Author Topic: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2  (Read 3754 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

justdontunderstand

  • Guest
Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« on: November 13, 2010, 12:28:33 PM »
You may recall that my DS mentioned visiting with DIL over the holidays and my initial response was ambivalence. Many of your responded that you could understand my feelings. I felt like I was just beginning to get some perspective on the whole sad situation.

Well, they are coming. I decided to give it a try but honestly, I haven't slept well since the plans were made. I keep envisioning the visit as an awkward one. Keep in mind that I have not seen or spoken to DIL in a year. The last time we spoke it was suppose to be a conversation of "starting over" and she used it to tell me off but good. I did not retaliate but got off the phone as calmly as I could.

I am starting to wonder how to handle the greeting at the airport--I generally am a hugger but can't envision hugging DIL (it would be so disingenuous). Do I hug my son and not her? Do I not hug either one?

 I wonder what I can possibly say to her. We never could talk before and now it seems even more challenging. I am afraid I will say something that will give her ammunition to use against me with DS. She only answers me with one word sentences. I feel like I am pulling teeth to talk to her. I then start prattling on and on and feel like "help I am talking and I can't shut up!"

How do you go from no contact with someone you are clearly estranged from to having them in your home 24/7 for a period of several days? How in the world do we deal with this awkward situation? Do we pretend nothing is wrong between us?

 I am lousy at pretending. I am one of those open book face people. If I am anxious it shows,. If I am happy it shows. If I am sad, it shows.

Should I ask my DS if they intend to talk about the estrangement? So far, they haven't in the last year.

Is the best plan one of, "This is my home. You take me as I am. "

What do I do?

Offline luise.volta

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8962
  • Luise Volta
    • View Profile
    • Wise Women Unite
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2010, 12:49:47 PM »
I don't think you can pre-plan this because you don't know what you will be dealing with. And I also think the more you try, the more you are going to set yourself up.

You made this choice. Now, all you can do is cancel it or have it turn out however it does. You obviously want it to to work...she may, too...or DS may be dragging her to your home kicking and screaming (metaphorically.) There's no way that I know of that you can anticipate or even prepare. Just give it your best. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

seasage

  • Guest
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2010, 12:59:06 PM »
jdu,
I am going to be in exactly the same situation soon.  I have exactly zero relation with DIL, which is exactly as she wants it.  I am done trying, done crying.  I tell my friends that the ball is in her court, but I hope she never returns it.  Nonetheless, DS is going to convince her to come here soon.  She almost said yes for Thanksgiving, but backed out at the last minute - decided to go to her family while DS comes here.

Here is how I am going to play it at the airport when the visit happens.  I am going to greet both of them with big, happy smiles.  Inviting smiles.  Let them initiate the hugging.  Maybe I could be holding something in my arms so that it will look natural that I don't start any hugs?  Big purse?  Water bottle?  Newspaper? 

I am going to smile at DIL and ask how the trip was.  I am going to write a few open-ended questions on a piece of paper and stuff the paper in my pocket.  Questions that should cannot be answered with yes/no.  (I'm thinking of the way Amy Goodman poses questions on Democracy Now.)  "Tell me about your trip."  "Tell me about your new job."   

When we get home, at the appropriate time, I am going to invite both of them to help me cook the dinner.  DIL will be free to help, or to stay in her room as she has on previous visits.

That amount of prep ought to let me know how the wind is blowing and I can play it from there.  I am thinking that one key is to always smile when I talk to DIL.  Smile but don't say too much, because I know from experience that most of what I say ends up as another notch in her belt.  I absolutely will not talk about any past estrangement.  What estrangement?  I am going to treat DIL as an interesting guest.  I am going to pretend that we have no past.

erma

  • Guest
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2010, 01:00:46 PM »
jdu, if it were me, and i kinda have the same situation this christmas (only they live just a few mins from me)
1. i will wait for them to come to me for a hug. 8)
2. i will not open up old wounds, she knows how i feel, i know how she feels  :-X
3. i will focus on gc, not them  ;D
4. i will be polite, but i WILL NOT COMPRIMISE MYSELF in my own home  :)
5. if things go arye, i will take a time out to recompose myself, and if all he!! breaks lose, i will stay calm.  8)

and that's as far as my list goes for this holiday that they are so graciously "giving me"  :P ::) ???

erma

  • Guest
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2010, 01:04:17 PM »
oh nice seasage!!!  im gonna steel some of your advice please!!  love the "tell me about your..." and love the helping in the kitchen part.
thanks!   :D

seasage

  • Guest
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2010, 01:30:09 PM »
Keep in mind that I have not seen or spoken to DIL in a year. The last time we spoke it was suppose to be a conversation of "starting over" and she used it to tell me off but good.

OK, that confirms it.  Your DIL and my DIL are sisters.

Offline Barbie

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 295
    • View Profile
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2010, 02:42:18 PM »
Justdontunderstand,

I have a similar situation, my DIL hasn't been to our house since last Christmas although we've been invited to their house a few times since but, whenever I see her I give her a hug and kiss when I say hello and another hug and kiss when I say goodbye.

