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Topic : Getting Along With Your In-Laws

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Created on : Thursday, July 07, 2005, 09:13:41 am
Author : dataimport
Love them, tolerate them, or despise them? Dealing with the in-laws can be stressful to a marriage. Share your stories and coping strategies.

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January 26, 2009, 5:12 pm CST

I DO NOT think she is safe or reliable

Quote From: yivonne

My MIL has a problem with pills. She takes Diazepam, Ambien before bed, anti-depressants and other pills. The problem with this is that she sometimes takes too many at a time and has had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital due to over-dosing on them. She says she isn't addicted to them, but, she takes too many at times so I believe that she is. Isn't binging a form of addiction? She does this because my FIL tries to control her medication intake due to her behavior.  She has emotional issues as well and is seeing a therapist, she says, once a week.  Just a few months ago she was taken to the hospital from an overdose and her blood was tested and came back positive for amphetamines. So, in addition to the downers she already takes, she has been taking uppers to prevent her from getting very lethargic and low-functioning, something I've been taught can kill you by overworking your heart. I just had a baby girl 4 months ago and she wants us to leave her with her. I don't trust her because she is always doing something to put herself and others in danger. My FIL deals with her constantly blaming him for why she does things to herself and he is on edge worrying about her all the time. Also, whenever she gets drunk she tends to be abusive and do stupid things like trying to jump out of moving vehicles and slapping her husband in the face while he's driving. This one time, just recently she did that and my daughter, my 14 year old SIL, my boyfriend, and I were in the car. My boyfriend had to get in the front seat with her so he could make sure that she didn't succeed in jumping out. I have spoken with her about how this makes me feel and how I don't feel any trust in her with regards to my daughter being in her care alone and she told me not to worry, because she wouldn't get like that if she was in her care. I don't trust her still because she when she got very drunk she said she didn't want to hold the baby because she was drinking, but and hour later comes and tries to take her from my SIL so she could hold her. I don't want to risk her dropping my daughter and then not remembering the next day. I will remember. It infuriates me because I'm the only one who sees how serious her problems are and am trying to protect the baby. This has caused much stress between my boyfriend and I. I love him, but, sometimes I feel like leaving him due to his attitude toward this situation.

Then, I feel trapped by being with him sometimes, because I believe that he would leave the baby with his mom if I left him, even though he knows how she shouldn't be trusted. 

I have told my boyfriend all about our conversations and he thinks I just need to forgive her and trust that she will keep her word. I can't do it. He says I'm too over-protective of our daughter, but, my gut tells me this is a huge problem that they don't see as being one. I used to be close to her and not really care about what she did so much until I starting seeing a pattern and how my SIL was never home because they didn't want her to see what's going on between them. When I was about 8 months pregnant, she pulled some stunt at her work and went home and she and my FIL were arguing and she wanted to take off in the car. She tried jumping out of the window in the front, to get out of the house. This has been going on for a long time and I've had it with her.

 

  I went a week overdue in my pregnancy and I had to be induced. The first day in the hospital my MIL took me and my boyfriend in the morning, stayed until about 10 a.m. then decided to leave. Later on that day she called me on her cell from a bar and told me that she was having a celebratory drink with some co-workers. I hadn't had the baby yet and she was out getting drunk. Well, she drove home, then to the hospital all drunk, hollering, "Yeah, we're having a baby!" My boyfriend saw how drunk she was and flipped out. He told her that he didn't want her there like that and to leave. I felt so disrespected because of her behavior and they both started yelling at each other in my room. So I got in between them, hooked up to I.Vs, pissed because they were arguing while I'm in labor. I told her not to leave because I didn't want  it on my consciense if she or someone else got hurt on her way home, took her keys and her cell, told my FIL off for telling her to go there like that. The nurses heard what was going on and called security. They had her outside and were going to arrest her, but my FIL went to get her. I was so upset and shocked that she would cause a scene in a hospital. She doesn't cause trouble every day, but, it's hard for me to tell when we will see a disaster strike. She's unpredictable and I don't like it. My boyfriend is so used to it that he wants me to just get over it and I can't. I don't like being around her, but I do it for my boyfriend and for my daughter. When she's

sober and with my daughter she loves her and gives me a break, but, I don't feel comfortable leaving her with her at all because of the things she's done. That is no place I want my daughter to be at by herself. Am I being too paranoid or am I within reason?

