February 25, 2020, 02:03:36 pm

News:

"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."


Recent posts

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Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Youngest daughter expectin...
Last post by luise.volta - February 23, 2020, 06:07:02 am
Hello, K. The only thing I can offer that I learned very painfully through my relationship with my eldest son is that it wasn't about me. He just made it
look like that. I thought it was...so I thought there was something I could do
about the estrangement and firmly believed I had a chance with my grandsons.
Not so on both counts. For me, it was very hard to get that my son was an adult and got to make up whatever perceptions suited him. My other son would take a 
bullet for me...which left me even more confused. Given no choice, I honored
my eldest son's mandates and we managed to be polite strangers. All I can add
is you and I did our best and for a long time that looked good enough, right? Since my best is all I had to give, I opted to pass on what I experienced as abuse. I chose self-respect and have focused my life on what brings me joy.
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Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Youngest daughter expecting ba...
Last post by Karina53 - February 21, 2020, 12:34:22 pm
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.
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Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Drug overdose DS
Last post by luise.volta - February 20, 2020, 03:32:41 pm
Welcome, I. 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 are a monitored Website.

My heart goes out to you. I lost my eldest son when we were at odds and had been for years. It wasn't a drug overdose, it was a sleep apnea stroke. It left me with so many feelings of guilt and incompletion that I didn't know how to deal with. 

I wish I had gone to a therapist, so that is all I can think of to suggest to you. I needed to be heard and supported by someone not involved in my life and the drama of our relationship. I eventually learned that my son had a lot of issues that had nothing to do with me that he held me responsible for. 

You matter. You did your best and that's all any of us can do. Blessings...
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Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Drug overdose DS
Last post by Itsgoingtobeok - February 17, 2020, 01:09:41 pm
My son passed away this weekend to a drug overdose. I am heartbroken, yet some what relieved that he is at peace. We hadn't spoken in almost 4 years. I tried to help, we always fought, actually he was very awful to me, pushed me away as hard as he could. Right now, I am in shock, kind of comatosed,don't know what I should be doing. I don't even know why I am here, just hoping someone else out there has experienced this and could share some  wisdom.
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Helpful Resources / Re: lost
Last post by luise.volta - February 03, 2020, 05:18:40 pm
I second the motion: Welcome! We're here for you.  :)
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Helpful Resources / Re: lost
Last post by Stilllearning - January 27, 2020, 03:12:11 am
Hello N!  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 we have placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit. We are a monitored Website.

There is a wealth of information in our archives for you to read.  Also if you find a particular post that resonates with you, you can go to that person's profile and read their other posts.  You will find some really good suggestions here.  Things that brought me back from a place of complete hopelessness.  I cannot tell you how much the wise women here have helped me.  Some have moved on but some stay to help others.  When you feel comfortable to share your situation I feel certain there will be some wonderfully wise thoughts shared with you.

Hugs!
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Helpful Resources / lost
Last post by natopee1 - January 26, 2020, 07:15:39 pm
Good evening,
  I came across this web site on line and was intereseted to see what others had to say as well about there experiences and maybe hopefully get some advice on what I should do in my situation.
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Oh M, I soo feel for you!!  As a mother we are all programmed to support our offspring regardless of their mistakes and treatment of us.  I too took more than my fair share of abuse from my DIL.  I (possibly in error?) objected to the marriage.  I only asked my DS to wait, I never said not to marry her.  The answer I got was that the marriage was moved to an earlier date and that was that.  I tried so hard to "fix" my relationship with my DS and honestly to make him see my side.  I called, texted, cried, talked to everyone who would listen until I was blue in the face and they were sick and tired of hearing it.  Some of my relatives thought I was over reacting, I should give her a chance, stop complaining, be happy for my DS.  Really?  I mean, really?  Anyway this went on for months.  Although no one said anything to me ,I am pretty sure that my friends and relatives got to the point of cringing when they saw me coming.  I would have gotten there if I was them!  I drove myself crazy with questions and guilt.  After all you are supposed to pick a spouse that somehow resembles your parent, right?  Was I like her?  How could my DS love her?

