Author Topic: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?  (Read 6113 times)

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Offline justanoldgrandma

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Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« on: December 21, 2011, 03:57:39 PM »
Okay, I know this issue has been tossed around some.  And dils are different, some just reserved w their dh's FOO, others so close to their FOO there is no time/love for us, others jealous, maybe of the ds's and later the gc's attachment to us?  Some with issues deep-seated with their own FOO that make them distrustful of us?

Our dil had to have been slowed in growth by an early divorce and insecurity of moving, having to help Mom, nearly role reversal.  Then constant compliments of being beautiful, as though that's all that counts.  Constant visits/traditions with her FOO, leftovers for us.  The female family members are so close the spouses come in second.  Outsiders are not welcomed with open arms.

Some say don't try to analyze the behavior, but the Jekyl/Hyde behavior is so confounding to me..... she gives until I feel like she likes and appreciates me, but the next minute is snappy (she admits she has a temper (duh!)  It's like the minute we do something she appreciates is over and she has thanked us, it's forgotten, we are forgotten, her life goes on..... no one counts but her, truly; her FOO counts but it's more a security blanket....

Ah, maybe I've answered my own question about my dil; her FOO is her security blanket.... they give her what she needs; even her children and her dh can't give it to her....

Survey, anyone?
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 07:45:17 PM by pam1 »

Shelby

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 06:48:55 PM »
JAOG - Hi and Merry Christmas. 

As for your question, I have no friggin' idea. 

I beat myself up for years trying to figure out the WHY.  WHY is she so distant.  WHY doesn't she want to connect with us if she loves our son.  WHY is she so unappreciative of our kind, welcoming gestures.  WHY does she rarely acknowledge gifts we give.  WHY doesn't she show any concern for serious illness and death in her husband's FOO.   WHY? WHY? WHY?   Is she mad?  WHAT did I do wrong?  Did I say the wrong thing?  WHAT did I say that she misinterpreted?  Did DS tell her something negative about us and she holds that against us?  WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?

There are no answers.  Because I can never ask the questions.  I can beat my head on a brick wall wondering WHY and wondering WHAT, but in the end, it doesn't matter.  It doesn't change anything.  I just have to let it go.   

The relationship IS what it IS.  Knowing WHY she doesn't care for us, or WHAT she thinks we did wrong wouldn't change the fact that she doesn't want a relationship with us. 

Sounds like your DIL is treating you like a yo-yo.   You feel like she likes you then the next minute is snappy.  I guess my situation is easier.  DIL is consistent.  I don't get lured by false warmth, only to get snapped at a little later.  Since I receive consistency from DIL, I don't suffer the yo-yo syndrome.  It helps banish false hopes.  And helps me accept the fact that WHY just doesn't matter.  My knowing WHY wouldn't change the spots on the leopard. 

Good luck dealing with the inconsistency.  That would be tough.

