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Topics - Pen

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Grab Bag / As usual, acceptance!
« on: July 16, 2017, 08:55:26 AM »
Good grief, I'm old enough to be considered elderly by some. Why can't I get a handle on my family issues?

I am still broadsided by feelings of envy, inadequacy, sorrow, anger when I hear about the wonderful things my stepmother/DF have done for her AC & GC when we have been completely left out. Trips abroad for all, family holiday celebrations, expensive, meaningful gifts, help w/home repairs, special trips w/GC, etc.

What's worse, my SM claims it's not true & says I'm at fault for not feeling like I'm part of the family & then minutes later reminisces w/my step sis about their great trip to Europe. Or claims to hate crowded family gatherings & then plans the annual gathering @ the lake (excluding us) while I'm present!

There are photos of her AC & GC all over the house, not one of any of us, not even the one family photo we were allowed to be in 15 years ago. There's a photo of my stepsister's puppy but not one of my kids.

I googled "narcissistic gaslighting" and checked off every symptom. My dad drank the kool-aid long ago. Just call me lucky, lol.

Other than that it's been a good visit  :P

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / What DS learned from DH
« on: July 10, 2017, 07:29:20 AM »
As my DH gets older & more tired of working hard w/o much financial reward, the daily grind, home maintenance demands, etc etc, I am seeing my often grumpy FIL emerge. And I see both of these men in my DS's treatment of me (often rude, dismissive, putting me down.) My DS didn't spend much time around his GP, and my DH wasn't as grumpy when the kids were young - but enough must have been observed by DS to have given him permission, I guess. Or it's genetic, I don't know.

It's hard work to stand up for myself w/o causing backlash. Harder to accept it quietly, though. I am working on finding a way to let them know I will not tolerate that treatment any longer w/o creating defensiveness and more of the same.

DH is a good provider, hardworking and honest. He loves our disabled DD, provided massive support for DS through college, and loves his family above all else. However.....

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Another Mother's Day
« on: May 08, 2017, 07:51:21 PM »
Sooo....Mother's Day here in the States is this coming Sunday. It can be an emotional landmine for some of us if we're not careful. I've been working on my DS/DIL business for many years (thanks, Luise & Kirk!) and have come a long way. Apparently I still have some work to do - two steps forward, one back?

Usually Mother's Day isn't a big deal to me, but this year I've been kind of emotional lately and I think I need a plan. Anyone else?

Grab Bag / Thank you!
« on: December 22, 2016, 08:33:21 AM »
Dearest Luise and Kirk,

Thank you for starting and maintaining this site! You have helped me grow and change for the better. You give me a safe place to just be with my emotions when things get tricky. You support, encourage, teach, and nudge when needed. I don't even want to think about what my life with DS/DIL would be without your loving guidance.

With gratitude and love,


Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Peace and Fulfillment
« on: December 22, 2016, 08:22:30 AM »
I send all of my WWU friends good wishes and hope for peace and fulfillment in our lives.  :) :) :)

In a recent magazine article, Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) told a story about how her mom would always change the sheets and make the bed before leaving for vacation. When young Liz questioned why, since no one would be home, her mother replied, "It's a gift to my future self. She is going to come home tired and frazzled. I want her to have a nice, fresh bed to climb into." Or words to that effect. You can find it in O Magazine I believe.

I love the idea of giving a gift to my future self! I'm going to use this from here on, regarding exercise, good nutrition, facial care, picking up after myself, etc etc. I may need to repeat it as a mantra ("...a gift to future Pen, a gift to future Pen...")

We deserve it!

Helpful Resources / Chronic sorrow
« on: November 17, 2016, 04:19:34 PM »
Some of you may want to check out a diagnosis called "chronic sorrow." I found information online when I was trying to find help getting out of my sadness spiral regarding my disabled adult daughter. Most of the listed symptoms and feelings fit what I had been going through for 30 years.

It then occurred to me that having an adult child who rejects his/her FOO for whatever reason might trigger chronic sorrow for some of us. Perhaps if we can name it and validate it we can better heal from it. Just a thought.

