January 24, 2021, 01:04:44 am


"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 - amflautist

Dear Teardropper,

I have such ADMIRATION for you and what you have accomplished.  You have successfully, singlehandedly, raised a child to be a caring successful man.  Congratulations!  Please take a few moments to bask in the sunshine. 

I think you are doing everything right, right now too.  I think those little notes to your son are perfect.  Yesterday my DH was telling me the story of someone he just met, someone in his history club, a man whose 16-yr-old daughter won't listen to him and won't speak to him.  I reminded DH what I did when that happened to me, when my 14-yr-old daughter refused to listen to me or talk to me.  You know, I can't even remember what it was about!  But I remember what I did. I wrote her a letter.  It turned out to be quite a long letter, and I put it in her bed.  I'm sure I told her how proud I was of her, what a good kid she was, what I felt in not being able to talk to her, etc.  OK, I'm just blathering because actually I can't remember anything I said.  I didn't expect an answer - just wanted her to know how I felt and I knew that I couldn't tell her in person because of the strained relationship we had.  Well, she did answer that letter!  And we went on to have many more letters back and forth.  And the problem between us cleared up.  Now it's 22 years later, we have a great relationship, and I wonder if she remembers what those letters were about?  I'm sure she remembers there were letters.  So you see I think those little notes you write to your son are exactly the ticket.  Who knows, maybe someday he will send a note back to you!  (Haha, maybe leave the note to him right on the notepad - so he has something to write on!)

I hope your new job is everything and even more than you expect and deserve.  Take care of YOU!  Because you are a star in my eyes! 
Quote from: Hart2Hart on April 23, 2018, 05:11:38 pm
I realize i have been dwelling on something i have no power to change. I am just devastated to be shut out of my first grandbaby's first days, weeks, months...i am very much feeling victimized, hurt, angry...all of it. At this point im shutting it down. Im moving towards the happy part of my life. My beliefs have been my rock and i thank you for your insight. I cant breath when i think of missing out on my sweet girl, but i cant do this anymore.  ?2?

Dear Hart2Hart, I too know what it is like to be shut out of your first grandbaby's life.  In my case, it is my first two grandbabies - they are identical twins, now 3 years old.  And the shutout has been accomplished by my DIL, with the assistance of her all-too-willing spouse, my DS.  I did not reach peace on this until I finally said to my DS - no more!  I will not be pushed and pulled and promised and sent away at the last minute ever again.  I had to withdraw for my own sanity.  I can't say that the peace comes easily.  I still have periods when it hurts and I think about it - like last Sunday at the library when I saw a 3-yr-old holding his dad's hand and learning how to return books.  However, when you finally decide enough is enough and say it out loud, say it to whomever is listening - including your daughter - you will know it is the right decision.  I felt at peace for the first time in 11 years when I finally told my DS enough-is-enough. 

I hope you find peace too.
It happened to me.  After 11 years of abuse by DIL, aided and abetted by DS, I finally realized I had to withdraw from DS's life.  I told him so on Feb 15th, 2 months ago.  It's not easy.  Everyone who has had to do this knows it's not easy.  However, I want to share a video with you, a video where Jane Goodall releases a chimp into the wild.  Every time I watch this video, I think to myself "That's what mothers do for sons and daughters, that's what grandmothers do for grandchildren.  Love them dearly, then let them go".  It helps me recenter myself, tell myself I have done a good job loving DS, and now I must let him go.  His life from now on has nothing to do with me.  Maybe this video will help you too.

As Luise said ... we walk with you. You can count on that. More hugs...

Comfort. Joy. Satisfaction. Friendship.
Dear my2girls, I don't have advice for you but perhaps telling you my experiences in the breakup with my son will help you in your decisions.  It is only 6 weeks since I told my son I am withdrawing from his life.  He has twin sons, 3 years old, and I have not been permitted to see them for 2 years.  It was the stress at home that prevented him giving me an invitation.  I don't even think the circumstances of the stress are important as much as the fact that whenever the topic of his mother visiting came up, he and his wife got into a fight.  Well they treated me badly for 11 years, and I finally got tired of it.  I told him on Feb 15th of this year that his wife had won and I was withdrawing from his life.  He didn't like it, but it was not his choice.  Now here is what I am finding out.  DS calls me and sends me flowers when he is on a business trip, or when he is out doing errands without his family.  Same thing has happened to one of my dear friends who lived on the west coast in the same apartment complex as her son.  Her son, and his girlfriend with a new baby, were treating her like dirt. The girlfriend sent her rude text messages and would not let her see the baby.  After two months of horrid treatment she left town, moved across the country and now lives on the east coast.  Since she left, her son sends her many pictures of the new baby!  No words about his girlfriend, but that may be good.  In both cases, our sons treated us better when we disappeared.  I think it is because the stressor in their lives (mother vs wife/girlfriend) disappeared, and they suddenly realized that yes, they did want a nice stress-free relationship with their mother.  I hope you can find similar peace with your daughter.  It seems that the old saying 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' applies to mothers and sons as well as to lovers.  Maybe it applies to mothers and daughters too.
Oma, you write " I am not sure what to think as I don't want to raise false hopes within my self that he may finally be starting to feel conflicted with the situation.  Your thoughts."