phillek

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 06:55:15 PM »
JAOG,  I’m interested to see what the WW have to say about this, too.  I am a DIL who is probably perceived as distant/cold by my MIL, although probably not by the rest of my DH’s FOO.
My background sounds a lot different than your DIL, so I don’t know if my perspective will be helpful, but I can tell you why I have not been overly warm to my MIL.  I’ll first say that she has been pretty aggressively mean to me recently, and I’ll go ahead and assume that that is not your problem.  But, I have been thinking a lot about how things have gotten to this point, and speaking generally I think the problems between MIL and me are pretty common.
First, I met MIL when I was in college.  This was a transitional time for me and I wasn’t quite an adult, but ready to become one.  MIL treated me like a child from the get-go, and it has been very difficult for her to respect me as an adult.  She had me refer to her as “Mrs. X” instead of her first name, gave tons of unsolicited advice, and talked down to me.  I know that she most likely thought that she was being helpful or a role-model, but I can tell you that it just made me feel like we could never be “friends”, and has made things really awkward now that I truly consider myself a full grown woman.  I have come to the point where I NEVER ask her for advice, and NEVER say anything that could show weakness (I’m acutely afraid of an “If you would only do things the way I tell you to or let me handle it, things would be so much better for you” response) .  This makes things tense and uncomfortable, and I know my MIL resents me for it.
Second, it is difficult to jump into another family that is so different from your own.  I am not particularly close with my family, but they are the opposite end of the spectrum from my DH’s FOO.  It’s just not easy to suddenly become the sixth person in a family of five that has known and lived together forever.  I just didn’t fit in right away, and didn’t understand their ways.
Third, MIL and I have extremely different communication styles.  We didn’t choose to have this relationship, and now we have to learn to talk to each other.  I don’t have much hope in resolving this problem.  Again, awkwardness and resentment; hurt feelings happen often.
Fourth, (and I see this often in the struggling MIL/DIL relationship) is expectations.  What she envisioned her DIL to be like and what I am are different, and she is hurt and resentful.  Same with me and my expectations of a MIL.
So, here we are.  We talk less and less.  I push her away.  I am cold to her.  She resents that and retaliates with unkind words, manipulation, guilt trips.  I get more distant.  It’s a downward spiral and I don’t know what we could have done differently.  It’s a shame.
Sorry, I know I am the new poster that writes too much at a time.  Not looking to hijack post here or get any advice, just wanted to give my perspective to JOAG.

Offline pam1

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2011, 07:44:51 PM »
It's probably different for everyone.

I've said this before, but if you heard from my MIL her perspectives/take on me it would be completely opposite than I think most people observe of me in real life.  I've been called rigid and cold several times.  But feedback I've gotten from employers for nearly 20 years, good friends and family all say the opposite.

Am I highly uncomfortable around her?  Yes.  Perhaps that also affects her view of me but it didn't start out that way, I was the same way around her as I was everyone else I just met.  She pushed for intimacy so soon and scared me.

It also seems natural to me that even if I get along with someone, I don't expect my best friend too.  It's nice if they do but not mandatory.  And after junior high I think the "if I'm not friends with her, you can't be either!" stops for most people.  So, in essence, I guess I tend to think if a MIL or DIL doesn't like/can't get along with each other (in whichever fashion) they should be able to see that it is ok on some level.  Not desirable or ideal, but just ok.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

Offline pam1

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2011, 07:50:21 PM »
jaog, I just wanted to address something your original post.  You stated something along the lines that your DIL had a case of arrested development due to her childhood.  I had a similar one, parents divorced young, mother terminally ill for years (wherein there was a role reversal for a good amount of time) and I have not personally felt anything like that affected me negatively.  In fact, I think it has given me a more positive outlook on life, I know it is short, I know it is important to lead a good, productive and fulfilling life while you can.  And I don't think my MIL knows these things.

My MIL has brought up these same things in my history to point out why she doesn't get along with me and frankly, by her doing that couldn't do anything worse to our relationship than what happened in my childhood.  I still don't understand her fixation on it, the only thing I think is that it gives her excuse to not look at her own behavior for the demise of a relationship with me -- just easier to point and say I must have problems lol.  (I am in no way saying you're doing this.)
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

Shelby

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2011, 09:19:27 PM »

First, I met MIL when I was in college.  This was a transitional time for me and I wasn’t quite an adult, but ready to become one.  MIL treated me like a child from the get-go, and it has been very difficult for her to respect me as an adult.  She had me refer to her as “Mrs. X” instead of her first name, gave tons of unsolicited advice, and talked down to me.  I
. . .
So, here we are.  We talk less and less.  I push her away.  I am cold to her.  She resents that and retaliates with unkind words, manipulation, guilt trips.  I get more distant.  It’s a downward spiral and I don’t know what we could have done differently.  It’s a shame.


Phil -- I think it is fine for her to expect you to call her Mrs. Smith when you are a 19 or 20 year old college student.  I certainly called the mothers of my college boyfriends Mrs. So and So, and I did not feel diminished.  I would expect to be Mrs. to a college girlfriend, but when that girl becomes a DIL at age 24, then I would welcome her calling me by my first name.  She shouldn't have given unsolicited advice or talked down to you, but having you call her Mrs. X seems fine. 

