December 11, 2019, 04:25:21 am

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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

16
Hi M!  Sounds like you are taking a giant step in the right direction!  When I first decided that I deserved to be treated better it was a huge weight off of my shoulders.  I hadn't realized that as a Mom I had taken on the responsibility for the way my DS was acting.  After all I raised him so it had to be my fault, right?  I was so wrong!  When they get to be adults they are responsible for their own reactions and we, as parents, are not to blame for their mistakes or failures.  Congrats on finally reaching that point!

The next thing I had to deal with were the trips back to what I now call "the abyss" because it sucks you under and drowns your happiness.  It starts with the negative thoughts about myself and how I had to have failed and how I deserve to be treated better and how the DIL's FOO gets all the time with my grands and how they live so close to my DIL's FOO and it spirals downward.  My DS never calls me,  they don't visit,  they wouldn't even notice if I died......I found it so easy to follow that downward spiral that made me feel like dog poo, not worthy of anything.  Here are the mantras I use to pull myself out of the abyss:

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

You can probably make up better ones than mine but reminding myself of these always seems to bring me back to the thoughts that bring me joy.  I still use it when I find my brain visiting places that bring me angst.  I just don't want to go there.  Good luck on your journey and remember that we are here for you if you need us!
17
Hi M!!  I know the resentment that oozes from your post.  Been there, done that.  At least for a while, until I found this website and decided that I deserve better.  I decided that following those commandments was actually doing a disservice to my ACs and grands.  I was teaching them that I was not deserving of common decency and that it was acceptable to treat people the way that I was being treated.  It is not.  Ever.  Period.

Once I decided that I deserved to be treated better there were several things I didn't do.  I didn't call my DS and tell him.  I didn't let him know that I resented the way he had been treating me.  I accepted the fact that I had allowed the situation to escalate to its present condition by deciding that my DS had all of the power over the relationship just because he had fathered two wonderfully cute and loving children.  I stopped looking at what was wrong in my life (relationship with DS/DIL) and started looking at what was right in my life (DH/younger son).  What you focus your thoughts on expands, so in the next few weeks I tried to think only about the parts of my life that brought me joy.  Whenever my thoughts wandered into the realms that brought me angst I would drag my mind away with the mantra "No news is good news" and force myself to think about something else.  It took a lot of practice but it gets easier with time.  It didn't take long for me to see the difference!  My relationship with my DH improved almost immediately.  I hadn't realized how unimportant he was feeling because all I could think about, all I could talk about was how to "fix" things with my DS/DIL.  Once I stopped that and started concentrating on him, my relationship with him and our enjoyment of life, well, what can I say, that part of my life expanded and I started living again.

Eventually my DS noticed that I not calling.  Not texting.  Not trying to 'fix' things. (It took a while though!) We have now settled into a very comfortable relationship where I get to see my grands fairly often (could be more if I wanted it to be).  He comes over and brings the grands and we spend the day catching up on everything.  He calls me every once in a while and I return the favor (but not too often...).  I am finally happy with my life and deservedly enjoying my golden years.  I hope you can get here too!

Hugs from ALL of us!!!
18
Hi C and welcome to the site! I hope you have checked out our Forum agreement under the "Open Me First" page to be sure that we are a good fit for your needs.  We are a monitored website.

Your post sounds like you are absolutely stuck in your situation, a daughter with MS.......how could anyone make her fend for herself?  Sad that you had to take on the boyfriend too but I trust your judgement about that situation. 

I have just one question.....What are you doing for yourself?  You are taking care of everyone else (even the boyfriend) but are you taking care of yourself?  I tended to put everyone else's needs and desires before my own.  As mothers we are actually programmed to do this.  The entire time we are raising children it is very important to put their needs first but lets face it, my kids are grown.  Their happiness is their responsibility and comes as a direct result from their decisions since they stopped listening to me. I now live by a couple of sayings......

1) What you focus on expands!  (So I try to keep my focus on the good things in my life....it works!)
2) No news is good news!  (So I stopped worrying about what they were doing/thinking/blaming me for)
3) Not my circus, not my monkeys   (a reminder that I could not "fix" their problems, they had to)

My life has changed in marvelous ways since I started using this approach.  I know that you have your DD living with you but I feel certain you could employ at least a little of this method.  Good luck!!
19
Woohoo!  The timer is a great idea!  I am so glad you thought of it and thanks for passing it along!  Way to go! 8)
20
Oh the pressure we put on December the 25th!  For some reason most of us believe that if we are not surrounded by loving family and presents galore on that day every year that we are failures at life, love and happiness.  I decided a few years ago that I would no longer be held captive by that particular social phenomenon.  After all there were 364 other days every year and a gathering of my loved ones on any of those days is a great occasion for me!!  I have actively started avoiding celebrating holidays on the days every other person celebrates them.  It is quite liberating to shift the day for celebrating, say Christmas to lets say, December 27th.   Why not?  That way it doesn't interfere with anybody's plans.  I enjoy the holidays much more with this attitude.

