I wish you all would help me understand this: Some DILs say things like, "I (the DILs) stole her little boy" "emotional incest" (OH MY GOD!!!), "she continually crosses my boundaries".
It is the most digusting and heartbreaking things you can read about what they think!! (I know, stop reading). The more I read, the worse it gets! How they think today is so out of proportion to what and who we are that it makes perfect sense that enough things said like this to our sons, the more they are going to find against us.
Why do they do this? What makes them say these thing?
Because there are 3 sides to every story Chickie. Yours, Mine, the truth. We all add our own perception to everything that happens to us, every single day. Example I was working one night, we had a woman jump off a bridge, it was reported by at least 10 different passers by. Every single one gave a different description of the clothing the woman was wearing. As different as Jeans and a halter top, to a little black dress.
You read over there about women with problems on the "other side of the fence", then you judge them by your own situation, adding your own perception to what they are saying. Those daughters in law, are not your daughters in law. What they say, in my opinion, is no better/worse than anything you have said here. Different but not worse. My Mother in law thinks I stole her son, or My mother in law thinks I am a gold digger etc, have been around forever.
Yes there are some new terms like emotional incest to describe a mother transferring her emotional needs to a son when they don't have or those needs are not met by a husband, but it's just terminology, invented by psychiatrists to describe the situation. It does happen, I watched my grandmother do just that when my grandfather died, we all just said that she came from a generation when men ruled the roost, she didn't know how to mow lawns, do tax, set the time clock on her lights, so on and so forth. But she really did expect my Father to slip into my grandfathers role of protector/male in her life.
If you really can't tear yourself away from the other place, then you need to remind yourself that those ladies are also in pain, they are coming from a different perspective and it isn't the same as yours.
Thank you, Postscript....you are so kind. I do appreciate it...looking at it like that, it does make a difference. It's hard not to think that all people feel this way but I am going to try.
Good Chickie, because I think it is helpful for us all to walk a mile in another's shoes, not just in these sorts of situations but for life in general. It's a rare talent to be able to look at a situation from all sides ;) Generally, as human beings, we pick a side I think. Perhaps that is why the human race is so full of unrest and violence? Because as a general rule of thumb, we fail to step back and attempt to see things from another point of view?
I have always tried to see both sides and it's gotten me in a lot of difficult situations. I have tried to see my DILs sides, both of them and frankly, the one I'm not as close to have gotten a rotten deal from my close DIL. It's too late now.
I guess we are all different. I am sure the DILs have suffered too. Thank you
I have to confess, I am not all that familiar with your particular situation, I'm a little confused by your descriptions of close and distant, are they physical or emotional?
I agree, sometimes seeing both sides puts you in a difficult situation. I think it's human to want support for our position on any given matter and perhaps the person wanting your support is resentful of the fact you are indeed trying for an all round view, trying to be fair to both? Just my thoughts.
I have many siblings, I know that some of my sisters in law have found it difficult to cope, not because my parents were cruel or anything, simply because we are a large family and one of my sisters in law said it was daunting being amongst us all, even though she was the youngest of 9, she found our family very dissimilar to her own. Because we are a step family, there are many of us of a similar age and point in our lives, we are all quite close and it was hard when sisters or brothers in law joined the family and had different expectations of behavior, we got there in the end though.
Postscript, that's funny (funny isn't the right word, but is the one that came to mind) that you had the suicide with all the different descriptions of the woman who jumped. It really does explain life though and the fact that everyone has different perceptions of each situation. What a MIL feels and sees and what a DIL sees (right down to their backgrounds) is different. Sometimes as different as night and day (blue jeans/little black dress). It makes finding a common ground sometimes a challenge for both people, but meeting eachother in the middle is important for understanding eachother.
Thank you for bringing up this important concept and giving us something more to ponder. :)
C/B - If you know that it's time to stop reading that stuff...please do that. How can it help but keep you stirred up, and unhappy. And how could it possibly support your healing. You can't think positively if you pursue negativity at the same time. Let the "Pings" take over! Pinginity Ping..Ping...Ping.
