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Shelby

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Question for other MILs
« on: December 03, 2011, 07:05:34 PM »
I have a question for other MILs who may have anticipated a warm relationship with their DILs, but instead got a territorial DIL who made it clear she wanted very little to do with her husband's FOO.  Many of us on this board have that history - We were welcoming to DIL, but were repeatedly rebuffed by her - then we accepted her terms and ceased reaching out to her, as she made it clear she had no interest. 

I find that after several years of trying, I just didn't care anymore.  Initially I had my feelings hurt - but after a while, I felt only annoyance, no hurt feelings.  I just kept going through the motions in order to stay connected to DS, but wasn't really investing my heart in any kind of relationship with her.  I respect her position as his wife, but do not find her very likeable.  Not the kind of person I'd ever seek out for companionship or as a friend.  I no longer get hurt by her and I think it is because my heart is now closed to her.  I just don't care anymore.  I accept the relationship on her terms, and I genuinely prefer to spend my time and energies on people who like me and want to connect with me - although i am perfectly capable of going through the motions with her, and neither DH or I have ever said a critical word to DS about DIL. 

I know this would never happen - but suppose that a chilly DIL such as this decides, down the road, she DOES want to be part of the family, etc.  Yes, I KNOW it would never happen - but suppose it did?  Do you MILS who have been given the cold shoulder think you would be open to a real relationship with DIL?  Or would it be impossible after all the snubs?  I got to thinking how comfortable I have become with the relationship compartmentalized -- DS relates to her, and he relates to us, but we have virtually no interaction with her.  I fear that my heart would not be open to her after all the snubs - and I am truly more comfortable NOT having any kind of relationship with her than I would be if I were expected to really have any kind of relationship.  I really don't think I could open my heart to her after all these years.   

What do the rest of you MILs think? 

Offline JaneF

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2011, 07:31:34 PM »
Once again, long time no visit here...ahhh such is life huh? I agree that I too really no longer have hurt feelings because of cold and distant DIL who only wants her FOO involved in their lives, and my sons FOO is now totally removed from their lives and has been for almost 16 months now. I figure I have a life, and it's a good one, although hectic at times, so I refuse to play into any drama or call them or beg them for a relationship etc. I am okay with things the way they are. I am missing out on a relationship with my 2 grandaughters, but that is really what DIL has wanted every since the very beginning of their relationship. And it is my sons wife, and his choice to go along with her, but then he has to live with her! I wish them no ill will, I hope they are all well and happy. But I do not sit and mope and be sad...life goes on. I am still raising a grandaughter who is going to be 13 this summer, and we want her life to be happy and free of fighting and drama. Her mother once again sneaked away in the night after being back for only a month or so. So again I say I agree with this posters choice to be happy with the relationship she has with her DIL (or the LACK of a relationship!)...I feel the very same way! I only need positive relationships where respect and kindness is mutual. Trying to change others is futile. Wishing all you wonderful people here Happy Holidays, and hopes for a wonderful new year!

Offline Pen

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2011, 10:51:38 PM »
My DIL is now trying to be pleasant and polite around us (I say trying because she sometimes cannot sustain it for an entire visit, and I suspect some game-playing behind our backs) after shunning us and telling DS she hated us because we were losers. DH & I find it difficult to leap back in with our hearts open, but we have never brought up her unfortunate statement or treated her with anything less than civility if not kindness. Perhaps one day, after years of good DIL behavior, if we feel we can trust her with our feelings, we'll give her our unconditional love again. Until then, we're holding something in reserve.

