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Can't win :-(

Started by tryingmybest, April 30, 2011, 07:10:43 pm

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So I'm having a lovely visit with my son, who complains his wife sees her parents several times a week, and talks to them on the phone every day. So I have lovingly detached, given them space to form their own family unit and he wants to know why we don't call him and see him MORE, like her parents.!!!! So I asked him "would you REALLY feel okay with me calling you all the time, and just showing up at your door.  :o He admitted he wouldn't but I still walked out of there feeling like a bad mother because I wasn't making the same effort as his IL's to "be there" for them.  I give up.


Darned if you do...darned if you don't stuff. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Before you give up...TMB, did you try for a happy medium?

If he doesn't want to talk ALL the time, maybe twice a week? (I'm seriously just tossing numbers out there).

He does want you involved more, but probably not as much as the ILs b/c he doesn't think they should be as involved as much as they are.

Do you think, that in a few days, once your feelings are settled down...and you could call him and say, "I have been thinking about what you said...you and I both agree that talking everyday would be too much, and you and I also agree that talking as little as we do is too little. What would you like to see for our relationship?" There might be a happy medium in there for you and him.

Maybe take it from there?

I'm sorry you're feeling down, but you're not a bad mom.


You mean 'give up' in the way Luise put it, I hope? I vote for a happy medium, too. I'm really glad to hear your DS wants more contact! That's great!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Many of us wait for an opportunity to get a toe in dc' door.  It sounds to me like ds has it cracked open & waiting for you...

lancaster lady

I reckon he's.missing his own Foo .......I think my DS misses us too ,we never ever see him alone ,not that I'm complaining ,its just he never chats to me when all the family are together.



Ok, this wasn't very mature of me -- but when we were in the midst of the heavy in law struggles, I wondered the same thing.  Why weren't my parents behaving the same way?

But it was all selfish, I wanted my parents to save me.  I wanted them to teach DH a lesson, to see how it was from the other side.  I felt like talking with DH and his parents was not getting me anywhere, I wanted action and at that point, I wanted it bad.

*IF* my parents had stepped in, we wouldn't be where we were today though.  It's still not great, probably never will be.  But DH does realize on  his own, without my parents parenting him, that his FOO isn't the only ones who matter in this world.  I do believe both he and I would resent if my parents stepped in to fight our battle.

The good news is that your son is getting to his limit too.  I wouldn't necessarily give up, I would just stand by in case DS/DIL need a landing spot.

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Yeah, We're going to step up the contact a bit, but what I think DS doesn't get is I don't think DIL is going to be happy at all if we do. I just told him we were now his extended family and his first priority was his wife and their family and we understood a young couple only had so many hours in the day, and we were always there for both of them ..basically all the good stuff. The problem is my DIL is very emeshed with her family, so everything has been all about them, every holiday EVERYthing. So we've bowed out, we "understood they had to do what was right for them" no pressure. I really stressed how proud we were of how much they had done and really stressed that we saw him as an independent young man leading his own life.

I ground my teeth down to a nub, but I made the transition. I mean we invited them over, may-be once a month, talked about 3 times a month and made it clear we would love to come to their house, when we were invited. I thought we were being the ideal In-laws. I think LL is right I think DS is tired
of this over contact with his IL 's. I'm just afraid DIL is planting a bug in his ear that her parents are
just there for them because they are so wonderful, and we're not because we don't care enough..


TMB it sounds like you are quite right.  Keep doing what you're doing, and gently step it up just a little bit.  Continue to stress to him how you accept nearly every invitation he extends.

I have an old friend whom every time I call her, commences the conversation by lamenting how long it has been since the last time I called her.  Finally, I once responded by sighing, "I didn't realize your cell phone only accept calls, and does not place them."   

since 2009
Full member


May 01, 2011, 09:45:45 am #9 Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 12:48:00 pm by Holly
I know how you feel. Because my M was so needy and enmeshed, I have tried very hard to follow my children's lead when it comes to what sort of relationship they want with me. Then, I miss cues I should have picked up, or I don't listen to my own gut, or I simply can't read their minds and I don't step up when I should. With my SD, there is the added complication of her loyalty issues with her M. When she is on good terms with her M, I am the evil SM, but when things are bad with her diagnosable M, I am golden. Right now, she isn't even talking to her M,  and is trying to pull me back in, but I don't trust it. In a year, we have gone from her not being able to tolerate talking to me on the phone, to her initiating contact. I am cautious, and will probably remain cautious with her for the rest of my life.

Stepping up the contact is a good plan, but be prepared for fall out. People who are as enmeshed as your DIL is don't even realize how unhealthy their familial relationships are until there is a crisis, like say your DS finally getting tired of it and insisting on change. If they do finally see it and they try to overcome their lifetime of training, their family will put them through pain and grief. I should know, mine sure did. You know what you went through because of your DS's marriage, well her family really hasn't had to change that much. When they do have to change, it will be WWIII and you will be a safe harbor for both of them.


Hi Justus,

I had to clean up your post since a few words violated the Forum Agreement. I know it was mild, but please refrain from using language such as that else someone takes it as a sign they can use something worse, or directly attack someone on here. I do appreciate your cooperation and your thoughtful posts.

Keys Girl

Dear Tryingmybest,

I would put a new ground rule down in my next visit with my son if I were you.  Don't listen to his complaints about anyone for a minute and cut out the comparison to her parents.  Who needs it?  Why step up the contact to be hassled?  Why put up with his complaining when he admits that he doesn't really want what he's complaining about?

Same old, same old.......you can't win, as Luise says.

"Today I will be as happy as a seagull with a french fry." Author Unknown


I think Pam nailed it. I think my son is getting tired of his wife's family being there and he wants to throw me into the mix to get back at his wife.  ::) Not going there.


That sound wise....I hadn't thought out that.


Quote from: tryingmybest on May 01, 2011, 04:11:02 pm
I think Pam nailed it. I think my son is getting tired of his wife's family being there and he wants to throw me into the mix to get back at his wife.  ::) Not going there.

Smart :)

It's probably the best move my parents ever made.  And it helps when I can say "do you ever see my parents doing that?" 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift