Author Topic: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?  (Read 4094 times)

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Sadandalone59

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Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« on: October 21, 2010, 09:03:54 PM »
When I first met my future DIL I liked her and we got along real well.  She moved into my home with my son and I before they were married.  They moved back to our home town for a year and then moved back to AZ and with me for a few months while they looked for a place.  For a couple of years things were good between all of us.  Then it seemed like they did not want to visit my in my home anymore.  I thought it was because I have dogs so I would literally clean for days and my house was spotless.  When they would come they would both stand the whole time which was usually less than an hour anyway.  She is very close to her mother and her sister and talks to them every day.  When she got pregnant I was so excited.  I bought them a crib, swing, rocker etc for their home.  She always wants the most expensive things and I bought it without a thought.  I also made a room in my home into a nursery thinking that my grandchild would be able to spend time with me.  I asked them over and over again if I should buy all the nursery furniture and neither one said no.  I live 10 minutes away from them and her Mom lives 500 miles.  When her mother is there I feel like a stranger.  If I want to see my baby I have to see her at their home.  She is 18 months old now and has been to my home three times.  Each time less than an hour and never allowed to walk around or play with all the toys in the nursery.  The house is better baby proofed than their home so it isn’t dangerous.  She has never even been in the crib.  I finally sold all the nursery items like the changing table, diaper bag, mobile etc after never being used.  My son says that it is just easier since all her things are there.  It is like he forgot that I got all the stuff I got.

They have twice taken long weekend trips to Vegas and both times her mother flew here to stay with the baby.  They never even asked me although I couldn’t spend 4 days at their house since I do have my dogs to care for also.  Once when I was still her Facebook friend she posted that she was so sad that the only person she trusted with her daughter besides herself and my son was HER mom who lived so far away.  I got hurt and in the process got blocked from Facebook.  My granddaughter knows her Mom but hardly knows me at all.  The only time I really hear from them is when they need money.  Even though her Dad has more money than God they borrow from me.  I am doing OK but not rolling in money by any means.  Everything that I buy for her ends up in the closet and the tags aren’t even taken off.  I have almost always given her the receipt to return and get what she wants if she doesn’t like them but she doesn’t even do that.  Just shoves them in the closet.  The only thing she uses are the things that she picked out.  Nothing that I picked out.   Holidays are spent at her house with her family.  My other son and his family are not welcome there for (another story) so I have holidays at my house with them.

I talk to my son about how I feel and he tells me that I am imagining all of it.  He says he doesn’t know how many times the baby has been to my house because “they aren’t keeping a running total’.  He doesn’t talk to me except in generic terms.  I am sure he is afraid that he will say something that I will get upset.  He avoids conflict at all costs.  I didn’t know they went to Vegas till I had to drag it out of them.   Her 600 FB friends know more about what is going on in their lives than I do.  This is by far not all but hopefully it is enough to get an unbiased opinion.  Am I being overly sensitive?  I know there is nothing that I can do about it all if I want to ever see my grandbaby but it really hurts to feel like such a stranger in their lives.  It didn’t use to be that way and I don’t know what changed except the baby came along.  My son and I use to be so close and it is killing me.  Please I would appreciate your opinions.  I really have no one to talk to about this.


Offline Sheen

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2010, 09:44:29 PM »
Hi Sad
No it really doesn't sound like you are being too sensitive and it must be really hard living so close to them and not understanding where the problem is.  Since you seem to have at least some sort of relationship with your dil perhaps asking her directly if there is a problem might be something to consider.  From what you have said, it doesn't sound like you have had any direct falling out so maybe opening up the line of communication with her could at least enable you to hear what her concerns or problems  are.

Perhaps she is just getting comfortable in her relatively new role as Mom but it seems like you are doing everything right. So sorry you are feeling this way, it is not an easy road to be sure but this site is great just for venting or getting a fresh perspective . 

MotherOf3

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2010, 10:58:27 PM »
I know it must be painful and I would just say that you need to really examine the situation honestly, very honestly.

Could you ask someone who would tell you truthfully if there is an odor from the dogs in the house?  Is there hair on the furniture and floor? Have the dogs ever, ever threatened anyone?  Would she have any cause to not set the baby down?  That's not normal to not set the baby down so there has to be a reason.  Maybe the same reason that they only stood when they visited BEFORE the baby?  Which also indicates that the problem didn't start afterwards.