My situation is very similar to yours.  DIL will not allow us to visit, and DS takes her side in everything.  I held my breath for 8 years, hoping he would "see the light".  It never happened.  When DS and DIL had children, 3 years ago, I knew that I had to stop hoping he would "see the light".  I had to hope he and DIL were making a happy family situation for our grandchildren (whom we have not been allowed to see for 2 years). 

In the beginning of his marriage, DS would come home once or twice a year, without DIL, because he really loves us and wanted to see us.  I know that he still loves us, that he would like to have us visit, and that he would like to bring his children here.  But it's not in the cards for him.  He has chosen DIL and her family in place of us - not as an additional family, but as his primary family.  He moved to the town of his inlaws and built a house for himself, DIL and the grandchildren. 

I know that he loves us, but I had to disengage because the hurt and disappointment were unbearable.  I do not extend invitations and I will not even ask to go to our GSs' birthday parties any more because ii is always refused, and because DS told us that merely bringing it up with DIL causes a fight between them.  I know he loves us because he sent me flowers on my birthday last week. He was traveling for business, so he could do this without DIL knowing.  The card was signed from DS alone, not from DS and DIL.  I was surprised and very happy to get that lovely gift. 

I am sure your DS loves you and would like to see you.  Keep inviting him, maybe for a non-holiday time.  Who knows, maybe he will come home alone for a visit!  I'm hoping this will happen for you, and I hope you tell us when it does!!!  I don't know what you intend to do about Christmas and birthday presents, but I will tell you that I intend to keep sending cards and gifts.  I have never in 11 years received an acknowledgement of a gift, or a thank you, from DIL, but I keep sending her gifts for her birthday and Christmas because I know that DS would think less of me if I didn't do that.  I encourage you to send cards and flowers too - without expecting anything in return - but just because I'm sure your DS will appreciate you for it.
My heart is breaking.  Not for me, but for DH.  Today is DS's birthday.  DH was crying, and he sent the song Danny Boy to DS.  These are the lyrics.

Oh Danny boy the pipes the pipes are calling
From glen to glen and down the mountain side
The summer's gone and all the flowers dying
'Tis you 'tis you must go and I must bide
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy oh Danny boy I love you so

I talked to DH.  It's clear he feels the break more acutely than I do right now.  I asked him if the recent events made things harder for him (being uninvited to our GSs birthday party just 2 hours before we were to get on the plane). He said yes, said he was playing that song in the car yesterday and he started crying.  Said he had just pushed things into the background before that.  He was crying again as he told me.

Wow, what damage children can do.  I'm feeling quite strong right now, so I can be the support arm.  Good thing we have each other.  Good thing I have this wonderful group of women to talk to!  Thank you all.
Oh my gosh that feels good. I just deleted the evil Valentine's Day message from my son. I also deleted all his emails, from as far back as Gmail saves them. 11 years of negativity and crap gone. Poof! Feels so good to get out from under that yoke. What a weight that was!
Luise, you hung the moon! Oh how I love that. BTW it's true. I'm going to work on hanging the moon for DH and DD. Great project to think about. I'm sure that will take me a long way up out of the abyss, help me find my way out of this dark forest.

I have a question for you, for others who have had to move on without a beloved family member. Did you delete all their messages? Especially did you delete the final one that hurt so much? I am of two minds. One mind wants to print out that last piece of crap and write my rebuttal. Another mind wants to get rid of it because it should not be anywhere near me, and because I don't want DD to ever read that evil. I don't want to jeopardize her future relationship with her brother. (Actually he and DIL are doing a pretty good job of pushing her away without my help.)

Well, OK, just writing that out gives me the answer. It is clear which person I want to be. Actually, which person I am!!! Yay, I AM a good person. Ha, how's that for a little bit of morning healing?

Did you all need a lot more sleep while going through this? Seems I need to sleep all the time right now. I bet healing gives you your energy back.

Stilllearning, you said something that I am going to take as a model for myself, for my future self. You said, "
For now my job is to enjoy this life to the fullest for as long as I am able and to enjoy my grands when I am allowed to visit with them.  My grands will remember how happy their Dad's Mom and Dad were and how much their Dad enjoyed visiting them (when he got to)."
I think this is how I want it to be for me. Not a break where I reject DS but a break where he and the two GS can come and enjoy a happy home, free from stress.

Yep, I'm going to destroy all that negativity caused by DS and DIL, and start doing my part in creating joy at home. I've not been much good at that lately.

Luise, this website is a godsend. It helps us deal with our deepest most difficult family problems and gives us the support we need to become better versions of ourselves.

Bamboo2, Stilllearning, Luise, thank you. I love you all!
I wonder if we are asking Mother Nature for something that is not possible.  I thought about this when I was taken on safari in Africa.  Teenage males are kicked out of the home group.  They bond with other young males and form roving groups that make mischief, fight among themselves, etc.  When they finally mate - if they are lucky enough to mate - they join the clan of the female.  The mother of a male elephant does not have a long term bond with her son.