There are all kinds out there. I don't think there is a "they." Behavioral motivation comes from conditioning and no two people are carbon copies of each other, either experiencially or in their basic makeup. There are a lot of wonderful DILs out there. There always have been and there always will be. "Ours is not reason why" (they're not all wonderful)...ours is to move on and "fly." (Old saying I just made up! ;D)
I love you!
Thank you, MomLuise, I needed that~ it has kept me down, down, down!!
Of course, I am not speaking for all, but I tried very hard to attend events and respectful of being in son and wife's home. I really think I was too quiet at times, just trying not to say anything that could be taken the wrong way.
It didn't matter.
I raised son alone, and have maintained a home(s), doing my own repairs, upkeep and enjoying it. Then, job(s) and college, so that I wasn't dependent on anyone. When I reached a project too big for me, I usually called a handyman. People would say, "Why don't you let your son do this?" And, I knew I could not ask most of the time because she would find a reason he could not be available. This is something learned through years. If I would ask him something when he was already here, he would have to hurry up or come back and then, she would call while he was here.
I was very sensitive to not interfering. Being alone, I've always done as much as I could and learned even more.
When the situation is tense, I don't know what is right that I could do? I've stayed away before, and son came over angry with her, "Where ya been?" I said, "Right here." She made sure they had somewhere they had to hurry off to again. They were dressed for it. I guess, just to see if I was alive? Who knows.
Hurrying to work now....later, Renny
I don't get that it's about you. You have bent over backward and have given them every opportunity. The DILs who have pesky MILS would give anything to have you in their lives. It's so sad and how horrifying that is also so common. Let the love in here. It's not a replacement, nothing is, but it's real.
Renny I don't know what to tell you. I do get annoyed when my inlaws want my husband to go over and fix something, but I am only annoyed by it, because the only time they ever call him is when they want something and they usually want it right now.
My husband has a demanding job, he is often away at conferences and he works weekends etc. I work too and I go away for conferences, these demands on his time usually tend to come when we have a weekend together, the fact that they want it right then, puts an extra strain on our already limited time together.
I don't think I would feel the same if occasionally they picked up the phone and called just to say hi. Or called him and our kids for their birthdays even. Something more than these once a month calls that their roof is leaking, their kitchen needs painting, their house needs rewiring. He does their chores because he feels a duty, but he resents doing it the whole time and every time their number comes up on the caller id he sighs and says what do they want now?
Clearly you aren't like this, you sound like a very independent woman, able to get things accomplished without a lot of fuss and bother. Luise is right, I would love to have someone like you as a mother in law.
Chickie - do you really believe that *ALL* MIL's are good, nice people?
Do you believe that "emotional incest" doesn't exist?
I don't know why this puzzles you so. I've said it before, they're not talking about YOU. They're talking about their own rotten MIL's. And it's not the title of MIL or DIL that makes these women rotten, it's their own rotten-ness, and it transcends race, gender, social status, AGE, everything.
Scoop is right. And they will always be around. You can't help someone with a black heart, or change that heart.
And under the black heart, there is often pathology that we can't see. It's not an excuse but the person with no legs isn't going to hop and skip. Dysfunctional DILs and MILs abound but they aren't the majority.
A long time ago DS came to visit with DIL one day and we were sitting on the couch next to eachother and I said to him: "I've missed you so much, give me a hug" and his response was: "I'm not going to sit here and make out with you, I already hugged you when I came in". I feel ill right now just thinking about it. My son was always so respectful, I know those words came from DIL's mouth.
I think my son would have said something similar. He does "greeting hugs" but I thin he sees them as somehow "liitle boy stuff." I don't know why hugs don't seem manly.
We should dress in sports gear - men don't have trouble hugging after a goal or a touchdown!!
Penstamen! That's a hilarious thought! So when we want a hug we just yell like they hit a goal?
