Author Topic: Should I send this email??  (Read 3019 times)

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Offline Stilllearning

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Should I send this email??
« on: April 05, 2013, 07:50:31 PM »
I know it is difficult to believe, but I have a mother in law too.  I can still remember that I was afraid to meet her!  She knew all of these things that I did not know.  DH’s family was much more socially active than mine was and she knew all about how to cook, entertain, knit, sew, arrange flowers, garden, can foods and so many other things that were quite daunting.  DH was 24 when we married so he had already gone through the 'pull away’ phase of every young man’s life and I luckily got credit for ‘bringing him back’ into the fold.  His mother, DS’s grandmother, will still tell you that I am the one who straightened him out.  I will gladly take the credit although I know he was growing out of that phase of his life and into the next phase where his family became important to him.

When we first got married I did not know how to cook much.  I could cook some things.  If you ask DS he will tell you that I could not cook spaghetti for him when he was growing up unless DH was gone.  That is because it was one of the cheapest meals I knew how to cook when I got married and I completely burned DH out on it (but I still love it…hehe).  I had a budget of $20 a week for groceries and I could not afford to buy much chicken on that and ground beef is really good for stretching!!  We had enough money for one six pack of beer a week and we enjoyed every ounce of it!  We paid our rent every four weeks  so that we could save the money to pay for Christmas gifts.  Turns out if you pay every four weeks instead of once a month, by the end of the year you have a month paid in advance so we used the extra month’s rent for Christmas.  DS may have told you some of this, I have told him often enough he should remember.

We got married and DH and his Dad started to communicate.  We had been married for only about 5 years when FIL died.  He was only 55 when he died and we both miss him every day.  DS would be named Jack but he was born too soon after FIL died and DH could not handle the constant reminder. FIL would have been so proud of his son, my husband, if he had lived to see him today.  He would have been thrilled to know his grandson, your husband.  He would be proud. 

I know that you feel intimidated by me.  I know the feeling because I have been there.  But if you can get over that feeling there is a lot you can learn about the family who raised your husband, the family who loved him and nurtured him (much like you will your baby) and shaped him into the man you wanted to marry.  I cannot tell you how much I have appreciated the support of my mother in law! She was a high school English teacher (probably why I NEVER wrote her, afraid she would correct the letter and send it back!)  I call her and go visit her without DH or anyone else because I love her.  Yes, there were times when she irritated me and times when she made me cry….more than you know!  We managed to overcome the intimidation, overlook the small things and grow a wonderful partnership.

I feel like I have tried to do my part but every time we get together you dissect everything I say looking for an error.  Of course you find one!  I am by no means perfect ! If you truly think it is all my fault so be it.  I will live with that.  All I ask , for DS’s sake, is that you try to get to know ME and not assume you know me from what you think you understand. 

I am not really comfortable with you calling me by my first name…..perhaps we can settle on something that will be fitting for FGC to call me.  I am hoping for Mamaw if it is OK with the two of you….
« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 08:01:34 PM by luise.volta »
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Offline luise.volta

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2013, 08:08:37 PM »
Please hold it until you get more feed back here. It's a beautiful, well-written and thoughtful letter from my point of view. However…yes, here's that dreaded word…my experience is that when in a conflict, what I wanted write and thought I wrote was not what the other person read. My guess is that what she will read is that you want her to change….her behavior, how she views things…even what she has chosen to call you. She will in her own time frame if she does. It's not your call to do anything but have her be how she is. Others may not agree with me…but that's my take for what it's worth. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2013, 08:16:45 PM »
I know I need more points of view.  Thank you for giving me yours Loise!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2013, 08:58:57 PM »
so I am amending it as follows:

.....We managed to overcome the intimidation, overlook the small things and grow a wonderful partnership.

I feel like I have tried to do my part but every time we get together you dissect everything I say looking for an error.  I also know that you have tried too.  I am afraid to open my mouth because I think you will misunderstand what I say and you are afraid to say anything because you feel so intimidated .  If we never speak we will never get to know each other and we will both miss out.  Do you know of a way around this conundrum?



....better???
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Elise

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2013, 10:38:40 PM »
Written communications about tense situations often make things worse rather than better. It happened to me just as Louise pointed out - what I wrote and meant was not what was read.  I think it is best to have a face to face if you must discuss with dil these things. If you do, please consider limiting yourself to "I" statements.  Telling dil she is intimidated by you or looking for an error in everything you say may be less helpful or productive than asking what she thinks and feels.

Offline freespirit

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2013, 02:10:00 AM »
I have written dozens and dozens of letters, that I never sent. I always let them rest, for at least three days.  Then I read the letter out loud and tried to hear it as my son or DIL would hear it. That is why I never sent them,  and thank goodness, I didn't, (said with great relief).

I once invited my DIL out to a dinner. I literally drove to her work place, waited for her lunch break, and told her I want to invite her out to dinner. She first said no, but I refused to take that as an answer, I told her I will be at her apartment to pick her up at a certain time. I wasn't sure if she would be there, but yes, she stood at the front door waiting for me. 

I ordered us wine, which helped loosen the tongues, and it helped us not to take ourselves too seriously. Well, that meeting  was a good turning point to the positive. This was before she and my son married. They had been going out for over 8 years, and in that time she never visited us. So I simply asked her why. And she told me, she felt intimidated by me. She was honest, I was honest.

Maybe you could try this method. Just  decide before you go, not to whine or complain. Instead listen to your DIL. In all that, I showed my DIL that I 'm not the person she thought I was.
 

