March 31, 2020, 04:36:12 pm

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"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 - Stilllearning

1
Aging Wisely / Re: Corona, How is everyone doing?
March 27, 2020, 04:53:55 am
I am so glad to hear that you are both doing well!  Please stay healthy!!

As for me, I decided that working in the daycare was unnecessarily exposing my DH to a dangerous vector.  All those times of saying "it is like getting paid to be a Grandmother" are all true but it is still like working in a petri dish,  There is no way to maintain a six foot separation when you have to change diapers and wipe noses, and with both of us being in the "at risk" age range it just didn't seem to be worth the risk.  So now I am at home painting the exterior of my house.  It needs it sooooo badly and since I now have the time and can certainly stay away from everyone in the process I am turning these lemons into lemon aide! 

What are you doing to fill the empty times?  Hopefully you haven't glued yourself to the TV with its endless supply of bad news!
2
Hi V!!  It is my lunch break so this will be short also.  Sorry!!  I have thought about you and your dilemma this morning.  It is truly sad when we are put in your situation.  You deserve to enjoy your life. You spent 30 years doing everything you could for him. 

I had to pretty much turn my back on my eldest.  It really hurt but it was not until then that he really understood all that we had done for him over the years.  It took a while but the gap left by my pulling away from him has filled.  We will never be the way we were before he married my DIL but things are worlds better now that he does not have the power to control my emotions.  He is an adult.  He makes adult decisions.  He has to pay for the bad ones, but I give him full credit for the good decisions he makes.  Good luck!

Hopefully someone else will chime in with their own feelings!

Hugs!
3
Welcome V!!  We are glad you found us!  I am unfortunately on my way to work but I will post a more thoughtful reply in a few hours.  Be sure to check out our forum agreement under "open me first" to be sure we are a good fit for you.  We are a monitored website.  See you later today!  So sorry you are in this unfortunate circumstance.  We all want our children to fledge from the nest on their own instead of having to kick them out.  Hugs!
4
Helpful Resources / Re: lost
January 27, 2020, 03:12:11 am
Hello N!  We are glad you found us.  We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Open Me First to read the posts we have placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit. We are a monitored Website.

There is a wealth of information in our archives for you to read.  Also if you find a particular post that resonates with you, you can go to that person's profile and read their other posts.  You will find some really good suggestions here.  Things that brought me back from a place of complete hopelessness.  I cannot tell you how much the wise women here have helped me.  Some have moved on but some stay to help others.  When you feel comfortable to share your situation I feel certain there will be some wonderfully wise thoughts shared with you.

Hugs!
5
Oh M, I soo feel for you!!  As a mother we are all programmed to support our offspring regardless of their mistakes and treatment of us.  I too took more than my fair share of abuse from my DIL.  I (possibly in error?) objected to the marriage.  I only asked my DS to wait, I never said not to marry her.  The answer I got was that the marriage was moved to an earlier date and that was that.  I tried so hard to "fix" my relationship with my DS and honestly to make him see my side.  I called, texted, cried, talked to everyone who would listen until I was blue in the face and they were sick and tired of hearing it.  Some of my relatives thought I was over reacting, I should give her a chance, stop complaining, be happy for my DS.  Really?  I mean, really?  Anyway this went on for months.  Although no one said anything to me ,I am pretty sure that my friends and relatives got to the point of cringing when they saw me coming.  I would have gotten there if I was them!  I drove myself crazy with questions and guilt.  After all you are supposed to pick a spouse that somehow resembles your parent, right?  Was I like her?  How could my DS love her?

