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Messages - Stilllearning

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1
Let me start this by stating that I am totally unqualified to analyze this, but I have never let that stop me before!  With that said I believe that we set ourselves up for this from the time our children are very small.  We don't want to raise "Mommy's Boys" so we raise independent young men whose very identities rely on strength, resilience and self sufficiency.  We teach them how to use tools and how to do things for themselves.  Meanwhile we are busy raising young women, many of whom are taught that they cannot do things on their own like change a tire or fix a washing machine.  When they marry the boys feel like they are weak if they rely on their families and the girls cannot buy a cut of meat without their Mother's opinion so the new independent family unit naturally aligns itself with the female partner's FOO. 

With that said I want to add that it really stinks that as a parent of two male children (and no females) I have come to realize that my part in my son's lives will be smaller than I really wanted but I can deal with that.  After all I know many grandparents whose children have messed up their lives so badly that the grandparents are left raising the grandchildren and I definitely do not want that!  So between the "rearing the grands" extreme and the "completely ostracized" extreme of the spectrum there is a perfect medium.  I missed it by a little to the ostracized side but that is better than missing it to the other side of the spectrum!!  I am finished raising children!  I did my best and I truly do not believe that I could do it better if I tried again. 

And now my final point.  I believe that if you raised a child who is so independent that he/she does not feel the need to rely on you then you did a great job of raising them!!  You should take a bow!  You raised an independent, self reliant human which is actually the goal of parenting.  It hurts when they leave but I believe that when I need them my boys will be there for me.  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).

Just my inexpert opinion.

None of this applies to the children who seem to hate their parents for some real or imagined slight during their childhood.  I have been a sibling to one like that and watched as adulthood corrected their childhood memories with real life experience.  I cannot imagine how much angst my Mom and Dad experienced because of my sibling's memories from a child's point of view.

Good luck to us all!!

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Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: Does it ever stop hurting so much
« on: February 17, 2018, 06:43:38 AM »
Jools, I feel for you!  My DIL turned out to be bipolar and now she is on medication.  She was really hard to deal with at first and she got worse for a long time.  Now she mostly keeps quiet and I keep my distance.  The first thing that I had to realize was that there was only one part of this dynamic that I could change and that was myself.  So how could I change myself so that I could deal with this abuse?  I decided that there was only one way, I had to quit caring so much.  I had to take back my power.  I had to get to a point where my DIL could not hurt me and that meant that I had to decide that the DS I had raised was no longer there and I had to stop trying to find him or "save him".  I gave up.  I turned my focus to the things in my life that I enjoyed and visiting with my DS and DIL was not one of those things. 

Let's face it, when you get to our stage of life you deserve to enjoy it.  We worked hard to get here, we raised our children to the best of our ability at the time and now they are adults and out of our houses.  We should be taking bows and having fun!  I finally got to the point where I am having fun and I got here by deciding to focus on the things in my life that I enjoy and ignoring the things in life that bring me down.  I still find myself in the "poor me, I deserve better" abyss but I turn my focus to other things, things that bring happiness to my life. 

I am sorry that your DIL is so awful but know that you are not alone.  We understand and we are always here to listen.  Good luck!!

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Amflautist, you are in what I call "the abyss" because it sucked me in and pulled me down.  There is a way out because I found it.  For me the realization that I did not enjoy visits with my DS was the turning point.  Why was I beating myself up trying to visit someone when I knew the visit was going to be unpleasant?  I did not know my DS anymore.  The person I was trying to see just wasn't there.  I mourned the loss of the wonderful young man I raised and then I started living again.  I started focusing on the things in my life that make me happy.  I started making plans for the times of year when I knew it would be the hardest to ignore my DS's absence (Mother's Day, Birthday, Christmas) and my DH and I would go camping or visit someone else or go to a museum, anything to keep my mind occupied with something other than who was missing.  Whenever my mind's eye turned to the abyss I yanked it back and focused it on something joyful in my life. The more I focused on the joy, the more joy I found.  I have many things in my life to be thankful for and I had been ignoring them for years.  I am actually lucky that my DH stayed, I was no fun to be around! 