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Holiday strategies?
« on: November 08, 2016, 11:07:58 AM »
WWU, it's that time of year again. If the holiday season is tough due to family issues, how do we cope? How do we find joy? I'd love to hear everyone's plans or solutions.

If you've already celebrated your big holiday(s) this year, what worked? If it was a challenge, how would you improve your approach in the future? If your holidays are still ahead, and you had a tough go last year, what strategies will you use to give yourself comfort and joy this year?

Grab Bag / Storm in PNW
« on: October 15, 2016, 11:51:27 PM »
Hey Luise, thinking of you. Hope all is well with you and yours. On the news it looks pretty wild where you are. Stay safe!

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / DS under pressure?
« on: September 08, 2016, 07:16:37 PM »
Hi, all...

My DS and I got into a little miscommunication-fueled tiff a couple of weeks ago. My feelings were hurt and I spent a few days throwing myself a bit of a pity party, complete with tears that sprang into my eyes from time to time (TV commercials that show happy families really get to me, lol.)

While trying to sort out what happened, I remembered the wise words I'd heard here and elsewhere regarding how many of our DSs react when they feel they are between the proverbial rock and hard place. I didn't know that a comment I made, kind of in jest, would affect my DS to the point he felt he needed to lash out at me, but I think that's what happened.

DS & DIL are heading for some big life changes soon. A couple of weeks ago DS called me and we had a long, grown-up talk. He asked for my input on a couple of things, expressed his desire for some help (labor, lol) from DH & I, etc. I didn't jump in and go overboard, but I did tell him we'd be glad to help if he needed it (the way good friends or those happy TV families might do, lol!)

Fast-forward a couple of weeks and his tone has changed. Cold as ice, very testy and prickly and argumentative. Whoa, dude...what's going on?

Perhaps he mentioned our good talk and our willingness to help to DIL and she was not thrilled. I don't know for sure, and we will not be likely to discuss it, but my feeling is that she doesn't want us anywhere near any part of their lives. She knows I am not an over-bearing MIL and that I do not want to give advice or offer opinions on anything, even when asked, but she is still adamant about leaving us out.

At first I was devastated, but as Luise says, it was because I had expectations! Granted, those expectations were based on his previous demeanor, but still... darn it, I allow myself to get swept in every time!! Now, although I'm still hurt and feel he needs to apologize and treat me with more civility, I understand that his behavior isn't against me as much as it's self-preservation for him.

I do not want to be another pressure on my DS; he gets enough of that at home. Now I'm working on being more aware of what might be going on so I don't get caught up again. It's a little like "walking on eggshells" w/o the low self-esteem that I often project.

It's very sad when we are reminded, again, that we are not really part of our adult children's lives. Some of us dream of a loving balance, helping each other, celebrating family events together, etc. I'm still working on those pesky expectations, my sense of fairness and my fear of abandonment. Thanks WWU for listening!

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Upcoming visit with Dad
« on: April 27, 2016, 08:02:50 PM »
Hi, WW!

As my once every couple of years visit with my dad/SM approaches, I'm trying to pay attention to my emotional state so I can be cool, calm and lovingly detached. There is a lot of baggage there - in fact, my close friends who know our history (and were present for a lot of it) wonder why I spend the time and $$$ to travel all the way across the continent to see him when usually it is a less than fulfilling visit.

Am I making the effort in a weird attempt to insure my DS/DDD will still visit me in a couple of decades?
Am I simply of the "dutiful daughter" generation?
Am I still trying to get dad/SM to acknowledge and approve of me?

I noticed I was starting to get anxious, a little depressed and a bit insecure (about my weight, my finances, my aging face, etc etc etc. Yikes!!)

However, I've decided to limit my exposure this trip - traveling with a dear friend and planning a lot of sightseeing activities w/her and her DS, so I'm not able to spend more than a few hours in the presence of my dad and his wife. My SM might try to make me feel guilty and will more than likely talk badly about me to her AC...but it's about taking care of myself while honoring my dad.

How I wish it could be different! I pray my own AC don't feel this way about me!!