Anyway I hope you find a way to make your holidays tolerable and if you don't feel like giving a gift to someone just don't do it.  Giving gifts when you don't want to is giving into the hoopla foisted on us by retailers who want to sell stuff. 

Good luck!
21
Oh M I agree, you are so worth it!!  Although your post did mention that you were focusing your thoughts (and money) on making yourself happy, it did not mention anything about how much fun you were having.   I would be really interested in the things you are doing so that you and your DH can enjoy your lives!  This is your time to enjoy, you have worked toward it your entire life and now it is here!! 

I found that I have a certain amount of guilt when I have fun.  For some reason I feel that I have somehow failed if my life is not centered around my DS and his issues.  I was so wrong!!  When I focused on making my life happy without relying on my DS it actually relieved the pressure on our relationship.  I had not realized that by making him responsible for my happiness I had put a burden on him and all of my demands that he act differently (visit more often, include me in celebrations, etc.) only increased his awareness of the burden.  I know this is difficult to visualize but bear with me........

My Ds's life definitely did not include me and that hurt my feelings.  It was like he had his life and in it there was a door marked "My Mom" and I was on the other side of that door.  I was constantly knocking at the door and when he finally opened it my first words were always something like "Why did you ignore me for so long?".  Every time he opened that door I reminded him that he was not paying me enough attention.  If I were in that situation I would start to ignore the door that said "My Mom" too .  Why open it when you know that you are only going to feel guilty?  So I stopped knocking.  I stopped calling.  I stopped texting.  I stopped begging.  It took a while (actually it is still a work in progress)but eventually he opened the door and said "Why aren't you knocking?" and our adult to adult conversation started. 

There are phases to every relationship.  I thought that once I raised my children and managed to stay married for all these years that I would be on the downhill side of all of those relationship issues.  I guess that I am not.  That is why I chose my screen name....because I am 'Stilllearning' and I guess at this point I will be 'Stilllearning" until the shovel dirt on my coffin. 

Good luck!  Hugs!
22
Welcome M, and although I said it before I am obligated to say it again for every new poster.....  We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Read 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.

Whew!  I am glad that is over!!  I too spent a long time just reading the posts here before I shared my story, and through this reading I came to trust that my story would be compassionately received and that the responses would be well thought out and helpful, like yours is!

I think we too often allow others to control our happiness.  We believe that someone else can "make" us unhappy when actually that is not the case.  I allow my DS to affect my emotions and I allow the fact that I do not see my grands as much as my DIL's FOO do to paint the rest of my life with these painful colors........or not.  It was when I decided to take control of my own happiness that my life turned around.  I did that by focusing my thoughts and energies on things that make me happy and deliberately ignoring the parts of my life that brought me grief.  Gradually the things that make me happy expanded and my life improved.  Now, as I said before, I remind myself that  "What you focus on expands" all the time and I make an active decision to focus on the happy stuff!  It works.

As time went by my DS came to understand that he was welcome to come by and visit but my life no longer rotated around whether he did or not.  With this understanding my relationship with him has changed and I have enjoyed getting to know the adult he has become.

I hope your relationship with your DD improves!  Try to remember that the grands you see the most often are often not the favorites.  Absence does make the heart grow fonder.............

Hugs!!
23
Oh and I forgot to tell you that we try to use names here that are unidentifiable should someone we know decide to read the site.  Luise is the only one who uses her name (or any part thereof) so please change your screen name.  Thanks!!
24
Welcome L, we are glad you found us!!  We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Read 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.

Now that I have completed the official stuff....

I have been there!  I took care of my father when he was sick.  Fortunately he was not living with me but I still felt obligated to visit him daily for a long time.  When he died I really did not understand how much his death had effected me and I honestly did not realize that I was in the full throws of depression for years.  I don't really want to admit all of the mistakes I made but I will tell you that I ended up feeling totally worthless.  It was horrible and I do not know how my DH stayed with me.  My DS married during this time and that just added to my depression because I knew that his choice for life was mentally unbalanced (now diagnosed) and I begged him to wait , which I should never have done.  Anyway my happy life was unraveling and there was nothing I could do about it.  The harder I tried to fix things the worse they got.  Fortunately for me I found this website and the wonderful women here helped me out!

