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How did it get like this

Started by shocked, April 20, 2011, 08:30:53 pm

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My son got married 1 1/2 yrs ago and my grandson was born a year later.  My DIL and I have never had a good relationship but have never had an exchange of words.  I have tried to be close to her but nothing seems to work.  When my grandson was born I went to stay with them for a week.  I did anything that needed to be done bought groceries, cooked meals, clean house and did laundry.  Never got a thank you from her but lots from my son.  Needless to say I came home early and went into depression.  Had to go on antidepressants and start counseling.  I knew my relationship with son was going to change when he got married but never expected to be treated like this.   She is a sweet person and extremely talented.   I have asked my son why she treats me like this he does not have any answers except she is not very out going compared to her mother.  In my eyes she is far from being shy.  To make it worse I got divorced from my sons dad and she has bonded (or it appears to me) with him and his new wife and her family.  I am at a lose of words.
My son is in the AF and lives in another state so she makes frequent trips back here to see her family.  I live about 4 hours away from her parents.  In the past I have practically invited my self to go see her and grandson.  This time I did not I wanted her to invite me which of course never happened.  Then she makes a comment on FB Only a few more days til I go home.  Nice to of all of the people who come to see us and REALLY Care!  Several of her friends made comments about why they could not make it and she stated "comment is not for any of the people that had commented.  I feel awful and guilty but at same time don't want to be taken advantage of.  I called her cell phone but it went to vm.  Left message asking her to call me back.  That was 2 days ago no response.  I even talked to my son last night and at the end of the conversation asked him to tell her to call me they sitting down to eat.  I am sitting her beating myself up for making the wrong decision.


I should have told you my son is being deployed in August and they are coming to spend a week with me and my husband in June.  If they had not already made these plans before she went to her mom's I would have gone there. 


So terribly hard to get that they become "adults" that they make the rules. Our hoe, dreams and expectations are often not factored in. That's their right but we get left hanging out to dray and think we did something wrong. Not so. But we do need to do something, and that's create a new life. that's where peace and joy lies. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


The FB comment might not have had anything at all to do with you. Hubby recently made a similar comment on his. His Aunt saw it, freaked out and got his mother to call us. Seriously?! It was pathetic. It had absolutely nothing to do with her, but she is convinced that everything we say or do revolves around her. *eyeroll*... It actually had to do with MY brother and his wife and they just didn't get it lol

So, Recommendation 1. Don't read your DIL's FB. It causes nothing but trouble (my MIL is blocked from reading anything that I post so she can't take it out of context and get all, ya know lol).
2. Don't assume that anyone's FB comment ever has anything to do with you. It will only upset you and make you depressed and insecure. (You know what they say when you "assume.")
3. Leave it be. Have a blast with your family when they come to visit in June!

Also, It takes time to adjust to being a DIL or MIL. She is still adjusting to that PLUS now has to adjust to being a new mom. That's a LOT of adjusting in not much time.

As far as being "shy," I am PAINFULLY shy, but most people wouldn't think that. I can be outgoing at times, but really only with strangers. I find it extremely difficult to ever say anything to DH's family because anytime I open my mouth I get blasted for something. DH speaks for me when it comes to his family. Now, I think that I say thank you to them, but I can't be 100% positive. And I certainly can't guarantee that they actually hear me when I do.

And, this is just MHO, IF I just had a baby, and my MIL came to stay with us for a week, I think someone would have to die! lol I know that I wouldn't be able to take her being in my house. I wouldn't even want my own mother there. So, she was probably overwhelmed with the whole situation.


But Shocked, if DS thanked you, why wasn't that enough?  Why did DIL have to personally thank you?  And really, you can't hold anything a new mom does or says in the first 6 weeks after having a baby against her.

As for FB, stop looking at her posts, if this is your way of seeing pictures of their little family, then block her posts, but go to her page every once in a while to check out their pictures only.

If she is so immature as to make cryptic comments on FB regarding how other people are not living up to her expectations, then that's her problem.  It has nothing to do with you.

Even then, what if, instead of being hurt over it, you had posted back: "Hey, was this for me?  I hope not, because I was giving you a chance to have more alone-time with your family, because I get to see you next month.  I can't wait!  If you really want me to come though, let me know and I'll be there with bells on!"   Really, what can she say to that?  NOTHING.  And then you're not hurt and she's not hurt and all is right with the world.

