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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 - constantmargaret

I have to chime in.

My kids like to poke fun at me and they don't have much on me so they pull out the same old stuff every time, like when I was a sick and exhausted single mother of 6 and they were all running around like a pack of wild hyenas and I was trying to take the one nap I ever had in my life and I roared from my bedroom, "QUIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

They tell that story every chance they get to anyone who will listen and I hate it because it makes me sound like a monster. They also love to tell about the dinner I used to make occasionally with red kidney beans, cabbage, onion and one measly package of kielbasa to feed our entire family. Hey, we were broke! Apparently, they didn't like it, but I never noticed any leftovers..... To hear them talk I fed them a quarter cup of gruel for every meal.

Come to think about it, my siblings and I still tease our mother about the Velveeta and grape jelly sandwiches on Wonder bread with the apple sitting on top of it in a greasy reused brown paper sack for lunches. (Everybody else had Flipper lunch boxes and bologna and cheese.) My mother just shrugs and says, "You were lucky to have it."

I'm just trying to get you to laugh about the teasing. In my case it is all in good fun (even though I know it, it doesn't always feel good)but it sounds like yours is truly hurtful. If I wanted to fight fire with fire this is what I'd do.

Go to the local gun shop and pick up a package of those targets with the outline of a human being. Draw a heart with a red sharpie marker in the middle of the cross hairs and paste a picture of your face on the head. Write MOM in big letters on the top. Hang it in your closet and have it ready. Then when the shots start, go get it, stick it up on the wall with a thumbtack and say, "I'm feeling lazy. I think I'll go get something edible. Resume fire." Then get your purse and take yourself out to dinner. Get dessert.

Absolutely Luise! Even though everything in the letter was true, I doubt it would have been helpful because he didn't want to hear it. So yes, it was a good lesson, and I would suggest anyone going through this to try it. Go dark.

You don't want me in your life? Ok, fine. You don't have to tell me twice. Ok, he did have to tell me twice, but I didn't quite believe him the first time. Hahah  As a mother, I found that keeping my mouth shut went against every single instinct I had but I am grateful I didn't stoop to my ex husband's level, and I felt that way even before my DS came around.

It's ironic. As desperate as I was then to tell my son my side of things, I think now if he ever suddenly gave me the opportunity to do so, I'd tell him it's none of his business.  ;D
Hi ladies,
I have been away from this site for some time. I came here originally when my 17 year old son estranged from me. After a year of obsessing about the estrangement and reading here every day, I decided that I should probably try to kick the habit and start living life. I want to update you now because you all were so wonderful to me when I was down and out.

The situation with my son resolved on Easter. I unexpectedly ran into him at his brother's, and nobody was more shocked than I when he approached me with a hug and an apology. He also apologized to my husband. I have since seen him 4 times. He took me out to brunch on Mother's Day, and he invited me to see him and his girlfriend at her prom. Hopefully we can continue to leave what I think was parental alienation behind us and move closer as mother and son. However, if we don't, I know I will be sad, but ok.

Part of me didn't want to come back here. It pains me to see so many good people here hurting. I will never forget that agony. But I need to thank you for the good advice you gave me and for just getting what I was going through. I can't tell you how much it helped me. The best advice I got here was when I was desperate to tell my son why he was wrong to believe the lies his father told him and wrote a long letter explaining it all. The overwhelming response was, "Don't send it." I read that letter the other day, and I cringe thinking I nearly sent it. It would have been like pouring gasoline on a bonfire.

I am glad I did not chase my son. He said he didn't want to see me and with your support, I gave him what he wanted. I feel like that may have helped him to see me as a person with feelings rather than just Mom who will always be there no matter how much I abuse her. Maybe it didn't help him, I don't know. What I do know is that not chasing him and letting him go helped me. Whether or not he and I had ever reconciled, it is what I needed to do for me. This was a wonderful place for me to get my head screwed on. You guys helped me take back my self respect. Thank you. I sincerely hope every one of you gets the outcome you desire and deserve.

Point taken Pen, but I'd rather have a kid angry and resentful at me for making him do chores  than for serving him breakfast in bed.
I have read of many families where the estrangement started with one child who recruited their siblings to join them in hating their parents. Not uncommon with modern children and lemmings.

Maybe the answer is in your post.  "Spoiled beyond words."

I didn't set out to spoil my children, I just wanted my children to have more than I had growing up. But by never teaching them reciprocity, I spoiled my kids, and I regret it. I didn't serve them breakfast in bed, but in other ways I unknowingly taught them that I was the giver, and they were the takers. Those were the roles. No wonder the first time I failed to grant their wish before they even thought to wish it I became a failure in their eyes. No wonder that when they became adults but didn't automatically stop taking and expecting they became failures in my eyes. In spite of my good intentions, I set up the dominoes to fall the disappointing way that they inevitably did.

If I had to do it over, I would teach my children to work, to give, and to help without expecting anything in return but thanks.  I don't have to do it over, thank the universe, so all I can do at this point is hope that some of what I did right rubs off too.

I agree you should stop apologizing and start living for yourself. If they come around, good. If they don't, you won't have wasted years wringing your hands wondering what you did. You know what you did and why you did it. You can't make anyone else see that.