Just my opinion but making a full nursery at your home is going a bit far.  I've never seen anyone do that and I wouldn't have dreamed of doing that with my 3 grandchildren.  A travel crib and a few toys is enough.  Sweetie, no matter whether you said it to them or not, it is not your baby.  It is their baby and we grandmothers need to learn to back off a little bit.  New parents are usually at least a little insecure and scared and having MIL go crazy about the baby can be perceived as a threat to the parental role. Don't take it personally, what I said.  Try to view it from a new mother's side too.  No matter that you are her MIL, if you were any other woman she was aquainted with who acted like that I could understand wanting to put some distance there.

Please stop buying her things that she obviously doesn't want.  She has shown, if not said, loud and clear that she doesn't want it.  If you buy her things that you KNOW she doesn't want or need, then continueing to do so is a direct thumbing of her wishes.  That's not a gift. If she likes things that SHE picks out, then let her pick them out.

I am concerned about the statement that you had to "drag it out of" them about a trip they went on.  Why was it so important that you know this?  Did you already know it but were pushing them to tell you themselves?  For what reason? Is that part of the dynamic of the relationship?  Couple that with the "asked them over and over again" about buying the nursery items and not getting an answer and it sounds like they could feel hounded.  Almost like calling your child on the carpet about something they did wrong and forcing them to admit to you what they did. Please take a look at how this would make any adult feel.

It sounds like there is a lot more to this situation than the surface reveals.

cadagi101

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2010, 11:10:15 PM »
Hi Sad
No it really doesn't sound like you are being too sensitive and it must be really hard living so close to them and not understanding where the problem is.  Since you seem to have at least some sort of relationship with your dil perhaps asking her directly if there is a problem might be something to consider.  From what you have said, it doesn't sound like you have had any direct falling out so maybe opening up the line of communication with her could at least enable you to hear what her concerns or problems  are.

Perhaps she is just getting comfortable in her relatively new role as Mom but it seems like you are doing everything right. So sorry you are feeling this way, it is not an easy road to be sure but this site is great just for venting or getting a fresh perspective .






Sad, 

I agree with Sheen,  All I can add from experience as a SIL it is very very hard to sit down and talk to dil if she is being standoffish to you.  I believe it is however probably the only way you are going to find out what you have or haven't done wrong.   (I'm not implying you have done anything wrong just that dil might misunderstand or have misinterpreted situations.)  She might also have post-natal depression.     i am sad for you that you set up a nursery with such high hopes of having baby with you at times.    I will say though that my dm had similar  issues as you have described.   My dm hung in there let things take it's course and relationships have improved so much.  Giving space is the key to success. 

cadagi101

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2010, 11:15:26 PM »
Quote from: MotherOf3 link=topic=1031.msg20521#msg20521 [color=blue
date=1287727107]
I know it must be painful and I would just say that you need to really examine the situation honestly, very honestly.

Could you ask someone who would tell you truthfully if there is an odor from the dogs in the house?  Is there hair on the furniture and floor? Have the dogs ever, ever threatened anyone?  Would she have any cause to not set the baby down?  That's not normal to not set the baby down so there has to be a reason.  Maybe the same reason that they only stood when they visited BEFORE the baby?  Which also indicates that the problem didn't start afterwards.

Just my opinion but making a full nursery at your home is going a bit far.  I've never seen anyone do that and I wouldn't have dreamed of doing that with my 3 grandchildren.  A travel crib and a few toys is enough.  Sweetie, no matter whether you said it to them or not, it is not your baby.  It is their baby and we grandmothers need to learn to back off a little bit.  New parents are usually at least a little insecure and scared and having MIL go crazy about the baby can be perceived as a threat to the parental role. Don't take it personally, what I said.  Try to view it from a new mother's side too.  No matter that you are her MIL, if you were any other woman she was aquainted with who acted like that I could understand wanting to put some distance there.

Please stop buying her things that she obviously doesn't want.  She has shown, if not said, loud and clear that she doesn't want it.  If you buy her things that you KNOW she doesn't want or need, then continueing to do so is a direct thumbing of her wishes.  That's not a gift. If she likes things that SHE picks out, then let her pick them out.