You CLEARLY cannot trust this woman's judgement, for the love of goodness!   She may have good intentions & her family may have high hopes, but,  yikes! 

I have not dealt with substance abuse in my life.  Your boyfriend is clearly desensitized to her problems and behavior.   But we're not talking about a MIL that's being mean here....we're talking about a person who's judgment is so impaired that they repeatedly cause injury to themselves, even repeatedly risking their own death.  If a person cannot care for their own life, I would NOT trust them to care for my child alone, nor solely with the supervision of their co-dependant, excuse-making family members. 

Again, I've not been around chemical addiction, so for me hearing your description of the state of your MIL, it is absolutely shocking.  She clearly is NOT in her right mind; I mean there's not even potential there until she truly breaks the chemical habit...I wouldn't even trust her to promise to abstain during babysitting your child. 

 
January 27, 2009, 6:02 am CST

Stand your ground...

Quote From: yivonne

My MIL has a problem with pills. She takes Diazepam, Ambien before bed, anti-depressants and other pills. The problem with this is that she sometimes takes too many at a time and has had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital due to over-dosing on them. She says she isn't addicted to them, but, she takes too many at times so I believe that she is. Isn't binging a form of addiction? She does this because my FIL tries to control her medication intake due to her behavior.  She has emotional issues as well and is seeing a therapist, she says, once a week.  Just a few months ago she was taken to the hospital from an overdose and her blood was tested and came back positive for amphetamines. So, in addition to the downers she already takes, she has been taking uppers to prevent her from getting very lethargic and low-functioning, something I've been taught can kill you by overworking your heart. I just had a baby girl 4 months ago and she wants us to leave her with her. I don't trust her because she is always doing something to put herself and others in danger. My FIL deals with her constantly blaming him for why she does things to herself and he is on edge worrying about her all the time. Also, whenever she gets drunk she tends to be abusive and do stupid things like trying to jump out of moving vehicles and slapping her husband in the face while he's driving. This one time, just recently she did that and my daughter, my 14 year old SIL, my boyfriend, and I were in the car. My boyfriend had to get in the front seat with her so he could make sure that she didn't succeed in jumping out. I have spoken with her about how this makes me feel and how I don't feel any trust in her with regards to my daughter being in her care alone and she told me not to worry, because she wouldn't get like that if she was in her care. I don't trust her still because she when she got very drunk she said she didn't want to hold the baby because she was drinking, but and hour later comes and tries to take her from my SIL so she could hold her. I don't want to risk her dropping my daughter and then not remembering the next day. I will remember. It infuriates me because I'm the only one who sees how serious her problems are and am trying to protect the baby. This has caused much stress between my boyfriend and I. I love him, but, sometimes I feel like leaving him due to his attitude toward this situation.

Then, I feel trapped by being with him sometimes, because I believe that he would leave the baby with his mom if I left him, even though he knows how she shouldn't be trusted. 

I have told my boyfriend all about our conversations and he thinks I just need to forgive her and trust that she will keep her word. I can't do it. He says I'm too over-protective of our daughter, but, my gut tells me this is a huge problem that they don't see as being one. I used to be close to her and not really care about what she did so much until I starting seeing a pattern and how my SIL was never home because they didn't want her to see what's going on between them. When I was about 8 months pregnant, she pulled some stunt at her work and went home and she and my FIL were arguing and she wanted to take off in the car. She tried jumping out of the window in the front, to get out of the house. This has been going on for a long time and I've had it with her.

 

  I went a week overdue in my pregnancy and I had to be induced. The first day in the hospital my MIL took me and my boyfriend in the morning, stayed until about 10 a.m. then decided to leave. Later on that day she called me on her cell from a bar and told me that she was having a celebratory drink with some co-workers. I hadn't had the baby yet and she was out getting drunk. Well, she drove home, then to the hospital all drunk, hollering, "Yeah, we're having a baby!" My boyfriend saw how drunk she was and flipped out. He told her that he didn't want her there like that and to leave. I felt so disrespected because of her behavior and they both started yelling at each other in my room. So I got in between them, hooked up to I.Vs, pissed because they were arguing while I'm in labor. I told her not to leave because I didn't want  it on my consciense if she or someone else got hurt on her way home, took her keys and her cell, told my FIL off for telling her to go there like that. The nurses heard what was going on and called security. They had her outside and were going to arrest her, but my FIL went to get her. I was so upset and shocked that she would cause a scene in a hospital. She doesn't cause trouble every day, but, it's hard for me to tell when we will see a disaster strike. She's unpredictable and I don't like it. My boyfriend is so used to it that he wants me to just get over it and I can't. I don't like being around her, but I do it for my boyfriend and for my daughter. When she's

sober and with my daughter she loves her and gives me a break, but, I don't feel comfortable leaving her with her at all because of the things she's done. That is no place I want my daughter to be at by herself. Am I being too paranoid or am I within reason?

