January 21, 2021, 06:40:22 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 - Karina53

Dear Wise Women, I am not sure how to handle this situation, but have some ideas. I've been reading everyone else's situations with their AC's and can relate. My youngest AD is 32 and has been married for 9 years. They are expecting their first child in April. I am happy for them, but not sure how to interact with her. Ever since she got married, she has treated me differently. I don't know why, but do know she and her MIL have grown quite close. I've met her MIL and she is a very nice person. I like her. It seems that my DD has pushed me to the side and done some rather mean things. Growing up and early adulthood we were very close, though she has always been a challenge. I've often wondered if she might be bi-polar, though not in extreme manner. I'm usually one of the last people now to find out what's going on with her. She had a miscarriage earlier and told other family members about it, including her older sister and 12-year old niece, but I was the last to know. Also when she became pregnant, my husband (her dad) were some of the last to know. I am hurt. And she has a baby registry on-line, we bought a baby bed through it (I had to ask about the registry), she communicates briefly her thanks, but that's it. I asked her about visiting when he is born, she tells me that her MIL will be there for the first week, but has no preference for when we should come. She says to do whatever we want. I want to be there for her, but seems like she doesn't really care one way or the other. She's very non-commital. I'm torn about when to visit, etc. They are about 400 miles away. I will need to find housesitter ahead of time for our animals. I feel sad about all of this. I am close to my OD and her 2 daughters and am in their lives. Thanks for any insight into this situation.
Still Learning, thanks for your input. You see it how he also sees it. After posting my situation, I took a nice walk in the hills, and sat on  my favorite rock overlooking a stream. I asked for guidance. What I got was very interesting. You see, I grew up with a depressed mother and a narcissist older sister, and an abusive SF. I felt abandoned by my mother, who married an abusive man. She and SF had four more kids together. Anyway, I have worked through some of my issues, ie narcissistic sister, etc. I've had to cut ties with her, as every time I've let her back into my life, she has been abusive. MIL pushes some of my buttons. She has personality similarities to my OS. So, I get to do some more work on me, and feelings of worthiness. When she does mean things, I am reminded of the helplessness I felt as a child. My mom did not protect or nurture me or other siblings. She didn't stand up for me. And now I am looking to  my husband to support/stand by me now. Is it too much to ask of him? He is a good man in many ways, but has never told his mother to stop. His older brother has, though. When his OB married, MIL says to her, "you look OK now, but don't put on anymore weight." BIL heard about this and told her that if she continued saying such things, he would cut her out of his life. She stopped. BIL let her know this, and it worked. I wish DH could do this, but just can't bring himself to do it.
We travel to the area she lives in often, as I also have a very dear aunt and uncle close by, within an hour's drive. I've thought that maybe I'll just stay with my own aunt and uncle, and let him stay with MIL.
I am looking for a new way to think about my MIL. I have been married to her DS for 34 years. DS and I have two grown ds and one gd. Over the years my MIL has been getting more and more angry and bitter about her life. She divorced DS's DF after 35 years of marriage. After a few years they both found new partners. Well, her new husband died after a few years. My husband's father died several years ago, as did his new love. My mil is now 91 and lives alone, but near one of her dd's and family. She has always been quite volatile, and spread much hurtful gossip about various family members, including me and my dd's . I also have reason to believe that she has NPD, which has become more extreme the older she has become. To make a long story shorter, I am one of the spouses she has not liked. What hurts the most is that my DH has not told his mother that her trash talk of me is not OK. He listens to her and tells her that I think she doesn't like me, and that I feel uncomfortable around her. He doesn't call her on any of her bad behavior. Her response to him was, "it's hard to like somebody who acted the way she did when I came to visit that time 22 years ago>" I could not believe her reason!!!! I was just stupefied. When our children were 4 and 11, she came for a 10 day visit, and complained the whole time to me about my DH's father, whom she had divorced years earlier. I sat and listened to her many times, finally told her enough!! She was a very bad guest, pitting my children against one another, and favoring the oldest. Did nothing to help. We took her out to a nice dinner, and she later complained about it, saying afterwards that she was angry that I hadn't found a sitter for our youngest. On and on. My husband worked days at that time, and I worked eves. and weekends. I also had a class during the day. She told my husband that she didn't like me because I was so busy and didn't include her in enough activities. She basically talked non-stop while she was here on that visit. It was a 10 day nightmare for me. I told DH to never ever do this to me again. He hasn't, but I have seen her many times through the years, she's been mean and spiteful to me, but careful not to do things right in front of DH. For the past year I've avoided being around her by not going to family functions. She lives 900 miles away. At times I feel quite angry that my H doesn't call her out on her bad behavior. He says, "it's not personal. She treats the other spouses badly too." But, I feel she's worse to me, and have told him. What to do? Anyone else have similar issues? Thanks for listening.
