Author Topic: Ambivalence About Possible Visit  (Read 4934 times)

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justdontunderstand

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Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« on: October 28, 2010, 10:14:42 AM »
Ladies, I know this is an emotionally safe place so here goes. The short story is, we haven't seen new DIL in over a year--Haven't spoken to her in more than ten months. We are deeply in the "no contact" stage. We have seen DS a couple of times on his own without explanation of why DIL isn't along. Now, out of the blue DS has raised the possibility of a visit by both of them. I am quite frankly, ambivalent. I have been trying to adjust to the silence and worked hard at it. I don't want any drama. I just want peace through the holidays. The last conversation with DIL was very unpleasant--a diatribe of our interfering ways- (which, truthfully is unfounded--I know you have to take my word for it but I am asking you to do that). The conversation was suppose to be a start fresh talk but instead it was a one-sided condemnation of my family. I did not argue--just tried to get off the phone politely.

I am surprised by my ambivalence. I thought I would like a visit and a chance to really start over. Now, I am not so sure that the silence may not be just what I need to promote my own continued healing. In addition, I literally do not know how to talk to DIL--never have figured that out in five years. I just don't know how to communicate with her at all. I am so uncomfortable around her--guarded, nervous and mostly just afraid. I become another person in her presence. She has way too much power to turn me into something I don't like to be. Is this a wierd reaction?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 10:18:13 AM by justdontunderstand »

cremebrulee

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2010, 10:25:10 AM »
Ladies, I know this is an emotionally safe place so here goes. The short story is, we haven't seen new DIL in over a year--Haven't spoken to her in more than ten months. We are deeply in the "no contact" stage. We have seen DS a couple of times on his own without explanation of why DIL isn't along. Now, out of the blue DS has raised the possibility of a visit by both of them. I am quite frankly, ambivalent. I have been trying to adjust to the silence and worked hard at it. I don't want any drama. I just want peace through the holidays. The last conversation with DIL was very unpleasant--a diatribe of our interfering ways- (which, truthfully is unfounded--I know you have to take my word for it but I am asking you to do that). The conversation was suppose to be a start fresh talk but instead it was a one-sided condemnation of my family. I did not argue--just tried to get off the phone politely.

I am surprised by my ambivalence. I thought I would like a visit and a chance to really start over. Now, I am not so sure that the silence may not be just what I need to promote my own continued healing. In addition, I literally do not know how to talk to DIL--never have figured that out in five years. I just don't know how to communicate with her at all. I am so uncomfortable around her--guarded, nervous and mostly just afraid. I become another person in her presence. She has way too much power to turn me into something I don't like to be. Is this a wierd reaction?

hi there,
this is a real pickle....it sounds to me, like your son has been working on her to get this visit going...your damned if you do and if you don't....
here is what I would do....

insist on staying at a hotel/motel....explain to them, like my girlfriend explains to her kids...they just need they're privacy...medical reasons, waking up to having several cups of coffee, without having to feel like talking to anyone....yanno...?  So, they stay in a motel/hotel

then, I would not make the visit longer then 3 days...the shorter the better....that is what I used to do....any longer tends to lend stress to the situation....

don't over do gifts....if I were you, regardless, the safest and easiest thing to do, is ask DIL, not son, if she thinks it would be ok to give GC a gift wrapped gift card...or ask her what she feels would be a nice gift, when she tells you, stick to it....and then give the GC money.

when your talking to them,  don't look at son and ask him when he is doing this or that....but address them both....ask, "when are you guys planning on doing....this or that..."  Hug her first.....address her more then son....no matter how she reacts to you....reassure her that your interested in her as a family member, and you don't want to cross boundaries by calling her first...and asking her what she feels would be an appropriate gift....

same with son and her...

I'm so sorry your going thru this...and I know you want to make it work...I'm certain other ladies will come in and give you some very good pointers...so, rest assure, we want to help y ou make this work if we can....

when you go, don't fall all over her....or be nervous...be you, that is all you can do...and be confident....smile a lot....and ignore any ill feelings she may do or say....if she talks about your family....then, change the subject immediately, don't even respond....she might get the message....? 

lastly, do you want to go?  I'm guessing both DIL and you feel it is to soon, however, son probably feels like your over due for a visit...and has been pressuring her to have you come...I could be wrong? 