I agree with the previous response to your post.  Just think how you would feel if you gave in to allowing her to watch your baby (feeling the way you do about it) and something did happen!  Go with your gut on this one!  Even if it means that others don't agree, and they try to point the finger at you by saying you're being overprotective.  In this case, you have every right to be, and truthfully, you should be.  I wouldn't trust her to watch my dog!

 

I have had experience with chemical abuse/dependency...And no matter how much they say they won't, they always will.  Their judgement is too impaired to make good, safe decisions when it comes to your daughter, or themselves for that matter.  And people that have this dependency, don't care about anyone but themselves and what will make them feel better.  Obviously she has proven that she is not mentally stable enough to even consider other peoples safety...ie driving down the road with others, including your daughter, in the car and freaking out on her husband, to the point that your boyfriend has to get in the front seat to restrain her!  And as for him defending her behavior...well, chalk it up maybe to embarrassment or some deep seeded acceptance based on him being "used" to it, but either way, you don't have to accept it.  If he disagrees, then you may need to just agree to disagree.  But I certainly would not back down on this one.  It is your right and responsiblity to protect your daughter, and I doubt that he would let anyone else that exhibited this type of behavior look after his child. 

 

Unless she can actually prove that she is trustworthy...Do Not Trust Her!

 

Sorry you're going through this...and good luck!

A

 
February 5, 2009, 12:29 am CST

Hi Anarchy

 

Hi,

 

Hope you are doing well. Haven't heard from you for awhile, and I was thinking about you and wondering how you are. I hope that things are going good for you and your husband. Drop by here when you get a chance.

 

Take care.

Keep smiling, stay strong, be neutral, and love yourself!!  :)

 
February 9, 2009, 2:37 pm CST

Hey Sunshine!

Quote From: ms_sunhine

 

Hi,

 

Hope you are doing well. Haven't heard from you for awhile, and I was thinking about you and wondering how you are. I hope that things are going good for you and your husband. Drop by here when you get a chance.

 

Take care.

Keep smiling, stay strong, be neutral, and love yourself!!  :)

I actually thought that they closed down this site and created a new one so I've been posting a little there... http://community.drphil.com/boards/?EntryID=626&SubCategoryID=15&CommentID=0#CommentID_0

Since my husband and I have been going to counseling and we are both setting more appropriate boundaries, his entire family seems to be going a bit crazy not being informed about what is going on.  I have to say that I am extremely proud of my husband for his efforts in keeping our personal issues private.  I've had to say no a few times and he's reacted without anger, and with acceptence.  It has been amazing.  He is due for his 3rd counseling appointment this Wednesday, and I am really impressed with his progress.  I haven't even had to fight for our one day together on the weekend, we've been spending our entire weekends together and are just happier, more relaxed, and affectionate than we have been in a long while.  It has been so nice!  I saw the counselor last Monday, and while she said that my husband will most likely never be able to confront or address the issues with his dad, he can set healthy boundaries and take himself out of the middle.  If they want to know why Im not around, then he can tell them to ask me.  I dont think they will like the answer, and yes I've been practicing my response...LOL And I doubt they ever would, but more power to them if they do...I'm ready.  I will try to be diplomatic, but i will be honest.

My only recent gripe is my SIL...Yesterday he asked me to use his cell phone to search for a ringback tone, and a text happened to pop up from his sister, and quite frankly it pissed me off.  I didn't say anything to him, since it is his responsibility to know how to respond with good healthy boundaries.  But what really irks me is the way these people use manipulation on my husband.  She is trying so hard to make him feel guilty about us not taking her son more often, sighting that "he needs another positive male role in his life other than their dad" (who is not a positive anything), and that her little boy "keeps asking questions about his father".  He is 3 years old, and the only reason he'd be asking questions is because she brings him up in front of the kid.  She even refers to him as the "sperm donar"!  Nice huh?  But this just shows her maturity level.  Now, I don't mind taking him for the day every once in awhile, but not on her time schedule.  She needs to let us offer.  But instead she tries to make it seem as if it is everyones job to help her raise her kid!  My husband loves this litle boy to death, but he is a handful, and while he is usual pretty well behaved with us (because we dont tolerate tantrums, hitting, or acting out), I can only handle so much.  But we have obviously had a lot going on, and have needed to concentrate on "US".  And although he has told her that we've had a lot going on (after she tells him she is really worried about him...whatever), she throws the guilt trip in there about us not taking the child...So selfish and inconsiderate, I think.