It's sad, because this hesitancy and wariness affect our previously close, easy, fun relationship w/DS. I miss it.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline Keys Girl

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2011, 07:00:13 AM »
Leopards don't change their spots.  My DIL is emotionally abusive, cruel and malicious to my son and her FOO.  To change her personality, you would have to shoot her.  I wouldn't give her 5 minutes of my time or ever open my door to her again.  If she decides she wants a relationship with me it's because the other tactics that she's used to try to control me or express her hostility haven't worked and she's trying a different approach.
"Today I will be as happy as a seagull with a french fry." Author Unknown

Offline Smilesback@u

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2011, 07:14:52 AM »
I am on the same journey.  Oftentimes, I consider what DIL has said and done and wonder what her point is.  I learned here that we do not need to waste our time trying to figure this stuff out, it makes no sense.  I would reframe your feelings to not be closed hearted as just that you have made realistic expectations in order to avoid upsets.  If DIL is kind, she really does feel better.  Almost like she cannot help herself...personality, habit, misunderstanding, who knows why?  That is life...do what makes you feel happy though.  I like being myself, kind, forgiving, tolerant and avoiding stressful people as much as I can.  If being mean to DS FOO does not suck for DIL, well, how is that working for her?  I personally do not want to keep going over and over old ground about what she said/and what she did - to end up frustrated, hurt and dreading seeing the DS or GC.  I woke up this morning with an angel message about my DIL because she did something subtle to shun us, and prevent us from saying one last goodby to our DS and other DS on our recent visit.  I get that she can control who comes in to her house.  I also get that I feel she is controlling how close we are to them.  And I am working on letting all my fears about that go...I don't want to waste my waking hours on something I cannot change.  It happened, it sucked, and move on.  I personally think I have to work on my relationship with DS to make me feel happy when this stuff happens.  My suggestion for you to rebuild a relationship in the future, is be prepared on how you would like to act.  One idea is that everyone thrives on compliments.  If DIL changes her behavior and you are still skeptical about getting close to her, give her a compliment.  A relationship can be rebuilt on trust.  Watch and see what happens next, give it time.  My DIL is not trustworthy, time and time again.  So I don't expect something she cannot deliver.  She is family, though, my DS loves her, my GC love her, her family loves her, and so we love her, she is our special needs DIL.  We all have her moments don't we?  She has them on princess time - which is 100% of the time.  Don't get me wrong, we are not perfect and have personalities to deal with just like her.  She prefers her own family and it is up to my DS to include us.  He is not Mr Innocent here.  If my expectations are low for DS, then that might be where I need to work on the problem.  I should focus on building up DS relationship with me to withstand stress from DIL.  I agree with pen definitely to not bring up past grudges, here is okay with us.  I mean instead I would learn to deal in the moment with unplesantries with kindness.  I am glad I don't have to live with DIL, she has started seeing a psychologist and really does get credit for going for help.  Some people cannot afford getting help, some don't want to change.  It is not just all about you, that's for sure.    My 2-cents.  But I woke up on your side of the world today and thought I would offer some help.  Thanks for posting we will work on it together.  sending peace

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Doe

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2011, 07:42:04 AM »
I lost what I had written so sorry if 2 posts show up on this.

I simply meant to say that the first time around, I worked on building a relationship with DIL that included trust and respect and so on.  If she ever decided to speak to me again, I can imagine a relationship but without the trust or respect.  What do you call that? 
I'm not worried about being the warm, welcoming, understanding, accepting, helpful MIL to this one anymore.  I'd be comfortable being the wary MIL if I have the opportunity again.
I'm not sure how it would manifest with your DIL.  If she was suddenly friendly one day, you could ride that wave and enjoy it without opening yourself up totally to her again.  I think you could not open your heart so much and still be a decent MIL.

Offline justanoldgrandma

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2011, 09:07:04 AM »
I don't know if this is off the subject, but instead of being territorial about son getting involved, engaged, married, etc., I was looking forward to having a "near daughter" as we have no daughter of our own (I'm sure many of you anticipated this type of relationship also and this is what is so heart-wrenching to find that the FOO and friends of DIL are more than adequate for dil.) 

Why did I think this would happen?  (Water under the bridge but ds's ex gf and I could visit about so many personal things, email, share common interests, laughed and had fun, she truly wanted to be at our home, sometimes passing up her own gatherings for ours!  Her whole extended family loved our ds and so friendly to us.

.....but they broke up and dil and I don't speak the same language ((not literally!)))  The ex had her own FOO but they and she loved our ds and I loved her as a daughter.  But..... ds grew out of love w her and I knew the end was coming to that relationship.