;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
I see that there must be terrible MILs, Scoop. I can see that now. I just didn't understand why a Mother would ever do that to her child. I guess it does happen. I'm sure that a lot of the people I know are dysfunctional and I just don't see it.
I didn't mean to dismiss all of you, DILs. I am sure you have the same problems with your MILs that we do with our DILs. I'm sorry.
As I said in another post, I post in the other site too. It actually has been huge support for me and helped me gain the confidence to leave my XH. I had a very difficult and weird MIL and I didn't know where else to turn. I found that site and felt so validated. All my friends and family had normal MIL's. Mine was just so off the hook, I couldn't wrap my mind around it and then I found others that had the same problem and felt validated and found I wasn't alone and wasn't imagining those things.
I knew that not all MIL's were enmeshed and gross to their sons because I saw it first hand and I SO wanted to have good IL's like my friends. I never had that kind of dysfunction in my own family either. Then I met my XMIL and I just never experienced a woman like that. I didn't know how to handle that kind of dysfunction because like I said, I have never seen it before. My XMIL treated my XH like he was her own H and expected him to do the things for her that he did for me and treated me like a jealous mistress. It still makes me cringe. The women are on that other site, not just because they find their MIL's annoying; they're there because there is some serious gross crazy stuff going on. It can be extreme.
Personalities can clash, but when there is serious dysfunction and gross behavior, its time for a therapist or separation. I actually went to a therapist because I kept thinking it was me, when all along it was them.
I'd have given anything to have a normal MIL. Now my BF's FOO is awesome. I am beyond grateful and I think experiencing the family I used to be married into, helps me appreciate the normal ones even more.
This is a particularly hurtful thing to say to your Mother. I'm sorry to say this but you are right, this is coming from her. I think she thinks you are trying to take her place???
It's very hard. Some of the DILs want to see him stand up to his Mother in front of her so she can see he's put you down.
I know a man (about 40) whose Mother and Dad came to town. The Mother was sick from something and laid around for a day or two. He said in front of his wife: "Mom, when you come back here, come happy or don't come at all"
His Mother didn't crumble into a million pieces like I would have, she said, "how dare you talk to me like that!!!"
When a son comes out of the blue and says what was said to you and to her, it is for her benefit. I can only imagine what she does to him in private.
Chickie and Scoop, I'm sorry I got silly on a sidetracked comment. It hurts me when DS brushes off my endearments. This truth topic is serious. I agree with Scoop that "rotten" people come in all categories, not just DILs (or MILs, for that matter.) But Chickie has a right to be alarmed by hateful talk.
Generalization and stereotyping are time-worn ways for "hate groups" to incite their followers. Those types of MIL vs. DIL sites are stirring things up, and DILs who might otherwise seek a reasonable solution to their issues with MIL can get caught up in the frenzy. IMO, it can affect the decisions they make regarding ILs, GKs, DHs, etc. Eventually those feelings will become personal, and we'll bear the brunt.
Scoop, what do you think is meant by the term "emotional incest?" Do you agree that the boundaries are different for most DS's parents than they are for most DIL's parents?
I personally don't call DS/DIL to "just say hi" because I've felt uncomfortable contacting them for any reason! I've been treated like a major annoyance by DIL. I am very aware of the sins of hovering MILs and I don't want to do anything that puts me in that category. But DS & DIL are in constant, daily communication with DIL's parents and help them often. DH & I think of that relationship as emotionally incestuous, LOL. To DIL, the truth is that she and DS spend way more than enough time with us. To us, the truth is that they spend way more time and effort on her family.
I guess every second with us is like a year in DIL's world. So indeed, what is the truth?
Thank you, Penstamen. :)
Our experiences are so varied. There just isn't a stereotype on either side of the fence. We're all trying to find out how to survive our particular circumstance.
I was "pinned" to a guy whose mother was actually forcing him to become a doctor when he wasn't remotely interested. (He did get his M.D. but eventually became a medical writer. Check Mate!)