Thanks for listening, but tell me how things are with you?  I hope you are well!

A
 
February 12, 2009, 4:09 pm CST

Getting Along With Your In-Laws

Quote From: anarchya

I actually thought that they closed down this site and created a new one so I've been posting a little there... http://community.drphil.com/boards/?EntryID=626&SubCategoryID=15&CommentID=0#CommentID_0

Since my husband and I have been going to counseling and we are both setting more appropriate boundaries, his entire family seems to be going a bit crazy not being informed about what is going on.  I have to say that I am extremely proud of my husband for his efforts in keeping our personal issues private.  I've had to say no a few times and he's reacted without anger, and with acceptence.  It has been amazing.  He is due for his 3rd counseling appointment this Wednesday, and I am really impressed with his progress.  I haven't even had to fight for our one day together on the weekend, we've been spending our entire weekends together and are just happier, more relaxed, and affectionate than we have been in a long while.  It has been so nice!  I saw the counselor last Monday, and while she said that my husband will most likely never be able to confront or address the issues with his dad, he can set healthy boundaries and take himself out of the middle.  If they want to know why Im not around, then he can tell them to ask me.  I dont think they will like the answer, and yes I've been practicing my response...LOL And I doubt they ever would, but more power to them if they do...I'm ready.  I will try to be diplomatic, but i will be honest.

My only recent gripe is my SIL...Yesterday he asked me to use his cell phone to search for a ringback tone, and a text happened to pop up from his sister, and quite frankly it pissed me off.  I didn't say anything to him, since it is his responsibility to know how to respond with good healthy boundaries.  But what really irks me is the way these people use manipulation on my husband.  She is trying so hard to make him feel guilty about us not taking her son more often, sighting that "he needs another positive male role in his life other than their dad" (who is not a positive anything), and that her little boy "keeps asking questions about his father".  He is 3 years old, and the only reason he'd be asking questions is because she brings him up in front of the kid.  She even refers to him as the "sperm donar"!  Nice huh?  But this just shows her maturity level.  Now, I don't mind taking him for the day every once in awhile, but not on her time schedule.  She needs to let us offer.  But instead she tries to make it seem as if it is everyones job to help her raise her kid!  My husband loves this litle boy to death, but he is a handful, and while he is usual pretty well behaved with us (because we dont tolerate tantrums, hitting, or acting out), I can only handle so much.  But we have obviously had a lot going on, and have needed to concentrate on "US".  And although he has told her that we've had a lot going on (after she tells him she is really worried about him...whatever), she throws the guilt trip in there about us not taking the child...So selfish and inconsiderate, I think.

Thanks for listening, but tell me how things are with you?  I hope you are well!

A

 

It is so good to hear from you and the great progress that is going on in your lives!! It's great to know that things can change if the husband puts up boundaries with his family. But, they are going to try anything and everything to "reel him back in", but stand firm!! They look for any sign of weakness or giving in, they might start being "nice" all of a sudden, or "need" help in one way or another, so be cautious and be wary. These are all ways to "reel you back in", and things will be the same. They don't like change, and they don't like not being in control, and they especially don't like when their antics have no effect on you! And...they never give up!! As long as you stand firm in your boundaries and beliefs, and limit your contact with them, things will be great on your end. Just expect a lot of manipulation.

 

I'm doing ok. A couple of weeks ago, I told my husband he can leave, as I was tired of all this negativity, and tired of his mother making comments to start trouble between us, and that he would not do or say anything to stop it. I let him know that I can stop it, but he or they will not like it. He finally admitted that he knew she did this, and offered to not let her come to our house anymore. I told him that it was his decision on that, that I didn't care if she came over, as she does it so rarely, but that I will take care of the situation from now on. I guess that he didn't want that confrontation between his mother and I, so he made his offer. So, right now, he has banned his mother from our house. (I don't know if he has told her or not.) That still doesn't change his relationship with her, as she calls on his cell needing this and that, all petty and ridiculous things. So, I am looking for him to put up limits and boundaries or I will live by myself. I told him that I will NOT live in such negativity and drama and that I want peace and quiet (where his family is concerned). And that I WOULD have it one way or another ... my way or his way.