I spent way too long on that guilt trip.  It was the wonderfully wise women here who brought me back to reality.  The truth is that they told me that I deserve to enjoy my life.  I have finished teaching my DS his lessons, and now it is life's turn to teach him and he gets to pick the lesson himself.  I have no control over what he picks to learn.  I have no responsibility for the mistakes he makes.  I do, however, have a choice as to whether I go through his lessons with him or not.  I finally decided that my interference was actually hindering him in his learning experience.  He was so bent against doing anything I suggested that he would do the opposite of what I said and thereby made many wrong decisions that he might have avoided if I had just kept my thoughts to myself.  This was my part of the lesson, I had to learn that his life was his to mess up if he wanted to.  There is nothing I can do about it.

That lead to the adoption of my three mantras:

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

I use #1 to pull myself back from what I now call the abyss.  That downward spiraling circle of thoughts that leads me to the pit of despair.  At first I had to force ably pull my thoughts away from my DS and his wife and focus them on something that made me happy.  I planned camping trips.  I made plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas that not only did not include my DS but also gave me an excuse to not host him and his wife.  My DH and I went on canoe trips or other outings on those days. 

I use #2 whenever anyone asks about my DS/DIL so that I not only tell them I don't know but that there is no reason to ask me.  It has proven valuable in that now my friends may offer information on what my DS/DIL are doing but they no longer ask me what is happening.  In times past just a question would put me on the brink of the abyss and telling them anything would throw me into the pit.

I use #3 when they tell me things about my DS/DIL that make me want to interject an opinion.  It saves me from going to the brink of the abyss.

In closing let me tell you again that you deserve to enjoy your life.  You raised your children and you did the best you could.  It is not your fault that your DS chose the life he is leading.  You are not the one who can 'save' him, he has to save himself.  And one more thing, by accepting the way you are being treated you are teaching your grands that it is okay to treat you this way.  This is not a good lesson to pass on.

Good luck, hugs and let us know what you decide and how it goes!
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Hello wise women! I am hoping for some support and advice as I try to navigate my way through the FOG (fear, obligation, and guilt) of a dysfunctional family relationship while trying to keep my sanity. There's always an issue and today is no exception. 

I've typed this post at least 5 times, deleted it, then somehow lost it. Re-typed it, then edit, edit, edit. I'm terribly unsure of what exactly to say to share the situation without typing a 100 page novel. However, I'll do my best to summarize the situation:

Covert narcissistic DIL has manipulated our family and abused me for over 10 years, almost always in private. I have tolerated it in order to maintain a relationship with my son and grandchildren. I'm so tired of living with the fear and worry, being told what to do, what to say and how to think. My son is trauma-bonded to her and bound to her family by golden handcuffs. I feel like we (DH and our family) are cast as either the villains or (occasionally) appreciated depending on whether we're fulfilling their needs at the moment. Their approval of us is transitory and totally dependent upon what we're doing for them TODAY. Anything we've done in the past is irrelevant unless it was hurtful - then it's brought up as a reminder of how terrible we are. I am constantly off balance in regard to these relationships and have developed a variety of stress related health problems - IBS, migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia. I am so sick of this situation and want to make a change, but not sure how to take back my power without losing the relationship with my son and grandchildren. I feel like fear is my constant companion. 

A little of the backstory - youngest son and DIL have been together about 10 years. She is very beautiful and presents a lovely persona in public. She has many admirers who all think she is  wonderful and kind. There were red flags in the beginning, but our son was blind to them and we did not attempt to influence or intervene. Since they've been together DIL has been very difficult to get along with. Causing problems in the family and almost always doing something to ruin family events (birthdays and Christmas, especially). At one point she decided we were a bad influence and they cut off all contact with us for 18 months so they could "work on their marriage". Not just me and DH, but our entire extended family. It was completely devastating to me and I almost had a mental breakdown. Thank God for my DH, oldest son and my mother or I would have gone off the deep end. They even moved during this time and didn't tell us. After numerous failed attempts at reconciliation we were finally allowed back in their lives with a heaping dose of blame and shame, but things have not gone smoothly. As long as we are doing whatever they want we are in their good graces. The first sign of dissent and we are the bad guys again. I have been continuously traumatized by the cycle of narcissistic abuse. I now know that's what it is, but I'm still affected by it and seem powerless to stop it or my own reactions. She cares for me and is grateful for me when I'm doing what she wants. I'm a horrible unkind, uncaring person when I'm not. While she has never called me profane names she has called me all manner of awful things - disrespectful, rude, dysfunctional, deceptive, superficial, bad influence, among others. This is mostly via text with my son tag-teaming her and joining in the abuse. It's very insidious and sneaky the way they do it, as if all they want is a close, loving, kind relationship but whatever we're doing is preventing that because we're so awful for whatever particular reason - it changes frequently. As I said before, I could write pages and pages of descriptive scenarios, but you get the point. 

