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need some advice

Started by snapclick, July 19, 2011, 10:42:24 am

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I really need some advice..... this is getting to be so out of control and hurtful... but first a little history.  well actually a lot
  Two years ago my son was a single college student fresh out of a failed relationship and hurting.  He had a one night stand with his ex girlfreind .. unplanned pregnancy... except turns out she was unsure who father was.. refused paternity test because she was afraid to let her parents know of her behavior.  baby born in febuary.. perfect lil boy.  son visited and trying to be supportive without getting drawn in.. etc.. he requested test.. she refused.. went to court so in June got tests, was his son.  she was extremely difficult to deal with.. he had to and still does .. go to court for any rights.  but LOVES this kid like crazy,  very close, good father, was awarded joint custody.   
  In the meantime.. son is lonely and hurt.. doing a lot of rebound dating.. etc... the month grandson was born he was dating three different girls.. we were not pleased and tried to work thru this with im...Son is drawn to women who need help or saving... he likes to be needed and is nurturing teddy bear.. also extremely good looking.   met up with old college freind who just had messy divorce after 9 months marriage.. very needy hurt insecure girl.  By mid May she had quit her job, moved cross state to live with him,.  We said absolutely nothing... not our place , they are adults.
   Son is working with husband in family business, and had purchased a new house at this time to remodel.  During that year he had paternity and custody drama, new home remodel( which we funded about 50% of and were free labor)  new girlfreind moved in   in addition to regular work schedule and lifes demands.  We were asked to help with his son, which we did with no regrets,  clothing, furniture daycare when they work.. etc.  for the last two years
  In September these kids decided to get married... ok we thought.. they seem in love and supportive of each other.  She try hard to be good stepmom.. etc.  there were some red flags we should have noticed tho...  Her family was non existent.  literally...Turns out she had huge first wedding, family all involved.. then things went downhill.. she was in mental hospital, has old emotional childhood issues .. allegations of abuse and neglect.. etc.. DIL has a pattern of never finishing major things in her life.. relationships, college degrees, jobs.. etc  self destructs and blames others.  Can't maintain a relationship or freindship.  First major drama was her wedding.. she wanted it.. expressed her plans and desires but never could commit to things like food or venue etc.. told son.. you decide.. over and over.  Week of wedding (January) son is in E.R. with a bleeding ulcer.   We step up to help him, make arrangements, try to decipher if we shld be supportive or run...  Only option is to try and help.
  Wedding was odd and unconfortable.. her family came.. lots of strange derogatory comments about MIL being pushy .. etc.. my daughters, husband and I  were doing arrangements the day of wedding with son , things like programs and food.. etc.. she told son you decide and left with her maid of honor.. it was crazy horrible day..   but turned out beautiful on the surface thanks to a lot of hard work in two days.  And it was according to what she originally expresed to us all... We were very very aware of being true to her wishes.  Just smile and be polite and supportive of son was our only option.  This was also first time met her family,  half hour before ceremony,  they were always too busy to accept invitations before.  DIL's extended family were very lovely normal... her immediate family  ... odd  .. very odd... was feeling.
  So life went on this past year  ... lots of little comments, and many family gatherings.    As year wore on a pattern developed tho.  I would take care of grandson and became very very close to him.  he adores his grandparents and bein in our home.  DIL extremely resentful and jealous.  We started to notice our grandson would not even let her touch him or interact with him.  thought we needed to step back,  turns out  we discovered, she talks coldly and cruelly to him when she believes no one is around.  we and both daughters and son have heard this.  was huge fights all summer between them regarding this.  relationships and family closeness is deteriorating tho.. She decides she wants baby of her own.. gonna make life better... we are all very concerned.   As pregnancy progresses , Dil becomes more emotional and unstable..   She is very rough with grandson,  son will not leave them alone together.  we dont understand.  turns out she bites him... Horrified.  Son has her undergoing medical supervision,  Grandson is with us when he is in sons care... Nightmare.  Baby boy born premature in january.   We give son leave to take care of.  Suddenly her family is all about being there for her.  Her mother in and out of their life now,   Each time she is there, more drama.    We are now the overbearing manipulative rightous people who need to leave her alone. 

Is a nightmare.

She took two months off work,  but older grandson comes to our home when son is not physically there.  He is not alone with her , ever.  She does well with baby, but not nurturing, just meets needs , etc.  her mom slowly fades away.   
so now DIL is back at work, but has messed up her job, gotten fired and started new job.  Believes Son should leave our business and go work for her dad at about a third of the wage he gets here.  Not going over well.  She is becoming increasingly resentful of us, we now take care of both boys most days fron 7am to about 8 pm... our sons choice.  we requested he find daycare a day or two a week to give us a break. We were told they can't afford this.  Have new home, two new cars, and live very well.  My son paid off over $40,000 of her personal debt when they got married.   ...idk.... its a mess.
Here is the problem.   She hates us... we are the reason she is unhappy... if he would leave here there life would be better.  About three weeks ago she had a mental and emotional melt down, tried to hurt herself, etc.  Son has her in counseling.  But asked us to try and talk to her.  At one point we wer the best hing that ever happened to her,  mother and father she never had.. etc... It was a huge mistake!  We tried being comforting and reassuring, etc... she lashed out and said just ridiculous insulting things to us.  She refusee to talk to us now, making life miserable for son.  There are several major family events coming up.. and a baptism.   She already has made a point of being"busy" or gone to the point that oldest daughter traveled six hours to see new baby several times now but has yet to see him.  What do we do?   
I could write on and on about the stuff that has happened.  Our family is very close,  our son is terribly hurt and confused.  How do we not put fuel on the fire?  And yet we still care and love for these boys unconditionally evry day.  Husband is becoming very angry over situation.. thinks son should " grow a pair" and throw her out.    I know she is basically insecure/jealous and trying to make herself the only person in his life.. she was happiest when she is center of universe and attention from son.   And yet she destroys their life too.    She cant keep job, wont clean, cook, or take care of self or life,  abusive to kids.. idk..  we say absolutely nothing .. except for the time we were asked too...
I cry every night trying to figure out what to do.     Any advice at all