I'm interested in reading the responses from the others, b/c I just don't know? 

Hugs
Creme

« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 10:33:43 AM by cremebrulee »

barelythere

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2010, 10:33:48 AM »
Ladies, I know this is an emotionally safe place so here goes. The short story is, we haven't seen new DIL in over a year--Haven't spoken to her in more than ten months. We are deeply in the "no contact" stage. We have seen DS a couple of times on his own without explanation of why DIL isn't along. Now, out of the blue DS has raised the possibility of a visit by both of them. I am quite frankly, ambivalent. I have been trying to adjust to the silence and worked hard at it. I don't want any drama. I just want peace through the holidays. The last conversation with DIL was very unpleasant--a diatribe of our interfering ways- (which, truthfully is unfounded--I know you have to take my word for it but I am asking you to do that). The conversation was suppose to be a start fresh talk but instead it was a one-sided condemnation of my family. I did not argue--just tried to get off the phone politely.

I am surprised by my ambivalence. I thought I would like a visit and a chance to really start over. Now, I am not so sure that the silence may not be just what I need to promote my own continued healing. In addition, I literally do not know how to talk to DIL--never have figured that out in five years. I just don't know how to communicate with her at all. I am so uncomfortable around her--guarded, nervous and mostly just afraid. I become another person in her presence. She has way too much power to turn me into something I don't like to be. Is this a wierd reaction?

No, I have found that after some distance from your son and DIL, you start to see your son differently, or at least I have.  I understand how you feel and I don't blame you one bit for not wanting them to disturb your comfort zone.  It is extremely hard to see your son turn into another person at the alter and then to just embrace the new him and his wife, the instigator of the transition, with open arms when they feel like it.

justdontunderstand

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 10:45:57 AM »
Creme,
Thanks for your quick response. I should have made it clear--DS and DIL would be coming to us not us visiting them, so I cannot easily control all the factors you mentioned without seeming unwelcoming. I think you hit on one of the problems--too much togetherness when someone stays with you. We always stay in hotels when visiting with anyone. I insist on it because I like my privacy. I think DS would expect to stay with us because this is what he always does. There are no grandkids--so no issues there.

Barelythere,
You hit the spot--my comfort zone seems to be challenged. Your insight really is right on about how I feel. Thanks for the support and understanding.

cremebrulee

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 10:50:18 AM »
Quote
justdontunderstand
Creme,
Thanks for your quick response. I should have made it clear--DS and DIL would be coming to us not us visiting them, so I cannot easily control all the factors you mentioned without seeming unwelcoming. I think you hit on one of the problems--too much togetherness when someone stays with you. We always stay in hotels when visiting with anyone. I insist on it because I like my privacy. I think DS would expect to stay with us because this is what he always does. There are no grandkids--so no issues there.

well, how do you feel about it?  I mean do you think you could pull it off?  obviously son wants to see his mom...how long are they staying, and when are they coming..?  Are others coming?  Friends, family members...




« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 10:52:00 AM by cremebrulee »

Offline Pooh

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2010, 10:59:55 AM »
I think you are very right to feel how you do.  Once we let go, we find that it is a big relief to not have to deal with the hurt and drama.  And their visit, if it doesn't go well, can open up old wounds.   And then there is the whole "I have to behave this way or it will all start up again."  Such stress and worry.

On the other hand, you want to think that this could be the start to repairing the relationship (not that you have anything to be forgiven for).  But a way to create peace and harmony and have a better relationship with them down the road.

I guess it would boil down to this for me.  "Do I want a better relationship than we have, or am I content with how things are now?"  Only you can answer that question for yourself.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Pooh

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2010, 11:01:14 AM »
And notice I said, "What do YOU want?"  Not what do they want.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Scoop

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2010, 11:16:25 AM »
I think you have to go into this hoping for the best.  Okay, don't expect to leave as best friends, but really, if you can have a visit where you're both civil to each other - sometimes that's the best you can ask for.  After a couple of civil visits, maybe you can both warm up to each other and start to trust each other and let your guard down.


