.  My uneasy relationship with DS/DIL deteriorated further with the arrival of GC until I had to cut them off because of all the hurt.  Logic and fairness had no place in our trying to reach any kind of understanding.  It was as if DS was in a cult--my DS was unable to hear my side.  It was DIL's way or the highway.  There are unfortunately many similar stories on WWU. 

M, I'm sorry you are going through this, but I think it's a good sign that people are willing to talk. 

In this potentially volatile family situation, I question how impartial your niece will be as mediator, or how impartial everyone will perceive her to be.  Does she have any experience or training in mediation?  If everyone trusts and feels very comfortable with having your niece as mediator, then I would give it a shot.  She would need to keep a very cool head throughout.  If it gets too emotional or out of hand, I would suggest you immediately switch to family counseling with a therapist who can be an actual impartial mediator. 

I'm currently in family counseling trying to work out the possibility of a relationship with my DS and GC after an estrangement.  DIL is making it very difficult, but it has been helpful to have a professional present so that no one (DIL) runs roughshod on the others (me and DS).  I'm guardedly hopeful.  In hindsight, an estrangement might have been avoided if we had opted for counseling first. 

Because I relate to your situation so much, I hope you let us know how things go and what you learn in the process. 
Grab Bag / Re: As usual, acceptance!
July 19, 2017, 10:48:00 AM
I can understand your desire to see your DF.  The trick is to stay emotionally detached from SM's tactics.  If you can just quietly observe what she is doing and not take it personally, it really won't matter what jabs or lies SM tries.  It will be quite unsatisfying to SM if she sees no effect on you.  Indifference is the cruelest response to a bully.  Easier said than done, but you might find it amusing to observe SM when she is not getting the emotional reaction (hurt, anger, frustration, etc.) she is trying to elicit from you.  It's like deflecting a rude comment such as "that's an ugly sweater you are wearing" by saying "thank you!"
Since the gift giving hasn't worked out, maybe you could try something new like celebrating together over lunch or dinner, going to a nice restaurant.  If your DS will go along with that suggestion, it could start a new tradition. 
Grab Bag / Re: As usual, acceptance!
July 18, 2017, 12:44:50 PM
If NPD sounds farfetched, look into material that discusses how to deal with the techniques of abusive, manipulative/controlling, or bullying people.  It is as if these toxic people all went to the same school. 
I don't think it's unusual at all for people in their 20s, 30s and even 40s to be so busy with their careers and childrearing that they don't even think about or value the family history and heirlooms.  By the time they begin to have an interest, it may be too late to get that info from the older generation.  Programs like "Who Do You Think You Are?" show that family history can be lost within a generation or two. 

I was the only one in my extended family to have an interest in family history and to treasure old things such as furniture, cars, etc.  If you can write down your family history and label family photographs, it may be cherished by a family member down the line.   
Grab Bag / Re: As usual, acceptance!
July 17, 2017, 03:25:15 PM
I hope you can put into perspective why you may be feeling particularly vulnerable at this time.  You recently posted you were being unfairly treated by your DH, and you were remembering this is the kind of behavior you have also received from your DS. All of this hurts, whether it is "personal" or not. 

Please recognize that SM's behavior is purposely meant to be hurtful.  But it has nothing to do with the real you.  She is obviously threatened by your relationship with your DF or she would not go out of her way to so overtly exclude you and your immediate family.  Your DF has indeed drunk the Kool-Aid in order to make life with his wife work.  It's all very sad.  Just don't drink the Kool-Aid yourself.  See the injustice and get angry, but don't take on the shame they want to put on you.   

If you relate to what you found regarding "narcissistic gaslighting," you may want to explore further to see if your SM may have traits of a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).  It may help you to understand the dynamics so you don't get sucked in emotionally.  Not many therapists have a practical understanding of NPD, but there is a lot of info online and on YouTube. 

As I've mentioned before, I believe my DIL has NPD and she has done her best to get me out of the picture.  Although she only has limited contact with her family because of distance, I have heard about fabulous family celebrations/vacations.  The reality is they may not be as "fabulous" as they are made out to sound.  When DIL's mother paid for a cruise for herself and some other family members, including my DS and DIL, word got back to me that it was okay because they would not have to spend much time with DIL's mother on that cruise because of all the cruise activities--as if it were a hardship to spend time with DIL's mom, and yet it was fine to still take advantage by going on the cruise she paid for!  That smacked of "user" to me.  I mention this story so you can keep in mind that not everything may be as rosy as it looks on the surface. 