The first thing that I had to absorb from here was that I deserve a happy life.  The second thing was that I could no longer center my life around my children, they had their own lives to live and their own lessons to learn and my interference was only delaying their life lessons.  Once I digested those two facts my next step was figuring out what makes me happy, not things that other people do but things I can do for myself (and my DH).  I started planning something fun for my DH and I to do for different holidays.  We went canoeing for Thanksgiving one year (well you get the idea!).  Suddenly instead of sitting at home thinking about how my DS had deserted me I was too busy having fun to notice it very much!  During this time I adopted a few of mantras:

1) What you focus on expands (so focus on the good things and ignore the things that you cannot change)
2) Not my circus, not my monkeys (so no need to worry about my DS's decisions)
3) No news is good news (so no need to worry when I have not heard from my DS in a while)

These started me on the road to a happier life, a life where I avoid what I now call 'the abyss' (because if I dwell on it I just fall further and further into a depression) by actively pulling my thoughts away from it and focusing my thoughts on things that make me happy.  Yes, it takes practice and it does not happen overnight.  I still find my thoughts circling the drain on occasion but I know how to keep from sinking into the mire. 

Please remember that we are on your side!  You deserve to enjoy this time of your life, your parenting days are over and so is the taking care of parents part.  It is time to focus on your own life and make it into what you always wanted.  Sorry for your loss and I hope the funeral you plan is a comfort for you.  Hugs!!
25
Welcome S!!  I am glad you found us.

When my father was diagnosed with cancer he moved in with my family (Me, DH and two sons, one in high school and one in elementary school).  He was going through a really tough time with his health and we all tried our best to make things better for him and he did an incredible job of not judging my family's norms (which diverged from the way I was raised by vast amounts).  Every once in a while he would let something slip (dinner was too late, why were we playing with the kids instead of cooking....).  The tension naturally invaded my marriage and my DH and I had arguments.  Our house is small so there was no way that my father could not hear the arguments and of course he sided with me (how could he not?).  When he completed his chemotherapy he moved into an apartment because he was regaining his strength.  He wanted out so bad that he slept on the floor for the one night he had before his mattress and box springs were delivered.  I felt horribly guilty and begged him to stay with us for one more night but he was adamant (and stubborn)and off he went.

He rented an apartment close to us and was still available for emergency babysitting and I stopped by often to check on him.   It was the best thing he could have done for me and my DH.  Our lives settled down and my father got a life of his own.  He made friends, joined bridge clubs, enjoyed his life.  We still had him over often, especially for holidays, and I would invite all my siblings from out of town in for holidays too.  Anyway from then until the day he died he never slept at my house and that improved my relationship with him, my DH and my kids.  It was years later that my eldest did things that made me hunt up this website!

Anyway good luck and remember that you deserve to enjoy your life.  Start planning things that you enjoy doing to give yourself something to look forward to.  Hugs!
26
Grandchildren / Re: Raising Grandkids
September 20, 2018, 06:12:32 pm
Hi B!!  Welcome!!  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.  Also you might want to change your screen name to something less identifiable.  We believe that posts are more honest and forthright when there is little chance that the off hand visitor might identify us. 

Your post is written about your grandchildren but you actually raised them so it was difficult for me to choose where to move it.......grandchildren or children?  I hope this choice does not upset you.

I have lots of experience with my DS deciding that my advice was not wanted, needed or appreciated.  He went through a phase like that (and married....ugh!) and he is currently living with the lessons he has learned.  Yes, he now wishes that he had listened to me but.......oh well.  We have two wonderful granddaughters and I love them so much but I honestly still do not see what my DS thought he was marrying.  Anyway with a few more years under his belt and being entirely responsible for his own decisions he has finally seen the light.  I think your grandsons will do the same.  Anyway I hope they will.

For now the best thing you can do for yourself and your DH is to go out and enjoy your life.  Make plans for fun things and try to turn your focus to the things in your life that bring you joy.  My mantras are:
1) No news is good news
2) Not my circus, not my monkeys
and
3) What you focus on expands

Please take heart in the fact that you did the absolute best you could for your grands and one day they will recognize what you did.  Go out and have some fun!!!

Hugs!!
27
Oh my goodness!  I was so involved in replying I forgot to give you the welcome spiel!!  Here it is !

Welcome,NG. 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.
28
Oh NG I know exactly what you are talking about!!  My disenfranchisement started before the wedding.  We were asked to provide the rehearsal dinner (which we did at considerable expense) told two weeks before the wedding that we couldn't serve alcohol (my family always serves it!) we were not invited to the rehearsal and never asked to their apartment for anything other that to help them clean and paint.  When they announced that they were pregnant my DH's first words were "Well we better move away" because he knew how much they had hurt my feelings already and he was aware that the GC would only add to the angst.  That was when I had had enough.  I started looking at my life differently.  I stopped looking at my DIL's facebook page.  I started telling myself  "No news is good news" and "What you focus on expands" and I turned my focus to the things I enjoyed.  It is amazing how my life pivoted!  All of the sudden my DH and I were much happier and life did not look so desperately hopeless.