Liz, I can empathize with you. I have had some less than positive interactions with my own MIL. Sorry you are going through all of this. I too have fought with my DH over her. I have been so angry at her. We have been married for 32 yrs. I'm so glad we don't live nearby. There have been times when I've felt the way you are describing. Over and over DH has told me that it's not about me, it's about her (her bad behavior), and that she has problems with her other kids' spouses also. We have had to reach some compromises over the years. One is that we set a certain time limit on the amount of time we (mainly me) are willing to spend with her. I also ask him to "be with me" while we are around her. This means he lets her know, through his behavior, that we are a team. If I am feeling really upset with a particualr behavior, I may decide on a particular "password" ahead of time to let him know that I've had enough, and that we need to leave. Also, we decide ahead of time what we are willing to do for her, or not do for her. DH use to accommodate her requests, ie, handyman types of projects. She would have a list of things, and we decided that he would ask her to choose one, and that would be all. At first he had a hard time doing this, but over time he found his voice more and more. It's still an ongoing process, but it works, for the most part. I really think Luise is wise with her comments. I think the two of you could go, limit the time you are with her, and enjoy yourselves. You will be modelling healthy behavior for your children. They seem wise to understand who their MIL is. The main thing here is to let her know that you and your DH are a team. Over time, you will develop your own strategies together. He will appreciate your efforts.
Dear Mokatay, I have just been reading through all of your posts. My heart goes out to you. You have been through so much. And you are so brave, strong, and loving. I am a night owl, love to stay up late. I can tell you that I felt so much love and support from this group--I found it one night when I just couldn't sleep, and received tremendous love and comfort here. I realized that I wasn't alone in my own struggles. It has helped so much. I am so glad you called CPS. Your DD and BF wouldn't like it, but you did the right thing by looking out for your GC's. You did it out of your love for them.
My own father died when I was very young. My mom was left with 2 young DD's. She remarried a couple years later, telling us how lucky we were to have a man agree to take us on!! He was physically abusive. This was in the late 50's when there was a CPS (at least I don't think there was). My grandma (dad's ma) was upset with what she knew about him, but couldn't do a thing about it. She told me later in her life that she knew if she said anything to my mom and new "dad" that she wouldn't be allowed to see us, so she had to be quiet about her objections. It was hard for her. What I'm saying is that I'm so glad you can do something to protect them now. It is so important. And sometime down the road, you will know that you truly helped them. Things are difficult for you now, but I'm sure your situation will ease up and things will work out for you. I'm sending you love. Please keep us posted on your situation if you can. We care.
Luise, I love your outlook. Very wise
Hi Deb, what an amazing story! If your DS marries this woman, I'm betting he won't be very happy. She sounds quite controlling. And so does her FOO. I find it odd that they never knew about your DS and their DD living together. I'm guessing that she thinks you might spill the beans to her family. The whole thing sounds like one big mess. This does not sound like a very healthy relationship, and if their relationship is that tenuous now, they will have more issues as the wedding date nears. Take good care of yourself, let your son know that you love him, and really fill your life up with interesting people and situations. It sounds like the only thing you can do. And another thing--never say anything negative about his fiancee to him. I guess what I'm suggesting here is a friendly but detached interest in her.
