May 29, 2020, 03:42:31 pm


"Welcome to -- 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

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!!
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!!
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!
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
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!!!

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.
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!!
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!!
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!
Hi Strongdeb and welcome!  When I first started I used a user name that included my real name.  I have since changed it so that on the off chance that someone in my life reads my posts I can have some deniability.  You might consider this thought too.

I have tried more that once to answer your post, reread it and become dissatisfied with the answer and deleted it.  If you read my previous posts you can get my story and some of my thoughts. I have written about it so much that to me it sounds stale (hence the reread and delete problem).  Anyway a short recap would go like this.... When my DS closed the lines of communication I was desperate.  I constantly called him and texted him (and of course email) trying to figure out how I could 'fix' the situation.  I cried buckets and got to the point where I could not talk about anything else and basically turned into the person you avoid at parties because you know how they will trap you and keep talking and talking about things that you  don't want to talk about.   I don't know how my DH stood it!  He knew I couldn't 'fix' it.  He knew my future DIL was a nutcase (since diagnosed).  He just wanted his wife back.  Heck, I wanted the old me back too!! 

Then I found this website.  The people here said things like "you deserve to enjoy your life" and "your parenting days are over"  and "focus on the good things you have".  They were absolutely right.  If you have the time read my old posts for the full story and if you don't find the time please know that we are all very sympathetic with your current plight.  Drop by anytime and vent more or let us know what worked for you.  You deserve to enjoy your life, I promise!

Welcome O!  I spent way too long in your position.  My DIL's father even accused me of calling his daughter names (which I never did) and not only unfriended me but made it so that I could not see anything he posted.  They were over at my DS's house all the time and I never got invited.  The unfairness of it all invaded my life and took over every waking moment.  I tormented myself and everyone close to me trying to figure out what I could do to change it.  I turned into the wet rag at the party, you know, the one everyone tries to avoid because I sounded like a broken record.  Everyone knew I was right but what could they do about it?  And listening to me just brought them down, hence the wet rag thingy.  This went on for a couple of I said way way way too long!

Anyway my life was miserable and my misery was infecting the lives of everyone I loved.  And then one day I had an "aha" moment.  I suddenly realized that I did not enjoy my DS's company anymore (because I was always walking on eggshells) so why was I fighting so hard to be around him?  I was fighting to be around the DS I remembered, not the person he had become since he married.  So I stopped.  I stopped calling, texting, pleading and inviting.  Then they got pregnant and although I stopped by the hospital, I went the second day.  I wanted to avoid her family, who came in in droves the first day.  I really think it hurt my DS's feelings but I always thought that the wife deserves to have her family there more than the husband on the first day, after all she gives birth and he just watches in awe, right?  Anyway their oldest child is 5 now and my DS and I are finally getting to know each other as adults.  I like the man he has become and I try to tell him often.  I don't see my DIL often.  My DS brings the two grands over and spends the day and my DIL gets the day off from children.  Seems to work out for everyone.  But I digress, sorry!

How did I manage to stop texting and calling, right?  I still wanted to be around the wonderful person who moved out of my house and it was a painful realization that he no longer existed and he had been replaced by a person who honestly did not long for my company.  I had to respect his wishes even though it went against every fiber of my mothering nature.  I knew he had messed up and that he would most likely need me someday but he had to figure that part of the equation out for himself and my involvement just made it more difficult for him to face the facts.  So I adopted a few sayings and whenever I thought about his situation I would remind myself of them. 

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

The third one is really crucial!  I had been focusing my entire life on how unfair my situation was and the more I focused on it the more the unfairness took over my life.  I looked around and found things in my life that I enjoyed and people in my life that I loved and I started focusing on them.  At first it took a lot of practice.  I wandered back to what I now call the abyss (because it sucked all the happiness out of my life) many times a day.  Then I would repeat one of the first two sayings and refocus my thoughts on more pleasant things like planning a camping trip or going for a walk or hugging my DH.  With practice I became able to avoid the abyss most of the time and my life became infinitely more happy.  I am not saying that I don't have my moments of guilt and regret but I no longer allow them to take over my life.  I am getting old and I deserve to enjoy my golden years.  I did the best I could raising my children and now they get to take over their own lives and learn their own lessons.  Their poor choices point out their lessons to be learned, not my mistakes in rearing.  I feel bad that my DS is now unhappy in his marriage and I would have liked to help him avoid that situation but....not my circus, not my monkeys.  What can I say?