I spent way too long on that guilt trip.  It was the wonderfully wise women here who brought me back to reality.  The truth is that they told me that I deserve to enjoy my life.  I have finished teaching my DS his lessons, and now it is life's turn to teach him and he gets to pick the lesson himself.  I have no control over what he picks to learn.  I have no responsibility for the mistakes he makes.  I do, however, have a choice as to whether I go through his lessons with him or not.  I finally decided that my interference was actually hindering him in his learning experience.  He was so bent against doing anything I suggested that he would do the opposite of what I said and thereby made many wrong decisions that he might have avoided if I had just kept my thoughts to myself.  This was my part of the lesson, I had to learn that his life was his to mess up if he wanted to.  There is nothing I can do about it.

That lead to the adoption of my three mantras:

1)  What you focus on expands
2)  No news is good news
3)  Not my circus, not my monkeys

I use #1 to pull myself back from what I now call the abyss.  That downward spiraling circle of thoughts that leads me to the pit of despair.  At first I had to force ably pull my thoughts away from my DS and his wife and focus them on something that made me happy.  I planned camping trips.  I made plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas that not only did not include my DS but also gave me an excuse to not host him and his wife.  My DH and I went on canoe trips or other outings on those days. 

I use #2 whenever anyone asks about my DS/DIL so that I not only tell them I don't know but that there is no reason to ask me.  It has proven valuable in that now my friends may offer information on what my DS/DIL are doing but they no longer ask me what is happening.  In times past just a question would put me on the brink of the abyss and telling them anything would throw me into the pit.

I use #3 when they tell me things about my DS/DIL that make me want to interject an opinion.  It saves me from going to the brink of the abyss.

In closing let me tell you again that you deserve to enjoy your life.  You raised your children and you did the best you could.  It is not your fault that your DS chose the life he is leading.  You are not the one who can 'save' him, he has to save himself.  And one more thing, by accepting the way you are being treated you are teaching your grands that it is okay to treat you this way.  This is not a good lesson to pass on.

Good luck, hugs and let us know what you decide and how it goes!
6
Hi G!  We are glad you found us!  Like Luise my problem doesn't exactly mesh with yours but your situation reminds me of a problem my sister had with her daughter.  Her problem was that her daughter wanted to sleep with her mother every night.  Naturally this put a tremendous strain on my sister's married life but my sister was too soft hearted to put her foot down.  She finally worked out a solution.  She figured that she was making her daughter too comfortable in her bed so she stopped making allowances for her.  She actually deliberately elbowed her or stuck her knee into her back to make sleeping uncomfortable for her.  A few nights later my wonderful niece decided that she would stay in her own bed.  So my question to you is, what are you doing to make your daughter's life more comfortable?  What can you eliminate from your list of job duties to promote more independence in your daughter?  Do you do her laundry?  Cook her meals?  Pay her cell phone bill? Provide her with a car or insurance?  If her counselor has released her you should too.  Do not look on this as punitive, it is life pure and simple.  The more she does on her own the better she will feel about herself.

You deserve to enjoy the life you and your DH have built for yourselves.  I too know of a set of parents who moved out from around their daughter and sold the house.  It was a terrible decision and a long time coming.  Maybe just making your DD's life less cozy will do the trick.  I hope for your sake that it works!  Hugs!!
7
Happy New Year to you J! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you but it was New Years Eve, right? I remember when my DS picked his wife how totally horrified I was.  There were so many things wrong with the match in my opinion.....so many!  I could not keep my big mouth shut.  No I didn't tell him not to do it but I did ask him to wait, just wait a few months, get your feet under you before you jump into such a permanent obligation.  Her response to this request was to move the wedding up.  Well I learned my lesson. 

I suffered through the wedding and the rehearsal dinner.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, trying to smile while my heart was breaking.  Then came the children.  That is when you know your DS is truly stuck in the relationship.  Things were very bad for me for years.  I cried a lot and talked to everyone about how unfair the entire situation was, and it is totally wrong.  I raised a wonderful caring human who married a woman who has done nothing but hinder his chances for advancement both socially and economically.  It hurts my soul when I think about it.  Anyway talking about it all the time did only one thing.  It made people want to avoid me.  The situation was taking all the joy out of my life, ruining my relationships with my family, friends, even my DH.  I turned into a real party pooper.  And then I found this website and it changed my life.

