Author Topic: Trying to do better...  (Read 5233 times)

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liz

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Trying to do better...
« on: January 08, 2010, 01:17:04 PM »
It seems I'm constantly misinterpreting what my mil says. I'm trying so hard to not do it, to just tell the little devil whispering in my ear to go away. Like today I called mil to have ds tell her thank you for a gift she gave him recently and while I had her on speaker phone talking to ds she was asking him if he was going out and playing in the snow and she added "When you need to go out you need to make sure to wear your hat and gloves". I truly know in my heart that her heart was in the right place and that she didn't mean anything negative towards me, but I immediately thought "She doesn't think I know how to properly dress my child for the snow!"  :-[ I know she didn't mean that. It's my own problem that I'm hearing things that she's not saying so I'm dealing with it on my own. Of course I wouldn't ever say anything to her or dh about it, it's my problem. Why do these relationships have to be so difficult  :(

2chickiebaby

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2010, 01:31:47 PM »
Oh, I wish I knew why they are so hard, Liz...I could make zillions.  I know your MIL was just being nurturing and loving to your son, like GM's do.  We just do that.  I'm only speaking for myself but I'd probably say the same thing to him, just to let him know I loved him. 

I think we misunderstand each other...why do we do that?  Why do we take everything so hard?  I never realized that DILs  (some of them) wanted to be loved too.  I thought they just turned everything around that we did because they don't want their husbands in our lives.   Maybe they don't??

It's hard, it really is but I just think it's a misunderstanding on all parts.  It's so hard on the road of life.  No wonder we have to go to counselors and pay money to total strangers just to be heard.  Some people are not nice but I think most people just want to be loved and cared for.....do you think so?  Am I way off base?




RedRose

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2010, 01:41:01 PM »
Liz...She was just being a grandma...trying to be loving and caring...you know that
She knows you are a good mother...you married her son and gave her grandchildren.
She probably will cherish that call.



cremebrulee

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2010, 04:29:22 PM »
It seems I'm constantly misinterpreting what my mil says. I'm trying so hard to not do it, to just tell the little devil whispering in my ear to go away. Like today I called mil to have ds tell her thank you for a gift she gave him recently and while I had her on speaker phone talking to ds she was asking him if he was going out and playing in the snow and she added "When you need to go out you need to make sure to wear your hat and gloves". I truly know in my heart that her heart was in the right place and that she didn't mean anything negative towards me, but I immediately thought "She doesn't think I know how to properly dress my child for the snow!"  :-[ I know she didn't mean that. It's my own problem that I'm hearing things that she's not saying so I'm dealing with it on my own. Of course I wouldn't ever say anything to her or dh about it, it's my problem. Why do these relationships have to be so difficult  :(

No, darlin, she didn't mean anything personal towards you...mother's are nurtureres...I find myself mothering some of my young coworkers...telling them to be careful driving, or to take this or that for they're colds...
I'm sure, it embarrasses your son at times, that she still treats him like a child...but deep in his heart, he knows, she doesn't want to let go...some mother's cannot...and it's very sad...and some son's are not only codependent on they're mothers as well as they're  wives...do you know, that son's marry women who remind them of they're mothers..?  Not all, but some...

I promise you, she wasn't demeaning you ..more so, she was still thinking of him, as her boy and her grandchildren...I tell you true, there is this marvelous instant bond with yor grandchildren, another gift from God...and we all do that at times...and you will to...someday...it's life hun...

when I was your age, oh my, did I take things to heart...and misinterpreted so many things my mil said...yes, relationships are hard, but sometimes, we can be our own worst enemies...I have surely been...LOL...we've all been there and the simple fact that you acknowledge this makes you a wonderful DIL, and wife. 

How can you not love someone who came from your body...birthing my son, was the most cherished experience of my life...and I just cannot fathom, DIL's who are mother's not understanding the love a mother and son have for each other...why, they should be so happy, that they're husbands had mother's who loved them....instead of thinking she is trying to hurt them...what she is doing a lot of times, is simply, loving her son and her grandchildren...that's all...

Hugs to you..please don't be so hard on yourself...in time, you will flourish and understand her better...get to know her...she could be one of your best friends...

Liz, your a fine person...it's ok to have doubts...and let me tell you...when I first met my DIL...I was so proud of her...I figured anyone my son married had to be a fantastic person....and so does your MIL...

Hugs Creme
« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 04:34:18 PM by cremebrulee »

Orly

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2010, 06:38:58 PM »
Liz,
After a few years of reminding your children to "button up, wear a hat, etc" the habit is really hard to break.  You will find yourself saying these things to his friends as they run out the door to go to practices, the movies and everything else that gets them headed out into the world.