 

I really don't think he can put up boundaries as they are so enmeshed with one another, and he hasn't done it by now, so I doubt he can do it at all. She uses guilt, anger, being nice, being helpful, having him help her, her health, ANYTHING to keep him where she wants him.

 

I have been on the new board, but not posted yet. I'll try it out soon!!

 

Take care, and be proud of your husband for going to the counselor and enforcing those boundaries!!

 

Keep smiling, stay strong, be neutral, and love yourself!!  :)

 

 

 
February 13, 2009, 6:05 am CST

Sun

Quote From: ms_sunhine

 

It is so good to hear from you and the great progress that is going on in your lives!! It's great to know that things can change if the husband puts up boundaries with his family. But, they are going to try anything and everything to "reel him back in", but stand firm!! They look for any sign of weakness or giving in, they might start being "nice" all of a sudden, or "need" help in one way or another, so be cautious and be wary. These are all ways to "reel you back in", and things will be the same. They don't like change, and they don't like not being in control, and they especially don't like when their antics have no effect on you! And...they never give up!! As long as you stand firm in your boundaries and beliefs, and limit your contact with them, things will be great on your end. Just expect a lot of manipulation.

 

I'm doing ok. A couple of weeks ago, I told my husband he can leave, as I was tired of all this negativity, and tired of his mother making comments to start trouble between us, and that he would not do or say anything to stop it. I let him know that I can stop it, but he or they will not like it. He finally admitted that he knew she did this, and offered to not let her come to our house anymore. I told him that it was his decision on that, that I didn't care if she came over, as she does it so rarely, but that I will take care of the situation from now on. I guess that he didn't want that confrontation between his mother and I, so he made his offer. So, right now, he has banned his mother from our house. (I don't know if he has told her or not.) That still doesn't change his relationship with her, as she calls on his cell needing this and that, all petty and ridiculous things. So, I am looking for him to put up limits and boundaries or I will live by myself. I told him that I will NOT live in such negativity and drama and that I want peace and quiet (where his family is concerned). And that I WOULD have it one way or another ... my way or his way.

 

I really don't think he can put up boundaries as they are so enmeshed with one another, and he hasn't done it by now, so I doubt he can do it at all. She uses guilt, anger, being nice, being helpful, having him help her, her health, ANYTHING to keep him where she wants him.

 

I have been on the new board, but not posted yet. I'll try it out soon!!

 

Take care, and be proud of your husband for going to the counselor and enforcing those boundaries!!

 

Keep smiling, stay strong, be neutral, and love yourself!!  :)

 

 

Thank you, I am tying, and finally so is he.

 

I noticed that while I was at my Al Anon meeting last night that my SIL had called, but did not leave a message.  I'm sure it has something to do with my husbands birthday today, but I am not calling her back to find out what she wanted.  Who knows?

 

I am glad to hear that you are standing your ground with your husband and laying down the law.  Even if it had to come to telling him that he can leave.  Hopefully he can make some changes beyond just banning her from your home.  I am thinking of you, and wishing you well.

 

I will try to get on here later.

 

Keep smiling, stay strong, be neutral, and love yourself!!  :)  Happy Valentines Day!

 
February 15, 2009, 3:59 am CST

Getting Along With Your In-Laws

No problem so long your wife believes to be a wife. Mine apparently is a different case, she told me on the first day thrty five years back that her parents would be regular visitors to stay with and with single parent in later age, would stay along for ever. her brothers never liked but both mother daughter is over bearing and normal life in private never prevailed, yet I belived things do happen differently too and made peace with every thing.Now she is working in other town and old lady is riding her life on her,rarely visiting me but I am still in peace . She is nearing 60, and wonder how will she cope up when old lady goes eternal sojourn. I have two very well settled sons, happily married and at peace. Dr Phil show is wonderful teacher to varied situations bringing peace to some.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
February 22, 2009, 10:27 am CST

Relationship with Son and Daughter-in-Law

We have a situation that is probably fairly common among many families in the U.S.  We have a son who has blessed us with 5 wonderful grandchildren, and yet, last year we only saw our son and his children one time.  Yes, one time. Our son only lives about 15 miles from us and is healthy and quite capable of visiting with us. 