Anyway OhGal, the point is that the fat lady isn't singing and your job is to enjoy your life.  We all wish you the best!  Hugs.
Hi R!  I think we all know about those visits to what I now call "the abyss" because once I let my mind take me there it sucks me right in and steals everything good from my life by filling me full of self pity.  Of course I deserve better, of course I did everything I could for my DS, of course he should want to bring his children by to see me, of course he should remember me on Mother's Day and other special days but he didn't.  For years I spent my time in the abyss, talked to everyone about how horribly my DS/DIL were treating me and everyone agreed.  Everyone felt sorry for me.  Eventually everyone wanted to avoid me because it was all I could talk about and think about and it made me into a wet rag (you know, a party killer).  I couldn't blame them, heck I wanted to avoid me too! 

Then one day from the bottom of the abyss I decided that I deserve better.  I worked hard to get to where I am and I deserve to be happy so I looked around and found the things in my life that make me happy.  I found my DH. I found my other DS.  I found my sister.  I found my hobbies (camping, canoeing, hiking, and recently I tried zip lining!).  I started enjoying my life and every time my mind wandered toward the abyss I would force it away by thinking of something I enjoyed.  I adopted sayings like "No news is good news" and "Not my circus, not my  monkeys" and I said them to myself every time I thought about my DS's situation.  It took a long time, but eventually I got strong enough to stay away from the abyss and eventually my DS figured out what I knew about my DIL.  He had his own lessons to learn and he honestly could not learn them with me interfering because he blamed everything that happened on my interference.  Once I was out of the picture he had to blame the proper person and since I wasn't there........well, you get the idea. 

There does come a point in our children's lives when they have to take responsibility for themselves but they have blamed us for every thing bad that has happened to them.  The only way we can get them to accept the blame is to step out of the picture.  We are Moms, stepping out of the picture is very difficult for us.  It is the last big lesson that we have to teach our children, like pushing them out of the nest.  Some of us are lucky enough to have them come back, some of us are not.  Our job now is to be happy.  We finished parenting now we can live our lives for ourselves.

Good Luck!!!
Welcome P!  Since you haven't posted the rest of your story for a couple of days I thought that I would just jump in and share a thought or two.  When my sons got to a certain age (mid to late teenager) they started to pull away.  Of course I knew that eventually they would pull away but they still had so much to learn!  My eldest (the one who eventually drove me to this site) moved out of the house, got involved with a woman who was so obviously wrong for him it was unbelievable and proceeded to marry her.  I tried to point out his mistake but that just drove him farther from me.  The more I tried to fix things the worse things got.  My first posts here probably sound very much like yours.  I was sure that I was loosing my son forever and I was heartbroken and desperate.  It was all I ever thought about and all I ever talked about. Thinking back on it I am amazed that my DH stayed with me because I was no fun at all.  He did get to the point where he would not talk to me about it.  Men feel a need to fix things and there was no way to fix this.  Anyway I think you get the idea.

I tried so hard to hold on to my DS.  I talked with him and tried to reason with him but every time we talked he told my now DIL everything we said and she got more and more hurt and more and more determined to win (like we were fighting for control of my DS, go figure).  Anyway nothing improved until I just gave up.  One day I sat down and asked myself why I was trying so hard to be with my DS when I no longer enjoyed his company.  Being around him made me uncomfortable and sad.  I wanted to be around the son I remembered, not the person he had turned into.  So I stopped.  I stopped calling him.  I stopped texting him.  I stopped trying to get him to remember me on Mother's day or my birthday.  It was not easy but I knew I had to.

So how did I stop?  I started thinking about myself.  I started using all of my efforts to make me and my DH happy.  I started saying to myself whenever I thought about my DS "No news is good news".  I started planning fun things for my DH and I to do on special days when I knew I would be hurt by my DS's lack of attention (Christmas, Mother's Day, etc.).  The more I focus on making myself happy (which all mothers stop doing when they have children) the better my life has gotten.  It took a lot of work to turn my thoughts away from what I now call "the abyss" and for years I would occasionally slip into that quagmire of self pity and woe.  Yes I deserved better, yes I was mistreated, yes I had done a good job of raising my DS, yes my dreams of a close family were gone but more than that I deserve to have these later years of my life be happy.  Enter the "no news is good news" slogan.  I also used the "not my circus, not my monkeys" saying when I heard things from family members about what my DS/DIL were doing.  It took years but now my DS is visiting me often and I am getting to know the man he has become.  I am proud of him and I now enjoy his company again. 