I am concerned about the statement that you had to "drag it out of" them about a trip they went on.  Why was it so important that you know this?  Did you already know it but were pushing them to tell you themselves?  For what reason? Is that part of the dynamic of the relationship?  Couple that with the "asked them over and over again" about buying the nursery items and not getting an answer and it sounds like they could feel hounded.  Almost like calling your child on the carpet about something they did wrong and forcing them to admit to you what they did. Please take a look at how this would make any adult feel.

It sounds like there is a lot more to this situation than the surface reveals.
[/color]

excellent post motherof3 lots to think about

1Glitterati

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2010, 03:18:01 AM »
They have twice taken long weekend trips to Vegas and both times her mother flew here to stay with the baby.  They never even asked me although I couldn’t spend 4 days at their house since I do have my dogs to care for also.  Once when I was still her Facebook friend she posted that she was so sad that the only person she trusted with her daughter besides herself and my son was HER mom who lived so far away.

I don't specifically know why she feels that way, but that's your answer.

Sassy

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2010, 03:47:11 AM »
You have a lot of love in your heart, and a lot of love to give.  All this love and it must be quite frustrating to feel you have nowhere to put it all.  It must hurt when you feel like your efforts at showing love are rebuffed.  I don't think you are actually as rebuffed as you may feel right now, though.   

I don't think you are over sensitive, but it appears you may be underestimating some parts of your role in the dynamic, and over personalizing other factors.  Perhaps thinking about some of it differently, can help bring relief from the hurt.

You couldn't stay at son and DIL's house while they went to Vegas because they know you have a commitmment to the dogs at your home.  That is the reason you were not asked to watch the baby: because you were not able to.  That is them being respectful of your time and prior commitments, so I would decide not to be hurt by that.

That the sheer logistics of the dogs were so easily glossed over in your thought process about not being asked to cover the 4 day babysitting stints,  I am wondering if the dogs may also be the reason they don't come to your home to visit often. More relevant than cleanliness is safety and behavior.

Quote
Once when I was still her Facebook friend she posted that she was so sad that the only person she trusted with her daughter besides herself and my son was HER mom who lived so far away.  I got hurt and in the process got blocked from Facebook.

This was hurtful for DIL to post knowing you could read it.  But it wasn't your feelings of hurt from it, that got you blocked from Facebook.  I've noticed when someone expresses upset by what another person posts on Facebook, most people respond by editing who can view it, instead of editing what they wish to post. That's what the privacy options are for.  And that's what people on Facebook do so people don't continue to get hurt by what they post.

Don't worry about what her 600 facebook friends "know" that you don't.  There is no information competition.  Try this approach:  Let your son and DIL share with you what they think you want to know about them. Obviously, there are some things you are better off not knowing, such as your DIL's facebooked maternal musings. If your son had a reason to think you'd be hurt that they went to Vegas and didn't ask you to babysit even though you couldn't anyway, that would best explain why you have to drag vacation schedules out of him.

Quote
Holidays are spent at her house with her family.  My other son and his family are not welcome there for (another story) so I have holidays at my house with them.

This is phrased in such a way that I interpret that while your other son is not welcome at his brother’s house, you are welcome to celebrate at your son and DIL’s house, but that you choose not to.   It seems quite possible your son may experience this as your rejection, when you prefer to spend your holidays with his estranged brother, and not him.  Even if he does not, in any case I do not see this as your son or DIL rejecting you, not at all, so I would decide not to feel hurt.

Quote
He doesn’t talk to me except in generic terms. I am sure he is afraid that he will say something that I will get upset. He avoids conflict at all costs

You understand this.  If I were in your position, I would examine my own role in what seems to to be becoming a vicious cycle, so that it can be stopped.  Next time I feel hurt, instead of expressing it, (as information dragging, hurt, getting between brotherly conflict), examine what‘s going on.  Don’t gloss over important facts (availability, relationships others have between each other) that affect the situation as much as or more than feelings.  This way, your son will not have to avoid you to avoid conflict.

Your son LOVES YOU.   That’s why he doesn’t want to get you upset.   You have lots of feelings, and life is complex, but most of your conflicted feelings are not of your son's doing.   Process and examine your feelings before expressing them to him in a way that might make him feel responsible for your feelings.  Become easy to talk to, difficult to anger, drop your defenses, and in time your son won’t have to be afraid that whatever he says will get his loving mother upset. 
« Last Edit: October 22, 2010, 03:48:59 AM by Sassy »

Sadandalone59

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2010, 06:56:08 AM »
Thank you all.  I appreciate all the comments and ideas and it has given me a great deal to think about.  I am so glad I found this forum. 