I can understand her resenting being pushed away, but to retaliate with unkind words, manipulation, etc is unfortunate.  All of us here simply zip our lips.   We may not be less resentful.  We are just more quiet. 


QuietStorm

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2011, 11:24:33 PM »
I'll say that for me it's primarily because DH doesn't feel a great attachment to his FOO.  If you ask MIL she'd say that DH was very attached to his family until he met me, which I would imagine is true, but things change.  I have never felt very welcomed by my ILs.  I have also had a number of conflicts with them very the very beginning of my relationship with DH.  Early in our relationship MIL didn't want to share DH with me and that made me very weary of ties to the ILs.

As it is now we are distant with them because DH is distant with them.  DH doesn't have strong ties to anyone in the family and because of that I don't have any really strong ties to any of them either.  However, with my FOO I have strong attachments to several members of the family extending even beyond my parents and siblings and there are certain members of my family that DH is very attached to.  I have nothing like that with his family.

Offline stilltrying2010

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2011, 05:32:03 AM »
phillek wrote:
Quote
So, here we are.  We talk less and less.  I push her away.  I am cold to her.  She resents that and retaliates with unkind words, manipulation, guilt trips.  I get more distant.  It’s a downward spiral and I don’t know what we could have done differently.  It’s a shame.

right there with you... in hurting heart & mind.  Holidays only exacerbate the situation.  In the past I have ended up swallowing it and being unhappy so that they can be.  No more. The can do whatever they want but I am done handing over my happiness to them (I am certain they would have no idea about the depths of my hurt, resentment)  They only see the lips pressed into the thinnest line with my jaw clenched as I attempt to force a smile which will never reaches my eyes.  To them it is me and in the past for me it has been them.  Now, I am trying to focus on me and our happiness.  Where the "relationship" goes from here isnt as important to me as not being where I was in heart & mind.

Offline Scoop

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2011, 05:50:41 AM »
I'm sure it's a "perfect storm" combination of everything mentioned along with a few others.

For me (as a DIL to my MIL), I would say:

- my FOO does have a history where the husband's side of the family is "not as good" as the wife's side.  (The paternal side of my family was filled with mean-alcoholics.)  So it didn't take much on MIL's part to "snap" them into that "not as good" mold.

- my maternal FOO is super-awesome.  They're fun, generous and kind.  My Mom is a saint and I want to be just like her.  She's the one who encourages me to be nice, be fair, be good to my IL's.  (Although she did say that if MIL passes me up in the gift department at Christmas, she wouldn't blame me for leaving.)  My MIL can NEVER compare to her.  The year my Dad died, we swapped out Christmas and my Mom insisted that we couldn't spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas with her.  Nice eh?  The following year, my MIL tried to manipulate us in spending both with her.  So here, my Mom had a pretty good excuse and STILL wasn't greedy and the IL's, well, they were just greedy.

- I am a strong woman.  I saw my Mom "go along" with her IL's and get nothing but trouble in exchange.  I am NOT going to play that game.

- I am a more modern woman.  I'm educated in a male-dominated field, so I have more of a 'man' mentality.  So I will not be doing dishes in the kitchen with the women while the men are watching TV.  Or conversely, I'd rather be helping them work on the electronics or yardwork, instead of cooking.  I'm sorry if I don't fit into the generally pre-conceived notions of gender-roles.  I'm also not the social director for our family.  AND I find it INSULTING to receive a card addressed to Mr and Mrs Scoop's-DH's-name.  When I got married, I did change my last name, but I didn't change my first name to Mrs and my second name to Dh's-name. 

- My MIL never had a MIL.  She had no frame of reference on "sharing" her family between 2 FOO's.  All vacations and holidays were spent with her FOO.  She wanted that for herself too.  The worst part is that this backfired directly through DH.  He saw how awful it was to spend EVERY vacation at her FOO's (working) and HE didn't want to play THAT game either.


phillek

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2011, 06:10:04 AM »

Am I highly uncomfortable around her?  Yes.  Perhaps that also affects her view of me but it didn't start out that way, I was the same way around her as I was everyone else I just met.  She pushed for intimacy so soon and scared me.


