Author Topic: Hiya!  (Read 6155 times)

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grimkin

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Hiya!
« on: September 11, 2009, 05:36:11 AM »
I was just wondering what this site is all about.  I've been reading some of the postings here.  I too am having daughter-law-issues.  I seem to be reading a lot in common with you all.

At the moment I feel like taking up kick boxing to relieve some of my frustrations!  I'm not to sure exactly where to start.  I'm basically looking for advice in how to approach talking to my dil and son about my concerns.  I've tried several times with no luck.  Mostly my issues are with how she occupies all my son's time without any regard to spending time with his family whether it be birthdays, holidays or anytime we simply call to go out for dinner.

This isn't how I thought things would be.  My dil and I were close prior to my son marrying her.  Now it's as if his family has the plague.  Honestly though I have more issues with her mother scheduling events when she knows our family is planning something.  Several times I have told my son his families plans which many times have included my dil's family as well, only for my dil's mother to schedule plans over our families plans.

The question I have is, how do I ask my dil to ask her mother not to do that or at least find a way for us all to have equal time with our kids.  I've talked to my son about it quite a few times and he always remarks that our dil gets upset if he questions why they always have to do things with her family and not leave any time for his.

At this point in time I've kind of given up. 
« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 05:39:30 AM by grimkin »

chickiebaby

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2009, 05:48:36 AM »
Dear Grimkin,
I''m afraid to answer but since you are in the same boat a lot of us are, I will tell you, it seems to be a common thread.  I don't know why and none of us 'get it' but it just is.

This site was for Mothers in law and now, it's incorporated some wonderful daughters in law who give us loving advice where we need it.  They are helpful and don't hurt us more than we're already hurt.  We're so glad to have them.  We try to help them too.

That was not true a couple of times but those people don't post any longer. We're free to post and share with MILs and DILs who care about each other now.

I've been in your shoes...a more confusing and heartbreaking situation you've never seen.  I would caution you not to talk to the DIL about it!!  CAUTION!!  She might take it the wrong way and years of terrible trouble will follow. 

Remember too, that when you talk to your son about it, he will tell her.  She will not understand what you're trying to say and take it the wrong way again. 

The DILs on this board might have some pointers for you.  I just know their wisdom will help.  Just know that you are not alone.  :)

lostone

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2009, 06:49:32 AM »
Cat - Sadly I am where you may end up if you don't find a way to accept the seriousness of this situation.  My son came to my town where DIL's mother lives to visit her family and told me about it later.  I told him in the future I would appreciate it if he would not tell me he has been to town and didn't have time to come by for even a few minutes because it hurts my feelings and made me feel unimportant.  A couple of days later he called me back and said that after thinking about it (and talking with DIL) he decided that I was not grateful for when I did see him and to "teach me a lesson" he would not see me at Christmas.  I set there in disbelief, my son had NEVER talked to me that way before.  We were close and he always looked forward to getting together with his family and especially me.  It also worked out pretty conveniently because DIL's mother wanted them to go out of town with her for the holidays.

DIL's mother puts a lot of pressure on them to accommodate her schedule but I didn't have any prior warning that this would be an issue.  Your son has given you a complement by confiding in you that talking to his wife about this gets her upset.  She may be under a great deal of pressure from her mother and is not as strong (or secure in her mother's love) as your son is.

IMHO - I would plan events and invite them but not pressure them to attend.  My mother taught me a valuable lesson when I was newly married - she gave up all our holiday traditions in order to make it easier for me and my sister to spend time with in-laws and started new ones.  For instance we always celebrate Thanksgiving the Saturday after Thanksgiving and feel just as Thankful.  Seeing this as a future issue with my other boys I started asking them to give me a few hours the day after Christmas as my Christmas present.  We go out to eat breakfast, shopping, movie, etc, and I love it.

My advice is to recognize the seriousness of this issue and accept that you cannot change them.  Being pressured by you may drive them further away.  I am not saying it is fair or you are not entitled, I am just saying some time is a lot better than no time.  My one comment has turned into almost 3 years of no contact with my son or the opportunity to even meet my own grandchild.  :'(

just2baccepted

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2009, 07:31:39 AM »
Just know that you are not alone

I agree with Chickiebaby, your story seems to be identical to most MIL's on this site.  I'll say up front that I"m a DIL with IL trouble.  But when you think about suffering in silence and never saying anything to your son that just doesn't seem fair.  He's your son and you love him too.

I think it takes courage to say something to your son with this over your head.  I think most mom's feel scared and don't want to say anything because they're afraid their child will reject them.  And I totally understand how they feel, but you know I think if the DIL is going to pull him away from me then I would go down fighting!  I mean that in a gently way.  It still shocks me that someone can raise a child and then that child pulls away because that's what his wife wants.  Good Luck and everyone here will be pulling for you.