I'm sorry for what you are going through. It sounds awful. And it sounds very similar to my OD's MIL. They have finally broken away from her toxicity, but it was awfully stressful on my DD. She went through hell. I told her early on that I thought her MIL had Narcissistic Personality Disorder. They went to a counsellor who helped them, and also told them that MIL has NPD. This isn't a simple case of being vain, but, rather, a totally disordered way of looking at and dealing with the world. I grew up with an older sister who also has NPD, and it took me years to find a counsellor who knew what it was. My sister wreaked havoc in my live, and it wasn't until I was in my late 30's that I finally began to understand it all. That was 20 years ago. About 15 years ago, I had to go "no contact" with her for my own sanity and peace of mind. Some people thought it was an awful way to treat a sister, but my responsibility is to myself and my own family. If you google NPD you will find some good sites, and one or two not. They have really helped me be strong in my own recovery of N abuse. Your MIL sounds so much like my daughter's MIL. They have finally gone no contact, and plan on moving to another state. I'm so happy for them. After 5 years of marriage, they finally get to really live their own lives and be their own family. You deserve the same.
Hello all you wise women, my computer needed to have repairs, so I haven't been to this site in several days now. I have just read all your responses to my new thread, and really enjoyed them. Of course, it is all a process, letting go of our AC's. I have a friend who is pregnant with her 2nd child==the oldest is 2. She is due in a month, and never has time to herself. She is also an art teacher. Her life is very hectic. Yesterday she told me that she envied me and my life, and the freedom I now have from childrearing. I told her that I envied her having 2 little ones, and all the fun of holidays, vacations, snuggling, etc. We were both surprised at each other. It made me reflect on things. I am an artist who works in clay, and do shows around the area, also local Saturday market. Sometimes I work till 2am in my studio. I enjoy the odd hours of work time. I love when it's dark out and I listen to Coast to Coast and do my own thing. I get to sleep in now. So there are advantages. But Christmas is not the same. We usually spend it with our ACs and GD 1000  miles away.

As far as the housekeeping goes, I've let things go much more than ever before, and wonder how all 4 of us and all our stuff fit in the current house. I'm somewhat sloppy in my habbits. And as for money for the AC's, we've decided no more. We recently helped our OD and family a bit, and our youngest got married a year ago, so we helped with that. For now, though, we have decided to not continue with the $$$. I have been listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio--he encourages people to live within their means, and I agree with him. Our oldest daughter and her husband had 2 house payments and 2 car payments, but no money to fix a leaky roof.  She recently sold her new car, and they've rented out one of their houses. They haven't made wise financial choices in the past, but now they seem to be learning. They need to rely on themselves now. No more from us!
Dear Wise Woman,
I am new here, or fairly new, and have been reading your situations. I am so happy to have found this forum. A few things have stood out to me, perhaps because I myself have also gone through what many of you have in your FOO's. What I'm seeing is that a great number of us had abusive and/or neglectful parents while we were growing up. We decided that we would never raise our own children the way we were raised. As for myself, my DD died when I was a small child. My mom was left with 2 young D's--me and my sister G. Our mom was depressed, and after a year she met 2nd H, J. G and I really disliked him--very authoritarian and abusive. We begged her not to marry him, but she did. I hated him. We had many clashes. He would beat me and demean me. My mother tuned out what was going on. And acted like he was normal and loving. G and I relied on one another alot. Our mom had 4 more C's, and mostly we took care of them, esp. during the summer when school was out. I took care of the C's mainly, while G waited on our M. Due to all this dysfunction, G had very inappropriate demands of me, while growing up and as grownups. After many years of counselling, I had a counsellor tell me that it sounded like G has narcisistic personality disorder. I constantly tried to please G, to give her what she wanted, etc. It was never right, or never enough. She raged out at me anytime she could, and also would demand that I meet with her in a room, or place, where no one else was, so that she could again verbally abuse me!! Most of my FOO don't admit that she has a problem, they look past her behavior to me. They think I should try to get along with her! Which is totally impossible. I finally had to go no contact with her. Being raised with the abuse that I knew, and having a narcisisstic sister set me up to want to please people and not have appropriate boundaries. I think I would have been firmer with my D's growing up, more consequences, and not let them get away with some things. I just knew I wouldn;t raise them how I was raised. I wasn't allowed to have friends over growing up. So I was like the neighborhood mom, which I loved. I vicariously experienced some normalcy. I listened to their problems, tried to be open and understanding, etc. I think many of us have put up with stuff from our kids that we shouldn't have, or tried too hard to be their friends, and be overly understanding of everything. They sometimes see that as a weakness, and resent us. And they resent us at times when we think we are helping them, thinking that we may see them as unable. We want to fill ourselves by helping them, but it doesn't work. I'm finally understanding all the implications of this. I no longer want their dramas to affect me so much. They're adults now, and must stand on their own. I no longer want to rescue either of them. I am deep into being me and all that entails. I love what Luise said, that we were individuals before we had kids, and now we get to be individuals again. I think parenting is so intense, that after 25 years of it, it's hard to shift gears. But we must, and we must continue to grow. My DH and I aren't even quite sure how to be a couple, and are rediscovering how. A friend of mine recently moved back to town after living in LA for 12 years where her 4 AC's now live. She says she now realizes how much we depend on our children (she means to give our lives meaning), and enjoys not being in the middle of their dramas. She has given me great insight. I feel that a new chapter in my life has opened up. It's hard, but also thrilling and exciting.
Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful responses. I'm feeling better today. I am so happy to have found this forum. I have been going through a hard time--my mother died in November, then a sister-in-law in December, and then, 2 weeks ago, my neighbor's 2 month old granddaughter, whom I loved to visit. She was such an amazing baby, she died of SIDS. I have been grieving alot. But think I see the light at the end. My family of origin had lots of problems and abuse. I knew I didn't want to follow how I had been raised. And made sure I didn't. I was always there for my daughters, always had their friends over, did things together, etc. Many of their friends still call me mom. It's a role I loved. Now we are empty nesters, and our daughters and granddaughter are 1000 miles away. There are times when I miss them all very much. They live in a city where we lived many years ago, and went back to for family and vacation visits. At one time it was my dream to move back when my husband retires. But now they are both moving elsewhere. G and family (with gc) will be moving closer to us. I am happy about this. But I realize now that you really have to live your own lives, and follow your own path. I do have a career, and work in my home studio. I need to get out more I know. Anyway, I tried to be the mother that I always wanted, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I am glad you are all here. Thanks
This is my first post, and I want to say thank you for being here. I am not sure what to think about my AD. She's almost 25, married to a very good loving husband for almost a year now. I'll call her "E".She has recently become quite rude and disrespectful towards me. I don't know why. She lives about 1000 miles away, as does my oldest daughter "G" and her family. E has always been a handful, even as a baby, and had quite a temper even at 4 weeks old! Her pediatrician even noticed. We got through the teen years--it was hard, and at last I felt relieved that she had become human again at about 21 or so. We are not a wealthy family, not poor either just middle class. When she moved away, we knew she would need a car where she lived, drove a car down to her with new tires, and flew back home. We have helped with her tuition, etc, tho she has also had to work to help pay. What I'm saying here is that we loved her, helped her, encouraged her, etc. I thought we had a good relationship. Lately it has changed with her behavior towards me. When she comes home, she leaves huge messes--ie, food left out on counters, water, towels, etc in bathroom, etc. I have become used to order and all. Last time she was here, she took something of mine (a very nice makeup palette worth ab out $200) back home with her, thinking her sister G had left it when she was here. She took it to G's house and was told that no, its mom's. E never told me about it, just kept it. I was searching everywhere for it, couldn't find it after looking through every drawer and cupboard, so I called her to ask if she knew where it was. She told me what had happened, but that she didn't think it mattered, so she didn't bother to tell me or to send it back. When I asked her to please send it back, she became angry and defensive, and hung up on me. I was very upset, mainly because of her disrespect for me. I wrote her a letter, telling her that I loved her and wanted her to return it and to treat me respectfully. After about 3 weeks, I got it in the mail today. It was thrown into a large bow, wtih a few paper towels around it. It had broken into many pieces, due to her packing of it. Much was ruined. I told her what had happened, she told me that it was my fault for "demanding" that she return it.  I let her know that it wasn't the makeup so much as her disregard that hurt me. This is the latest example of other thingss she has done to me since Christmas. I am saddened by her recent changes. She seems to single me out. Any ideas on what's going on? She has always been somewhat immature for her age, but I had thought she made progress since being on her own more.