When my brothers /sister asked about my DS/DIL I would say "not my circus, not my monkeys" and move to another topic because I really did not know how they were and I was relying on the "no news is good news" axiom.  When I thought about my DS I would actively pull my thoughts away and start planning something fun for myself and my DH.  We went canoeing on Thanksgiving day because I did not want to sit at home and bemoan the fact that he was not there.  We ate our turkey and dressing another day (when the weather was rainy and staying in the kitchen was not such a chore).  That was all about 6 years ago and for a long time I did not see my GC very often.  It is funny how if you are the grandparent they don't get to see often (and can therefore spoil them rotten!) they look forward to seeing you so much more.  They spent almost every afternoon with the other grands and eventually my DS started making comments about how the other grands let them get away with everything and how difficult it was to re educate them to  the rules of his house.  Now I get to see them quite often and it is a total delight!  My DIL avoids me like the plague which suits me fine.

Anyway the point is that even though you may feel like there is no hope for you there is.  The first thing that I had to do was stop running after them (phone, texts, emails, facebook) and start enjoying my own life!

Good luck to you!!  Hugs!!
29
Hi M!  I, too, am sorry that you are having to deal with this abuse.  The only way I got out of the abuse I was enduring (different but still abuse) was by deciding that I would rather not be around my DS the way he was than to have to put up with his and my DIL's abuse.  Once I really felt that in my heart he felt the change in me.  For some reason after a few months he started expressing a desire to be around me again and we have gradually gotten to know each other as adults.  I know that there was a very real possibility that I would never have a close relationship with him again when I pulled away but I honestly could not tolerate the relationship the way that it was.  I decided that I deserved to be treated better and if I did not get that better treatment from him then I would not be around him.  I would spend my time and effort on people who treated me better. 

You will know when you reach that point and we will be here to listen to you and offer suggestions on how to get through this with your sanity. Your DD is old enough to get married so she is responsible for her own happiness.  You deserve to enjoy your life.  Seems to me that your DD has her own lessons to learn and her own mistakes to make.  Let her do just that and start enjoying your life!!  Hugs!!
30
Hi C and I am glad you found us!! I am so sorry that you are faced with such an untenable situation.  I felt about the same way about my DS.  I went to the hospital with chest pains and was admitted from the ER and my DS could not even come by to give my DH a ride home.  Both my DH and I were livid and we certainly let my DS know.  Things did not change for us until I finally realized that I did not even enjoy my DS's presence because he felt like visiting us was an imposition and my DIL was texting every 5 minutes about when he was coming home.  She even went so far as to set a frying pan on fire on the stove and then call him to come rushing home.  It was ridiculous!  Anyway like I said one day I stopped and asked myself why I was struggling so hard to be around someone who made me so uncomfortable and mad.  I realized that my life was better (yes, better!) and happier if I did not include him or expect him to participate.

The next thing I figured out was that some holidays (Mother's Day, Christmas and such) were going to be difficult to manage without noticing my DS's absence so I started planning things.  There was one Thanksgiving when my DH and I decided not to have the big feast on Thursday because the weather was so wonderful.  We went canoeing on Thursday and I cooked on Friday when it was raining.  It was really liberating to realize that I could just shift the celebration around, Christmas did not have to be on December 25th.  So I started making plans for important days and letting my DS know what they were.  I stopped expecting him to show up (I knew he did not want to be there anyway) but I would tell him he could come if he wanted.

It was the most amazing thing.  Once I stopped pulling on him he stopped pulling away.  It was like I had been part of the problem by constantly demanding he change things.  I only had control over myself so the only way I could change the situation was for me to change the way I looked at things.  I started reciting my three mantras:

1) No news is good news
2) For things to change first I must change
3) What you focus on expands

I started practicing changing my focus.  When I thought about my situation with my DS I would tell myself number 1 and then work on changing my focus from that horrible situation to something that I enjoyed (like planning a camping trip).  My relationship with my DH was the first to improve.  He was so tired of trying to fix the impossible situation with my DS and so tired of watching me hurt without any way of making it better.  I never realized how unfair I was being to my DH until after it was over.

After a few months of loving detachment my DS realized what he was missing and has slowly moved into a better relationship with my DH and myself.  We are now seeing my DS and grands every Saturday (for the summer) and everyone enjoys it.  My DIL gets the day off from being a Mom, my DS gets help watching the children and I get the hugs and squeals that make my heart smile and brighten my life.

I know that I was fortunate with my eventual outcome but honestly when I pulled away it was out of desperation.  Things had to change, one way or the other.  I could not go on in the same way.  Period.  Quite frankly if it had turned out that I was estranged from my DS I think I would have been OK.  I just could not put up with being treated that way any longer and with the help from the wonderful women here I found my way of stopping the abuse.  After all no one can hurt my feelings  if I don't let them, right?

Anyway C, I feel for you and I hope you find a way to recover your former self from this horrible situation!  Hugs!