I always thought the crack was to help you choose your half.  :D
Did your little pumpkin get her pie? 
DivaGirl, Is it possible that your mother is scared out of her mind? Skin cancer is life threatening. It didn't kill her last time, but that doesn't mean it can't come back and kill her this time.  Cancer survivors live in daily fear of their cancers returning and that kind of constant stress can make people act less than perfect. You didn't say what type she had, but a recurrence of a melanoma is not a good thing. I'll bet she's terrified. And in no condition to fight.

Quote from: Doe on October 09, 2012, 06:19:30 am
When a person tells me they might have cancer, it's time to put the gloves down and step away and give them some peace.  That's just my opinion.

Mine too. I hope she's ok.

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: B-day Epic Fail
October 07, 2012, 12:40:26 pm
You tried Pen. It's them.

It would have been more humane for them to just say no thank you to the invitation if they didn't really want to go than to accept then show up resentful and make everyone uncomfortable and miserable. They probably think they didn't need to bring a gift because their very presence was gift enough. Yeah, thanks kids, but don't do us any more favors....

I'm so sorry it went down like that. For you and your DH both.  Sadly, estrangement sounds preferable. hug.
Your FDIL should just get your ex something appropriate to wear and hand it to him when/if he shows up.

Preferably an orange jumpsuit or a clown outfit.

Geeze, whatever happened to the bride being able to pick out the attire for her own wedding?  Your son's SM sounds simply delightful. Your poor FDIL. I imaging your YS is grateful to have you there to be a buffer for his bride.

Pooh, take a deep breath and don't punch anyone. Hopefully it will all work out. LL is right about weddings. People do and say some crazy stuff.
Grab Bag / Re: Gift Ideas
October 01, 2012, 05:23:19 pm
Well, don't laugh. My mother is on a fixed income and is always apologizing for her gifts. "Nothing rich or rare," she always says. Well, recently she gave me a wooden back scratcher. And I love it. I have a bad shoulder so there's this spot on my back I can't reach, you know... I keep it right by my laptop. Best gift I've received in a while.

Sounds silly but when you gotta scratch, you gotta scratch.
I don't know what that point is for you, but for me it came when I was told in no uncertain terms for the second time to stop contacting him. He has a birthday coming up next week too. And I will not be sending anything because I am honoring his wishes to be left alone by me. 

I'm not withholding, punishing him, giving him the silent treatment or the cold shoulder, nor am I stooping to his level. I'm simply giving him what he asked for. He can consider that his birthday gift. Despite how it sounds, I am showing him respect. Until he tells me otherwise, I will continue to honor his wish. To do otherwise would make me feel bad. I am not one to force myself or unwanted attention and gifts on anyone, son or not.

I suspect that we don't get the same gratification from gift giving, so my words may not be what you want to hear. I would not get any pleasure from giving my son a gift right now while he is so hostile toward me. I have so many other people in my life I would rather give to. People who actually reciprocate my love.

So your options are 1. ask what everyone wants to do and you're an insecure wimp. or 2. plan it all yourself and get it wrong and have them say, no thanks, that's not something we want to do.  or 3. buy a crystal ball and hope you can read his mind and figure out what would be not too hot, not too cold, but juuuuust right.

Could it be that he doesn't want a part in planning because he's already planning to decline? Know what I mean?  How do you decline an event you helped plan? His involvement would leave him no exit strategy.

Ugh. Makes one feel like bashing one's head. (me bashing his....that is)

That, or option 4, call and cancel all plans due to lack of interest. Have dinner without them and be thankful you don't have to wait on them and possibly get that all wrong too. I can hear it a year from now..... The turkey was dry. The gravy was lumpy. And she used pre-made pie crust!

Sorry you are dealing with such craziness.

Grandchildren / Re: Different situation
September 10, 2012, 04:09:53 pm
It's ok. We don't get it either. It's also ok to vent and be disappointed. I know these names can be emotionally charged. Once my XMIL heard one of my little kids call an elderly lady who was a family friend "Grammy Phyllis" and she got so upset she stormed out of my kid's birthday party and didn't speak to us for a year. She didn't want her title of honor to be used by someone else. I know that's an extreme example, but it kind of illustrates how important it is to some people. But to let it wreck an entire year of grandmahood? Now that, I really don't get. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bath water...

Letting go of family traditions can be hard. Change in general is hard. But I'm finding that the new traditions my adult kids are coming up with are pretty neat, too. Like Grammie said,  you gotta be FLEXIBLE, baby.

Just don't try and convince me that sausage belongs in the Turkey Stuffing.   
You said you didn't stand up for yourself when you were younger. Maybe your DD is similar.  If she's being pressured by FMIL, maybe she can't say no? Give your DD room to figure out her new family dynamics without worrying about hurting your feelings. She'll love you for that. Try to be secure in the great relationship you've always had. If she lets FMIL buy her a dress, or gets someone else to make her cake, try not to take it personally. Hard, I know.. . Try to see it not so much as a rejection of you as her trying to accept her new ILs. 

I would say something like, "Honey, it sounds like you have a lot of people helping you plan your wedding. I would like to be a part of that and help out too in any way I can, but I don't want to bug you or seem controlling, so I'll wait for you to let me know what you'd like me to contribute."

You won't blow it.  ;D