When on safari, I told myself that I should not grieve that my son had gone over to the other side.  (He even moved to their town and built a big house there. I am sure the purpose is to impress his FIL!)

Maybe this is the way Nature works?  Maybe we humans are trying to accomplish something that is not built in?  What possible survival advantage do we derive by keeping our sons close?
DD says the book was Stanley and Rhoda, not Ramona the Pest.
It was Ramona the Pest, not Rhoda.  A favorite book when DS and DD were young.  "Don't touch it, don't look at it".  That's how I'm traveling these days.
Dear Stilllearning,  Your post is really helpful.  "Abyss", yes it's what happens to me every time DH or DD ask about my mental state. "How are you doing?" dumps me into the abyss and I get so angry about 11 years of abuse that I can't even be civil to my dearest family members.  I'm trying to wall this off inside me, trying to enclose it in a big bubble that I will make grow smaller and smaller.  Your advice the What we focus on EXPANDS is a helpful way to think.  I'm focusing on work right now.  I was trying to think about a time in the future when DS would come to see me, maybe bring the grandchildren, but I realize that for right now, I just need to wall it all off and give myself time to heal.  For this week, I'm going to do the mundane - focus on just putting a little cream on my face and on the puckery skin on my arms and legs.  Small steps.

Dear Bamboo2, I'm still in the grieving stage, but thankfully I don't wake up several times a night with a wet pillow.  I got through that stage pretty fast.  I am ANGRY!  But right now I'm angry at DS for his part in all this.  He has been an enabler, and I knew that, but at last I am angry about it - angry at him - although not so much angry at myself because I still tell myself the fiction that I am a loving forgiving person - and because I was always willing to be the "bigger person" and apologize apologize apologize even when it wasn't my fault.  Nuf of that I can now say!  I have my own DD who cares a lot about me, and I need to get over this ANGER because it is affecting my relationship with DD whenever she brings it up.

Dear Luise,  I have valued your advice, your pithy sayings for so long!  I understand when you say "for me to continue to stay in the climate of abuse meant that on some level I agreed with it."  I wish I had extricated myself sooner.  I too believed that a mother never gives up, but I can't go on with that way of doing things.  I have been grieving over the loss of my special relationship with DS for 11 years, and thus willing to fit into his need for me to be the bad person, his wife the angel.  HA! It never was so.  I have a long way to go to build my new self, and form my changed terms of what now constitutes integrity.  So much to learn, so much potential happiness ahead!  Right now I am working on letting go of the wish that they would see me differently.  I have to get to the point where it's my definition of myself that counts. I know I have it in me to do this, to build respect for me.

Ha! Fake it until you make it. 

As Rhoda the Pest used to say to her family when she had a booboo anywhere on her body, "Don't look at it.  Don't talk about it!"  That's sort of how I am living right now. 

Still every day gets a little better.  I think.

Thank you everyone.  You are helping me work towards dignity.
I finally had to do it. I would like to say I found my spine and took my dignity back but in truth I was forced to do it by the ridiculous and humiliating rules that were set up for my visit. In short and without going back over 11 years of humiliation and groveling and being on my knees and saying  I'm sorry when it wasn't even my fault. I was always "the bigger person' the one who forgave the one who loved in spite of DIL who hated me.

Well they finally had kids, twin sons, three years ago. DH and I not allowed to see grandchildren except for 3 times in first year. Not at all for last two years. I was very happy when a last minute invitation to 3rd birthday party came two weeks ago, even though last minute airfare was $$$$.

I woke up at 4am for 6am flight. Found a long message on my phone giving lists of my inadequacies and transgressions, 90% of which was stuff made up by DIL. But it was the rules that got me!! DS - who usually seemed reasonable through all these years of stress - had asked us to come 2 days early and stay an extra day (in town not in his home because for DIL her home would be too stressful). DS asked us to come early because he wanted to bring our grandsons to us so we could take them to the children's museum and take them to lunch etc. Haha - he did not clear this with DIL and she was Stressed Out. Thus the rules.

Rules: You must not say anything bad about their house or the other guests at the party. (Huh? I am a gentle, considerate, gracious guest and hostess). When you get off the plane, you may not stay in my city. (We had planned to stay in our hotel and watch the Olympics for 2 days until the day of the party. No contact with anyone since by now it was clear there would be no seeing children before party). But we were told to rent a car and get out of their city  - go somewhere else for two days until party. Because just knowing we were in town would be too stressful for DIL.

That was the last straw. I have broken up with my son. I believe this is permanent. Although I said call me in the future if DIL changes, I know this will never happen. She never wanted us in her life, ignored us completely or threw tantrums if DS invited us over (in the early years) ... Etc.

The breakup is real. It is final. It is for me and my dignity and sense of self worth.

I am writing to ask anyone who went through this. How did you get through it? I wake up at night crying. I am mad at myself for allowing all the abuse for so many years. I want to be stronger when this is over, can't afford to let it affect my health.

How did you get through it???
Grab Bag / Happy Valentine's Day Luise!
February 14, 2018, 03:17:01 pm
Dear Luise,

I am thinking about you today.  Hoping you are well.  Grateful for all the wisdom you have granted me over the years.