Forgive the digression and wish for days gone by w the ex gf but it was a long-standing relationship and I miss it when I think of her; but of course this was ds's choice and I was sad silently and never ever mention or mentioned the ex to ds or dil...... these things happen to many mothers who adore an ex gf!  Life happens and ds found someone who fit his perfect vision and is just finding things that are not so perfect though he still loves and is committed to his dw.  We accepted his choice hoping that the new gf would soon love us, too....

I usually don't think of the ex (fortunately she has moved on) but it was like losing a daughter and soon getting a dil that just doesn't have much feeling for us; (there's not much feeling for any outsider that joins the FOO; outsiders are people who take away from the FOO and dil will tell me things about the new married-ins that lets me know that dh and I are an annoyance too although superficially we get along w FOO and dil).....

Just had to adjust to losing the ex gf "daughter" to rapidly accepting new one and a fairly rapidly acquired dil.  (Of course no dil would have been perfect so let go of the dream ((I tell myself)) already!)

I wonder how many of you are disappointed in not getting your "near daughter?"  hadn't really thought of this for a while.  Do chat some with younger ladies in my class, etc., which sort of helps.  (And of course I know I'm not dil's idea of a perfect MIL!)

DIL doesn't hate us, just doesn't think of us unless it's an email about a visit or inquiry as to presents, etc.;  always business, not a close how are you.  And I don't think this will ever change bc in observing dil's FOO the only people who are being talked about w concern are the immediate family members; we are the outsiders and although ds is accepted by the FOO I hope they grow to love him.....

(This may seem trivial, not being loved/sharing w dil, nostalgia for the dream..... not gonna go into times when we feel neglected, feel treated rudely, etc....... already did that.... just saying I know the closeness won't ever develop bc dh's and my love isn't really needed; there's plenty in the dil's FOO.... how fortunate my dm was in having a dil who called her Mother and treated her as such....)

So, though you all are talking about serious grievances (and I have some of those!) I know what you mean; time will go by but it won't be dil who will change; it will have to be my expectations and thoughts........ dil doesn't have any reason to change and I have to change expectations bc of ds and gc......

Nope, not holding my breath that dil will change; just hoping for status quo to continue, I guess, bc it could be much, much worse.

Offline Begonia

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2011, 09:24:42 AM »
Hi Shelby:  I am an optimist when it comes to relationships but also know there is a time when you disengage. For starters, a bit of my history.  I have struggled with my DIL since before DS married.  One thing I was not taking into consideration was DIL baggage~~~I had no idea at the time how fractured her family was.  Initially I admit I was thinking I would gain another daughter.  That is my first mistake and I know better now.

I know where I went wrong.  Going to her wedding shower...(many years ago now) FDIL was driving and it was at her aunt's house.  FDIL got lost (small town).  And me, joking like I would with my family said, "Oh, don't you even know where your aunt lives?  HAHA.  Thinking she just had pre-bride jitters or something. But there was stunned silence from FDIL.  I had embarrassed her (there were others in the car). Turns out they didn't ever socialize with her aunt....(I think FDIL's DF had long since been disowned since he was drunk all the time).  But, in my FOO in our tiny town the same size as FDIL's town, everyone knew where their relatives lived---we went back and forth once a week.  So I burned a bridge before the vows were even recited. I was under the impression that my FOO was like everyone's FOO.  Not.  And my FDIL, being the daughter of a raging alcoholic, is super-sensitive to everything.  Hindsight is always so revealing.

Skip through years and DIL and DS had withdrawn from me and others in my family. I couldn't even visit until babies were 6 weeks old, which hurt me deeply.  Found out later that DIL suffered from PP depression...very seriously.  Then little by little the problems with her family came to light.  I know now my DIL was so shamed by her FOO she did not want to even be around my family. Her alliance has remained tight with her FOO, even though they have put her (and my DS) through the mill.  It makes me crazy that DIL has had to deal with this since she was born---I do feel fiercely protective of her but have had to keep that in check.