Am I nuts or what?  :P

Helpful Resources / "Find the Good" Book/author recommendation
« on: November 19, 2015, 06:42:04 PM »
I have to highly recommend Find the Good by Heather Lende. She is an author who writes obituaries for a small town paper in Alaska. She decided to spend time really listening to the stories and anecdotes people wanted to tell about their loved ones who had passed on. She wanted to treat every life as a wonderful journey with value, no matter who she was writing about...finding the good.

It really made me think about how I want to be remembered by my family & friends. A lot of the petty, bitter stuff I worry about just isn't that important in the long run. Big Picture: I want to be known for my kindness, love, sense of humor, compassion and creativity; lots to work on there! Small picture - I really want to clean out my garage and my closets ASAP...and keep up with my pedicures. No one will want to deal with any of those things when I'm gone, lol.

Anyway, it's a fairly quick, curiously upbeat read considering the subject matter. I've fallen in love with the author, her family, and their little town.

Grab Bag / Plans for 2015
« on: January 01, 2015, 03:59:05 PM »
I don't like to make NY's resolutions, so I just make plans, lol.

This year I plan to commit, again, to health and fitness. I figure this is a good place to start not just for the obvious benefits but also for emotional and mental health. I can't do anything about my DS & DIL, I have no control over my DDD's outcome, and I have no say regarding my employment (it's up to the people at the top as to whether or not my department continues to be funded.)

The things I have control over are my physical/mental/emotional fitness, what I choose to eat, how much sleep I get, and how often I floss. So, those are the things I'll be concentrating on in 2015! Oh, and maybe scheduling precious time for creativity.

How about you?

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Intuition confirmed!
« on: December 11, 2014, 08:51:54 AM »
DS just told me that DIL cannot like us because she sees us in competition with her FOO.

Many of you suggested that very thing on the site through the years, but it seemed far-fetched to me since DIL's FOO is wealthy, provides goodies and experiences beyond what we can do, spends much more time w/DS & DIL than we do, etc. etc. DH & I know we can't ever compete, so we've kept a low profile. However, something has always felt "off" to me. DH said it was just me being a typical jealous MIL and nothing was really wrong, so I tried to let it go.

DS essentially said that DIL wants her FOO to be first in DS's life and for his FOO to fade away...and it annoys her that DS insists on keeping up a relationship with us. Although I'm glad to have my intuition validated, it makes me sad. I guess I had still hoped that as DIL grew more secure in her marriage, and more comfortable with us, she'd see that we were just nice people who weren't into playing possessive games or inflaming drama.

This knowledge won't change the way we treat DIL. We will continue to be our nice, accepting selves and ignore her sometimes rude treatment of us. I think we'll be more relaxed around her, actually  ;) DS told us to not worry about spending a lot on her for Christmas (that's how this whole conversation got started in the first place; I asked him for gift suggestions.) He also said that her FOO gave him & their other SIL generic, cheap gifts every year so there was no reason to go out of our way to get something thoughtful for DIL! We'll give her a lovely gift, but not go overboard.

So we'll save a little time & money...not a problem! Right now I'm just glad that at this moment DS loves us & wants to maintain a relationship with us. And I'm not delusional. Whew!

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Taking my life back
« on: November 24, 2014, 10:56:15 AM »
I first came to this site when DS was planning to marry DIL. DIL's FOO completely took over his life and shunned us. DS was trying to do the right thing for his relationship with his ILs and his marriage & we were put on the back burner. DS would call or come by while DIL wasn't around, so we knew he still cared about us, but we weren't "in the loop."

Enter the FB phenomenon. Again, I was left out (actually told by DS/DIL not to join.) I'd read here at WWU and other places about FB ruining relationships, so I heeded the warnings and stayed away. Missing the occasional baby shower or birth announcement didn't seem worth the risk of possibly being cut off completely by DS.

A couple of days ago a friend called asking if I knew about the passing and upcoming memorial service of another dear friend's mom since everything had been posted on FB. I would have been sad if I'd missed paying my respects. Right then and there I decided to take back my life! I am tired of not seeing what my family and friends are doing (we have relatives all over the world.) So, I joined FB. DS & DIL accepted my friend requests (DH encouraged me to get over my fear.) So far all is OK.

We'll see...

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