So for you I offer this saying to think about:
"What you focus on expands" so focus your attention on the good things you have.

You did a great job raising your sons in very difficult conditions.  You did the very best that you could.  Now it is time for you to enjoy your life.

Hugs from all of us!!

My sister has always said that if my Mom was invited to a lavish banquet and there was a rotten apple in the corner marked "guilt" my Mom would put that on her plate and eat it.  My Mom is gone now but I do believe that my sister is right and that the trait she described is just the way good mothers are.  If our children are angry we are sure that we messed up somewhere and caused that anger.  If they react poorly in social situations we are always sure we could have done something sometime differently that would have changed that particular trait.  We should have given them a car or we shouldn't have given them a car, made them pay rent or not made them pay rent, kicked them out of the house or not kicked them out of the house.  The truth about the matter is that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and honestly there is no such thing as a perfect child.  Every adult who leaves the hospital with their first newborn believes (incorrectly) that they can "do it right" and if they are like me they find out pretty quickly just how difficult parenting is.

I got tired of eating that moldy apple.  I did the very best I could when I raised my children.  They are doing well, not in jail, and they seem happy with their lives.  Now they have their own lessons to learn.  One of those lessons for my DS/DIL was that they are responsible for raising their own children.  I am a grandmother.  I do not discipline very much.  I give in.  Parents have to toe that line of discipline and if they don't hold their own they will pay their own prices.  One of my grands is quite a handful.  She gets her personality mostly from my DIL and I am finding that difficult to deal with so, by and large, I am declining all baby sitting 'privileges'.  Yes, I sometimes feel guilty but I remind myself that I deserve to enjoy these golden years and it is my option to add only the things that make my 'golden years' better.  Now I see the grands when my DS brings them over which happens fairly frequently.  He helps me look after the grands and he and I get some time together as a bonus.  I am really enjoying these visits and this new phase of my life. 

You deserve to enjoy your life!  You worked hard, did your best and now it is time to let your DD/SIL figure out what raising children is all about.  It is often about giving up the 'date nights' and birthday parties that only include certain ages.  Why are they leaving their children out?  Once my children were born they were included in every celebration that our family had, period.  There were a few times when we got a babysitter, but honestly not many.  I asked my Dad to help when the children were sick but by the time I got around to having children my parents were too old to keep my children for long.  I made it, and so will your DD.  Volunteering for one night was, in my opinion, very generous.

Good luck!!
Welcome,L. 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 pick a screen name that is less personal so others who come here will not know who you are.

Wow!  I really have no personal experience to give you because I have never offered to keep my grands five days a week.  I work at a daycare five days a week so that I won't miss my grands so much.  I tell people that it is like being paid to be a grandma and it is!  Maybe you could find a job like mine?  At least they appreciate me and if I am sick the daycare covers for me.  Oh, and I can get a vacation!  Sounds to me like you could use a vacation.  Have you had one of those recently?  After all they say "absence make the heart grow fonder"

Anyway the one thing that we have advocated over and over is that once our children are grown our parenting job is done.  Now I can start spending my life doing things I enjoy.  Planning trips and volunteering or working at the day care.  I am retired but I found myself depressed if I stayed at home because my DH was still working and there was no human interaction all day long.  Now I work for a few hours every morning (it is only part time) and take off when I want to (mostly).  My life improved so much when I started focusing on making myself happy instead of worrying about what I could do to make my relationship with my DS/DIL better.  Actually the relationship with my DS improved also. 

Good luck!!
My point was (and is) that my life did not change until I stopped trying to figure things out and started living for myself.  My DS had to figure out what mattered to him  and I was just fortunate to find out that I was on the good side of that equation.  I did have to be prepared to be on the losing side before I took that plunge.  Perhaps you are not quite ready for that change.

It was quite refreshing to find myself on the sidelines......

Not my circus, not my monkeys....