I have always felt my DIL loves me and these days I understand her and respect her boundaries. There has been a lot of hurtful things she has done (don't call here anymore, etc. etc.) but I have swept that out the door, put it to rest.  When my son visited last spring we were shopping for something for me for mother's day and I saw a bracelet I bought for DIL and sent it home with DS.  I heard nothing back but this November DS said she had picked out my birthday gifts (bracelet, necklace, earrings).  I sent a nice thank you with a note to her. So there is always hope and healing.  She is a really good mom, works hard at her job, and has many health issues in addition to her very crazy family that she steadfastly stands by.

DS then asked if we could all meet to do a Christmas gathering...(a first).  Keep in mind this has taken 13 years.  And it also took me not responding to DIL long letters of recrimination and blame and drama.  My response was, "I will not be responding to these kind of letters and will not dredge up the past."  So each time that was about a two year "chill" from DS and DIL.  But now they know where I stand and there is a truce.  Which is why yesterday I baked a whole big bunch of goodies that I will package up and mail out (a first for ME). 

Go with your heart, Shelby. You say: I no longer get hurt by her and I think it is because my heart is now closed to her..  That is how I felt for a long time, but then I asked myself how much energy it was taking to keep my heart closed and the answer was a lot.  My heart is open now but I have guards around it who alert me if I am too trusting, or expecting too much.  This feels healthier to me. 

Sorry this is so long but it really hit the spot where I am at too....thanks for posting this, it has helped me in my process. 

Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Offline Chrisky

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2011, 10:36:28 AM »
Hello.  I haven't been on this board for quite some time, but have been doing a lot of reading.  I have now closed my heart as well to DIL.  I don't believe she has any interest in having any sort of relationship with us.  We had a chat with our DS in Aug. to try to resolve things, but he hasn't given us any comments or thoughts on improving things at all.  We were away the end of Sept., and the end of Oct. DH had a hip replaced.  To our DS's credit he did pick up DH from the hospital and drove us home.  But since then he barely phones to ask about his father.  We saw everyone for Thanksgiving at a relative's home.  DIL sat at a table with GC and one other toddler.  Barely spoke to anyone, didn't even acknowledge we were in the room.  I did try to speak to her, with barely a response from her.
So, I'm at my wits end now, and getting angrier by the day.  So here I am venting, because if I speak to DS I'm sure I'll say something I shouldn't.  So the round about way to the original post, is if DIL appears to try, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, but will be very guarded. 
Why is it that it's the MILs that have to change, be careful what we say, it's like walking on eggshells all the time and very stressful.  Who needs that!  If my DIL suddenly decided to visit us I would have a very hard time being welcoming. 
Christmas is coming up.  That will be a whole other issue.

Offline justanoldgrandma

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2011, 11:46:41 AM »
Why is it that it's the MILs that have to change, be careful what we say, it's like walking on eggshells all the time and very stressful. 

We MILs have to walk on eggshells, not the dils, (some, anyway!) bc they have nothing at all to lose if there is conflict; we have our ds and gc to lose and some of the dils know or sense this; it's an exceptionally perspective ds who can see if dil is being rude, etc., and try to resolve the issue.  Most don't see it!

 If MIL complains about treatment, she's being unreasonable, clingy, selfish, whatever.  There are many respectful dils out there; but times have changed.  Did you as a young wife ever dream of being rude or "cut off" your ILs or try to monopolize events?  (Baring abusive ILs, alcoholics, etc.)

 Not only were we to be respectful to others, including ILs, but our dhs would have been very reproachful of our behavior!  Of course I didn't always like my ILs but never did I dream of being rude or keep the kids from seeing them......

We taught our kids to be respectful and accommodating; maybe too much so; they weren't prepared not to have a wife who wasn't the same!   Never dreamed of telling ds not to be too accommodating to his wife....or told him before being engaged that his FOO was important, too.....