 

Our son runs a small business in Virginia and works long hours.  He is a nice man who is dedicated to his wife and children and has built a nice way of life for them.  He has a million plus home, top of the line cars, has wealthy, or well-off  neighbors, and enjoys nice vacations and many activities with his immediate family and friends.  In other words, our son, who we love dearly, is focused on what he believes is the most important in his life--his business, his immediate family, and his friends.  Given our daughter-in-law's unfortunate standing disagreement with us, we are an after-thought in plans and activities with our garndchildren and our son.  But it is also safe to say that our son is somewhat selfish with his time and with his children when it comes to involvement with his birth family.  He has worked hard to avoid conflict and to minimize his time with us.

 

We, as our son's parents and his only brother, are generally left out of his life because of a long-standing disagreement with our daughter-in-law.  We have had discussions with our son about this matter  and our being left out, but his argument is normlly to defend his wife and place the blame on his mother and or what we haven't done to make things better.  Now, we know our son loves us and he cares in his own way.  He has been generous in helping me and my wife at times and has tried to be a good son.  But the real issue is our daughter-in-law, who has harbored ill feelings toward my wife for many years, but particulary the past 5 years.  My wife had an exchange with her while we were visiting my son's home a few years ago.  But because my wife was being honest about her views concerning a surgical enhancement, our daughter-in-law became upset and retreated away from us for the rest of the day.  This happened to be on a Christmas day and she even refused to be with us as her children were opening gifts we provided.  We considered this to be extremely selfish and irrational behavior. To rectify this situation, my wife called our daughter-in-law three times immediately after this incident to apologize, but the three calls have never been returned.  Unfortunately, our daughter-in-law is very set in her ways and has been supported by our son and her family to believe she is right in her behavior.  We have tried to heal things with our daughter-in law over the years and have been nice and approachable to her.  We have also tried to work through our son to reach her but all has failed.  She has remained stubborn in her belief that my wife is wrong and humiliated her in this discussion.  In return, she has continued to keep distance between us and has received support form our son who wants to save his marriage.  He has been in marriage counselling over this and other issues.  Examples of her treatment of our family is that she does not call our home or try to make things better, she has been selfish with her children in limiting our son's time with us, she treats our family as if we do not exist, she refuses to send new pictures of our grandchildren yet sends pictures to other family members, and she has influenced our son to defend her indifference.  Our son has failed as a son to reach a good resolution in this matter.  But we do not entirely blame him for this and we all share in this situation.  From the beginning we did not have a good relationship with our daughter-in-law because of her negative opinions and controlling attitude.  As long as our daughter-in-law does not have to spend any time with us and continues to be encouraged by our son's support and her isolation from us, this problem will remain unresolved.  We feel sorry for our son and his inability to work through this problem.  Our grandchildren are getting older and hardly ever see us except for holidays and when my son can bring them by our home.  My wife and I have reached out to our son and our daughter-in-law but things do not change.  My son and his wife continue to enjoy, for the most part, a separate life from us.  We are very disappointed and angry with both our son and his wife for the impact that this daughter-in-law grudge and his indifference and support  of his wife has had on our family and the loss to our grandchildren.  We also have a disabled son who my oldest son has only seen once in the past year.  This issue with our daughter-in-law has also spilled over into our ability to communicate with our son and my plans to work with my son in his business.  He would rather avoid this conflict and thus he has limited time and involvement with his mother, father and brother.  This is shameful and we are going to continue to work to correct this before our garndchildren are grown up and gone.

 

We know that many families are facing the same situation and are struggling with relationship isses.  We would appreciate your thoughts and any good resources that our family could consider.

 
February 22, 2009, 10:42 am CST

Relationship with Son and Daughter-in-Law

We have a situation that is probably fairly common among many families in the U.S.  We have a son who has blessed us with 5 wonderful grandchildren, and yet, last year we only saw our son and his children one time.  Yes, one time. Our son only lives about 15 miles from us and is healthy and quite capable of visiting with us. 