My son does not recognize that his wife is not mentally stable. He believes she is beautiful and kind and loving and he thinks the sun rises and sets in her presence. His personality has changed to be much like hers over the years. He has become short-tempered, argumentative and defensive where previously he was a pretty laid back, fun and happy guy. They are surrounded by enablers (her family) who are in their lives 24/7. They are all texting and calling each other many times throughout the day. We don't want to be that involved. We want them to live their own lives. We're often compared to her family as far as what they have given them financially. We are not able to help them in the same way, but there's a hefty measure of shame that's heaped on us because of it. Her family gave them X and Y, the least we could do is a little z. I'm ashamed to say that we have rolled over. Every. Single. Time. Even when it's not about money - her family has "supported them and rallied around them", but we always fall short no matter how much we try to do. We're only as good as what we are doing today or tomorrow. Not ever about what we've done in the past. For the first two years of my granddaughter's life I was the ever-available babysitter. DIL started treating me like an unpaid nanny and it got worse and worse to the point where I was just sick to death of being taken advantage of. Again, lots of stories but one scenario was that I'd go over there expecting her to go to work and she'd say she was going to lay down for a bit first because she wasn't feeling well. Then she'd go up in her room and close the door while I stayed downstairs with the little one. She'd stay up there all day, never end up going to work, and texting me to check on the baby. This became more frequent when she got pregnant with baby #2. It was totally bizarre and I seemed to be the only one who thought it was odd. Finally, I'd had enough and decided to go find a job before the new baby came. Since then I've been mostly devalued since I'm no longer available at their bidding, although we've been "allowed" to have our granddaughter to spend the night quite often. I haven't ever said no because I fear DIL would then find a reason to exclude me permanently. (We have had veiled threats of this in the past.)  

So, the issue du'jour - for the past several years my son has been having migraine headaches. Since the new baby came they have escalated to where he's having them several times a day and at night. He's had a lot of diagnostic testing which has so far all been negative. I'm sure it's from the stress of two little ones and trying to keep his wife happy (which I see as a nearly impossible task). I sympathize with him over the headaches, but I cannot fix this problem. However, DIL has now decided that someone from our family (me, DH and my 81 yr old mother) should come over and stay with him and help take care of the children every Friday and Saturday while she's at work. She doesn't think he should be alone with the kids in the event he may have a migraine. Seriously?!! My mother has gone over to their house the past 2 Fridays and I have gone over the past 2 Saturdays and then brought my granddaughter home with us, then returned her on Sunday. I don't want to do this every single weekend. I want time at home with my husband and to take care of my house. I want to have my granddaughter a couple times a month, not every weekend. 

I am sitting here with a text message on my phone giving me total anxiety. DIL is basically asking me whether I want to come to their house and stay Saturday or take GD home. My choice - whichever works best. I don't want to do either, but the minute I say no it will be off to the races and the blame/shame game will begin. Truth is I'm really sick today so I have a good excuse for tomorrow and I'm already busy next weekend, but that won't matter.  

I have no strong boundaries and I always cave, but I want to be strong. Help! 
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Hi G!  We are glad you found us!  Like Luise my problem doesn't exactly mesh with yours but your situation reminds me of a problem my sister had with her daughter.  Her problem was that her daughter wanted to sleep with her mother every night.  Naturally this put a tremendous strain on my sister's married life but my sister was too soft hearted to put her foot down.  She finally worked out a solution.  She figured that she was making her daughter too comfortable in her bed so she stopped making allowances for her.  She actually deliberately elbowed her or stuck her knee into her back to make sleeping uncomfortable for her.  A few nights later my wonderful niece decided that she would stay in her own bed.  So my question to you is, what are you doing to make your daughter's life more comfortable?  What can you eliminate from your list of job duties to promote more independence in your daughter?  Do you do her laundry?  Cook her meals?  Pay her cell phone bill? Provide her with a car or insurance?  If her counselor has released her you should too.  Do not look on this as punitive, it is life pure and simple.  The more she does on her own the better she will feel about herself.

You deserve to enjoy the life you and your DH have built for yourselves.  I too know of a set of parents who moved out from around their daughter and sold the house.  It was a terrible decision and a long time coming.  Maybe just making your DD's life less cozy will do the trick.  I hope for your sake that it works!  Hugs!!
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