Offline Pooh

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2010, 07:41:08 AM »
Welcome Sadandalone.....but you are sooo not alone.  There are many many wise people here that truly know how hard your situation is.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

justdontunderstand

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2010, 07:42:54 AM »
Dear Sad,
I am very sorry you are going through this. The sadness of this type of failed relationship is well known to all of us here on this forum. Not knowing what the "problem" is, for me,  one of the most puzzling parts of the sadness we are experiencing.

The one time I tried to talk to my DIL (over a year ago) and asked her what I could do to improve our relationship, she very harshly told me that my son was no longer my concern. I was dumbfounded and literally speechless for a few moments, Then I  said, "I am sorry you feel that way but I imagine that your parents still feel that you are their concern eventhough you are a married woman. We will always care about our children married or not."  I haven't spoken to her since. I have tried, but she will not speak to me. DIL has no relationship with anyone in our family, by her choice, not ours.

So, while I see no harm in trying to ask your DIL how to improve the situation, just be prepared that you may be disappointed with the results. I am coming to the realization that you really have no control over what someone thinks of you. You could be a saint and someone thinks you are acting superior or self righteous. You can have the best intentions in the world and someone thinks you are an interfering demon MIL. Hope for the best but plan for the worst! ;)

Offline Pen

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2010, 08:01:58 AM »
Sad, welcome. I'm glad you've found us, but so sorry you're going through this. It's so painful and confusing when we don't know what we did or how we can fix it. Although it seems defeatist, sometimes the best thing to do is realize that, as JDU said, we have no control over what others think of us. I'd add too that if a DIL/MIL sets out to exclude us from the family, they will just do it, no reason necessary. My DIL told DS that she just didn't like us. That was that. Nothing I did wrong, nothing I can change - she likes her FOO, dislikes DS's FOO. Done and done.

Well, DS rebelled and stood up for his FOO. We still don't see or communicate with him/them as much as we'd like, but at least we aren't completely shunned like before. I still walk on eggshells and I realize that I will probably not get to be a doting GM...I'll be lucky to see any future GC once or twice a year. DS has said he would make sure we have equal access, but my momma didn't raise a fool - I know what can happen in an instant. As JDU also said, hope for the best, plan for the worst.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
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erma

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2010, 08:08:56 AM »
hi sad,
i am going through the same with my ds. although its obvious some boundaries have been crossed, but in order to fix the problem, we have to know what the problem. so, i have to disagree with some of what was posted. i too put a nursery in my home, and bought all the things for my gc to be comfortable here as at home. dil picked almost everything out with me while pregnant, and both ds and dil were thinking of having me babysit, i was thrilled.  we finished the nursery together and they had the baby, and then WHAM!!!  after her horrid behavior towards me after the baby was born, (which i thought was postpartum, so did ds) she asked her mother, who ALSO bought and put up a nursery for the baby to babysit.!!! i was shocked and hurt beyond words.  and here's a clincher for ya, DIL FOO moved 3 mins from us to be closer to dil!!!  ds and dil, live 15 mins from us, i felt invaded!!
 we also have dogs, our ds grew up with plenty of animals, and i clean every day, my home is not furry, so i like you have no idea what i did wrong.
in one post i read sometime ago, the word entitlement hit me like a ton of bricks though.  i guess i did feel entitled to her because she married my son. however, we have done exactly as we were told, and we abide by her, dil's rules, only to be snubbed by dil and her foo.
so, im at a loss for explanation too, she wont really speak to me, her foo bought the same nursery we did, (im sure she picked out their items too) but my gc see's them every week, and we are left with an empty nursery, empty heart, and no explanation either.
so,  sad,  no i do not believe you went to far, or are being to sensitive. your being human, and a very wonderful grandparent. and for the record, almost everyone in my circle of friends and family, has cribs, nursery's, toys, cloths, diapers ect.. for when the gc visit. even my grand-dad had toys and such when we brought the kids to visit, so this is nothing new, it has been going on for generations, its a common "gesture of kindness".
hang in there, im still working on answers too. its really hard when you give your all, just to be slapped in the face, so to speak.
and WELL PUT PEN!!!
love your post!

Offline pam1

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2010, 10:28:29 AM »
Ok, this is what I got out of it -- they can't say no to you.  However they got there, however it happened -- they have problems saying no. 