The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
            -- Michel de Montaigne

Offline jdtm

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2013, 05:52:51 AM »
I find that usually when I ask "if" I should do something, then I already know the answer.  In my heart, I "want" to do it, but I know it is best "not" to do it.  As for your e-mail - no - anything written on paper or digital is permanent.  As freespirit suggested - write, wait and discard.  I can see nothing but hurt and pain from sending this e-mail - intentions irrelevant.  And sometimes, our DILs choose not to be part of our family - it is what it is.

Offline Keys Girl

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2013, 07:04:20 AM »
No, I would not send it.

Tone of voice is responsible for 95% of a message and emails allow the receiver to pick one within that 95%, usually a negative one.

Always send flowers to a woman when trying to sort things out, but never an email.

KG

PS. I have often written emails in my draft folder or another folder just to get the situation straight and out of my head.
"Today I will be as happy as a seagull with a french fry." Author Unknown

Offline confusedbyinlaws

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2013, 08:58:49 AM »
I agree with the others.  I sent  an email letter to my MIL expressing my feelings in a way I thought would be well received and it was not well received at all.  It would be better to talk to her directly.  Also like others said, it sounds like you are pointing out what she is doing wrong and that you want her to change and I agree that it would be best when you do talk to her that you talk more about how you feel rather than what she does. Like others have said I statements work best.  And also in your letter you talk about about what she can learn from you and I am sure she can learn alot from you.  But don't assume she has more to learn from you than you have to learn from her. And she might not be interested in all of the things you would like to teach her.  You are asking asking that she get to know you and not assume she know you based on what she thinks she understands.  I would als ask yourself the same question. 
It does sound like you really want to work things out and build a better relationship with your DIL but I'm just afraid this letter might not be well received.  With some people even talking about the issues doesn't work well and with others it works out well.  With some people it might work better just to change your reactions to them while in their presense and that generally changes the relationship and the other person's reactions toward you.  Or it might be best just to address things as they come up, and talking about how you feel rather than what is wrong with her.  I'm not saying she is right in the way she is behaving, but how you approach it can make a difference between causing more hostility from her or causing her to feel more warmly toward you. 

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2013, 02:05:34 AM »
Thanks for all of your input!  I have decided not to send it....as in my heart I knew from the start it would not help. 

Now I am just struggling with the thought.....could I be the glue in their relationship?  If this really is a rebellion, and the age is right, early twenties, then my reactions may have been a driving force in the marriage.  It actually could be that my continued issues are a uniting factor in their marriage.  I have to wonder.  And if it is a uniting factor can I be two faced enough to act as if she is the most wonderful DIL imaginable??  If I can act that way, for whatever reason, don't you think it will improve things?  At least acting that way, even if it is fake, will make someone other than me the problem.  I wonder if I can do that for the rest of my life?? 
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Keys Girl

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2013, 04:45:03 AM »
I think the only glue that is found in a relationship is between two people who are committed to each other. 

If your actions were a driving force in the marriage then those two people are not living their own lives, making their own choices and determining their own future.

I don't think acting "Fake" is going to improve anything, and "the rest of my life" is a long time.

I would take a step back, and focus on my own life, be as polite as possible and not offer any input unless asked and then downplay anything negative.

When you make your own life better, you make the lives of those around you better.

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

Offline Pen

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2013, 10:13:03 AM »
Good for you! My advice, had I answered in a timely manner, would have been "don't send" as well.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2013, 07:16:48 PM »
I am sorry to have misled you into thinking that my life would be less than full if I was completely estranged from my DS and DIL and any progeny they might produce.  I am just trying to rid myself of any and all guilt in my son's current situation.   I know for a fact that my DIL has threatened suicide over a former boyfriend leaving her and when I called her mother (while she was on the phone with my son before they were dating) I was told by her mother that my DIL was proned to dramatics.  My son may well be less than prepared for the dramatics as I raised him to be very aware of peoples feelings.  Just the thought that I may have, in any fashion, driven him into this relationship is what is bothering me.  Since I am assured by so may people that it is somewhat egotistical to assume that I may have had any credible influence on his present situation is a real relief to me!!  Thank you all so much!!

We (DH and I) went out and harvested oysters by canoe yesterday!  It was muddy and fun and the best part is that we get to eat them....yesterday, today and some for tomorrow too!!  My YS has really enjoyed them too!! 

Thanks again!!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Pooh

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2013, 08:22:57 AM »
I agree, good job not sending it.  Not being able to read facial expressions, tones and body language leaves too many doors open in the written word for interpretation.

You shouldn't feel guilty about feeling you didn't prepare you DS for dramatics.  I don't think any parent prepares a child to marry someone that may have characteristics that we don't find valuable.  We teach them to look for valuable characteristics in a partner.

Meaning, if I had a daughter, I wouldn't have taught her how to survive in a marriage where her DH refused to work.  If she chose a person like that, then she has chosen to deal with that behavior and it's completely on her to manage it. 

So IMO, a parent can not accept blame for the spouse their AC choose, it's on them and their decision. 
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Should I send this email??
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2013, 10:43:36 AM »
Thanks Pooh!!  And once again thanks to everyone who shared their opinion.  It is so nice to have someone to bounce things off of before I act and DH is sick and tired of hearing about it!  LOL!!  I have been fluctuating daily and sometimes hourly on the matter and I can understand that he would be tired of it.  I am tired of feeling it.  I am finally settling down and some of the credit goes to you wonderful ladies who have 'been there, done that' and are willing to share your experiences with the rest of us.  Thanks again and I think we can lock this topic too!!  Thanks again!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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