Cat

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2009, 07:52:01 AM »
Thanks for the sign of good hope Chickiebaby,I already feel as if I have a whole new family online! what a great feeling, hope we can all help each other as you helped me!

Dear Lostone,
I will give you everything I have, and I will try to be as honest as possible. But we should keep in mind, that my point of view has a lot of different factors -things that happened in the past-between me and my In-Laws, shaping my ideas. But I can give you some perspective on why I know other DIL , including myself acts the way we do...

Sadly I am where you may end up if you don't find a way to accept the seriousness of this situation.  My son came to my town where DIL's mother lives to visit her family and told me about it later.
-Could it be possible that this was not in their hands, I know this has happened to me and my husband, and the reason for this was that we were invited, and the situation at their home was of such a nature that we could not leave. It might not even be personal?
  I told him in the future I would appreciate it if he would not tell me he has been to town and didn't have time to come by for even a few minutes because it hurts my feelings and made me feel unimportant. I think it is wonderful to be open about your feelings, and that means, you are already ahead of the battle. Maybe you should try another approach-even shocking to them, next time. You might even be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Say instead of telling him you are hurt, which might make him feel sad and therefore he might get defensive, rather ask him how the trip was, and if he enjoyed it (this will also make your relationship grow with him, because he will then feel as if he can share anything with you) 

A couple of days later he called me back and said that after thinking about it (and talking with DIL) he decided that I was not grateful for when I did see him and to "teach me a lesson" he would not see me at Christmas.
he probably discussed what you said to him with his wife, who then got defensive, and blew the whole thing out of proportion. Since I have no idea what kind of person your daughter in law is, I am afraid to make any suggestions, but what I would do if I were you is rather phone her directly, even ask for forgiveness -EVEN IF IT ISN'T YOUR WRONG'DOING-WHICH IT OBVIOUSLY ISNT!-I feel sorry for you and I know it isn't your fault! please just know this!
But ok, here is what I would suggest: Ok, so you phone her, and tell her your sorry, and then you just say that, you understand that they as a family may do and visit whomever they want, and that they should just know that you love them both very much, and that your house is always open to them. You make no arrangement,no suggestions, just leave it at that. I promise you (well I would like to promise you..but since I have no control, no idea, how they will react) I would like to believe that her attitude will change, I can tell you mine would.
I Think the golden rule when it comes to a DIL is that she wants to be the ALPHA FEMALE  of her own family. If you can always get her to feel that way, that might help to resolve some of her problems. A female knows what an important role a Mother plays in a son's live (even if she will NEVER admit it!!!), and she is so terribly afraid of not being the ALPHA FEMALE, The ONLY woman in her husbands live, THE SOLE SECURITY PROVIDER, THE RULER OF THE HOUSE,  The DIL needs to know that her MIL acknowledges her as the ALPHA FEMALE of her own family, actually she just wants to know she is the boss now, and not you anymore (even if it is not completely true)...so always talk to her first, work harder with your relationship with her, then things might start changing for the better.


I set there in disbelief, my son had NEVER talked to me that way before.  We were close and he always looked forward to getting together with his family and especially me.  It also worked out pretty conveniently because DIL's mother wanted them to go out of town with her for the holidays.
That is just awful, I feel so sorry for you! Remember that he is now influenced by another woman(his wife) as well, if you want to get close to him again, you need to be close to her-, if he is so defensive and 'stands with his woman' EVEN AGAINST HIS OWN MOTHER! PLEASE KNOW! This is a HUGE compliment for you, this means that he is VERY good to his wife, and he listens to her, this means he had a great relationship with the woman who taught him everything about woman! His wife is acting silly! She should be grateful!





« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 07:55:50 AM by Cat »

Cat

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2009, 08:08:19 AM »
Hope this helped, thanks again for the vote of confidence. Thanks Chickiebaby, I wish you were my MIL!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 08:52:30 AM by Cat »

Sassy

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2009, 08:48:01 AM »
Quote
IMHO - I would plan events and invite them but not pressure them to attend.


Quote
I would caution you not to talk to the DIL about it!!  CAUTION!!  She might take it the wrong way and years of terrible trouble will follow. 
Remember too, that when you talk to your son about it, he will tell her.  She will not understand what you're trying to say and take it the wrong way again.
 


Lostone and Chickiebaby speak from experience.

Its so kind that you reach out include your DIL's parents in your invites.  And I'm sorry they do not do the same for you.

This is a sad situation for you. You have addressed it with your son already.  You do not want to put pressure on him to put pressure on his wife.  This can make him, them both, feel uncomfortable around you. Which mean would mean less time together.   Talking to your DIL directly, will probably strain relationships further.  Your son already told you she gets upset with him when he brings it up to her.  This allows us to reasonably predict how she will react to someone she's not life partners with, asking the same of her.