It was here that I found women who knew what I was feeling and really empathized.  Through reading the posts here I found hope that I could once again enjoy my life.  I had to decide to let my DS learn his own lessons in life, his own way, even if I knew it was the hard way.  I stopped calling him, texting him, trying to fix things.  I just stopped.  It took him a few months to realize that I was no longer standing there waiting for him to return, so what did I do during those months?  I learned to think about something else.  I started putting myself first (something that is very hard for good mothers to do).  I spent time planning things for myself and my DH to enjoy.  When anyone asked me about my DS I would say "No news is good news" or "Not my circus, not my monkeys" and move to more pleasant topics.  The change in my life was huge.  I am really having a good time now.  My DH came up to me the other day and said he was the happiest he has been in years and I have to admit that I am too.

So my advice to you is.....you deserve to be happy and you can be.  You can borrow my three mantras (some are repeats but I repeated them daily for years and still do)

1) No news is good news
2) Not my circus, not my monkeys
3) What you focus on expands

The third one is really important!  Once I started focusing my thoughts on making myself happy, my happiness expanded.  It may sound selfish but I helped not only myself but also my DH and my other DS and my relatives and my friends.  We are all enjoying our lives more now.  Admittedly my DS and his wife are less happy than I would like to see them be but there is nothing I can do to change things for them and ruining my life over it is no longer an option I am willing to allow.  I matter too.  I want to enjoy the remainder of my life. 

Hugs!
8
Welcome J!  If your screen name is close to your real name please change it to something less identifiable.  Only Luise and Kirk are allowed to use their real names since they started the site and maintain it.  Also we ask all new members to check out the posts in the "Open  me First"  area and pay special attention to the forum agreement to be sure we are a good fit for you.  We are a monitored website.

I really wish I had time to address your situation right now but I am on my way to work and cannot be late.  I will leave this tab open and try to reply later.  For now please know that I feel for you.  I know what it is like to loose your son.  The heartache is almost unbearable.  You deserve better.  More later!  Hugs!
9
Welcome J!  We are 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. There you will find a list of our abbreviations and acronyms.  Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit for you. We are a monitored Website.


DS stands for dear son.  Please feel free to post anytime! 

Hugs!

https://www.wisewomenunite.com/index.php/topic,6650.0.html
10
Welcome I!!  We are 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 are a monitored Website.  I edited your original post to remove your name.  Only the founder of this site, Luise, can use their real name.  You also should change your screen name.  Do not use your email address.  Thanks!!

Now as to your problem you really haven't given us much to comment on so I will be shooting in the dark but I will give it a whirl.  My DS was completely unaware that he was "playing games" with me.  I was well aware of it but I still kept playing because, after all, he is my son and I didn't want to loose him forever and since games were the only way of keeping in touch, well, what else could I do?  I was so incredibly upset and I could not see any way out.  I forgot that there is always a way out.  I stopped playing.  I stopped calling him to stay in touch.  I stopped texting him to see what was happening.  I stopped running after him begging to be included in his life.  I just quit.  It wasn't easy.  I had to force myself to stop.  I had to rehearse and repeat my mantras:

1) No news is good news
2) Not my circus, not my monkeys
3) What I focus on expands

Using these sayings to recenter myself many times a day I eventually broke the "I've gotta fix this" habit and I have grown to accept that his life is his to live, including if he messes it up.  It has taken years but he has come around.  I think that I was stuck in the habit of treating him like my son instead of treating him as the adult he is.  I still object to some of the things he does but I keep to my own counsel unless he asks for advice (which he almost never does).  With practice I have managed to start focusing my thoughts on the things that bring me joy and my life in general has improved beyond belief.  Thinking about my DS's situation still causes me grief so I still try to avoid dwelling on it.  As a matter of fact when my siblings or friends ask about him I always repeat my circus mantra and they hush.  I hope this helps.

