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DIL is getting worse

Started by Peanut52, February 16, 2014, 11:53:48 pm

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My DIL has been with my son for 14 years, married for 7, two grandbabies.  Relationship with her was always fine, courtship, wedding, etc., They were fine taking money from me for wedding.  I also gave them a little money, not much, for a down payment on their first house.  They had to file for bankruptcy recently and were forced to short sale this home.  They moved in with me as it was convenient for them (they had nowhere else to go) and shortly after my 2nd husband died. They lived with me for 2-1/2 years before buying another home again (in early 2013).  They live 2 hours away.  Since they've been in their own home they have ignored us (his family, me, my former husband, my other two daughters).  We have to go to them if we want to spend time with them (so that is what we do, and I always ask first, never drop in unannounced).  I used to call about once a week but it was always mayhem when I would call, my DIL would just hand the phone to my son, or if she saw it was me on the caller ID she would not even answer the phone.  I assumed this since she stopped answering when I called and my son would answer and sound harried and hurried.  We are invited to the kids' birthday parties.  I have always been respectful of her and their relationship and have KEPT MY MOUTH SHUT.  DIL used to send me jokes, etc on email but she has not done this in sometime.  You know, lighthearted communications, keeping the lines open. If I send her an email she either ignores it or takes a day or two to respond and then it's very short and curt.  She's so "busy."   She spends lots of time and effort with her own sister, cousins, mother, aunts, uncles, you name it, and makes a big deal out of how close they are, always dragging the kids to numerous family birthday parties, etc., none of which include ours.  We do have a smaller family but when we do invite them they never come, saying they don't want to drive to our city, and they don't like it here.  They drive two or three times a year out of CA to visit friends but won't come here to see me or my mom.  DIL did not come for my elderly mother's birthday party last year, although my son was "allowed" to.  They have an ungrateful attitude, and I don't mean that in a bitter way.  They're over 30 and continue to manage money poorly.  I am resentful because I have to let it go and move on, and my son and I used to have a loving relationship.  I see that he's changed and is becoming a not so nice person, and others have remarked about this.  I never thought this would happen and now that it has, it galls me to have to put up with it.  By that I mean letting go.  My grandkids will only know me by seeing me infrequently, whereas they see her family just about daily. 


Welcome - We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Open Me First to read the four posts placed there for you. Nothing wrong with your post, we just ask all new members to do this.

It's so hard to go from having a decent relationship to having an almost non-existent one without any reason why.  I will say that after living with you, there may be some tension now in the relationship and there may be some hurt feelings you don't know about.  Not that you did anything wrong and were kind to open up your home to them.  I just know from personal experience, that living with someone tends to bring about tension, no matter what it done right or wrong.  I love my younger DIL and we get along great and always have.  But I know for a fact, that she holds some resentment after living with us for a year.  And I hold some resentment as well.  We still get along just fine, but just the mere fact of living in someone else's home, is stressful for both parties. 

Here's what I mean.  DIL tore up our washing machine while she was there.  She didn't mean to and she did it by packing as much clothing in as possible.  Immaturity on her part and it was accidental as she had no idea it was tearing it up.  When we discovered that the rubber parts were being ripped off from such heavy loads, I had to say something to her.  I showed her what was happening and asked her to please not overfill it as it was tearing it up.  She apologized but was very upset and I could tell she was mad at me.  Now, was I right to say something to her?  IMO, of course I was as it belonged to us.  She pouted, stayed in her room all night and I let her.  I didn't give in to her tantrum and I know she resented that.  Would I do it again?  Yes. 

This time, when she thought she was coming back while DS was deployed, she made arrangements to stay with her GP's.  Her words were that they were retired and would be able to help her more with two children.  I was good with it, because she's right.  I work full time and when I came in she wanted me to watch the baby all night while she slept.  I told her that I didn't care to help her some, but the baby was her responsibility and I wasn't coming in every evening and watching him after working all day. So I know that she loves me and we get along, but that is why she doesn't want to stay with us this time.  Her GP's will watch them all the time and we will not.

I told you that to explain what I meant.  We still get along fine, but I know she didn't like how we did some things just as I didn't like how she did.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Pooh, thank you for your reply and advice.  Perhaps there is some old lingering tension.  I did my best to stay out of their business and their way when they lived with me.  I respected my DIL's methods and boundaries.  There were times when I even felt "in the way" in my own home!  I knew it was difficult for them.  My precious grandson was born just before they moved in, and they had to bring him home from the hospital to my house.  My DIL:  "It wouldn't be my first choice to take my newborn to my mother-in-law's house, but we need help."  I chose to ignore that hurtful remark and many more that followed.  My DS keeps quiet.  He does not want to rock the boat with her and while I often wondered why he just did not stand up to her, after reading the many posts on this forum I find that is common.  He has often been called a mama's boy and I think at this point that annoys him. IMO if you treat your mother well, you'll be a fine husband!  I am not trying to interfere or take her place, just keep my own!  I foolishly assumed that we would still be a family after they moved to their own home, and have I been in for a surprise.  They call when they want something and never otherwise.  I find them rude.  My son was not raised this way and so I am befuddled by this behavior.