 

Our son runs a small business in Virginia and works long hours.  He is a nice man who is dedicated to his wife and children and has built a nice way of life for them.  He has a million plus home, top of the line cars, has wealthy, or well-off  neighbors, and enjoys nice vacations and many activities with his immediate family and friends.  In other words, our son, who we love dearly, is focused on what he believes is the most important in his life--his business, his immediate family, and his friends.  Given our daughter-in-law's unfortunate standing disagreement with us, we are an after-thought in plans and activities with our garndchildren and our son.  But it is also safe to say that our son is somewhat selfish with his time and with his children when it comes to involvement with his birth family.  He has worked hard to avoid conflict and to minimize his time with us.

 

We, as our son's parents and his only brother, are generally left out of his life because of a long-standing disagreement with our daughter-in-law.  We have had discussions with our son about this matter  and our being left out, but his argument is normlly to defend his wife and place the blame on his mother and or what we haven't done to make things better.  Now, we know our son loves us and he cares in his own way.  He has been generous in helping me and my wife at times and has tried to be a good son.  But the real issue is our daughter-in-law, who has harbored ill feelings toward my wife for many years, but particulary the past 5 years.  My wife had an exchange with her while we were visiting my son's home a few years ago.  But because my wife was being honest about her views concerning a surgical enhancement, our daughter-in-law became upset and retreated away from us for the rest of the day.  This happened to be on a Christmas day and she even refused to be with us as her children were opening gifts we provided.  We considered this to be extremely selfish and irrational behavior. To rectify this situation, my wife called our daughter-in-law three times immediately after this incident to apologize, but the three calls have never been returned.  Unfortunately, our daughter-in-law is very set in her ways and has been supported by our son and her family to believe she is right in her behavior.  We have tried to heal things with our daughter-in law over the years and have been nice and approachable to her.  We have also tried to work through our son to reach her but all has failed.  She has remained stubborn in her belief that my wife is wrong and humiliated her in this discussion.  In return, she has continued to keep distance between us and has received support form our son who wants to save his marriage.  He has been in marriage counselling over this and other issues.  Examples of her treatment of our family is that she does not call our home or try to make things better, she has been selfish with her children in limiting our son's time with us, she treats our family as if we do not exist, she refuses to send new pictures of our grandchildren yet sends pictures to other family members, and she has influenced our son to defend her indifference.  Our son has failed as a son to reach a good resolution in this matter.  But we do not entirely blame him for this and we all share in this situation.  From the beginning we did not have a good relationship with our daughter-in-law because of her negative opinions and controlling attitude.  As long as our daughter-in-law does not have to spend any time with us and continues to be encouraged by our son's support and her isolation from us, this problem will remain unresolved.  We feel sorry for our son and his inability to work through this problem.  Our grandchildren are getting older and hardly ever see us except for holidays and when my son can bring them by our home.  My wife and I have reached out to our son and our daughter-in-law but things do not change.  My son and his wife continue to enjoy, for the most part, a separate life from us.  We are very disappointed and angry with both our son and his wife for the impact that this daughter-in-law grudge and his indifference and support  of his wife has had on our family and the loss to our grandchildren.  We also have a disabled son who my oldest son has only seen once in the past year.  This issue with our daughter-in-law has also spilled over into our ability to communicate with our son and my plans to work with my son in his business.  He would rather avoid this conflict and thus he has limited time and involvement with his mother, father and brother.  This is shameful and we are going to continue to work to correct this before our garndchildren are grown up and gone.

 

We know that many families are facing the same situation and are struggling with relationship isses.  We would appreciate your thoughts and any good resources that our family could consider.

 
February 22, 2009, 9:53 pm CST

Diplomacy

Quote From: retro70guy

We have a situation that is probably fairly common among many families in the U.S.  We have a son who has blessed us with 5 wonderful grandchildren, and yet, last year we only saw our son and his children one time.  Yes, one time. Our son only lives about 15 miles from us and is healthy and quite capable of visiting with us. 

 

Our son runs a small business in Virginia and works long hours.  He is a nice man who is dedicated to his wife and children and has built a nice way of life for them.  He has a million plus home, top of the line cars, has wealthy, or well-off  neighbors, and enjoys nice vacations and many activities with his immediate family and friends.  In other words, our son, who we love dearly, is focused on what he believes is the most important in his life--his business, his immediate family, and his friends.  Given our daughter-in-law's unfortunate standing disagreement with us, we are an after-thought in plans and activities with our garndchildren and our son.  But it is also safe to say that our son is somewhat selfish with his time and with his children when it comes to involvement with his birth family.  He has worked hard to avoid conflict and to minimize his time with us.

