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Topic : Getting Along With Your In-Laws

Number of Replies: 2467
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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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March 4, 2009, 12:08 pm CST

There sounds like underlying tension

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 am probably your son's age, so I am responding from the daughter-in-law point of view.

Your son is protecting his wife, just as you are supporting your wife.  

In your post, I do hear an underlying tone of abrasiveness toward your D-I-L.   If I pick up on that, I assure you that SHE is highly attuned to it.  You say your relationship was strained early on due to "her negative and controlling attitude."   So, has she been under the gun pretty much from the start?  Maybe she and your son see this as a long-standing uphill battle that they finally just lost (with the cutting comment from your wife).  If they learn they will never gain your approval or respect, why keep trying?  

Obviously, they have jointly decided this.  I sense that you are trying to remain somewhat neutral and not totally blame your D-I-L, but it seems forced..... is it possible that in your heart you DO blame her for your estrangement from your son, so that internal feeling comes out when you're around her?  In your body language, tone of voice, etc?

As far as your wife's comments on that Christmas Day, although they may have been honest, honesty does not excuse rudeness.  I am totally w/ mmctruck's point of view on this, as stated above.  If this was an already strained relationship, why didn't your wife choice to keep her opinion to herself?  Or if her opinion was requested, she could've framed it more creatively so it didn't cut?   She did right to call to apologize promptly, but it sounds like maybe that was the last straw for your son and his family.  It would've been gracious of your D-I-L to accept the apology, but the fact that she didn't tells me this probably wasn't the first insult from your wife.

As a last thought, remember that your son is an adult now.  Children desperately want their parents' love, support, and approval.  Adult children still want it.  But they are no longer helpless and dependent, they can now choose how much to be around you.  As Dr. Phil says, be someone they WANT to be around. 

Please look into yourself and consider if you have a history of treating your son disrespectfully (even minorly), with an underlying feeling of entitlement since you are his parents.  I sense this may be a possible attitude in your wife.  If so, please reassess your attitude in your relationship with him.  Generations of your family will thrive if you are able to see your son and his family as capable, worthy, and loveable.  Approach them with that in your heart and they will know it.  He obviously loves his wife, so best you find things to love about her, too.  Otherwise, by rejecting her you're rejecting him and your grandchildren.  (and yes, I think you probably rejected her early on). 

Hope I've offered something useful.

 

 

 
March 12, 2009, 3:21 pm CDT

Selfish Mother in law

When we got married last June, my mother in law claimed she did not have the money to fly to our wedding - it was in Las Vegas. She said she wouldnt come because she couldnt spend the money. My husband wouldnt go through with the wedding without his mom there so I was forced to spend the last of my student loan money (we too are very broke - my family paid for the wedding, everyones dinner, and my husbands and my trip). Not once did she thank us for ANYTHING. And as soon as we got back from Vegas, she started planning another trip. She seems to have tons of money now because she has already booked herself a vacation to Vegas again this year and she plans to take out nephew to Disneyland next year. I also LENT her a $300 phone which she now claims i GAVE her and she wont give it back. She is selfish and she uses us. His sister and her ex boyfriend also got my family to get their plane tickets claiming theyd pay it bakc and still owe my MOM about $700 - its been almost a year since our wedding!! And my husband is too much of a mommys boy to stand up to her and ask for our stuff back. I think I actually hate her and I dont know if I can deal with having her in my life forever. What can I do to calm my feelings for her?
 
April 19, 2009, 9:57 am CDT

I am at a loss

I need some advice.  My son and his wife have been married for 5 years and have 2 children.  Since the day the kids were born my daughter-in-law when angry has threatened me that she won't let me see the kids.  When they were infants she told my son I couldn't take them overnight because she was afraid I would steal them.

 

Many things have happened in the five years but recently they had come to our home for the week-end. When they are visiting, no one helps with any cleaning or cooking.  I asked her one time to help with the dishes and she said "I don't do dishes, that's your son's job."  I asked my son to help but she told him he needed to watch the kids.  I let it go.  It is hard to have them at our home as there is not much discipline with the kids and they are destructive.  This last time which was the Easter holiday, my grandson was drawing with a pen on my desk.  My husband (who is not my son's father, this is my second marriage) took the pen away from him and put it in the holder and told him no.  He quickly grabbed the pen out of the holder and began writing on the desk again, my husband grabbed him by the wrist put the pen back in the holder and escorted him out of my office.  My husband is strong and did grab too tightly and left a bruise on my grandsons arm.  He has apologized to my son and feels terrible as it was not his intention to hurt the child.  After this incident my daughter in law packed up the car and the kids.  (For most of the day my son was in the restroom as he was sick).  They left without saying good bye.