As for her having bonded with her FIL.  Well, don't you find that you 'click' better with some people?  So maybe you and DIL don't "click".  It actually makes sense, because you and xDH divorced for a reason, and if she clicks with him, then it's likely she won't click with you.  I think the best you can hope for with this DIL is an 'acquaintance' type relationship.  Treat her like you would your neighbour 2 doors over. "Hi, how are you?  You're looking good.  How's work?  Yeah, I know, me too."  (ASIDE to Luise - I just said a little prayer for you and your little dog Me Too after typing that.)  And if your neighbour 2 doors over posted something nasty on FB, you would think "Wow, I wonder what's going on in THEIR lives?  Huh.  I guess I'll go check WWU now."

Good luck!


Scoop, I think leaving a comment on FB is a great idea. It clears the air, and it nicely addresses passive aggressive behavior if it is going on, or it gives DIL a chance to clarify.

I don't think that b/c FIL and MIL are divorced that means that we will click with one and not another. People divorce for many reasons. My parents clicked on a friendly level, but nothing more than that. I think their reasons for divorce have very little to do with what type of  people they get along with platonically.

lancaster lady

Dear Shocked :
Speaking from experience , I think if you have any questions about your DIL , you must address her . Don't go to
your DS , they tend to shrug their shoulders !!
do not let it go on for months on end , sort it out now . Ask her all the questions you asked your DS .
Send her an email as you don't see her often . Tell her you know how busy she is , but you would like to see
your GC sometime .
My own F/DIL and I took a few months to sort things out , but we did eventually , each with our own 'list' of
grievances which we aired by email .
If you still don't hear back , then I would just back off for a while . I found they came looking for me first .
Good luck , I think new Moms like to establish the pecking order after a new baby arrives . That's fine .
As long as you let her know that you know she is the mom , and what she says goes . However you
would appreciate a little time for the grandmom too . Don't forget your DS is in the middle and is going to
support his wife . So you really need to address her directly .
Sometimes MIL/DIL hit it off  straight away , sometimes it takes a bit longer , and sometimes not at all !
That's when WWU comes into play ..... :)


I agree with Scoop and Holly- maybe you just politely say, "Oh gosh, I hope I haven't offended you...etc."  What could she say to that even if she WERE talking about you?  For the record though, I don't think she was.


Ah so LL, you celebrate Festivius?  With the Airing of Grievances?  lol old seinfeld joke

Shocked, I am actually confused about what you're upset about.  Was it that she didn't say thank you?  I confess, I do find it odd that so many people seem to have a checklist for new mothers, weren't most of us there once?  Was I the only one who was in a daze the entire first  6 weeks?  lol, I wouldn't even have noticed whether I had my pants on, let alone be on company manners.  IMO, I would have felt that I did my MIL a favor by letting her stay a week after I had a baby. 

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


I chose not to post on FB to her comment because I do not think that is the place to have family disagreements.  And it was also alot of things that occurred when GC was born.  Her mother had just left and there was praise all over her Fb page and after I left my ex was there and there was "thanks" on FB.  I did not try to "take over" her house I wanted to help.  I was looking forward to spending time with her to try and build a relationship.  But she had a differrent agenda she was busy planning get togethers with her friends.  I understood one but 2 withing a span of 3 days was more than I could handle.  I will talk with her when they come in June but mostly trying to plan a fun relaxing day for the girls that includes massages and facials.  I would never not say at least one TY if someone was trying to help me out.  I told her I was here for "HER" and to let me know what I could do to help her.  I don't expect to her best friend (but would love it if it happened) but want to get alone with each other without the drama.  I want to have with her the type of open relationship I have with my son, if one of us gets upset we talk about. It's common courtesy but guess that went out 20 or 30 years ago. 

lancaster lady

Shocked ....you and I both have the same story ......I was virtually ignored until we ironed out our problems. I too felt rejected as a GM .....my DIL mentioned attachment parenting when my GD was one year old. Nice to be informed eventually . You have to let them know how you feel .I think DIL think we want to steal their babies .....all we want is a little consideration as Gps ....'cos we love them .