Eventually, maybe because I stepped back and was no longer an issue in their marriage, my DS opened his eyes and made a real effort to become part of our family again.  He now brings his children to see me and even comes alone sometimes.  I am getting to know him again and really enjoying the man he has become.  I know the son I raised (and that I was so desperate to keep) is gone, but the man he became is awesome and I am really enjoying him.  My DIL and I still do not like each other but we have managed to eek out a reasonable relationship.  I know what to avoid and frankly if I offend her by mistake (which happens all to frequently) I just don't care.  My DS will explain to her that I did not mean it that way (thankfully) and I just don't bring it up again.

Anyway, I guess what I am trying to tell you is that "What you focus on Expands!" and you get to choose what you focus on.  You can gaze into the abyss or you can gaze into the eyes of your loving husband.  I chose my DH and life took a real turn for the better.  I still visit the abyss but it no longer has a hold on me.  And yes, if you are wondering, my DIL's FOO get the lion's share of the visits, I just ignore it. 

Hugs!!

I have heard a lot of rules on this site but this is the first time anyone has been disallowed to visit a city!!  Wow!!!

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Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Difficult Adult Daughter
« on: January 13, 2018, 08:33:46 AM »
Oh gezeebezee, although your situation is more dire that many here the path out of it is the same.  We raise our children the very best we can and while we are raising them we fix their mistakes and put band aides on their booboos.  For years we are the one and only dispensers of help for them and when they make mistakes we are able to "fix" things.  Then comes the time when they will no longer let us fix things.  They take the reins of their lives firmly into their inexperienced hands and sometimes look (as your daughter does) like they are driving their lives off a cliff. 

I tried so hard to stop my DS from marrying his wife.  I wanted him to wait, slow down, don't you see that this is a mistake????  Nothing worked and now he is married with two kids and his wife is bipolar and he is very unhappy (and so am I) about his decisions.  The only thing I could do is stand by, in agony, while he took his vows and everyone congratulated me.  It was awful!  Then came the baby showers where I was supposed to be happy while my DS dug his hole ever deeper.  For years I was miserable and I could think of nothing else.  The situation took over my entire life and it was interfering with my other relationships.  Nobody wanted to be around me because all I ever did was complain about my situation.......because I did not see anything else.  Then one day I found this phrase:

What you focus on expands!

I suddenly realized that I was the one allowing my DS's life to ruin my life.  He was making his own choices and I could not change them, I could only stand by and watch, but he had to make them.  He has his own lessons to learn from this and he will learn them better if I stand back and let the chips fall where they may.  I started focusing my thoughts on my own happiness instead of my DS's situation and my life improved dramatically!

Your situation is incredibly sad because you thought that you had reached that point where she saw all you have done for her and wanted your help.  Now that you have fixed her up she wants those reins back in her own hands and she is going to get them one way or the other.  The people at Alanon (did I spell that right?) have much experience dealing with the situation that you are in.  Some of them have even sadder stories than yours, believe it or not.  They are either traveling your road or helping others travel the road they have already been down.  I strongly suggest that you find a chapter near you and attend a meeting or two. 

Please know that we are firmly on your side and we feel your pain.  We are here for support if you need it.  I am sorry that life has been so difficult but I still think that it will get better.  Mine has and I am a much stronger person because of it.  No one will ever be able to hurt me like that again, I won't let them!!!

Hugs!

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Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Alone at Christmas
« on: January 05, 2018, 07:31:38 AM »
Sad Sue, welcome!! We ask that you look over the posts in the "Open Me First" section and pay close attention to the forum agreement to be sure that we are a good fit for you.  We are a monitored website.

I gave your post its own heading since I am sure that there will be several replies and I wanted to be sure all these wonderful women who helped me so much would find it and chip in their words of wisdom!  We like to be a site where you take what works for you and leave the rest.  Some of us come back often to re-read posts and find new wisdom that we did not see the first time.