 

I got an email after they arrived home from my daughter in law telling me I wasn't welcome in their home,  She has tried everything to get me to like her..... I should go to hell and if my husband ever touched her kids again she would put him in jail.  Also she hoped I had enjoyed my time with her children as I would never see them again.  It was my grandson's birthday this week-end and my son text me to ask if I was going to call to say Happy Birthday but I said no I don't feel like I should be involved anymore.  I don't like being constantly threatened.  Everytime they are around it is a lot of extra work for me and I always walk on egg shells as I never know when the next outburst, temper tantrum will be. 

 

Do you think I should get in touch with her and give in to her so I can still see my grandkids?

 
April 22, 2009, 9:14 am CDT

Perplexed & hurt

  I am a married grandparent of two awesome grown sons. 

  The thing is that our entire family has not been allowed near our granddaughter for almost a year now!  Our sons have always been best friends.  We're devastated beyond words!!!!  Our son, the parent of our grandchild will have nothing to do with us, or any of his close  friends & he has lots of friends that he's gotten close to over the years!  We have always been a constant, strong, loving family and this is wrecking havoc on our entire family!!! 

  My parents both have health problems & are getting more feeble everyday.  We have been totally perplexed by the way our family & his friends have being mistreated!!  Our daughter in law will have nothing to do with us, nor does she seem to want to get to know us! Our son is a very loving young man, but we aren't feelin' any love from him these days!!!  We have reached out to them, but they don't seem to be getting the whole picture, nor do they seem to realize how very important bonding with grandparents is to a grandchild!  Only God knows what is going on, 'cause we sure don't!

 
April 26, 2009, 11:43 pm CDT

Confused...

Quote From: mebow09

I need some advice.  My son and his wife have been married for 5 years and have 2 children.  Since the day the kids were born my daughter-in-law when angry has threatened me that she won't let me see the kids.  When they were infants she told my son I couldn't take them overnight because she was afraid I would steal them.

 

Many things have happened in the five years but recently they had come to our home for the week-end. When they are visiting, no one helps with any cleaning or cooking.  I asked her one time to help with the dishes and she said "I don't do dishes, that's your son's job."  I asked my son to help but she told him he needed to watch the kids.  I let it go.  It is hard to have them at our home as there is not much discipline with the kids and they are destructive.  This last time which was the Easter holiday, my grandson was drawing with a pen on my desk.  My husband (who is not my son's father, this is my second marriage) took the pen away from him and put it in the holder and told him no.  He quickly grabbed the pen out of the holder and began writing on the desk again, my husband grabbed him by the wrist put the pen back in the holder and escorted him out of my office.  My husband is strong and did grab too tightly and left a bruise on my grandsons arm.  He has apologized to my son and feels terrible as it was not his intention to hurt the child.  After this incident my daughter in law packed up the car and the kids.  (For most of the day my son was in the restroom as he was sick).  They left without saying good bye.

 

I got an email after they arrived home from my daughter in law telling me I wasn't welcome in their home,  She has tried everything to get me to like her..... I should go to hell and if my husband ever touched her kids again she would put him in jail.  Also she hoped I had enjoyed my time with her children as I would never see them again.  It was my grandson's birthday this week-end and my son text me to ask if I was going to call to say Happy Birthday but I said no I don't feel like I should be involved anymore.  I don't like being constantly threatened.  Everytime they are around it is a lot of extra work for me and I always walk on egg shells as I never know when the next outburst, temper tantrum will be. 

 

Do you think I should get in touch with her and give in to her so I can still see my grandkids?

If your grandchildren are so destructive and undisciplined, and it is such a burden for them to visit, why aren't you relieved to never see them again???
 
April 29, 2009, 10:14 am CDT

Getting Along With Your In-Laws

Quote From: mebow09

I need some advice.  My son and his wife have been married for 5 years and have 2 children.  Since the day the kids were born my daughter-in-law when angry has threatened me that she won't let me see the kids.  When they were infants she told my son I couldn't take them overnight because she was afraid I would steal them.

 

Many things have happened in the five years but recently they had come to our home for the week-end. When they are visiting, no one helps with any cleaning or cooking.  I asked her one time to help with the dishes and she said "I don't do dishes, that's your son's job."  I asked my son to help but she told him he needed to watch the kids.  I let it go.  It is hard to have them at our home as there is not much discipline with the kids and they are destructive.  This last time which was the Easter holiday, my grandson was drawing with a pen on my desk.  My husband (who is not my son's father, this is my second marriage) took the pen away from him and put it in the holder and told him no.  He quickly grabbed the pen out of the holder and began writing on the desk again, my husband grabbed him by the wrist put the pen back in the holder and escorted him out of my office.  My husband is strong and did grab too tightly and left a bruise on my grandsons arm.  He has apologized to my son and feels terrible as it was not his intention to hurt the child.  After this incident my daughter in law packed up the car and the kids.  (For most of the day my son was in the restroom as he was sick).  They left without saying good bye.