Shocked, I have a question that could explain some of the odd communication and the missing thank you.    Firstly, I think you sound like a wonderful, caring mother and MIL.  If we are ever blessed with a baby, I would love that kind of help, (and that kind of MIL!).  Every girl is different, of course. 

You went out for a week right after her first child was born, and stayed with them, to help DIL.  Here's the million dollar question: Did DIL ask you for that help?

My thoughts are if she didn't invite you, or didn't specifically ask for you to help so soon, or if DS invited you without checking with her first ... is it possible that despite all the free labor you provided, she felt like she had a week long houseguest imposed on her at what to her may have been a very private time of her life?  I've read a phrase about how it can feel when one is provided unsolicted help, which may explain the lack of thanks, if she didn't ask.  The phrase goes "If you're not doing it 'for' me, you're doing it 'to' me."

My other thought is that whther she she asked for you to help or not, it might be helpful to consider that as a brand new mother she may have felt like a message was being sent to her husband, that as a wife a mother, she couldn't "do it all" herself.  Accepting so much help may have exacerbated some feelings of self-doubt about her own adequacy. So by not thanking you, she felt she retained some of her pride.  Which is not your fault, and nothing you could do about it.

I am glad your son thanked you profusely.  He knows you, he knows where your heart is coming from, he is not threatened by your domestic expertise, and he obviously appreciates you very very much.  As he should.


P.S. About DIL's comment on facebook, whomever it was meant, for, it was a ridiculous way of communicating it.  You cannot and do not know if the comment was meant for you, or someone else, or several someone elses, in her life.  As my mother always asks, "Why borrow trouble?"

I have learned if it upsets me to look at someone's facebook page, the best way for me to feel better is not to look at it.  :)


Hello! I think that maybe a sit down with your dil would be a good idea. You had some really good intentions with trying to help her out with the new baby, but in all honesty, I don't think that is the time to be trying to establish a good relationship. I know for my when I had my first I was so frazzled and exhausted that even strangers managed to upset me will their "well meaning" comments. Everyone has so much "advice" for the new mom.. it's alot to process. Did you have a good relationship with your dil beforehand?? A new baby can be such a stressful time and having someone around who you aren't 100% comfortable around can make it worse, even if they have the best of intentions.

As for FB, I would have to agree with everyone that it can really be crazymaking for no reason. I would just avoid it and save the hurt feelings over something potentially imagined. My MIL is the queen of reading between the lines where they don't exist. Pre-establishing an opinion without a true explaination of the situation from the actual person involved is dangerous and doesn't help make anything better. Now if dil comes out and attacks you head on, by all means that is a game changer for sure.


QuoteI have asked my son why she treats me like this he does not have any answers except she is not very out going compared to her mother.

QuoteI even talked to my son last night and at the end of the conversation asked him to tell her to call me they sitting down to eat.

I suggest avoiding what can be described as "triangle" communication.  Sometimes it feels when you can't get through to a person, going through someone else close to them is a possible route to her.  My concern here is when it's going through a married woman's husband, it can too easily be misinterpreted.   

When your son told her you approached him about her, is it possible DIL may have felt like you were trying to use your influence with him to question her wifely wonderfulness, or change her?  I know and you know you were looking for solutions!  If son said "Mom, its the way you wear your hair" then you could simply change your hairstyle around her.  If he told you "she was hurt that you xxx" then you could apologize, you never meant to hurt her feelings.    His "that's the way she is" type of explanation is probably the truth.  It's not a subject he wants to elaborate on.

You left her a message 2-3 days ago.  I'm sorry she did not return your call yet.  That stinks.   Especially when you're on pins and needles wondering how angry she may or may not be, based on a public facebook message.  I sure wouldn't wish that "waiting, waiting" position on anyone.  Despite that, I don't see where it's helpful for you, to urge your son to instruct her, about when she is to return your call.   She got your voice mail the first time.

Let things settle.  She will call when she is ready (sending you the extra patience I have today because I found out I could renew my license online and not wait at the DMV this afternoon).  Talk to your son about anything but your relationship with his wife.  With an immature person (her facebook games, whomever she's playing them with, reveal that),  they are more likely to "rebel" by going in the opposite direction, if they feel they are trying to be steered.