As for your post I have actually felt suicidal, and not just to get three meals and a bed, so I know where you are coming from.  The only way I got out of that was to stop looking to someone else to make me happy.  Happiness is, after all, more of a comparison of conditions than an actual state.  If you have been stuck out in the rain for a while then just having shelter makes you happy, if you live in a desert then a rainstorm can make you ecstatic.  So I started looking at things in a different way.  Instead of being upset that I was left out of things I started thinking how happy I was to not be around my DIL (trust me, that part was easy!) and I started thinking about how much easier it was on me to avoid those situations.  I started planning other things during the time when something was happening.  Other things that I enjoyed doing.  Hikes, canoe trips, camping trips..anything I enjoyed.  Then instead of sitting at home moping I was out having fun.  I also found that the more I enjoyed myself the more other people enjoyed being around me and the better my life got.

I wish you luck.  It sounds to me like you are better off without your ex and anyone who would hand out that kind of "tough love" is not someone to whom I would want to give gifts.  I spend my money where it is most appreciated. 

Take care of yourself and know that we are on your side. Hugs.

6
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Should I speak up?
« on: November 26, 2017, 01:52:59 PM »
Sorry Bamboo2!  I did not mean that she just needs to accept flaws, especially flaws like you describe.  I stress to my DS that he cannot expect his wife to change for him.  Most people who are forced into a change they do not want to make (like stop drinking) will either relapse repeatedly (but honey I love you and I will never do it again!) or resent the heck out of you for forcing them to give up something they enjoyed.  That is where the acceptance is vital.  "If you cannot do that then the relationship is....well......doomed."  So if the behavior is unacceptable now, during the wonderful start of a relationship then the writing is on the wall. 

Trying to stay quiet and still available to your DD is vital!  Congrats on just listening!!  My DS has started mentioning things that my DIL does that he cannot live with and I struggle all the time with not standing up and cheering!  It takes a tremendous amount of restraint to tell him that I hope it works out but I want for him to be happy.  I am surprised that I haven't choked!! 

Also, I have a niece who was sure that she and her DH were on the skids and she said things that made me want to punch him(seriously!).  I somehow managed to keep my mouth shut (a miracle actually) and they worked through their rough spots and are going strong 5 years later.  When we are angry at someone we say things to get the people we are talking to on our side and sometimes we regret what we said later.  Maybe things are not as dire as your DD made them sound.  I hope that is the case!!

Trusting our children's judgement is the hardest part of this time in life.  Good luck!!

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Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Should I speak up?
« on: November 26, 2017, 03:19:46 AM »
Luise has, as usual, given some wonderful insights into how to handle your situation.  The only thing I would add is that when my DS mentions things that my DIL needs to change I have always told him that when you are in a relationship you have to accept the faults of the other person.  You cannot expect them to change for you, you must adjust your expectations to align with the way they are.  If you cannot do that then the relationship is....well......doomed.

I think that if you tell your DD that often enough she will stop telling you the faults of her BF.


Good luck!!

8
Well I had a similar but different experience.  My DS/DIL and the two grands (2&4) showed up early as planned but they did not offer to do anything.  I finally got to the point where I was requesting things like can you set the table and such and all of my requests were quickly and graciously answered so that part was OK.  Once dinner was done DIL collected the plates for me and left me to do the dishes.  Once the dishes were done I realized that DS and DIL were both asleep on the couches in the den. The 2 year old was down for a nap but the 4 year old was watching tv so guess who got to look after the 4 year old?  You got it!!

So I got to spend the rest of the afternoon watching her and then came the bath for both of the girls, the third total melt down for the 4 year old and off they went home.  All in all it was a totally unsatisfying Thanksgiving day and so now I am considering not inviting them for Christmas.  I have not decided yet because I am waiting for the distaste to fade first.  I put a lot of effort into making the day great for everyone else and I saw zero return on that effort. 

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I forgot to mention that you might want to pick a forum name that is less identifiable in case someone you know reads this forum.

More hugs!!!

10
Welcome M and we are glad you found us!  We ask all new members to go to our "Open Me First" page and read the permanent posts there that explain our site better.  Please pay particular attention to our forum agreement to be sure that we are a proper fit for your needs.  We are a monitored website.