 

I got an email after they arrived home from my daughter in law telling me I wasn't welcome in their home,  She has tried everything to get me to like her..... I should go to hell and if my husband ever touched her kids again she would put him in jail.  Also she hoped I had enjoyed my time with her children as I would never see them again.  It was my grandson's birthday this week-end and my son text me to ask if I was going to call to say Happy Birthday but I said no I don't feel like I should be involved anymore.  I don't like being constantly threatened.  Everytime they are around it is a lot of extra work for me and I always walk on egg shells as I never know when the next outburst, temper tantrum will be. 

 

Do you think I should get in touch with her and give in to her so I can still see my grandkids?


  You are lucky I'm not your daughter in-law or know you personally because I would call HRS on you. I run a day care and have removed children from a situation  firmly many times and have never put a mark on them. Also, a child who writes on a desk with a pen is not destructive, your husband should of gave him a piece of paper and explained this is what we color on.  And to answer your question yes, you should call her and beg for her forgiveness!!! And what piece of crap of a grandmother are you not to call your grandchild on his birthday. Remember he was the one abused by your husband, it's not his fault his mothers needs to protect him from people like your husband. He is just alittle boy. Ugh you sound like a piece of work lady!!!    
 
April 29, 2009, 10:37 pm CDT

I so agree with your reply

Quote From: fourlilmonkeys

If your grandchildren are so destructive and undisciplined, and it is such a burden for them to visit, why aren't you relieved to never see them again???

The only thing I would add is that I would suggest to this lady that she never upsets her (second) husband, he obviously is someone who over reacts and is violent.

 
May 4, 2009, 3:45 pm CDT

mother's day

How do I deal with mother's day?  I have my mother-in-law, but also want to have the day to spend with my kids.  Recently, I found out that my mother-in-law has been talking not so nicely about me to other family members.  Do I set that aside and go on with the day?  My husband is willing to speak to her about it, do I let him do this on my behalf?
 
July 9, 2009, 8:59 am CDT

Concern for Mother-in-Law

Hi all.  There is a storm brewing in our family in regards to my ML that I really want to stop before something horrible happens to her.  Long story short, I think she has the disorder where people are afraid to go outside!  When I first started dating my now husband four years ago, she use to come over to his house weekly for a day to do their laundry (they live in an apartment that doesn't have a laundry facility).  I have always had a good relationship with my ML and we never fight or have any issues.  Within a year after I started dating my husband she started to ask us to come over to their apartment to celebrate holidays/special occassions b/c it was easier on her.  She claims to have bad knees that make it nearly impossible to manage steps.  She is also very over-weight.  She also will not eat out at a restaurant b/c she doesn't know who has been handling her food. 

 

So we started to accommodate her requests, however, we didn't intend for it become THE way of life for our family.  She didn't attend our small wedding this past October (which really pissed me off but I didn't say anything) b/c she didn't want to have to deal with getting dressed up, etc.  She is not so over-weight that she wouldn't have been ablet to find a nice outfit.  Members of my side of the family are overweight (my mom), suffer from bad knees/back or other health issues, but do not behave like my ML.  I have left if up to my husband to manage this situation b/c it is his mother.  I feel that is the proper way to handle it.  However, he isn't doing anything to get to the bottom of why his mother has become the way she is.  In fact, he enables her to continue to live like this and he knows it.  He doesn't know how to manage it.  I asked my husband if there was a fire in their apartment and my ML was home alone, could she get out of the apartment to save herself.  His response was "I don't know for sure.  I doubt it.  Not without hurting herself".  My conclusion to this response is "Then they can't live in a 2nd story apartment where she is trapped by stairs".  To add to this situation, she hasn't been to a doctor or dentist in 10 years my husband says.  My FL is a chain smoker and their small apartment is smoke infested and stinks like an ashtray, although they are very clean and tidy.  I hate to go over there b/c we leave and smell like a nasty ash tray.  I don't know what to do. My husband and I are trying for our first child and I can see this situation becoming intolerable when the baby arrives.  Who wants to take a baby to a smoke infested apartment?  We want her to not only enjoy her life...we want her to be able to enjoy her grandchild when it arrives.  We fear that one day she could just drop dead b/c she is neglecting her health.  She's 62 years old. We don't know what to do.  Any advice? 

 
July 9, 2009, 9:01 am CDT

Getting Along With Your In-Laws

Quote From: morehead5

How do I deal with mother's day?  I have my mother-in-law, but also want to have the day to spend with my kids.  Recently, I found out that my mother-in-law has been talking not so nicely about me to other family members.  Do I set that aside and go on with the day?  My husband is willing to speak to her about it, do I let him do this on my behalf?
Let you husband speak with her first.  See how that goes first. 
 
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