I have thought about how I was with my own MIL when my children were young.  While I did not always like everything about her and their family, I never excluded them!  They loved my children and I could not in good conscience attempt to keep them away or thwart their efforts to love us.

It has taken awhile but I accept that this is what is.  Wishing it was more inclusive of me and my FOO, well, I'll just keep praying.


Welcome to the site, Peanut52.

My DH & I helped our DIL too, at her and DS's request, and did so gladly...and then got shunned by DIL & her FOO when they no longer needed us. IMO, some people are users and some are givers. My DIL & her FOO have used a lot of folks in their climb to the top. That's who they are. Now that DIL is acting more like she accepts us, I'm glad but careful. They can't use us anymore unless we allow it.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Pen - Yes!  It's clear that DIL's family are takers and users.  You're so right - they cannot use me anymore unless I allow it, and I am not going to.  Perhaps that is why I'm on the out list.  Who knows!?! The sad truth is that my DS has taken on some of those characteristics and it is ugly to witness.  I am treading lightly, in the hope that perhaps I'll again be on the welcome list (the real welcome list).  I was invited to their house for super bowl Sunday and asked to bring some of their favorite foods from local restaurants (since they used to live here).  I happily did so.  My middle daughter (visiting from southern California) and my mother also went.  We were ignored by DS and DIL and game was moved to DIL's sister's house! Along with all her family, blah blah blah.  Ugh!  However, I was glad to have been able to spend a little time with my precious GCs. 

Thank you so much for your kind words!


Hi Peanut  :)

I think one of the worst things to cope with is; - being treated unjustly.  You keep thinking over and over again, what have I done to deserve this?  Why don't they like me anymore? How can I fix it, if I don't even know what there is to fix? Don't I mean anything to them, anymore?  I'm a grandmother to their children! What will happen to our relationship?  And so on and so on. It can drive anyone crazy.

But sometimes, I think we forget to ask one very important question. And that is:  Do I want such selfish egotistical disrespectful people in my life?  If we try to shift the whole scene around a bit...In other words:  Take them off the pedestal, remove yourself from the bottom, and turn the whole thing around.

You don't necessarily have to put yourself up on the pedestal... simply put everyone at the same level. Try to imagine looking into your DIL's eyes, and those of your son. How do you feel? Do you feel like the child ignored and treated unjustly,...or do you feel like  an equal, who really doesn't  want to submit herself to  such demeaning treatment?

I know what I'm talking about, because our DIL isn't talking to us...for no reason.  I'm not joking when I say there isn't any reason, -  as hard as that is to believe.

So, although I'm  very disappointed,( especially in my son, becasue he has no back bone.) I honestly can say;  if this woman weren't married to my son, I would never have  anything to do with her. She is moody, choleric, and manipulative. One of these days my grandsons will be old enough to come around, all by themselves to me. And when that day comes, I will simply tell them the truth. I will tell them, I always wanted to be a part of their life, but  their parents , for reasons unknown to me,  wouldn't allow it. So I have that card up my sleeve.

Meanwhile, I'm not pestering my life with someone who doesn't value or respect me.  Who needs that? I don't care if it's my son or a stranger. I simply don't want to submit myself to being treated this way. Which isn't really a big problem, since all I have to do is live my own life. They sure aren't calling or visiting and asking me how I am. So at least I don't have to walk on eggshells around them anymore, not knowing why that is even necessary.

I read this the other day:
The most exquisite paradox...
As soon as you give it all up, you can have it all.
As long as you want power, you can't have it.
The minute you don't want power,
you'll have more than you ever dreamed possible.
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
            -- Michel de Montaigne


Freespirit, thank you.  I have pondered (over and over and over) these questions you describe...what did I do?  How can I fix it?  If only I could figure out what it is I did I must try to fix?  And so on!  I am so very disappointed in my son, and my DIL also, as I thought we had a solid, respectful, and even loving relationship.  I gave them money and shared my home because I love them all (her too), not because I expected "something" in return.  I thought that a family shares its ups and downs, through the peaks and valleys, sticks together, and moves on.  They are fine taking, but when it comes to sharing and kindness and respect, not so much.  My two daughters and my DS's father also feel the pinch, and so does my mother.  I don't understand it, but at this point I accept what is.  I will not subject myself to being treated like that and  having to think, and say those words, admit and acknowledge it have been terribly painful. 

I am doing other things and of course my daughters and I have loving relationships.  They're perplexed at my son's behavior also but figure it's his cross to bear.  They don't treat them well, either. 

It's sad for me to see this to be such a common problem, and I'm sorry for you.  But your attitude has given me another boost, and I am grateful for you and all the others on these boards for the helpful advice.  I know now that I am not going crazy!


Your welcome, Peanut.  And no you aren't going crazy.

It hurts because we never would treat  them the way  they treat us.

We need to protect  ourselves, our nerves, our hearts,...and we mustn't forget this is our life,...how many years do we have left?  It's not good to spend them  being sad. We are worth so much more. I'm glad to hear you have loving daughters.
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
            -- Michel de Montaigne