If you questioned your dad, I bet he would say he didn't know what you were talking about.  (The Kool-Aid does that to people.)

Please take good gentle care of yourself. 
I also think you should not bring up your hurt feelings about their gifts.  Instead, I would do my best to make family relations as warm and friendly as possible so that they continue to want that family tie and so that they don't have second thoughts, possibly walking on eggshells, worried because they have inadvertently done the wrong thing to hurt or offend you.  Take the high road, think the best of their intentions and be grateful for any gifts.  I myself can be really bad in trying to figure out appropriate gifts for some people, so I hope there is much grace when I don't give the right thing. 
Maybe closing the Bank of Mom would change the cycle you are in.  As an adult, he is responsible for supporting himself.  (An exception would be some catastrophe.)  He may want your money but feel resentful in asking and owing you, much like a teenager might act.  If your pattern changes, maybe his will as well.  Or not.  Just a thought.   
Pen, kinda sounds like you and DH are each going through Life Stuff at the same time. Acknowledging there is a problem is a good first step to get past it.  Hope some Good Stuff comes out as a result.   :)

(I sure could use a break from the Life Stuff right now.)   :P
I think you have a two-fold problem (three-fold if you count DS):  (1) Your DH is stressed and he is reverting to some bad ways of coping, probably picked up from his FOO.  (2) You don't want to accept being unfairly treated but you are not confident about how to stop it.  Is it time for some short-term counselling for the two of you, or for just yourself to get support in dealing with this problem if your DH is unwilling to go?  Sometimes the formality of an "official" counselling session signals to the people involved that there is a real problem requiring attention and resolution.

Your situation also reminds me of a conversation I had with an older friend in her late 70s who told me that when her husband retired, he became the "fun guy" he was in their early years of marriage.  They had some wonderful years together after he retired, and he was a loving support to her as her health declined with Parkinson's.     

I am currently in family counselling taking baby steps in trying to reconcile with DS after the cut-off initiated by me.  The counseling sessions feel like a hostage negotiation.  I am trying to negotiate having some kind of relationship with DS and GC, and DIL is trying to block all attempts.  Unfortunately, the counsellor is not very good.  But this is what I have to work with and it is providing a forum for discussion.  My DS has been indoctrinated with a certain negative view of me by his wife during this estrangement, and some of this damage is being undone as we speak to each other.  So I have a little hope. 

I am noticing that since I have been removed from DIL's abuse for some time now, I am much less tolerant of it. For a while before our estrangement, accepting a certain level of disrespect was the price I was paying to maintain contact with DS and GC.  I am still gauging the situation like you are, and I am working on better skills to defend myself.  I am seeing a good therapist for myself, and it helps to have someone in my corner to help me see some blind spots.   

Maybe this is just a bump in the road of your marriage which can turn out to be a positive change as you work on it.  I really understand your confusion right now.  Hang in there.  Hugs. 
Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: dil isues
June 21, 2017, 07:10:49 PM
Hi and welcome!

I understand your frustration with your DIL.  It sounds like she is immature, difficult and contentious and has been for years.  It seems she acts in a hurtful way towards you because she can.  I'm sorry to say that I don't see that you can do much about the situation.  The men in the middle (your ex and your DS) don't want to catch DIL's ire, so I wouldn't wait for them to step up and try to get her to change. 

I certainly would avoid DIL as much as possible; she seems very unpredictable and moody.  Are you able to work out something so that you can still continue to have a relationship with your DS and GC, with minimal contact with DIL?  In my case, my DIL made it miserable for me to visit with my DS and GC.  I could no longer stand the disrespect, and even outright lying about me, so I went no contact with all of them, sadly.  There is a limit to bad behavior and I knew when I had hit mine. 

It sounds like you have already done your part in trying to work out problems, and DIL is not having it.  It may help to clear your head to just stay away from the whole situation for a while, and immerse yourself with activities and people you enjoy.  You may find life is much better spent with more pleasant people.       
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. 

Welcome, Durga

I understand your hurt, though I don't understand the reasons for your DD's behavior.  It must be very confusing to have the relationship with your DD change so dramatically.  Even if you knew her reasons for acting this way, it wouldn't change anything.  It sounds like you have been a really good mom. 

I had a close relationship with my DS, but that changed after he married because DIL did not want me in their lives.  It helped a lot to read the many similar stories on WWU so I could come to terms with the reality of the situation.  I am still healing but much stronger.  Take some time to read older threads and post when you need to.  The ladies here understand.   
Thank you for sharing, alwaysmom.  It was a meaningful comment.  Wishing you the very best outcome from your treatment.