 

We, as our son's parents and his only brother, are generally left out of his life because of a long-standing disagreement with our daughter-in-law.  We have had discussions with our son about this matter  and our being left out, but his argument is normlly to defend his wife and place the blame on his mother and or what we haven't done to make things better.  Now, we know our son loves us and he cares in his own way.  He has been generous in helping me and my wife at times and has tried to be a good son.  But the real issue is our daughter-in-law, who has harbored ill feelings toward my wife for many years, but particulary the past 5 years.  My wife had an exchange with her while we were visiting my son's home a few years ago.  But because my wife was being honest about her views concerning a surgical enhancement, our daughter-in-law became upset and retreated away from us for the rest of the day.  This happened to be on a Christmas day and she even refused to be with us as her children were opening gifts we provided.  We considered this to be extremely selfish and irrational behavior. To rectify this situation, my wife called our daughter-in-law three times immediately after this incident to apologize, but the three calls have never been returned.  Unfortunately, our daughter-in-law is very set in her ways and has been supported by our son and her family to believe she is right in her behavior.  We have tried to heal things with our daughter-in law over the years and have been nice and approachable to her.  We have also tried to work through our son to reach her but all has failed.  She has remained stubborn in her belief that my wife is wrong and humiliated her in this discussion.  In return, she has continued to keep distance between us and has received support form our son who wants to save his marriage.  He has been in marriage counselling over this and other issues.  Examples of her treatment of our family is that she does not call our home or try to make things better, she has been selfish with her children in limiting our son's time with us, she treats our family as if we do not exist, she refuses to send new pictures of our grandchildren yet sends pictures to other family members, and she has influenced our son to defend her indifference.  Our son has failed as a son to reach a good resolution in this matter.  But we do not entirely blame him for this and we all share in this situation.  From the beginning we did not have a good relationship with our daughter-in-law because of her negative opinions and controlling attitude.  As long as our daughter-in-law does not have to spend any time with us and continues to be encouraged by our son's support and her isolation from us, this problem will remain unresolved.  We feel sorry for our son and his inability to work through this problem.  Our grandchildren are getting older and hardly ever see us except for holidays and when my son can bring them by our home.  My wife and I have reached out to our son and our daughter-in-law but things do not change.  My son and his wife continue to enjoy, for the most part, a separate life from us.  We are very disappointed and angry with both our son and his wife for the impact that this daughter-in-law grudge and his indifference and support  of his wife has had on our family and the loss to our grandchildren.  We also have a disabled son who my oldest son has only seen once in the past year.  This issue with our daughter-in-law has also spilled over into our ability to communicate with our son and my plans to work with my son in his business.  He would rather avoid this conflict and thus he has limited time and involvement with his mother, father and brother.  This is shameful and we are going to continue to work to correct this before our garndchildren are grown up and gone.

 

We know that many families are facing the same situation and are struggling with relationship isses.  We would appreciate your thoughts and any good resources that our family could consider.

I should imagine that I am nearer in age to you & your wife than to your son, therefore I am seeing your situation from your point of view.
It is usually difficult maintaining a relationship with  your children when they move on and chose their partners.

Your son sounds like someone to be very proud of. He has a wife, family, business and home. His marriage sounds very strong and when they have problems they face them and resolve them together. Now to me that is what family life is all about. From the information you provide it appears your wife as a guest in her son's house at Christmas gave her unasked for opinion on surgery that her daughter-in-law was having. I'm sorry to say this but how rude. It sounds like Christmas was spoilt for your son's family that year. They had invited you into their home to share their family Christmas and then your wife spoilt it for them by upsetting the hostess.
Quite frankly you are very fortunate that your son still speaks to you and brings his children to see you. You may think your daughter-in-law over reacted but I don't. Your wife has apologised but it is your daughter-in-law's choice if she accepts the apology. There is very little more you can do other than keep the lines of communication open. Don't say anything to your son or his children that is  negative about the wife/mother.
You are the ones in the wrong with so much more to lose than your son. You have to build bridges so you will have to take the lead fom them. When you next see your daughter-in-law bite your tongues, even if things are said to you remember they hold all the cards and if you want a better relationship you have to eat humble pie. If you and your wife can't do this then nothing will get better.
 
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