You get more bees with honey, so try that approach for a while.  Have only positive-sounding interactions. Put on a happy face, and it will attract more happiness.

Keep inviting them for this or that in a very low pressure way. (One invite at a time).  Be flexible about days and dates.  It could be better to invite them over for a casual supper or cookout than for a specific holiday.  If what you want most is to spend time with them, and to host them, keep that idea in mind.  "Shrimp on the barbie" on a Saturday or Sunday or Wednesday night, is honestly as good as any "official holiday".  Try to keep perspective, time together is time together.

The easier you make it to have good times you all have together, the more good time you will have.

Try not to show anger or dissappointment with them if they decline the "official holidays." You can come here to vent that! 

chickiebaby

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2009, 09:05:59 AM »
Great advice!!!!!  I love this....always act as if everything is all right.  I like that....this way, no matter what is said or done, you get to keep her respect and his too.  I guess no one wants to talk to anyone who is always upset about something they did.

I love this because if I could go back and not react to anything she said or did to me, I would.  I would act like nothing was wrong.  Thanks again, Cat 

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2009, 09:07:39 AM »
Hiya Right Back Atcha,

Well, my experience is that most of us have no idea that these dynamics may hit and that the battle for supremacy may begin with the marriage. Many a loving MIL has been left for dead on the battlefield of a war she didn't even know was being waged. And even sadder, had she known...the results would have been the same. Sometimes the DIL needs no help and sometimes her mother is the General in Charge.

I always want to add that the reverse can be true and the DIL and her family can be great and it's the MIL who is bonkers and takes everyone down with her. The need for supremacy has no specific boundaries that I can see. And OMG, once in a while it's both!

You wrote something like..."This is not what I expected." I did a seminar a hundred years ago that taught that unfulfilled expectations are at the bottom of all upsets; great and small. What I personally expected...was an extended family and I was foolish enough to think "the more the merrier." That could happen but we can't expect it to.

If insecurity is factored in or something of a more serious nature like an undetected  personality disorder...the shifting sands of in-lawing can rapidly turn to quick sand. If it's not something we did, we can't repair it. I hate that most of all because I have always thought that compassion, mutual respect and negotiation meant something.

I loved the suggestions made here regarding flexibility and creating new traditions. And it may not be as bad as it seems. It could quiet down as roles are defined. Conversely, it could get worse. This is a tell-it-as-we-see-it forum. I think what many of us are seeing in your post is red flags all over the place.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

chickiebaby

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2009, 09:23:15 AM »
How true, how true....unfulfilled expectations brought me down totally.  I needed a family in the worst way. 

Cat

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2009, 09:24:46 AM »
I have absolute great news! My sister just found out she is pregnant!

Well just the other day my sister was extremely irritated (with business stuff) and her Mother in law came over and she could sense the irritation. Well her MIL phone the next day and wanted to know if everything was ok-if she said or did anything wrong, my sister was stunned, but they talked it through, and my sister explained that she was irritated,  for different reasons. Well my sister and her MIL has a great relationship, I think it is due to communication. If only my MIL would think about the things she says and does, and be a bit more sensitive. I would love if she phoned me and asked if everything was all right.
But that is just me. And it is true what Luise says, that every situation is different. And you would know best. Our thoughts are only that- our thoughts.
My mother also changed their traditions to accommodate everyone. And I also think that was a great idea!

chickiebaby

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2009, 09:47:17 AM »
congratulations to your sister!! 

Regarding what her MIL said?  I am working on thinking about what is said and done could be THEM, not a reaction to me!  OY VEY!!

lostone

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2009, 10:57:58 AM »
CAT - Thanks for taking so much time to respond to my post and actually give me some advice from a DIL point of view.  If only I had found this site sooner or before I even knew I needed it things might have been different.

In my case, I am a definate "people pleaser" I often feel responsibile when I am not even involved.  I have no issue admitting I am wrong and very sensitive to the moods of others.  I never knew my DIL had a problem with me before she was gone.  (In my case I only met her a few times before they cut me off).  I did apologize.  I tried calling DIL to ask if we could talk and she would not take my calls.  I tried writing to her to let her know that I wanted to take repsonsibility and ask for forgiveness, and got no response.  I traveled to see her and basically begged them to tell me what I needed to do to get a second chance, and it got my son abandoned on the interstate for letting me in the house.

The time my son came to town was for a birthday party on a Friday night and they stayed until Sunday.  I live maybe 10 minutes from her mother and my son had never come to town and not stopped by before.  It felt like I got kicked in the stomach when he told me, but after I told him how I felt I changed the subject and talked about other things.  I managed to get off the phone before I started crying. 