My guys and all of their friends treat this as just something I do, and believe me they are all grown up and living busy lives.  It just pops out of my mouth....they all laugh, make the "YES MOM" and scoot.  I'm pretty sure I may have the habit broken by the time grandkiddys come along....but I won't guarantee it.

Lordy, I did it to the Captain's kids when we were eating Christmas dinner one year with my oldest on his ship. (Everyone standing duty could bring their families for dinner on the ship).  Now, talk about overstepping chain of command THERE!

liz

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2010, 08:41:50 PM »
Oh, I wish I knew why they are so hard, Liz...I could make zillions.  I know your MIL was just being nurturing and loving to your son, like GM's do.  We just do that.  I'm only speaking for myself but I'd probably say the same thing to him, just to let him know I loved him. 

I think we misunderstand each other...why do we do that?  Why do we take everything so hard?  I never realized that DILs  (some of them) wanted to be loved too.  I thought they just turned everything around that we did because they don't want their husbands in our lives.   Maybe they don't??

It's hard, it really is but I just think it's a misunderstanding on all parts.  It's so hard on the road of life.  No wonder we have to go to counselors and pay money to total strangers just to be heard.  Some people are not nice but I think most people just want to be loved and cared for.....do you think so?  Am I way off base?

Most "normal" dils don't want to push their mil out of their dh's lives. I wouldn't dream of it. Of course, you have to define "push" because some mils may say their dils are pushing them out of their lives because the dil has asked the mil to not come over without calling first or or to please not go through their mail when the son/dh was perfectly willing to let his mother do so before marriage. That's not really pushing her out, it's just the dil wanting to have some privacy/warning before mil comes over. And then some dil's might not care about those particular things. So it could be in how you define "push".

I do think most normal people want to be loved and cared about. For me, I need to feel like I'm respected. By everyone, not just the il's. If I think my mom, il's, dh, anyone, is treating me like a child I feel like I'm not being respected as an adult and it makes me that much more stubborn and bull headed. If that makes sense.

This could be another thread altogether, but I think a large part of my problem with my mil stems from how she talks to me. DH and I got married young (not going into details to protect my privacy) and I noticed mil talked to me the same way she would talk to dh's sister's child who was elementary school age at the time. I never said anything, but it made me feel like I was just another child to them. Then as time went on she started talking to me like she did to sil who is mentally retarded (long story as to why she has a child, trying to protect my/our privacy as this info can give away who I/we are) and you have to be careful how/what you say to sil so she doesn't get offended. So it's like since we've been married I've either been a child or a mentally retarded adult who needed to be manipulated into doing the right thing. In fact, dh use to tell me that mil said a good wife is one who can make her dh do things while making him think it's his idea. Now does that sound healthy? I don't. I told dh that it's manipulation and not a healthy way to view a relationship. This is all so foreign to me. I grew up with parents who weren't affectionate at all, but they were straight forward in what they wanted/expected of us and never manipulative. It's taken me about a decade to pinpoint what it was about mil that bothered me so much. I realize that it's mil's lack of being able to communicate with me properly. In stead of asking for what she wants/needs, she has to hint at it and manipulate situations to get what she wants. I've never rejected her wants/needs unless their was a good/legitimate reason. This was the way she was raised with alcoholic family members and an abusive exdh and a mentally retarded child. She doesn't know any other way to communicate. So when she talks to me I'm thinking "Okay, what is she needs/wants from me?" and when she says innocent things like telling ds to make sure to wear his hat/gloves, I can't help but wonder if she was telling me in an indirect way to make sure to dress him properly? I'm trying to not think this way, but over a decade of "hints" and direct manipulations, it's hard. Sorry for the tangent I got off on.

cremebrulee

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2010, 04:55:15 PM »
Liz,

I surely can understand why you feel the way you feel....and you are wise to look at your MIL's background in how she was raised to conclude her reason's for doing things...I know it doesn't make it easier in the stress department, but, it does help you understand, why she is the way she is...she's lucky to have you...and learned behavior like her's wont' change...

I don't mean to make like of the issue you presented here, and b/c you know her manipulative side much better then I do, your probably right.

relationships are very hard...I suppose b/c we all have our very own way of thinking, and doing things...then you throw in personalities...let alone personalities with disorders and it is tough...especially getting along with two women that were thrown together by marriage...

Have you ever lived with another girl?  I did, many years ago...and while I love my girlfriend to dearly, it was difficult living with her for many reasons, and I'm certain I was no picnic either....