We he took me home to meet her...she walked into the room, glared at me...and said, loudly..."Well, we don't need to be introduced, do we?" I was just a young, nursing student, nervous about meeting her and wanting to put my best foot forward...and she declared war!
I broke it off with him. I was young but I wasn't dumb! We were both terribly hurt but no way could I have taken her on.
Sure, there are what I've called "extremes" between MILs and sons. I acknowledge those types of people are out there. But, it seems to be used, at times, to stereotype just because the DIL cannot get along with MIL.
And, as Pent, wrote, the ridiculous amount of contact between DIL and her parents, isn't made to be an issue as much as a mother and son. And, some MILs, get a fraction of the time with son and disrespect to boot.
I don't compare, because I believe my minimal contact doesn't come close to being emotional anything. But, I can promise you those terms would never be thrown at DILs parents. They are just a loving family.
And, no I don't use son for chores or projects. I think I may have asked for his help a few times in years. We had a normal amount of contact, which was whenever he wasn't working and months in between. It was nowhere near suffocating or every day. Even on the phone, I'd let him tell me whatever was going on for him. I didn't pry.
I don't feel the need to justify. Even the Freudian stuff makes me sick.
I think when we aren't that way ourselves, it is hard to imagine others can be. I think if there is a huge difference in the amount of visitation between in-laws, that should be addressed.
Truth can be so illusive. Yours is yours and mine is mine and they often change. Perceptions, opinions, reactions, values, beliefs and attitude (to name a few) mess with "truth."
Hmm is visiting how we measure love? My inlaws live 10 minutes away, my parents live a 5 hour drive away. I visit my parents once a year and they accept the fact that I am terrible about calling, so they call me once a month or so to say hi and catch up. My kids email them occasionally.
As I've said previously, I no longer visit the inlaws because I don't need the aggravation. Dh is free to come and go as he pleases, my son is old enough that he can go there if he wants to and if Dh goes over, he takes our daughter. The fact is none of them go often but my inlaws still see my family more often than my parents do.
My children stay perhaps a week or two every year with my parents, because my parents invite them to. My inlaws have never invited my daughter and the last time my son stayed there was over a decade ago at their invitation.
My Mother in law thinks (I know because she's said it to my parents) that I live in my parents pocket, that they know all about my life and what goes on. She thinks that my parents see more of my children when they see relatively little of them and usually when my kids are staying there, they are staying with their cousins, aunts and uncles as we all tend to visit over the summer holiday and my parents have a huge farm property. We go to my parents because, my parents are pleasant to be around. We use their home as a base and do our own thing all day, get together at night and cook outdoors etc. It's not like my children or even I, get a huge amount of one on one time with my parents at all.
I'm a solitary kind of person, I don't require a huge amount of company, I don't need someone with me at all times, goodness knows just spending time with my husband and kids is enough to fulfill any social need I might have. I literally have to force myself to attend work functions. I like to be home and when I am home alone I don't tend to go anywhere because it's a treat.
I don't recall anyone saying that visiting was how we measured love. Please clarify, 'cos I'm lost.
I don't think I accused anyone of it. It's a question and I gave the examples of how my mother in law seems to think that visitation=love and she is jealous, because she thinks my parents get a lot more of it.
Although truth be told, your remarks about your daughter in law being with her parents all the time made me think of it Pentasmen, not because you were unhappy with it but because it reminded me is all.
There's probably endless definitions of love. If you are visiting someone you care about, it's probably a loving occasion. Conversely, when in had major surgery eons ago...I asked everybody not to visit me and I saw their staying away was an expression of love.
Sometimes it's difficult for people to see someone sick or in pain.
I think they were fine with it and wanted to party! ;D ;D And I wanted to be left alone to recover.
And seriously, I don't think anyone really wants to see someone sick or in pain. When I was a student nurse, I was hiding in an alcove where I hoped my supervisor wouldn't find me and I was crying over the death of a patent. Well, she caught me. Then she hugged me and said that when I stopped caring ovr losing someone, it was time to get out of nursing!WiseWoman!