I would like to think if I had it to do again I would have said anything but then again hind site is 20/20.  I was never given the chance to do or say anything after that incident because my DIL never spoke to me again.  The last time I saw her was at church with my son, her mother, and my Granddaughter.  When I waved at my son, he reluctantly acknowledged me with a slight wave of his hand down by his leg.  DIL saw it and gave him the "look of death" and immediately threw a blanket over my grandbaby so I couldn't see her.

I tried everything I knew to do and the last I heard my son doesn't even acknowledge he has a mom.  So when I saw this post from Grimkin I just wanted to say all those things I wish I had known.  I never dreamed in a million years this would/could happen to me.  This was a young man I adored and who would hug me by wrapping his long arms (6'8") around me lifting me up off the ground while grinning and laughing.  The same young man that would call my other week or so just to tell me how he was doing in school or at his job.  It was not in my head that my son loved me, it was in my heart.  So for anyone that thinks this can't happen to them I say "please wake up."

Sorry to all of you who have heard all this before.  Sometimes it just pours out of me.

AnnieB

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2009, 11:30:19 AM »
Hi, Grimkin!

I hope we haven't scared you off..... and I hope we've given some answers to you, though I am afraid we're probably not giving you the answers you'd like to hear.... practical advise on how to talk to your son and DIL.

IMHO, there really isn't any practical advice that can be given.   In some cases, it's a long and painful process....but this is a great place to find out how others are doing this and what is working for them.   It's slow and one size does not fit all!

What I am finding very useful is listening to what the DIL's are thinking and doing because it gives me a different perspective on the whole scene.

I have been stuck for a long time looking at my sons' marriages and youngest son's relationship from MY perspective.    And I then would react to things they (either the couple, my sons or their women) did from my limited perspective.   Which, of course, is very one-sided and therefore leaves out a lot of the story!

Putting aside the conflict going on with one DIL -- which is what brought me here, and so was the catalyst to opening my eyes - I'm coming to realize a couple of things.

One is that I am  (alas) "backdrop" in their lives right now.  I'm nowhere as important in their lives as they are in mine.  This isn't some personal vendetta or plot, though at times it feels that way.  Or even if it is, I interpret it as a part of a process that's going on, not a permanent condition.

Second is that I really need to get myself a life and I'm working on this.   I went through "giving up my sons" as they graduated from hs (I have one more to go!).    That was a big transition, I cried and mourned because it was the "death" of our old way of relating and changed our relationships.   

I didn't really realize that their marriages were another "death" -- that's what I'm dealing with now, and boy, is it painful!   To deal with it I keep reminding myself this (hopefully) will just mean our relationship changes, not ends.   I'm not liking how it is changing.   And I have to keep the bitterness out of my relationship with my youngest son -- I look at him and think     " Uh huh, you're next."

For me, this seems to be a part of life.  Hopefully not being left out of their lives forever, but some kind of change.  Still going through it, not sure exactly what all this entails. 

I don't like it.  Sometimes I feel incredibly sad.  Sometimes I feel really angry.  Sometimes I feel abandoned.  Sometimes I feel like running away and saying, "don't call me, I'll call you."  I'm trying to find other ways to deal with this -- making funny cards, talking to friends in rl, coming to this board and reading posts from others.  Waiting and filling my life with other things.

My style of course won't work for others.  I think we all have our own way of coping with the pain.  And our own ways of dealing with our kids and their spouses.    It's trial and error, because common sense doesn't always seem to work! 

Listening to each other without judging,  being open to ideas and other ways, giving support and comfort to how others are trying to deal with this.. that works for me. 

Hope you find this forum as helpful as many of us have!

Welcome! :D

« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 11:32:42 AM by AnnieB »

chickiebaby

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Re: Hiya!
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2009, 11:40:56 AM »
Dear Lostone,
Your personality type is exactly like mine, down to a tee. I knew of no other way of 'being' except the way I learned as a child to be because of how I was raised (another story).  I'd give my last dime, arm, anything to anyone and never thought a second about it.

It never occured to me, ever that my son, my precious son, the best guy on earth would let an insecure girl tear our home apart.  He seems like a bumbling idiot around her, always jumping at the least thing she might do.

There is no way to describe a Mother's pain when we lose that love we had.  I wish I had never reacted to anything she did now.  I didn't understand 16 years ago that she was insecure, since I was a total pushover, people pleaser. No one had ever not liked me before that I knew of.  Course, I was totally falling all over myself doing everything for everyone so why should they not like me?

Leaving your son stranded on a freeway?  Lostone, somehow that seems like she's more than insecure, she seems more than a little crazy.  Was she that way before he married her?  Did you notice anything before?