I have no experience with a sister who mistreats my mother but I do have experience with a DIL who mistreats my DS.  It upsets me horribly when I hear about it and I would so love to straighten things out (tell my DIL a thing or two) but I know that I cannot fix it.  My DS is an adult who is responsible for his life and it is totally up to him to either continue to put up with her behavior or put his foot down about it.  It is very hard to bite my tongue when she complains about him.  It is also difficult to offer a listening ear without actively taking sides.  Don't get me wrong, my DS knows that I am on his side but it is so difficult to hear him complain about her and not chime in and put her down more.  I have to listen quietly and not offer any suggestions what so ever.  It is a very difficult task but if they stay together I do not want my DS telling her about every derogatory remark I made (and yes, I do believe he would).  So my hat is off to you!  I think the comfort is both what she wants and what she needs.  Your Mother will make up her own mind and fortunately she will have you there to back up her decision, whatever that decision is.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is nothing.

Hugs!!!

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Welcome C!!  I am glad you found us!  We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Open Me First to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit for you. We're a monitored Website. Thanks in advance!

I know the hurt you feel.  I had the problem before the grands came along.  My DS and his wife seemed to spend all of their time and holidays with her FOO and none with me.  It stung to know that I was being left out and the more I focused on that hurt, the bigger that hurt got.  I overcame that pain out by planning other things to do on the holidays.  I spent one Thanksgiving day canoeing instead of cooking (the weather was beautiful!).  I cooked my turkey on Friday that year because the weather was really yucky and staying inside cooking was not such a burden.  It was liberating moving the holiday around to suit myself and my DH.  I enjoyed it so much that I started moving other celebrations around too.  I found that if I did not know about the parties and other things that they did not upset me so now I deliberately avoid finding out about them by staying away from Facebook, especially my DIL's page.

Anyway the point is that once I started using my time to make myself and my DH happy my life turned around.  I once went to a seminar where two sayings stuck in my head:

"For things to change first I must change"

And

"What you focus on expands"

I think you can have some real fun planning a get together with your grandchildren for some other time!  Have a blast! 

12
Welcome Sadheart!! 

Boy I can really feel the pain you are going through!  I was included in the wedding but it was made very clear that that was the extent of my inclusion.  After all they wanted us to pay for the rehearsal dinner so they had to let us attend the ceremony.  I went to the wedding and it was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done.  Sitting there smiling while I knew my DS was making such a terrible error was almost impossible.  My new DIL even made a big deal about hugging me on the way out of the church, something she had not prepared me for and I am sure the look on my face let all of her family know how taken aback I was.  Some time around then I gave up on trying to achieve a good relationship with my DIL.  If she weren't my DS's wife I would not even talk to her.  Anyhow the relationship I have with my DS has improved greatly while his marriage unfortunately deteriorates. 

I had to learn to plan things to keep my mind off of the fact that my DS forgot mother's day, my birthday, our anniversary, Christmas, Thanksgiving and (it felt like)how to dial a phone so I started planning something for those days.  I went camping, canoeing, to dinner with someone else. 

In retrospect it would have been nice to have the money I spent on the rehearsal dinner to plan a trip.  I would have planned the trip to coincide with the wedding so that when anyone else brought up the wedding I could say "I am going to (insert travel destination)that week!  I am so excited!"  Anyway, the point is that you deserve to be happy so don't let your future DIL take your happiness away.  Hugs!!

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Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: At my wits end
« on: September 29, 2017, 02:15:45 AM »
Great news Mummybear!!  I remember how wonderful it felt to me when I found this site and realized that I was not alone!  I never tire of having others remind me of that feeling!  Mine is a long road full of potholes but I am getting better at avoiding the big holes!  Sounds like you have a good handle on your situation.  Keep up the good work and remember that we are here for you!

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Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: MIL's support is bothering me
« on: September 29, 2017, 02:05:09 AM »
Hello Things Happens!

I have modified your post because there was some foul language.  Please refer to our forum agreement where it states "It also won't work here to use foul language. Since everyone’s definition of what that constitutes varies…the plan is to just not to go there. Words that are abbreviated will be deleted. If we can figure it out, it’s a no-go."  Thanks for your insight!!

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Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: adult son tells of years of abuse
« on: September 26, 2017, 06:04:33 PM »
Kate 123: After discussing your response with Luise, it has been removed in the hopes that you will choose to rewrite it in a gentler vein. Our Forum Agreement requires that we pass on being judgmental and further states: "We offer each other our 'first person' experience, not advice."  You have many wonderful insights to offer, please try to offer them from the first person in the future.   Thanks.


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