Offline Smilesback@u

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2011, 11:56:12 AM »
I just appreciate everyone's pain in this matter -- I connect with not having one big happy family.  It is not supposed to go this way...but it goes.  In my particular case, I am not close with my sister and her daughters.  So that may be an insight into why I miss being close with DS/DIL.  I hope you can understand where I am coming from, as I decided to focus more on my relationship with my DS than what is not working with DIL.  That's where my heart is, after all, as I am my DS Mom.  And it is through him hopefully that I will continue to be a part of his family.  As long as I don't really act horribly towards his DW/DIL, you would think that reasonably he would be able to have me visit.  He will be the one to build the bridge between his FOO and his family.  He will be the one to guard against DIL's attempts to dismantle our connection.  I only have sons, after all, and so not having any daughters had me looking forward to DILs.  Now on this first and only DIL so far, I have been disappointed and working on giving up that resentment because it is what it is.  I think being gracious and loving is universal in any situation -- until you know otherwise.  When the situation calls for something else, I can *granny-up* and hold my own, along with DIL/DS, and respect my own feelings, hear their point of view too, and sort it all out.  Sometimes DS/DIL just is not reasonable -- she has emotional problems and causes DS to have more problems as well.  I have to adjust and hopefully be given credit by DS for not retaliating and making things worse for him.  I have yet to feel any of our *missteps* are totally resolved, forgotten or forgiven -- but we do seem to get past them during the visit at least.    Really, it is for the best, for the family, for the GC, to not pass on all this craziness, the painfulness of not being close to family, at least in my opinion, and so I work at letting my part of it go.  I love them in the moment and take my leave when I am not appreciated and wanted.  No hard feelings, to take my leave, and take care of myself -- seems to work for me.  I know my DS well and we can keep working on the issues between us.  truthfully, he has his hands full day-to-day so I do not expect much time and attention from him anymore.  My DIL does not really know that DS and I have a deep bond that she will never be able to break unless DS and I agree to break it.  So maybe that is a part of why I have to work with DS and not DIL.  Hope this helps someone.     

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Shelby

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2011, 12:20:53 PM »
Chrisky - my heart goes out to you.  Vent here.  Probably is more constructive than to talk it out with DS or DIL. 

Thank you, everyone for your posts. 

Shelby

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2011, 12:41:44 PM »
Only the tail end of my post made it - somehow I accidentally deleted the most of it -- so here goes.


It's sad, because this hesitancy and wariness affect our previously close, easy, fun relationship w/DS. I miss it.

Pen - I'm there with you.  that's what I miss. 

Leopards don't change their spots.  My DIL is emotionally abusive, cruel and malicious to my son and her FOO.  To change her personality, you would have to shoot her.  I wouldn't give her 5 minutes of my time or ever open my door to her again.  If she decides she wants a relationship with me it's because the other tactics that she's used to try to control me or express her hostility haven't worked and she's trying a different approach.

Keys - I love you -- but don't mince words -- what do you really think? 
Your reply made me chuckle - but I know it's not really funny.  Truly so sorry you are treated this way. 


 I would reframe your feelings to not be closed hearted as just that you have made realistic expectations in order to avoid upsets. 

..I don't want to waste my waking hours on something I cannot change. 

My suggestion for you to rebuild a relationship in the future, is

She is family, though, my DS loves her, . . .  and so we love her, she is our special needs DIL. 

 it is up to my DS to include us.  He is not Mr Innocent here.  If my expectations are low for DS, then that might be where I need to work on the problem.  I should focus on building up DS relationship with me to withstand stress from DIL.  I agree with pen definitely to not bring up past grudges,

It is not just all about you, that's for sure.   

Smiles - Agree we have made realistic expectations to avoid upsets, and there's no point spending waking hours on things we can't change. 
I'm not sure I WANT to rebuild a relationship in the future.
She is family, DS loves her, DH and I do NOT love her. 
Agree it is up to DS to include us, and that we need to focus on building the DS relationships and having expectations of HIM, not her.  Also agree with you and Pen not to bring up past grudges.  Neither DH or I have ever criticized DIL to DS, and never will.
Yes, it is not just about me.  She treats my husband, his FOO, my FOO and college friends of DS all the same way.  Cutting from the herd.
Thanks, Smiles.