It wasn't right of them to not say anything about you purchasing the nursery furniture.  But the way you phrased it "I asked them over and over again if I should buy all the nursery furniture and neither one said no" says to me that they never said yes either.  Making a nursery in your home is stating undeniably you expect to have that baby over and a lot of the time.  That can be a scary message to send to a new mother.  Especially without an explicit yes.  They are just figuring out how to be parents, how to set a schedule.  They don't have time to make sure everyone is getting a good piece of baby and getting their due -- it is simply not a consideration or a thought that typically crosses a new parents mind.  But when it does become a factor and as your son puts it, they notice someone running a tally - it's not an enlightening thought for them that someone thinks that way, it's a burden.  They don't have time for that.

The other thing I'm getting out of this is that you're asking things and the same things, quite a bit.  Having to drag out your sons vacation plans...no, just no..full stop.  No one likes that type of questioning. 

I know you're excited and full of love for the new baby.  But sometimes in our excitement we can't read others discomfort or body language.  I've noticed this quite a bit in my relationship with my MIL.  It's generally extremely obvious when anyone is uncomfortable.  Very, very rarely do you need to physically hear a "yes"  or "no" from someone, especially when you know them pretty well. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

MotherOf3

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2010, 12:04:57 PM »
Pam1, that is what I got from it too.  That she pushed and pushed and they didn't want to say no.  This shows up in the DIL not saying no to the gifts (that we know of) and then both the gifts and the nursery get treated the same... ignored.

Many people, including me, were raised to be kind to others. We don't want to tell someone 'no' to something they want even when we don't want it ourselves.  It took maturing to see that this isn't doing anyone any favors.  In the end, neither are happy.

It might have been quite different if the DS & DIL had simply said, "Mom, we don't want you putting in a whole nursery.  A portable crib or playpen is fine."  I think it's right on that they were afraid of how she would react and I would hate to know that my children couldn't just be honest with me. I think it's one thing if the GM will be babysitting quite A LOT, or full-time, but just for visiting... I can't agree with that.  It might have been very threatening to a new mother to have this woman acting like she was planning on having HER baby enough of the time to warrant a full nursery.  The DIL pulling away to protect the integity of her new family and to solidify her role as mother is understandable.  IMO she took much upon herself instead of letting the parents set the tone for what they were comfortable with.

I come from a good sized family, currently up to 10 grand-children and 10 great-grandchildren just from my parents, and not one of the kids or grandkids has ever had a nursery set up other than at THEIR home.  A playpen and toys that are kept at grandma's house, sure.

The more someone pushes, the more others may back away.  Give it time and distance and be nice.  Respect them as adults and accept that you are not the center of the family anymore like when they were little.  That can be hard to do.  My daughters are grown and they are starting to host the holiday dinners when for 20 years, that was my job.  I remember the first few Thanksgivings where my parents came to MY house.  That was strange, surreal, maybe even intimidating, but also full of pride that I was doing this now.

cremebrulee

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Re: Am I being overly sensitive or over reacting?
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2010, 12:37:55 PM »
I know that this is a very upsetting situation for you....and hope you can find some peace here by chatting with these ladies...

I don't think your being overly sensitive, and I know your hurting, however, if you wish the situation to change, I would suggest you consider a few things first.

I had dogs to, and maybe DIL is not a dog person, therefore, she doesn't trust the dogs with the baby...when you have a new baby, we can all be overly protective, and quit honestly....it would frighten me...but I've been around animals all my life, dogs, cats, horses, cattle, you name it....and I was raised, an animal is an animal and you can never ever predict what they will do. 

My next suggestion would be, what did you do when your DIL posted what she posted on FB?  Did you question them about it...? 


I just feel that you've got to give them some space, and as far as her friends on FB, remember they are all her same age, they have more in common and can relate to each other a little better...let them go...and just allow them some privacy....

You can always discuss the situation with them...however, you cannot get angry and start accussing them...but if you can talk about it gently like adults without pointing fingers, then I would ask them....

I'm sorry this is happening, however, I really feel that it could be changed...for the better...

I would not take the initiative to complete a nursery in my home for your GC...this really seems to scare a lot of DIL's...that is they're child and only your GC adn you really need to remember that, and respect that...

I do hope it all works out...please keep posting and reading here...

My best
Creme