When she comes to our house I treat her like I would treat any other guest, I'm polite and cordial, don't worry about having to carry a conversation and don't mention anything about the estrangement, act normal.

It is a very awkward situation but you should make the sacrifice for your DS, you never know, things may turn out better than you expected, I hope so.

                                                       Hugs.

LaurieS

  • Guest
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2010, 03:10:11 PM »
Don't forget the wine

Offline luise.volta

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8962
  • Luise Volta
    • View Profile
    • Wise Women Unite
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2010, 04:37:39 PM »
Miracles can happen. We all know that...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

justdontunderstand

  • Guest
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2010, 05:03:12 AM »
Ladies,
There is so much good advice in what you have offered up, I thank you all. I liked the idea of having something in my hands at the airport and letting them initiate any hugging!

I have tried the "Tell me about technique" of talking with DIL in the past. She usually says, "There isn't much to tell" and then clams up. Truly, this young woman is impossible to talk to--not only with me but everyone who has met her. She seems to have no problem conversing with her family and friends though. This cold shoulder is reserved for "our side".

Luise, you are so right, I cannot plan--- yet heavens know I have made it a lifetime of trying. I recognize that I am a cautious person by nature and try and control the unpleasant things that might be around the corner. Also, I always want everyone to have a good time. I feel responsible for everyone's happiness. I know this is not a good way to be but it is hard to break a lifetime of  behavior. One of the reasons this problem with DIL hurts so much is that I truly believed (up until now) that if you loved long enough and tried hard enough, you could break through resistance or shyness or any obstacle to getting along with just about anyone. I see now that this essential belief is not true and I am having to put another in its place. I am just not sure what that other essential belief should be.

Offline Barbie

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 295
    • View Profile
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2010, 08:18:47 AM »
To me, as long as we can be civil to one another, that's a step forward and we have. Just be yourself.
                                                Hugs.

Tara

  • Guest
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2010, 08:28:58 AM »
You might also consider giving yourself time outs

go for a walk
go to the store
have a friend lined up you have a cup of tea with.
if you go to church, go to church

whatever works in your life as a little break to come home to yourself, breathe and
    relax


Offline Pen

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4400
    • View Profile
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2010, 08:35:05 AM »
Ladies,
There is so much good advice in what you have offered up, I thank you all. I liked the idea of having something in my hands at the airport and letting them initiate any hugging!

I have tried the "Tell me about technique" of talking with DIL in the past. She usually says, "There isn't much to tell" and then clams up. Truly, this young woman is impossible to talk to--not only with me but everyone who has met her. She seems to have no problem conversing with her family and friends though. This cold shoulder is reserved for "our side".

Luise, you are so right, I cannot plan--- yet heavens know I have made it a lifetime of trying. I recognize that I am a cautious person by nature and try and control the unpleasant things that might be around the corner. Also, I always want everyone to have a good time. I feel responsible for everyone's happiness. I know this is not a good way to be but it is hard to break a lifetime of  behavior. One of the reasons this problem with DIL hurts so much is that I truly believed (up until now) that if you loved long enough and tried hard enough, you could break through resistance or shyness or any obstacle to getting along with just about anyone. I see now that this essential belief is not true and I am having to put another in its place. I am just not sure what that other essential belief should be.

IMHO people who won't open up or engage might be shy, but more often are letting us know how little we matter to them. They don't think we're worthy to be privy to their thoughts and ideas. I'm going to use this technique w/SM who takes everything I say and twists it to zing me - I will not engage, I'll just smile and leave the room when she starts pushing. I can use dis-engagement on DIL if she starts criticising me or my home again. "Huh. I'll think about that. Excuse me, I've got to baste the turkey (water the lawn, walk the dog, run to the store.)" On the other hand, my DF always takes a backseat and lets his wife, my SM, do all the talking. The Amy Goodman (love her) interview technique will work to draw him out! What a dance. Being civil is key. Here come the holidays!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline luise.volta

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8962
  • Luise Volta
    • View Profile
    • Wise Women Unite
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2010, 10:06:09 AM »
I think persistent love can win some people over. Others are on a path we don't really understand and need to do what they do. I, too, find it very hard to tell the difference sometimes but I think self-love is the way out of it. That's a first if we are to be able to continue to love others in a healthy way.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

justdontunderstand

  • Guest
Re: Ambivalent about Possible Visit PART 2
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2010, 11:50:10 AM »
Luise,
I have explored the whole self love concept and its relationship to loving others. I think as mothers we are taught to self sacrifice for our children. It is a hard habit to break once you master it!

Then our children grow up. We struggle to find our own lives again. We back off like we are suppose to but again are asked (because of in law problems) to go back and sacrifice our own well being to get along. For example, the truth is, I need an apology from my DIL for what she last said to me. I can't express that need because it will most likely make things worse. I  cannot love myself by asking for the apology. I need to talk about our problems because that is how I heal. Again, I cannot love and honor myself by doing what seems natural to me---talk through the issues. So, once again my needs are second to the needs of DS.

 Am I wrong to need the apology? Am I wrong to want to talk about our problems? To me it would be an act of self love to do so but the consequences would most likely be unpleasant.  So, I shut up which just seems to me to be the opposite of a self loving act.