Hugs!!
11
Grandchildren / Re: Silent treatment from daughter.
November 16, 2019, 06:24:22 am
Welcome I!!  We are 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 are a monitored Website.

I have had your reply up on my computer since you posted it trying to figure out what I should say.  Once I was where you are but it didn't involve my children, it involved my husband.  At least twice a year he would go out of town on a "guys weekend" and leave me to take care of the children.  Over time I grew to resent this treatment.  I voiced my resentment and my reasons but my DH just said "Why don't you just take a weekend trip too?".  He had a point but I didn't want to leave my DH and children at home while I went out for a good time.  I was at an impasse with a growing resentment about it.  It was so unfair for him to do this to me year after year!  I actually got so bad that I considered the big "D".  It is amazing how much resentment can invade your relationship and turn a good one sour.

I can almost hear you thinking "So, what did you DO?"  I went to a workshop that made me rethink how that resentment got there and who was responsible for it.  Actually it was my own fault.  I had given my DH the total responsibility for my happiness.  Whether I am happy or not is my own decision and how much I let someone else "make me unhappy" is also my own choice.  My workshop taught me that I was the only person who could make me happy or vice versa.  I took a long look at my situation and came up with a solution.

I started doing things to make myself happy on those "guy weekends".  I took the kids camping.  I started going up to my DH and asking him when the next weekend was so that I could make plans for myself and the kids.  When he came home the children and I were full of stories about how much fun we had had.  I can only remember a couple of times camping without my DH there.  It didn't take long for him to decide that he would rather go with us than go on the "guys" trip.  Those camping trips stand out in all of our memories.  My screen saver is filled with pictures of them and when they pop up I think about how much fun we had on that particular trip.  I know my children will recall them with pleasure for their entire lifetimes, and to think the first camping trip my children went on was planned as a way to make myself happy and resentment free.  I am forever grateful for that workshop.  It was the beginning of my happily ever after.  Yes, that was derailed by the DIL issue that brought me here and it took my reading on this site to bring me back to the path of happiness but right now, for a while, my life is blissfully happy.  It is one of the things I will be thinking about this Thanksgiving.

I hope this will help you think twice about how unhappy you are letting yourself feel.  I hope it will empower you to take control of your life instead of letting everyone else drive your moods.  Happiness is a matter of perspective. Find something in your life that makes you happy and focus on it.  Always remember what you focus on expands!

Hugs from all of us!
12
Grandchildren / Re: Silent treatment from daughter.
September 11, 2019, 03:18:08 am
Welcome S!!  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 are a monitored Website.

I have gotten "the silent treatment" before and it really stinks!  I finally got tired of letting my DS make me feel that way and I stopped.  I know it sounds weird but "the silent treatment" only works if you let it.  If you can tell yourself 'no news is good news' and just ignore the fact that they are not talking to you the sting in "the silent treatment" disappears like magic.  When they start talking to you if you act like you never noticed it kind of takes the wind out of their sails.  It takes practice but it worked for me.  Good luck!

On the other front your daughter sounds like she has lessons (economic ones) to learn.  When my DS started making bad decisions I found that I just could not watch without saying anything.  Luckily "the silent treatment" made it so that I was not finding out about any of his bad decisions until they were done deals.  He has learned a lot since I started letting go and so have I.  His problems are his and he does not ask for help except in the most extreme circumstances.  Fortunately I have been able to help him once or twice.  He understands that that will not always be the case.  It is amazing how much he has matured since I stopped stepping in to fix things.  I am really proud of him now.

Remember that you deserve to be happy!!
13
Welcome I!!  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 are a monitored Website.