Offline luise.volta

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2010, 01:28:44 PM »
This is "Chicken Little" speaking: I would tell DS that the problems have cost me too much and I need to heal. I would tell him that if and when DIL approached me directly, openly and kindly, I would be up for anything that looked positive but that a visit without a new approach and mutual respect is more than I would be able to deal with. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

catchingup

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2010, 01:53:53 PM »

Yes difficult one this.
I have always felt comfortable with all my sons girlfriends except for the one so I know how you feel

I had a problem with her family blaming me for something I did not do and I vowed to never set foot in their house again and am now in a comfort zone I am not willing to step out of.

They have tried to get me out of there but I now see a red flag and og=fcourse this is what you see.
You dont know how to handle the situation without causing futher friction.
She will sense this and regard it as a weakness and may play on it.

It is a difficult one and no matter how you try to handle it you may not succeed."Try" is the key word here.If you cant be yourself and be accepted trying will not resolve it.

I dont think staying in your comfort zone is the answer though--I may not be able to stay in mine forever-- Take the risk it may resolve itself

Offline elsieshaye

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2010, 01:57:16 PM »
As someone else said, it's a pickle, because you don't want to risk closing the door, but you also don't want to open yourself up to abuse and drama, especially if you have no distance between you. 

I would be honest with your son in any case, and let him know that you are ambivalent, and what your concerns are.   

Can you maybe suggest reversing the visit:  going to see them on they days they suggested coming to see you (or maybe just for a day or so), and staying in a hotel?  That way you and they both have someplace to retreat to if things don't go the way your son obviously hopes they will.  If your son is pushing your DIL into a reconciliation, it may really not pan out the way he thinks, especially if she's away from her home turf, "trapped" in your house, and feeling defensive.   If you all have a little bit of breathing room, it may go a lot smoother.
This too shall pass.  All is well.

catchingup

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2010, 02:03:15 PM »

Good advise from Elsieshaye there.

Offline Barbie

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2010, 03:36:18 PM »
Justdonunderstand,
I've felt the same way you do, I talk to DS on the phone everyday and I'm comfortable with that  but I don't look forward to seeing him in person that much anymore, I don't like to see the person that he has become, I'm uncomfortable around DS and DIL, nervous and don't act like myself and I feel guilty for feeling this way, as his mother I feel that I should welcome him with open arms but I'm so afraid to let my guard down. I'm glad to know I'm not alone.
We see eachother about once a month now, I guess he's trying his best but I get very nervous before he comes and get totally wiped out for a couple of days after he leaves. It's a little bit better when we go to their house, I think because I know if I want to cut the visit short I can leave anytime I want. I so wish that things could be the way they used to.
Do the best you can. Wish you luck.

Offline Pen

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2010, 06:20:28 PM »
JDU, how cool is it that you're ambivalent? I think it's great! There's power in ambivalence - you don't expect anything, you're not going to be disappointed, you are in 'take it or leave it' mode. Hurray! You said "She has way too much power to turn me into something I don't like to be." I understand, oh boy do I, but reading this post from you shows me that NO, she doesn't have any power over you that you don't give her!

Best wishes - take care of yourself and the rest will follow. And have an escape plan. Perhaps a friend could suddenly need a big favor that only you can handle? You'll think of something.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline Sheen

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Re: Ambivalence About Possible Visit
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2010, 09:22:58 PM »
Chicken Little

I agree with you totally. If justdontunderstand is already begining to stress this visit, it is apparent that she is already thinking about how it will affect her.

The last time I saw my son was six years ago and we stayed at his home (at his request) for three days. Since I did not know where exactly it was, he met us at our hotel and stayed with us for one night before driving the remaining distance to his home.  That one night he was the same guy that I had known years ago , joking with us, teasing his younger sister etc. It was a nice night. The next morning we drove to his home where dil and gc were and the whole dynamic of the visit changed.

I felt extremely uncomfortable, like we were putting her out, she complained she had to go food shopping, complained about everything and really did not speak to us at all. My son said very little until late at night when dil went to bed and then he was back to his oldself.  I must say it was a very uncomfortable visit and one that I would not want to repeat. If dil really is not interested in a relationship with you and is only present because your son is forcing the issue, even if she says nothing you will still feel the resentment.

It would be an entirely different matter if dil was the one calling you to visit , at least then you could see that she is trying to make amends but this way I think you are opening yourself up for yet another chapter of "How the dil turns"