No two people every think alike all of the time...and allow me to point out if you will, that perhaps the fact that you know how manipulative she can be...it is hard for you to see anything she says any other way...I know I would feel the same way...

Has she ever done anything to hurt you directly or tried to turn her son, your husband, against you



« Last Edit: January 10, 2010, 05:51:46 AM by cremebrulee »

liz

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2010, 10:38:49 AM »
The only thing I can think of that might have been a "direct" effort to try to hurt me would be when she said "That's what happens when she stays at home with mama all day" in regards to my dd crying at everyone but me when she was about 4 months old. I can't see how that wasn't designed to hurt even if she was just frustrated and hurt herself. The other stuff has been indirect. Nothing involving dh. I don't involve dh either unless it's absolutely necessary and then it's "She keeps doing x after I told her (insert instructions from a professional like a doctor, swimming instructor, what have you...). Would you mind saying something?" Then next time we're over there and he sees her do it, he'll say something. But that's it. This is my problem, I'm the one struggling to learn how to deal with different ways of communicating. One time I saw something as manipulative and asked dh if it was just me or if it was indeed manipulative and he didn't seem to think so. MIL "ended up" (her words) with an extra ticket to a local event and by her body language towards me made it clear that she wanted to take ds  (who's preschool age) to the event. He said "Just because she bought that extra ticket doesn't mean we have to use it" So now I try to see things in the same way, that just because she does x doesn't mean we have to do y as a response. This is all a learning experience for me.

cremebrulee

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2010, 10:53:50 AM »
The only thing I can think of that might have been a "direct" effort to try to hurt me would be when she said "That's what happens when she stays at home with mama all day" in regards to my dd crying at everyone but me when she was about 4 months old. I can't see how that wasn't designed to hurt even if she was just frustrated and hurt herself. The other stuff has been indirect. Nothing involving dh. I don't involve dh either unless it's absolutely necessary and then it's "She keeps doing x after I told her (insert instructions from a professional like a doctor, swimming instructor, what have you...). Would you mind saying something?" Then next time we're over there and he sees her do it, he'll say something. But that's it. This is my problem, I'm the one struggling to learn how to deal with different ways of communicating. One time I saw something as manipulative and asked dh if it was just me or if it was indeed manipulative and he didn't seem to think so. MIL "ended up" (her words) with an extra ticket to a local event and by her body language towards me made it clear that she wanted to take ds  (who's preschool age) to the event. He said "Just because she bought that extra ticket doesn't mean we have to use it" So now I try to see things in the same way, that just because she does x doesn't mean we have to do y as a response. This is all a learning experience for me.

Liz...how would you describe her?  What do you know about her...?
What kind of mother was she, and does your husband have brothers and sisters?  Describe her to me as if you were not her DIL, what do you see?



« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 10:55:22 AM by cremebrulee »

Sassy

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2010, 09:48:24 PM »
Liz I am a DIL who find solace in the soothing people here.

Passive/Aggressive approaches can drive a person batty.  After a decade of "hints-dropping" I imagine you do feel like you have to read an undertone into each thing being said.  And, I think your DH gave you great advice.  That just because a hint is dropped doesn't mean you have to pick it up and run with it.

I learned this from an experience from a P/A co-worker.  I stopped indulging her P/A, and so much improved.  I don't play "guess what she really means" anymore.  If her email doesn't have an actual question that needs answering, then I've determined it doesn't require a response from me. For example, I will make a proposal for something and she will write "That's the same day as X".  Well yes, I knew that; we all have an outlook calendar.  She may mean that could cause a conflict.  She may mean we should move one or the other.  She may mean any number of things.  Its not my job to extract from her what she actually means; its her job to express herself. (I could make a full time job out of asking her the implications of her statements).  So unless she states an objection clearly, or asks a question directly, I go forward as planned.  Our workplace has been so much more productive.  Even our supervisor noticed. 

What used to take half a day, now takes 5 minutes.  Co-worker didn't change at all.  But my response to her did.

Quote
Instead of asking for what she wants/needs, she has to hint at it and manipulate situations to get what she wants. I've never rejected her wants/needs unless their was a good/legitimate reason.

She doesn't know any other way to communicate. So when she talks to me I'm thinking "Okay, what is she needs/wants from me?"

 This is my problem, I'm the one struggling to learn how to deal with different ways of communicating. One time I saw something as manipulative and asked dh if it was just me or if it was indeed manipulative and he didn't seem to think so.