I'm not worried about being the warm, welcoming, understanding, accepting, helpful MIL to this one anymore.  I'd be comfortable being the wary MIL . . . . .   I think you could not open your heart so much and still be a decent MIL.

Doe - that's where I am.  I am currently the wary MIL - decent, but without the open heart.  thanks for posting.  As always, I value what you say.


 time will go by but it won't be dil who will change; it will have to be my expectations and thoughts......
Grandma - totally agree the only thing to change is my expectations, and thanks to WWU for helping me significantly lower expectations these last couple of months. 


Go with your heart, Shelby. You say: I no longer get hurt by her and I think it is because my heart is now closed to her..  That is how I felt for a long time, but then I asked myself how much energy it was taking to keep my heart closed and the answer was a lot.  My heart is open now but I have guards around it who alert me if I am too trusting, or expecting too much.  This feels healthier to me. 


Ah, Begonia - thanks for posting.  Glad you felt good enough to send all the baked goods.  (Do you want my address?  ;D )  Keeping my heart open with guards around it was where I was last summer.  For me, walking that tightrope took MORE energy than simply closing up shop and going home.   Yes, ideally I could keep heart open with guards - but it was SOOO exhausting.   


Offline lancaster lady

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2011, 03:11:11 PM »
hi Shelby :

Been busy lately , so only picking up your post now .
My DIL and I got on great until my GD arrived , then the barriers went up , and stayed up until I blew a gasket .
How could our relationship go from being very friendly to ice cold ?
They were just engaged when my GD was born , perhaps a friendly relationship with me was more important  then .
 The baby cemented their relationship and the pretence was no longer needed , and my presence
was no longer required !
I don't think she counted on my reaction , not being able to see my GD !
A lot of stress followed in . silence , arguments etc .
We eventually came to a truce . I backed off completely and said I would wait to be invited to see
my GD .
The invites came eventually and although a strained atmosphere I got to see my GD .
Then low and behold they became homeless through financial difficulties , and asked to stay with me .
My DS actually asked ...not her .
They stayed for five months, I asked for no payment for anything
 Then there was the wedding , which I contributed to . Now during their stay , my DIL told my DS that
she didn't feel welcome in my home . I did nothing to make her feel this way ( I don't think so anyway )
I babysat often , gave them a whole floor of my house , and never had a cross word .

What I am getting to is , although we have been through all this , I will never feel close to my DIL .
After what she put me through , when my GD was born was cruel .
She is never warm towards me , with never a kind gesture .
We are civil towards each other , for the sake of my GD . My GD and I have bonded like
super glue , which I'm sure sticks in her throat !
If it wasn't for her I'm sure our relationship would  wither and die .

As usual my DS sits on the fence and what my DIL says is gospel !
He and I are not as we were , and when she is in our presence I don't recognise him .
The past is never mentioned , but it's still very raw in our minds I'm sure .

If she had stayed the same girl as my DS introduced us to six years ago , we would now
be best friends , now ? Not gonna happen !

And you know what , she still never thanked me for taking them in , that would have meant a lot .

Offline justanoldgrandma

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Re: Question for other MILs
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2011, 03:43:06 PM »
LL, your dil is truly ungrateful.  I'm not surprised from your posts that she didn't thank you; unbelievable otherwise.

I'm glad at least that you and your gs have bonded; I'm sure she is jealous, but keep that bond; it's so precious!  I bet your son is already wondering what he is in for, seeing her faults, but too proud and henpecked to admit it. 

It's funny that you mentioned your ds's old gf; as my post was nostalgic for my ds's ex that I was so close to!  But of course it wasn't my decision and I'm so glad I stayed out of their breakup which I had seen coming and dreaded and also that I didn't say anything and still don't about my dil.  Oh, if we could pick our own dils!  (it might not be so good tho and we'd be to blame!)

I'm glad you have a strong spirit and can live well through this marriage and have your gs as a consolation prize; I'm sure he is very loved by you!