Well said, Pam.  I feel the same way.

phillek

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2011, 06:29:36 AM »

Phil -- I think it is fine for her to expect you to call her Mrs. Smith when you are a 19 or 20 year old college student.  I certainly called the mothers of my college boyfriends Mrs. So and So, and I did not feel diminished.  I would expect to be Mrs. to a college girlfriend, but when that girl becomes a DIL at age 24, then I would welcome her calling me by my first name.  She shouldn't have given unsolicited advice or talked down to you, but having you call her Mrs. X seems fine. 

I can understand her resenting being pushed away, but to retaliate with unkind words, manipulation, etc is unfortunate.  All of us here simply zip our lips.   We may not be less resentful.  We are just more quiet.

I hear you Shelby.  It really wasn't the "Mrs." in itself, it was the combination of that and attitude.  Right after college, I had gotten a job and moved halfway across the country to be with DH (in the same city as his FOO).  We had discussed marriage and it should have been clear that I wasn't just "one of his college girlfriends."  To me, it set the stage for her to have this role of matriarch and I as her underling, and it has complicated things now that I am the mother in my home.  Again, its just unaquired expectations and lack of communication, and everyone is different, just like JOAG's DIL may be offended by something(s) and JOAG has no idea.

Incidentally, MIL consistently called me by my DH's ex-girlfriend's name for a full year.  She would say it and then something like "shoot, I just cannot get used to your name!"  For a year.  Consistently.  That's her M.O.  "Who me?  I didn't mean to be rude, I just don't know any better!" (I'm sure you wise MILs would not be that way :)

phillek

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2011, 06:40:03 AM »


I can understand her resenting being pushed away, but to retaliate with unkind words, manipulation, etc is unfortunate.  All of us here simply zip our lips.   We may not be less resentful.  We are just more quiet.
[/quote]

This is interesting to me.  I think I would be the same way as a MIL.  In fact, that is how I have responded to MILs behavior - kept quiet unless totally necessary (i.e. being "distant").  Her way of dealing with things is the opposite.  She seems to think she can push her way back into position, and that makes me retreat more.  I do want her in my life (don't worry, MIL has more contact with us than any other family member, even though she would say it isn't enough or the kind of contact she wants), but I would be so much more warm to her if she would just back off a minute and let me breathe.  We are seriously a bad match.

Offline Pooh

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2011, 07:07:45 AM »
Here's my answer...Lol.  And this applies to DILs and MILs. 

There is no answer.  People are people and what some will see as petty, will be a big deal to the other party.  What some will see as a big deal, will be petty to the other party.  Unless both parties are willing to let go of the petty stuff and communicate about the big deals, with compromise....it's a no go and always will be.  Some people are likeable, some people are not.  Some people are loveable, some people are not.  Mix those people together and the personalities clash.

Here's my personal thing with my DIL.  She doesn't have a likeable personality (Not just me, with everyone)  and I'm more easy going.  She gets offended easily and I will giggle and move on with a "get over it" attitude.  She doesn't get over it and gets more offended that I am not more into the pettiness.  A vicious cycle because we are different.  I'm blunt, she's not.  I'm old school manners and traditions, she's not.  I believe in giving, she believes in receiving.  Does that make her wrong or me wrong?  No, just different.  The differences make us not get along thus the strained relationship.  It's always going to be that way because we are different.

The answer is ACCEPTANCE from both parties.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Shelby

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2011, 07:13:50 AM »
I LOVE YOU POOH!  Seriously, will you please move next door to me?  Forget your job, your hometown friends and family, will you please just move next door to me?  I'd love a neighbor like you.  You can bring DH. 

Shelby

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Re: Why are some dils so distant with ds's FOO?
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2011, 07:14:31 AM »
Forgot the smileys.
 ;D ;D ;) ;D ;D :-* :-* :-*