Maybe you could practice not responding to MIL's P/A.  Stop dancing her P/A dance.  Learn the difference between a direct request, which would require a response from you like "yes" or "no" or "maybe."  And when she says something that's a statement, however hint-laden you may interpret it to be, practice saying or doing nothing.  It's hard at first! 

Decide today, that what she means is what she says - and that's it.  That's what your DH seems to do.  If you can change how you respond to her P/A requests in other areas, you may come to hear just what she says when she says to your son,  "make sure you put on your mittens."

Women do tend to be pleasers.  And there's nothing wrong with saying yes.  But trying to figure out what the question even is so you can answer it correctly, or determine if there even is a question, on behalf of someone else, is something you do that I think you can learn to change.  Pay attention to your urges to respond, but don't act on them.  It should get easier with practice.

cremebrulee

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2010, 04:03:08 AM »
I think Sassy has a great idea....I would also suggest, to be quick at times, and when she says something like that....reply...would you like to have GD one day a week...and I'm just using that as an example...but pin her down, make her tell you what she's thinking...as Sassy explained, it is a way of training her....which in the end can only pay off....

I work with a director who is driven crazy by women (and it drives me nuts to) who, when you ask them a question, they are not able to answer it...they go into this long disortation, and then never answers the question anyway..I've heard him say many times...."A simply yes or no is what I need".  And then when she walks out of his office he proceeds to pretend to pull his hair out and scream....Funny....but, they don't realize, this is learned behavior from a parent, and a waste of time, not to mention, it avoids any one having to second guess.

American's, all of us, needs to take a crash course in communication, the importance of it, and the dangers of 2nd guessing someone...it surely would help MIL's and DIL's. 


technorebel

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2010, 03:50:35 PM »
I have a feeling that's part of my problem with my dil.  Perhaps she thinks when I tidy up the kitchen that I'm making a comment on her housekeeping when I'm really just trying to help and to have something to do when the baby is napping.  My son said something to me about it.

So maybe part of the problem is this miscommunication.

2chickiebaby

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2010, 04:48:45 PM »
It's so hard!!  You are trying to help and she thinks you're telling her she's not a good housekeeper! 

They are sensitive and we are trying to help!  It's the craziest thing!

cremebrulee

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2010, 05:44:41 AM »
I have a feeling that's part of my problem with my dil.  Perhaps she thinks when I tidy up the kitchen that I'm making a comment on her housekeeping when I'm really just trying to help and to have something to do when the baby is napping.  My son said something to me about it.

So maybe part of the problem is this miscommunication.

Oh my, this is a very bad thing to do...not that your bad for doing it...but most DIL's take it in a negative way...do not ever, clean they're home unless they ask you to...it suggests to them, that they aren't doing it right and take a huge offense.  I know your heart is in the right place in wanting to do it...but, it is a boundary to them, that should never be crossed. 

If she says, she doesn't want help cleaning up the dinner plates, then don't help her....

I want to offer something else...sometimes we are just so stuck in our small little words that we don't listen or hear people....I for one, when I cook for guests, they are guests...and, I don't want them in my kitchen, not even to clear the table or help with  anything...I want to give them a night off and weight on them...this is they're evening....if I need help, I'll ask for it...and I personally hate it, when someone walks into my kitchen and starts laying down dirty dishes or insists on helping to clean up....I won't say anything to them, but I'd rather we all just have a comfortable evening together, and after they leave, I'll clean up...

If your visiting someone, and you ask them, if you can do anything to help and they say no, please be polite and listen to them....it's nice that you offered, but sometimes when you help, it overwhelms and breaks consentration...at least for me it does...LOL 

I just thought I'd offer that...but yeah....if your helping your DIL clear the dishes...then, only do that...do not tidy up her kitchen or change anything in her house....it's her house, and you must respect it as such....

My MIL used to do that to me....and while I knew it was just her being her, I didn't really like her doing it...a woman's kitchen is just that...hers....yanno? 

Hope you understand, I do know you only mean to help her, but she doesn't view it that way....yanno?

Sassy

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Re: Trying to do better...
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2010, 06:01:15 AM »
Quote
If she says, she doesn't want help cleaning up the dinner plates, then don't help her....

You're right, it's always a good idea to listen when being asked not to do something in someone's home.

And, especially in the context of this thread, I understand how someone could take having their house straightened as a sign of someone thinking their home is not clean enough.

But, uhm.... for the record, anyone who wants to help this DIL clean my kitchen or straighten my drawers can do so anytime.  Work being done for me, feels like love to me!  In fact.....uhm..... Please?!  ;D