 I am so sorry for your situation!  I would never wish that on anyone partially because it sounds very much like mine.  I made the mistake of asking my DS (in private) to delay the wedding.  He told his fiance everything I said and it must have come out even worse than when I said it because now her father thinks that I called her a , hmm, lets say a lady of the evening.  No, of course I did not but now I will have to live with that maybe forever.  When she heard she moved the wedding forward by a few months.  Boy did that backfire!

As for attending the wedding, I did and it was the singular most hurtful experience I have ever had.  Don't get me wrong, when I lost my Mom  and later my Dad, both of those were painful.  But at both of those gatherings people were offering condolences, not congratulations.  It was very hard for me to accept their congratulations.  It was difficult to feel so hurt around people who were so joyful.  That said, I am glad I went because it kept the door for communication open and it let my DS know that I had not deserted him.  He knew (and knows still) that I am always here for him.

Don't get me wrong, things have not been all rosy since then.  I was still very hurt and resentful of what my DS and DIL had done to me and were continuing to do.  That did not change until I changed.  I finally decided (way too late!) that my life was too valuable to waste it trying to make things better for my DS especially when my efforts were so obviously unwanted.  So I started concentrating on things that made me happy.  It is amazing how difficult it is as a mother to shift your focus from your child back to yourself.  For some reason we have convinced ourselves that we are not "good mothers" if we stop trying to 'fix' things for our children.  Well, in my case it turns out that my attempts at 'fixing' things were just keeping my DS from learning from his experiences.  He needed to figure things out on his own.  Since I pulled back and stopped offering advice or telling him what I think our relationship has recovered.  He is an amazing parent and I honestly believe that on occasion he tells his wife not to treat me so badly.  What a turn around!  Truly amazing.

As for your question, no you are not being too sensitive but I honestly do not think anything you and your side of the family say will change anything.  If it does more power to you.  I certainly hope it does not backfire like mine did.  If it does, oh well.  I remember when my DS told my DH and I that they were pregnant and the first words out of my DH's mouth were "We have got to move out of town".  Total shock from both of them.  Things have improved since then but still I will never truly love or trust my DIL.  Sad, but true.  I hope things work out better for you!

Hugs. 
14
Another thing I learned that might help you is that I control who makes me mad.  When I "let" someone "make" me mad I have given the power to them.  Or rather my third mantra:

Those who anger you, control you.  Take back your power!!

Hugs again! 

Hang in there! 
15
Grandchildren / Re: Jealous grandmother
August 06, 2019, 03:07:05 pm
Welcome Jand!  We are 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 are a monitored Website.

Although your situation is unique in that you are not a blood relative we have had several grandmothers who were in similar situations when their DIL's felt resentful of the love and attention their grandchildren showed to the grands, ignoring the parent. 

I once had a neighbor who's daughter would rather spend time at my house than her own.  She loved playing with my DS (same age)but more than that she loved the hugs that flowed freely from me to any child in the vicinity.  I will always remember the first time I hugged her.  She stood there shocked so I asked if I could hug her again.  She said yes and I spent the next ten minutes asking the same question over and over again and hugging her.  Her mother eventually got jealous too and the little girl who was about 4 at the time was told she could not visit me anymore.  She would sneak away from home anyway and come to my house.  Then I would get a call from her mother asking if she was at my house and I would say yes.  I found out after a few times that she was sneaking over and getting spanked every time she came over but she still came anyway.  My heart broke.  One of the hardest things I have ever done was to tell her she couldn't come over anymore because I didn't want her to get spanked.  She moved away a few months later.  I still think about her and wonder how she is doing.  She is a young adult now.  I hope she eventually found a loving home for herself and her children (if she has any).

I had to face the horrible fact that I could not help her any more than I already had.  Hopefully I let her know that all homes were not like her childhood home and she could set her sights on the home she wanted and not settle for the kind of home she was raised in.  There were many, many indications for me that the home she was raised in was horribly dysfunctional. 

Hopefully someone else on this site will pipe in with some wonderful idea that will save you from the fate I have had to live with.

Hugs!