Snapclick, welcome. I want to take more time with your post, so I'll not comment now except to say sorry you're going through this. Lots of wisdom and support forthcoming, I'm sure!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Welcome Snapclick :)

Please read the Forum Agreement in the category Open Me First if you haven't already done so.  We ask all members to do this, not b/c there is anything wrong with your post.

First off, I am so sorry your family is going through this.  Mental illness in a family member is very difficult to deal with.  It sounds to me that the situation is serious enough to approach legal advice from a family law attorney.  IMO, these situations do not get better and the gc really need an advocate now.  If it gets to the point where the parents do not let you around the gc, it will be even more difficult for you then to get those grandchildren help.

There is a free legal forum, just google "free advice forum" where you can get answers about your particular state and what your next steps should be.  Good luck
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Yes, Thanks did review the posting advice, and we and son both have legal advice.  Just not sure how to aproach this on a personal level.  Nver thought I would face this in my life, and unprepared as to what to do.


It sounds like your DIL is very very ill.  Not that it excuses any of her behavior.  What prompted me to write a quick response was the children.  They are in an abusive situation.  They need to be the #1 priority.  It seems like your son has a good heart and wants to help his wife, but, honestly, he needs to do more to protect those children.  Biting?  She can't be alone with them?  If you know about that, is there more you don't know that is even worse?  Maybe things he doesn't know or is too ashamed to tell you? Has your legal advice suggested you go to the authorities?  The whole cycle needs to be stopped or those children run the very real risk of long lasting physical/mental/emotional damage. 


It is being monitered very very closely.  Son is extremely protective of children and there needs,  Baby is only six months at this time and spends most of his day here, at night son is with him 100%  The older grandson is where the real issues are,  she is never allowed unsupervised time with him. EVER.  She is in counseling and therapy, son also attends when needed.  we are all very aware of the kids needs and place them and there safety first.. ALWAYS.   They are both very delightful and well rounded little guys.... Im not a prejudiced grandma at all.. lol... Our son is a very very good father and is working so hard to take care of them all.   

  We are all working to get thru a difficult and painful time... I need advice personally on how to handle DIL... that is what I need help with.. what do I say to this girl?  I worked in daycare for over 28 years.. The kids are a joy and well taken care of , despite this all my daughters and husband and myself remain close to each other and son.

We believe she is bipolar and as yet undiagnosed. 


Well, I honestly don't think there is anything you can say to her.  If she really is bipolar, the best you can do is to try not to set her off and be supportive in whatever way is least offensive to her.  But, if she is in a manic state, anything, non-offensive or not, could set her off. 
In my experience dealing with someone who is bipolar, I always had to remind myself not to argue/contradict them, even if it was something obviously wrong, when then were in a keyed up state.  Also, I found that prefacing things with "I don't want to step on your toes, so please tell me if I am overstepping" or another like statement helpful.  But, if she really is bipolar, you have to remind yourself that she just isn't rational.  Her hatred of you isn't based in anything but the misfiring synapses in her brain.  Blaming you and your husband for her problems is a coping skill for her.  When someone really is mentally ill, it is very hard for them to even see that they are sick.  If she is currently in counseling, and it's been a while, and she still isn't diagnosed, then maybe it's time to find another counselor.  Therapy isn't a one size fits all.  There are different types that work better for different people, there are therapists that hate medication and those that over prescribe.  If she truly is bipolar, she will need both a therapist and a psychiatrist, perhaps even inpatient care to regulate her system.  No amount of counseling can fix that.


Welcome snapclick and I'm so sorry for the difficult situation you are in.  Those poor babies.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Purple Room

Maybe counselling for you might help and you might get suggestions on the right way to respond or interact.


I agree. I think you need support. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Snapclick, you're in a very sticky situation. IMO, it's important to support DS when he expresses his concerns, but not say anything negative about DIL; try not to pile on but to make gentle, non-judgemental comments. Be watchful as far as GC are concerned (obviously if they are in danger you must speak up), but let DS make the big decisions. You can say things that lead him to his own conclusions, IOW.

IMO, it's important that DS feels he & DIL have chosen the path that's right for them regarding getting help for her, etc. If it all goes haywire you do not want your name on it, so to speak because it could be a reason for her/them to cut you off from your GC.

Above all, take care of yourself during this time so you can keep your balance; counseling, an exercise class, support group, etc. I will be sending good thoughts your way.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb